The Sayulita surfing guide identifies the top 10 surf locations near Banderas Bay and Puerto Vallarta. We divided the locations into groups North, Middle, and Southern as per the map below.
Banderas Bay is full of beautiful sandy beaches and great locations for surfing. But the real surf action is all on the northside of the bay, beyond Bucerias in places like Lo de Marcos and Sayulita.
Warm water, a variety of surf breaks, and gentle winds offshore usually make the Punta de Mita area an ideal surf destination.
You’ll find over 20 breaks from Bucerias to the end of the point. Take your choice from zippy little reefs to the perfect point breaks to fun beach breaks.
North Surf Locations
Referencing the above map, there are 4 great surfing locations to the north, Chacala, Lo De Marcos, San Pancho, and Sayulita.
Surfing in Sayulita is a classic, regardless of its tide, and offers excellent waves for both surfing with a short or longboard, and has hosted the Stand Up Paddle World Championships in 2015.
Sayulita is known for its friendlier surf breaks. There are two surf spots in the area; a right (longboard) break in front of the village and a left (faster) break in front of the campground (north).
Surfboard rentals can be found at a variety of locations on the beach, with plenty of surf shops to choose from.
If you are learning to surf, then the waves of Sayulita are excellent because they are not too big, fast, or heavy. Sayulita consists mainly of exposed and beach break conditions, as well as a left reef break. The surf here is relatively consistent.
Sayulita Surfing Lessons
If you hit it right, the south end of the main beach at Chacala offers a rideable barrel (left and right). Typically only available at the beginning and at the end of a swell period. It is not so good at a peak swell because they close out quickly onto the sandy bottom.
This is a great place for beginners and always good for boogie boarders.
Lo De Marcos
The surf break at Lo De Marcos can range from lake calm to large angry breakers. The southern end of the beach, close to the peninsula is suitable for surfing. It’s not uncommon for the local kids to show up with their boards after school.
Most of the surf breaks at Lo De Marcos are large breakers that crash quickly and produce a long, strong churn. It is very suitable for boogie boarding by people of all ages.
San Pancho (San Francisco)
San Pancho has fairly consistent open reef surfing conditions, as well as left reef breaks. San Pancho is 10 minutes north of Sayulita off Highway 200.
You can catch point breaks off the headland at either end of the beach. There is a beach break in front of the lagoon closest to town. Try to always remember the strong undertow.
Middle Surf Locations ( around Punta de Mita)
El Anclote is a longboarder-friendly surf and for beginners. You can get there by following Highway 200 North past Bucerías and taking the Punta Mita – La Cruz exit left. There you drive west past La Cruz de Huanacaxtle until you get to Punta Mita. Follow El Anclote Av. (Avenida El Anclote) and park in the restaurant area.
This beach is recommended for beginners and excellent for practicing longboarding with a slow and gentle swell.
La Lancha offers both an ideal place for beginners to learn to surf as well as fun waves for experienced surfers. The vibe on the beach is always laid back and peaceful, attracting local surfers, visitors, and local families just looking to picnic on the beach. This spot features a right reef break.
El Faro (The Lighthouse) is a point and reef break with very reliable surfing conditions. Once you get to El Anclote you can walk along the beach some 10-15 minutes to the area in front of the Four Seasons Resort or hire a panga to sail you there. W and NW swells wrap in and create lined-up perfection. These range from slow peeling waves for 75-100 yards on smaller swells to hollow, barreling waves that will get your heart pumping on medium to large swells.
South Surf Locations ( south of Punta Mita)
Getting to Punta Burros is not that obvious. You drive north of Puerto Vallarta and take the road that goes to Punta Mita/La Cruz. Once you get to the Palladium Vallarta Resort (ex-Viva Vallarta) drive to the resort and before the gate, you’ll see a dirt road going off to the left. Park in this area and walk/hike to the beach.
Punta Burros is a reef break that’s most consistent in the winter months. Burros can sometimes be crowded.
The most popular point to surf, located south of Punta Mita and easy access to the beach, its waves allow surfing with either short or longboard. Here you can surf practically all year round.
Veneros offers a well-shaped slow-rolling reef break. It is a nice wave but can be difficult to predict when it is working. To get to Veneros, take the coastal highway north toward Punta de Mita, past La Cruz and Destiladeras.
At kilometer 8, you’ll find a trail just before the Costa Banderas Development Park. Follow the trail through the jungle until you hit the beach.
Another popular beach located south of Punta Mita, perfect for shortboard practice but you will also find longboards.
A small village in Cabo Corrientes, south of Puerto Vallarta, there is no access by land, so the only way to get there is by water taxi (panga), home of some of the best surfing in the area.
Quimixto is a spot that has a beach break, unlike the rest of Banderas Bay, it is most consistent in the summer months. Quimixto offers both lefts and rights and is remote enough that it’s rarely crowded.
To get to Quimixto, take a water taxi from Boca de Tomatlan or the “Los Muertos” pier. Water taxi operators in this area are accustomed to surfers.
To the south of Puerto Vallarta, there is a small town named Cabo Corrientes. It is one of the few beaches on the Bay of Banderas that has no access by land and can only be reached with pangas (water taxis). Quimixto has beach breakers that are more reliable in the summer months. Because it is not very easy to get there, there is a lot less competition for the waves.