If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll already know that I recently went on my hols to my favourite place in the entire world. Sayulita is a tiny beach town in Nayarit, one state above Jalisco, which is where I live in Guadalajara. This year was my third visit to Sayulita and every time, the experience (and the town) has been very different, but it’s always so enjoyable that I never want to leave.
I don’t want to write a long, detailed day-by-day description of my holiday (it would actually be very short, since I spent most of the time lying on the beach and stuffing my face with falafel.) Instead, I want to let you know why Sayulita is a great place to visit, either on your own, with family, or with friends.
Although the main beach in Sayulita tends to be very crowded, overrun with vendors, and is actually one of the most contaminated beaches in Mexico (I know, I’m not really selling it so far), there are some much quieter, calmer, more beautiful beaches as little as 10 minutes walk away. Playa de los Muertos is very close by, easy to get to (you do have to walk through a graveyard, but it’s not as creepy as it sounds) and stays virtually empty all day. This is where I spent most of my time in Sayulita – there is plenty of room to lounge in the sun, but (fortunately for me and my poor, pale skin) the whole beach is surrounded by shady palm trees.
As you might expect in a seaside town, Sayulita has abundant seafood, including prawns, marlin and mahi-mahi, and it’s mega-cheap. It’s also a great destination if you’re on a health-kick, with many vegetarian and vegan restaurants, and healthy options in most places. My friend and I did not have a bad meal in Sayulita, in fact, I swear the aforementioned falafel from the adorably named Falafel and Friends was the best I’ve ever had (and I’ve eaten A LOT.) Check out Other food highlights include beautifully presented salads and Asian food at Loro Cafe and street tacos at 3AM. I really mean it, though, food in Sayulita is amazing.
A trip to Sayulita is unlikely to leave you out of pocket. Since the town is a hotspot destination for students and young people, both from Mexico and abroad, there are loads of reasonably-priced hostels and Airbnb properties to stay in. If you’re looking to meet other people and make friends, The Amazing Hostel Sayulita is a popular choice (and it has a pool!) Most restaurants are also fairly cheap, especially if you avoid the central square (but you don’t need to go too far out.) Of course, you can pay a little more for more luxurious accommodation and there are some fancier restaurants, and you can definitely treat yourself in many of the boutiques, selling clothes, jewellery and souvenirs (at, quite frankly, outrageous prices.) Also, shop around if you’re interested in yoga or surfing lessons, and don’t be afraid to haggle with street vendors (don’t be unreasonable, though, especially if you actually see the seller making their items by hand.)
Sayulita is within easy reach of Guadalajara: the easiest way to get there is to take a Vallarta Plus bus (which are insanely comfortable) from the Central Nuevo en Zapopan. If you’re coming from abroad or from another city in Mexico, you can fly to Puerto Vallarta, which is about an hour away from Sayulita and is also a great beach town.
Although Sayulita is a highly touristic area and is absolutely not the best place to experience authentic Mexican culture, it has a laid-back, relaxed, hippie vibe. I don’t think you can help but be happy in Sayulita. Unfortunately, and it seriously pains me to type this: I don’t think it will stay that way for long. Every time I go to Sayulita, I find it has grown, and there always seems to be building work going on. Entire streets have been built since the first time I went in 2015, and more and more people seem to be wanting to enjoy the quaint, neighbourly feel of the town. I can’t help but think that this means Sayulita will lose the charm that comes from its secrecy before too long.
As mentioned, Sayulita is big on two things: yoga and surfing. If you want to learn how to surf, there are plenty of companies offering lessons here. Alternatively, you can rent surfing equipment and have a go yourself if you already know the basics – the waves are perfect for beginners. Obviously, it’s a good idea to have a lesson or two before you go it alone – even if it looks calm, the sea can still be dangerous, especially if you’ve got a surfboard attached to you. In terms of yoga, there are beachfront yoga studios all over Sayulita and you can take classes for around 150 pesos.
For starters, I will just mention that if you are after a quiet/family holiday, stay outside the centre of the town! Staying near the central square means staying up late, or being kept up late. Sayulita has bars and clubs open until 3am every night, and they are usually full! Personally, I hate clubbing, but even for me, bars in Sayulita are fun. Everyone is so friendly so it’s a great way to meet people, and there are actually lots of options, from salsa dance clubs to live bands in bars and regular nightclubs.
I could probably go on forever trying to convince you all to go to Sayulita, but this post is already 1,000 words long so I won’t ramble on! I really do recommend visiting, though, if you’re in Western Mexico or if you’re looking for your next paradisal beach trip.
Thank you for reading, and please let me know in a comment where your favourite beaches are or if you have taken a short break recently!