15 Unique Things to Do in Sayulita, Mexico + Useful Travel Tips (2023)

Are you planning your vacation in Sayulita, Mexico? Look no further, in this article, I will share my tips on all the best things to do in Sayulita and other practical information.

I’ve spent about 2 weeks in the area, exploring the hippie town and the cute little neighbor San Pancho, which, is becoming more popular for those who are more into a laid-back and peaceful atmosphere.

Sayulita, founded in the 70s by American surfers in search of good waves, has made itself more popular as a party town.

Sayulita beach and muerto beach
Sayulita beach and Playa de Los Muertos

Why Is Sayulita So Popular?

Sayulita made itself famous as the place for boho-culture followers.

However, this quirky, laid-back town welcomes any character, whether you are a yogi-mama or a health guru, a party seeker, a “weekend tourist,” whether you are a nostalgic hippie or a posh, wealthy millennial, whatever you are or want to be, in Sayulita you will be received by just a happy, laid-back crowd that wants to celebrate life every day.

It is in fact considered now the best place to go in Mexico or one of them.

EDIT: I have just returned from my second trip to Sayulita and I have actually stayed for a few nights. So this post is updated with all the things I did, the new pictures I took, and the new tours I tried. I am sure you will love it.

15 Best Things To Do In Sayulita, Mexico

1. Enjoy Sayulita Beaches and Surfing

…or watch the people swirling freely on the waves while feeling awkward for not being able to do the same. Damn, it seems so easy!

The main beach of Sayulita is the most crowded and not the best among all the spectacular Sayulita Beaches. But if you love to lime and hang out where everything happens, that’s the place to be. There are other beautiful beaches not suitable for surfing which I am going to tell you about in a bit.

The longboard lovers go to La Lancha beach located about 10 km from Sayulita, past Punta de Mita right in front of a Pemex (gas station) and a surf shop, one of the most expensive I have ever heard of, to be honest.

La Lancha is one of the best beaches near Sayulita and is free, and you can rent a board or if you decide to surf for a few days, it would be more convenient to buy a used one and then resell it.

Hanging out on the beach or surfing are certainly the best things to do in Sayulita.

Two people carrying their surf boards on an otherwise empty beach in Sayulita, Mexico

2. Try the local cuisine

There is a huge variety of restaurants in Sayulita, but the health food scene is definitely making its way up, as Sayulita is more and more of a yoga destination (among others of course).

So much so that you can find great creative and healthy dishes almost anywhere. Juices and smoothies are also getting popular, at least before dawn, … oh well, maybe before midday.

Seafood is the most demanded plate, but the vegetarian crowds have their special spots as well. So, where to eat in Sayulita? Check out my post linked above for my newest update on the best restaurants.

My new favorites are Barracuda and Taqueria Los Reyes! Delish!

3. Go Shopping in Sayulita

If you are wondering what to do in Sayulita that doesn’t require much of physical effort, shopping is indeed one of the options.

Although it’s possible that you didn’t fly a thousand miles to shop, you might want to take a look at the variety of original artifacts showcased in the trendy Sayulita shops, which is in a way part of the local culture and one of the reasons why it turned from a fishing town to a trendsetter spot.

What stands out is Huichol art, which from its humble origin has become one of the fashion icons of the region. The beautiful multicolored beaded works have taken over the jewelry scene and have become a precious exclusive gift offered in the coolest places.

Here is a list of the most interesting shops in Sayulita:

Pachamama is the iconic shop of the Mignon family, offering soulful art and crafts inspired both by Mexican tradition and family travels. 

A skull painted on a closed shop window on a bright blue building in Sayulita, Mexico

Artefakto (Delfin #15) showcase the most beautiful creations directly from the local communities from different regions of Mexico. Among their works of art, you will find Pillowcases, blankets, shawls, tapestries, rugs, bags, bedspreads, and hammocks, all handmade and embroidered.

Evoke the spirit The shop that best represents the Huichol tradition blended with the owner’s unique sophisticated designs.

The shop has been created by the New Yorker Brittney Borjeson, who arrived in Sayulita in 2012 and fell in love with the town. 

