With it’s ideal blend of Surf, Chill, and Culture, Sayulita is a charming small city/big town, less than 4 hours away from Marin, CA by plane.
And once you land, it’s a breezy 1/2 urban, 1/2 pastoral 45 minute bus or taxi ride north of Puerto Vallarta along the Pacific Coast of Mexico in the state known as Nayarit. Sayulita started to expand from its tiny fishing village status over thirty years ago after it was discovered by a handful of Gringos and Europeans. Overnight it became a hot spot for bohemian surfers looking to get off the beaten path and create a secret haven to hideaway from the crowds. Those days are long gone and the secret has been out for years with surf camps galore lining the concentrated beach at the south end.
In the last decade this surfing hot spot has also become a shopping mecca for fine Mexican folk art as well as handmade boho clothes, jewelry and other local finds. Along the narrow streets, you’ll find an array of shops and galleries that have a wide range of decorative, usable and wearable art. In the center of it all is a sweet piazza that functions as the meeting place for locals as well as travelers looking to take it all in or for revelers looking to party the night away. The Plaza is lined with cafes and restaurants and bohemian shops that cater to the traveller who is part hippie, part posh. It’s hard to miss the semi-local Indigenous Huichol artisans who are adorned in their customary stye of clothing, beautifully decorated with bright colorful patterns sitting outside of Choco Banana as well as down the street to the beach locally known as the “Calle de las Artisanas.”
There are a plethora of restaurants to choose from in Sayulita and you can feast on anything from handmade blue corn tortillas stuffed with the usual delicious Mexican repertoire of rice, beans and guac to locally grown garden picked salads and green juices, fruit smoothies with superfood additions and of course local coffee. Stay a bit out of town if you want to avoid the hustle and blaring live music at night. Or pack ear plugs and stay just off the square at Petit Hotel Hafa for a well priced upscale rustic vibe. For a quieter option check out Hotelito Los Suenos or if you want to be right on the beach, at Casa Blanca, both a bit down the road from the main part of town.
Don’t miss The Farmer’s Market in town with an incredible array of food and artists displaying their goods. And if you want to swim rather than surf, hop over to Playa de los Muertos, a small protected beach a short walk out of town through the classic Villa Amor property and the local cemetery. And make the drive or hop on the bus to another great beach town a lot quieter than Sayulita called San Pancho, just north up the road from Sayulita.
Take home the goods: in Sayulita, don’t miss Revolucion del Sueno, Gypsy Galeria, LuLu, Galeria La Hamaca, Evoke, Galeria Tanana, and Pachamama as well as the sweet pop-up stands and individual local artisan tables along two main cobblestone roads to the beach. If you want to give back while you’re on vacation, Sayulita Animals is a wonderful organization dedicated to helping out local dogs and cats stay healthy and find safe and stable homes.