Sayulita is a charming oceanside village located in Mexico’s Pacific coast, specifically in the state of Nayarit, near the more popular destination: Puerto Vallarta. It is mainly visited by surfers or people who want to try surf, but lately it is becoming more popular. So much that Forbes called it the most visited national destination of 2016, though what they really mean is that Sayulita was the national destination with more tourism growth of the year.
This pueblo mágico is somewhat eclectic. You can find locals, Cora and Huichol people, Mexicans from other places and even foreign people that have decided to live there. There’s Mexican food and crafts, but there’s also these fancier boutique type restaurants and stores. Also, I wouldn’t say that Mexican tourists really outnumber foreign tourists.
December 23, 2016.
We traveled by bus from Guadalajara. What was supposed to be an approximate 4 hour trip, ended up being a 6 (almost 7) hour journey. First recommendation: whatever you do, don’t travel with Autobuses Pacífico (Estrella Blanca group). We got on the old dirty-looking bus and all the bus had this stinky bathroom smell. The bus stopped wherever the driver could pick up more people and it took us about 2 hours just to get out of Guadalajara. When we were passing by the road entrance to Sayulita, the driver dropped us off there and we walked and then took a local bus.
Once we checked-in at our hostel, La Redonda Sayulita, we just wanted to eat something. We found a nice looking restaurant by the beach called El Break, which ended up being a really good restaurant. Not cheap, but not expensive considering that ugly restaurants and even some street vendors had similar prices. Then we had a walk on the beach (a super pretty beach with just 2 downsides: 2 stinky water streams that go directly into the ocean; sorry to ruin the romantic feeling), we saw kids releasing baby turtles (an activity by Campamento Tortuguero), and sat down to watch the sunset. Later we had dinner and walked around the plaza.
The next morning we went running on the beach and then came back to have breakfast at the hostel. We decided to take it slow and relax a moment. In the afternoon we went to El Break for the second time and then to the beach. Since I had nothing to lie or sit on, and I wanted to have one since I discovered them, I bought a petate. For those who don’t know what it is, it’s a kind of mat made of woven fibers of palm (palma de petate) where you can sleep on, even on hard surfaces. And we did, we slept on the beach. Then we had to buy some stuff for the Christmas dinner with the people at the hostel. We bought different cheeses, nuts, crackers, fruits and vegetables to make some tapas. The dinner was really cool, everyone sharing, enjoying and dancing. Even the owner and her family were there. I think we were lucky to find a good hostel, with a super friendly staff and guests. Hannah and I exchanged Christmas gifts later that night.
I woke up and went downstairs to have breakfast, only to discover a trail of chicken all the way from the fridge and lost upstairs. No one ever found out who was the artist. That day we tried surfing (my first time surfing!) but I was unable to stand up on the board. So I decided that I wanted to try again the following day. We ate at Tacos Mary’s (good fish tacos) and went back to the hostel to relax and draw for a while. At night we had a walk on the beach and went to Yambak Bar for some reggae dancing and drinks with Mezcal. The best one was the one with passion fruit.
On our fourth day there, we visited Mal Paso beach with some guests from the hostel and someone from the staff who was guiding us (hey there, Frank!). Then Frank had to go back to work and just a bit later Hannah started to feel sick, so we decided to go back. I bought some guava juice for Hannah and she went to sleep. I stayed with Frank drinking coconut water and chatting with him and some friends of him that were visiting (one of them was in jail at Puerto Vallarta before because he fell asleep on the street, drunk). Later, Hanna woke up and we went out for dinner (to El Break, again). Everything was cool and it unexpectedly got better when we paid. The owner was super happy and dancing (and probably drunk), and he offered us some Mezcal shots. He was celebrating something like 12 years of the opening of his restaurant and he even gave us a super long speech about love because he thought we make an amazing couple. Then he offered us another round of Mezcal with sal de gusano (worm salt), to our love. That night ended with a Cambio (a card game) tournament at the hostel and live salsa music at Don Pato.
The last day we decided to lose our pre-paid Autobuses Pacífico ticket and travel with Vallarta Plus instead. We visited the beach one last time to say goodbye to the Pacific Ocean and that was mainly it. If you want to go from Guadalajara to Sayulita (and you don’t have a car), I really recommend Vallarta Plus.
- Bus from Guadalajara
- Walking on the main beach
- Campamento Tortuguero releasing baby turtles at sunset
- Walking around the plaza at night
- Running on the beach
- Relaxing at the hostel
- Eating at El Break for the second time
- Relaxing at the beach
- Christmas dinner
- Eating at Tacos Mary’s
- Relaxing at the hostel
- Night walk on the beach
- Mezcal drinks at Yambak Bar
- Mal Paso Beach
- Relaxing at the hostel
- Salsa Night at Don Pato
- Getting tickets to Guadalajara
- Main Beach
- Trip back to Guadalajara
- Checking in at Hostal de María