Small town fever remedy: go on these day trips from Sayulita!

day trips from Sayulita

Editor’s Note: We recently did lots of day trips from Sayulita and we’re only doing it now after years of living in Riviera Nayarit. Please note that we are only recommending itineraries we actually tried but we will try our best to update this list as we go.

Hello Sayulita Insider! I stumbled upon your blog while looking searching for where to eat in Sayulita. Superb blog and very informative. I love it! I’ve been here for a month now and I am looking for day trips from Sayulita. Can you recommend your itinerary? I only know PV! Thanks a lot for your help!

Questions about Sayulita? We always answer reader questions so if you have any, feel free to email us at sayulitainsider[at]gmail[dot]com or send us a message through our channels below:


Day trips from Sayulita: an overview

All of these day trips from Sayulita are just one hour away from town. Staying the night in these places is also recommended but in this post, we will only include information about how to make a day trip. Many visitors who stay for more than two weeks in Sayulita often find hidden gems within Nayarit.

The state is located on the Pacific Coast of Mexico so there are really lots of options for places to visit. Even though there are many things to do in Sayulita, you will often find yourself experiencing Sayulita fever as most locals do. Sometimes, you just need a breath of fresh air to appreciate Sayulita again.

We do guarantee that these recommended day trips from Sayulita ideas are equally beautiful. However, we also assure you that you’ll always come back to Sayulita. There is just a different vibe here that many tourists can’t resist!

See also: The best things to do in Sayulita with kids

day trips from Sayulita

Renting a car in Sayulita

We’ve been asked if driving around the Nayarit area is safe. ABSOLUTELY! This is a very tourist-friendly area so don’t worry about safety while driving. Surprisingly, the roads here are very nice. You won’t have difficulty driving here. The daily car rental in Sayulita and Puerto Vallarta starts at $25 USD.

You need to put in a security deposit (via credit card) and a copy of your driver’s license. You do not need an international driver’s license when driving in Mexico. Your license from home will suffice.

Taking a bus

Busses from Sayulita depart frequently to San Pancho or towards the south (Puerto Vallarta). If you want a cheaper option for the day trip, this costs between $2 – $4 USD. However, it’s a lot of commutes and it usually takes slower. Busses in Sayulita stop a lot to take passengers so you might end up spending the whole day on the road instead of enjoying your day trip.

Hire a driver for the day

We’ve had visitors who contacted us and said they don’t drive (but still want to do the day trips) so what we normally recommend is hiring a local driver. Juan, a driver from PV that we are supporting can take you around Nayarit. This is how we met him after all! Just send us a message and we can organize a better price for you! Hiring a driver is the best way for a stress-free day trip but it can cost more.


Hitchhiking is only applicable to some places on this list. For example, Punta de Mita and San Pancho are the easiest routes to hitchhike to. Don’t be afraid to raise that thumb because it’s very common here. People will always take you! We’ve done this a lot and we can assure you that it’s safe. It might be hard to get a ride with a big group of people, though!

Here are the best day trips from Sayulita from our recent experience driving around Nayarit.

#1: San Pancho

The most famous day trip from Sayulita, San Pancho is just 10 minutes away from town. If you don’t have a car, the bus from Sayulita costs $14 MXN ($0.6 USD) and will take you directly to the entrance of San Pancho town.

  • Distance from Sayulita: 10 minutes
  • Driving direction: North
  • Other modes of transport: You can take a bus from Sayulita for less than $1 USD or hitchhike at the Punta de Mita highway

Click here to get driving directions to San Pancho from Sayulita

day trips from sayulita

Day trip to San Pancho from Sayulita

San Pancho is a little bit tamer than Sayulita. It also prides itself as one of the best surf towns in Riviera Nayarit. The waves here are a little bit more advanced than Sayulita main beach. Here are a few things you can do in San Pancho:

  1. Hang out at San Pancho main beach. This is one of our favorite tranquil beaches and one of the best sunsets within Riviera Nayarit.
  2. Participate in the turtle release. They do this every night but we are not sure if they are taking volunteers. We’ve only watched them do this but did not participate in the release.
  3. Eat, drink, and be merry! San Pancho is full of amazing bars and restaurants that have unique themes.

#2: Los Ayala and Rincon de Guayabitos

These two towns are next to each other and you can do it on the same trip. Los Ayala is a sleepy town in Nayarit but there are also lots of things to do. We do feel that staying the night there is not necessary. Los Ayala and Rincon de Guayabitos are small so a day is just enough to go around!

  • Distance from Sayulita: 38 minutes
  • Driving direction: North
  • Other modes of transport: We haven’t tried the bus to Rincon de Guayabitos but we are sure that you can get a ride on highway 200. Hitchhiking is also very easy towards Rincon de Guayabitos.

Click here to get driving directions to Los Ayala/Rincon de Guayabitos from Sayulita

See also: The best local tours in Sayulita
things to do in sayulita

Photo: @psimonmyway

Day trip to Los Ayala and Rincon de Guayabitos from Sayulita

These two Nayarita towns are not as busy as Sayulita but expect a lot of local life while you are here. Their beaches are so beautiful and they have lots of other islands to explore within the area (by boat). Below are some suggested things to do in Los Ayala and Rincon de Guayabitos:

  1. Whale watching. We’ve seen the whales up close in Los Ayala and it was amazing! There are lots of boats in Los Ayala that will take you whale watching. They usually cost $20 USD. The boat can also take you to nearby beaches like Boca del Toro (pictured above).
  2. Walk around town. These towns have different vibes than Sayulita. Explore other pueblos in Nayarit by walking around and seeing the local life!
  3. Hire a boat that will take you around the bay. There are lots of other islands (for example, Isla Coral) where you can hire a boat and do an island hopping tour! Don’t pay more than $30 USD per person for a 4-hour tour.

