Located just 35 miles north of Puerto Vallarta, Sayulita combines the charms of a small Mexican fishing village with ammeneties to make your visit fun and comfortable . What people fall in love with in Sayulita is its combination of beautiful coastal setting, small town village feeling, and excellent restaurants,cafes, and shops. One of the greatest pleasures of being in Sayulita is discovering the magic of the town all by yourself, but here are a few tips to get you started.
Sayulita’s beach provides excellent swimming, boogie-boarding, and surfing at all levels. The main beach area has several restaurants and places to rent umbrellas and chairs for the day. There are also places to arrange fishing/boat tours, surfing lessons and surfboard rental, and other services. Our beachfront entrance is just 50 yards from this part of the beach. The beach right in front of the house (just to the left of the fishermen) has very good swimming and is much less crowded if you are looking for privacy. You can get to another beach by turning left on the road by the beach and following it up through the cemetery (which is worth a visit in its own right) and down to the other side (a 10 minute walk). This is Playa de los Muertos, and the waves here tend to be very calm.
There are a remarkable variety of restaurants here for such a small town!
For Mexican restaurants with lots of atmosphere we recommend Café Leyza which is on the square, across from the church. They are open for breakfast, lunch and dinner – they have wonderful fresh juices throughout the day, and great huraches for lunch and dinner. El Bicho is a wonderful juice and torta restaurant under a large palapa on the road into town a block or so from the square. They will make any juice you want. Delicious (and VERY inexpensive) for breakfast and lunch. El Costeno is right on the beach and it is a Sayulita institution – you can sit under the palapa and enjoy fresh caught red snapper (huachinango), dorado, or shrimp (camarones). Sayulita Café, on the road into town has a lovely atmosphere and good food. A local friend of ours – Carolina – will come by the property in the mornings between 9 and 10 with fresh baked pastries and muffins. Keep an eye out for her (or her husband). She will not knock on your door unless you arrange that with her.
There are a few restaurants that serve international cuisine. Calypso is located on the second floor under the huge palapa across from the square, and offers international and Mexican cuisine. Café Caminito is near Leyza’s and serves Argentinian food. They have very nice salads. Another very good Argentinian restaurant is Oooh La La Che at the bottom of the winding path from our place. They have excellent steaks. Don Pedro's is the two-story palapa on the beach and has the most gourmet dining. Choco Banana’s is on the square, and they have great breakfasts and lunches and very good coffee (both hot and iced) as well as wireless internet access. Rollie’s is open for breakfast every day and they have wonderful pancakes and waffles. They have recently opened for dinner as well, and now serve paella nightly. Raintree Café, right before the bridge into town, serves gourmet food in a lovely setting – breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Food: You can get most of your groceries in town at the various small grocery stores. You can get fresh tortillas at the tortillaria behind the square. You can buy fresh fish from the fisherman on the beach (go down when you see a boat come in from the patio) or by the fish store near the bridge into town. You can buy fresh shrimp either from fisherman who come through the square (look for a guy with a pickup truck, a cooler and a scale) or from the fish store near the bridge. If you want to do big grocery shopping, there is a "Comercial" supermarket on the road into Puerto Vallarta past the airport. There are also a handful of beach stores where you can purchase sun-tan lotion, bathing suits, etc.
Arts: Sayulita has a large number of shops and galleries to purchase fine Mexican arts & crafts, jewlry, clothing and the like.
Bookstore: Sayulita’s one book store has a modest collection of English and Spanish language titles. This is a great place to find out what is going on in town and to arrange Spanish language classes which take place daily at the bookstore.
Internet: There are many places to get internet access in town. Garcia Realty on the main road has a fast connection, andSayulita Net Lounge – across from the church on the square is open late.
Surfing and other Activities
If you have a surf board, just go down to the beach, turn right, and you’ll reach the surf break. You can get lessons at Tigre Surf School on the beach. The Sininen Surf Shop (located on the main road to the beach) rents boards by the hour, day or week. If you would like to get out of town to do a guided jungle boat tour, or see local petroglyphs, or go on “zip lines” in the jungle, there are arranged tours available. Check the board at Garcia Realty, or go to Sayulita Zip Lines near the baseball field. To rent mountain bikes, go two blocks past the baseball field to a place called Freakin’ Hot. There is a playground in the baseball field for children. Horseback riding is available on the beach. Fishermen will take you on fishing excursions for an hourly rate. Tours Bahia de Sayulita is located just to the right of the winding path into town, and you can arrange day or over-night trips around the area and region.
Massage and Yoga
Lisa Brewer is a certified massage therapist, and her massages are wonderful and affordable. She is usually booked more than a week in advance, so e-mail her before you arrive to set up an appointment. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, there are several new places in town that offer massage along the roads into and out of town and so far we have heard good things. There are many yoga classes in town. Check the bulletin boards at Choco’s, Rollie’s or Don Pedro's.
A typical evening in Sayulita consists of a stroll around the square, dinner in town, and an ice-cream at the helado store or a coffee and desert at a café facing the square. There are also a couple of nice and casual bars in town and on the beach, and Don Pedro’s has music and dancing one or two nights a week. Many restaurants have live music, especially on the weekends. Overall, Sayulita stays true to its small-town ways – there are no discos or the type of drinking places that are all too common in Puerto Vallara.
It’s always exciting to be in Sayulita during any one of the many Mexican holidays, where you may find parades, candle-lit processions and singing, or fireworks. Among our favorites are:
September 16: Mexican Independence Day celebrates the day that Miguel Hidalgo delivered El Grito de Dolores, and announced the Mexican revolt against Spanish rule. In Sayulita, there is a huge parade of school groups and band music.
November 1-2: Dia de los Muertos is an important Mexican holiday that merges Pre- Columbian beliefs and modern Catholocism. Europe's All Saints' Day and the Aztec worship of the dead contribute to these two days that honor Mexico's dead. Sayulitans set up alters around town to honor the deceased and there are lovely masses held in the cemetery.
November 20: Mexican Revolution Day celebrates the Mexican Revolution of 1910. There is a parade and children dress up as revolutionary figures.
December 1-12: Dia de Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe, or the day of the Virgin of Guadalupe is actually celebrated over 12 days with nightly candle-lit processions, singing and live music, and fireworks all honoring Mexico's patron saint. This is our personal favorite time to be in Sayulita.
March or April: Semana Santa (Easter) is the holy week that ends the 40-day Lent period. This week includes Good Friday and Easter Sunday following the same dates as they do in the US. The town swells with Mexicans from the interior during this important week of vacation, and the town is fuller than any other time during the year.
May 5: Cinco de Mayo is the Mexican national holiday that honors the Mexican victory over the French army at Puebla de los Angeles in 1862. School children parade through town.
When to come:
High season: Sayulita’s peak season is November
through May, when it is cold up north but pitch-perfect weather in Sayulita.
During this time, November and early December are especially nice as there
are several Mexican holidays and the full thrust of the season has not
yet begun – while the weather is warm and pleasant.
More information on Sayulita
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