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7 Amazing Day Trips from Sayulita

7 Amazing Day Trips from Sayulita

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Wondering what the best day trips from Sayulita are? Thanks to fellow expat and Sayulita lover, Trisha Valermo of PS I’m on My Way, this article will answer exactly that. Take it away Trisha!

Hey travelers! My name is Trisha and I’ve been living in Mexico for three years. Two of those, just in Sayulita and Riviera Nayarit!

What started as a 2-week vacation, made me move to Sayulita. It was one of the best years of my life and I want to share with you some insider tips about how to make the best of your Sayulita vacation.

These day trips from Sayulita are just one hour away from town. Staying the night in these places is also recommended but in this post, I will only include information about how to make a day trip. Many visitors who stay for more than two weeks in Sayulita often find hidden gems within the state of Nayarit.

The state is located on the Pacific Coast of Mexico so there are really lots of options for places to visit. Even though there are many things to do in Sayulita, you will often find yourself experiencing Sayulita fever as most locals do. Sometimes, you just need a breath of fresh air to appreciate Sayulita again.

I do guarantee that these recommended day trips from Sayulita ideas are equally beautiful. However, I also assure you that you’ll always come back to Sayulita. There is just a different vibe here that many tourists can’t resist!

If you are still planning all of the best things to do, see, and eat while in Sayulita, be sure to check out all of my articles about this beautiful town here.

sayulita sign

Renting a Car in Sayulita

I’ve been asked if driving around the Nayarit area is safe. ABSOLUTELY! This is a very tourist-friendly area so don’t worry about safety while driving. Surprisingly, the roads here are very nice. You won’t have difficulty driving here. The daily car rental in Sayulita and Puerto Vallarta starts at $25 USD.

We always love using Discover Cars to rent in Mexico. They ensure you know exactly what you are paying for upfront and what fees you are likely to pay when you arrive to pick up the car, if any. Check out the prices for car rentals in Sayulita here.

You need to put in a security deposit with a credit card and to present your driver’s license. You do not need an international driver’s license when driving in Mexico. Your license from home will suffice.

Read more about renting a car in Mexico here with tips for finding the best rental companies and advice for first-time drivers in Mexico!

Taking a Bus for Day Trips from Sayulita

Buses from the stunning Mexico Magic Town of Sayulita depart frequently to San Pancho or towards the south (Puerto Vallarta).

If you want a cheaper option for the day trip, this costs between $2 – $4 USD. However, it’s a lot of commuting and it usually takes a lot longer than if you have your own car. Buses in Sayulita stop a lot to take passengers so you might end up spending the whole day on the road instead of enjoying your day trip.

Read more about taking the bus in Mexico here.

Hire a Driver for the Day

I’ve had blog readers who have contacted me and said they don’t drive (but still want to do the day trips) so what I normally recommend is hiring a local driver. Juan is a fantastic and trustworthy driver from Puerto Vallarta who can take you around Nayarit. 

He can also take you from Sayulita to Puerto Vallarta airport when you arrive.

I met him when I first came to Sayulita and we’ve been close friends ever since! Hiring a driver is the best way for a stress-free day trip but it can cost more. I am vouching for Juan’s superb services and I guarantee you’ll be safe with him. 

You may use the code ETERNALEXPAT10 to get a 10% discount with my local taxi driver! Click here to book.

7 Days Trips From Sayulita

These are the absolute best day trips from Sayulita that you won’t want to miss out on when you are traveling to this region of Mexico!

san pancho beach day trip from sayulita

San Pancho beach is one of the longest and cleanest you’ll find and it’s such a short and easy day trip from Sayulita.

1. San Pancho

The most famous day trip from Sayulita, San Francisco, or San Pancho as it’s locally known, is just 10 minutes away from town. If you don’t have a car, the bus from Sayulita costs $14 MXN ($0.60 USD) and will take you directly to the entrance of San Pancho town.

  • Distance from Sayulita: 10 minutes
  • Driving direction: North
  • Other modes of transport: You can take a bus from Sayulita for less than $1 USD or drive less than 10 minutes. 

San Pancho is a little bit calmer than Sayulita. While Sayulita is known for its party scene and great bars, San Pancho is more about chilling at the beach and enjoying the art galleries and artisan shops here.

