Surf’s Up in Sayulita

Surf’s Up in Sayulita

The authentic charm of a small surfing village awaits just outside Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

Mexico vacations should not be defined by stereotypical spring breaks in Cancún. If you’re looking for a quiet and more authentic taste of Mexico, the village 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 late 1960’s. Today, it is a prosperous and growing village 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’s best known for some of the most amazing surfing in the world, this village also has beaches, festivals, a lively downtown, and everything from horseback riding, bird watching, canopy tours, jungle biking and whale watching.


Yes, even quaint little fishing villages have a downtown area. Sayulita’s 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 villages’ central plaza creates a unique stage for discovery.  You could witness anything from dancing horses and hip hop, to drifting firefly displays and Huichol art.

“It’s a super relaxed atmosphere. Cobblestone streets, cool boutiques, open air cafes, and it feels like all roads lead to the beach,” says Kevin Marsh, senior manager at Funjet Vacations.

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 village. The downtown area of Sayulita may not be Mexico City, but it still packs quite the punch.


Photo: apasciuto/Flickr/CC


Surfing is an integral part of Sayulita and is considered by many to be the lifeblood of the village.  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 of Sayulita Beach.

“The beach has a diversity of people and things to do,” says Lindsey Plencner, destination strategy manager at Funjet Vacations. “You can be active or just sit there with a bucket of beer and do nothing. They cater to all of that.”

Visitors can learn to surf at any one of the beachfront schools, while experts can ride some of the most advanced and amazing waves there are. 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; if you prefer, there’s nothing wrong with sitting by the beach and simply drinking it all in.


While the local flair of Sayulita is potent all year round, Festival Sayulita (January 30-February 3, 2019) is an annual event that has become one of the most memorable times of the year for the village. 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 unique music and other yearly surprises, Festival Sayulita is truly a celebration of the village, Mexico and the world.

David Thimmesch

David Thimmesch is a Contributing Writer for Here & Beyond. He prides himself as a jack of all trades who is passionate about learning and experiencing a little bit of everything life has to offer. His desire to explore and understand has guided him to camping on the beaches of Florida, biking through the streets of downtown Chicago, rock climbing off the cliffs of Colorado, and wandering through the walkways of old Philadelphia. Born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, he honed his skills in advertising and copywriting at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and the Chicago Portfolio School.