Things to do in Sayulita plus how you can support the local community
Dear Martha, thanks for your message!
Now I have more topics to write about. I’ve been really thinking what to write about Sayulita lately so thank you for reaching out! Yes, I do live here at the moment so if you ever come by, I would love to hang out!
Please let me know when you arrive by sending me a DM on Instagram so I can show you around. For now, here are my top things to do in Sayulita. I update them every once in a while whenever I discover something new. Have a great trip and I hope to meet you!
Is Sayulita open?
Mexico is currently accepting tourists from all over the world. Right now, February 25, 2021, there are lots of Americans currently in Sayulita – probably hanging out as digital nomads and living here for a longer period of time. We’re not like Tulum levels though – we do not have that many tourists so you can still enjoy the beaches and the town with fewer people. For more information about Sayulita COVID, read my post here.
#1: Watch the sunset at Carricitos Beach
Carricitos is my favourite beach in Sayulita and I come here every day with my dog, Lola. It’s quite a hike to get there – if you are walking from the center of Sayulita town, it can take you 20-30 minutes depending on your speed. The walk is a canopy forest where you can see hundreds of fireflies during its season (August-September).
Swimming in Carricitos is possible but waves can get really aggressive, most days, out of nowhere. This beach is not necessarily for good swimmers. There are days when the tide is low and everyone can enjoy a dip. However, be mindful of certain conditions. I had a bad experience here when one person I know almost drowned but don’t let this discourage you. Sitting by the beach and bringing beers is your thing if you don’t want to swim.
#2: Take surfing lessons
Surfing is one of the best things to do in Sayulita. In fact, some people come to town only for surfing! When I came here in May, it was the best time to learn as the waves are really low and is perfect for beginners. Most of my friends who tried it the first time were able to ride right away. These waves are really friendly! There are many surf schools in Sayulita but they are pretty expensive. It can cost up to $35 USD per hour.
In my case, I took surf lessons with a young Mexican guy who works at the beach. He’s not a teacher but he is very good at it so I casually asked him if he can teach me some longboard techniques. Just for fun, he agreed without even asking me for a fee! Of course, I still paid him at a minimum amount but if you don’t want to pay for expensive surf lessons in Sayulita and still want to learn with a teacher, make friends with the locals at the beach.
#3: Private breakfast in a local's home
During the pandemic, many businesses in Sayulita lost their jobs which pushed them to re-invent the food scene in Sayulita. Sayulita has a big eating out culture and when all the restaurants closed, many people longed for those days where they can sit in a restaurant and enjoy a meal.
My friend Macarena, who is a chef from Argentina is one of those people who opened her home to tourists by providing private breakfast. This experience is not only about food but Macarena also shares some insider tips about the beauty of living in Sayulita. You will get a full-service breakfast at a local’s home – it’s the best way to get to know the Sayulita lifestyle. You can also gain friends along the way with this experience! Best of all, if you want to practice your Spanish, this is one of the best activities!
#4: Drink hand-crafted beers at Yambak
I am not a beer fan but Yambak is brewing their own beer so when I am not sipping wine at home, I am drowning myself with IPA beers at Yambak! There are many beers to choose from and every quarter, they never fail to reinvent their menu. Just last month, they launched a double IPA and gave it for free to everyone for one hour!
Aside from being the best beer brewery in town, Yambak is also famous for its live music. They bring DJs from all over Mexico every weekend – it’s definitely a party place! The best thing I love about Yambak is you can come here any time – whether you’re in the mood for day drinking or partying at night, this is the place. You can’t miss it – it’s next to the plaza and is always full of people!
Address: Calle Marlín 29, Centro, 63734 Sayulita, Nay. [directions to Yambak]
#5: Day trip to Monkey Mountain
Monkey Mountain is not in Sayulita but it is very close. To get to the trail, it’s about 15-25 minute drive from Sayulita. If you don’t have a car, you can sign up for tours in Sayulita town center – almost everyone offers this tour! A breathtaking view awaits if you finish this hike as you can see most of the Bahia de Banderas at the top. This hike is for everyone but it is highly encouraged to wear proper shoes as it can get really slippery during the rainy season. The trail is closed every summer especially when there are heavy rains.
Please do not go with anyone who will say they can take you to Monkey Mountain. Unfortunately, a lot of people in Sayulita have not certified Monkey Mountain tour guides. Even if they say they know the place, please be careful and only go with those who are trusted by locals.
