Chacala is located on the Pacific Coast of Mexico, about 62 miles North of Puerto Vallarta. This beach town is off the beaten path, surrounded by lush jungle greenery, virgin beaches, and gentle waves. It has a year round population of about 350 residents, making it a go-to destination for laid back visitors.
The name “Chacala” comes from an indiginous Náhuatl word meaning “where there are shrimp.” The area’s history is rooted in fishing, and fishermen’s boats are often moored in the bay. Their daily catch shows up in the village’s small seafood markets, as well as in the beachfront restaurants, where the specialty is zarendeado, a tasty traditional Nayarit dish of barbecued fresh catch.
The native Huichols maintain a presence here. You will find them making and selling finely beaded jewelry and other handicrafts on Chacala’s intimate plaza, where they hold ceremonial drumming and dancing every Tuesday evening.
While Chacala is wonderful to visit any time of year, many visitors escape the cold weather north of the border from November through May, when the highs and low temperatures stay in a comfortable range between 60 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. A variety of delicious fruits and vegetables grow in the mild climate and are readily available in local markets and restaurants.
Chacala’s main beach is perfect for relaxing and taking Instagram worthy pictures. Visitors prefer laying out in the sun, enjoying the cool breeze and some grilled fish and cocktails served along the shores. Other nearby beaches include Las Cuevas, Chacalilla, and Caleta. Both locals and tourists prefer Las Cuevas because of its secluded nature. Tucked away and very private, Las Cuevas is a lovely escape spot.
For kayaking and snorkeling, Chacalilla beach is the place to visit. Accessible by boat (or through the gated community entrance if one is an owner or guest in Marina Chacala), Chacallila is a little slice of heaven here on the Nayarit coast. There are no restaurants or vendors on this private beach. Surfers head out to Caleta beach, accessed by car or boat. It is said that waves are as long as a football field, be sure to check the surf reports to know when to go catch a wave.
The cultural market in Chacala is open every Saturday morning, from November to March in the town's plaza. You can find delicious food and gorgeous handcrafted items while supporting local farmers and artisans, as well as our Cultural Foundation, which funds the Chacala Music Festival in March and the Artist and Writers residencies held each year.
Chacala the Place to Be
If your dream is to retire or just a quick vacation with no worries or distraction, Chacala is the place to be. Its unhurried lifestyle will hook you to the core. The small town has it all from the colorful homes lining cobblestone roads, to golden sandy beaches with palm trees swaying in the breeze; the place is truly amazing. Let's not forget a fun-filled place for family and friends to unwind.
Hotel Pura Chacala works with local vendors and families to help create the vacation of your dreams. We are here to connect our guests with locals, so if you desire a boat ride to Caleta or a 4 hour Whale Watching Tour, or need a ride to La Penita to enjoy a larger artisan market, we are here to assist you!