Sayulita earns its reputation as a charming surf town along the impressive coastline of Nayarit. The town itself is quite alluring, tempting those who visit to stay longer than intended. However, the beach can be a bit crowded at times and there has been some debate regarding the cleanliness of the ocean. Here is a list of six splendid beaches to enjoy and explore near Sayulita.

San Francisco (San Pancho)

Sayulita’s less developed neighbor to the north retains a small town feel with friendly locals and a tranquil vibe. The long golden beach is less crowded than Sayulita and offers spectacular sunsets. Although there are restaurants to quell your afternoon craving for ceviche and margaritas, they remain unobtrusive in the attractive landscape. During the season sunsets are complimented by the release of baby sea turtles.

*If you are feeling adventurous, you can hike to San Pancho via Playa Malpasos. Don’t forget to bring lots of water.


Chacala is a small, sleepy town whose beautiful beach is set in a cove. There are numerous palapa restaurants on the beach to enjoy reasonably priced seafood with your feet in the sand..

*If you are taking the bus (about an hour journey, 70 pesos), it will drop you off on the main road which is 9km from town. From there hop in a collectivo to the beach. Hitching is also a common way to get to Chacala from the main road.

Las Cuevas & Malpasos

Playas Las Cuevas & Playa Malpasos were my favorite escapes from Sayulita. The rock formations of Las Cuevas showcase the infamous beauty of the Pacific coast and provide a serene place to spend an afternoon. If the tide allows, it is easy to walk through the passage in the rocks between Las Cuevas and Malpasos.

*Bring food and water as there are absolutely no facilities on this virgin beach. Exercise extreme caution when swimming. This beach is notorious for its rip currents.


Just past crowded Playa Los Muertos lies pristine Playa Carricitos. The sand is soft, the ocean is wild, and the rocks at each end accentuate its magnetic beauty. There is a reasonable amount of shade to relax under the ever so seductive private residence.


Arriving at Playa Escondida is a bit like discovering paradise. After walking down a lush green path the beach appears with its black and golden sand mixed below your feet. As you walk to the south end the sand changes to gold and a rocky vista appears. Continue past the rocks to drool over dreamy beach houses and savor the remarkable view. Miraculously, I never saw more than a handful of people on the entire beach.

*Bring water and food as there are no facilities.


La Lancha stole my heart with its soft sugary sand and cerulean seas. The beach is also adored by those learning to surf. The north end of the beach has caves beyond which lie another stretch of sand if you are searching for solitude. The south end of the beach has cliffs adorned with cacti and more stunning views.

*Buy food and water before arriving. La Lancha Surf Cafe across the street has your smoothie and coffee needs covered.