Twenty-five miles north of Puerto Vallarta is one of the best-kept secrets on Mexico’s Riviera Nayarit—the charming beach town of Sayulita. In the 1960s, surfers discovered that the coastal town was one of the best places in the Americas to hang ten and remains one of the top Pacific Coast surfing meccas. To this day, Cancún, the Riviera Maya and Puerto Vallarta gulp down most of Mexico’s beach tourists while Sayulita remains largely unknown—making it the perfect place to enjoy Mexico’s beauty without the crowds.
If you are planning to visit Sayulita, you’ll log plenty of time on the beach and in the water, but here are five other must-do activities for your stay in this bohemian paradise.
Stroll the Colorful Streets
The laid-back bohemian vibe and artsy atmosphere of Sayulita make it easy to tear yourself away from the beach and stroll through the colorful town. Practically every corner of Sayulita has the perfect backdrop for a colorful, Instagram-worthy picture—so be sure to bring your camera! Some streets are decorated with bright streamers and pom-poms and local artisans will invite you to their shops, galleries and kiosks to look at their handiwork. Take note of the popular crafts of the indigenous Huichol people—brightly colored and intricately decorated yarn paintings and bead work. Even the cemetery in Sayulita is quaint, colorful and charming and its situated right on the beach, Playa de los Muertos.
Eat Fish Tacos
If Sayulita is most famous for its surfing, it’s only slightly less known for the fish tacos. Each establishment puts its own special twist on tacos, but they all have one thing in common: they are muy delicioso. You can enjoy fish tacos at almost any Sayulita restaurant, but The Real Fish Taco restaurant is where you won’t want to miss. Pair your tacos with a margarita, enjoy the ocean breeze and watch the colorful world of Sayulita unfold before you.
Try a Paleta
When you’ve had your fill of sunshine and surf, try a colorful paleta (popsicle) at Wakika Heladeria Sayulita. They are all made with purified water and fresh fruit and come in dozens of unique flavors like passion fruit, tamarindo and horchata. There is no official list of flavors, so listen carefully when they are being rattled off. They come in two basic types—ice-based fruit popsicles and creamy milk-based ones. Paletas are inexpensive and refreshing, so stop by at least once a day!
Reconnect with Yoga
Sayulita’s blasé vibe and natural beauty make it the perfect place to unplug and reconnect with yourself and nature. Calm your mind with a yoga retreat tucked away in the jungles of Mexico. Haramara Retreat delivers peace and serenity with panoramic views of both ocean and mountains from their entirely hand-built yoga shalas. Or, if you’d rather take classes here and there instead of a retreat, Paraiso Yoga offers both private and group instruction in a tropical garden setting.
Visit the Hidden Beach
Hop on a boat and head just a few miles south of the Punta de Mita peninsula to see the famed Islas Marietas. These protected islands are completely uninhabited and bursting with life—it’s not unusual to see dolphins, rays, sea turtles and even humpback whales! Playa Escondida—the famous hidden beach—is one of the most visited places on the islands and offers a wide, sandy cavern connected to the Pacific. Snorkeling, scuba diving, kayaking and paddleboarding are popular, but plenty of people enjoy the beach’s beauty from the sand. Be sure to book ahead of time and go as early as possible to beat the crowds.