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I visited Sayulita numerous times and can tell you all about different ways to get to this surfer town. Over the last years, Sayulita has become one of the most popular destinations in Mexico, and today it attracts travelers from all over the world.
Keep reading, if you too plan to visit Sayulita.
Where is Sayulita?
Sayulita is in the Southern part of Nayarit State on the Pacific Coast of Mexico. Located about one hour north of Puerto Vallarta, Sayulita is a designated Pueblo Magico, with plenty of charm and gorgeous views. Travelers love Sayulita’s cozy atmosphere with local restaurants, boutique shops, and small hotels.
What is Sayulita known for?
Sayulita is known as a surfing destination, but there’s so much more to this town! It boasts a beautiful colorful market (one of my favorite places in Sayulita), some less-explored beaches, and hiking trails within a quick drive. It’s easy to see why Sayulita has become an international favorite, and even though it can feel a bit too touristy and crowded, it’s full of charm and magic.
Many also say Sayulita is home to some of the best beaches in Mexico. If you are a beach bum, you don’t want to miss this place!
How far is Puerto Vallarta from Sayulita?
Sayulita is 28 miles (38 kilometers) away from Puerto Vallarta.
How long does it take to get from Puerto Vallarta to Sayulita?
It takes between 50 minutes to 1 hour from Puerto Vallarta to Sayulita depending on traffic and your type of transportation. If you take a bus, it will take you longer. Uber to Sayulita will be considerably faster than a public bus, but it will also cost more. Choose what works best for your travel plans and your budget 💵
How to get from Puerto Vallarta to Sayulita: a detailed overview
Getting from Puerto Vallarta to Sayulita by rental car
The easiest way to get to Sayulita is by renting a car. This way, you can travel at your own pace without worrying about public transportation and also visit other beach towns in Rivera Nayarit. I recommend DiscoverCars, my favorite platform for renting cars in Mexico and other countries that offers flexible rates and great inventory.
✅ You can rent a car at Puerto Vallarta Airport after landing, and drive to Sayulita. Read my complete guide to renting a car in Puerto Vallarta to avoid mistakes and save money!
Puerto Vallarta Airport to Sayulita
The drive from Puerto Vallarta Airport to Sayulita is pretty straightforward. All you need to do is exit the airport and drive under the drive to get across to another side of the highway.
Take the highway toward Bucerias, a town in Nayarit about 20 minutes north of Puerto Vallarta, where you can find many supermarkets and convenience stores. Continue north toward Sayulita and follow the signs. It’s an easy drive.
Check my complete guide to renting a car in Mexico to save money and avoid the worst tourist mistakes.
Is it safe to drive from Puerto Vallarta to Sayulita?
Yes! The drive is safe and will take you from busy Puerto Vallarta through the lush jungles on Nayarit.
Getting from Puerto Vallarta to Sayulita by private transfer
If time is short and you care about convenience, hire a private transfer from Puerto Vallarta to Sayulita. A private transfer can pick you up at the airport and drop you off at your hotel in Sayulita. It’s a good option if your Spanish skills are limited and you don’t feel comfortable getting on a public bus or haggling the price.
Why take a private transfer?
When you arrive at the airport, a driver will meet you in the arrivals area. They will hold a piece of paper with your name and typically speak at least basic English. Booking a private transfer to Sayulita is the most hassle-free option if you don’t want to deal with all the logistics and want to relax after a long flight.
Taking a private transfer is a great option for those travelers who don’t have a lot of time and want to get their hotel quickly without dealing with all of the public transportation.
Bus from Puerto Vallarta to Sayulita
You can catch a regular bus from Puerto Vallarta airport.
All you need to do is walk across the footbridge outside the Puerto Vallarta Airport, and find the bus stop. Buses to Sayulita typically have the big letters “Compostela” on them and have a sign on the windshield that says Sayulita.
How much is the bus from Puerto Vallarta to Sayulita?
The bus to Sayulita from Puerto Vallarta costs $2 USD, but be prepared for a longer drive, as these buses make frequent stops. And, while they have a set schedule, they don’t always stop at Puerto Vallarta’s airport. When you see one of these buses, just flag them down, so you don’t have to spend the next 10-15 minutes waiting for another one.
Getting from Puerto Vallarta to Sayulita by taxi
If you have traveled around Mexico, you probably noticed that not every airport allows Uber. This is also the case with Puerto Vallarta. Only licensed taxis are allowed to pick up passengers at the airport in Puerto Vallarta, which is good news for those travelers who have safety concerns.
How much is a taxi from Puerto Vallarta to Sayulita?
A taxi from Sayulita can cost anywhere between $40 to 70 USD. It can be pretty expensive if you travel by yourself, but if you have a few friends with you, you can all split the cost of the trip.
PRO TIP: Speaking Spanish will be a huge bonus if you want to take a taxi or Uber from Puerto Vallarta to Sayulita. You can haggle and lower the price and chat with your driver or ask a question. Speaking from personal experience, being able to communicate in Spanish can change your entire experience. That’s why learning Spanish is one of my top travel tips for Mexico.
Getting from Puerto Vallarta to Sayulita by Uber
Getting to Sayulita from Puerto Vallarta by Uber is cheaper, but it requires some knowledge.
For starters, not all cities in Mexico have Uber. For example, you will not find Uber in Cancun or anywhere in Quintana Roo, or many towns along the Oaxaca Coast like Puerto Escondido, Mazunte, or Bahias de Huatulco.
