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Sayulita, Mexico is a great town for kids! We recently took our first international trip as a family of four. Several other families joined us on the adventure. Sayulita is the perfect destination for families and groups that are looking for a spot that is slightly off the beaten path and has an authenticity that the big Mexican tourist destinations lack. However, it is still easy enough to get to and has enough tourist infrastructure to be a wonderful destination for young travelers.
Sayulita is only 24 miles from Puerto Vallarta (PVR) airport. Most major airlines fly to Puerto Vallarta. We were able to use 75k American Airlines miles for three tickets plus an additional $50 (lap infant fee) for our seven-month-old. The drive from Puerto Vallarta to Sayulita only takes about an hour and is mostly on a nice highway. The directions are really simple as well. We rented a van that was $104 for the week, but with the required Mexican liability coverage the all-in cost was about $225. Be careful as some car rental agencies will try to add additional fees as well unless you decline. Here are some more details about Mexican insurance. If you want to avoid these hassles, there are numerous car services that will pick you up and they can be booked here, or you can grab a cab for around 600-700 pesos ($30-$40).
The town has some amazing AirBnB options and unique hotels. The south side of town is bustling with restaurants and shopping. As you head to the north end of the beach things slow down and it is quieter. Most everything in town is walk-able. However, the most popular mode of transportation is golf carts as parking space comes at a premium. Numerous companies rent the carts and our travel companions used Riviera Golf Carts which provided top notch service.
What is There to Do?
Enjoy a Day at the Beach
- The beach is beautiful, and you can be at the center of the party out front of Don Pedro’s or sneak away to Playa De Los Muertos which is more secluded. We opted for the southern end of the beach as it was away from the fray but still provided some comfortable beachfront restaurants for the kids. Our favorite was Frente al Punto which has been under the same ownership for 35 years. It offered great food, umbrellas and a nice grassy area for the little ones to play.
Shop the Markets
- Sayulita has lots of great shopping options. From high end boutiques to the “Hippie Market”, you can find all sorts of treasures. Our four-year old daughter got her first taste of bargaining at the “Mercado de Pueblo” farmer’s market which runs every Friday from 10am to 2pm between November and May. There is live music, great food, organic produce and unique gifts.
Surf or Learn to Surf
- Sayulita has a few good surf options right in town. There is a right point break on the south side of the beach and a left point break in front of Frente al Punto. Sayulita is a great spot for beginners as well. Lessons are offered by numerous surf schools and shops in town. We rented boards from Quiverito and the shop also provides lessons. Check them out if you need a board! If you are looking to venture outside of town you can drive to San Pancho in San Francisco or to Punta de Mita or hire a guide to take you to the best spots. WildMex Surf and Adventure is a great option for this.
Hike a Nature Trail
- There are jungle, trail, waterfall and beach hikes at varying levels of difficulty that will keep everyone in the family happy. Check out this site for some of the options!
Eat at a Taco and Churro Stand
- The restaurants in Sayulita are amazing. Our favorite taco stand was Tacos Al Pastor Tal Ivan but everyone we tried was yummy. We also found ourselves at the churro cart multiple times. If you prefer to have dinner cooked for the family at your casa there are lots of options for this as well. We tried this option one night and while the convenience and fresh margaritas were a nice treat, the real value is in visiting the taco stands in town!
Visit a Nearby Town (Like San Francisco)
- San Francisco is a beautiful town with great restaurants. It is a quick 10-minute drive away but has a totally different feel than Sayulita. It is worth a trip to stroll the cobblestone streets and check out the cool murals everywhere. The kids enjoyed pointing out the art throughout the area.
Visit the Turtle Sanctuary
- On the far north end of the beach is Campamento Tortuguero which is an organization that is working to relocate turtle nests and educate young children about sea turtles. If you are lucky you may be able to release a sea turtle at sunset. Make sure to inquire about their proposed schedule when you are heading to Sayulita.
- Overall, Sayulita is a perfect town to acclimate youngsters to international travel. There are so many great things to do and see that kids and adults of all ages will have an amazing time.
Have you been to Sayulita or are you planning to go? Tell us about it in the comments!
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Cute pics. And very nice to hear about a destination that’s off the beaten track but still is relatively easy to reach.
Thanks Kathryn! It’s a great spot to check out.
I took my family there a couple of times for day trips in 2016 and 2019. We stayed at the St. Regis on points both time. What hotel in Sayulita do you recommend for a family with children 8, 8 and 11, understanding that it won’t be anything like Punta Mita, obviously.
Michael, unfortunately or maybe fortunately we didn’t find any hotel options to stay on points. We used credit we had saved up on the Capital One Venture card to book an Airbnb. There are tons of great options for families. North of the river was a little quieter, had some great restaurants and was a short walk into the center of town.
My brother and I have condos there. If you want to go during Xmas break, spring break or Easter, book early or it may be hard to find something suitable.