Editor’s Note: As this is a very family-friendly town, there are many things to do in Sayulita with kids. In this article, we only included those that we think that you and your children can enjoy the most.
We are a family from Long Beach, CA visiting Sayulita with our children. They are ages 5, 9, and 13. Do you have a list of the best things to do in Sayulita with kids? I prefer something more adventurous as we have a teenager. He’s usually the one that is most difficult when we are traveling. Thank you for your help!
LORETTA CHRISTOPHER, USA
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What are the best things to do in Sayulita with kids?
A lot of people do not know this but Sayulita is a very family-oriented town! It’s one of the Mexican beach towns that is a top destination for families traveling with children. When traveling to Mexico, the top concern that a family has is safety for their children. The layout of Sayulita is very child-friendly: the streets are safe, the people are great, there are dogs everywhere – it will make you feel at home! Whether you are visiting or want to see how life is in our small pueblo, here are the top things to do in Sayulita for families traveling with kids.
If you need any help in booking these tours, just let us know. We recommend local people only!
#1: Take surf lessons
There are waves in Sayulita all-year-round but don’t be afraid — this is a beginner/learning beach! There are many surf schools in Sayulita but we recommend Sayulita Surf School. The owner, Sergio, has a daughter who is 9 years old and is very good at surfing. Not only that your kids will learn how to surf but will make friends along the way!
While your kids are surfing, feel free to join in the fun but you can always tap out by sipping a margarita by the beach. Not all beaches in Sayulita are for beginner surfers. Most of the lessons take place in the Sayulita main beach where all the bars are. You can definitely watch your kids have fun while you are at a restaurant or working at a cafe by the beach.
#2: Visit the skate park where the kids hang out
The local kids of Sayulita who surf also skates! The streets of Sayulita are not flat (they are cobblestones) so many children here find it hard to find a flat surface to skate. San Pancho has better roads for that.
Early last year, a skate park emerged by the highway with funboxes and cemented skate structures. The kids who hang out here are mostly teenagers (ages 12-16) so it’s a great way for your teenagers to have friends! Pictured above is Hank, a Sayulita local, born to American parents. If Hank is not surfing, you will see him skating around town with his friends.
#3: Go horse riding
A very common activity for the family, horse riding in Sayulita is really big. There are many horse riding tours in Sayulita but we recommend signing up for one with Beto, our local horseman. He also has kids and his business is family-run so you’ll be supporting his household if you sign up with him!
His tour will take you and your family to the jungle, secret beaches, and even on a quick stroll around town. If you want to get in touch with Beto, let us know via Instagram and we can definitely get a discount for you!
#4: Participate in a turtle release
The people of Sayulita are tree-huggers, which is one of the reasons why we have become a very family-friendly town. Every day, there is a turtle release by the main beach and we highly recommend you to bring your kids to the Turtle Center.
Here, they can learn about marine life and be educated about how to protect these turtles from poachers. Witness as all the baby turtles go on their own and help them reach the sea! This is not one to miss when traveling to Sayulita with kids. Even adults can enjoy this activity!
#5: Visit La Casa Clu
Located in San Ignacio (just 7 minutes drive from Sayulita), La Casa Clu is an organization that teaches positive reinforcement to the children of the area through art. Families staying long-term in Sayulita often volunteer here. They have a volunteering program but we’re not sure about the age limit.
You can do different activities at La Casa Clu like painting, playing, singing, playing sports, or even help them gather funds and donations. The founder, Jessica Zepeda is a psychology graduate from Mexico City and moved all the way down here to start this endeavor. This is a very important project in our area and it matters. We hope you can swing by!
#6: Let them join the kids at the plaza
If you stroll around the plaza, you will see a lot of children skating and hanging out every night. You will often see them without their parents. Sayulita is a very kid-friendly town so lots of parents are comfortable in letting their kids stay out. We are a safe pueblo!
Plus, they all grew up here. These children are not only Mexicans/Latinos but there are lots of American children who live here. If you want your teenager to blend in with the local community, the plaza is a good place to start! You will find them at the corner, in front of Yambak. Just say hi – they are really friendly!
#7: Whale watching
If you visit Sayulita during the whale season (January – March), you don’t need to sign up for a tour because they are really close to the shore. You can simply just sit on the main beach or at Carricitos beach with your family and you’ll have the best view of the whales!
Whales that are close to the shore often travel with their young. They do that so the baby whale will be protected from predators while they are learning how to swim on their own. If you want a boat tour, we can definitely recommend some local fishermen – just get in touch with us!
#8: Visit the Marietas Islands
One of the best things about visiting Sayulita is its close proximity to the Marietas Islands, a group of islands protected by the Mexican government. There are lots of restrictions when it comes to this tour but only for the secret beach. Adults ages 50 and above including children 12 and below cannot go to the secret beach, which is the main attraction of the Marietas Islands. They do this for security purposes. If you want to go to the secret beach, your kids can just stay in the boat or snorkel around the boat.
