The main surfing areas are in the north, in Nayarit State, and include Sayulita and Punta Mita, where there are nearly a dozen offshore breaks for intermediate and advanced surfers, some best accessed by boat. The best spots for beginners are shore breaks like those at El Anclote and Sayulita; in the south, Barra de Navidad is also appropriate for beginners.
Waves are largest and most consistent between June and December; the water is also warmest during the rainy season (late June–October), averaging nearly 80°F (27°C) July through September.
Surfboard rentals start at $4 an hour or $18 a day. Surfing trips run around $45 per hour, usually with a three- or four-hour minimum. Shops sell rash guards (you usually don't need a full wet suit here), boogie boards, wax, and other necessities. For good info and links, check out www.surf-mexico.com.
Locals have lots of folk wisdom about when to catch the best waves. Some say it's best right before a good rain, while others believe it's when the tide is moving toward an extreme high or low.
Captain Pablo. At this outfitter on the beach at Sayulita you can rent equipment or take surfing lessons with Patricia: $30 should get you to your feet (board included). Surf tours, gear included, cost $180 for four hours (up to four surfers). Calle Las Gaviotas at beach, Riviera Nayarit, Sayulita, 63732. 329/291–2070 early morning and evenings only. email@example.com.
Sininen. Sininen rents surfboards ($5 per hour, $18 for the day) and paddleboards ($8/hour, $33 all day), gives lessons on both pieces of equipment, and sells surfboards and surf paraphernalia. Rent from the shop or head straight to its outpost a block away on the beach. Calle Delfín 4–S, Riviera Nayarit, Sayulita, 63732. 329/291–3186.
Wildmex. Located right on the beach in Sayulita, Wildmex rents surfboards (as well as bicycles and kayaks) and gives surf lessons either at Sayulita or elsewhere around the bay, depending on conditions. It offers four- and six-day surf packages and a weeklong surf camp; the latter includes accommodations, some meals, and airport transfer. The company also arranges horseback riding, fishing, yoga classes, and other activities. The beach at Sayulita, Riviera Nayarit, Sayulita, 63732. 329/291 37 26 cell; 1 877/904 39 74 USA. www.wildmex.com.