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2 Fun Day Trips From Punta Mita: Marietas Islands and Sayulita

In my last post, I talked in detail about our glorious experience at the St. Regis Punta Mita, one of the luxe resorts in the gated Punta Mita enclave, where a vacationer could easily wile away endless hours at the sprawling pools and beach.

But we were also near enough to a couple of other fantastic options for day trips from Punta Mita that I’d love to share here.

Day Trips from Punta Mita: Sayulita

Sayulita

Sayulita scene

The cozy surf town was just about an easy 30-minute drive in our rented car, a drive that meanders through pretty landscape dotted with ranches. The town of Sayulita itself is only really a few blocks in all directions, but those blocks are super lively and colorful: paper lanterns swaying overhead, artisan crafts in vibrant hues (of varying degrees of authenticity), and views of a wide-open beach crowded with chairs for rent.

Though the beach was much deeper and wider than our St. Regis resort beachfront, we didn’t spend much time here apart for walking along the waterline.

Instead, we ate tacos at Naty’s Cocina—I had a number of veggie options including poblano and potato, hubs opted for fish including marlin—and washed them down with fresh coconuts from a street vendor.

Sayulita

Mugging in Sayulita

For dessert, we got chocolate-dipped bananas (his covered in coconut, and mine covered in colorful sprinkles, because of course) at Chocobanana, which is a Sayulita institution. Somehow, they tasted even better than seemed possible for a piece of fruit covered in candy. Maybe it was that Mexico sunshine.

Chocobanana Sayulita

Chocobanana Sayulita

We also browsed the shops, and I filled my eyes with jewelry and clothing options, pulling the trigger on a few budget-friendly gifts and beach bags.

And in just half a day’s time, we had to head back to the St. Regis in time for our massages (tiniest violin ever), but we definitely didn’t feel rushed. Sayulita’s a place where you could reasonably stop by for just a few hours, or laze away whole days over Tecates on the beach with friends.

And I love that vibe.

Day Trips from Punta Mita: Marietas Islands (or Las Marietas)

If you’re in Punta Mita, the Marietas Islands are a must see. That’s because the islands, about six miles off shore, offer one of the coolest beaches you might ever see.

First, the islands, formed by volcanic activity, are totally protected and uninhabited — except for birds. As a national park, the islands can only be viewed from the water. So through the St. Regis, we booked our day excursion with Punta Mita Expeditions.

After our boat ride out, we hopped out and swam through a cave to what’s known the Hidden beach, which has a totally spectacular look thanks to a perfectly round roof-like overhang covered in plant life. 

Las Marietas

Photo: Christian Frausto Bernal

Rumor has it that this was formed after military testers dropped a bomb on it — but Josue, our guide, believed the theory that the unusual shape is the result of the volcanic rock dynamics. And that makes a lot of sense.

After a walk along this neat beach and its adjacent cave, we sorkeled around the area and viewed such crazy-looking birds as the blue-footed booby — a bird with cartoonish-looking blue legs that apparently only lives here and in the Galapagos Islands.

We hopped back in the boat and headed to another of the Marietas, where we tried our luck at stand-up paddleboarding for a while. It was only my second attempt (the first was in Belize), and the first in the wide-open water (versus off a dock near the beach). So fun! And a great core workout.

On the way back, we stopped the boat several times to check out humpback whales breaching in the water. The sight is routine enough to be expected in the winter season through March.

On the boat to the Marietas

On the boat to the Marietas!

Buen viage… and enjoy!

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