#6: Don Pato nightly themed parties
I remember being at Don Pato every day during my first month in Sayulita. This is where everyone ends up at night because something is happening nightly! If you are out of options and looking for something to do after midnight, Don Pato is your place!
- Mondays (Salsa night)
- Tuesdays (Open mic night)
- Wednesdays and Fridays (Rock night)
- Thursdays (Funk night)
- Saturdays (cumbia)
My very good friend David is a bartender at Pato’s. If you’re coming alone, sit at the bar and look for him. He will definitely give you a good time! You can’t miss David because he has a big personality. He also has a tequila tasting independent business which I will share with you later in this post.
Address: Calle Marlín 12, 63734 Sayulita, Nay. [directions to Bar Don Pato]
#7: Take yoga classes
Sayulita is a yoga paradise. Many yoga practitioners come here not just because it’s a great place to teach yoga but it’s also a big industry here! We have many yoga teachers from all parts of the globe who fell in love with Sayulita and decided to stay here.
While most teachers are foreigners, there are also lots of Latinos who do their yoga classes in Spanish. This is another way to practice your Spanish while you are in Mexico. The words used in yoga are very simple and I always tell my American friends to take their lessons in Spanish!
#8: Camp at Mal Paso Beach
Accommodations in Sayulita are really expensive so camping is a popular option. One of the beaches that people frequent for camping is Mal Paso Beach, about a 30-40 min walk from the Sayulita main beach. It’s peaceful and beautiful – you’ll definitely enjoy it especially during the bioluminescence season! If you plan to do this (for real), make sure you bring food because there’s literally nothing there – no tent rentals, no porters, no food stalls – just nature and the sea that you can enjoy by yourself.
SEE ALSO: IS SAYULITA SAFE FOR SOLO TRAVELERS?
There have been a few reports of theft on the trail but nothing really heavy. Just make sure that you don’t go there very late or if you want to spend the night there, bring some locals or be with a group of friends.
#9: Cooking classes with Daniel
Daniel is a local chef and one of the original families in Sayulita. I’ve worked with Daniel a lot and I know how good he is in the kitchen. He can definitely come to your accommodations to do the cooking class for your group.
In this Sayulita cooking class, you will learn how to make some of the most popular dishes from Mexico like chile relleno, enchiladas, and frijoles fritos. Daniel is a certified chef but decided to go on his own path instead of working for restaurants. This experience is highly recommended!
#10: Take a picture at the famous selfie street
Right next to the plaza is the famous selfie street and is on top of the list of the best things to do in Sayulita. People who visit town always take a picture here as it is iconic to Sayulita (and all the pueblos magicos of Mexico). Don’t miss the spot as the photos always look so good here!
#11: Spend an afternoon at Los Muertos Beach
Next to the Sayulita main beach, Los Muertos Beach is a favorite. People always come here to spend a whole afternoon drinking micheladas and lounging by the beach. Sayulita is a very family-friendly town so you will see a lot of kids on this beach especially at the weekend. There are food and drinks vendors here so don’t worry about getting hungry.
At the beginning of the pandemic, a hotel wanted to privatize this beach. The community of Sayulita rallied for 2 weeks for this project to shut down and luckily, we still have Muertos to enjoy today! If you want to know more about what happened to this case, you can watch this video. It’s in Spanish but English subtitles are available.
#12: Stay in my Airbnb! *WINK*
Come in. You’re invited. I used to host in my private home but since COVID started, I have to be a bit mindful so I just made my other house a Digital Nomad accommodation in Sayulita where I installed a 100 MBPS fiber optic wifi. I am currently building an office space within the property. It’s always a shame that digital nomads leave Sayulita because of our poor Internet connection.
This can house 3 people but I think 2 is very comfortable. It has a courtyard, airconditioning, and a private space for parking. If you saw my Airbnbs through this blog post, please let me know via Instagram DM so I can give you a discount! Looking forward to meeting you! If you’re not a digital nomad and Internet is not important during your vacation here, you can check my Sayulita Airbnb guide where I discussed the areas, prices, and my favorite stays in town!
#13: Private tequila tasting with Taste of Sayulita
David is my bartender friend who I was talking about in things to do in Sayulita #6. He works at Don Pato but in his free time, he also offers private tequila tasting and bartending! Basically, if you are having a private party at your Airbnb, David is definitely the guy to hire. He has years of experience in bartending and his services are affordable.
