Beaches of Sayulita, México

Surrounding the cute town of Sayulita are various sandy beaches tucked along the rocky coast. This Nayarit city is a great beach destination for those looking to surf, whale watch (during some parts of the year), or just simply relax on the shores. We had a chance to visit several of the beaches of Sayulita, all within walking distance from the town. Here, we’ll cover the details for visiting each beach.

Villas around Sayulita

Some Notes on Visiting the Beaches of Sayulita

Before we get into the particulars of each of the beaches, there’s a couple things we want to note:

Sea Conditions: Rip currents are common along this stretch of coast. While the water may appear fairly calm on the surface, there may be a very strong undertow. Not all of the beaches have lifeguards. Use your best judgement and keep a close eye on kids and pets if you have them!

Sayulita is a popular surf destination. Waves can vary depending on the day and time of year, ranging from small waves great for beginners to more moderate waves. This is a great place to take a surf lesson if you’d like to learn!

Surf Boards in Sayulita

Bring Cash: If you’d like to rent chairs, take a surf lesson, or buy anything from vendors on the beach, you’ll likely need cash.

Wear Good Walking Shoes: If you plan to visit some of the beaches outside the city, wear shoes with decent tread that are comfortable to walk in because you may have to walk a while to reach these beaches and the route may involve some steep, rocky paths. During rainy season, people have mentioned slippery and muddy trail conditions.

Valuables: As with any beach you would visit, keep an eye on your belongings and don’t leave any valuables you may have easily visible. Over the years, there have been some reports of belongings being taken from the beach, particularly on Playa Malpaso. Don’t let this deter you from visiting that beach, just be aware.

Public Restrooms: Public restrooms are a bit hard to come by in Sayulita. There are none actually on any of the beaches that we know of. Have small denominations of cash on hand if you do plan to use one.

Okay, now we’ll dive into the beaches of Sayulita.

Playa Sayulita

Fees: None – public beach

Getting There: Playa Sayulita is easily accessible on foot from multiple points in Sayulita. If you’re driving a golf cart or car around, there is free street parking on the various streets by the beach.

Amenities: Chair & umbrella rentals, surf lessons, restaurants, lifeguards

Description: Playa Sayulita is Sayulita’s main beach. The city runs right up to it, so there are plenty of restaurants, shops, hotels, etc. right nearby.

While this stretch of sand is long, it can get quite busy and crowded, especially around the center. This is where most of the loungers and umbrellas are set up. There are many vendors selling snacks, souvenirs, and drinks and offering chairs for rent. If you want a quieter spot to relax, head towards the northeast end of the beach.

Much of the beach is soft sand, but there are some larger rocks towards either end of the beach and in the water.

We honestly didn’t hang out at this beach because it was very crowded for our liking and the vendors were quite persistent, but we did walk the length of it on our way to Playa Malpaso.

Note: Recently, visitors have mentioned issues with pollution caused by sewer leakage, resulting in murky water and a nasty smell. We wouldn’t recommend swimming at this beach if you find indication of that. In general, we wouldn’t recommend swimming right around where the Sayulita River enters the sea.

Playa Sayulita - Beaches of Sayulita
A quieter atmosphere at the far end of Playa Sayulita
A quieter atmosphere at the far end of Playa Sayulita

Playa De Los Muertos

Fees: None – public beach

Getting There: Playa De Los Muertos sits just west around the point from Playa Sayulita. You can reach it on foot or by car from the coastline road (Calle Pescadores), or from inland via Niños Heroes. There is a small dirt parking area with limited spaces just near the beach.

Amenities: Chair & umbrella rentals, limited restaurants and food/drink stalls nearby, lifeguards

Description: Playa De Los Muertos is a small beach that sits on the edge of town. It gets its name from the nearby cemetery. The beach is small and can get very busy, so we’d recommend arriving early to post up in your ideal spot if you’re planning on hanging out here for the day.

There are chairs and umbrellas available here and there are vendors selling drinks, souvenirs etc. Surrounding the beach are rocky formations and jungle, giving the beach a bit more of a calm vibe than Playa Sayulita.

When we visited, the water was calmest here. There was a roped swimming area along the shore. We enjoyed climbing around some of the rocks surrounding the beach as well.

Playa Malpaso

Fees: None – public beach

Getting There: Playa Malpaso sits between Sayulita and San Pancho and can be reached from both towns. From Sayulita, walk all the way to the far north end of Playa Sayulita where it dead ends to some rocks near Casa Kestos. There are some stairs leading up the rocks and to a trail. The path leads along the hillside high up over the shoreline and, as you walk, you’ll get pretty views over the rocky coast and Playa Malpaso.

