A Typical Day in Sayulita, Mexico

10:30am – Wake up real slow from a most delicious sleep, and throw open the shutters. Savor the view of the sun shining on the ocean for a few moments before grabbing a quick wake-me-up beer and throwing on some shorts, a tee and flip flops and heading out for breakfast.

11:00am – Take the 20 minute jungle path down into town walking right past Playa de los Muertos and through the cemetery before reaching the beginning of the beach.

los muertos cemetary

11:30am – Choose between quick and fresh ChocoBanana or full and mouthwatering Rollie’s for lunch and pick Rollie’s. Enjoy the famous stuffed french toast, and nod enthusiatically when Rollie offers to buy you a pancake. Ignore the scrappy dog looking thing that comes around. Do not ignore the guitar player, Antonio del Toro, that comes around. Request “Ti Voglio Bene Assai,” sit back and savor the moment.

12:30pm – Look through the market and consider purchasing some organic coffee, herbs or a few sarongs. Stop by the liquor store to pick up some tequila to make margaritas/a sixpack of Pacifico beer/a bottle of red.
the beginning of the beach, villa amor in the background

1:00pm – Sign up for a fishing safari with Captain Pablo out to the Islas Maritas/take a surfing lesson with Pepe Le Pew further down the beach/plop down on a beach chair and wait for someone from Captain Cook’s to come by with a menu/walk along the beach towards Villa Amor for a sweaty trek back to Casa Pacifica.

playing with hermit crabs

1:30pm – Grab a swim suit and a towel and head down to the nearly private Playa Carricitos. Suntan/swim and try to study some Spanish/find some hermit crabs until you’ve had enough sun for the week.

4:30pm – Cool off with a quick shower and grab a beer. Plop down on the patio to relax, read, write, catch up on some emails or just chat for a couple hours. Watch the sun slowly melt into the ocean before getting ready for dinner out.

8:00pm – Arrive in town just in time for a late dinner and contemplate between Café Sayulita’s Chile Rellenos and El Costeno’s fish ceviche. Settle instead on Tacorriendo for a lighter dinner and nibble on some chicken, beef and cow tongue tacos before heading back to the plaza.

sunset

8:30pm – Find a seat at Restauant Carmelita in the main plaza to enjoy some chips and 2 for 65pesos margaritas/mojitos and listen to the band playing next door at the Rubber Duck Pub. Ignore the greyhound that comes around.

10:00pm – Grab an ice cream at the plaza before entering the darkness of the cemetary to begin the jungle trek back to Casa Pacifica. Good thing you remembered your headlamps. Sing songs to pass the time and keep an eye out for that tricky first right that looks like it’s a dead end.

11:00pm – Get home and make some margaritas/pop open a can of Pacifico/uncork a bottle of red and take a seat out on the patio, staring out onto the no longer visible ocean or the night sky and discuss philosophy/the day’s adventures/your latest book.

1:00am – Hop in to bed and pass out giddily buzzed and gleefully exhausted.

In Photos: It’s All About the People

We met lots of interesting people during our two weeks in Sayulita, many of whom were expats, some of whom were tourists, others still who were long-time visitors. But we didn’t meet everyone.

Some people I only caught glimpses of. These are the characters whose stories I don’t know.

Jewellery peddler on the beach, Sayulita, Mexico

Jewellery peddler on the beach.

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family on the beach

A local family gets together for an early evening picnic on the beach.

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peddler at mercado

A peddler of fabric sacks at the mercado pauses just long enough for me to take a photo.
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mexican cowboys

Mexican cowboys trot over the depleted Arroyo.

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band at the mercado

Servers from Italian Mangia Fuoco jam at the Sunday mercado.

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Tourists? Sayulita-fied locals?

Tourists? Sayulita-fied locals? Sayulita, Mexico

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A peddler picks his steps over a small stream, Sayulita, Mexico

A peddler picks his step over a small stream.

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The Moments I’ll Remember Most from Sayulita

The things I’ll never forget, and always think of when Sayulita comes to mind. (Click on the links to read the full story!)

