Sayulita, Mexico Travel Guide
- Jul 05, 2017
- Category: Travel
My trip to Sayulita, Mexico and the surrounding areas was magical. And I want to share with you my Sayulita, Mexico Travel Guide so you can get the most out of your trip there!
WHAT TO BRING:
Visit my Travel Homepage for my suggestions for packing for a week or two-week trip to Mexico in the warm months!
In Sayulita alone, there are 3 laundromats about which I know, so if you need to do laundry, it’s easy and super cheap—like 50 pesos (i.e. around 3 US dollars!). In fact, most of my hotels did my laundry for me complimentary.
When you fly into the Puerto Vallarta International Airport, you have two choices:
- Taxi: costs you around $60 (USD) and takes around 45 minutes. Mexican drivers will bombard you upon exiting the airport, so don’t worry about finding a cab.
- Bus: costs you 40 Pesos (which is just over $2) and takes just over an hour. It’ll drop you off on the outskirts of Sayulita, a 5-minute walk to the town center.
The bus is definitely run-down and bumpy, but it’s nice to only spend $3 instead of $60. Personally, I prefer the bus if I’m arriving in a country and can take a shower as soon as I get to my hotel. I get a better feel for the local vibe. I prefer a taxi if headed to the airport, so I don’t have to get on a flight all dusty and dirty. But remember, I’m a total clean freak. Some people don’t think or care about that stuff!
WHERE TO STAY:
Hotels, hostels, home rentals, and Airbnb options are abundant in this tiny town. You can stay right around the town square, or on the side streets off the main square, or up on one of the hills, like Nanzal or Gringo Hill. All depends what kind of vibe you’re wanting. No matter where I’m traveling, I prefer to be in the thick of things, able to walk outside and surrounded by everything a town has to offer. However, in Sayulita, I realized while out late one night, one of the hotels with which I tried collaborating for a blog feature was next door to a super loud bar that played live music all night. Let’s just say I was happy that collaboration didn’t happen. So there is definitely an appeal for accommodations on the outskirts of town.
Here’s where I stayed and what I think each hotel offers:
- Hotelito Los Suenos: immaculately clean, a 10-minute walk from the town center so it’s very quiet at night, and you’re on the north side of town, on the other side of the bridge. Be sure to get a room in the newer side on the 3rd floor with a balcony facing the ocean. Note: Not typically dog friendly; they made an exception for my dog. [Read that blog post here.]
- Villa Amor: a compilation of 26 condo units that are rented out, in large part, by one management company. Each unit is slightly different than the other. I recommend the hotel based on its amazing location–right on the beach and a few short blocks from town. It’s peacefulness and private. People walk by on the way to Los Muertos Beach, but otherwise it’s decently exclusive. Very dog friendly. [Read that blog post here.]
- Casitas Sayulita: family-owned and operated ocean-view units on Nanzal Hill. The hike up isn’t long but it is steep, so be mindful of that. BUT, it’s worth it! The view is the best I had during my 2 weeks in Sayulita! Super romantic, super peaceful. Plus, the family is so accommodating and lovely. No A/C though, just a heads up! [Read that blog post here.]
- Sayulita Beach House: Directly on the beach, in front of the surf, you can’t beat this spot for its convenience and scenery. However, note that the accommodations can be a bit rustic, since the hotel is a bit old and the sand and ocean air has done some wear and tear. Definitely make sure you are on the second-level bungalow overlooking the ocean. Best view, most airy, beds are comfortable, sheets are clean. Dog friendly, but charges a 50 Pesos a day pet fee. [Read that blog post here.]
Note: There were soooo many other amazing places to stay. I met handfuls of travelers renting multi-room homes with pools, others renting private bedrooms off AirBnb, and more. My first night in Sayulita was a disaster because my AirBnb had no running water, forcing me to shower with freezing bottled water I bought at the corner store, so I personally would go the hotel route if I was you. I was only in an Airbnb one night because I immediately started featuring hotels on this blog.
WHERE TO EAT:
When I travel, I’m extremely careful about what I ingest. Read my tips on what to eat when traveling here!
For 3 weeks in Mexico, I practically lived off chips and guacamole (Note: I asked for no tomatoes in the guac because again, I won’t eat fresh veggies and fruit without thick skin), pineapple, watermelon, bananas, potato chips and peanut butter from the corner stores, veggie stir fries, and breakfast potatoes. Everything I normally enjoy back in San Diego, minus a bunch of other foods I live off of. Again, no raw veggies, like ever, and very picky from where I’m getting food.
That being said, and if I didn’t scare you enough, here are a few of my top picks for food in Sayulita:
- El Espresso Cafe: My go-to spot for delicious breakfast potatoes and a workspace where I could stand and write at my computer, while watching the town center and by-passers. Ask for Lalo, a waiter—such a great guy!