It also prides itself as one of the best surf towns in Riviera Nayarit. The waves here are a little bit more advanced than Sayulita main beach. 

Here are a few things you can do in San Pancho:

  • Hang out at San Pancho main beach. This is one of my favorite tranquil beaches and one of the best sunsets within Riviera Nayarit
  • Participate in the turtle release. They do this every night but we are not sure if they are taking volunteers. I’ve only watched them do this but did not participate in the release. We already have the same activity in Sayulita.
  • Eat, drink, and be merry! San Pancho is full of amazing bars and restaurants that have unique themes.

Check out my video from a day out in San Pancho here.

looking out at the sea from the cliffs in los ayala

The stunning beaches of Los Ayala should not be missed!

2. Los Ayala and Rincon de Guayabitos

These two towns are next to each other and you can do it on the same day trip from Sayulita. Los Ayala is a sleepy town in Nayarit but there are also lots of things to do. I feel that staying the night there is not necessary. Los Ayala and Rincon de Guayabitos are small so a day is just enough to go around.

  • Distance from Sayulita: 38 minutes
  • Driving direction: North
  • Other modes of transport: There is a bus that leaves for Rincon de Guayabitos a few times a day from the Sayulita bus station. It is with a company called Nayar. It is best to check with the bus station a day before your trip if you won’t be driving a rental car so that you know exactly when they will be going between the two locations. If you do not have a rental car, this would be a good day to hire a driver.

These two Nayarit towns are not as busy as Sayulita but expect a lot of local life while you are here. Their beaches are so beautiful and they have lots of other islands to explore within the area (by boat). Below are some suggested things to do in Los Ayala and Rincon de Guayabitos:

  • Whale watching. I’ve seen the whales up close in Los Ayala and it was amazing! There are lots of boats in Los Ayala that will take you whale watching. They usually cost $20 USD. The boat can also take you to nearby beaches like Boca del Toro.
  • Walk around town. These towns have different vibes than Sayulita. Explore other pueblos in Nayarit by walking around and seeing the local life!
  • Hire a boat that will take you around the bay. There are lots of other islands (for example, Isla Coral) where you can hire a boat and do an island hopping tour! Don’t pay more than $30 USD per person for a 4-hour tour.
woman walking on the beach in los de marcos sayulita

Nayarit beaches are some of the most beautiful and often least touristed in this region of Mexico.

3. Lo de Marcos

Another underrated destination in Nayarit, Lo de Marcos is a very popular day trip from Sayulita. The beach is so calm and it’s not as busy as Sayulita. It is still a bit underdeveloped but there are bars and restaurants within the area.

  • Distance from Sayulita: 25 minutes
  • Driving direction: North
  • Other modes of transport: Buses that go to La Peñita from Sayulita pass by Lo de Marcos.
rocky beach with sunset colors

The calm waters of Chacala beach.

4. Chacala

Chacala is my favorite in my recent Nayarit road trip and one of the best day trips from Sayulita. Like Sayulita, Chacala is also a beach town but it is set in a cove. One thing I noticed about Chacala is that it is a really clean town. The waves are also surfable and are best for beginner surfers.

  • Distance from Sayulita: 1 hour
  • Driving direction: North
  • Other modes of transport: The only real way to get here from Sayulita is by car. If you haven’t rented one, but you want to explore this beautiful beach town, be sure to hire a driver for the day.

I stayed the night when I visited Chacala. I felt that it needed more than just a day. There are lots of Airbnbs and restaurants in Chacala so I didn’t find it hard to find my way around. 

One thing I noticed about Chacala is that it’s never crowded, even on the weekends. Below are some suggested things to do in Chacala:

  • Eat Zarandeado. Zarandeado is a very typical fish dish from Nayarit. This is not very common in Sayulita restaurants but in Chacala, all restaurants have it on their menus. The food from the state of Nayarit doesn’t often get exported to other parts of the country, but like many places in Mexico, it is an important part of their culture here.
  • Drink margaritas and spend the whole day at the beach. Again, Chacala Beach is not super crowded so you can definitely enjoy alone time here! This activity is of course best reserved for those that aren’t driving back to Sayulita.
punta da mit beach

If you love snorkeling and scuba diving, a day trip to Punta de Mita should not be missed!

