Sayulita beaches.

9 TOP Beaches in Sayulita, Mexico

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I like to think I’m a pro-beach bum. After growing up in Florida and traveling to some of the world’s best beaches, I’ve become very picky. And I’m happy to report that Sayulita’s beaches definitely passed my test!

Not only are they a nice stretch of sand to lay on, but they are GORGEOUS. Some are backed by sandy rust-colored cliffsides, some offer killer surf, and others hold hidden caves.

Sayulita Town has four beaches within walking distance, but I’ve provided some other nearby beaches around Sayulita that are worth visiting too!

I lived in Sayulita for a total of nine or so months, so you can bet I’ve vetted these beaches by parking my bum on them many times.

Sayulita Beaches

Here is a quick list of the beaches in and around Sayulita:

  1. Sayulita Beach 
  2. Malpaso
  3. Los Muertos
  4. Carricitos
  5. Patzcuarito
  6. San Pancho 
  7. La Lancha 
  8. Punta Mita
  9. Marieta Islands
Map of beaches of Sayulita with pinpoints.
Click the image to view a clickable map of beaches in Sayulita.

1. Sayulita Beach (Main Beach)

It’s impossible to miss the vibrant, busy and colorful Sayulita Beach, which can be found on the Riviera Nayarit. It’s shallow with a gentle break, making it perfect for paddling and swimming.

Beach and coastline in Sayulita.
Sayulita Beach in full swing.

The surfing here is pretty incredible, with the ocean filled with surfers and bodyboarders all hoping to hit that perfect wave. Expect plenty of beginners out at sea, as surf classes and lessons are abundant. SUP surfing is also a popular watersport on Sayulita Beach.

Sunset on Sayulita beach with the tropical jungle in the background.
Sunset vibes on Sayulita’s main beach

Don’t expect to escape the crowds here, as it really is one of the most popular beaches in the area, meaning it is busy around the clock.

There can be hoards of beach loungers, which attracts A LOT of vendors asking if you need a purse, braids in your hair, or any temporary tattoos.

The beach is ideal for those who don’t want to stray far from town to soak up the sun, but if you want to get away from it all, you can head north on Sayulita Beach just for a few minutes, and the crowds dissipate pretty quickly.

Yes, it’s true, I do like long walks on the beach!

If you head here along the road and turn right once you’re on the beach, you’ll avoid having to cross the river (usually fine unless it’s recently rained) and the crowds. You’ll easily find solitude here.

Surfing on Sayulita Beach

The best thing to do is to head out for a surf before the afternoon to beat some of the crowds. Otherwise, the water is sometimes crowded with not only surfers but swimmers too.

So even when you catch a perfect wave, people splashing in the waves may be in the way. I learned really quickly getting out earlier was the best choice.

Aerial view of surfers in front of Sayulita beach.
View of surfers on Sayulita Beach.

For easy board rentals (SUP and surf), head to Sayulita Surf School. Sergio or one of the crew will go out with you for some lessons or swing by and rent a board for a few hours. They are literally on the beach, so it’s perfect, and they’ll keep an eye on your beach bag while you catch a few waves.

The great thing about Sayulita Beach is that it’s a great beach to learn to surf. I’m not a total beginner and have surfed in Morocco, Indonesia, Ecuador, and Portugal, but this spot was the first time I’ve ever felt super confident out in the water.

Me surfing on a small wave.
Me surfing. It’s a work in progress.

Sometimes waves get scary! But not so much here. In fact, the waves are sometimes too small, and you will wish for a bigger swell!

The waves are perfect for beginners and longboarders. Towards the reef, you could say it is more for intermediate skilled riders due to the lineup and reef.

But waves are very mellow no matter where you are. If you do surf the right reef break try aiming for mid to high tide.

It gets pretty shallow during low tide and there are prickly sea urchins on the reef. If you’re a beginner, then the middle of Sayulita Beach is all sandy bottom.

Watching surfers from our lounge chairs.
Watch the surfers from the comfort of your lounge chair!

There is sometimes a working left reef break on the opposite side of the river mouth. It’s a short break (when it’s working) and is great if you want to escape the crowds on the right break.

Other Things to Do on Sayulita Beach:

Without your feet leaving the sand, here’s what else you can do right on Sayulita Beach!

