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Sayulita is one of Mexico’s most famous “Pueblos Magicos” – and it truly is magical! This charming beach town is just an hour north of Puerto Vallarta and makes a great day trip from the city. It has some of the best beaches in the area, mouth-watering restaurants, and a great local scene. Overall, I think it’s the perfect place to dive into Mexico’s vibrant culture.
If you’re staying in Puerto Vallarta, the best way to see Sayulita is by taking a day tour! There are a variety of tours for any traveler, whether you’re looking to relax on the beach, learn how to surf, or taste traditional Mexican cuisine. After spending time in Sayulita, we wanted to move here!
To help you out, we’ve put together this guide to the 6 best Sayulita tours from Puerto Vallarta. So, keep reading to learn about each one and find the best option for you. Because ultimately, we want you to fall in love with this quiet beach town just like we did!
- Our Top Choice for a Sayulita tour from Puerto Vallarta
- Is Sayulita worth visiting?
- What are the best tours to Sayulita from Puerto Vallarta?
- Day tour vs. staying in Sayulita
- Other Activities to do While You're in Puerto Vallarta
- Where to Stay in Puerto Vallarta
- Thanks for reading!
- Why We Book Tours with Viator
- Renting a Car in Mexico
- Don't get Caught without Travel Insurance!
Our Top Choice for a Sayulita tour from Puerto Vallarta
Our top choice is this Sayulita Surfer Beach Town and Zarandeado Tour. This full-day activity will take you to the highlights of Sayulita with a local guide, including a fresh food market, a walking tour, some shopping, and then a seafood dinner on a secluded beach! This tour is a great way to experience this town’s charm in a unique way – and it comes with a traditional meal, what more could you want? You can check out the details of this tour and reserve your spot online here!
Is Sayulita worth visiting?
That’s a resounding “YES!” from us. We think Sayulita is definitely worth visiting.
This destination is considered a Pueblo Magico (Magic Town) because it has its own special charm. It’s hard to put this magic into words – which is exactly why you should visit for yourself. However, I will say that every time we come here, we’re impressed by the beautiful beaches, epic sunsets, and overall chill vibes.
And not only is this coastal town gorgeous, but it also has a ton of fun activities. Whether you enjoy surfing and yoga or just chilling on the beach, Sayulita is an excellent choice. Plus, this place is also brimming with culture and tasty local cuisine. It’s the kind of Mexican town that truly makes you feel like you’re on vacation!
Safety in Mexico is a big concern for many travelers, and luckily, Sayulita is considered a safe place to visit. It also doesn’t have those big resort vibes like some other Mexican destinations. So when we really want to unwind and escape city life, Sayulita provides the perfect environment!
What are the best tours to Sayulita from Puerto Vallarta?
1. Full-Day Sayulita and San Pancho from Puerto Vallarta
Sometimes, you need a vacation from your vacation! This is when I like to have a lazy beach day and get out of the major tourist zone. This full-day tour is ideal for this exact activity since the tour will take care of all the details. You can simply sit back and relax .. .enjoy the waves and sand, learn how to surf, and see what Sayulita has to offer!
Mexico isn’t in short supply of beautiful beaches and while Puerto Vallarta has some truly amazing ones, I personally prefer the beaches of Sayulita! They have more of a relaxed vibe as there aren’t any major resorts dotting the coastline.
This tour picks you up from your hotel in Puerto Vallarta at 10 am. This start time is perfect for those who like to sleep in on vacation (or just want to enjoy a leisurely breakfast like we did). Once the tour group is complete, you’ll begin the scenic hour-long drive north. Don’t worry, you’ll have air conditioning the whole way!
First, you’ll hit San Pancho, which is an even more quaint and cute village. Here, you’ll spend 30 minutes exploring the town square. I love experiencing small-town life in Mexico, and this tour gives you an extra opportunity to do this!
After, you’ll head to Sayulita to relax on the beach for a few hours. Here, you can opt to surf, boogie board, hang out on the beach, or wander into the town. The flexibility makes things so easy. If you’re traveling with several people with different preferences, you can do your own thing and then reunite after.
When we took this tour from Puerto Vallarta, there was a surprise tequila tasting on the way home. I’m not sure if this is standard practice or if they really liked our group. However, you might get lucky and have this fun experience too!