- Mary’s: A dinner spot just off the town square. Though I wasn’t terribly impressed with their guacamole, I did eat one of the best stir fries there! And I was told the fish tacos were amazing. If I ate fish, I think I’d trust it at most restaurants here because it’s a coastal town and fishermen deliver their bounty every morning to these restaurants.
- Sayulita Cafe: For a romantic escape, head up to the second-floor balcony, overlooking the street. The fajita dish was decent, but definitely share it with someone. Two of us couldn’t finish it all!
WHERE TO GO OUT:
There are many spots to dance and socialize. It seemed things didn’t rev up until at least 11p or midnight at the earliest, so prepare for that if you’re not a night owl. But so worth it to stay up a night or two.
- Don Pato’s: upstairs bar for salsa dancing, seemed to be the hotspot for Monday nights
- Su Casa: a mix of locals and travelers, more of an American style bar, live music
- Don Pedro’s: on the beachfront, for salsa dancing/lessons, but has a cover and it seems locals/ex-pats avoid this place at all costs
- Escondido Bar: owned by an American lady, known for their fruity cocktails. Though I’m not a drinker, every person I met in town raved about Ella’s drinks!
- Club de Playa Camarón: hit spot on Friday nights for dancing. Sadly, I never made it here because I fell asleep too early my last night in Sayulita. I regret it. It’s supposed to be super fun and get people into some trouble…. 😉
WHAT TO DO:
Sayulita is all about outdoor activities and adventure: surfing, paddle boarding, hiking, beaching, even golf carting. Obviously, I’m a surf lover, so my recommendations are geared toward surf shops and breaks.
Here were my go-to surf shops in Sayulita:
- Lunazul Surf School and Shop: My first week in Sayulita, I went exclusively to this shop to rent for a few reasons: I really loved the staff, the boards were only 75 pesos an hour, the shop was a brick and mortar (not just a tent on the beach) so they had lockers to keep my stuff safe while in the water, and they had towels to dry off.
- Sayulita Surf Shop: Located directly on the beach, in front of the Sayulita Beach House where I stayed a few nights, this shop offers lessons and board rentals. The guys are all super nice and accommodating, plus I fell in love with one of the boards. I wanted to adopt it and bring it back to San Diego! $100 pesos and hour to rent.
If you venture out from Sayulita:
Head south 20 minutes to La Lancha to surf. The waves aren’t nearly as busy as Sayulita and this hidden beach was out of a dream. Note it is a reef break, so be careful. Rent a board for $7-10 USD an hour at the shop just off the highway where you park. There’s a cafe there too if you’re hungry or thirsty.
There are many other surf breaks up and down the coast, such as Burros, so go explore!
On your way back to Sayulita, stop into km 5 Surf Bar for food and drinks. The rooftop restaurant is breezy and relaxing. The owner, an American expats, is super friendly.
EXPLORING TOWNS SURROUNDING SAYULITA:
If itching to get away from the busyness of Sayulita, there are a few areas I visited that I loved:
- Punta De Mita: This quieter, exclusive beach town is about a 25-minute drive south from Sayulita. I stayed at Casa De Mita, an all-inclusive luxury boutique hotel on the oceanfront. To say it was spectacular doesn’t do it justice. One of the best hotel stays I’ve ever had! [Read that blog post here!]
- San Pancho (San Francisco): A 20-minute drive north, this town is much smaller than Sayulita, with a main street stretching east to west, ending at the beach. Give it a few years and San Pancho will probably feel similar to Sayulita, energy wise. I stayed at the Maraica by Casa Maria , a 10-minute walk from town, down a dirt road, just before you reach many of the large, gated homes that expats and city-dwellers own. Maraica is an eco-friendly hotel, only a year old, with beautifully designed rooms. Highly recommend. In my opinion, it’s better to visit San Pancho if you’re traveling with another. Alone, it can feel a bit…lonely. [Read that blog post here!]
- Puerto Vallarta: Obviously, Puerto Vallarta is the main hub of this area. You fly in and out. This is where all the major stores are, such as Costco and Sam’s Club. However, I didn’t particularly enjoy my time in Puerto Vallarta–the city felt depressing, gloomy, low-energy. What I did enjoy was staying at the San Tropico Hotel in the Marina. The place was super clean, fresh, and relaxing. I recommend spending one night in PV, maybe before flying out of the airport the next day. [Read that blog post here!]
I typically scheduled my days while in and around Sayulita like this:
- Morning surf or hill/stair workout
- Afternoon walk or surf
- More work
- Stroll around town
What would you spend your time doing?!?
I hope these travel tips were helpful! Comment below with your thoughts and questions and next travel destination!