Surfing Nayarit Mexico
Located in western Mexico on the Pacific Ocean, the State of Nayarit is an extremely scenic area, with lush tropical jungles, mangroves and deciduous forests lining the coast.
Mostly undeveloped, the coastline of Nayarit has attracted hardcore surfers since the late ‘60s. For those early surf pioneers, the chance of scoring an epic session at San Blas, known as being the longest right in the world, was worth the suffering inflicted by the “jejenes” (local sand flies) & mosquitoes.
But things have changed with the fast rise of Puerto Vallarta, once a tiny fishing village in the neighboring state of Jalisco, now attracting 500,000 tourists each year and boats (literally) full of people.
Mexico’s Riviera Nayarit spans 100 miles of pristine coastline, from Nuevo Vallarta all the way to San Blas. The highest concentration of quality surf spots in this region is around the Northern tip of the Bay of Banderas—not banditos—there are over a dozen pristine surf breaks with crystal clear tropical water within easy striking distance.
One of the most popular events of surf in Riviera Nayarit is organized in Sayulita amid of March, where the surfers from all over the world arrive to the coast of the Pacific seeking the best waves. For those who want to incursion in surfing during the holidays, several places teach to dominate the waves in short or long board and in stand-up paddle board.
Surfing Specifics Nayarit Mexico
Surfing in Nayarit is such an overwhelming experience. Some of the most famous spots for surfing in Riviera Nayarit are:
- The Cove
- El Faro
- El Anclote
- Punta de Mita
- La Lancha
- Punta Burros
At the south of El Anclote; Sayulita, at the north of El Anclote; Los Veneros (or Dinosaurs), Las Albercas, Las Playas and others.
In San Francisco surf can be strong with powerful currents—other places are La Caleta, reached in boat from Chacala, The Bay of Matanchen, famous for its manageable and long waves and Las Rocas, to the north of the same bay and Lolas—at the north of San Blas.
Surfing Punta de Mita Mexico
In the heart of the Riviera, Punta de Mita is an impressive 1,500-acre pear-shaped peninsula surrounded by the Pacific on three sides—and home to one of the most awe-inspiring coastlines in the entire country.
The villas and resorts that have sprung up along these golden shores are nothing short of spectacular, and offer visitors an elite combination of championship golf, trophy game fishing, gourmet dining, and top-drawer service in an extraordinary setting.
At the same time, all the development of this region has created access complications to the surf breaks, making it very difficult to access the majority of the breaks by car.
It is necessary to utilize the panga boats as the everyday transportation from your accommodations to the surf spots, with overland transportation a secondary option when necessary to access the few breaks outside the bay that depends on swell conditions.
The surf in this region of Mexico is generally 1/2 to 1/3 the size on South swells of more powerful breaks to the South such as Pascuales, Nexpa, or Puerto Escondido.
For average surfers, long boarders and SUP this is welcome news considering mainland Mexico’s surf can reach 20-30ft at the most exposed spots. It is unusual to see surf over 6-8ft face heights in this region.
What is lost in size is compensated for in quality, the spots inside the bay well protected and offshore in the dominant afternoon Westerlies.
The SW swells are most common from April to October and the WNW swells from December to March. Tropical swells from storms passing to the West provide another source of swell from June-October. Overall the surf is very consistent for long boarding and SUP and less consistent for short boarding. For this reason, this is a great destination for long boarders, SUP, beginners and intermediates, while potentially disappointing Alpha short boarders seeking larger, hollower surf on a daily basis, although it is possible to luck into some bigger surf maybe 60 days of the year or less.
The breaks in this region are a mix of coral reef and rock bottom with a few beach breaks. There are both right and left breaks, but rights are dominant by about 2 to 1. A-frame peaks, long walls, rippable sections, and perfect lines are typical of this region, not so much big tubes, but there are opportunities to get barreled including a few ledges and reefs. The dry season is from November to April and the wet season is from May to October, although both can be lovely. The dry season is cooler and less humid, while sultrier tropical weather prevails in the wet season.
Surfing La Caleta Mexico
La Caleta is just north (some 2 miles) along the coast from Chacala Beach and some 8 miles from Las Varas, Nayarit. On good days La Caleta offers waves that are the length of a football field, as well as being situated to hold any size of swell.
The bigger it gets, the cleaner the ride. Caleta is well known by surfers all over Mexico, and slowly also the rest of the surfing world!