This 6-hour tour is a fun way to see Sayulita and enjoy a beach day. It’s offered on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. The $53 USD price includes roundtrip transportation from your hotel in Puerto Vallarta, a guide, and an hour-long boogie board or surfboard rental. Surf or boogie board lessons cost extra. The tour also does not include lunch or drinks, so be sure to pack some or pop into one of Sayulita’s incredible restaurants.
Do you want a super chill day in Sayulita? Check availability and book this experience right here!
Related Read: If chilling on beaches is your vacation of choice, check out our favorite beaches in the Yucatan Peninsula!
2. Sayulita and San Pancho with Vallarta Adventures
One of my absolute favorite ways to experience a new city is through food. Those are the memories that stand out on vacation for me! And this day tour to Sayulita and San Pancho is one you’ll remember for a long time to come. It’ll leave you saying, “Remember when we tried that insanely delicious food in Sayulita?!”
You’ll join your group at 8 am at a central meeting point in Puerto Vallarta before heading towards the foodie destinations of Sayulita. We love this tour because it takes you to a few different locations and promotes making friends through food – how fun!
On this tour, you’ll visit the Sayulita Farmers Market to try lots of locally-made food! Some of my top items were the traditionally styled sopes and quesadillas. If you’re a craft beer lover (like me!), you’ll be pleased to try some local brews as well. There’s nothing quite like an ice-cold beer on a sunny Sayulita day.
This area of Sayulita is brightly colored and vibrant. Not only will you soak up the culture through food but also the lively market around you!
After Sayulita, you’ll head to San Pancho to explore its shops and handcrafted items. It’s the perfect place to appreciate local artisans and pick up a souvenir or two. Also, San Pancho is much smaller than Sayulita, so this is a good way to experience the authentic local side of the area.
This 5-hour tour includes transportation in an air-conditioned vehicle (you’ll be grateful for this, trust me). All of your food and drinks are also covered in the $109 USD price! However, I’d recommend bringing some extra cash in case you want to pick up a souvenir or something extra.
This experience can only be reserved on Tuesdays and Fridays, and it does sell out fast. Don’t hesitate to book it online in advance!
3. Sayulita City Photo Tour
For photographers and aspiring Instagrammers, this Sayulita City Photo Tour is a total hit! Sayulita is unassumingly cute, and these guides know the best spots to capture its charm. The town is filled with brightly colored streets, artisan shops, lush plant life… oh, and a gorgeous beach, of course!
Throughout this 6-hour tour, your guides will take you all around Sayulita. They’ll teach you about the history and culture of the area. And because this is a photo tour, they’ll point out the best photo spots around.
I love that this tour will last a few hours, so you never feel rushed. You can enjoy the area with plenty of time to stop and capture that Instagrammable shot!
This tour is great for those with a professional-grade camera or who are masters of the iPhone pic. You’ll stop by iconic Sayulita locations such as the Blue Water Beach, the Farmers Market, and even an old cemetery. There is even an area called “Instagram street” because it is so photo-worthy with brightly colored “papel picado” dangling above.
This tour includes transportation from the designated meeting point in Puerto Vallarta. You’ll depart at 9 am, returning 5-6 hours later. Tours run daily, so it’s super easy to fit into your schedule!
It costs $79 USD for the transport and knowledgeable guide. To capture the best photos of Sayulita, book this day tour online with Viator!
Why We Book Tours with Viator
Viator is a trusted online booking system for tours around the world! We almost always book our tours using Viator for a couple of reasons:
- Free cancellation on most tours – Most of the tours on Viator allow you to cancel and get a full refund up to 24 hours in advance. This is handy in case plans change, or if booking an outdoor activity, the weather forecast is looking grim.
- Reserve now and pay later – You can secure your spot on some of the most popular tours well in advance and not pay until closer to the day of the tour.
- Pay in your chosen currency – Avoid costly international transaction fees by choosing to pay in your home currency.
- Peace of mind – When booking with tour operators you find in person on the street or in small booking offices, you are often promised one thing and given another. This online platform holds tour operators accountable with a written description of inclusions as well as the opportunity for customers to leave reviews.
4. Surf trip to Punta Mita or Sayulita
For our adventurous travelers, here is your perfect opportunity to learn how to surf! By the end of this half-day tour, you’ll be jumping up on the surfboard to catch a wave and Hang Ten (that’s the proper surfer lingo, right?)!
This tour is also well known for its amazing instructors, who are brothers and locals of the area. They are great at providing one-on-one instruction and tailoring their teaching to each person. By the end of the lesson, you’ll actually know how to surf!
