Surfing Riviera Nayarit

The Surfer’s Guide to Riviera Nayarit’s Top Surf Beaches

You’ve heard about the epic waves and warm waters of Mexico’s Pacific coast, but you’re wondering where exactly you should go to score the best surf. Look no further than Riviera Nayarit, home to some of the country’s top surfing beaches. In this guide, we’ll give you the inside scoop on the region’s premiere surf spots. From the beginner waves of Sayulita to the barreling breaks of San Pancho, we’ve got the lowdown on the beaches that will stoke out any surfer. With info on what to expect, where to rent boards, and insider tips from local shredders, you’ll be ready to take on the sweet swells of Riviera Nayarit. So wax up your stick, slip on a rashguard, and get ready to hang ten on these gnarly beaches. Cowabunga, dude!

An Introduction to Surfing in Riviera Nayarit

Beautiful Beaches and Excellent Waves

Riviera Nayarit is home to some of the best surfing in Mexico, with miles of coastline and a variety of beach breaks that are ideal for all skill levels. The area is known for its consistent waves, warm water, and stunning natural scenery. Whether you’re just learning or an experienced surfer looking to improve your skills, Riviera Nayarit offers the perfect surf getaway.

Sayulita – A Surfer’s Paradise

The colorful beach town of Sayulita, about 45 minutes north of Puerto Vallarta, is a popular surfing destination, especially for beginners and longboarders. The main beach in town has gentle rolling waves ideal for learning, while the point break just south of town challenges more advanced surfers. You can rent boards right on the beach, then refuel at one of the many food trucks, cafes and restaurants along the main street.

La Lancha – Powerful Barrels for Pros

Just a few miles north of Sayulita sits the small surfing community of La Lancha, home to a powerful barreling wave that attracts expert surfers. The break here can produce double overhead barrels, especially in the winter months. The secluded beach is lined with small hotels and cabanas, and the laid-back vibe provides a perfect escape from the crowds. If you’re looking to push your limits, La Lancha will give you a run for your money.

With kilometers of coastline and surf for every skill level, Riviera Nayarit offers an ideal getaway for the traveling surfer. Whether you want to learn the basics, improve your technique or experience the thrill of world-class barrels, the region’s beaches have the waves you’re looking for. Grab your board and hit the surf!

The Top 5 Surf Beaches in Riviera Nayarit

La Lancha Beach

If you’re looking for pumping waves, head to La Lancha Beach. This secluded beach break dishes out hollow barrels and fast, powerful rights that challenge even the most experienced surfers. The waves here can reach up to 15 feet, so only venture out if you’re comfortable in large surf. La Lancha is best at mid to high tide when the swells are coming from the west.

Los Arcos Beach

Just south of Punta Mita, Los Arcos Beach offers consistent waves perfect for all skill levels. The point break here generates mellow rights and lefts up to 8 feet high, with the biggest swells rolling in between December and March. The reef bottom causes the waves to barrel at mid to high tide. If the surf’s not up to par, you can always snorkel or beachcomb along the scenic shore.

Sayulita Beach

The beach town of Sayulita is a surfer’s paradise, with a variety of breaks suitable for every skill level. The main beach in town has mellow rolling waves ideal for beginners, while the reef break just north of the rivermouth offers fast, hollow barrels for expert surfers. The most consistent surfing is from November through April, and the town’s laid-back vibe will make you want to stay longer.

San Pancho Beach

Halfway between Sayulita and Puerto Vallarta lies the sleepy fishing village of San Pancho, home to a picturesque beach with solid waves. The point break here generates fast rights up to 10 feet high, especially when the swells are coming from the west or north. Mid to high tide is the optimal time for surfing, and the best conditions are usually found between December and March.

Punta Negra Beach

South of Puerto Vallarta, Punta Negra Beach is a secluded paradise for intermediate and expert surfers. The reef break produces hollow barrels up to 15 feet high when the conditions are right. Paddle out at mid tide for the fastest, most powerful waves. Surf season runs from October to May, and the offshore winds also make Punta Negra a popular spot for kitesurfing.

What to Expect When Surfing at Riviera Nayarit Beaches

Epic Waves

The surfing beaches of Riviera Nayarit are known for their epic waves, especially in the winter and spring. You can expect to see waves up to 12 feet high at some spots, so only experienced surfers should paddle out on big days. The beaches face west, so you’ll want to go out in the morning before the wind picks up for the best conditions.


