Is there surfing in puerto vallarta?
Surfing in Puerto Vallarta is possible, but there are only a couple of surfable waves in Puerto Vallarta. The problem is they rarely break (max 5d/year).
However, there are 17 great surf locations featuring at least 30 fantastic breaks, within 30 miles (50kms) from Down Town Puerto Vallarta.
We’d be delighted to take you surfing in any of those.
Or to recommend you the best place according to your surfing experience and ocean, wind and tide conditions.
Our bay receives consistent, reliable swells most of the year.
Winter, between November and March, is the best surfing season for the Puerto Vallarta area, Banderas Bay and the Riviera Nayarit.
This is when the North Pacific swells hit the bay.
Because most of the bay is facing west, waves will lose some size compared to other locations that are directly exposed to the north.
Warm waters and mellow waves make this place surfing heaven for intermediate surfers.
But also for longboarders and all those who want to try surfing for the first time.
Rare swells from the West will generate the biggest waves on most of the surf breaks.
Even though winter is the best season, the summer surfing season here is almost as good.
March and April still can offer great waves but are considered transition months.
In this period of the year, wind can blow quite strong especially in the afternoon.
Starting from the end of May, South Pacific activity and seasonal hurricanes start bringing into the bay long period swells from South West and South.
For breaks that are north of Punta Mita, like for example Sayulita and San Pancho, summer waves are almost as consistent as in winter, with swells that can reach the 4-8ft range (1.2-2.5m).
Winds from the north are most common during the winter season.
During March and April, they’ll shift to West-North-West direction. That is also the predominant wind direction throughout all summer.
Tides are usually 2 every day and they are in the 3 to 4 feet range. (1-1.2m)
Surfing Around Puerto Vallarta – From North to South
With the right conditions, you can catch some of the best waves you will find in Nayarit. Very long, with good height, allowing the use of either short or longboard.
Some of the waves can be as long as a football field.
This left wave is Located 10 minutes North of Chacala, approx 30 minutes away from Sayulita.
There are other ways to get there, like a very long hike through the jungle or with AWD Trucks, but we suggest to get to Chacala and from there take a short trip by Panga or Boat.
Chacala is a beach town in the state of Nayarit some 8 miles from Las Varas. There are a couple of spots here on the south end of the beach that can fire up and where you can even get barreled, but in most cases when people refer to surf in Chacala, they mean surfing in La Caleta which is a lot more consistent.
Lo de Marcos
Getting to Lo de Marcos is very easy.
You can take a bus or drive taking the 200 highway. It will take you around 45 minutes to an hour to get there from the Puerto Vallarta Airport.
As in the other destinations Nayarit has to offer, you will be surrounded by amazing vistas of beautiful lush trees covering the hills reaching the coastline.
Conditions for surfing here may vary from flat to strong currents and large waves.
You might also see some people with boogie boards.
The southern end of the beach is where the surfing takes place.
You won’t find many people in the lineup here, it’s recommended for intermediate surfers because this beach can have some fairly strong waves.
San Pancho (San Francisco)
San Pancho is a very easy-going town and a preferred spot among local Surfers for its great waves and majestic nature.
It’s a 5-minute drive away from Sayulita beach and an hour drive if coming from Puerto Vallarta.
San Pancho has an exposed reef which delivers a long and strong left wave. The best waves are generated by massive west-southwest ground-swells.
Strong waves and currents make of San Pancho a surf spot recommended for intermediate or advanced surfers only. Waves here are rarely huge but even at 4 feet, they can punch pretty hard.
San Pancho is surrounded by incredible mountain views, crystal clear waters and tall palm trees.
Sayulita is one of the most popular surfing spots of Mexico. Several Surf Pro came out of this little town because here they can train all year long.
To get here will take you around 40 minutes if you drive or take the bus from Puerto Vallarta.
Sayulita’s relaxed vibe and charm, paired with great surf, attracts a constant flow of people from all over the world.
Regardless of your skills, Sayulita has excellent surf for all levels and its more suitable for longboards, but shortboards can be used as well.
It has three different breaks coming from left and right including a spot where the learning takes place.
More info about sayulita can be found here: Sayulita Surfing
A 45-minute drive from Puerto Vallarta Airport or a very short drive from Sayulita will take you to Litibu.
Situated in Higuera Blanca, in the heart of the Riviera Nayarit. An amazing wild and pristine beach with views of la Sierra Madre del Sur Mountains.
Litibu offers a beautiful beach break on unpolluted waters and it’s a good spot for beginners since there are mostly closeouts waves that allow training the popup in white waters.
Take notice that the access to the beach is by following the road towards the Litibu beach resort but then taking a left following the unpaved road until reaching the beach.
Unless you are planning on staying at the beach resort but it can be a little expensive.
This is considered by many as the top surf spot in Punta Mita, however, it is not as consistent as other spots.
La Bahia or the Cove offers long rights and fast lefts, Shortboards are usually the choice to surf this break.
Surfing here is optimal with medium to high tide.
To reach the break its best to take a panga (water taxi) otherwise its a long walk from El Anclote beach through the rocks.
It takes about 40 minutes to get here coming from Puerto Vallarta. As in all of the other surfing spots in Punta Mita, you can take a bus or a colectivo ( public transportation).
