Bus From Guadalajara to Sayulita: The Low-down

So, you’ve stuffed yourself full of tortas ahogadas in Guadalajara and are ready to give Sayulita’s beach vibes a try. Here’s the good news: Taking the bus from Guadalajara to Sayulita is easy, thanks to many daily direct departures.

I took this bus ride with the company Vallarta Plus and will guide you through the must-knows of bus terminals, departure times, and more.

Note: I paid for my bus ticket and didn’t receive any perks for writing this article (Vallarta Plus doesn’t even know about it). So, you’ll be receiving my unbiased opinion.

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase, we’ll receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

How to Get to Sayulita From Guadalajara

There are four ways to travel from Guadalajara to Sayulita:

  • Bus
  • Plane
  • Taxi
  • Rental car

If you’re already 100% set on taking the bus to Guadalajara from Sayulita, feel free to skip this section. But if you’re still on the fence, let’s talk about flying.

Sayulita doesn’t have an airport.

So, you’d need to fly into the Licenciado Gustavo Díaz Ordaz International Airport in Puerto Vallarta (airport code “PVR”).

But here’s the thing: By the time you arrive at the airport in Guadalajara early for check-in, take a direct 55-minute flight, pick up your bags, and head up about 1-hour north to Sayulita, the timing comes out to around the same for traveling by bus or plane.

Should you decide to fly, I recommend checking out my post on taking the Puerto Vallarta to Sayulita bus since I describe how to arrive in Sayulita from the airport.

Location of the Bus Stations in Guadalajara

Vallarta Plus bus station in Zapopan.
Vallarta Plus bus station in Zapopan.

You can catch a bus from Guadalajara to Sayulita leaving from both the Tlaquepaque and Zapopan bus stations. The Central Nueva station in Tlaquepaque is ideal if you’re staying around Guadalajara’s historical center.

Psst! Read by guide on how to take the metro to Tlaquepaque.

In contrast, Zapopan sits on the outskirts of the city, already heading in the direction of Sayulita.

So, if you happen to be staying closer to the Zapopan side, I highly recommend departing from there since you’ll save an hour or more sitting in traffic.

Should you decide to head to Sayulita from Zapopan, you’ll encounter two bus stations about 100 meters apart from each other. They are as follows:

  • Terminal de Autobuses Nuevo Milenio
  • Vallarta Plus Bus Station

You can take a bus to Sayulita from either station. I departed from Vallarta Plus, which was clean and easy to navigate.

Bus Company Options

Vallarta Plus is the best bus company for traveling from Guadalajara to Sayulita since they offer a direct service and more comfortable amenities. They even recently increased their number of daily bus departures.

However, if you miss a direct Vallarta Plus to Sayulita bus, below are some other non-direct bus companies you can travel with:

  • Primera Plus (arriving in Guayabitos/La Peñita de Jaltemba)
  • ETN (arriving in Guayabitos/La Peñita de Jaltemba)
  • Vallarta Plus (arriving in Puerto Vallarta)

If you take one of these indirect buses, once you arrive in Guayabitos/La Peñita de Jaltemba or Puerto Vallarta, you’ll then need to hop on a local bus heading south or north, respectively, to Sayulita.

Such buses depart frequently, but keep in mind there likely won’t be much room for your luggage, unlike the long-distance buses from Guadalajara.

Guadalajara to Sayulita Bus Schedule With Vallarta Plus

There are currently up to nine direct buses running from Guadalajara to Sayulita.

Until recently, this number was a mere two. However, a new highway recently opened, inspiring Vallarta Plus to send more buses to Sayulita.

Below is a chart with Vallarta Plus’ current Guadalajara to Sayulita bus schedule from the Tlaquepaque and Zapopan bus stations. The buses departing from Tlaquepaque stop in Zapopan, so don’t be surprised if your Zapopan departure ends up being later than expected.

Departure From TlaquepaqueDeparture From Zapopan
5:05 am*6:05 am*
6:05 am7:05 am
7:05 am8:05 am
7:35 am*8:35 am*
9:05 am10:05 am
10:35 am*11:35 am*
12:05 pm1:05 pm
2:05 pm3:05 pm
4:05 pm5:05 pm

*Buses that depart only on the weekends.

That said, use the information above as a guide. It’s best to check Vallarta Plus’ website for up-to-date information on their Guadalajara to Sayulita bus schedule.

Cost of Bus to Sayulita

As of June 2022, the cost of the bus from Guadalajara to Sayulita is 680 pesos. You can check Vallarta Plus’ tarif page for up-to-date information on their pricing.

The amount of time it’ll take you to travel from Guadalajara to Sayulita depends on the bus terminal you depart from and traffic. However, you can expect around a 4 – 5-hour ride.

Guadalajara to Sayulita Bus Amenities

Seats on the Vallarta Plus bus.

I’ve been on my fair share of buses, so it holds a lot of weight when I say that the bus from Guadalajara to Sayulita is above average comfort-wise.

The buses offer plush seats, plenty of leg room for most people, a personal TV, charging port, and bathroom.

You’ll also be able to check two bags free of charge. These bags can measure up to 77 inches and weigh 77 pounds.

Furthermore, there’s overhead bins on the bus for storing carry-on luggage. However, I found that I had so much legroom that I could keep my day backpack with me.

The bus doesn’t make any stops on the way to Sayulita, so I recommend bringing drinks and snacks.

The Journey to Sayulita

A view of the scenery on the bus from Guadalajara to Sayulita.

