Bus From Sayulita to Puerto Vallarta: Must-Know Tips

After spending your days surfing and nights partying it up in small-town Sayulita, you might be ready to head to a larger city. And Puerto Vallarta’s vibrant LGBTQ+, retiree, and vacationer scene fits the bill.

Best of all, visiting Puerto Vallarta from Sayulita is a breeze, given that they’re less than 1.5 hours apart by bus.

So, if you’re ready to hop on a bus from Sayulita to Puerto Vallarta, I’ve got your back. I did this trip four times during my one-month stay in Sayulita and will share my takeaways with you.

Accessibility Note: Unfortunately, the Puerto Vallarta bus isn’t wheelchair accessible. You can read our post on accessibility in Puerto Vallarta for more details.

Tips for Taking the Bus From Sayulita to Puerto Vallarta

If you’re short on time, below is a run-down of the must-knows:

  • Hours of operation: 5:30 am – 10:45 pm
  • The bus departs every 15 minutes
  • You can’t purchase your ticket in advance
  • Tickets cost 55 pesos (as of March 2022)
  • There isn’t assigned seating
  • The bus stops outside of Puerto Vallarta’s airport
  • You must take a second form of transportation to arrive in Puerto Vallarta’s tourist center

Finding the Sayulita Bus Terminal

Taking a bus out of Sayulita to anywhere is easy since public buses don’t run through the town. That means you don’t have to tackle confusing bus stops.

Instead, all Sayulita buses start and end at the Sayulita terminal.

The terminal sits on the other side of the bridge on the outskirts of town. You’ll know what I mean if you’re reading this before arriving in Sayulita—there’s only one bridge, and it’s the bridge.

Google Maps has it labeled as “Sayulita Bus.”

Basically, just walk away from town following Avenida Revolución until you see this building:

The entrance to the Sayulita bus terminal.

The entrance to the terminal is through the little glass door on the right.

That said, there’s a (delicious) ice cream store at the front of the terminal that you can technically cut through. I did this my first time thinking it was the main bus station entrance. Oops!

Buying Your Ticket

You’ll need to pay for your ticket to Puerto Vallarta upon arriving at the bus terminal. The ticket counter is located to the right, and all you need to do is say “Puerto Vallarta.”

The ticket attendant will then charge you 55 pesos (as of March 2022) and give you a ticket for the next departing bus. The ticket contains a couple of important details including:

  • The bus number
  • Departure time

Below is an example of a ticket after the driver ripped off the upper half to keep for himself:

A ticket for the bus from Sayulita to Puerto Vallarta.

“Hora Salida” means the hour of departure, which is 8:00 am on this ticket. The bus number is 643, labeled as “No. Autobus.”

It isn’t possible—or necessary—to book your bus ticket from Sayulita to Puerto Vallarta ahead of time.

Because the buses run every 15 minutes, there’s rarely an availability issue for the next departing bus.

All About the Sayulita Bus Station

The Sayulita bus terminal is small. However, there are quite a few metal seats in the open-air waiting room and a vending machine in case you need a snack or drink.

You’ll also be a stone’s throw away from a few local and cheaper restaurants than what you’ll find in downtown Sayulita.

It’s hard to miss the bus, given that it’ll have the words “Vallarta” or “Puerto Vallarta” in massive handwritten letters across the top of it. The driver will also shout “Puerto Vallarta” once they’re ready to board.

Sayulita to Puerto Vallarta Bus Amenities

The inside of the bus from Sayulita to Puerto Vallarta.

If you have your bus trip to Puerto Vallarta pictured as a comfy ride complete with lots of legroom and plush seats, I hate to break it to you, but it’s not so.

In fact, you’ll be lucky if you time your trip when an air-conditioned bus is running.

I recommend getting in the mindset that it’ll be a hot and sweaty ride to Puerto Vallarta. That way, you’ll be pleasantly surprised if you get air conditioning.

There isn’t assigned seating on the bus, so feel free to sit wherever you’d like.

Sayulita is the starting point for buses heading to Puerto Vallarta, so you should be able to snag a seat. However, as the trip goes on, more people will board and the aisle could become packed with standing customers.

Views on the Way to Puerto Vallarta

When you first depart Sayulita, you’ll drive through a jungly area on a winding road. If you have a phobia of heights, you’ll be cutting through hills in this area, but there aren’t very steep drop-offs.