You can catch Uber at Puerto Vallarta’s Airport, but since Uber is not allowed to pick you up at the airport, you will need to cross the footbridge (just like when you have to take a bus), and look for an Uber stop.
How much is Uber from Puerto Vallarta to Sayulita?
Uber in Mexico is considerably cheaper than in the United States, and you will most likely spend between $25 to 40 USD on your trip to Sayulita. The downside of taking Uber is that you will have to carry all your luggage across the bridge, which is not a very convent, so it’s better to pack light.
Is it safe to take Uber in Puerto Vallarta?
Yes! Taking Uber from Puerto Vallarta to Sayulita is safe.
I know that some travelers have questions about it because of all the negative coverage Mexico gets in the news, but based on my personal experience and advice from fellow travelers, taking Uber in Mexico is much safer than taking a taxi, which is sometimes operated by professional criminals, especially in bigger cities like Mexico City and Guadalajara.
Is there Uber in Sayulita?
There’s no Uber in Sayulita, but there are plenty of taxis that can take you to many places in the region. Uber works only if you need to get outside of Sayulita to places like Bucerias, Punta Mita, or San Pancho (a neighboring town that is a perfect getaway from Sayulita).
Still, finding Uber in Sayulita is not an easy task, and if you get one, you are very lucky!
Do I need to tip my driver when taking Uber from Puerto Vallarta to Sayulita?
Whether you want to tip your Uber driver after arriving to Sayulita is up to you. Although it’s not required, you can leave a custom amount through the Uber app, or give a cash tip when you exit the vehicle.
Since Uber prices in Mexico are much lower than in the United States,Canada or Western Europe, leaving 20-30 Pesos for your driver is a great idea.
✅ Read my complete guide to tipping in Mexico to know how much you should leave in gratuities.
Puerto Vallarta to Sayulita with a guided tour
If you are spending your vacation in Puerto Vallarta, but still want to visit Sayulita, join a guided tour. This is a perfect option if you want to spend no more than a day in Sayulita, but don’t have a care rental and don’t want to deal with public transportation.
How to get from Puerto Vallarta Airport to Sayulita?
The best way to get from Puerto Vallarta to Sayulita is by renting a car. Another option is to catch a taxi (which would be the most expensive option for a one-way trip to Sayulita) or get an Uber.
How to get from downtown Puerto Vallarta to Sayulita?
The easiest way to get from downtown Puerto Vallarta to Sayulita is by taking an Uber. This will cost you more than taking a public bus, but it will be much faster. Since Uber is allowed in Puerto Vallarta, your Uber driver can pick you up right outside of your hotel.
Tips for traveling to Sayulita:
- Carry cash – Whenever you travel around Mexico, always carry cash with you. This is one of my top tips for Mexico travel. Many stores, restaurants, and street vendors only accept cash.
- Learn some Spanish – Speaking Spanish is a game changer for your trip to Sayulita! When you speak the language, it’s much easier to communicate, buy tours, book hotels and do many other things.
- Slow down for topes – Topes are speed bumps that are very common on many roads in Mexico. They can be tall and if you hit them at full speed, you can damage your car.
- Have your documents ready – checkpoints are not uncommon on Mexico’s roads. Always have your documents ready in case you get stopped.
- Stop for some fresh fruit and roadside snacks (yum) – Don’t forget to stop for some yummy treats and fresh fruits that are sold on the side of the road around many towns in Mexico.
Puerto Vallarta to Sayulita: FAQ’s
Can I fly to Sayulita?
No. Sayulita doesn’t have an airport. The closest airport to Sayulita is Puerto Vallarta International Airport (PVR). Most people go Sayulita via Puerto Vallarta which has flights from the United States, and Canada and domestic flights from Mexico.
Do I need a car in Sayulita?
No, you don’t need a car to get around Sayulita.
It’s a small town, and parking is somewhat limited, especially during the high season. While I recommend renting a car in Puerto Vallarta to explore the coast of Nayarit beyond Sayulita, you can easily explore this colorful pueblo by walking around.
Even if you stay in one of the most far-flung hotels in Sayulita, it will take you no more than 15 minutes to reach downtown on foot. If you like to get around faster, rent a golf cart.
What’s the cheapest way to get from Puerto Vallarta to Sayulita?
The cheapest way to get to Sayulita is by bus. This is also the slowest way, as the bus makes many stops, so if you have a limited time, taking a bus might not be the best option.
Where to stay in Sayulita?
Sayulita is a popular destination with backpackers and budget travelers. Unlike Puerto Vallarta and Punta Mita, it doesn’t have luxury hotels or resorts. Most hotels in Sayulita are boutique-style, guest houses or villas that can be rented for a long-term stay. There are also some good hostels like Selina, which organize events and daily outings for its guests.
Is Sayulita worth visiting?
Yes! Sayulita is worth a stop on your Mexico itinerary.
While it has been discovered, Sayulita remains one of the most popular destinations in Mexico, with many travelers spending days and weeks in this pueblo. Sayulita is also a great starting point for your adventures in Nayarit, one of the most beautiful states in Mexico with many untouched beaches and a gorgeous coastline.
Getting from Puerto Vallarta to Sayulita: final thoughts
The best way to get around depends on your budget, available time, and personal preferences.
If you are a backpacker with a lot of time on your hands, a bus is the most economical option. If you want comfort and quick drive, you should choose a private transfer, and, if you want to visit other places along the coast of Nayarit after stopping in Sayulita, renting a car is your best option.
I hope this article helped you to choose the transportation, but if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to let me know in the comments!