5. Punta de Mita

Punta Mita vs Punta de Mita: what’s the difference? 

This town is originally called Punta de Mita but through the years, all-inclusive resorts started popping up. The luxury brands adapted Punta Mita in their branding. Punta de Mita refers to the local community while Punta Mita is all about the fancy stuff.

  • Distance from Sayulita: 25 minutes
  • Driving direction: South
  • Other modes of transport: There are no direct buses to Punta de Mita from Sayulita. The best way is to drive or to take a tour here for the day. Almost all of the tour companies based in Sayulita offer some sort of day trip to Punta de Mita. 

Punta de Mita’s audience is more of families and big groups. Since the accommodations and lifestyle here are a little bit fancy, it’s become very popular with American and Canadian families.  There is no nightlife here as locals go to Sayulita to do that. 

Here are some suggested things to do in Punta de Mita:

  • Visit the Marietas Islands. Yes, the famous Marietas is in Punta de Mita! All boat tours depart from here and you’ll probably get a better price for the tour when you are already here than in Sayulita. Watch my video of the Marietas Islands here.
  • Go diving. Punta de Mita is a new hotspot for diving in Mexico. There are lots of dive spots (and shops) here. Most of the dive trips they offer in Sayulita take place in Mita.
  • Play golf. Punta de Mita is famous for golf tourism. There are many golf courses in the area.
sunset in bucerias mexico

The sunsets are magical on the west coast of Mexico.

6. Bucerias

Bucerias is also one of my favorite day trips from Sayulita.  The beach here is quite lovely though there is very minimal nightlife. Bucerias has a more laid-back and quieter vibe, which makes it popular with snowbirds and retirees. You will see lots of expats living here.

  • Distance from Sayulita: 35 minutes
  • Driving direction: South
  • Other modes of transport: Buses that go to Puerto Vallarta from Sayulita pass through Bucerias.

Lots of people who stay in Sayulita choose Bucerias as their next destination. It is slightly cheaper than Sayulita and has lots of ocean view accommodations that are affordable. The restaurant scene in Bucerias is also getting bigger as new businesses pop out every month. Here are the best things to do in Bucerias:

  • Get a massage by the beach. Massage here is only $10 USD, half the massage prices in Sayulita. Enjoy a massage by the beach while possibly sipping a margarita.
  • Go to Karen’s Place. This is the ultimate hang-out place for most expats. Karen’s happy hour is from 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm. At this time, you will see lots of people hanging out at this bar because it’s right on the beach. They also have a great food selection so you can literally sit here all day.
  • Go kitesurfing. Bucerias is one of the most sought-after kitesurfing destinations in the world. They hold big competitions annually. Kitesurfers from all over the world visit Bucerias every season (March and April) especially for this event.

Watch my video from Sayulita here.

puerto vallarta beach near Sayulita Mexico

Puerto Vallarta is one of the most famous and frequently visited places in all of Mexico and is an easy day trip from Sayulita.

7. Puerto Vallarta

On your way to Sayulita, you landed here (the Puerto Vallarta airport) and you probably did not think about visiting this city. I love Puerto Vallarta because there are just so many things to do and explore here. Often people base themselves in Puerto Vallarta and do day trips to Sayulita, but if you enjoy the slower pace and smaller towns of Mexico, you should definitely do it the other way around!

  • Distance from Sayulita: 35 minutes
  • Driving direction: South
  • Other modes of transport: Hitchhiking to PDM is really easy!!!

There are many things to do in Puerto Vallarta. Check out all of the videos and blog posts below to help you plan your travels to Puerto Vallarta:

Vanessa Simone

Saturday 4th of March 2023

What was the water quality like in Sayulita?

Linda Bell

Thursday 19th of January 2023

Hello, I would like to get ahold of your driver Juan as I will be staying in Sayulita from March5-11 and will need a driver. I want to go to a Huichol village. Thanks


Monday 9th of January 2023

Hi! The link to your driver Juan is not working. Can you tell me how I can reach him?


Monday 16th of May 2022

Thank you for the great tips, how can I get a hold of Juan, your driver?

Trisha Velarmino

Monday 17th of January 2022

Laura, thank you so much for having me write this post on your blog. I look forward to reuniting with you again in Mexico. For now, I hope you are enjoying Europe and hopefully, I can visit you this summer! X