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Good Vibrations Found in Sayulita on the Riviera Nayarit, Mexico

We heard about a sleepy little fishing village located just north of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico from friends that had visited the area and found this relatively hidden gem of a vacation destination, situated on a prime section of sandy beachfront with a long gentle surf break of warm, clear water.

The story goes that it was “discovered” by groups of traveling surfers in the 1960s and has maintained the charm and warmth of the Mexican culture of years gone by without becoming commercialized and kept it’s laidback surfer vibe.

We subsequently learned that the pueblo has developed into a “foodie mecca” specializing in unique regional cuisine based on recipes passed down through generations.

Sign us up… Sayulita… here we come!

Compact and Well Managed

North American expats make up a large segment of the population and play a dominant role in promoting and managing the commercial businesses.

The current population is estimated to be about 5,000 semi-permanent and permanent residents. The flow of tourists is determined by a combination of the weather and seasons and the limited but excellent accommodations.

The months of November through April are considered the prime time to visit and usually attracts about 1,000 tourists a week. With air and water temperatures around 75 – 80 degrees Fahrenheit… perfection comes to mind.

Finding THE Place to Stay

We found that a locally based organization, Sayulita Life, offered the best match for our requirements. There are numerous other rental sites offering the same homes but they typically have a service fee that usually ranges over $100… Sayulita Life does not charge a fee.

Their website offers over 400 vacation rental listings and provides a comprehensive as well as a current wealth of information.

Casa Angel

We selected this fully equipped and well stocked three bedroom home high on a hillside in the north end of the town in an area called Nanzal Hill which is a little further away from the sometimes robust activity of the town center.

Getting to THE Place to Stay

The Puerto Vallarta airport is modern, spotless and very efficient. Being our first time to a new destination we opted for a car service (Jose Ramos Transposition) for the 40 minute drive which cost about $150 for a round trip.

A friendly english speaking driver greets you upon arrival and helps you settle into an immaculate Suburban, offers a cold beverage and makes you feel welcome to his part of the world.

Provisioning the Vacation Rental

The driver continues toward our destination and follows a well-rehearsed routine with a side trip, to stock our vacation rental, at one of the largest grocery stores we have ever seen.

The MEGA offers everything and has a complete line of groceries, fresh seafood, a large meat counter, local produce, and a delicatessen with a large cheese section, an on premise bakery, fresh tortillas, and a wide variety of prepared take-out meals.

Their wine, beer and liquor departments offer a wide selection at surprisingly reasonable prices.

If you forgot something they probably have a replacement as they also sell cosmetics, clothes, beach toys and even electronics.

The Vibe and Our First Meal

In the process of selecting and renting a villa, we established a relationship with the owner and their on-site property manager, Eric, who also happened to be the bartender at a popular restaurant who assisted us in ordering our first dinner, via email, before we even landed.

A quick phone call to Eric confirmed our arrival and that we were on our way to the restaurant. This is apparently a “normal” exchange for the car service as it went so smoothly with Eric waiting at curbside with our take-out meal and the keys to the villa.

Our initial interaction in our new setting was how pleasant and trusting everyone has been… we began to dial back our stress meter from the travel day and that first glass of wine was a toast to the Sayulita lifestyle and attitude.

First Impressions of Sayulita

Think of it as an adult playground with cobblestone streets and an array of transportation options… cars, trucks, horses, pedestrians and golf carts.

Our very favorite mode of transportation was renting an electric golf cart which holds four passengers and comes equipped with cup holders for your favorite cold beverage… Margaritas fit perfectly too.

The golf cart affords you fun transportation that is easy to park and opens up more options to explore the town and local surroundings.

One of the more interesting places is a secluded beach, Playa de Los Muertos, which is situated right next to a cemetery full of very colorful and unusual graves sites… no seriously, a great spot for peace and quiet.

Dining

There are over 100 dining options ranging from exceptional street tacos such as camaron (shrimp) and pescado (fish) served on paper plates to fine dining with white tablecloth and candle light at gourmet restaurants on the beach serving “Pescado Zarandeado” style pink snapper.. a local speciality.

A special dining treat is offered by over 17 personal chefs that will come to your rental villa and prepare regional specialties and provide a cooking class at the same time… at very reasonable prices, too.

Shopping

Clothing boutiques, art galleries, local artisans and indigenous people offering everything from rugs, ceramics, sculptures, tapestries, and handmade jewelry just to name a few items.

Their shops were inviting with colorful as well as unusual items on display.. we purchased a hand-woven wool carpet from the weaver himself and the workmanship and quality were both exceptional.

All that shopping is exhaustive and a natural solution can be found in the over 25 different yoga, fitness, massage and holistic spa salons scattered throughout town.

For the exhibitionist on your shopping list there is a mineral mud massage “show” set up on the beach which includes a strange but comical masseuse covered in mud, complete with a feather headdress.

Water Sports and Activities

You are at a surf oriented beach… so get out there and experience the thrill. As the saying goes… “Only a surfer knows the feeling”… just do it!

There are over a dozen surf schools and board rental operations right there on the beach.

In addition to surfing, Sayulita has over twenty adventure tour operators offering horseback riding, jungle canopy/zip trek tours, scuba diving, snorkeling, fishing charters and ecosystem/bird watching explorations.

Summary

Sayulita exceeded our expectations and every day was full of positive experiences.

The warmth and charm of this village and its people have made an indelible mark on our travel writer hearts and as we departed Puerto Vallarta’s airport we were already planning our return.

Viva Mexico… Viva Sayulita!

After all, what is the hurry… be inspired…

© 2017 Inspired Travel Itineraries with Bob and Janice Kollar

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