That’s how the shop was born and its fame continues to grow.  The shop and much of the merchandise are designed by Borjeson and made by local Huichol artisans. Stop by to admire the wall of skull “paintings” and even see some of the action as pieces are being made in the shop.

Painted Huichol cow skulls at a shop in Sayulita, Mexico
Evoke the spirit – Shop 

4. Find yourself (Holistic healing)

The well-being wave couldn’t lose its way toward the trendy cosmopolitan town of Sayulita. And in fact, for those seeking soul healing, body restoration, and mental purification, Sayulita has a place for you.

The Haramara Retreat just outside of town offers all of that in a beautiful mystical setting in the heart of the jungle overlooking the beautiful bay.

Whether you are traveling alone or in a group, a wellness retreat could be a great idea to enjoy Sayulita.

Sayulita beach at sunset
Sunset from Sayulita Beach

5. Enjoy breathtaking sunsets

One of the most popular things to do in Sayulita is catch the epic sunset. You can stay on the main beach and say goodbye to another glorious day in paradise or you can walk for a 1 km hike to Playa Carricitos and see the sun slowly being swallowed by the ocean right in front of you.

Or you can take a hiking tour with Wanderlust Sayulita which ends on a beautiful beach between Sayulita and San Pancho from where you will see a spectacular sunset.

6. Chill your day away

Although there are plenty of activities that you can do from Sayulita, e.g., surfing, horseback riding, hiking… you can also indulge yourself in relaxation, and totally guilt-free because that’s what vacations are for.

Get yourself a massage if you feel like it, or hang on a hammock in one of the bars or on the beach, read a book, or just watch the surfers swirling on the waves of the glittering ocean. That’s a way to rewire and reconnect with your inner self.

7. Take a tour of Las Islas Marietas

The Islas Marietas is a worldly famous spot for a vulcanic conformation that leaves a hidden beach underneath a crater. They are only accessible through a watery tunnel.

It’s a dreamy place from a natural point of view.

Because of the fast deterioration of the natural environment, due to uncontrolled hordes of tourists, authorities kept it closed for a while and then reopened it for a limited number of visitors.

Sadly enough it’s a bit of an elite selection because, in order to control access, they raised the prices to 2600 pesos versus the 400 in the past.

Therefore anyone who can afford it can see it. To get to Marietas Islands from Sayulita you need to go on an organized tour with authorized companies.

There is another tour that is cheaper, about 1600 pesos which takes you around the islands without having access to the most interesting part though.

8. Marietas Islands National Park Excursion for Certified Divers

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 54 Reviews

If you are a diver, you shouldn’t miss this tour. In this tour, you will be exploring the underwater world around the Marietas Islands where you will be in close contact with a wealth of marine life and a variety of species including turtles, dolphins manta rays.

It’s only available to Certified Divers and will receive personalized attention for small groups of 4 people maximum.

Further information:

  • Half-day trip
  • Complimentary lunch
  • Round-trip transportation from Sayulita included
  • Equipment included
  • The minimum age is 10 years
  • Not wheelchair accessible
  • Near public transportation
  • Not recommended for pregnant travelers
  • No heart problems or other serious medical conditions

Read what other guests say:

We had a great time. Stephan and his crew were very friendly and knowledgeable and took us to great dive spots. Would highly recommend to anyone!

We had a lovely time with Sayulita Entourage and Jaime and Palma as our guides. The three of us — two snorkelers and one diver — took the day to Las Islas Marietas and the Hidden Beach. We saw whales jumping out of the water (amazing!) and I was able to dive with Jaime 1-on-1 around the islands. We saw a ton of wildlife and I felt comfortable every step of the way. What I really appreciated was seeing Jaime’s care for mother nature and how much respect she has, it shines through in her knowledge and all of the interesting information she shared about everything we saw. We had a lovely time and will definitely be back!

Read more reviews on VIATOR

9. Take a day trip to Puerto Vallarta

The friendly city of Puerto Vallarta is one of the first Mexican beach resorts and has been welcoming expatriates and tourists alike for many years. 

