The closest airport to Sayulita is Puerto Vallarta International Airport, with direct flights from most important Mexican cities, major US gateways and even some European cities. One-stop services from the United States are available from hundreds of smaller airports throughout the country. Even when Puerto Vallarta Airport is the most convenient point to fly when visiting Sayulita, it is often very pricy, especially during high season. A good option if you want to save a few hundred of dollars is to fly to Guadalajara, Jalisco State capital city, and from there drive to Puerto Vallarta. The road is in excellent shape and it is very safe, the last 20 miles are a little bit winding, but nothing that you have not found back home. In Guadalajara, there are a number of car rental companies specialized in servicing people that do this trip. Veico Car Rental targets this market, they have good cars and speak English.
Sayulita is located 21 miles north of Puerto Vallarta on a two-lane highway. You can take a bus or a taxi from the Puerto Vallarta airport. If you cross the pedestrian sky bridge over the highway, the taxis are cheaper on the other side, as they do not have to pay the airport tax. It takes 50 minutes to 1 hour to arrive depending upon traffic conditions. The buses are safe and cheap, about 35 pesos! Look for the bus that says Compostela on the side. It should also have Sayulita written on the front window as one of the destinations. It takes a little over an hour to get to Sayulita on the bus, and it's an exotic ride through lush jungle. Buses run every 20 minutes on the hour beginning at 6:00 in the morning until the last one leaves Sayulita at 9:20 pm. Please keep in mind this is a commuter bus, and there are no luggage racks, or places to put your surfboard. If you are traveling light, with just a backpack, the bus is for you! Please be polite and do not put your luggage on the seats, keep it on your lap and save the seats for passengers. The bus driver may charge you extra if you have a lot of baggage.
If you are staying in the main part of town, nearly everything is walkable. However, there are some very steep hills so you may wish to rent a golf cart which you can also find on SayulitaLife.com on the transportation page. You may want a rental car if you are staying more than a mile or two from the center of town, however keep in mind this is a busy town with lots of people, restaurants with tables on the streets and parking can be very difficult especially on weekends. It's also fun to rent some wheels and see the surrounding beaches and jungle.
Getting back and forth between Puerto Vallarta and Sayulita -- and any point in between -- is dead easy, and very cheap. If you are in Sayulita, just go/walk to the bus station (terminal de autobuses Sayulita) on Av. Revolucion (the main road into/out of town). Buses leave every 15 mins, and follow the main highway (HWY 200) between Sayulita-Bucerias-Mezcales-Puerto Vallarta International Airport-Las Glorias. The bus driver will stop anywhere you want to stop and get out. To come back, just be on the other side of the road/highway, and flag down any bus with "Sayulita" showing on the front window (you can also ask the driver where to pick up the return bus before you get out). Cheap like borscht. As of Oct 2020, Sayulita to Bucerias is 25 pesos. All the way to Las Glorias is 50 pesos.
The nearest big grocery store is called "MEGA" (a Walmart-kind of store) and is in Bucerias. The bus (as described in the previous paragraph) stops right at the Mega. The pickup to come back to Sayulita is right there as well. Price as of Oct 2020 = 25 pesos. It takes about 40 mins each way on the bus.
The bus (as described above) can also be used to go to Puerto Vallarta International Airport, if you have limited baggage (e.g., carry-on only, or backpacks). There is no "luggage area" per se, so any luggage you have has to be crammed into your seat somehow. The bus stops right at the entrance to the airport within 1 mins walk of the door. Pick up is on the other side of the highway, if you are arriving in Puerto Vallarta Airport. Very cheap. As of Oct 2020, Sayulita to airport = 40 pesos. The trip takes about 1 hr +/- from Sayulita to the airport.
Sayulita is a natural beauty. It still has plenty of virgin jungle for hiking. You will also find several different hidden beaches as you travel the dirt roads deeper into the jungle. You can rent ATVs and/or horses for jungle tours and the jungle roads are great for mountain biking. There are new trails for hiking and mountain biking, and you can now rent mountain bikes in town.
Rent kayaks to explore the ocean or hire a panga boat to take you whale watching (November through January).
Experience the economic diversity of the Bahia de Banderas while giving back to its Mexican communities. A local nonprofit called Investours offers socially responsible microfinance tours in Sayulita and its surrounding communities.
Surfing Sayulita is an excellent, tranquil place for new surfers to learn the sport. The beach is shallow and you can reach the bottom even fifty meters away from the shore. The bottom of the beginner section is sandy and mostly safe. This makes it easy to get back to the place the waves break and allows more efficient learning. The beach also has a more demanding, rockier section, but it is quite hard to get there by accident. The waves are rather small and easy for beginners (at least in January through March).
There are a couple of other beaches that are more 'local', if you're up for minor adventure scout out the other beaches around town.
Plenty of shops with tourist things and local art.
Huichol Indians sell their handcrafted wares in the plaza daily. The true find: some of the best Huichol art in Mexico in the museum store Galeria Tanana on Avenida Palmar.
You can find food for all tastes and budgets in Sayulita, from delicious street tacos to fine dining restaurants with white linen tablecloths. You can also find authentic Italian food as well as other types of fusion cuisine. There are 40 or more restaurants in town even though it is a small town. Try the street side taco stand vendors for some great fare and cheap eats.
Go to one of the grocery stores off of the main square to get cervezas, then return your bottles for deposit returns. There are margaritas the size of your head available at El Costeno's, which is located right on the beach, straight down from the plaza. Or stay in the plaza and visit Sayulita Public House for the best hamburger in town, and a huge selection of beer, then head up to Don Patos bar to listen to live music any night of the week.
If you are looking for a more upscale establishment, try Don Pedro's (also on the beach) or head to the plaza and check out Miro Vino or Calypso. Plaza Papellilo has Leda Italian restaurant for fine dining, and also in the same plaza you will find La Vega Cuban Cigars and Rum lounge which has A/C and great rum and cigar pairings. There are many shops and boutiques here as well as new lodging upstairs in the Papellilo lofts.
There are several affordable options for accommodation if you want to stay in hostels. The town center is just a couple blocks in size but you should plan accommodations ahead of time as Sayulita grows in popularity and many travelers have already discovered it. The campgrounds in Sayulita are considered to be among the best in Mexico and are famous word of mouth lore passed among seasoned travelers.
There are several hostels with dorm beds ~$200-300(Nov.15). You can find hostels, B&Bs and budget friendly accommodations on www.sayulitalife.com/sayulita-hostels.
If you want something more upscale, try the custom search on SayulitaLife, where you can search by dates, number of bedrooms, price range, location and other desired amenities, such as pool, wifi, or ocean view. You can find private villas with a staff or casitas in someone's back yard, to small properties with multiple guest rooms.