Things to do in Sayulita
Our Editors who have years of experience living here carefully curated the best things to do in Sayulita for you. In a year unlikely any other, we are championing the businesses in Sayulita demonstrating their commitment to sustainability and responsible travel. Discover local Sayulita businesses that are contributing to making this world a better and more sustainable place.
Go on a fishing trip with local fishermen
Fishing is the main livelihood in Sayulita so many locals here depend on this industry. Fishing trips in Sayulita is usually done with a panga, a modest-sized, open fishing boat that is common all throughout Latin America. This is rated as the best activity in Sayulita for families so it’s for everyone. Bring all the gang! At Sayulita Insider, we have lots of local fishermen whom we are helping with their tours. These people are individuals and do not own a local company.
Spend less than $50 USD on airport taxi services
You might find it odd to see a tip like this on our things to do in Sayulita list but we found that this is very important to tourists! Sayulita Airport taxi is usually very expensive and Uber is not allowed inside Puerto Vallarta International Airport. You’ll always end up paying $75 USD per ride if you don’t know the PV airport layout. At Sayulita Insider, we have local drivers whom we know personally that your safety is guaranteed. We also have some short stories about these local drivers so rest assured you’ll get to know them before you land.
Sunset Hike to Carricitos
Carricitos beach is one of the best sunset beaches in Sayulita. It’s about a 25-minute walk from the main plaza. The hike is a jungle canopy that leads to a downhill to the beach. Don’t worry, you don’t have to wear hiking shoes – you can even go barefoot!
Eat Mexican food: the best of Nayarit
Sayulita might be a small town but we have lots and lots of food options here. From Mexican cuisine to Western, we surely have it all! Situated in the Bay of Banderas, the most common food in Sayulita is mariscos (seafood). Many people come to this area to have a taste of the best seafood in the country. We are located on the Pacific Ocean so expect to eat lots of seafood in Sayulita!
Learn how to surf
Mexico’s most popular surf town, Sayulita, offers great waves and a chilled atmosphere for beginner surf lessons as well as great surf breaks for intermediate surfers – and it is a great place for longboarding. There are many board rental shops in Sayulita including which offer great prices. Any surf shop in town will also hook you up with a private instructor and the beach itself is lined with local surfers, eager to rent you a board and show you some tricks.
Get to know Sayulita’s dog rescue mission
Sayulita is a truly pet-friendly town. If you’ve been here, you will see how dogs wander around freely and 100% of them have owners! Sayulita Animals, the organization that’s been taking care of spay and neuter in Sayulita has saved hundreds of animals (not limited to dogs and cats) free of charge! We would like to encourage you to visit them and if you have some extra bucks, donate to Sayulita Animals to lighten their load on expenses. The work that they do is truly important not just for Sayulita but for the whole of Riviera Nayarit.
Take a yoga class
Sayulita is full of Yoga studios and top-notch yoga instructors. Most yoga teachers here are ex-pats who’ve been living in Sayulita for years. Though there are many Latin American yoga teachers, too. You can opt to take classes in English or Spanish. We find this a very efficient way for you to practice your Spanish! You’ll find a sense of peace and tranquility whether you are trying yoga for the first time or looking to deepen your yoga practice. Sayulita is the best place for yoga practice!
Sayulita is definitely a great place for diving. There are many dive shops here that can also do PADI certifications, surf trips, snorkeling tours, and whale watching. The dive spots are not within the town but in the neighboring town, Punta de Mita, which is also home to the Marietas Islands.
Get a COVID test upon arrival. Please?
We are sorry to break your momentum of research but we feel like it’s very important for you to test negative with COVID before coming to Sayulita. You can even have a test when you are already here. Sayulita may be a small town but we have one of the best hospitals in the state that gives reasonably priced COVID tests. If you protect yourself, you are also protecting the local families here who work in the tourism industry. Most of them are breadwinners in their household so they cannot afford to lose their jobs even for just one day. Just keep that in mind!
