We’ve traveled around Mexico quite a bit together and while Mexico is known for Pueblos Magico and its famous beachfront resorts, we never had the opportunity to experience the world-class waves on the pacific side of Mexico.
During our time in Puerto Vallarta, we decided to head north to a small little surfing community called, Sayulita, about an hour travel time by car or if you have more time to spare or need to save on transportation costs, you can take the local bus which will get you there in about 2 hours or so.
Sayulita is truly a Pueblas Magico with its own unique small-town atmosphere, filled with the country’s native locals as well as extranjeros aka FOREIGNER. The town is so small, that you can walk to nearly every end of the block in one day. Because it is so small, after being there for just one day, you will feel like a local yourself. There aren’t many shops or restaurants in town, but you can easily find one you like and frequent there often.
We stayed at an Airbnb hosted by Jonathan, who was very helpful and communicated with us quickly throughout our entire stay. Jonathan doesn’t speak fluent English, but it was easy to communicate with him via Whatsapp if you don’t know Spanish either. Our space was just enough for the two of us, with a full kitchen and hot running water. Having air conditioning was a big plus too since it was hot and humid during the time we visited. Our Airbnb was right in town, just a few steps away from the main square, located on one end of the triangle, so we never had to walk too far to get to where we needed.
One of our favorite places for beer is Yambak which produces their own beer and serves guests beers on tap as well. They have a small food menu of mostly the generic bar foods such as tacos and chicken wings, but at a price of approximately 100 pesos per order (around $5 USD at the time of this writing), the delicious food certainly will complement the nice cold beer you’re imbibing.
For some delicious street tacos, you will find a handful of carts just at the outer corners of the main plaza. There are 2 stands conveniently located just next to Yambak and also two more at the entrance into town right at the tip of the triangle. The two next to Yambak are both really good and cheap! At Tacos Al Pastor Tal Ivan, we always ordered the 4 tacos for 50 pesos promotion, with which you can choose between pastor, asada, chorizo, and champiñones (mushrooms). Whether you’re grabbing a quick bite during your lunchtime or a late-night snack after drinking and socializing at one of the few nightlife spots, these taco carts will definitely hit the spot, but not the wallet.
For some delicious and fresh ceviche, head over to El Pescador, located next to Chocobanana in the main plaza on the 2nd floor. Their entire menu of ceviche, seafood tacos, poke bowls are priced affordably, between 20 pesos for the tacos to 145 pesos for a nice giant plate of ceviche. We dined at this restaurant several times, tasting a little bit of everything, and our bill was never more than $20 USD!
The wifi in Sayulita is very limited, almost nonexistent which is to be expected when you are visiting a small relaxing town that feels so disconnected from all the chaos happening around the world (ok, what I really mean is the United States) but regardless, you can still get some work done at the only co-working space in town, Sayulita Cowork, the owner Brad is an extranjero, and decided to open a space to provide high-speed wifi for digital nomads as well as tourists and locals by offering daily, weekly or monthly passes.
For some live music and a cool place to imbibe, head over to Chillum Surf House, located on the 2nd level of the triangle end of the main square. It’s a bar, restaurant, and offers accommodations (pre-covid) and also surf lessons. We came across this place on our first day here walking aimlessly with no destination in mind, we heard some live music and decided to check it out. Turns out, our decision to venture into this place ended with us making some life-long friends. Alejandro aka Chino, is the owner of Chillum and he was so kind and welcoming, offering us tips and guidance around this little town. He even helped arrange surf lessons for us with one of the best surf instructors in Sayulita, Cesar, who is the owner of his surf school, Northside Sayulita Surf Lessons. Cesar was born and raised in Sayulita, which makes him not only a great surfer but also a very knowledgeable guide who knows his way around Sayulita and its neighboring areas.
Cesar took us to a nice beach about 30 minutes away from Sayulita, away from the tourist crowds with the best beginner waves. As a snowboard instructor for 6 years, I knew that in order for me to fully comprehend the basics of surfing without injuring myself was to ignore my body’s own instincts and just do exactly what Cesar says. And I am happy to say, both Frank and I rode our first waves on our feet a couple of times and it was one of the most fun experiences I’ve ever had! I can’t believe growing up in Southern California, I never even thought to learn how to surf, but now that I got my feet wet (no pun intended), I plan on continuing this new passion as we venture around the world.
After our lessons, Cesar took us to Mariscos Garcia, an amazing local eatery off the beaten path and had some of the most amazing ceviche tostadas we’ve ever eaten. Our entire bill came out to just around $30 USD total! Back in the states, it would have easily cost us $100 for such a delicious seafood meal! We spent some more time with Alejandro, Cesar and the staff at Chillum, Fernando, and Pepe, we shared stories, learned about each other and we left Sayulita feeling like we just gained a family.
If you want a little getaway from the city life of Puerto Vallarta or Guadalajara, Sayulita is definitely worth a drive. You will find unique gift shops, tasty eats, and the most welcoming locals here all at an affordable cost.
Have you ever been to Sayulita, Mexico? If so, share your experience with us in the comments below!
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