I was all ready to tell you about my experience traveling from Guadalajara to Sayulita in terms of the scenery, winding roads through jungly terrain, and the steep drop-offs we sometimes passed.

However, I took this bus right before they altered the route. Now, you’ll have more time on open (and presumably drop-off-free) highway.

So, I no longer feel qualified to talk about this portion. But if you end up taking this bus journey, I’d love to hear from you in the comments section about your experience busing it to Sayulita.

A Note on Time Changes

Keeping an eye on your phone’s clock can be a dizzying experience when traveling from Guadalajara to Sayulita.

That’s because the state of Nayarit, which operates on Mountain Time, is one hour ahead of Sayulita, which operates on Central Time.

That’s confusing, given that Sayulita itself sits within Nayarit. Nevertheless, the Bahía de Banderas region stands out from other areas in this state because it operates one hour behind them.

There’s a good reason for this, though—Puerto Vallarta operates on Central Time, and tourists arriving by plane must fly there. But the Mexican government realized that many people missed their flights because of the difference in Sayulita and Puerto Vallarta’s time zones.

So, as you travel from Guadalajara to Sayulita, you’ll go from Central Time (Guadalajara) to Mountain Time (Nayarit State) to Central Time (Sayulita).

Arriving in Sayulita

The bus from Guadalajara to Sayulita sitting in Sayulita.

Vallarta Plus has its own little bus station—ahem, driveway—in Sayulita. It sits on the opposite end of the same building complex as the main Sayulita bus terminal.

The good news?

It’s right on Av. Revolución, which is the road that leads into downtown Sayulita. So, it’ll be a straight, less than 10-minute walk to get to all the shops, tourist attractions, and beach access in the heart of this surf town.

If you haven’t booked your accommodation yet and are looking for a boutique hostel, I recommend Selina Sayulita. I spent a month there and still dream about their 5-star bathrooms (it sounds silly, I know).

Taking the Bus from Sayulita to Guadalajara

Taking the bus from Sayulita to Guadalajara involves doing everything I described here but in reverse.

You’ll need to catch your bus to Guadalajara at Vallarta Plus’ driveway beside their Sayulita office, where you can buy a ticket. Alternatively, you can purchase your ticket in advance online.

Are You Ready to Take the Bus from Guadalajara to Sayulita?

Downtown Sayulita with a cobblestone street.

Arriving in Sayulita’s small, laid-back surfing town was a welcome change after I spent a month in beautiful but bustling Guadalajara.

If you have questions about taking the bus to Sayulita, leave a comment, and I’ll do my best to help. I’d also love to hear about your experience and insights after you take this trip.

P.S.—Do you plan on visiting Puerto Vallarta? If so, don’t miss my guide on how to take the bus from Sayulita to Puerto Vallarta. Also, if you’re on the fence about where on the Mexican Pacific coast you want to visit, check out my article on Sayulita vs Puerto Escondido.

11 thoughts on “Bus From Guadalajara to Sayulita: The Low-down”

  1. Hi there, so is there direct busses from Guadalajara Nueva Central Station or do you have to change busses in Puerto Vallarta?

    1. Hi Summer,

      Yes, there are direct buses from Guadalajara Nueva Central to Sayulita without you needing to change buses in Puerto Vallarta. You can check Vallarta Plus’ website for your travel dates to see the departure times.

      Wishing you a wonderful trip!

  2. How early did you arrive at the bus station before departure time? I’m going from Guadalajara to sayulita in early November.

    1. Hi Samantha,

      I arrived at the bus station 30 minutes early, though I think they say it’s fine to arrive 10 – 15 minutes before your bus departs. The tricky part is that traffic is a beast in Guadalajara. So, it’s best to overcompensate how long you think it’ll take to arrive at the bus station from where you’re staying.

      Wishing you a wonderful trip!

  3. Hi Laura, I’m planning to take the bus from Puerto Vallarta to Guadalajara and then on to Chapala. Could I get off in Zapopan and get a bus going to Chapala? Or do I have to get to the Central Vieja station and then on to Chapala? I have a big suitcase so I would need to take a bus that allows luggage. Thanks

    1. Hi Gayle,

      As far as I’m aware, there aren’t any buses that run from Zapopan to Chapala. That said, if you discover differently once you’re traveling, I’d appreciate it if you came back here to let us know. I’m sure we have other readers who are wondering the same thing 🙂

  4. Thanks for this very useful information.
    You mention 2 Vallarta Plus bus depots in Guadalajara. Which one is better when arriving at the airport.

    1. Hi Dennis,

      The Tlaquepaque bus station is closer to the Guadalajara airport. The Tlaquepaque buses then stop in Zapopan to pick up passengers before continuing on to Sayulita.

  5. Hi Laura

    I’d like to take my seven pound dog with me, do you have any tips? Do you have to pay more? Can she be in her kennel with me?

    1. Hi Colleen,

      I found a clause in Vallarta Plus’ terms and conditions that states pets are allowed, but they must be in a kennel beneath the bus and you’ll have to show their vaccination record. It doesn’t say anything about having to pay more. But if they charge extra, I can’t imagine it would be super expensive. You can read section 2.7 of the T&Cs for more info.

  6. I feel Sayulita is overrated and getting very pricey. Doesn’t have Mexican Pueblo vibes. To me La Penita is more Mexican and affordable. Guayabitos is next door. You can travel to San Pancho and Lo de Marcos by small vans called colectivos. Nayarit is a lovely state and quite safe.

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