In my opinion, this is the prettiest part of the ride.

The view is equal on both sides, so there’s no need to worry about snagging the “best” window seat.

After you emerge from the jungle, you’ll come upon a massive amount of traffic and congestion. Unless you’re traveling super early in the morning or late at night, you can expect stop-and-go traffic until you arrive in Puerto Vallarta.

While I know it should seem like there would be views of the ocean as you near Puerto Vallarta, there’s only one brief opportunity. That’s when you pass through Bucerías, located just north of Puerto Vallarta.

You’ll get a glimpse of the ocean at best, so I wouldn’t sweat over trying to see it. Besides, you’ll soon get to enjoy stunning coastal views when you explore Puerto Vallarta.

Arriving in Puerto Vallarta by Bus

A view of Puerto Vallarta's condo-filled coastline.

For as easy as taking the bus to Puerto Vallarta from Sayulita is, arriving in “PV” is a bit of a hassle.

That’s because the bus doesn’t go all the way to the Malecón or Zona Romántica, where the tourist spots are. Instead, your driver will drop you off a 10 – 20-minute ride away from them, depending on traffic.

I recommend staying on the bus until the very last stop so that you get as close to the tourist area as possible. Don’t worry about missing it—your driver will motion for everyone to get off the bus when it’s time.

You have a few options at this point:

  • Take an Uber
  • Hail a street taxi
  • Catch a bus

Ubering around Puerto Vallarta is economical. However, Uber drivers are sparse, so you often have to wait a while to get a ride.

Personally, I don’t recommend hailing a street taxi. While Puerto Vallarta is overall safe, pirate taxis are common in Mexico, and you wouldn’t want to find yourself in one.

Needless to say, I caught a bus whenever I traveled from Sayulita to Puerto Vallarta.

You can get a bus right where you get off, as it’s a main road with tons of buses passing through. I always caught a bus that read “Hoteles” since it passes a block away from the Malecón.

However, many of the buses in that area go near the Malecón and Zona Romántica. So, just let the driver know where you want to go and they’ll tell you if you should get on.

From there, ask a local for help to know when to get off. Or, do what I do and watch Google Maps, ringing the button on the bus when you’re close enough to your destination to walk.

The bus costs 10 pesos, and you should try to have the exact change on hand.

A Note on the Airport

If you need to take the bus from Sayulita to Puerto Vallarta to catch a flight, here’s some great news: The Sayulita bus passes right by the entrance.

It takes about 1 hour, 10 minutes to travel by bus from Sayulita to the Licenciado Gustavo Díaz Ordaz International Airport. The bus will drop you off on the airport side of the road, so you won’t even have to lug your bags over the pedestrian bridge.

Speaking of bags, there’s a painfully small amount of storage space on the Puerto Vallarta bus. So, if you’re traveling with lots of bags, it’ll likely be more comfortable for you to find an alternative way to get there.

Here’s a peek at the average bus’ storage:

A view of the frontmost part of the inside of the bus.

When you get off the bus, simply follow the sidewalk around the outside of the airport. It’ll take you to the entrance for both domestic and international flights within a couple of minutes.

Getting Back to Sayulita

If you’re using Sayulita as your base to visit Puerto Vallarta, the moment will come when you’ll have to say goodbye to PV’s scenic mountain and ocean landscape.

I’ve already written an article on how to take the Puerto Vallarta to Sayulita bus, so I won’t go into detail here.

But I will tell you that it’s a different experience than traveling to Puerto Vallarta, and I recommend reading up on it to save yourself the head-scratching experience of figuring out where to catch the bus.

Are You Ready to Visit Puerto Vallarta?

The Malecon boardwalk lined with palm trees.

Despite the inconvenience of having to change transportation once you arrive in PV, taking the bus from Sayulita to Puerto Vallarta is an excellent option.

If you have questions about this trip, leave a comment and I’ll be happy to help.

Should you notice any changes in the price/route/etc. after traveling, please also leave a comment. Bus routes are always evolving, so your updates will help others reading this.

P.S.—Are you still trying to decide whether you should stay in Sayulita or PV? If so, check out my post on 14 differences between Sayulita vs. Puerto Vallarta.