You will be given some instructions and safety information on land first. You’ll also warm up with some stretches before taking to the waves. Your guides guarantee that you’ll be able to stand up early on. They’ll even take photos as you catch those waves!
This is a super fun tour that is certainly a memorable experience in Sayulita. Surfing is also one of the best things to do in Mexico – and a skill you can take anywhere! We love having a hobby that can be a travel destination. You really get to experience the area in a unique and fulfilling way.
Not only does this tour provide surf lessons and equipment, but it will also provide beach chairs, umbrellas, boogie boards, SUPs, and snacks – you’ll be set for the whole day! They’ll pick you up and drop you off from your hotel in Puerto Vallarta as well. On the way back, you’ll also stop for some complimentary fresh fruit and if you’re anything like me, you’ll be super hungry after surfing!
This entire experience with everything we mentioned costs $110 USD per person. It lasts about 4 hours, with multiple start times throughout the day. Just make sure to bring plenty of sunscreen and a towel to dry off after surfing!
If you’re looking to surf in Sayulita, pick a date and time for your lessons right here!
5. Sayulita Surfer Beach Town and Zarandeado with Seafood Grill
This unique tour gives you a local perspective of Sayulita! While Puerto Vallarta and Sayulita can feel rather touristy in some areas, this tour takes you off the beaten path. It allows you to experience the chill beach vibes everyone hopes to find in Mexico. Plus, you’ll feast on the grilled seafood dish of Zarandeado, which is this region’s specialty!
We love that this tour is small (only five people) and that it’s run by a local. As such, it has a more intimate feel. Your hosts are able to share more of their culture and can answer all of your questions throughout the day!
Your guide will pick you up at the designated meeting point in Puerto Vallarta at 8:30 am. You’ll take the scenic route to Sayulita, and the drive itself is stunning. Along the way, you’ll stop by a roadside market to try local fruit and candy. You’ll also get the freshest ingredients, which will be used later in the day!
Once in Sayulita, the guide will take you on a walking tour. It’s a quaint, colorful town – the kind we just love walking through when on vacation! I also love that this tour gives you some time to shop and explore on your own. So, if you saw any cute souvenirs earlier, now is the time to buy them.
But the best part of this day tour is heading to Playa Patzcuaritos, a secluded beach just outside town. From the beach, you can see the mountains and the expansive Pacific Ocean – this area is quite stunning!
And we hope all that walking has built up your appetite … because you’re in for a local treat! Your guide will prepare a traditional dish called Zarandeado, which is grilled fish and shrimp. The seafood has been generously coated in chili paste and spices, which really adds a unique flavor. This dish is so fresh and delicious, and with the incredible views, you will remember this experience for a long time!
This tour costs $112 USD, including transportation from the meeting point, food, drinks, and your amazing guide! The beautiful ocean views are complimentary, too. Tours are available Monday through Saturday. They last 8 hours, so you should be back with plenty of time to enjoy dinner in Puerto Vallarta (if you have room, of course!).
For a relaxed way to explore Sayulita, you can reserve this experience online right here.
6. Private full-day tour to Sayulita
Private tours are typically our favorite option, and if you’re looking for one to Sayulita, this full-day tour delivers. It shows you the highlights and allows you to explore at your own pace! Overall, it’s the perfect balance of sightseeing and relaxing in town (or on the beach!).
The tour will start by either picking you up from your hotel or from the designated point in Puerto Vallarta. Since it’s private, you can choose any starting time between 7 am – 1 pm. This allows for so much flexibility when planning your trip!
Once you reach Sayulita, you’ll take a walking tour of the city to learn about its history and culture. It’s a great way to get a feel for this town.
Then, you’ll visit the town’s market to see local handcrafted items and perhaps buy some souvenirs. Afterward, you’ll have about two hours of free time where you can relax on the beach, wander through the town, or check out one of the many delicious restaurants in Sayulita! You will meet back up with the tour guide for some sweets and fruit before heading back to Puerto Vallarta.
We love that this tour is super relaxed and doesn’t have a tight timeline, so you can really enjoy Sayulita. Tours last 6 hours, which felt like the perfect amount of time, too.
The tour costs $95 USD per person, including roundtrip transportation and your guide. This is the best private tour option to Sayulita, so if you like a more personalized experience, book your private tour in advance.
Related Read: Are you an adrenaline junkie? Well, we’ve got you covered! Here’s everything you need to know before skydiving in Puerto Vallarta.