The trail strays down into the woods away from the coastline a bit. There were a few other branching paths, so we’d recommend having offline Google Maps downloaded just in case to make sure you continue heading in the right direction. We eventually came to a steep, rocky path that led down to the south end beach.

The hike isn’t overly challenging, but doing this in the afternoon when it was so hot definitely made it feel more difficult. It only takes about 40 minutes to walk one way.

If you have a car, there are various pull-offs along Ruta 200 (Puerto Vallarta – Tepic) where you can park and walk down the paths to the beach.

Looking over Playa Malpaso from the trail
Looking over Playa Malpaso from the trail

Amenities: None –  bring drinks, shade, food, or anything else you need with you.

Description: Playa Malpaso was our probably our favorite beach in the Sayulita area. The hike over must deter people from visiting because, despite Playa Sayulita being packed, this beach only had a few other people on it.

This long stretch of sand is tucked between rocky cliffs and is lined with trees. You can relax along the tree line if looking for some shade. The area where we were swimming was sandy, and it felt great to take a dip after the hot hike over here. The current pulling away from the shore was quite strong when we were there, but it was a nice beach to swim at.

At low tide there are some cool rock formations/caves to explore at the south end of the beach. Through the cave, there’s another small beach area tucked among the rocky cliffs.

Playa Malpaso - Beaches of Sayulita

Playa Carricitos

Fees: None – public beach

Getting There: Playa Carricitos is located outside of Sayulita just west of town. Head west on Calle Niños Heroes. Again, we recommend downloading offline Google Maps for the area because there are various streets and private drives. There’s a turn down an unnamed street where you’ll continue heading west.

Eventually, you’ll reach a path that leads through a cement wall and down to the beach. The wall where the path began had signs pointing to beach access for Playa Carricitos. The trail down is steep, but short. Other than this short section of trail, most of the walk over to the beach is along a dirt road through the wooded countryside. The walk from Sayulita takes about 20-30 minutes.

If you drive, you can park along the road, then take the trail down to the beach. You may have to park a ways up from the trail. The road is narrow in sections, so just make sure you park in a safe spot that leaves plenty of room for other cars or golf carts to go by.

Start of the path down to Playa Carricitos
Start of the path down to Playa Carricitos

Amenities: None – bring drinks, shade, food, or anything else you need with you. The Teitiare Estate sits just above the beach if you’d like to stay by Playa Carricitos.

Description: Playa Carricitos was our first beach stop in Sayulita. We arrived at the beach in the morning and there was only one other person there. It does get a bit more popular in the evening, as it’s a great spot to watch the sunset.

Playa Carricitos is a mostly sandy beach lined with trees, so there are some shady spots to relax if desired. There are a lot of large boulders on the edges of the beach, which were fun to scramble on.

When we visited, the water was incredibly rough and the current pulling away from the shore was strong. So, we only waded in here on this day. But the beach was really a beautiful spot to relax for a while.

Playa Carricitos - Beaches of Sayulita

Playa Patzcuarito

Fees: None – public beach

Getting There: Playa Patzcuarito sits just south of Playa Carricitos, and requires a bit of a walk to reach as well. From the southwest side of Sayulita, walk south along Carreterra Punta de Mita for a very short ways before turning west onto Calle Patzcuarito. Follow this until you reach a trail down to the beach. There seemed to be multiple paths down before the one we took. But we headed down a path just south of Casa Mis Amores. Walk the dirt path through the jungle down to the beach. The journey takes around 30 minutes from the heart of Sayulita.

If driving, you can park along Calle Patzcuarito and walk down the path to the beach. Like at Carricitos, parking was very limited and the street was narrow in spots, so take that into account, especially if you have a full-size vehicle instead of a golf cart or bike.

Walking Sayulita's back roads
Walking Sayulita’s back roads

Amenities: None – bring drinks, shade, food, or anything else you need with you. There are some villas to stay at nearby if desired.

Description: Playa Patzcuarito has a similar vibe to Playa Carricitos, but it is larger. Like Playa Carricitos, trees line the sandy beach and there are more rocky areas around either end. The sand is a unique combination of black and gold. Being a ways outside of town, this beach is also quite quiet.

As with some of the other beaches in the area, the water can be rough. It was a little too rough for a lot of swimming when we visited, but it is a common surf spot. It’s a great beach to relax at for the day if you’re looking to escape the crowds. Just bring all you need with you since there aren’t any amenities!

If you’d like to visit another nearby beach, head even further south to Playa Patzcuaro. We didn’t visit this beach on our visit, but it looks nice and there are some cool cave/rock formations to explore at low tide.

If there are any other beaches of Sayulita to add to the list, drop them in the comments below!

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