  • Rent a chair – You’ll see tons everywhere! Rent some chairs and umbrellas while you chill on the beach. It is usually around 300 or so pesos for the day.
  • Shop – The vendors will come to you! Braids in your hair, purses, sarongs, hammocks, jewelry, sunglasses, whatever you want, it will come to you.
  • Massages – There are tons of little beach massage huts where you can get a nice rub down. Don’t expect it to be quiet, you’ll still hear mariachi bands playing nearby.
  • Drink and Eat – There are plenty of vendors that will come to you as a few restaurants and bars are right on the beach.
  • Mariachi Bands – They will serenade you with and without consent! JK, but really, you’ll get to hear them play during your time on the beach, usually on weekends.

RELATED: Restaurants in Sayulita, Mexico – Where To Eat and Drink!

2. Malpaso Beach

If you’re looking for a slice of beachy paradise, Malpaso may just hit the spot.

This beach can be a little bit more of a challenge to get to than others on the list, as you’ll have to take a short walk through the dense jungle to reach it, but when you get there, you’ll be rewarded with a mile of stunning sand. It is usually one of the less crowded beaches as well. 

Aerial view of Malpaso Beach with sand, ocean and scrubland backing the beach.
Malpaso Beach is one of the best Sayulita beaches.

Because it’s a bit more difficult to get to, you should be able to find a picture-perfect slice of beach all to yourself, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find that on some other gorgeous Mexican beaches!

Swimming here is generally discouraged for safety reasons, but there are some shady spots to set yourself up for the day. There is nowhere to get anything to eat or drink on the beach, so your best bet is to take a picnic with you or eat when you get back to town. 

Rocky cove along Malpaso beach.
Malpaso Beach also has a rocky cove.

You’ll have this long stretch of beach to yourself, and if you’re up for exploring, be sure to check out the huge rock with a secret cave leading to another cove!

View out of Malpaso Cave to a person walking on Malpaso Beach.
Hidden cave on Malpaso Beach near Sayulita.

How to get here:

The walk is pretty easy, but you need to walk ALL the way up Sayulita Beach (north), over the rocky cove, through a forest, and down a short but steep area to get to the beach. It’s about three or so miles round trip from town. There are some detours on the trail, so make sure to stick to the coast.

Download the Maps.Me app to easily see the trail to get there. It does get slightly confusing but don’t let it stop you!

RELATED: Things To Do in Sayulita, Mexico

3. Los Muertos

Although small, Los Muertos is a beautiful inlet just to the north of the main beach. You can access it via a road that heads along the coast and then turns up a small hill and back down to the cove just behind Punta Sayulita.

When on the beach, you’ll feel like you’re tucked away from the rest of the world thanks to the vegetation and rows of palms.

Los Muertos beach from above.
Los Muertos Beach.

Because you’re hidden away in a cove, it is very protected from the winds, meaning there are little to no waves. The beach is perfect for a swim because of its quiet, protected waters.

Although less busy than the main beach, it is still quite popular, with plenty of fruit and drinks vendors out while you relax, as well as a number of other amenities and services to help make your trip to the beach a little bit more comfortable. 

Los Muertos Beach through the palm trees with a line of beach umbrellas.
Los Muertos is the beach if you are looking for a little more space while still having some amenities.

The name means ‘Beach of the Dead,’ but don’t let that put you off, as it only got its name because it is located very close to Sayulita Cemetery.

It is actually a stunning beach that is the right balance between crowded and isolated, with just enough amenities to keep you there all day. 

Renting a chair:

While you can plop your towel down for free and enjoy the day here, you can also rent an umbrella and some chairs for the day.

This is where I personally recommend you get a chair to relax! The main beach has chairs you can rent, too, but it’s a bit more crowded and wild.

Me drinking from a coconut on my beach chair and umbrella.
Sippin’ coconuts on the beach.

Here at Los Muertos, it’s a single row of umbrellas and chairs, everyone gets a straight beach view!

Chair rentals go for 300 pesos for the day and include two chairs and an umbrella. You’ll have a waiter come by and get any food and drinks you need. Grab some fresh and cold cocos, a michelada, or a seafood feast right on the beach.

How to get here:

Continue past Sayulita Beach towards the left. You’ll pass Villa Amor, the cemetery, and then you’ll see Los Muertos to your right.

 4. Carricitos (My Favorite Sayulita Beach)

Known for its soft sands and Insta-worthy sunsets night after night, Carricitos is a lovely beach a little away from the hustle and bustle of town. Fun fact, the resort from the Bachelor in Paradise is on this beach!