To Reach this Surf Break you will need to walk from El Anclote or catch a ride in a Panga to get you there quicker.
It’s best to have some experience to surf this break.
Surfers from all over the world come to this spot during Wintertime, when the conditions allow for the perfect waves.
Although there are different sections that would be suitable for beginners too.
The rock bottom allows for long slow waves to very fast waves.
When the tide is at its lowest, that’s when it’s the best time to jump in the water.
It’s not optimal to surf here when there’s high tide, but when the swell is big it doesn’t really matter.
Located in Punta de Mita, El Anclote beach is a great place for learning how to surf and one of the best breaks in the area.
When conditions are ideal, which unfortunately is not that often, the ride can be as long as 1 minute.
It consists of a right reef break. Its long smooth right waves allow for beginners to have the optimal conditions to catch a wave.
When there’s a big swell you can use a shortboard. The rest of the time it’s good for Longboards and Paddleboards.
It’s a rocky beach but you can walk without stepping on any sharp stones. It should take you about 20 minutes to get there from Sayulita beach or 40 minutes from Puerto Vallarta.
Here you can find more detailed information about El Anclote: Surfing El Ancolte
This break is also located in Punta de Mita.
To get to the beach access point you have to get to La Quinta del Sol Hotel.
Just follow the signs throughout the town.
When the swell comes and conditions are spot on, you can catch a really nice wave here.
Usually very fast and not too long but it can be a fun challenge.
To reach this break takes a 5-minute walk from La Lancha or 15 minutes from Stinkys.
Palmitas beach has a powerful beach break, essentially formed by sandbanks, generates lefts and rights.
Optimal conditions with medium to high tide.
To surf this break you must definitely have some experience and its usually best for shortboard surfing.
Playa La Lancha, with its white sands and turquoise water, is one of the nicest beaches in this area. It is also one of the prime spots to surf South of Punta de Mita.
It’s one of the most reliable breaks to surf especially with the incoming and outgoing tide.
A group of rocks separates the two main breaks.
To the far right a mellow but fairly big right ideal for longboarders.
In the middle the sandbank beach break. Here you will get easier waves, that nonetheless carry enough power and speed to surf them.
Here’s where the beginners will practice their lessons.
To the left, you get longer, stronger and faster waves, more suitable for shortboards. Beware of the barely submerged boulders on the take-off zone.
This beach has easy access through a pretty enjoyable walk in a jungle path bordering the green lagoon. It is a very popular spot where you will see surfers most of the time and it is one of our top recommendations for beginners.
Punta de Burros, located also south of Punta de Mita is a very popular break due to its fairly easy access and great waves.
You will mainly get long rights that are very enjoyable, with some lefts coming every now and then.
You can use both shortboards and longboards here.
The best surfing happens with a low tide, but regardless Burros is a pretty reliable spot to surf pretty much at any time.
The entrance is through the Palladium Vallarta Resort if you are driving park by the entrance of the hotel and then walk the dirt path that leads to the dry river bed.
Follow the stream for about five minutes to get to the beach.
This is also one of the top recommended spots to surf, although a little bit of experience is recommended to surf here because the wave is a bit stronger than in other locations of these areas.
For more information about Punta Burros see here: Surfing Punta Burros.
El Paredon is located next to Veneros. Consists of a long powerful right-hand reef break with many sections that sometimes ends in a tube.
You can surf here best when there’s a strong swell coming from the South and occasionally with big north swells.
This beach has a rocky bottom so you should be more careful.
Veneros is another great spot in the Riviera Nayarit. This beach is located South of Punta Mita.
It’s ideal for beginners that are almost on an intermediate level because the waves are good sized and strong.
It’s best to surf here when there’s Mid to High Tides since it can get very shallow.
Also best with hurricane and south swell, it is also great with big north swells.
It’s a classic beach break that has fast rights and lefts, great for shortboard surfing and getting barreled.
Located in the beautiful town of La Cruz the Huanacaxtle. Playa “La Cruz” as the locals call it, is a 5-kilometer beach that’s divided into 5 different sections separated by rock jetties.
The area called Tizate is where surfing takes place here.
This spot is considered to be a best-kept secret by the few ones that know about it.
It’s an intermediate level right-hand wave that can’t be surfed with a low tide because of the rock formations.
You can get here in 25 minutes driving from Sayulita or 15 minutes from Punta de Mita.
Puerto Vallarta River Mouth
This is one of the only places where you can surf in Puerto Vallarta city. However, the break is not very exciting and it rarely breaks. Max 4 or 5 times per year.
This break is located in Cabo Corrientes Jalisco and it’s only a 25-minute drive south from Puerto Vallarta.
Quimixto is a secluded beach only accessible by boat which you must take from Boca de Tomatlan.
This is a fairly popular spot because it has consistent surf with rights and lefts.
This is an exposed beach break. Groundswells are more frequent than wind-swells and they generate optimal conditions when coming from the West Southwest direction.
You will find the best conditions during the months of October to April.
Offshore winds are from the south.
Beware of rip currents.
Many of these breaks are very consistent, like Sayulita, Playa La Lancha and Punta Burros. All the others while great are not as consistent.
If you don’t have a preference, we highly recommend to let us suggest the best place for the day of your surfing experience here in the Puerto Vallarta Bay.
If you want to be part of the best surf lessons in Puerto Vallarta, read here.