The charming little surf town of Sayulita, Mexico is located just one hour’s drive from the Puerta Vallarta airport and offers travellers a vibrant, local culture with a diverse culinary scene. The surfs always up in Sayulita, the margaritas are always mixing and there’s a light and happy energy that pulses through the town.
Getting to Sayulita was a pleasant experience that cost only 35 pesos or 3 Canadian dollars for a seat on the safe and sturdy public bus. All you need to do is exit the airport and walk across the over pass to the opposite side of the highway and jump on a designated public bus. The buses run every fifteen minutes.
Sayulita is best known for it’s steady surf and glorious beach, and we enjoyed reading books and eating all of the things from the sellers that passed us by. The playa there is one of the most magical places to people watch and is home to countless entrepreneurs that bargain and sell their wares. From the comfort of my lazing chair, I could purchase an impressive assortment of things that I don’t need, which greatly pleased the perpetual shopper in me.
Here are some things that you can buy on the beach:
– fresh oysters on a platter
– grilled prawn, chicken and pork skewers
– ice cream from a cooler thats being pushed in a wheelbarrow
– cotton candy, five cent candies, donuts and macaroons
– jewellery, sunglasses, hammocks, henna tattoos, massages, dream catchers, braids and sarongs
Here are five things that you SHOULDN’T do in Sayulita:
1) Believe that you are greater than the Sun (it will burn you.)
2) Recklessly try table salsas and sauces (they will burn you.)
3) Use ATMs on the street (instead of the ones inside establishments, they will burn you.)
4) Disrespect the ocean (it will toss you around.)
5) Drink too many margaritas (the heat + the hangover + the relentless roosters = no bueno.)
and here’s one thing that you SHOULD do:
Chica Loca’s: http://www.chicaloccatours.com/
I’m not usually one to purchase tours or spend money on packaged activities but I found myself having the best time sailing across Banderas Bay on the Chica’s Loca’s custom catamaran. We spent our second last day in Sayulita sailing to a secret beach, snorkelling in a beautiful bay, ripping around on SUP’s and trailing behind the boat on an aggressive but delightful inner tube. Drinks from the open bar flowed into our hands, while the kind and clever crew knew just which kind of margaritas to make. Satisfying breakfasts, sandwich lunches and late afternoon ceviche was also included.
Where to Stay:
I had the most ideal rookie experience booking with Air BnB and stayed at Casa Sarita. Air BnB provided me with an easy, straight forward reservation process and the beautiful, large studio room that we called home was exactly what we thought it would be. Our convenient Casa was located on a quiet corner, three streets away from the doof doof music of the main square but still an easy four minute walk from the beach. The welcoming, one of a kind space greeted us with a sunny, wrap around porch and the studio room, which was just as nice as a Junior Suite at a premium hotel, was designed with unique, local details that created an authentic feel. At the end of the long, sun filled days, the cool AC and comfortable King sized bed didn’t go unappreciated and the open bathroom with colourfully tiled double sinks and spacious stone shower made it feel like we were on vacation at a nice hotel and not in someone’s living space.
To explore Casa Sarita and other Air BnB Options: https://www.airbnb.ca/rooms/2889973
Where to Eat:
For a population of 5,000 people, Sayulita has an impressive culinary scene of over 86 restaurants that highlight their local flavours and bring surprisingly authentic international cuisines to town.
In the manana, begin your day at Choco Bananas, a cheerful place that offers diners the option between American and Mexican breakfasts, proper cappuccinos, fresh fruit smoothies and their infamous chocobanana (a frozen banana dipped in chocolate and things.) The prices here are reasonable, the wifi is consistent and it is constantly one of the busiest breakfast spots near the square.
In the tarde, try Luna’s little restaurant beside the river; it’s on the left side if you’re walking towards the ocean on Pelicano street. Lunch there was extremely cheap, the taco shells freshly made in front of us and we dined on a big steak taco, a chorizo quesadilla and two fresh guava juices for only six dollars.
Possibly my favourite part about Sayulita is that during the noche the lively restaurants spill out into the cobble stone streets, setting up al fresco tables and adding a sense of festivities to the night air.
Mary’s, an authentic and delicious Mexican restaurant with generous portions of all of your favourites.
Terra Viva, home to the best patio in town for watching the game. I couldn’t have been happier to stumble upon Terra Viva in my pursuit of the NCAA tournament and ended up trying the zesty guacamole, spicy soy soba snapper and sweet barbecue ribs there.
Yeikame, on Jose Mariscal Street, for the best Mole tacos and Tortilla Soup.
La Rustica, for mind blowing, wood fired pizza with refreshing flavour combinations like sun dried tomato, goats cheese, spinach and balsamic glaze.
Street Food (available only after dark):
The Taco’s Asada stand that’s marked by a huge spit of pork roasting curb side on Revolution Ave is hard to miss and definitely worth your dineros. For a dollar a taco you can get a small pork taco garnished with chopped pineapples and pickled onion and served to you on a frisbee, as well as access to the street side salsa bar.
Directly across from the Taco’s Asada stand is the The Churro Truck and you really shouldn’t be allowed to have one without the other. For the best churro’s that you’ve ever tasted, hand over you 30 pesos here.
Last but not least, the Cake Lady is a pretty self explanatory diva and happens to be the best of the bunch. Find her near the square on Marlin street and be sure to try both of her tres leches vanilla and chocolate cakes.
I was fortunate to explore Sayulita with my partner in crime and while Stanny napped, I read.
Together, we had the best time ever.