Tours to the Marietas have different prices. It’s more expensive if you want to visit the secret beach. There is also a daily limit on the number of visitors since this is a protected site. Marietas Island tours are only available from Wednesday – Sunday. They close on Monday and Tuesdays to preserve the area. Let us know if you want to take this tour and we will recommend a local boatman!
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#9: Go on a fishing trip
Teach your kids how to catch their own food! Sayulita is located in the Bay of Banderas which makes it an area rich in marine life. The main livelihood here is fishing. We encourage you to book with a local fisherman instead of a tour company – we can definitely recommend one!
This activity is not only fun for kids but for adults too! After the trip, the local fisherman will clean the fish for you and they can even cook it for you! Sharing the catch of the day with your family is more enjoyable, most especially if you’re the one who caught it!
#10: Visit Sayulita Animals
You’ve probably seen how many dogs are wandering around town unleashed. No, they’re not street dogs! They have owners. 11 years ago, Sayulita Animals made sure that there will be no street dogs in Sayulita through their spay and neuter program. You can pay a visit but be careful as your children may want to adopt a rescue dog!
They are only open every Wednesday so get in touch with them if you can visit. You can also help by buying their merchandise which financially supports all their free programs. Consider donating to Sayulita Animals today!
#11: Go on beach hikes
We have many beaches in Sayulita and most of them are in the jungle! If you want to avoid the busy Sayulita main beach, then take these 20 to 30-minute hikes. It’s a great way for the family to bond and gets to know the layout of the town. We recommend walking but you can also rent ATVs or golf carts.
The beaches we recommend that have jungle paths are Mal Paso, Carricitos, and Patzcuarito. Make sure to bring food because there are no vendors nor stores on these Sayulita beaches. You don’t want them to be hangry!
#12: Eat, eat, and eat!
With the increasing number of families with kids traveling to Sayulita, most restaurants created a kids’ menu, you know, the usual chicken fingers, spaghetti, etc. In our experience, Mexican food is a little bit too much with foreign visitors (especially children) so expect a Western kids menu in Sayulita restaurants.
We understand how important it is for you to not stress about what your kids are going to eat in Sayulita. We want you to take this off your to-do list. Your children will definitely love our family-friendly restaurants!
#13: Beach clean-up
Unfortunately, many tourists who visit Sayulita have performed poorly when it comes to taking care of our beaches. The community of Sayulita (mostly parents with children) does a daily clean-up drive during sunset. The family that we always see doing this is the Brady family, who have been living in Sayulita for years now.
You don’t even need to join a group when doing this. Get some biodegradable bags from the store and start cleaning up! In Sayulita, we also have a recycling center so we’d encourage you to segregate your trash. This is a really fun activity for the family (and a very educational one, indeed) without missing the day’s sunset sessions.
#14: Get a PADI open dive certification
Start your kids young! Diving is a really great water sport for children and it’s something they can do (and love) until they become adults! The dive spots are not in Sayulita but in Punta de Mita, about 15 minutes away from town.
The PADI open dive is a worldwide certification. Once you have this, you can dive not just in Sayulita but anywhere in the world! Getting certified starts at $350 USD for adults. This might be a new family tradition so try it! Who knows, you might end up diving around the world with your kids.
#15: Experience the firefly season
If you come in August (warning: this is summer with extremely humid weather), you will see thousands of fireflies all over Sayulita. But you’ll see them more in the jungle. Take a night stroll with your family to Carricitos beach and experience this beauty!
You’ll usually see them more in the evening but don’t be afraid to go out during the night with your children. Sayulita is safe. If you are serious about doing this, might as well rent a golf cart and follow the firefly trail!
#16: Visit Sayulita’s bird sanctuary
Sayulita is the first in the area to have a certified bird sanctuary. Through the efforts of Tracie Willis and Ser Su Voz, the bird sanctuary has rescued lots of endangered birds in the area (particularly the pericos who are kept in cages as pets).
In Mexico, it is against the law to cage birds that help our ecosystem but the mandate is not being enforced. The environmental warriors in Sayulita are the ones implementing them – they even go house to house to educate people why birds should not be caged.
#17: Participate in Sayulita’s environmental projects
Sayulita has a solid community of people who are deeply involved in the town, especially with environmental projects. Last year, a new hotel wanted to privatize one of our public beaches and the Sayulita community marched for days to protest. In the end, we won the case and this beach remains public.
Since there is an international school in Sayulita, parent-teacher associations encourage their students to participate in these endeavors. With this, we can conclude that Sayulita is a great environment for raising children. You might end up living here, too! We also did a recycling video series with the local children of Sayulita. Check them out and see how involved our community is!