View this post on Instagram
I recently participated in a tasting myself as I am helping him build his brand. I like supporting locals and David has been my friend for a long time so I am assisting him in his social media game.
#14: Try Naty's vegetarian tacos
Naty’s is different because they serve the best vegetarian tacos in town! In fact, I think they are the only one. Squash, carrot, rajas poblanas – their tasty vegetarian tacos menu will give you an interesting experience as the tacos we know is always with meat.
RELATED: SAYULITA VEGETARIAN FOOD GUIDE
Don’t worry, meat lovers, they have beef, chicken, and pork tacos, too! I must warn you that Naty’s has a long line during lunch time as they close at 3:00 pm. They even run out of vegetarian tacos before closing time so be mindful of the hours!
#15: Sunset and beers at Camaron
Camaron is located at the Sayulita main beach where everyone goes for sunset. Order a beer (around $1.50 USD) and enjoy their beach bar setting while watching the sunset. Camaron’s bar design (pictured above) is super pretty so make sure to take your pics, too!
#16: Day trip to Islas Marietas
Islas Marietas is not exactly in Sayulita but there are a lot of tour companies that offer day trips to the famous Mexican islands. Tours normally cost $100 USD but I did this tour myself. I went hitchhiking to Punta Mita from Sayulita which I found very easy because a lot of cars always travel this route. From there, I was able to get a tour for $25 USD but this doesn’t include entering the secret beach.
In 2004, the Marietas Islands were designated as a world heritage site. My former landlord is a fisherman and I help him promote tours to the Islas Marietas. If you want to support a local tour, get in touch with me and I will connect you to him! He’s really amazing and speaks good English. I am totally vouching for his Marietas tours!
#17: Check out Sayulita Insider
Sayulita Insider is a travel blog about Sayulita that focuses on local content. This project came to life to show introduce you to local businesses in town, in the hopes that you’ll help us support them. What are these local businesses?
The señora who sells tacos by the parking lot in Avenida Revolucion. A young family who traveled with their food truck from Puebla to Sayulita. A lawyer who left Mexico City and sell chilaquiles in Sayulita. These are the types of stories you will see here! You can also send a direct message on Instagram, @sayulitainsider if you have any questions. They answer fast!
#18: Try over 50 mezcal types in Cava
A small mezcaleria in Sayulita, Cava has over 50+ types of Mezcal to choose from, hailing from different parts of Mexico like Puebla and Oaxaca. My personal favourite here is the Marta e Ines, a mezcal base drink made by Miguel, the best bartender in town who also happens to be a friend. The watermelon mezcal is interesting, too. Cava is kind of a pre-game chill night kind of place so make sure to come before they close at 12:00 midnight.
#19: Learn salsa at Don Pedro's
For most of the world, Monday is a hectic day for work but for Sayulita, it’s salsa night! A lot of bars and clubs do salsa themed Mondays but in Don Pedro’s, there’s an actual salsa lesson! Dance to the tunes of the live salsa band that plays all night! You don’t have to be good to do this activity – just go and enjoy the music!
#20: Sports TV and a big mug of michelada at Aaleyah's
Get a huge-ass michelada at Aaleyah’s for only 65 MXN ($3.29 USD). Whenever someone asks me where to get michelada in town, I always recommend Aaleyah’s not only because of the generous drink size but also the way they do it. Aaleyah is an institution in Sayulita and you will find more locals hanging out here than tourists. Aside from cheap drinks, they also serve good Mexican food like enchiladas, avocado and chips, tacos, and many more! Think of all the Mexican food that you want to try – they are all served at Aaleyah’s! The ambiance in this restaurant is also super Mexican so expect a traditional experience.
#21: Go to La Lancha Beach
La Lancha is about 20 minutes away from Sayulita (by car) and is a surfing spot. When the surf beaches of Sayulita are full, this is where everyone go. The surfing here is a little more advanced than Sayulita main beach so if you are a pro, this can be your spot. Non-surfers can also enjoy this beach. Lay your beach towel, bring beers, food, and enjoy a good sunset.
#22: Tacos, tacos, tacos
Finally, some meat tacos in this things to do in Sayulita list! Personally, I think taco stands in Mexico is a default. They don’t need to be in listicles like this because they are everywhere! In Sayulita, there are over 6 popular taco joints and they are all the best. In fact, I am living next to two of those 6 taco joints – it’s literally right next to my house! Taco prices in Sayulita are a bit more expensive than major cities like Guadalajara and Mexico City so don’t be surprised – they’re worth it!