You can get there by panga, it’s a short trip from the little marina in Chacala, by land you’ll need a 4 wheel-drive vehicle (rough terrain) and if you’re very energetic, as some of the younger local surfers, you can walk through the jungle, though it is a fairly long hike, at least an hour, carrying your board, so think it over before you start off.
From La Caleta, 400 yards to the South, toward Chacala Beach is yet another break, called Colorine, and this is one of the best wave rides in Nayarit, another left with fast waves over fairly shallow water.
When To Go Surfing Nayarit
The state of Nayarit receives consistent, reliable swells most of the year. Winter (November-March) is the best season for Banderas Bay, when W and NW Aleutian swells will wrap into the bay, losing some size but cleaning-up with the northerly off-shores.
Occasional W swells will provide the biggest conditions on most spots. The summer surf season will start after the transition months of March and April, which are usually windier than the rest of the year. South Pacific activity and seasonal hurricanes push-in long period swells from SW to S directions, although Nayarit seems to lack a bit of size and power compared to southern Mexican states.
For northern breaks, summer is a more consistent time than winter, with regular swell in the 4-8ft (1.2-2.5m) range and excellent direction for the lefthand breaks north of Punta de Mita. Northerly winds prevail in the winter season before progressively shifting to a W-NW direction that will continue all summer. The tidal range hovers around 3ft (1m) and there are usually 2 tides daily.
|dominant swell||NW –NW||NW –SW||NW –SW||NW –W||NW –W||NW –NW|
|swell size (ft)||3||3-4||4||5||4-5||3-4|
|dominant wind||NW –N||W –N||W –NW||W –NW||W –N||NW –NE|
|water temp (C)||23||23||25||28||28||26|
Let’s check it . . .
Weather Nayarit Mexico
Located right under the Tropic of Cancer, Nayarit is blessed with warm temperatures year-round. Abundant rains in the summer, mixed with intense sunshine, regularly take temperatures beyond 30°C (86°F).
The mountains generate cooler breezes at night, making the climate more bearable than further south. The tropical rainy season starts mid-June and stretches to the end of October bringing heavy rain and humidity, particularly in August and September.
Winter sees daytime temperatures around 27°C (80°F), but nights get cooler, down to 15°C (59°F). Hurricane Kenna’s hit this coast in October 2002 – the first in 74 years. Hurricanes usually stay out at sea, tracking northwest towards Baja, or west towards Hawaii. Water temps range from 28°C (82°F) in the summer down to 22°C (73°F) in the winter, when a spring suit is advisable.
Nature, Hazards & Hints
Sayulita is a laid-back city. San Blas is Nayarit’s tourism centre and starting point for jungle river boating to La Tovara springs. Check out remote beaches, or snorkel/dive around Islas Marietas. Along the Malecón (downtown PV), a strip of restaurants, bars and clubs will provide all night entertainment.
Unlike other Mexican breaks of bone-crushing fame, these are more adapted to intermediate level surfers. Locals don’t always see the influx of surfers positively, but crowd levels are low on spots requiring a boat. San Blas surroundings are infested with jejenes (tiny sand gnats) that come out at night and provoke intense itching.
Avoid Puerto Vallarta’s polluted waters. Recommended quiver includes a longboard or fish rather than a gun. Equipment and rentals are available at Coral Reef Surf Shop in Bucerias or Acción Tropical Surf Shop in La Cruz de Huanacaxtle. Puerto Vallarta (Jalisco State) is 1h ahead of Sayulita and Punta de Mita (Nayarit).
Getting To Nayarit Mexico
Flying to the Riviera Nayarit is easy and convenient for national and international travelers.
The Tepic International Airport and the Puerto Vallarta International Airport both await you with exceptional customer service and all the amenities required that ensure your arrival and departure will be pleasant experience.
The Tepic International Airport (TPQ) is located just 1 hour east of the resort coastal area of San Blas in Riviera Nayarit, Mexico’s Pacific Coast’s oldest sea port.
Puerto Vallarta International Airport (PVR) is located just 10 – 15 minutes from Riviera Nayarit’s southern most resort areas of Nuevo Vallarta/Flamingos, 30 minutes from the resorts of Punta Mita, and Litibu, and approximately 1 hour from the area of Guayabitos.
With both National and International arrivals, this modern facility offers much for the traveler.
Where to Stay in Nayarit Mexico
If I was going to Nayarit I think I would choose this place to stay out of all of the different options. There’s only 3 rooms so you need to make sure you make your reservation ahead of time.
