Sayulita has been on the map as a surf destination for quite some time, but just a few miles south is a quiet fishing-village-turned-resort town with waves aplenty.
Located on Mexico’s Pacific coast, Punta de Mita is situated on a small peninsula on the Banderas Bay, offering gentle surf and stunning views of the Marieta Islands. Surrounded by nine and half miles of coastline, Punta de Mita has a number of upscale resorts and fancy restaurants for luxury travelers and plenty of surf, snorkeling, hiking, and fishing for adventure seekers.
Often referred to as the “Mexican Malibu,” this best-of-both-worlds destination still remains under the radar but with its friendly people, warm weather, good food, and year-round surf, it likely won’t stay that way for long.
Regardless of where you’re coming from, you’ll fly into Puerto Vallarta Airport (PVR). From there, it’s about a 45-minute drive to Punta Mita. If you plan on taking a taxi, avoid accepting an offer the second you step off the tarmac. Instead, once you exit the airport, cross over the bridge and pick up a ride from there (you’ll pay roughly $30). Another option is to take the public bus – it drops you off a few minutes walk from the beach in Mita and will only cost you $1.50.
Where to Stay
When it comes to accommodations, Punta Mita has everything from 5-star resorts to funky Airbnb’s. While the resorts are excessively overpriced, there are some nice hotels in the Anlcote area that are available for a reasonable price. Our top pick is Meson de Mita, a beachfront hotel located minutes from the two main surf breaks in town. Rooms are basic but the property is beautiful, with funky chairs and hammocks surrounding the lounge and pool area.
Most people rent cars when they visit the area but if you’re looking to save a dime, the public transportation system is quite reliable. Buses run every fifteen minutes during the day and include stops in all of the neighboring towns. Taxis are also readily available and Uber has found its way to the area as well. Another option is renting a golf cart or motorbike if you’re just looking to cruise locally.
When to Visit
Although Punta de Mita experiences warm weather year-round, there is an annual wet season from June to September, with September being the wettest month. During the wet season, tourism drops and the town is much quieter, with some restaurants and hotels closing down for the low season. Tourism peaks from January to March due to the warm, dry days. Surf can be found in the area all year long, but waves tend to be bigger during the winter months and smaller during the summer.
Here’s how we recommend spending 48 hours in this quaint little Mexican beach town.
8 a.m. – Grab a quick breakfast at Turqoise Café & Deli. Turquoise is a local spot with good eats at an even better price. Food is made to order and scrambled eggs on a baguette is one of their specialties.
9 a.m. – Catch the bus to WildMex, a surf shop located directly across from the trailhead to La Lancha. Check the surf report with the staff and pick out your board for the day – longboard, foamie, SUP, or shortboard, they’ve got you covered.
10 a.m. – Surf your brains out at La Lancha. This is one of the more consistent waves in the area and is a mellow reef break. It offers a good right for longboarding and when there’s swell, a good left for shortboards. The spot works at all tides and swell directions, but be careful to avoid exposed rocks during the low tide.
1 p.m. – Refuel with lunch at Makai Restaurant, located across the street from the trailhead to La Lancha. Smoothie, salad, or tostada, you really can’t go wrong.
2 p.m. – Relax poolside or take some time to explore the town. Punta Mita isn’t big but there are a few fun shops with souvenirs and artwork on display. Be sure and check out some of the Huichol art, a traditional art form that typically consists of small figurines decorated in bright, colorful beads.
4 p.m. – Head to your room and swap your beach gear for hiking gear. Wear lightweight clothing and pack plenty of water and some snacks.
4:30 p.m. – Head to Monkey Mountain for a sunset hike. Monkey Mountain is one of the most distinguishing features in the area and the 3-mile hike offers panoramic views of the Banderas Bay. Go it alone if you wish or join WildMex for a guided hike – 100% of profits go toward building and maintaining local trails.
8:30 p.m. – Treat yourself to a late dinner at Si Senor, located directly below the hotel. The open-air restaurant offers million-dollar views of the local Anclote break. Enjoy the aftermath of the sunset and the warm evening air while sipping on cervazas, margaritas, and homemade guacamole. While everything on the menu is delicious, the catch of the day can’t be beat.
10 p.m. – Time to catch some zzz’s, you’ve got another big day ahead of you.
9 a.m. – Start your day with a quick breakfast and coffee from El Cafecito de Mita. The coffeehouse is located a stone’s throw from Meson de Mita and will give you a taste of home with their fancy coffees, smoothies, and avocado toast.
While it’s definitely possible to pre-book online, your best bet is to find a boat going out the day of for a better price. Simply walk down the main street and you’ll get flagged down by a number of companies – practice your bartering skills and negotiate a price that is agreeable to both parties.
1:30 p.m. – Enjoy lunch at a nameless hole-in-the-wall that offers fresh, local food. Located directly next to Restaurant La Cabana, this colorful, family-owned joint makes the best tortas in town, at an even better price.
3 p.m. – Head to Stinky’s for a final surf session. Located next to the harbor, this spot offers long, rolling rights, making it ideal for beginners, longboading, and SUP surfing. Be sure and use caution at low tide and keep an eye out for exposed rocks. If you need a board, grab one from Stinky’s Surf School on the beach.
5 p.m. – Head back to the hotel to pack your bags and clean up for your final dinner in town.
5:30 p.m. – Wrap up your epic weekend at the best restaurant in town: Vista Marietas. Vista Marieta is the hidden gem of Mita – it’s beachfront with a stunning view of the islands. While many of the beachfront restaurants are often filled with tourists, this family-run joint consistently remains quiet and there’s a good chance you’ll have the place entirely to yourselves. Everything on the menu is delicious, but the Pescado Veracruz is out of this world.
7 p.m. – Head to the airport with a full belly, tan lines, and a pocket full of memories.
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