Hike to Mal Paso beach
One of the tourists’ favorite is Mal Paso beach, about 20 minutes walk from Sayulita main beach. If you want to avoid the very busy main beach, take a hike and experience Mal Paso by yourself! This is considered one of the best camping beaches in Sayulita and is also a good spot for sunset viewing.
Participate in a turtle release
Sayulita is a community that is greatly involved in saving Planet Earth – literally! The sea turtle release is part of those efforts. There are many sea turtle release and protection programs in the whole of Riviera Nayarit but Sayulita is one we can consider the most active. We also have the night’s watch in Sayulita where locals volunteer to protect the baby sea turtles from poachers. This is a great activity, especially for families visiting the town.
Going on sunset sailing is one of our favorite things to do in Sayulita. While not most of us enjoy this activity (one of our Editors is easily seasick), sunsets in Sayulita are spectacular – you would love seeing it up close! This activity can also take you to Sayulita’s neighboring towns, La Cruz and Punta de Mita.
Tequila is originally a product of the state of Jalisco. Since they are our neighbors, tequila tasting experiences have been very big in Sayulita, too. There are lots of tours here that will teach you in a very fun but educational way. You will learn about the history and legend of Tequila, the process of creation and distilling for our 100% Agave Azul, and all about artisanal Tequila. It is a truly educational and original Mexican Party!
Trek or bike to Patzcuarito beach
Patzcuarito is one of the hidden beaches in Sayulita. Not many people go here because it’s quite a walk. In our case, this is our favorite beach in Sayulita because we really love the canopy trail! You don’t have to wear shoes on this trek and you can even go barefoot. It’s a very easy hike that will take you to the jungle, all the way to Patzcuarito beach. This is a famous spot for running and biking. Cars are not allowed to go to the path so expect an action-packed adventure!
Explore Sayulita’s street food scene
Street food is not for everyone we have a lot of this in Sayulita! We actually know most of them as we recently opened a TV series called Sayulita Street Food Icons. Most of these are family-run and we felt very privileged that they wanted to share their stories with us. Believe it or not, some beach towns in Mexico do not have street food as much as Sayulita does. Our street food is not limited to tacos so try them all and support local!
Get to know La Casa Clu in San Ignacio
Jessica is from Mexico City. When she moved to Sayulita, she saw that there were no organizations in town that focus on early childhood development. As a psychology graduate, Jessica started La Casa Clu, a recreation and learning center for children. Their technique is positive reinforcement and emotional support. Jessica is assisted and helped by a group of psychologists, teachers, artists, and even athletes who are locals in Sayulita. Consider visiting and donating to La Casa Clu today!
Explore Nayarit: go on day trips!
Nayarit is a really beautiful area and it is one of the reasons why we live here. There are many things to do in Sayulita but what we’ve noticed is that whenever a foreigner is staying for a longer time, they tend to have the Sayulita fever aka getting tired of the Sayulita nightlife. We’ve done a lot of day trips from Sayulita which is within a 15 minute – 2 hours driving distance. If you are not pressed for time and want to explore Nayarit, see our day trips from Sayulita ideas below!
Hire a private bartender for your Airbnb!
Alright, this seems like a fancy thing to do in Sayulita but you need to know the lifestyle here: people come here for staycations and beach view accommodations. COVID definitely changed the way we travel so hiring a private bartender to come to your accommodation is probably the right thing to do – they will bring the bar to you if you don’t want to join the nightlife! Book a private bartender with us and get to know each bartender’s story. We only vouch for locals!
Visit Playa de Los Muertos
Playa de Los Muertos is a very important beach in Sayulita. Last March, a hotel was about to privatize (our public beach) so the Sayulita community marched to fight for it. We felt very privileged to witness how the town came together for a common goal and in the end, we won! Playa de Los Muertos remains a public beach today because of the Sayulita people. It is a very family-oriented beach and is only a 10-minute walk from the plaza.
