On my recent trip to Mexico I set out to discover hidden gems and lesser-known treasures, and Playa de los Muertos in Sayulita fit the bill perfectly.
After a busy few days of learning to surf, exploring the main beach and checking out the vibrant nightlife, I was in search of some more relaxing things to do in Sayulita.
Our befriended hotel bartender suggested we check out Playa de los Muertos, or “Beach of the Dead”. While it sounds a little morbid at first, after we arrived at this secluded beach I realized a couple things.
Not only is this beach perfect because it’s the definition of ‘hidden paradise’, but the journey to get there is just as beautiful.
I highly recommend you check out this piece of paradise on your next trip to Sayulita, so here’s my journey to finding Playa de los Muertos.
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Why You Need to Go
The main beach in Sayulita is very busy and touristy. In fact, all of Sayulita is quite overrun with tourists now. Despite this, it has somehow held on to its friendly, fun and traditional charm.
Nonetheless, Sayulita is well-known for surfing, and is especially a great place to learn how to surf. On your first day here you’ll see tons of people giving it their best shot.
You will also notice there are tons of restaurants and vendors all over the beach.
As I’ve enjoyed many trips to Mexico, I’m used to locals selling trinkets or food items on the beach, but it seemed much more prevalent here.
After 2 or 3 days of learning how to surf (resulting in sore muscles) and becoming consumed by the crowds, some peace and quiet is a welcome relief.
Not only did we find our own little cove and had it all to ourselves, we didn’t encounter any beach vendors, either.
Here, it’s more of a local crowd, so if you’re looking to get a little more off the beaten track on your Mexico vacation, this place is for you.
How Long it Will Take to Get There
Not long! The easiest (and most enjoyable) way to get there is by walking from the main Sayulita beach.
If you know where you’re going and move at a decent pace without stopping to see the sights along the way, you can probably make it there in about 10-15 minutes.
It took us a little over 30 minutes as we enjoyed the stroll, took some photos and enjoyed the different view points.
The Journey and Directions
If you’re standing on the main beach in Sayulita looking toward the ocean, walk all the way to the end of the beach on your left.
This is towards where all the small fishing boats are. Eventually, you will see that the beach ends and there is a small set of stairs to get yourself up to the road.
Basically you want to get yourself to the Villa Amor and keep going passed this boutique hotel.
It’s a beautiful spot that overlooks the entire main Sayulita beach.
When we slowly strolled by the pristine and well-kept grounds and gardens, I thought it would be the perfect choice for a romantic couples’ trip or honeymoon.
It might seem like you’re on private hotel property but the cobblestone road is public use and it’s not a problem to wander through.
From here, keep following the road called Pescadores and watch for signs to make sure you’re still going the right way.
The road becomes more of a packed dirt trail, so you’re still on the right track. Pass under the painted archway and you will start to see the cemetery up ahead.
This is the most interesting part of the journey.
The road to the beach cuts through the town cemetery and you can take some time to appreciate the way the locals honor their loved ones who have passed.
The graves and headstones are more like shrines, painted in whimsical vibrant colors.
We visited here in mid-November, so many of the graves had been recently repainted and new flowers added from Dia de los Muertos celebrations a couple of weeks earlier.
This is a very spiritual place and should be respected by all visitors.
Then the beach is just a little further passed the cemetery on the right.
Once you arrive you will notice there’s one restaurant. You can rent chairs/loungers and umbrellas from them and they will serve you drinks on the beach.
Cervezas are still 30 pesos here, and in my experience if you can still find beer for this price in the touristy spots of Mexico, drink up!
The Best Part About This Beach
The real hidden gem of Playa de los Muertos though, is climbing over the rocks to the small secluded bay. As you walk toward the ocean, follow the sand to the large rocks on the right hand side.
If you feel adventurous, climb up the rocks to get over to the other side. Obviously I only recommend this if you’re confident and to be extremely careful.
As soon as you can see over the rocks you’ll see the perfect little inlet tucked away from everything else.
This is where we parked it for a couple hours and had the entire area to ourselves.
Between the big rocks and trees that provide shade to the crystal clear and calm water, this place is possibly the most perfect quiet beach in the Riviera Nayarit.
We also saw some locals cliff jumping off the pointed rocks to the north, but didn’t do it ourselves.
There were also a few kayaks and people on stand up paddle boards in the area as the water is super calm and the rock formations make for some interesting exploring.
I think you can rent SUPs from the restaurant but I don’t know for sure.
The water is SO clear here that I would consider it one of the best places to go snorkeling in Sayulita.
Plus with all the rocks formations there are so many spots to explore. Don’t forget your snorkel gear, like this game-changer mask and snorkel set that also includes an attachment for your gopro.
One more word of warning though, if you’re swimming in this extra secluded area, when we were there in November, we definitely encountered sea urchins, so just be careful where you’re climbing on the rocks and placing your hands and feet.
As long as you don’t touch them, it’s fine.
Where to Stay in Sayulita
I highly recommend staying in Sayulita for at least 2 or 3 nights to get the full experience of this energetic and colorful town.
We stayed at Hotel Peix and absolutely loved it. It’s a small boutique hotel located right on the beach with an awesome rooftop bar for sunset cocktails! We walked to Playa de los Muertos from here as well.
As I mentioned above, Villa Amor is the closest to Playa de los Muertos and is located at the end of the main beach in Sayulita.
So if you’re looking for something a little more quiet and away from the loud beach, this is a great spot.
La Esquina is one of the highest rated apartment-style hotels in Sayulita, right on the beach with a pool as well.
Most rooms have private balconies to enjoy your morning coffee!
Or check out this full guide about where to stay in Sayulita for all budget and accommodation types, like boutique hotels, villas and unique spots.
How to Get to Sayulita from Puerto Vallarta
If you’re staying in Puerto Vallarta and wanting to do a day trip, you can take the bus for super cheap! It does take anywhere from 1 to 1.5 hours depending on traffic, but the cost is cheap so why not.
Grab the bus at the Walmart (which is pretty much across from the cruise ship ports).
The bus will take you to Sayulita and then it’s a 5 minute walk to the main beach.
We did this with our luggage and it was no problem at all.
Looking for more info and things to do in Mexico and near Puerto Vallarta? Check out these guides:
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