Photograph by Marc Piscotty
Here's a trip finicky teens can't say no to—surfing in Sayulita, Mexico, a sleepy fishing village 35 minutes north of Puerto Vallarta. The warm waters of the western Nayarit Coast and a strong right break in summer make Sayulita ideal for young longboarders or wannabes. Take a surf lesson on the main beach with Lunazul Surf School ($40 per person for a group lesson; $55, private; www.lunazulsurfschool.com), or a reef excursion with one of the many charter boats along the beach. The waves are a little smaller in the off-season, but gringos are fewer, prices are lower, and the two- to three-foot (0.6- to 0.9-meter) rollers will still rev up the most jaded of teens. Retreat to Villa Amor's 32 chic, affordable villas, some with terraces and plunge pools with views of the Pacific. Or rent one of Sayulita's well-priced casitas with palapa roofs and saltwater infinity pools.
Where to Play
Spend cool mornings on land trekking lush rain forest or biking on jungle singletrack. Wild Mex Wilderness and Surf Mexpeditions offers custom half-day bike trips, so you can take the family or do a more challenging parents-only ride. With kids, try the custom Malpaiso Beach trip. You’ll ride two to three hours on gently rolling jungle trails and carless dirt roads. “It’s great for kids because there aren’t big climbs and there’s lots of shade,” says trip leader John Hartley. Adults can tackle Monkey Mountain, working their way up to the highest point on the nearby coast for views across the bay. End a tough ride with a Corona in town ($50 for a guided bike tour and rental; www.wildmex.com).
The town center is only a ten-minute walk away. Try dinner at Sayulita Fish Tacos, just off the plaza (www.sayulitafishtaco.com), then check out live bands playing on the beach or in a riverside coconut grove.