The Sayulita hike to San Pancho is an amazing trail until the end! The trail is truly incredible as you start on the beach, go through the jungle, overlook hidden beaches and in the end you finish in San Pancho.
The hike gives you stunning views, you feel immersed in the jungle and you can even stop at a beach that seems basically private to yourself as you may only see 2-3 groups of people on it.
There are times where you will feel as if you are in Jurassic Park as towering trees, vines and greenery surround you, it truly is an incredible jungle experience.
The hike itself is as easy to follow as a labyrinth but after all… it’s Mexico and that is why I am here for you… to help you as best as I can. While it may seem a little unnerving, it is very safe and you can’t really get lost.
There is chance you will get “lost” due to the number of trails but all roads lead to the highway or the beach, which run parallel to each other thus you will never actually get lost.
The only issue is that you will end up the last 5-10 minutes along the side of the main highway, which any of you safety susans will not want to do at all.
You will be walking on a tiny little path directly next to the highway as busses and cars zoom by. It is not ideal at all but the hike before that is so amazing! Even if you wish to turnaround vs. go all the way to San Pancho, the hike is very cool in itself.
There are two ways you can finish the hike, one with you ending a five minute walk along the highway and one being a ten minute walk along the highway, more on these options below.
While the end of the hike along the highway isn’t for the squeamish, the cars all move far from you when they pass and when something larger goes by, you just make sure you are far from the road.
The hike is moderate or potentially even easy in terms of the shape you need to be in… however in true Mexico fashion there are bits if skill/mobility and danger to which I wouldn’t bring my grandparents on at all and borderline my parents… very borderline.
How Long Is The Hike From Sayulita To San Pancho?
It is 4 miles and takes about an hour one way with 900 feet in elevation gain depending which way you go.
Sayulita Hike To San Pancho
4 Miles | One Way | 1-1.5 Hours
Before you start this hike, please go after you have eaten so you don’t get hangry and go with an adventurous spirit and easy going attitude.
There is a decent chance you will need to detour, get lost on a trail and double back, need to scale up the side of a dirt mountain, jump a fence and more… I will try to help you avoid that but some of you don’t always listen to directions.
The hike starts beautifully enough from the beach in Sayulita. As you walk along the beach you get further from the crowds and can admire the beautiful villas, waves and a basically untouched stretch of beach just 5 minutes from the town.
At the end of the beach is where it starts to get confusing… and I emphasize “starts.” As you get to the rocks at the end of the beach there is a villa overlooking said rocks.
It doesn’t fully look like a trail at the start but you will want to go over the rocks between the ocean and the villa to where you will see the path more from there.
After going over the rocks you will just follow the path through the jungle along the ocean enjoying incredible views of the beaches and oceans below.
Whenever the trail splits you will want to stay to the left each time until the time three trail fork right after the abandoned little hut.
At the hut you can go left, which should bring you back around to the beach, and give you a great lookout, but the middle trail will lead you the best way.
The middle path will lead you to the ideal option to continue on the trail to end one of two ways. You also want to go the middle trail so that you don’t miss checking out Playa Malpaso, which is basically deserted!
Definitely feel free to take a little break there and enjoy having a giant beach to pretty much yourself, there is also a tiny little cave there. The steep trail down to Malpaso is not ideal but looks scarier than it is and is definitely worth it.
From here there are two ways to end the hike and keep in mind there are like four different trails so a chance you may need to make some detours along the way.
Option 1: Via Playa Malpaso
Really there isn’t a great option to end this hike but this one is fine. You can walk all the way down Playa Malpaso, which is beautiful and end up at a dead end at Villa Vista Magica, which is private property on the rocks at the end of the beach.
Unfortunately… there is no way to get through this really, of course you can climb some fences and risk it but that is on you. If you could get through the Villa, this hike would be so much easier as you would basically be done and walk along Playa San Pancho until the town…
However, in reality you will see there is a break in the fence to the right of the private property sign. From there it is a steep kinda sketchy walk up the dirt.
From there you walk about a 3/4 a mile up the cobblestone driveway to the resort with probably not a soul in site. The walk is kinda pretty though as the jungle overhangs around you with just the sounds of the jungle.
Hopefully the gate is open at the end (it seems like it is almost always) or else you will be climbing the large gate!
From there it just gets worse as you will then walk the last 5 minutes along the aforementioned highway until you get to the main road and turn left down to San Pancho.
Option 2: Back To The Trail
This option has you go back up the steep little part you came down to see Malpaso and continue left along the trail. You will stay on that trail for another 15-20 minutes and ideally stay left as long as you can to avoid popping out on the highway too early.
At some point you will end up back at the highway and if you hit any dead ends you will just have to circle back around. This option you may end up at the same driveaway as the Option 1, with 5 minutes along the highway, or you could end up popping out earlier with 10 minutes to walk along the highway.
- Amazing to hike through the jungle
- Stunning views of the beach and area
- Hike to a secluded beach in Playa Malpaso
- We saw a baby turtle and turtle shells on Marlpaso
- Lots of sketchy moments for people who aren’t able bodied
- Walking along the highway for the last 5-10 minutes kinda ruins the lovely hike.
- There are 10+ forks in the road making it hard to follow the ideal route
- Be sure to bring water & eat before you hike to avoid getting hangry
- Follow instructions above
- Go checkout Playa Malpaso and have your own secluded beach
Hey I’m Fraser. My site is dedicated to the 22nd century person with a lust for travel and adventure, need for time efficient recipe ideas as well as anyone in need of self-help or a pick-me up! Thanks for visiting Inspire Travel Eat!