We are still in Mexico but not in the classic Yucatan to which we are all accustomed. We are in the state of Nayarit, on the Pacific coast, specifically in Sayulita about forty kilometers from Puerto Vallarta.
The destination was chosen almost at random, having finished my month in Playa del Carmen the plan was to head south to Puerto Escondido but there the coworking was under renovation and so I would not be able to make the most of my package in Selina so I had to find an alternative. Cancun never inspired me, Isla Mujeres and Tulum had absurd costs so on the advice of a friend I headed to Sayulita to discover a new Mexico.
Sayulita is a large bay surrounded by green hills and lots of palm trees. It is ideal for novice surfers since there are no big waves on the main beach.
The history of this magical pueblo
Sayulita is a pueblo that was founded in 1914, but until the 1980s it was hardly marked on any of the maps. At that time we were talking about a small fishing village, without running water, internet network or even electricity. We are talking about third world without a shadow of a doubt.
It was around these years that American tourists arrived in the area looking for a small town in Mexico where they could drink beer all day, smoke marijuana and surf in a less expensive place than the more famous Acapulco. Despite these early arrivals to the coast Sayulita was not yet a tourist spot and was not mentioned at all in guidebooks.
It is true the late 1980s that the first Americans arrived in Sayulita looking for a place to build a second home. The first hotels were built and within a few years, in the mid-1990s, it became one of the most important tourism centers on the coast.
In the early 2000s new restaurants, hotels, bungalows w luxurious villas were opened and covered the once totally deserted hills.
More or less 2500 people live in Sayulita year-round mostly Mexicans and a small percentage of expats, mainly Americans, Canadians, but also French, Spanish, German, Swiss, and even Italians.
For locals it is easy to distinguish seasons even in place like Sayulita but for us it is a paradise as it is summer all year round.
The beach is always crowded and during the day it is always very hot, I was there in February/March and I must say that some evenings a sweatshirt I would gladly wear but you can’t talk about cold at all. What I definitely noticed is the high humidity that is present in the area, especially near the beach.
I stayed in Selina exactly in the center of the pueblo where it is really very easy to find your way around. Already on the first day I had figured out how to get around and where to go to find the main attractions. There is a plaza in the center and from there all the roads lead in the various directions and where you can find all the attractions and useful things.
Things to do in Sayulita
The pueblo’s main square, Plaza Sayulita, is right in the center of town and is surrounded by restaurants and small stores. This p the place where families and friends gather in the evening. Just in front of the plaza, on the street leading to the sea you can see what is called “Slap Street” where there are lots of hanging flags that create a large colorful canopy.
Let your imagination go, and in Sayulita you will find anything to do.
- Dancing techno and hip-hop at a downtown club;
- Listening to blues music downtown;
- Taking yoga classes on scenic terraces overlooking the ocean;
- Attend one of the many beach parties;
- Exploring the area’s beaches on horseback;
- Adventuring on foot in the jungle;
- Come face-to-face with whales (remember that they can only be seen a few months out of the year);
- About a 30-minute walk from the center is one of the most beautiful beaches in the area, Playa Carricitos. Several people can be found here for sunset time and watching the sun set in the waves.
- Finally the most popular thing, learning to surf. All along the main beach you can find lots of small tents where you will find really knowledgeable surf instructors and the cost in general for both lessons and board rentals.