Day tour vs. staying in Sayulita
Sayulita is only an hour north of Puerto Vallarta and is one of the most common day trips from the city. However, there are a ton of things to do in Sayulita, so you might need a few days to really see everything!
So what’s the best option? I think it really depends on your timeline and what you hope to accomplish while visiting Puerto Vallarta and Sayulita.
Day tours are a great option to get from Puerto Vallarta to Sayulita for those who have a shorter timeline. If you are only in Puerto Vallarta for a week, a day trip would be recommended. That way, you can still go see the quaint town, enjoy the relaxed beach, and get out of the bustling resort city.
Day tours are also great if you want someone to take care of everything for you. Most day tours include transportation and itinerary planning, so you won’t need to worry about the details. They also come with a guide, so you’ll be able to learn more about the area. And if you don’t have your own rental car in Puerto Vallarta, a tour makes it way easier for you to explore the surrounding areas!
The main drawback of taking a day trip is that you only have one day in Sayulita – which really isn’t enough! You’re also on someone else’s timeline. In a relaxed beach town like Suyalita, it’s much nicer to move at your own pace.
So, I recommend staying in Sayulita if you have enough time! Trust me, a few days in Sayulita will fly by.
There are beautiful beaches for those looking to chill out. Plus, you have your pick of shops and food if you’re looking to dive into Mexico’s vibrant culture. Also, there are tons of outdoor activities for the more adventurous travelers!
Plus, there are some really great hotels in Sayulita. Many don’t have the same resort vibe that Puerto Vallarta has, so it’s a nice change of pace.
Regardless of whether you stay in the town or not, a visit to Sayulita is a must during a trip to Puerto Vallarta!
Related Read: Looking for more interesting travel destinations? Consider visiting Guadalajara, Mexico! What this city lacks in coastline, it makes up for in culture – and it provides a super authentic experience.
Other Activities to do While You’re in Puerto Vallarta
There’s a good reason why Dan and I keep coming back to Puerto Vallarta – there are a ton of fun activities to try!
- Enjoy a swashbuckling show on a pirate ship – Ahoy landlubbers! Ever wanted to live out your dream of being a pirate, sailing across the seven seas? Or maybe you’ve got a little one who is swinging around their imaginary cutlass like a pro? This pirate ship cruise includes a dinner fit for a pirate king with cannons, fireworks, and all kinds of jolly entertainment to boot!
- Explore the jungle on an ATV tour – One of my all-time favorite activities in Puerto Vallarta was going on an ATV tour. Dan and I went on this half-day Jorullo Bridge ATV experience that takes you to some of the most scenic natural spots in the area, as well as over the longest suspension bridge in Latin America!
- Visit the Rhythms of the Night Show – When it comes to the best dinner shows in Puerto Vallarta, the Rhythms of the Night Show is a tough one to beat! It takes place on a secluded island with incredible dancing, acrobatics, and music, and, of course, the food is amazing too. You also get to enjoy a beautiful catamaran cruise to and from the island! You can book your ticket online here.
- Walk the Puerto Vallarta Malecon – The boardwalk here is absolutely full of amazing museums, some of the best restaurants in Puerto Vallarta, and more shops than you can count! This is a great spot to pick up some souvenirs for the folks back home, have a go at making your own chocolate, or simply enjoy a drink at Señor Frog’s!
- Go whale watching – Going whale watching in Puerto Vallarta is one of my favorite activities. This 4-hour whale-watching tour is ideal for those on a budget but is also capped at just 12 passengers! These tours are specifically geared towards whale watching and take you to the best spots with the highest chance of seeing these animals. You’re likely to see humpback whales – and maybe even grey or blue whales, too.
Where to Stay in Puerto Vallarta
There are TONS of great hotels in Puerto Vallarta – no matter your budget or preferences. From luxurious budget resorts to cozy boutique hotels, deciding where to stay in Puerto Vallarta is super exciting, so I thought I’d share some of my favorite spots with you!
Hilton Vallarta Riviera – $$$
The Hilton Vallarta Riviera is one of the best resorts in town – it’s all-inclusive, so you’re free to have plenty of peaceful downtime. They also have 7 restaurants, a private beach, a pool, a spa, and a gym. Rooms have super comfy beds and can include a terrace, balcony, and a private jetted tub overlooking the ocean! There’s evening entertainment and a kid’s club to keep the little ones happy
Rooms here at the Hilton Vallarta Riviera average around $350-650 USD per night, but you can often get a good deal (on the lower end of that range) if you book in advance.
