...HELLO- HOLA...GOODBYE- ADIOS...PLEASE- POR FAVOR...THANK YOU- GRACIAS...
Sayulita lies just north of Puerto Vallarta on the coast in the Mexican state of Nayarit. Most people I have mentioned this little town to have no idea where I am talking about but make no mistake, the secret is out on this Pueblo Magico. I only had the pleasure of staying for a 5 nights/6 days but here is a short list to get you started on planning your trip to this lovely coastal village.
WHERE TO STAY- Well I only stayed in one place but I advise you to look no further than here before booking. Casa Nawalli is an incredible new guesthouse located on the northern part of the town, just over the river. Sayulita is small so the walk from Sayulita centro to Casa Nawalli is only 5-7 minutes. You should also take note that because it is just over the bridge from the main town it is MUCH quieter than staying close to the zocalo. The house is set behind a secure and always locked gate with a few parking spots available if you rent a car. It is comprised of 3 buildings that house 6 guest rooms. My friend and I stayed in room 4, or the Whispering Ferns room. We had a beautiful view of the lush gardens, mostly edible by the way, and the main house. I could return to Sayulita just to stay at Casa Nawalli again. Your hostess with the mostest is Maria and she is around most of the day if you need to pick her brain about what to do in town or if you are just curious about what plants are hanging over your head while you eat breakfast in the garden. Having been an artist before an inn-keeper she has left no design detail unaccounted for and each room has its own theme with handmade furniture and local touches. This is by far the most magical guest house I have ever had the pleasure of staying in!
WHAT TO EAT- There is no shortage of amazing food in Sayulita, fish tacos being your top choice. We had many good meals but our favorite had to be at Palmar Trapiche, a tropical, outdoor beer garden around the corner from Casa Nawalli. Most of the beers here are their own craft brews made in their brewery south of Sayulita in Colima. The beer is great and the food just as good. Check out the 12 hour ribs, the super tender pulpo, papas trapiche with aioli made with ashes from the grill, and the chicharrones de pescado. You won't be disappointed.
Another great place we tried was La Esperanza which is located at the southern end of town. Come here for a healthy take on Mexican. They have everything from great fish tacos to smoothies, juices and gluten free options.
Wakika Heladeria has homemade ice cream and popsicles in a dizzying number of flavors. Don't skip this place after dinner. Or before dinner. Or for breakfast. Actually, just try as many flavors as you can in the time you have in Sayulita.
Unfortunately we did not get a chance to try Tacos Ivan but I heard from many people that this is THE place in town for carnitas. Just thought I'd put it out there.
The last place I want to mention is Bistro Organico which is actually in San Pancho, another great, even smaller town a couple miles up the road from Sayulita. It is inside the hotel Cielo Rojo just off the main street in town. Our meals were so tasty here we came twice. The nopales rancheros are to die for! The beach in town is also much quieter and cleaner than the main beach in Sayulita so it's another reason to take the $5 taxi ride over.
WHERE TO SHOP- Bring an extra suitcase. There is so much you will want to bring home with you from Sayulita that you will have trouble packing it all. Aside from typical Mexican crafts and curios make sure to check out Sayulita Wine Shop (owned by the same people as Cielo Rojo) for amazing Mexican wines and a great mezcal selection. They also have some beautiful jewelry and crafts made by local artisans. You can pick up a bottle to go or hang out and do wine and mezcal tastings. This was definitely became our "Cheers" bar while we were there.
Evoke The Spirit is worth stopping in even if you don't want to spend a ton of money on vacation. It is a beautiful shop with incredibly crafted ceramic cow skulls that are yarn painted, gorgeous rugs and ceramics for your home and a small selection of beaded jewelry. They offer macrame classes twice a week which we were unable to fit into our schedule but looked pretty cool.
Zafiro is a great jewelry shop across the street from the main square. It is in a "blink and you'll miss it" tiny storefront but they have a surprising amount of unique, hand-made accessories using crystals, brass, bone, and semi-precious stones. This is a treat yourself type shop from which you can bring home a beautiful piece of quality, Mexican made jewelry.
For fun and funky Sayulita style souvenirs check out Revolucion del Sueno. They carry bright beach blankets, great hand made beach bags, Mexican pillow cases and lots of other neon, pop-y items.
And you can't leave Mexico without buying yourself a pair of awesome handmade leather sandals. I only saw a few places selling them in Sayulita and thankfully the shop with the best prices and selection was across the road from Casa Nawalli!
WHAT TO DO- If you can pry yourself from the pool at Casa Nawalli obviously the beach is a no brainer, but like I mentioned above the main Sayulita beach can be over-crowded depending on when you go or sometimes even a little dirty. I never made it to Playa Los Muertos on the southern side of the town but heard that is was quieter and a lot nicer. We went to the San Pancho beach instead which was much more peaceful and didn't have as many beach bars and hippie campers on it.
We also chose to seize the opportunity to do some whale watching since it was migration season while we were there. We went with the Ally Cat sailing company and it was beyond worth it. For $90 USD we boarded a gorgeous catamaran and sailed to Las Islas Marietas where we got to snorkel and paddle board. From there we spent another 2-3 hours hours on and off the boat sailing around and were even lucky enough to spot a few whales. The entire sailing trip is around 6 hours and includes breakfast and lunch as well as all you can drink. This was totally worth it and is something I look forward to doing again when I return.