Sayulita is a charismatic little surf town and fishing village, refreshingly free from the tacky, touristy, hustle bustle and monstrous resorts that have taken over much of the Mexican coastline. Twenty five miles north of Puerto Vallarta on the Pacific coast of Mexico, this happy little oasis is dotted with art galleries, small boutiques, and taco stands all steps from a sprawling beach which is a surfing haven that’s great for beginners, which I loved. For more advanced surfers, check out some more challenging breaks short distances away. Best yet in Sayulita: everything is walkable! If you’re feeling lazy or don’t want to sweat, you can take the sandy streets by storm in a golf cart, which are easy to rent. And, just because it isn’t overrun by tourists, doesn’t mean it isn’t friendly to the needs of its visitors – you can still find a great green juice, chic items at several of the boutiques, and the best fish tacos I have ever had.
Getting there: is incredibly easy from LA. Alaska Airlines runs direct flights – just three hours of flying time. A taxi from the airport to Sayulita takes about 45 minutes, and costs roughly $60. It is also possible to organize air conditioned suburbans for larger groups.
Stay: Villa Amor, perched on the cliff overlooking the town, is definitely the nicest place to stay. Enjoy sweeping ocean views, modern amenities and some of the villas come with private swimming pools, and complete kitchens.
I was late making my reservations so ended up staying at the rock star-inspired Hotel Sayulita Central in the Pink Floyd Room. For $100/day and the little bit that I was actually in my room, it was perfect. Clean accommodations, friendly staff, one block back from the beach, very “centrally” located, and I loved taking in the sights and sounds from my private outdoor patio.
The Petit Hotel Hafa is another recommended, affordable, boutique hotel.
Shopping: Unique, hand-crafted Mexican jewelry, art, and textiles can be bought all over the town including stands in the square or on the street, but be prepared to negotiate if you purchase at a stand. There are also several enticing boutiques including Buddha Gallery & Spa and Pacha Mama known for it’s embroidered caftans and owned by the stylish sisters that own The Petit Hafa. Buddha Gallery & Spa received rave reviews for massages and I had the pleasure of meeting its owner, Suzanne Poulson, (one of the most inspiring and interesting entrepreneurs I have met). The items in The Gallery are tastefully curated by her daughter and I had a hard time getting out with just a couple pillows.
Activities: To surf or paddle board just walk out to the beach. Catamaran cruises can be organized out of Punta Mita.
Favorites: Don’t miss Choco Banana for breakfast. This outdoor cafe, located right on the square is a delightful spot for morning mingling while sipping coffee and a perfect green juice. The Fish Taco stand next to Pacha Mama serves fresh and delectable fish tacos – ask for the sauce on the side though. Playo de Los Muertos is a smaller and awesome little beach. If you are facing the water from the center of town it is to your left on the coastline. Walk through Villa Amor and the cemetery and you will see it at the bottom of the hill on the right. There are vendors selling beers, fresh ceviche and oysters. The perfect little beaching spot.
You can feel and hear the vibrant heartbeat of this town, sounds pulse through the air at all hours. I was there for the wedding of two magnetic and magical friends that know how to throw an unforgettable party– and Sayulita was the ultimate backdrop. Thank you Carlos & Gianna!