Chacala, Nayarit is one of the most beautiful villages in Mexico that has an excellent wave nearby. Thick jungle vegetation hides virgin beaches and crystal-clear water. Surfing Chacala and eating fresh seafood in the village are an enjoyable experience.
This is not a surf town because there aren’t any waves to surf in the village. Many surfers just pass through and end up camping at the surf spot in the jungle.
I recommend spending some time in the village before or after surfing. The food in Chacala is excellent and there are more incredible beaches a short hike away in every direction. Playa Las Cuevas might have water even clearer than Las Caletas
Surfing Chacala requires some alternative transportation to make it the last two miles from the village to the surf break of La Caleta. It is a 15-minute boat ride, an hour-long hike, or a gnarly 4×4 track through the jungle to get there.
The jungle experience makes Chacala one of the coolest places to surf in Mexico.
Surfing Chacala Nayarit
The names Chacala and Caleta are used interchangeably by different people. In Guadalajara and Puerto Vallarta, the next state over, when a surfer says they are going to Chacala it is to surf even if they don’t go into town. The locals in Las Varas call the village Chacala and the surf spot La Caleta.
The left-hand point break at Playa Caleta is one of the best surf breaks in the Nayarit.
La Caleta is for a little more advanced surfer because of the sharp volcanic rock bottom that is covered with urchins. You need to be careful about straightening out on the inside section and not put your feet down after kicking out of a wave.
Don’t bring young groms here to surf. I saw a young kid step on an urchin once and it broke my heart. Nobody had a first aid kit and the boat wasn’t coming back for another couple of hours.
Pack a good first aid kit. Those urchin spines will go right through reef booties.
It is better to surf La Caleta on a big swell because when it is small is breaks over shallow, urchin-covered reef.
The mid-tide and the flow-tide are the best times to surf.
The wave has an easy takeoff section that lines up on the inside and allows for a ton of turns before standing up on the inside.
The water is so clear that every rock in the reef is visible as you are dropping into a wave.
The beach at Caleta is pristine if not a little hard to get to.
How To Get To Chacala
The village of Chacala is about to experience some changes. A toll road freeway is underway that will make Chacala the closest beach to Guadalajara on the road to Puerto Vallarta.
The toll road to Puerto Vallarta is largely completed and drastically reduced the time from the Puerto Vallarta Airport to Chacala.
It takes 1 hour and 30 minutes to drive to Chacala from Puerto Vallarta.
It takes 3 hours and 30 minutes to drive to Chacala from Guadalajara. Once the next section of the toll road is completed, it will take about 2 hours and 30 minutes to drive from Guadalajara to Chacala and be much safer.
The new freeway will go around the windiest section of curves between Compostela and Las Varas.
If you coming in from Guadalajara check out this article about transportation from Guadalajara to Sayulita, it is almost the same.
How To Get To La Caleta From Chacala
To get from Chacala to La Caleta you can take a boat, hike, or drive through the jungle.
The boat from Chacala to La Caleta costs about 700 pesos for a water taxi. They do not wait for you to go surfing but you arrange a time for them to come pick you up when you are done.
The hike through the jungle is about 2 miles and goes around a small dormant volcano. The trail is well traveled during the dry season but during the rainy season is often overgrown.
The vegetation is thick and beautiful.
The hiking trail is not the same as the 4×4 trail.
The 4×4 trail goes through the Maralta Ranch. The trail is only for small four-wheel drive vehicles. There is full canopy of growth and trees fall over all the time. Big four-wheel drive campers and vans should not even attempt to drive down here.
Most of the 45-minute drive through the jungle is flat and easy but as you drop into the beach there are a few steep sections that make four-wheel drive a must.
Where To Stay In Chacala
Most of the people who drive in are planning on camping for a few days.
There is a caretaker named Juan who has been living on the beach for decades. If you are going to camp, make sure to hook Juan up with some cash and bring him some supplies (a bag of maseca, some canned food, and a jug of water) for keeping the place clean.
Remember, always pack your trash, pick up any trash that you might see laying around, and leave it better than you found it.
There is an open-air bathroom tucked back into the trees but you need to bring your toilet paper.
If you are looking to stay in town, there are a ton of great options across several different budgets. On the inexpensive end, I have stayed at guest rooms that locals have built on their properties.
On the expensive end, the gated community of Chacalilla rents out huge villas with as many bedrooms as you need.
In the middle, there are some great local hotels in Chacala:
- Villas Pura Chacala (low mid-range)
- Casa Liquen (high mid-range)
- Mar de Jade (luxury retreat a few minutes south of Chacala)
- Chac Mool Hotel y Restaurante (reviews aren’t great but I’ve enjoyed eating here)
Make sure to stop for oysters, clams, and ceviche up the highway near Lo De Marcos. The quality is insanely good.
Final Thoughts On Surfing Chacala
Even though there is a new, fast toll highway most of the way from Puerto Vallarta to Chacala, the free road is prettier. There are a lot of places to stop and buy local food.
Chacala is one of the most beautiful villages in Mexico and surfing La Caleta is a treat for more advanced surfers.
DON’T FORGET TO BRING
- Sunscreen: The Best Biodegradable and Reef Safe Sunscreens for Mexico
- Hat: Barmah Wide-Brim Hat, Classic Panama Hat, Lifeguard Hat.
- Water Bottle: 40oz IRON °FLASK Sports Water Bottle
- Cooler: 3 Can TOURIT Cooler Backpack
- Shade: Pop-up Sun Shelter or Umbrella with Universal Clamp
- Long Sleeves: Rip Curl UV Long Sleeve Tee
- Shades: RAEN Optics sunglasses
- Car Rental: Discover Cars