The Pacific Ocean is notorious for its wild nature, and that is exactly what you can expect when it comes to the sea conditions at Carricitos. Swimming can be a bit hectic here, so be careful.

Me staring down the coastline towards Monkey Mountain on Carricitos Beach.
Welcome to Carricitos Beach.

You’ll also want to bring your own umbrella or slather on that sunscreen because there isn’t much in terms of shade here. You’d have to sit back in the bushes to get some shade, the sandy areas are all pretty exposed.

There are rocky coves on either side of Carricitos for you to wander carefully if you want to as well. If you head out of the small rocky outcrop and look out in the distance, you’ll notice Monkey Mountain.

Me walking down Carricitos beach with jungle lining the shores and Monkey mountain in the distance.
Walking down Carricitos Beach in Sayulita. That’s Monkey Mountain in the background.

You can expect to have the shores almost completely to yourself here. It’s not THAT far from town, but people rarely make an effort to head this way, which is why it’s probably my favorite.

How to get here:

From town, you can follow signs and use Google to get here; it’s quite easy, just follow your map here.

It will take about 20 minutes or so to walk here from the center. There are no facilities or vendors. If you’re driving, it’s a bit narrow and steep, and there isn’t much space for parking.

While it’s a bit of a trek to get to, it’s really worth coming to Carracitos because most people don’t, and yes, it’s that pretty.

Where To Stay Near These Sayulita Beaches

  • Hotel Ysuri Sayulita: Right at the main Sayulita Beach, they offer suites and apartment-style rooms.
  • Elegant Casa: A king bed, a pool, and purified taps throughout the house. Need I say more?
  • Casa Kanelo: A colorful, extremely central spot right on the beach with a pool and free Wi-Fi.
  • Mar y Sueños Apartments: Studio apartment-style accommodations with a rooftop terrace.
  • Villas del Palmar: Located slightly down from the main area of the beach, you’ll get more privacy!

5. Patzcuarito

Patzcuarito is not the biggest beach, at just half a mile long, but what it lacks in size it certainly makes up for in natural beauty. 

Huge rocks scatter the shoreline, and there is very little development in the area, making it really feel like you are in paradise. What helps to make the scene even more striking is the incredible blue hue of the water, which will take your breath away.

Aerial view of beach and coastline at Patzcuarito.
Patzcuarito Beach in Sayulita

How to get here:

While you technically COULD walk here, it’s a bit far! It’s about a 40-minute walk from the center of Sayulita.

Alternatively, just grab a taxi from the main square and head out here. Remember, you’ll still have about a ten or so-minute walk through the jungle to make it to the beach.

Where To Stay:

  • Casa Katrina: Rooms in a house, quieter location slightly outside of city center with lovely hosts.
  • Hacienda Jaqueline: Apartments with a quaint Mexican style, this spot is 5km outside of city center.

RELATED: A 2 Week Mexico Itinerary For Beach and Mountain Lovers

Sayulita Beaches Nearby

Hop on a bus or take a taxi, and you’ll find yourself at more beautiful beaches near Sayulita…

6. San Pancho (San Francisco)

San Pancho is a tiny town near Sayulita Beach, but it is quickly gaining popularity as a beautiful beach town.

The beachfront here is bordered by small beach shacks and a few resorts, and there are some lounge chairs that you can rent, but nowhere near the number compared to Sayulita Beach.

San Pancho beach with ocean and headland.
San Pancho Beach.

If you want to escape the popular areas while remaining on San Pancho Beach, head a little north or south from the main stretch in the center, and you will slowly notice the crowds disappearing.

The beach is clean and safe, and you won’t be bothered by vendors asking you to look at their items every 10 seconds, but there are still some. Surfing is perfect for intermediate to pro surfers and is not suited to those just learning.

Just a few steps from the beach in town, there is a shop where you can rent surfboards.

How to get here:

You can easily head out here for the day. Either go to the bus station in Sayulita and take one of the frequent buses to San Pancho, or just grab a taxi.

Where To Stay

  • Casa Cora: A clean and comfortable place to stay only a few minutes walk to the beach!
  • Se Arena San Pacho: Beachfront large rooms, rated highly for couple trips.

7. La Lancha (The Next Best Surfing Beach Near Sayulita)

La Lancha is a wide expanse of beach loved by surfers and those who love to watch the surf.