  1. Trekking the jungle forest trail everyday in and out of town. Whether I loved it, hated it, was scared of it, or embraced it, I will never ever forget it.
  2. Jumping in the back of a pickup truck when offered a ride into town on our walk through the jungle at night.
  3. Very calmly letting Charlie know that I was pretty sure there was a scorpion in the bathroom while I was on the toilet in the middle of the night. And him promptly running in and slapping it to death with a flip-flop.
  4. Getting swept under a 2-meter wave that crashed down like the fountains at the Bellagio and genuinely fearing for my life.
  5. Rollie asking, Would you like a pancake? I’ll buy you one.
  6. Standing up on the surfboard on my second try and riding till I stopped. And upon surfacing immediately having my bottoms pulled down by a wave.
  7. Getting choked-up at cantante Alberto del Toro playing a rendition of “O Sole Mio” at our table at Rollie’s at Night.
  8. little burned scorpionNonchalantly mentioning to Charlie that there was a scorpion by my chair after his warning that there was one in the shower. And him promptly running out with a lighter and some spray and blow torching it to death. (Photo).
  9. Staring in disbelief at a humpback whale fully breaching less than a hundred meters from our boat.
  10. Scrambling over giant beach boulders coming back from Playa Escondida Restaurant in the dark, laughing my a** off, barefoot in a strapless dress with a headlamp on.

Where and What to Eat in Sayulita

Whether you’re into traditional Mexican cooking, freshly caught seafood, or a quick taco snack, the small Mexican fishing-village turned surf town of Sayulita has something for everyone.

Here’s a quick tour of the best of the best.

the sayulita beach, with El Costeno's three tiered palapa on the left

Whether it’s during the day or just getting dark out, head to the beach for some mouth-watering seafood at Sayulita’s oldest beachfront restaurant, El Costeño. With views of the water perfect for surfer or sunset watching, and margaritas larger than your face, El Costeño isn’t just a restaurant, it’s a dining experience. Try their fish ceviche or the shrimp in garlic and butter sauce and you won’t be disappointed.

For something a bit more traditional, the place for quality and taste is the slightly fancier Café Sayulita: Casa del Chile Relleno. Now famous for the Chile Relleno dish that owner/chef Miguel Muro has raised to perfection, the restaurant, just off the main plaza past ChocoBanana, is always packed and is essential on any visit to Sayulita. Try the dish they’re known for and you’ll walk away full and satisfied.

And when you’re ready to really mingle with the locals, find Tacorriendo, a taqueria hiding a block over from Café Sayulita on Jose Mariscal. Open for dinner only, this local run hole-in-the-wall sells some of the best and cheapest tacos around and has everything from chicken to cow tongue and other such delicacies. Experiment if you dare, but know that regardless what you try, you can’t go wrong.

And that’s really the truth about these places: because of their warm local hospitality, genuine cultural experience, and deliciously authentic Mexican cuisine, whatever you order, you’ll leave knowing you’ll be coming back for more.

Everyday we did this walk, every day.

I had a love/hate relationship with what I now ominously call “the walk,” but the reality is that “the walk” will go down as the one of the things I remember most about Sayulita.

What is the walk? It’s the main walking path (though I use the term ‘main’ loosely) from Sayulita’s town center to the secluded Playa Carricitos, and since our rented bungalow was on the hill right over Carricitos, it was the walking path we took everyday to get to town.

Usually twice.

the jungle walk
The beginning of the walk down…

It started on a wide dirt path through a jungle of sorts, then ran down, down, down, until it reached the cemetery. After that it was an easy stroll along the gravel dirt seawall past the giant yellow Villa Amor, an adventure tour provider shack, and then finally, into the outskirts of town.

walking past the cemetary

It was a nice 20 minute wake me up walk in the morning, and a very sweaty 30 minute work out during the heat wave coming home after lunch; a quite enjoyable evening amble to town for dinner, and, well, something else entirely in the pitch-blackness on the way back.

The first time, we got lost. Even though we were warned to not take the first right but the second right, and shown specifically where, we of course took the first right, and not the second right… But you see, when everything is black and there’s only the light from two meandering headlamps, the first right isn’t a ‘right,’ it’s just the only road you can see.

Well, we hit a dead end after walking up a giant hill and had to traipse back all the way to the cemetery – a really appropriate landmark in the middle of the night.

villa amor in the distance

When we stopped getting lost, it became a great time to sing songs, learn to spot land crabs and spider eyes, and to get terrified of random sounds and giant wasp nests. So, not so bad, really.

Well, except for that last part walking up, the part where we knew we were rounding the last corner because all of a sudden our legs would give out and the incline felt like it increased by about 10 degrees. “Oh, we’re here.” We’d both say, dread in our voices.

But we were always rewarded at that point with the knowledge that we were close to home…and by the glowing eyes of the neighbor’s dog, staring at us from the darkness of the driveway, silently watching us as we passed.

Everyday we did this walk, every day.

can't see anything? yeah, neither could we.
Can’t see anything? Yeah, neither could we.