Ten years ago, surfers came to Sayulita to escape the hordes at Puerto Vallarta. Now you can escape Sayulita at next-door San Pancho, a worthy, and far less crowded, rival. Bring your own boards or rent gear from the San Pancho Surf Shop (American Latina, 3; 52-311-258-4312), where manager Alonzo Hernandez will guide you to the day’s best waves, typically found along Chacala and LaLancha beaches.
When you're ready to reengage, return to Sayulita and its unexpectedly compelling fashion scene. Its sartorial HQ is Pachamama, whose French surfer-sister owners stock sexy snakeskin skirts, colorful, hand-embroidered Mexican dresses, braided leather purses, and delicate beaded cuffs. Get a bikini from Brazil, Argentina, or Columbia at Yemaya, owned by American interior designer Hana Waxman. (There are also beach dresses and cover-ups for the less toned.) For something a bit more local, La Hamaca (110 Avda. Revolución; 52-322-227-5817) offers traditional masks, pottery, artwork, and hammocks sourced from Indian villages throughout Mexico and Guatemala.
Escape again with a ride through the treetops on a rainforest canopy tour. Embrace your inner Tarzan as you hop from treetop to treetop some 90 feet above the forest floor (safely, of course) attached to harnesses and a zip wire. Half-day (four and a half hours) excursions are $79 for adults and $53 for kids between 8 and 12.