Landing in Puerto Vallarta after our 4 hour flight from Vancouver our first destination was Sayulita a small surf town located just north of Puerto Vallarta. We got a bus from just outside the airport costing 30 pesos which is approx. $2 that brought us straight to the town and was about an hour in duration.
The town is beautiful very pretty and colourful and not commercialised at all. I felt like I was experiencing the real Mexico. There’s lots of cute boutiques and quirky clothes shops, as well as plenty of nice restaurants and cafes.
The beaches are beautiful, the main beach is pretty busy especially at the weekends. Five minute walk from the main beach is Playa de los Muertos, (beach of the dead, you have to walk through a graveyard to get to it) which is a much quieter smaller beach and is an ideal location to watch the sunset. If you walk left along the main beach past the crowds die down and the sand is much coarser and doesn’t stick to your skin as much. This part of the beach is perfect for sunbathing if you want to get away from the crowds.
Along the beach you will be approached by many vendors most selling similar produce such as sunglasses, whacky trousers, jewellery, doughnuts and fresh fruit. Some of the stuff is nice I myself did buy a pair of loose colourful pants and the sellers are definitely up for bargaining, which is great especially if you’re buying more than one item!
Surfing, Paddle boarding and horse riding are just some of the things to do in the area. The waves at the beach are great and perfect for beginners. I tried both surfing and horse riding. The surf board was $50 pesos to rent for one hour which for me was plenty. Lessons started at around $800 pesos so I was happy enough to just do it myself as I had been surfing before. Boogie boards were also available to rent at the same price if you didn’t want to do surfing.
For horse riding we went to Rancho Manuel which is in the town. Carlos took myself and my friend out for just of an hour trek. Originally costing $800 pesos each we managed to get the price down to $400 each. We went along the beach and up through a jungle with an amazing viewpoint at the top. Carlos was very chilled and let us canter and gallop on the beach which was amazing!
We also decided to do a day trip to Islas Marietas which are 3 inhabited islands off the coast of Nayarit. We got a taxi to Punta de Mita as the boat price was cheaper from there versus getting a boat from Sayulita. There are lots of party boat options which range from $800-900 pesos ($85 USD) which include food and drinks as well as the trip to the islands and snorkeling. We decided to opt for the more modest version and just get a fishing boat to the island. With 6 of us on the boat we managed to haggle the price down to $450 pesos each which was a good deal considering they were originally pushing for $600. The trip to the islands took about 30 mins from the shore. The place is amazing we never realised that you had to swim through a cave/arch to get to the beach! Life jackets are provided and proved to be quite an amusing sight watching these bobbing heads trying to swim to reach the shore. Although the current was quite strong and the water not as warm as we expected we managed to reach the beach and it’s definitely worth it. The hidden beach is so pretty and we had plenty of time to take pictures and enjoy the view. The boat then took us around the other 2 islands with our captain pointing out some distinct features of the islands such as canon ball indentations, blow holes and the native blue feet birds called ‘silly ducks’. The whole trip was just over 2 hours and was one of the highlights of the holiday!
The food in Sayulita is really good and very cheap! My top 3 favourite restaurants are:
- La Esperanza : this restaurant is about a 5 minute walk away from the town centre however the food here is amazing! This is a healthy restaurant, a little more expensive the others but with such great tasting choices on the menu this is the ideal spot for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Myself and my friends went here a few times, some of the meals I had included the vegetarian sushi, the tapas and the almond crusted fish burger and all 3 of them were delicious!!
- The Real Fish Taco: This restaurant also did really good affordable food! The fish here was delicious and so fresh! I got a ‘bowl’ dish which included prawns, vegetables, black beans and rice for $110 pesos which works out approximately $10 USD. I also tried the beef fajitas here which were also delicious!
- Yah-Yah Café: This place is a must visit! I only went here for breakfast but it was my favourite meal! I ordered the surfers waffle which came complete with yoghurt, granola and about 6 different types of fruit and was amazing!! Would highly recommend it!
- Rubens: This place is great for either lunch or dinner. They do great burgers, sandwiches and a divine teriyaki bowl. Big portions and again reasonably priced this place was another of our regular spots
Accommodation: We stayed in Lush Hostel for the 2 weeks we were in Sayulita. It was $300 pesos a night, which is reasonable enough and included a “breakfast” (which turned out to be eggs that you cook yourself). The hostel has its own bar (although the drinks they serve are very limited, but you can get a beer for approx.. $2!) but everyone there is very friendly. The rooms are nice and clean. We were in a room with 12 bunks so it was a great way to meet new people.
If you want to visit the West Coast of Mexico I would really recommend visiting Sayuita. I think that 7-10 days in the town is plenty. It is a small town but has great character and is a great place to go for a relaxing break. If you have any questions let me know.
The Stylish Explorer