With miles of surfable coastline and smaller crowds than other Mexican surf destinations, you’ll find plenty of open waves here. However, the most popular spots can get crowded, especially on weekends and holidays. Head to some of the lesser-known spots or go early to beat the crowds.

Beach Vibe

The surfing beaches have a laid-back vibe, with palm-fringed shores, beach bars, and lots of activities when you’re not riding the waves. You can rent surfboards and take lessons right on the beach. After surfing, grab a fresh coconut or a margarita, then stroll the beach and soak in the vibrant surroundings.


As with surfing anywhere, be aware of your surroundings and watch out for other surfers to avoid collisions. Only surf at beaches with lifeguards on duty, and be cautious of rip currents. Don’t leave valuables unattended on the beach, and know that some secluded beaches can attract petty theft. Exercise normal travel safety precautions and you’ll have an amazing time surfing the perfect waves of Riviera Nayarit.

The beaches of Riviera Nayarit offer the complete surfing experience, with excellent waves, a laid-back vibe, and stunning natural scenery. Follow the tips here to make the most of your surf adventure in paradise!

Surf Camps and Lessons in Riviera Nayarit

Once you’ve got the basics down, you’ll be ready to catch some waves in Riviera Nayarit’s surf camps and schools. Many beach towns along the coast offer surf lessons and multi-day camps where you can immerse yourself in the surf culture.


The laid-back beach town of Sayulita is a popular spot for surf camps. Surf Camp Sayulita offers lessons for all skill levels, from beginner to advanced. They’ll get you up and riding waves in no time. For a total surf immersion, try their all-inclusive surf and yoga retreats. You’ll spend your days surfing, doing beach yoga, and relaxing in a hammock.

San Pancho

Just north of Sayulita, the sleepy fishing village of San Pancho is home to the San Pancho Surf Club. They offer private and group surf lessons with experienced instructors. For the ultimate surf getaway, book one of their rustic beachfront cabañas and enroll in their five-day surf camp. You’ll surf twice a day, practice evening yoga, and refuel with home-cooked meals.

Punta Mita

At the northern end of Riviera Nayarit, the exclusive Punta Mita peninsula is a surfer’s paradise. Punta Mita Surf Club offers world-class surf instruction at some of the area’s most iconic breaks like La Lancha and El Anclote. Their multi-day surf camps include luxury accommodations, meals, and surf sessions tailored to your ability. You’ll be hanging ten at Punta Mita’s pumping reef breaks in no time under the guidance of their professional surf coaches.

The surf scene in Riviera Nayarit has something for everyone, from beginner lessons to week-long surf camps. With the help of local surf schools and instructors, you’ll be riding the waves and embracing the surf lifestyle in one of Mexico’s premier surf destinations.

Riviera Nayarit Surfing FAQs

Do I need a wetsuit?

The water temperature along Riviera Nayarit averages 82 F, so for most of the year you can trunk it or wear a rash guard and boardshorts. During the winter months from December through February, the temperature may drop to the mid-70s, so you may want to consider wearing a springsuit for extra comfort. Pack it just in case – the surfing conditions are worth it!

What’s the surf like?

Riviera Nayarit faces the Pacific Ocean, so you can expect fairly consistent surf with the biggest swells rolling in during the winter. The most popular spots, like Sayulita and Punta Mita, have reef breaks that can produce rideable waves even on small swell days. During the winter, overhead waves are common and some spots can reach up to 15 feet on a big day. The winds are typically offshore in the early morning before switching onshore in the afternoons.

Do I need to worry about crowds?

Some of the more well-known spots, especially in Sayulita and Punta de Mita, can get crowded, especially on weekends and holidays. For smaller crowds, head to some of the lesser-known spots like Playa Jorullo, Playa Malpaso or Playa Azul. You can also beat the crowds by paddling out at dawn. The early bird gets the worm!

Can I rent boards?

Yes, there are several surf shops along the coast where you can rent soft tops, short boards, and longboards by the hour or day. Rates average around $20 USD per day. If you’re new to surfing, renting is a great way to try different boards before you buy. Some shops even offer board and wetsuit packages so you have everything you need.

The surfing in Riviera Nayarit is world-class, with conditions to suit every skill level. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just learning to ride your first green wave, the region’s variety of beach breaks and point breaks won’t disappoint. Now get out there and catch some waves!