Amapas Apartments Puerto Vallarta – $$
The Amapas Apartments in Puerto Vallarta are a series of adult-only, self-contained apartments located in my favorite area of town – the Romantic Zone. It’s really close to the beach, restaurants, and tons of shopping and nightlife options. They even have a pool, with all rooms being well air-conditioned too!
With one and two-bedroom apartments available, a stay here typically starts around $96 USD per night, which I think is a great deal considering the size of the apartment and its location! This is another really popular spot, though, so don’t forget to book your stay online in advance.
Oasis Hostel – $
Who said you couldn’t live the dream on a budget? The Oasis Hostel offers both dorms and private rooms, which all have air conditioning with traditional Mexican decor. It’s around 5 km (3 mi) to get downtown, but that’s really easy with a taxi, or you can also rent a bike straight from the hostel. Rooms here are super affordable and include breakfast. Dorm beds start at $16 USD, and a private twin ensuite starts at $40 USD.
Oasis Hostel is a great choice if you’re backpacking through Puerto Vallarta or prefer to spend your money on experiences over accommodation. You can book your space on either Hostelworld or Booking.com.
Posada de Roger – $
Another superb budget choice is the Hotel Posada de Roger, right in the heart of the Romantic Zone. All rooms here have AC, and they even have an outdoor pool that gets tons of sun. You can also chill on their rooftop terrace overlooking the mountains. Plus, if you fancy making up some packed lunches, they have a shared kitchen for guests. No wonder it’s our go-to place to stay in Puerto Vallarta!
A one-night stay here at Posada de Roger starts at $64 USD per night, but it is pretty popular, so I’d recommend making your reservation in advance on Booking.com. You can always cancel the stay for free if you change your mind, so it’s a win-win!
Renting a Car in Mexico
Undoubtedly, one of the best ways to get around Mexico is in a rental car.
I struggled to get around by bus and taxi for the longest time. But after renting a car in Cancun in 2023, I never looked back. It allowed me to explore the country without worrying about tours or taxis. It was why I fell in love with Mexico and eventually decided to live here periodically.
I refuse to use local services whenever I rent a car in Mexico. The truth is they sometimes can’t be trusted or come with hidden fees (or costly insurance that doesn’t make sense.) There are even rental car scams! So instead, I use Discover Cars, the company most experienced travelers or ex-pats in Mexico recommend.
The rates on Discover Cars are cheap, too, with the average rental costing around $25 USD per day. Full coverage insurance can be added for an extra $10 USD a day too.
Driving in Mexico also only requires a driver’s license using the Roman alphabet. If yours uses another like Japan and China, you simply need an international driving permit.
Insurance is required, but if you book with Discover Cars and get the full coverage, that’s all you need! Oh, and being over 18 is required, and if you’re over 25, your rental will be much cheaper!
Don’t get Caught without Travel Insurance!
We never travel without travel insurance! We’ve had a few instances during our travels when one of us has ended up in the hospital, and travel insurance has saved us thousands of dollars over the years!
SafetyWing is our go-to insurance, we both have policies with them whenever we travel.
They offer travel medical insurance that’s super affordable (only $45 USD per 4 weeks!)The only thing to note is that the insurance must be purchased once you’ve left your home country – we typically buy it as soon as we land at the airport.
We’ve personally used SafetyWing for many different trips, and we’ve been reimbursed for countless expenses when we’ve fallen ill. SafetyWing even covered our flights back to Canada in full when the pandemic first happened (when last-minute flights before the borders closed were super expensive!) While most travel insurance companies left people stranded, SafetyWing fully reimbursed us for our last-minute, pricey flights!
Also, because it is so affordable, there really is no excuse not to take out a policy. Check prices and get a quote online here with SafetyWing (you can even take out a policy if you’re already traveling!)
Thanks for reading!
If you’re staying in Puerto Vallarta, you absolutely must visit Sayulita! We loved wandering the quaint streets and colorful markets and really soaking up the local culture. However, we also equally enjoyed just relaxing with a beer on the beach. And if you only have a day, we recommend taking a tour so you can see all this town has to offer.
To learn more, read our blog all about Mexico. We’ve traveled all over and created handy guides on the best places to stay and eat, as well as fun things to do! To give you a sneak peek, we’ve linked to a few articles below.