Its beaches, the art gallery, the romantic walk along the Malecon, the fancy restaurants, and the charming historical center will make you fall in love too. If you are staying in Sayulita, you might want to spend a day in Puerto Vallarta and see it for yourself.

It’s only a 1-hour drive on a spectacular panoramic road.

10. Hike to Monkey Mountain at sunset

Sayulita is surrounded on three sides by mountains, and hiking along those trails is an incredible experience for nature lovers.

Unfortunately, I didn’t make it but everybody was bragging about the company Mexitreks as one of the most reliable to take you on a tour.

Among the different options they have, getting up to Monkey Mountain at sunset must be a unique experience. Keep in mind that it is a strenuous hike all uphill and steep.

11. Ziplines with ocean views

Fly over the jungle of the Sierra Madre mountain range with spectacular views over the bay.

The impressive canopy tour of Vista Paraíso includes 10 lines and a suspension bridge in the mountains of Higuera Blanca, Nayarit. From this zip line, you will enjoy the most spectacular view of all the canopy tours in the Puerto Vallarta region: from the Pacific Ocean to the nature reserve of the rain forest in Punta de Mita.

Please note that the departing point is in Bucerias, however, pick-up and drop-off from and to Sayulita and San Pancho are available.

12. Singletrack mountain bike – Guided tour through the jungle

If you are outdoorsy and action-addicted, this tour is perfect for you. Through these mountain biking tours in Sayulita and Punta Mita, you will experience the local jungle and while exploring the nearby beaches and towns.

These MTB tours range from novice to experienced, with trails that go from mellow dirt roads to Technical Singletrack.

Tours are available from November to July for both beginner and experienced riders.

What other riders said:

If you’re an experienced rider and want to charge some incredible jungle and coastal terrain this is the place to book! Professional guides who rip! Javier took us to the goods!!

“I had never biked in Sayulita before and did not realize there were single tracks that can be accessed right from town. Javier was my guide and not only did he provide a fantastic experience he also gave me some very good tips on how I could be better on my bike. Being from Colorado I have ridden a lot and even so, he improved on my skills considerably. My explanation of the trails will not do them justice, but they were truly unique and amazing. Riding through single tracks in the dense jungle was the highlight of my trip. There were technical sections that were challenging, but also some nice long stretches of up hill to get the heart pounding. The trail system is complicated but easy to navigate with a guide. I would not take a beginner on these trails….the down hill sections were flowy and super fun. I highly recommend taking this excursion while in Sayulita or the surrounding area.

Read more reviews on VIATOR

13. Horseback Riding in Sayulita Through Jungle Trails to the Beach

One the best adventurous things to do in Sayulita is this amazing riding adventure on the deserted beaches of the Riviera Nayarit and through a tropical jungle.

You will ride through Sayulita town, passing by the houses and farms. The tour guides for this adventure are local cowboys, and they will select the best roads, so you can enjoy an unforgettable adventure. They have noble horses, for all types of people according to their age and riding experience.

What other guests say

“This Horse Ride is truly a dream come true for anyone who wishes they could horseback ride on a beach. My family members are experienced riders, and I’m a beginner. So they made sure I had a safe, gentle horse named Pepe. Briefly riding on the beach through water was exciting. And I enjoyed chatting with the guides. Wear your bathing suits if you want to take a quick dip at the beach. Make the time for this. It’s not to be missed.”

14. Join an ATV tour for some off-road adventure

Sayulita is surrounded by rolling hills of the Sierra Madre mountain range, offering not only spectacular landscapes but amazing trails for hiking biking, and all sorts of extreme sports in the thick jungle.

An adventure on ATV motors is one of them. You will find more detailed information in the above link or in many local travel agencies.

A group of people hiking through the jungle, one of the best things to do in Sayulita, Mexico
Hike in Sayulita – BOOK YOUR TOUR HERE

15. Join an amazing mild hike + yoga on the hills beyond Sayulita

As previously mentioned, there are numerous hikes accessible in Sayulita.

You have the option to partake in other local excursions where a well-informed guide can accompany you, showcasing the indigenous flora and fauna.

