A gathering place for an international creative crowd, Sayulita is a fishing village turned hippie haven set between the Sierra Madre Occidental mountains and the Pacific Ocean. Beyond being a recluse for designers seeking inspiration, the beaches are renowned for their waves, drawing surfers from Bondi to Santa Monica.
The people you'll meet in Sayulita are really the reason for making the trip (though the lush palm trees and fiery sunsets certainly don't get old) thanks to their contagious barefoot-all-day attitude. The town's chilled-out blend of artsy and beachy residents also make the ideal companions for dancing the night away at Zen Garden's beachside bar before heading straight to sunrise yoga in the sand.
Take a day trip to the nearby Islas Marietas to spot dolphins and humpback whale. For marine life explorations closer to your hotel, make an evening trip to the Campamento Tortuguero Sayulita nature reserve. As a part of their educational and volunteer offerings, you'll have the chance to help release newly hatched sea turtles into the ocean.
For another environmental challenge, be sure to go on one of Sayulita's jungle hikes. Winding through untouched forest areas that are home to macaws and jaguars, the four-hour trek up Monkey Mountain - to be tackled with a guide - is the toughest around, though certainly the most rewarding, with striking views of the bays and beaches below.
When to go
Most likely to bump into
Soul-searching Aussie surfers who are up for adventure.
Essentials to bring with you
A one-piece swimsuit that won't fly off while you're learning how to catch a wave.
How to get there
Fly into Puerta Vallarta and head to Sayulita on the hour-long, one-dollar bus. To get there in 40 minutes but pay $40, cabs are available between both locations.