When visiting a beautiful tropical location like Hilton Puerto Vallarta Resort, it’s easy to spend all your time relaxing at the beach or pool. But if you are looking for things to do in Puerto Vallarta, a day trip to nearby Sayulita will give you a real Mexican experience!

Sayulita is a small village on the ocean about 45 minutes north of Puerto Vallarta. The town has grown in recent years as it has been discovered by tourists, backpackers and surfers. It offers a chance to walk around cobblestone streets, negotiate and buy some souvenirs, people watch and learn to surf.

My husband is an avid surfer, so we started our day at Lunazul where he rented a board for 40 pesos (about $4US) for an hour. You can rent for longer periods of time and also arrange for lessons there if you’d like. While he hit the waves, I took our 9 and 6 year old to explore the streets and shop. Each child had 100 pesos (about $10) to spend.  We don’t offer allowances in our house yet, so spending this money and deciding what to buy were big dilemmas. The kids looked at hand painted animals, t-shirts, maracas, bracelets and other jewelry. After considerable time in a store with many worthy potential purchases, both kids made their first purchase which was a maraca for 50 pesos. Then my daughter, who seemed to like every colorful bag or bowl we saw, had to make some decisions. She was able to get a pretty beaded bracelet and a painted turtle with the rest of her money. My son is a careful spender and I was beginning to think he was going to return home with the pesos, but then we found a street vendor who made a bracelet with his name on it. He has an unusual name and he was thrilled with his purchase because it felt special and was not something he could buy at home.

After surfing and shopping we ate lunch at ChocoBanana, a very casual outdoor spot by the square. They serve simple meals, breakfast all day long, and of course–chocolate bananas! The other place we have eaten before is Don Pedro’s which offers slightly more upscale food on the beach and has always been safe for our American tummies.

Although we didn’t try it,  I noticed there was a kids camp called Sayulita Sea Camp operating in the mornings Monday through Friday from 9-12 for $39 per day. That’s the perfect length of time for a surf lesson and leisurely brunch!

We thought visiting Sayulita was a great addition to our beach vacation, and I would recommend a day trip as a memorable thing to do in Puerto Vallarta. You will want to spend about 3 hours there but if you’re coming from Puerto Vallarta, that means you can enjoy a morning experiencing an authentic Mexican town and still be back in your lounge chair by mid-afternoon. So hit the road for some surfing, shopping and chocolate bananas!

This article was originally published by Hilton Mom Voyage.

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