6 Reasons Sayulita, Mexico Makes A Great Family Vacation

There’s something about a family vacation in Mexico. Maybe it’s the sun, surf and perfect weather (27 celsius most days), or maybe it’s the fact that after 2 – 3 hours on a plane, you can be eating carne asada tacos and sipping local tequila.  Most people have heard of the hotspots Puerto Vallarta, Cancun, Los Cabos etc., but there are many smaller towns, like Sayulita on the West Coast of Mexico, to escape the crowds and the commercialism. Sayulita is a fantastic place for a family vacation.

For Spring Break, we headed to the gorgeous village of Sayulita.  Sayulita is a small surf  town and is about 45 minutes north of Nuevo Vallarta (or an hour north of Puerto Vallarta) on the other side of the Punta Mita peninsula.  The only way to reach Sayulita is by a local bus or car and there are approximately 2500 full-time residents.

Whether you are a surfer or not, Sayulita offers the perfect location for adventure, relaxation, sun, culture and time to find your center.  And the kids can have a great time on the beach while you’re finding that center. Here are our favorite things to do in Sayulita.

Hit the Surf

There are lots of places to surf along the Riviera Nayarit’s coast, however Sayulita is known for having the best waves to learn how to surf. It’s a protected bay, and the waves roll in rather than crash.

Sayulita, Mexico surfing is all longboard all the time
Rent a surfboard right on the beach

They’re not pumping for the advanced surfer, but if you take a short drive you can find great waves at Burros or 20 minutes away at San Pancho.

Stay in an Authentic Sayulita Hotel

When we travel we love to stay in a place with a local vibe, so we chose to stay in Hotel Sayulita Central.

Hotel Centro, Sayulita mexico
This hotel is a block from the beach and a block from the town square and was the perfect base for us to explore.  This hotel is beautiful, and the views are stunning. From the minute Eduardo greeted us at the front desk and showed us our rooms, we realized we were in the right place.

Everything is very clean and tidy, and the decor is colorful and vibrant.  Each room is decorated with a different rock and roll theme.  The boys stayed in the Queen room and Hot Hubby and I stayed in the Led Zepplin penthouse suite.

This suite is on its own level, and has the best view in the whole hotel… if not all of central Sayulita. The comfy bed faces the Pacific Ocean, and there’s a private terrace with a hammock where we spent hours enjoying the ocean breeze.

The boys were spoiled with the (included) breakfast made to order by Maricela every morning.  She cooked fresh whatever they were in the mood for… pancakes one day, huevos rancheros the next, or eggs any style.

We loved it and it was the perfect place to relax.Enjoy the Sunsets

Enjoy Sayulita Sunsets

It’s hard not to enjoy the sunsets every night when you are on the coast.

sayulita mexico sunset
They did not disappoint, and our nightly ritual was to enjoy the sunset with tequila and chips and salsa of course!

Relax on Sayulita’s Beaches

The central Sayulita beach was a block from our hotel, but does get more crowded than we’d prefer.  Eduardo pointed us to the perfect spot, Playa De Los Muertos (Beach of the Dead).

sayulita mexico, beach of the dead
It was literally a 10-minute walk from our hotel, and we followed a path leading past the cemetery to this quiet beach.  It think this is Sayulita-adjacent. We were able to take beach towels from the hotel and we spent a lovely, peaceful, and quiet afternoon, watching the waves crash on the giant rocks while drinking ice-cold Pacificos.

sayulita secluded beach

Enjoy the Vibrant Town of Sayulita

Walking through Sayulita makes you feel like you are walking in a folk-art painting.
sayulita mexico wall murals
sayulita mexico outdoor market
It’s so colorful, there’s live music pumping, and the streets are filled with local artists selling their colorful pieces.

It’s not unusual to see a group of mariachi’s singing for the tourists.
sayulita mexico mariachis

Buying Local Sayulita Artwork

The art scene in Sayulita is thriving. There is a huge variety of handmade goods to choose from.

We visited every art store, and admired the hand beaded pieces, the colorful pom-poms, the local handcrafted Mexican art,  handmade jewelry, and local surf gear.

sayulita mexico shopping
Sebastian was pretty done with shopping at this point! 😉

Eat Local, Fresh, Authentic Mexican Food

My family disagrees about a lot, but the one thing we all agree on is if we had to choose only one type of food to eat for the rest of our lives, it would be Mexican food. We love it in California, and love it even more in Mexico.

There are just so many versions of great Mexican food.  Steak, chicken, shrimp, fish, rice, beans, guacamole…. the list is endless.
Some fresh crab in Sayulita
Our FAVORITE restaurant in Sayulita by far was Mary’s. We instantly fell in love with the staff, the wooden sidewalk lunch counter, and the tacos de camarones!  Best Mexican food we’ve ever had and we are all still dreaming of the fresh shrimp enchiladas and quesadillas.

Mary's restaurant in Sayulita

Some restaurants have and amazing ocean view
Some restaurants have and amazing ocean view

Sayulita has everything you could ever want in a relaxing beach vacation, so hurry to visit before the word gets out….

As an aside – it’s always a bonus when you get to meet up with great friends on vacation! Sayulita is easy to get to so if your friends are staying in Puerto Vallarta, Nueva Vallarta or Punta Mita, it’s a great place to meet up for a meal or to have a mellow beach day with rolling waves.

Sayulita with Kids: Hidden Gems and Insider Secrets

Transportation Tips for Getting to Sayulita

Getting to Sayulita from the PVR airport is quite straightforward. If you’re opting for a car rental, there are several name-brand companies right at the Puerto Vallarta airport. I recommend booking in advance to secure the best rates and ensure availability, especially during peak travel seasons. For those considering the bus, you can catch it directly outside the airport. Look for buses labeled “Sayulita” and be prepared for a scenic, albeit slightly longer, trip compared to driving. The bus fare is very affordable, making it a great option for budget travelers. Regardless of your choice, the journey offers beautiful views and a glimpse of the local landscape.

Hotel Sayulita Central – Booking Advice

Booking a stay at Hotel Sayulita Central can be the highlight of your trip, thanks to its unique ambiance and excellent location. To secure a room, especially the coveted Led Zeppelin penthouse suite, I recommend booking several months in advance. You can book directly through their website or call them for a more personalized service. They occasionally offer deals during the off-peak season, so keep an eye out for those. The best times to visit are between November and April to avoid the rainy season, but this also means it’s the peak season, so early booking is crucial. Don’t hesitate to ask for the room with the best view when booking; the staff are incredibly accommodating and will do their best to fulfill your request.

Activities Kids of All Ages

Sayulita is a treasure trove of activities suitable for kids of all ages. For families with young children, besides the beach, I recommend the turtle release programs that are often available depending on the season. It can be an unforgettable experience. Teenagers might enjoy surf lessons or stand-up paddleboarding, which are available and cater to all skill levels. For a family adventure, consider a guided jungle hike or a visit to the nearby Marietas Islands for snorkeling and exploring hidden beaches. Many local tour operators offer family-friendly options that cater to different interests and ages, ensuring everyone has a great experience. And don’t forget to check out the local outdoor market for a hands-on craft workshop where kids and adults alike can learn more about Mexican culture through art.

Have you been to Sayulita? Let me know in the comments below!

{Disclosure: This post is sponsored, however all opinions and views are 100% my own.}

About The Author

Samantha

I’m a travel and health writer, digital brand consultant, breast cancer survivor, and supermom to two boys! I keep it real and share stories of raising an active family, life after a cancer diagnosis, and family travels around the world! Each story is shared with my dry, and sometimes naughty sense of humor.

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