Get to know the Sayulita bird sanctuary
Through the efforts of Tracie Willis, a Sayulita ex-pat who has been very active in environmental issues in Sayulita, or town has a certified bird sanctuary located in her home! Tracie and her team save endangered animals as it is very common to have caged-birds in Mexico. They go house to house to educate the people that it is illegal (and actually a law) to have a caged bird even in your private homes. Unfortunately, that is not being strictly enforced in the country.
Traveling alone? Stay in a hostel!
Though visitors in Sayulita are not limited to backpackers, there is a big hostel culture in town because of the party lifestyle. Hostels are the best way to meet people especially when you are traveling alone. WE at Sayulita Insider have lived (and worked) in hostels when we first moved here. It really gave us a bigger picture of what’s living in Sayulita like. People who stay in a hostel always do things together like eating, partying, and surfing so don’t be afraid to come to Sayulita by yourself. You will find new friends by staying in a hostel!
Visit the Marietas Islands
Islas Marietas or the Marietas Islands is a popular tourist destination because of the rich marine life. It is also protected by the Mexican government (from hunting and fishing). Here, you will find lots of marine life, including the blue-footed booby which you can only find in the Marietas and the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador. This is definitely an activity for the family, however, for security reasons, people above the age of 50 are not allowed to go to the secret beach. The same goes for children ages 12 and below.
Celebrate Day of the Dead in Sayulita!
Dia de muertos or Day of the Dead is probably our most favorite time of the year! It happens from October 29 – November 2: it really is a week-long celebration! While our day of the dead celebrations is relatively smaller than that of Oaxaca state, it is also filled with colors, music, and people with make-up. There will be a band playing until 6:00 in the morning in the plaza, mariachi bands in the cemetery, processions, parties, and more! Sayulita is a good place to get to know the day of the dead cultures of Mexico.
Go horse riding
Horse riding is one of the biggest activities in Sayulita as it is appropriate for family (and group) travelers. Horse riding tours will take you to the jungle, to the beach, or even around town. Horses are a big part of the Mexican tradition so expect to see lots of them around town! Among ex-pats who live here, many are also taking horse riding lessons in Nuevo Vallarta and some of them are even horse riding professionals!
Spend the whole day at Sayulita’s main beach
The Sayulita main beach is the busiest beach in town. Here, you will find food vendors, bars, restaurants, and everything you need to have a relaxing vacation by the beach. The main beach is a long stretch so there’s definitely room for everyone. You can easily spend a whole day here playing frisbee, drinking with friends, watching the sunset, reading, running your dogs, etc. Sayulita main beach depicts our true lifestyle. You will learn a lot about local life here!
Experience the bloom of primavera trees every April
If you come here in April, you’re in luck! You will get to see how the primavera trees bloom that makes the town go yellow! Primavera is a large rainforest canopy tree most common in South America. As Sayulita is located in the rainforests of Nayarit, we have a lot of these trees and they really are very beautiful in April. We feel that it is important to tell you that this only lasts for a month (like Japan’s cherry blossoms season) so if you don’t come in April, you won’t be able to see them.
Sayulita is big with water sports and paddleboarding is one of them. There are many surf shops and schools at the main beach where you can rent your paddleboard, however, we can recommend the locals that we trust who can take you on a SUP trip! Some of us at Sayulita Insider are not surfers but we do enjoy paddleboarding as a form of exercise. Don’t worry, Sayulita waves are not that high!
Hire a local chef
In April 2020, Mexico’s pandemic restrictions badly injured the restaurant scene. Many Sayulita local chefs lost their jobs but their inner foodie cannot be stopped. From traditional Mexican food, Western desserts, French baking, etc, we went around town to see how these locals are doing and what new food businesses they built from home.
In a year unlikely any other, Sayulita Insider is championing local and family-run businesses demonstrating their commitment to their craft, their survival, and their love for Sayulita. We Discover the local chefs in Sayulita you probably haven’t heard about and support their businesses today!