My personal experience was with Wanderlust Sayulita, and it was fantastic. The founders, Diane and Jairo, are charming and will make you feel like you’re out with a group of friends.

Furthermore, their groups are small, making it simple to socialize with other participants.

The tour lasts for only three hours, but it is invigorating, and you can choose between a morning or afternoon hike.

I did the hike in the afternoon and appreciated it because I witnessed the sunset.

The first hike is only 45 minutes and takes you to a gorgeous, deserted beach where you can enjoy some leisure time before participating in a calming 45-minute yoga class and then you have some time to admire the beautiful sunset before heading back to Sayulita

Check out my video of the Hike!

A beautiful easy hike from Sayulita to San Pancho ended with a Yoga Class and a spectacular sunset

Sayulita Travel Guide

How to get to Sayulita

Getting to Sayulita is very easy. Most people either come by bus from Guadalajara, directly or from Puerto Vallarta.

If you are flying to Puerto Vallarta you can either get to the Puerto Vallarta bus station and hop on a bus or get an UBER to Sayulita, much cheaper than a taxi.

How to move around in Sayulita

Sayulita is a small town where pretty much everything is within walking distance. However, if you don’t feel like walking, you can rent a golf cart. Prices range from 50 to 100 USD per day.

Sayulita letters in the plaza
The plaza in Sayulita

Car rental in Sayulita

You can find a few car rental companies on the main road just before the crossroads. Renting a car is a good way to move around the area and explore Sayulita beaches, and all the other amazing places around Sayulita such as:

My best suggestion is to fly into Puerto Vallarta Airport and look for cheap car rentals in Puerto Vallarta, The road to Sayulita is amazing and you can find great beaches and small towns to stop along the way.

Best Car Rental Deals w/ Free Cancellation, Compare & Save! | Discover Cars

Find the best car rental deals and explore around freely, at your own pace. My favorite way to enjoy a destination!

Uber in Sayulita

There aren’t many UBER drivers in Sayulita, although the app covers the area. If you find one, it’s because it’s somebody coming from Puerto Vallarta to drop off a client. It’s still worth a try, though.

Money Exchange in Sayulita

It is advisable to get to Sayulita with already some cash in your pocket, for many reasons:

  • The dollar is bought at a very low price so it’s not convenient for you to exchange it there.
  • Credit cards are almost never accepted
  • There are only cash machines that give you USD which is insane. There is only one bank that gives you cash in pesos, Intercam, located right before the bus station by the hospital.

So be prepared!

Aerial view of Sayulita beach and muerto close
Sayulita Coastline

When is the Best Time to Visit Sayulita, Mexico?

Sayulita is open all year round, but there are times when it’s nicer than others, for different reasons. But let’s take a closer look at different times of the year.

May to July

The absolute best time to visit Sayulita is the shoulder season from May through July:

  • It’s less crowded
  • It’s cheaper
  • It’s still warm but not unbearably hot

August through October

This is the time of the year when it’s really super hot and humid. It’s a low season because no one wants to be in this weather, which also has a higher chance of rain. But if you do so, rates go down so you might get a good deal.

December through April

This is the high season when Canadians and US people flock to their winter escape for the season. The weather is sunny and less humid. Nights are cooler and there are no mosquitoes around.

It’s the best weather that you can get but that means higher hotel and flight rates.

Sayulita Hotels: Where to stay in Sayulita

There are so many hotel and villa options in Sayulita that it can be overwhelming to find the perfect one for us. Here are two of my favorite Sayulita hotels:

Hotel 7 Lunas Sayulita

A laid-back luxury place with gorgeous, elegant details where natural elements combine with modern amenities for a cozy classy environment. The stunning views on the ocean are the cherry on the cake.

Check rates & availability:  Booking.com 

Hotel Vogue

hotel terrace at Hotel Vogue Sayulita
Hotel Vogue Sayulita – terrace

Located in the heart of Sayulita, Hotel Vogue is an intimate you have this cozy hotel, artfully decorated with local objects and artworks in bright Mexican colors with an elegant touch. You can also relax in the chaise long by the pool in the manicured garden. A real gem.