#23: Drinks and live band at Atico
It won’t be difficult to spot Atico because their seats are placed on the street. Aside from that, Atico’s facade is a uniquely-designed bar of rustic wood. There’s also a bar chair that’s a swing (I tried it myself, it wasn’t comfortable especially when you’re drunk). Atico’s sophistication will make you feel it’s not budget-friendly but try sitting down and watching their live bands – there is a chill vibe Atico emanates that will make you want to stay all night.
#24: Hangover fix at Orangy
Of course, vegans, there is also an option for you in this ‘things to do in Sayulita’ article. Orangy is probably my daily habit because of their filling and healthy smoothies! This place is frequented by people with hangovers who are first-timers to the Sayulita nightlife scene. They have a wide selection of smoothies, vegan bowls, and healthy shots that will definitely cure whatever you are feeling. Orangy is my go-to place whenever I am juicing – I can spend a whole day having three “meals” here!
#25: Jungle trek to Patzcuarito Beach
Playa Patzcuarito is not very popular to tourists as there’s literally nothing there but a spectacular sunset. I always go here during the full moon as I can always enjoy the beach by myself (and my dogs). Like Los Muertos and La Lancha, you can come spend the whole afternoon here and watch the sunset. Make sure to bring beers and snacks!
#26: Get a cacao smoothie at Mexicolate
I just discovered this last month and I’ve frequented it since. This tasty cacao smoothie is mixed with either platano (plantain) or strawberries. A big jar of cacao smoothie costs $3.50 USD but you can ask them to split it to two jars – it really is for sharing! Aside from this golden treat, they also have wellness products made from cacao like lip balm and body lotion.
#27: Drown in pizza options
There are over 5 pizza places in Sayulita, mostly dominated by the Italian expat community. My favorite is Pizza Venezia, followed by La Rustica, and then Toscana. My friend Paolo (from Italy) also operates a brick-oven pizza joint at Jack’s Place – a lot of people argue that this is the best in town. You can also call for pizza at your hotel/accommodations – Pizza Ron is the most efficient in terms of delivery. All these places also serve pasta and salads.
#28: Rent a golf cart and go around town
Golf cart’s a thing in Sayulita and is probably the main mode of transport. There is no public transport here (aside from taxi) so most people walk from point A to B. However, if you only have a few days in town, rent a golf cart for a day and get to know the town! Please note that these golf carts can’t travel outside Sayulita (i.e. La Lancha or Punta de Mita). It is solely for going around town and short distance drives. There are many golf cart rental companies in Sayulita and I don’t want to recommend anything yet as I have not found “the best.” But I’ll let you know what’s the best gold cart rental place in Sayulita soon! I just need to investigate more.
#29: Day trip to San Pancho
San Pancho is like Sayulita but a little more chill. It is 15 minutes away from Sayulita and the bus departs every 10 minutes from the Sayulita bus station. Fare costs $14 MXN ($0.70 USD). San Pancho has cool restaurants and a great beach for surfing. It is clean, quiet, and often empty so it’s a good place to lounge by the beach all day!
#30: Get a massage by the beach!
I should tell you this now but massages are expensive in Sayulita. They’re all at $600 MXN ($30 USD) per hour but they are all pretty good. Beach massages might be uncomfortable for some but massage parlors in Sayulita have set up their tents by the beach – I can assure you it’s comforotable and relaxing. I can recommend a massage parlor by the beach that does deep tissue massage – just get in touch with me and I’ll connect you to them with a special price!
31: Everything for 20 pesos at Cerveceria Chapultepec
With branches in every major Mexican city, Cerveceria Chapultepec is no stranger to the Mexican culture. Burgers, fries, salads, beers – everything they serve costs 20 MXN ($1.01 USD) so your travel budget will definitely be maximized. You might think that the price seems super sketchy but don’t worry, I think that, too. Personally, I only go here for pre-drinks with friends as other bars serve beers at 30 MXN ($1.52 USD) but the same beers cost 10 MXN less at Cerveceria Chapultepec. I only had fries here so I cannot speak for their food menu. I do, however, label this place as the cheapest beer place in town.
[Updated: November 12, 2020]: Chapultepec is permanently closed in Sayulita.