This Small Town In Mexico Is A Great Destination For Surf Adventures

With its vast stretch of coastline along the Pacific Ocean, Mexico is renowned worldwide for surfing. From beginner-friendly breaks through to the biggest barrelling waves, there's no shortage of celebrated surf spots. For those who wish to get off the beaten track, it's well worth considering the small surf town of Punta de Mita. Claimed by some to offer the longest right break in North America, yet out of the way enough not to be overrun, this idyllic enclave has much to recommend all around.

Located in the west of Mexico, on the Riviera Nayarit coastline, Punta de Mita is some 25 miles northwest of the Puerto Vallarta airport. From here, renting a car, booking a taxi, or taking a bus to get there is easy. Tucked into the corner of the headland, this scenic spot is renowned for its sandy shores, warm waters, and consistent waves. Also, while it has gotten busier in recent years, it is more relaxed than some bigger surf destinations. 

Incidentally, the town of Punta de Mita is not to be confused with the wider peninsula of Punta Mita (without the "de") or the upscale gated resort with its luxury hotels and golf courses (also without the "de"). Offering a more authentic experience, the town is home to surf-related outlets, independent boutiques, and some decent places to eat. But let's focus on the main reason we are here — the surfing.

Our top tips for surfing in Punta de Mita

Known as the "Malibu of Mexico" and sharing a latitude with Hawaii, the peninsula of Punta Mita offers an idyllic setting for surfing in every way. For a start, there's a pleasant climate here. Also, the average annual water temperature is just over 80 degrees Fahrenheit, so there is no need for a wetsuit much of the time, though a rash guard and sunblock are recommended. The waves here can range from 2 to 8 feet, with occasional larger ones.

Offering 13 different surf spots across the wider area, there are usually waves to be found somewhere, albeit some can only be accessed by boat. However, there are several different breaks, even just in Punta de Mita, so the odds are good for a successful session. And what of that famed right-hander we mentioned? Well, while we can't attest to it being the longest right break in North America, the Anclote, as it's known, certainly comes highly recommended.

The other nice thing about Punta de Mita is that some excellent surf schools are here for those new to the sport or who wish to improve their skills. Most of these also offer board hire — and some organize boat tours to other surf spots across the peninsula. Among the most renowned are Tranquilo Surf, Stinky's Surf School, and WildMex Surf & Adventure

From surfing and snorkeling to shopping

With conditions this good, we're willing to bet you'll want to be out surfing for most of your trip. But if you fancy a change of pace, there are plenty of other things to see and do in the area. Staying in the water momentarily, other potential activities include stand-up paddle-boarding, snorkeling excursions, and even whale-watching tours. Directly to the south is the Bay of Banderas, where humpback whales arrive to give birth around January through February.

Back on dry land, as mentioned earlier, Punta de Mita is home to some lovely little shops and great places to eat. Head to the Arena Surf Café with its dreamy rooftop terrace for the perfect post-surf breakfast. Or, if it's the authentic Mexican you seek, the traditional cuisine at MINA comes highly recommended — as do the margaritas. For a change of scenery, the nearby town of Sayulita is a more well-known surfing destination that is also home to galleries selling artworks by the Indigenous Huichol people.

As for where to stay, there is everything from surf camps and a surf lodge right through to the luxury five-star hotels that can be found inside the gated resort. So, whatever your budget, there should be something to fit the bill. In summary, if you're considering heading to Mexico any time soon, Punta de Mita should be on your surfing shortlist. Just don't tell anyone else.