A Surface-Level Guide: Sayulita, Mexico

A Surface-Level Guide:  Sayulita, Mexico

A few years back I took a solo trip to the lovely seaside town of Sayulita in Nayarit, Mexico. Below I briefly document what I did, what I liked, what I messed up, and what I'd want to do on a return visit. Although I'm no expert on traveling to Sayulita, I hope this post will help serve as a jumping-off point for you to plan your escape to this special community.


Booking this trip was pretty straightforward. I was actually able to get it all planned and depart within 36 hours. It was an incredibly last-minute trip, and it mostly went really well.

I wish I had gotten out cash before leaving the airport, known the cheap and safe way to get from the airport to Sayulita (a drive that takes over an hour) was Uber, and alerted my bank that I would be out of town. This is better for most banks now, but it was awkward trying to get cash out at an ATM upon arrival in town.

Also, my packing wasn't perfect. I would have liked to have had more dark, breathable T-shirts, a good pair of travel slacks, and a travel blazer. This was also my first time on a surf trip, and I wish I had a waterproof surf hat, face stick, and a rash guard.

Travel and Stay:

I believe most people fly into the airport at Puerto Vallarta to get to Sayulita. PV (as it's affectionately called) is a larger city, and the airport is perfectly forgettable in a good way. One note from my time there was that you needed to leave the airport campus and use a walking bridge to go over the high to a bus station to catch an Uber. I was told this was the case because the local Taxi drivers don't allow Uber to pick up from in front of the airport. I wouldn't be surprised if this has changed with the increasing acceptance of rideshares - but something to note.

While in town, I had an amazing Airbnb. It was a single bed with a nice shower and a small kitchenette. The cost was reasonable, and the location was excellent—maybe a 5-minute walk to the city center. There appeared to be several cool boutique hotel options in town, which could also be an option.

One note is that there are plenty of chickens (which means tons of roosters) that live side-by-side with the people in Sayulita. I was incredibly happy I brought my trusted travel earplugs and noise-canceling headphones on this trip - which helped me get that ~8 hours of sleep that keeps me bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. Those roosters start early and make a lot of noise.


  • Tacos de Ivan has two locations, both serving pork on a spit. It's amazing, and the Uber driver recommended it to me. Eat on the street. Get the tacos al pastor. Approach the hot sauce with caution.
  • Estella de Mar - fish and marlin tacos that are popular with locals. A dollar for really lovely tacos.
  • Baracuda - wasn't able to go there yet, but it was suggested quite a few times. Apparently, it has next-level local seafood.
  • Lots of other great dining - explore and talk to people in coffee shops about what’s good.


  • Miscelanea - a hipster coffee shop with amazing food and some of the best coffee I found in town. It has good Wi-Fi and is a great place to work in the morning. Don’t miss it —the food is really pretty, and the vibe is excellent.
  • Coffee on the Corner - a low-key breakfast spot out of the main square and close to the beach. It offers a good breakfast for less than 100 pesos.


  • Cava - Mexcal bar that is very cool. Probably my favorite bar in town. Just go - don't miss it.
  • El Patio—Don't visit this place during the day, but late night, it's awesome. It's a little expensive, but it's right on the beach and low-key under Christmas lights. It's quite the mood at night despite being unimpressive during daylight hours.
  • Just walk around. They're all kind of the same - not in a bad way. Just go get a beer, and you can sit on the street and enjoy the movements of the town.


  • Playa de los Muertos - Fun beach but a bit crowded. It's everyone's 'secret beach' so there are lots of people there. But I liked the vibe. Also, it's such a pretty walk. Check it out at least once.
  • Sayulita Beach - Packed in front of the town, but if you walk to the right (north) for a while you can find a ton of space. The beach is a half-mile or so long. Towards the far end, there are trails up into the jungle and some day camping spots.
  • Stinky's Beach - no idea what the actual name is, but this beach is great for beginning to surf. No one was there. Also, a cool beachfront bar. Here’s the pin —> Google Maps Pin, and


  • Private Cooking Class with Local Chef - Don't miss this cooking class with Chef Daniel. He's a local who owns a restaurant and a fishmonger. Honestly, the best $75 I spent while in town. He selects and brings all the ingredients to your Airbnb for a multi-course meal and multiple cocktails. You're walked through the entire process and make all the food with your own hands. Best yet, he brings a dishwasher from his restaurant to clean while you eat. Amazing. I literally left a 60% tip because it was so much fun. Book here —> Private Cooking Lesson
  • Surfing Lessons: I booked through Airbnb, but you can walk right into many surf shops. Even if you know how to surf, they can provide local knowledge and transport to beaches outside of town. My personal suggestion is to go and see David Michael at Surf'n Sayulita, who was a great guide while I was there.
  • Mountain Biking: Sayulita is one of the few places in Mexico with purpose-built single-track for mountain biking (or so they said). Rent bikes from the same surf shops where you get your surfboards—do both in the same day for extra bonus points.

Subscribe to The Lounge | Joey Plunkett

Don’t miss out on the latest issues. Sign up now to get access to the library of members-only issues.