Bungalows Unelma looks amazing. Private, every room comes with a outdoor kitchen and there’s a beautiful garden to chill in. From the reviews that I’ve read it also seems to be a real well kept place (very clean) and the back gate heads straight to the ocean 🙂 Trying to pick one good photo to post was hard because there was so many to choose from! This place is beautiful!
Trip Advisor reviews include: “Ideal hideaway on the beach” and “Private Paradise”
#1 of 8 Hotels in Sayulita Mexico and a Certificate of Excellence on Trip Advisor . This place seems really really nice but is probably really really expensive. They do offer discounts like the “Summer Romance Special” though. I wonder if that counts for bromances?
Reviews include: “Magical is not too strong a word for this place” and “Hidden Paradise A great place to shipwreck away from the rat race of life.”
Hotel Eden Sayulita
If you’re just looking for a good place to crash that won’t put you in the poor house then this is the place for you!! And there’s a surf shop right next door!
Trip Advisor reviews include- “Good clean hotel” and “Nice place for the money!”
Food in Nayarit
Hey Cocina Nayarit
Tiny little place with some yummy Mexican food and fish 🙂
Trip Advisor reviews include: “HEY!! This restaurant is a gem!!” and “Love this place, cute off the beaten track”
Not in the mood for tacos? Try Orangy, they serve juices, smoothies, healthy snacks and “power bowls”.
Trip Advisor reviews include: “Beautiful people, Beautiful food :)” and “Refreshing and Welcoming!”
Casa Del Pintor- Punta de Mita
This place is off the beach so it’s more affordable. Apparently their chilaquiles are to die for and there’s a cat named “Midnight” running around that everyone loves!
Trip Advisor reviews include: “Good value, Nice ambiance” and “Great little bar restaurant”
Surf Camps Nayarit Mexico
Stoners Surf Camp Nayarit Mexico
Stoners Surf Camp is located in San Blas Nayarit, Mexico!
Surfing being the most popular inquire at Stoners Surf Camp where beginners to advanced surfers can find gratitude in 7 different surf spots ranging from front cabin beach breaks to minuets away point breaks. Stoners Surf Camp gets its name from renowned photographer Ron Stoner, who surfed and captured this now called “Stoners” surf break that has been ridden by surfers all over the world.
Stoners Surf Camp is owned by former Mexican surf champion Jose Manuel Cano “Pompis” who has traveled to many countries making surfing a big part of his life. Pompis being the main instructor at the camp makes certain your ambition for surfing is strongly met and strides to comfort and guide each and every guest.
Lunazul Surfschool & Shop is a family business located on the main beach in Sayulita, Mexico. They provide surf lessons, organize surf camps and have the broadest selection of surfboards and paddle boards for rent in Sayulita and Punta de Mita. Friendly staff, the best location and excellent surf instructors are but only a few things that set them apart from their competitors.
WildMex Surf and Adventure
WildMex looks pretty legit. They have everything from transportation to boards to wet suits to lessons and they even have insurance! So you know you’re covered. “If you are staying in Punta de Mita, Nuevo Vallarta or Puerto Vallarta and Sayulita Surf. Lessons interests you, do not worry we pick you up and returned at the end of the lesson.”
Things to do in Nayarit Mexico
Splash of Glass
Splash of Glass is located on the corner of Lazaro Cardenas and Calle Morelos in the beautiful town of Bucerias. They offer classes in lamp work beads, beginning stained glass, fused glass, sun catchers, fused glass jewelry, and glass mosaics! They also carry many beautiful products handmade right there in Mexico. On a hot summer day if you need a break and want to get inside this is place to do it.
Rancho Manuel is located in Sayulita, Mexico. The owners Manuel and Adalberto offer guided horse and boat tours. Apparently they are two of the nicest people you will ever meet!
“Manuel is a real character with enough charm for 10 men!” and Adalberto has been known to go out of his way to make these tours spectacular especially for children. If you have some spare time and you’re in the area I would definitely check out Rancho Manuel!
Punta Mita Expeditions
Located in the Punta Mita resort Punta Mita Expeditions offers Marine Safari, Stand Up Paddleboarding, Surf, Scuba Diving, Whale Watching, Snorkeling, Kayaking, Hookah Diving, Wild Dolphins Adventure and much more! “Booking was simple and they were responsive, all of the gear worked great, and their whole crew were fun to be around.”