Surf up in Sayulita – Surfer’s paradise in Mexico

Sayulita Surfing

Mexico vacations should not be defined by stereotypical wild spring breaks in Cancún. If you are looking for a quiet and more authentic taste of Mexico, the town of Sayulita is just off the beaten path near the traditional tourist destination of Puerto Vallarta. There have been pre-Columbian inhabitants in the area for centuries. However, it was made popular by roving surfers and modern tourists during the late 1960’s. Today, it is a prosperous and growing town of approximately 5,000 residents and has maintained a quaint sense of itself.  

This identity has established the village as a unique getaway that gives vacationers a much different flavor of Mexico. While it is best known for some of the most amazing surfing in the world, this town also has beaches, festivals, a lively downtown, and everything from horseback riding, bird watching, canopy tours, jungle biking, and whale watching.

Sayulita is a great destination for surfing enthusiasts for many reasons. Firstly, it has a consistent and amazing surf break that offers waves for all kinds of surfers. You can find long and gentle waves if you are a beginner, or you can opt for fast and hollow waves if you have experience and want a challenging ride. The waves are mostly right-handers, but there are some left-handers, too. Furthermore, they are also suitable for different types of boards, such as shortboards, longboards, and stand-up paddleboards. Secondly, Sayulita has almost perfect weather and water conditions all year round. Because of the hot tropical climate, surfing is possible whenever your heart desires a ride.

The average temperature in Sayulita is around 28°C (82°F), while the water temperature is around 25°C (77°F)

Worth mentioning is that Sayulita has a strong surfing culture and community that welcomes and supports surfers of all backgrounds and abilities. Therefore, when you come to the town, you can feel the surfing spirit and passion all around you. You will see surfboards everywhere, surf shops and schools, surf art and music, surf events and competitions, and surfers of all ages and genders. You can also meet and mingle with other surfers, both locals, and foreigners, and share your surfing stories and tips.

Sunset in Sayulita

If you don’t know how to surf or want to improve your surfing skills, Sayulita has you covered. You can find many surfing schools and instructors that offer lessons for all levels and ages. Choose from group or private lessons, and from one-hour or multi-day packages, whatever suits you best. If you don’t have your equipment, you can easily rent it. There are various surfing equipment for rent, such as boards wetsuits, rash guards, and more. The easiest way to rent your equipment is to visit some of the many surfing shops and stalls along the beach or in the town center.

Sayulita is the perfect place for surfers of all levels and styles. Whether you are a beginner or a pro, a longboarder or a shortboarder, you will find a wave that suits your needs and preferences. Surfing is an integral part of Sayulita and is considered by many to be the lifeblood of the town. Through a sea of umbrellas, beers, margaritas, restaurants, bars, and of course a crowd of surfers, the spirit of Sayulita flows through all the excitement and energy on its beaches. Here are some of the main surf spots in Sayulita that you should check out:

This is the main beach in the town, where you can find the most accessible and popular surf spots. It is a lovely sandy beach that produces both left and right waves, depending on the swell direction and the sandbar formation. The waves are usually small to medium in size, ranging from 1 to 5 feet, and are ideal for beginners and intermediate surfers.

Playa Sayulita

The best season to surf here is from November to April, when the water is calm and clear. The best tide to surf here is mid to high tide, when the waves are more consistent and less choppy. The best wind direction to surf here is from the east, which is offshore and creates smooth and clean waves. The best swell direction to surf here is from the west or the southwest, which brings more power and size to the waves.

Did you know?

Some beaches in Sayulita are hidden and accessible only by hiking through the jungle or by boat.

This is a secluded beach located near a cemetery, about a 15-minute walk south of Playa Sayulita. It is a reef break that produces a fast and hollow left wave, that breaks over a rocky bottom. The wave is usually bigger and more challenging than Playa Sayulita, ranging from 3 to 8 feet, and is suitable only for advanced surfers. The best season to surf here is from May to October when the water is warmer and the swell is stronger.

Playa los Muertos

The best tide to surf here is low to mid tide, when the wave is more hollow and barreling. The wind direction is usually from the east or the northeast, which is offshore and creates perfect tubes. The best swell direction to surf here is from the south or the southwest, which brings more angle and shape to the wave.

Punta Sayulita is a point break located at the southern tip of the town, about a 20-minute paddle or a 10-minute boat ride from Playa Sayulita. There are long and smooth left waves, that break over a coral bottom. The waves are usually medium to large in size, ranging from 4 to 10 feet, so they are ideal for longboarders and intermediate to advanced surfers. The best time for surfing here is from May to October when the water is warmer and the swell is stronger.

The best tide to surf here is mid to high tide, when the wave is more mellow and peeling. The wind direction here is from the east or the northeast, which is offshore and creates glassy and smooth waves. The best swell direction to surf here is from the south or the southwest, which brings more length and curve to the wave.

If surfing isn’t really your thing, you can always catch a tour, snorkel, bodysurf, or even try your hand at boogie boarding. Don’t worry, there is nothing wrong with sitting by the beach and simply drinking it all in. Wonder what else you can do? Well, here are a few other fun activities in Sayulita:

Yes, even quaint little fishing towns have a downtown area. Sayulita consists of a few colorful square blocks at the center of town. Despite its size, this small area is all you need to fill the entire day. Full of restaurants offering dollar tacos, artwork ranging from crudely hip to coolly chick, and jewels, clothes, music, skaters, and interesting people all around you, the magic of the town’s central plaza creates a unique stage for discovery.

Sayulita town center
Image source: Flickr

You could witness anything from dancing horses and hip hop to drifting firefly displays and Huichol art. The downtown is an engaging area of wonder perfectly designed for people-watching, buying cakes, catching a ball game, or wandering through the streets of the town. The downtown area of Sayulita may not be Mexico City, but it still packs quite the punch.

While the local flair of Sayulita is potent all year round, Festival Sayulita is an annual event that has become one of the most memorable times of the year for the town. This festival has quickly become a top destination for filmmakers, brewers, and other trades to showcase their work and share their craft.

Festival Sayulita screens over 60 films from all over the world and pairs with Mexico wineries, distilleries, and breweries to create incredibly memorable dinners. Along with spectacularly unique music and other yearly surprises, Festival Sayulita is truly a celebration of the town, Mexico, and the world.