#3: Lo de Marcos

Another underrated destination in Nayarit, Lo de Marcos is a very popular day trip for Sayuleros. The beach is so calm and it’s not as busy as Sayulita. It is still a bit underdeveloped but there are bars and restaurants within the area.

day trips from sayulita

Photo: @juliacherbit

  • Distance from Sayulita: 25 minutes
  • Driving direction: North
  • Other modes of transport: Busses that go to La Peñita from Sayulita pass by Lo de Marcos. Hitchhiking is also recommended as it is very easy!

Click here to get driving directions to Lo de Marcos from Sayulita

#4: Chacala

Chacala is our most favorite in our recent Nayarit road trips! Like Sayulita, Chacala is also a beach town but it is set in a cove. One thing we’ve noticed about Chacala is that it is a really clean town! The waves are also surfable and are best for beginner surfers.

  • Distance from Sayulita: 1 hour, 4 minutes
  • Driving direction: North
  • Other modes of transport: We haven’t tried other modes of transport to Chacala but we will definitely update this post when we find out!

Click here to get driving directions to Chacala from Sayulita

day trips from Sayulita

In the Náhuat language, Chacala means “where there are shrimps.”

Day trip to Chacala from Sayulita

We actually stayed the night when we visited Chacala. We felt that it needed more than just a day. There are lots of Airbnbs and restaurants in Chacala so we didn’t find it hard to find out way around. One thing we noticed about Chacala is that it’s never crowded, even during the weekends! Below are some suggested things to do in Chacala:

  1. Eat zarandeado. Zarandeado is a very typical fish dish from Nayarit. This is not very common in Sayulita restaurants but in Chacala, all restaurants have them! Educate yourself with the food of Nayarit because it’s a really important culture in our area.
  2. Drink margaritas and spend the whole day at the beach. Again, Chacala Beach is not super crowded so you can definitely enjoy alone time here!

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#5: Punta de Mita

Punta Mita vs Punta de Mita: what’s the difference? This town is originally called Punta de Mita but through the years, as all-inclusive resorts popped out, the luxury brands adapted Punta Mita in their branding. Punta de Mita refers to the local community while Punta Mita is all about the fancy stuff. We recently adapted the Punta de Mita brand for the Insider Group so stay tuned as we bring you the best of local life in this town!

  • Distance from Sayulita: 25 minutes
  • Driving direction: South
  • Other modes of transport: Hitchhiking to PDM is really easy!!!

Click here for driving directions to Chacala from Sayulita

day trips from Sayulita

Day trip to Punta de Mita from Sayulita

Punta de Mita’s audience is more of families and big groups. Since the accommodations and lifestyle here is a little bit fancy, it’s become very popular with American and Canadian families.  There is no nightlife here as locals go to Sayulita to do that. Here are some suggested things to do in Punta de Mita:

  1. Visit the Marietas Islands. Yes, the famous Marietas is in Punta de Mita! All boat tours depart from here and you’ll probably get a better price for the tour when you are already here than in Sayulita.
  2. Go diving. Punta de Mita is a new hotspot for diving in Mexico. There are lots of dive spots (and shops) here. Most of the dive trips they offer in Sayulita take place in Mita.
  3. Play golf. Punta de Mita is famous for golf tourism. There are many golf courses in the area.

#6: Bucerias

Bucerias is also our favorite. We go here every week! The beach here is quite lovely though there is very minimal nightlife. Unlike Sayulita, Bucerias has an older crowd (50 and above). You will see lots of ex-pats living here! We honestly favor Bucerias beach over Sayulita’s main beach.

  • Distance from Sayulita: 35 minutes
  • Driving direction: South
  • Other modes of transport: Hitchhiking to Bucerias is really easy!!! Buses that go to Puerto Vallarta from Sayulita pass by Bucerias.

Click here for directions to Bucerias from Sayulita

day trips from Sayulita

Day trip to Bucerias from Sayulita

Lots of people who stay in Sayulita choose Bucerias as their next destination. It is slightly cheaper than Sayulita and has lots of oceanview accommodations that are affordable. The restaurant scene in Bucerias is also getting bigger as new businesses pop out every month. Here are the best things to do in Bucerias:

  1. Get a massage by the beach. Massage here is only $10 USD, half the massage prices in Sayulita. Enjoy a massage by the beach while possibly sipping a margarita.
  2. Go to Karen’s Place. This is the ultimate hang out place for most expats. Karen’s happy hour is from 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm. At this time, you will see lots of foreigners hanging out at this bar because it’s right on the beach! They also have a great food selection so you can literally sit here all day.
  3. Go kitesurfing. Bucerias is one of the most sought after kitesurfing destinations in the world. They hold big competitions annually.

#7: Puerto Vallarta

On your way to Sayulita, you landed here (PV airport) and you probably did not think about visiting this city. We love Puerto Vallarta because there’s just so much things to do and explore here. It’s one of our favorite Mexican cities with a beach.

  • Distance from Sayulita: 35 minutes
  • Driving direction: South
  • Other modes of transport: Hitchhiking to PDM is really easy!!!

Click here for directions to Puerto Vallarta from Sayulita

Read: How to get to Sayulita from Puerto Vallarta for less than $50 USD

day trips from Sayulita

There are many things to do in Puerto Vallarta. We don’t even know how to start. However, The Insider Group recently opened Puerto Vallarta Insider where you can see the best of PV according to locals. The blog is still under construction but our social media is active!

What is your favorite destination in this day trips from Sayulita ideas? Have you been to these places? Join the conversation and leave your tips in the comment box below. We’d love to hear from you!
Day trips from Sayulita

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