Banderas Bay has been attracting surfers from all over for decades. The waves are generally mellow and easy to ride making this a great section of the coast for beginners to serious surfers. In addition to the great surf, the small towns that dot the coast – Punta Mita, Sayulita, San Pancho – all hold charms for surfers and non-surfers alike.

Surf rentals: There is a great surf shop a few miles down the road towards Punta Mita. You’ll see a Pemex gas station on the right and some shops, then a spot to park. You can rent gear there and get more info on surf spots.

Burros (aka Burros Point)

5 minutes (by foot) | Best in Summer | Beginners to Advanced

Many consider Burros to be the best surfing wave in the area around Puerto Vallarta, and not without reason. It’s a right that breaks over a rocky reef that does not pose a threat when the tide is high, and perhaps only a minor one when the tide is low because even though the rocks are about 2-3 feet below the surface they are not sharp and are usually covered in algae (sometimes more than others). The wave is suitable for beginners when it’s small but good or superb for intermediate and advanced surfers when not. This spot is only 50 yards down the beach from Hacienda.

La Lancha

10 minutes | Best in Summer | Beginners to Advanced

La Lancha is a relatively easy wave and is one of the most consistent breaks in the area, although the tide plays a big role on the wave’s quality. The faster left breaks over submerged boulders that beginner surfers (and intermediate) might find intimidating and not without reason. On the other hand the longer, usually slower but perhaps more fun right is suitable for longboards and good fun. The paddle to the break is quite long, but if the swell is good the up to 6ft + waves will be enough of an incentive to keep you in the water as long as your arms can handle.


30 minutes | Beginners to Advanced

Sayulita is a great surf destination: there is plenty of surf year round, many surf shops that rent boards at good  prices and cheap food to enjoy right on the beach. The surf vibe this small town boasts brings a consistent crowd of visitors each year, many of them beginners hoping to learn the basics of the sport of kings, and medium to advanced surfers who simply want to have fun in the sun.

Sayulita actually has two waves you can surf: a right that reels over the rounded rocky reef (this is the main break) and a faster, sometimes hollow left on the north side of it. The main wave breaks about 300 days/year and can hold waves up to 6 foot faces before they begin to close out, yet most of the time it is a 3-5 ft face wave ideal for beginners and fun for the rest.

El Anclote

15 minutes | Best in Summer | Beginners to Advanced

El Anclote is a great wave for everybody-when it’s breaking. Truth is that it needs a decent S to SW swell for the break to get going, but when it does there will be no other place in the world you’d rather be. The wave is not particularly fast and is ideal for beginners when it is small, yet intermediate and advanced surfers will have a lot of fun when it reaches the 5 to 6 ft range (it rarely gets any bigger than that). El Anclote is a point break that reels over a rounded rock reef (deep enough to not pose a threat at all) creating a ride that can be long, very long, easily reaching the 500 meters on a good day and if riding it all the way to the shore right by the second jetty. Think of it as Puerto Vallarta’s version of Malibu minus the crowd ( you’ll never be alone, but if it’s breaking there will be enough waves for everyone without having to wait for long). If the sun is too strong and you’re tired from all the paddling sip a chilled Corona or eat Tostadas with Ceviche while watching the action and you’ll find yourself jumping into the water again in no time.

Los Veneros

10 minutes | Best in Winter | Beginners to Intermediate

Los Veneros in Nayarit is a fairly exposed beach and reef break that has dependable surf. Winter is the best time of year for surfing here. Works best in offshore winds from the east. Groundswells more frequent than windswells and the best swell direction is from the southwest. A right hand reef. Good surf at all stages of the tide. Rarely crowded here. Beware of urchins and rocks.

San Pancho

35 minutes | Intermediate to Advanced

San Pancho has a left hand river mouth and a sand bottom break. The waves there are better suited for shortboarders with a little bit of experience being that they are a little bit punchy. Low to mid-tide is a great time to surf there.

More surfing info in the area:,-105.46172495931388,14z

Soma Helen Escobedo