The beach is surrounded by vegetation, which is ideal for those eager to seek out a little bit of shade. The area is famous for its easy-rolling waves and white sand beaches, ideal for spending the day in the Mexican sun.

If surfing is not your thing, it is a lovely place for a walk all the way down the shore, with stunning views the whole way.

You can reach the beach via a 10-15 minute walk from the highway that cuts through the jungle, and once you step out from the trees, you’ll be greeted with a huge beach and orangey cliffside.

There will also be lots of signs warning you of crocodiles because, yeah, the jungle you’re walking through has crocs! So like… Keep your eyes open! It’s OK, you’re fine, this is a really cool beach near Sayulita, don’t write it off just because of some crocs…

Person surfing wave with beach in background at La Lancha.
Me surfing at La Lancha Beach. Thanks for this drone shot Jonny!

Keep in mind that you don’t want to bring too much to this beach as you’re carrying it through the (crocodile) jungle.

This also means if you’re bringing your board (the rental place is on the highway “WildMex”), you’ll also need to walk that in and back. There’s nothing at this beach either, so bring snacks, drinks, etc.

If I had to choose between surfing at Sayulita Beach or La Lancha, I would choose La Lancha, hands down! There’s more of a “surfable area” of the beach and fewer people, which made surfing at this beach a bit easier.

How to get here:

You can reach La Lancha by taking a surf trip from Sayulita, a taxi, a bus from Sayulita, or rent a car.

RELATED:
Living in Sayulita as a Digital Nomad
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8. Punta Mita

Punta Mita was once a small fishing village. Over the years, it has developed into an exclusive resort area and contains several residential developments, with some big-name hotels located here. There’s a beach in the Punta de Mita area, which is just off of the town.

Punta de Mita Beach and ocean with buildings and mountains in background.
Punta de Mita Beach near Sayulita.

This beach is OK, but the surf isn’t anything too special since the waters are tucked into a bay. Paddle out on a bodyboard or standup paddleboard and ride the fun, rookie waves that can be found here sometimes, but be aware of the rocks.

Four Seasons beach in Punta Mita at sunset.
Four Seasons Beach at Punta Mita near Sayulita.

There are plenty more pristine beaches, but the hotels privately own most. The peninsula stretches for 1500 acres out into the Pacific Ocean and is filled with palm tree-covered landscape.

How to get here:

From Sayulita, you can grab the bus again, which will be easy and cheap, or take a taxi down here. Sayulita Beach is only about 30 minutes away.

Where To Stay

9. Marieta Islands

You’ll have to hop on a boat tour to reach the beaches of Marieta, but that makes the trip more of an adventure. The two islands were created thousands of years ago by volcanic eruptions, and they hide a secret at their heart, a hidden beach!

In the middle of one of the islands, only accessible through a narrow 50-foot long tunnel through the rock you have to SWIM to, and only at low tide, is a paradise you will want to explore.

You can find the underground crater beach on the smaller of the two islands at its northern end.

Me walking on beach in an open crater at Marieta Islands.
Me at the hidden crater beach on the Marieta Islands (shot by Jonny).

Although it is a little bit of an effort to reach, the islands are a popular tourist attraction, so you shouldn’t expect to have them to yourself. Access is controlled, however, so they will never be crowded.

There are 116 access spots a day, and on Mondays and Tuesdays, it is not open to visitors. You’ll only have 30 minutes on the beach, including swimming there and back, so make the most of it!

You really have to see this beach to believe it is real, and from the sea, it is not that obvious to spot as it’s from the inside that this natural marvel really stands out! You’ll stop at another gorgeous island that’s included on the trip with natural rock arches and powdery sand.

If you come from December through March, you’ll almost be guaranteed to see whales while out on the boat as well. Book your spot to the Marieta Islands.

How to get here:

The ONLY way to visit the Marieta Islands is by booking a boat tour.

Tips for Booking Your Trip:

TRANSPORTATION – GuateGo

The best way to get bus and train tickets around Central America and Mexico.


HOTELS

Booking is one of the best options as well as Hotels.


Things to do

You’ll want to book a few tours! I use Viator and GetYourGuide!


Don’t forget insurance!

Get a quote with the best and easiest travelers insurance: Safety Wing


Find Deals

Travel deals to anywhere!

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2 Comments

  1. Very helpful descriptions of places to go and things to do. Hope to see some of these places in December. Thank you! You’re advice is great!