Tonight was meant to be a quiet night before the big day yet I, somehow, find
myself drumming my thumbs to the hypnotic rhythm that emits from the crowd of
exuberant locals fire spinning and breakdancing in the plaza below. It is Friday May 16
2014 and I find myself frozen in time, momentarily stunned by the excitement and
unique beauty of this quiet little surf town called Sayulita. I, like most visitors to Sayulita,
was drawn here for a destination wedding. The groom and the bride-to-be stumbled
upon this place years ago and have been coming back ever since, last year to get
engaged and this year to tie the knot.
Sayulita is undeniably ‘old school’ Mexico. A quick 30 minute drive out of Puerto
Vallarta, Sayulita is a laid back village of about 4000 residents. While you may still find a
few of the stereotypical North American tourists here, they are usually brought in for day
trips from Puerto Vallarta and vanish by 3pm. Most of the non natives are surf
enthusiasts, first enticed by the waves and then seduced into permanent relocation. The
village has all the charm and simplicity one can expect to find in a remote mexican
town, along with all the activities expected of a vacation destination. As you might have
guessed, surfing is definitely one of the biggest recreational activities here due to the
great wave break and beginner orientated atmosphere. I would recommend an early
morning session as the heat and the other surfers may cramp your style later in the day.
Board rentals and lessons can be found easily on Sayulita’s expansive beach.
Our wedding party decided on a catamaran tour of Las Marietas Islands as a
group event. This included an all day boat ride to a secluded island with food, drinks
and transportation to and from the port for 70$ US. Not ten minutes from leaving port,
we found ourselves powering through the ocean waves with dolphins jumping at the
front of our comfortable catamaran and bursts of air erupting from nearby fin whales.
The service aboard our boat was impeccable and I would highly recommend the
company, Ally Cat Sailing Adventures. Reservations can be made online or in downtown
Sayulita. Adventure seekers in Sayulita might also be interested in checking out
activities like horseback riding, hiking, jungle tours, snorkeling, fishing and more.
Tonight, I am seated on the second floor of the locally renowned Don Pato’s bar.
This venue has live music on the third floor, a dining restaurant on the bottom floor, and
a bar on the second floor that looks out onto the plaza where locals gather on weekend
nights to showcase their performance talents. Dining in Sayulita has all the perks of a
coastal region like wonderful, fresh seafood you can eat on the beach while enjoying a
margarita. Don Pedro’s is a lovely restaurant in downtown Sayulita that boasts a loaded
menu and a gorgeous view.
However, the real gems in this town are the small, family run burrito joints away
from the towns square. These spots are often hole-in-the-wall operations with seating
outside on the quant cobblestone streets. The best burrito of my life was found at one
such placed called Burrito Revolution. We sampled the majority of the menu and the
food was exquisite, not to mention having AMAZING traditional sauces that were
unmatched anywhere else. I highly recommend this restaurant, and others like it, due to
the great prices, friendly staff and traditional mexican meals not found in tourist areas.
Finally, I could not recount my trip without praise of the excellent accommodation
we received. The majority of properties in Sayulita are house rentals. Your best bet, if
traveling with a group, would be to search the many properties up for use online. I would
recommend Casa Illusion, while a little pricey, it is a magnificent beachfront property
equipped with pool, hot tub, a separated casita and a newly renovated, gorgeous
interior, all a 10 minute walk from town. Another notable place to stay is Villa Amor. Most
properties are on or in walking distance to the beach but, if you so please, you can rent
a golf cart in town for about 35$ a day.
Looking down into the plaza, I see a few travelers with the same look upon their
face. A slightly reddish glow in the cheeks, sleepy eyes from a relaxing day at the
beach, and an altogether elated expression as each visitor to Sayulita finds themselves
abandoning care, worry and woe to succumb to the simple pleasures found here. With
the wedding tomorrow, I must resign for the night but I know when I leave here in two
days, my heart will reverberate with lone crashing waves, music and a comforting
warmth from new memories. Until next time, Sayulita!
About the author:
Tyler Nyquvest holds a BA in English and is an avid traveller. Some of his favorite
locations include Australia, Austria and Belize. In his hometown of Vancouver, you can
find him swimming at Third beach, biking the sea wall, lounging in Deep Cove or
exploring the city.