Enjoy this fit destination year round with activities throughout the summer and winter.

By Elaine Glusa
December 15, 2008

This fishing village about 20 miles north of Puerto Vallarta on the Pacific coast, offers dependable waves and beachside stays on a surf bum’s budget. Like Oahu’s surf-centric North Shore, Sayulita has a no-shirt-no-shoes-no-problem vibe. Flights to the area are generally no more expensive than travel to Florida in high season. You won’t need a car; the town is small enough to cover easily on foot, and area footpaths reward hikers with deserted beaches.

Eat Smart: Fish tacos are the local rival of the Hawaiian plate lunch favored by island boarders. Find the best at tiny Sayulita Fish Taco (329-291-3271), which warrants a wait for its Baja-style fish coated in beer-garlic batter. Ask for yours topped with mango salsa (when available).

Be Fit: Try the “sport of kings” by taking a surf lesson from Patricia Southworth and her team (look for her stand on the beach near Captain Pablo’s restaurant) for about $30 an hour. The Oregon expat has not only taught a decade of travelers how to ride, but has raised two boys who now compete on the international surfing circuit.

Live Well: During winter migration, roughly December through March, humpback whales pass close enough to allow you to whale-watch from shore. January traditionally offers the most viewing opportunities.

Where to stay: The only full-scale resort in town, Villa Amor (from $90; 619-819-5407) overlooks the town’s surf break and miles of coastline beyond from an oceanfront perch. Most of its 33 spacious guest quarters feature large outdoor patios and rattan furnishings.