Destination Name: Sayulita, Mexico
Common nickname: Bohemian Beach Town
From the nearest travel hub of Puerto Vallarta International Airport, the sub-hour journey to Sayulita winds through mountains covered in thick vegetation. A bohemian beach town on the Pacific coastline of mainland Mexico, the streets are full of sights, smells, tastes and sounds from across the globe. From traditional Mexican artistry to Moroccan-chic French gastro and libation cafés, this is certainly an internationally-influenced location in a beautiful beach setting.
Primary Activity Pursuits
Driving forces for travel to this location are vast due to the abundant possibilities of life-enriching experiences. Rest. Recharge. Explore. Experiential adventures wait via foot, horseback, the back of an old rusty Toyota truck, the seat of a well-worn panga (boat) or a jump into the ocean with a surfboard underneath you.
Our recommendation? Soak it all in. Go on a dawn patrol and watch the sun slowly reveal itself over the mountains. Hire a panga captain to take you out for a fishing or snorkeling adventure. Stay out late and dance barefoot in the sand to music pouring out from beachside bars. Take a spiritually refreshing yoga class and learn how to breathe again. Walk the streets with no intention but to enjoy optical exploration, and follow the trails of aromas that will certainly grab your nostrils and lead to a source of delicious cuisine. Do it all.
La Esperanza Restaurant & Bar: After waking up to the sounds of jungle birds and waves, La Esperanza is awaiting to serve you the best breakfast in town. Your taste buds will awake from in-season fresh ingredients found in a variety of meals. Want style points? Ask for the French press coffee made with coconut water. This café serves meals and drinks from breakfast to dinner, all of which should be experienced.
Le Zouave de Hotel Hafa: As you leave La Esperanza, turn right toward the city center and take note of a small red-walled establishment on your left about a half block down the street. Le Zouave de Hotel Hafa is easily missed, but an absolute gem. This French-inspired location is what margarita dreams are made of. Take note of the current selection of four to six specialty margaritas, and you’ll find an extensive collection of Mescal, wine and tapa offerings, as well.
Tacos El Ivan: Those considering themselves taco de pastor connoisseurs, Tacos El Ivan is your holy grail. The local butcher shop runs this nocturnal taco stand during the evening hours. A tourist favorite is “La Gringa,” a pastor taco on a flour tortilla with melted cheese, and the street-style pastor and chorizo tacos still have my mouth watering.
Water activities: Head to Stand Up Paddle Sayulita. From beach-side pop-up lessons for beginners to experienced tours in search of barrels, this professionally-ran shop offers lessons, rentals, sales and tours for both SUP and surf, all with top-notch customer service. You’ll find up-to-date boards and apparel, and also a decent selection of fins if you forget or break a set. And don’t miss out on the popsicle shop directly across from SUP Sayulitas – ask for coco de leche dipped in hardening chocolate.
Don Pedro’s Restaurant and Bar: Especially suited for traveling couples, Don Pedro’s holds a live salsa music night every Monday. Don’t be intimidated by the pros cutting up the dance floor with sultry movements – beginners are more than welcome here. Want a pro move? Step down to the beach with your date and slip off your shoes outside this open-air bar. Music pours out onto the sand where you’ll dance with the salty ocean water lapping at your feet. Magic, pure magic.
Travelers living via backpack can stay in the local hostel or pitch a tent outside by the beach. For those looking for amenities and relaxation, turn your eyes to VRBO or Airbnb.
A choice lodging location is Selva del Mar, which translates to “jungle by the sea.” There are three uniquely different lodging options on this property, all with a Bali vibe. Appropriately so, as one of the lodges was purchased in Bali and shipped to the location to be constructed.
The property sits on a hilltop overlooking the ocean below. A clearing invites you to sit and enjoy a sunset every evening, a magical moment best shared with a friend and one of your favorite drink as the sun first kisses then slips under the ocean.
Waves of relaxation come from all angles. Sharing sunsets, waking up on the rooftop under a palapa, walking through the jungle to a quiet beach below – and the overall beauty of the place.
You can’t go wrong visiting Sayulita any time of year. For the mildest temperatures, mid-winter is the best bet. You’ll find yourself in the mix of travelers and possibly run into or make friends along the way.