Long, forgiving, tropical and laid back is how I’d describe the Sayulita surf scene. Add excellent nightlife and a healthy digital nomad scene; you have a recipe for an outstanding surf destination.
Despite Sayulita’s reputation as one of the best longboarding waves in the world and its massive increase in popularity, it’s far from spoiled. A place to immerse yourself in Mexico while also having the creature comforts of home. If you’re having difficulty choosing between Mexico’s best surf spots, here’s everything you need to know about surfing in Sayulita.
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How to get to Sayulita?
Sayulita is a 1 hour drive from Puerto Vallarta. You can hire a car and make the drive or catch a local bus from the airport. Some local “chicken” buses will only drop you at the edge of Sayulita, where you’ll need to jump in a taxi. ($2-3). Check out the buses between Puerto Vallarta and Sayulita here.
Best Time to Surf in Sayulita?
Sayulita has waves all year round, but during winter (April-October), it receives the largest swells, making the waves light up. However, Sayulita lacks the juice typically associated with Mexico. This is because swells are blocked and diluted by a large peninsular before they reach the Sayulita breaks. Waves generally are 1-2ft offshore in the morning, with a light onshore breeze in the afternoon.
Sayulita Pros & Cons
Best Surf Spots in Sayulita
There are several excellent surf spots in and around Sayulita, all offering a different experience. The majority of the waves are forgiving and user-friendly, meaning if you’re after a happy, relaxed vibe in the water, Sayulita is for you.
La Lancha is a beautiful beach south of Sayulita. The white sands and palm trees create the quintessential Mexican surf environment and the perfect place to improve your surfing. Many surf schools take their students to La Lancha, but even as an advanced surfer, the place produces fun wedges on bigger swells.
Sayulita Right & Left
This is the main wave in town and the centre of surfing in Sayulita. You’ll see hundreds of longboarders and mal-totting hippies take to the waves; it’s chaotic. The peak is a reef break, with the right-most prominent. The ride is mellow and rolls into the beach before closing out on the shore—a perfect wave for longboarders and learners looking to progress from whitewater. (Oh, and get good at avoiding oncoming longboards and foamies)!
To the left of the reef (looking out to sea) is the sand bar, where most beginner surf lessons happen in Sayulita. It’s a fantastic place to play in the shore break after a cerveza or two or surf the whitewater. On the opposite side of the reef is a long peeling left, which only comes to life on the biggest swells. The wave is shallow but super long; a longboarder’s dream!
The next town north of Sayulita is San Pancho, a part reef, part beach break. There are multiple peaks across the beach, but unfortunately, it’s prone to closeouts, which is a shame, because the town is wicked, and the beach is stunning. (Proper tropical Mexican beach paradise vibes). It breaks quickly, offering both lefts and rights and is popular among advanced surfers.
Sayulita Surf Spot Map
Here’s an overview of the different surf spots in Sayulita.
Where to Stay?
Because Sayulita has grown into a lively, bustling surf town, it attracts happy-go-lucky surfers and backpackers from across the globe. Much like other destinations of this nature, there are hundreds of accommodation options, no matter what your bank balance. Check out the best hostels below.
Vaijero hostel is a wicked hostel with a cool vibe in Sayulita, A multi-storey complex with private rooms and shared dorms, complete with a pool, top deck bar and restaurant.
The chain of hostels is prominent across Latin America, and the Sayulita Selina is no different. If you’re living the surfing digital nomad lifestyle and want a reliable place to stay with great wifi, co-working and others looking to surf and work online, look no further.
Where to Eat?
Across town, you can sample any type of food you could ever want, from trendy vegan establishments to epic juice bars and takeaway joints, all cuisines for all budgets.
Tips for Surfing in Sayulita
In town, your own two feet will do just fine. Everything is close together, and you easily walk between most accommodations, restaurants and the main beach. However, if you’re looking to explore the surrounding coastline and surf spots, you’ll need a moped or opt for the local buses. (There’s a bus station in town, see below).
The local surfers are super mellow and friendly here, much friendlier than anywhere else I’ve experienced in Mexico. As one of the world’s best beginner surf destinations, the laid-back, welcoming vibe is reassuring compared to other spots, which can feel hostile.
Unlike Mexico’s other best surf destinations, Sayulita doesn’t get swell to the same magnitude. A large peninsular blocks the brunt of the swell, and by the time swells wrap into Sayulita; they are mushy, mellow and super forgiving.
Because of the user-friendly nature and vibe of the town, Sayulita brings the crowds. Most spots in Sayulita are super crowded with loggers and mal-riding hipsters.
What is Sayulita Town Like?
Sayulita has a unique energy to it. It’s a beautiful combination of laid-back and lively, meaning you can chill on the beaches, wander cobbled streets, sip coffees, and take to the waves while enjoying dancing and live music in the streets. As the sun sets and darkness ensues, things ramp up a notch with countless bars to rip into after hours.
Surfing Digital Nomad Life in Sayulita
Sayulita has a healthy digital nomad surf scene. There are several excellent co-working spaces in Sayulita and hundreds of digital nomads making base here.
Where to Learn Surfing in Sayulita?
You’ll stroll out onto the main beach and see how easy hiring a board or taking a lesson is. Check out the best surf schools in Sayulita here.
Non-surfing Activities in Sayulita
Sayulita beach is one of the best things to do in town. Just the vibe and nature of the place are what you come for. No matter how long you’re in town, take time to relax and sip cocktails under a beach parasol. Eating at the fantastic restaurants in town is also a must-do, whether it’s upmarket eateries or some good ol’ street food. I’d also recommend tapping into some of the numerous yoga and wellness retreats available.
Final Words on Surfing in Sayulita
Surfing in Sayulita is a refreshing break from Mexico’s other top surf destinations. Whether you need to decompress from surfing Puerto Escondido or are sick of the aggressive crowds at Barra De La Cruz, Sayulita is laid back and puts the enjoyment and peace back into surfing.
With mellow waves, a wicked bibe, and everything you need in town, Sayulita is one of Mexico’s best surf spots, especially if you ride a log or mal. For more info regarding the surf in Sayulita, don’t hesitate to reach out.