Check rates & availability:  Booking.com 

However, I have also put together two separate posts to help you find your place in Sayulita:

The top 11 home rentals in Sayulita
The most gorgeous 8 Hotels in Sayulita

Sayulita healthy shop
Healthy food shop in Sayulita

Is Sayulita Mexico Safe for a Solo Female Traveler?

Girls out there listen up! If you are planning a solo trip, even for the first time, Sayulita is the place to go.

Whether you are a party lover, or you love a tranquil and peaceful stay, regardless of your age, whatever you are looking for you can find it in Sayulita. It’s really one of the most unique places suitable for any kind of traveler.

So, my dear girlfriend, do not be afraid of traveling alone to Sayulita. This funky little village will welcome you with open arms. Just follow your common sense and stay out of trouble :).

How to stay out of trouble:

  1. Keep your personal belonging with you and out of sight for others
  2. Don’t flaunt your possession
  3. Don’t get wasted and stay always alert and present
  4. Don’t leave your valuables unattended
  5. Don’t walk at night on obscure deserted roads
  6. Be nice but don’t be naive

Common Scam: if somebody on the street warns you about something like, you have something out of place or your dress is dirty, make sure you don’t leave your personal belonging, before paying attention to them. I have learned the hard way and it was a way to distract me and take my purse. Don’t be the next one.

Aerial view of sunrise from the beach in Sayulita, Mexico
Sunrise from the beach in Sayulita

Is Sayulita a Good Place for Digital Nomads?

Many digital nomads choose Sayulita as their temporary home. In fact, you can find a few coworking spaces where you can spend the day getting your work done undisturbed while some cafes don’t allow that.

In general, WIFI is pretty good so, yes, digital nomads will enjoy spending some time in Sayulita.

Things to do in Sayulita: Frequently Asked Questions

Is Sayulita worth visiting?

I believe so. There is so much to do and although it’s renowned as the mecca for surfers and party lovers, Sayulita is much more than that.

Outdoorsy will enjoy lots of sea and land adventures, yogis will find amazing soul-fulfilling retreats in the jungle and foody will have a great choice of delicious eateries.

How do you spend a day in Sayulita?

Well, you can do whatever you feel like, from relaxing on the beach to joining a tour, taking a surf class or having a spa day. There is anything your heart desires in Sayulita.

Aerial view of San Pancho Beach
San Pancho Beach

How many days do you need in Sayulita?

It depends. If you work and travel, you may want to stay longer so you can alternate between work and fun with no stress. If you just want to see Sayulita and the beaches, you can consider a couple of days enough.

However, if you want to take advantage of all the amazing activities available in Sayulita, you can plan an entire week or more.

I assure you you won’t get bored. 🙂

Is Sayulita a party town?

It is indeed. Party lovers will have a blast in Sayulita but as I mentioned before, it’s not only that. You will also find peaceful and tranquil areas away from the parties to relax and chill.

Aerial view of Sayulita beach boats
Sayulita beach

Can you swim on the beaches of Sayulita?

I wouldn’t recommend that. Sayulita is famous for surfing for a reason. The undertow currents are not a joke. Unless you are going out with your board, I wouldn’t recommend going for a swim.

The nearby Playa de los Muertos, instead is more swimmer-friendly but still you have to be careful.

What is Sayulita known for?

Sayulita is mainly known for surfing and party. There are many surfing spots in its surrounding for all levels of surfers.

Can you use dollars in Sayulita Mexico?

You can, but it’s not recommended. The exchange rate would make it outrageously expensive. Make sure you get quite a bit of pesos before getting to Sayulita because may restaurants only accept cash.

Things to do in Sayulita: Final Thoughts

I hope this guide to Sayulita was helpful. Whether you are traveling alone or with somebody, you are going to have lots of fun in this Pueblo Magico of Mexico.

However, although it may seems all party and fun, never let your guard down and be mindful of your surroundings. Petty crime is a thing in Mexico, especially in such touristy areas.

Other than that, have fun!!

Planning a trip soon? Here are My Recommended Travel Resources.

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