Cancun has over 4 million visitors each year, arriving on 190 daily flights. With over 150 hotels and 350 different places to eat, it has easily become one of the most popular destinations for vacationers. Puerta Vallarta’s economy is over 50% tourism, with a booming market in condo development to cater to the “staycationers” that will spend months at a time in PV. With a population that has grown from 10,000 to over 180,000 in 50 years, it is another hot spot along with Cancun, and Cabo.
There is no doubt that Mexico is definitely a destination for many, but for me, it wasn’t what I was looking for. I was only ever exposed to this hollywood rendition of Mexico, which portrayed it as this pseudo Las Vegas. I’m 26, and I just wasn’t looking to party and stay at a resort. Don’t get me wrong, I like to go out and have a good time, but I wansn’t looking for a 7 day bender that only makes me hug the toilet more than enjoying some time outside.
I want to experience a new culture, and see a completely different life. I don’t want to be sitting at a Jack in the Box while we figure out some sort of plan that fits into our all inclusive resort drinking regime.
A good friend of mine suggested to a group of us, that we take a trip down to Sayulita for a surf trip. Off the bat, I looked up Sayulita. It was perfect. If there was a way I was going to experience mexico for the first time, this was definitely going to be it.
Off the beaten path, approximately an hour north of PV, Sayulita is nestled in the state of Nayarit, mexico. A population of approximately 4,000, it is a popular destination for the curious surfer wanting to check out the consistent river mouth surf break.
Upon arrival In PV, which is where you are going to want to fly into, we had our driver waiting for us. I pre booked a pickup for 5 at Puerto Vallarta through VIP tours. ( http://www.vipclasstours.com/)
They showed up in a nice roomy Yukon, with complimentary Coronas. For 120USD, we got a round trip from PV to Sayulita, and a ride back to PV on our day of departure, corona, and a 45 minute stop at the mega mart in PV to pick up some random items. It’s completely worth it to pre book a vehicle to get you to Sayulita, or else you will be scrambling when you get to the airport. The moment you walk through those gates outside, there is a SWARM of taxi drivers wanting to take you somewhere.
It felt nice to bypass all of that to the one guy holding the sign with my name on it.
Upon arriving in Sayulita, we were brought to our Casa. If you are in a group of 4 or more, I highly reccomend a Casa rental. If you google “casa rentals sayulita” you will get a ton of hits. For the couple only spending a few nights, there is a lovely boutique hotel in town called “Petit Hotel Hafa”. (www.hotelhafasayulita.com)
It is owned by a european couple that also own hafa boutique, which is directly beside the hotel. This place has an undeniable charm to it. Decorated perfectly with hearts and bright contrasting colours against the white walls, it’s ultra comfortable, modern, and cozy. It runs a bit more (around 80USD a night) , but for the extra money, it’s 100% worth it. Did I mention there’s a rooftop deck with giant loungers and a complimentary bar? Keep in mind, this place is quaint and I would even call it romantic, so if you’re heading down there with all your buds for some surfing and partying, I would look into the casa rental. This place would also be great for two friends, or a small family. Wake up to the sun, head out for some surf, and maybe some post surf yoga.
Sayulita has a surf that is more suited for a longboarder, but you can definitely get in there with a short one and rip it. Did you know that there are several mexican champions that are from Sayulita? You’ll find the faster shortboard ride in the mid section of the main beach (just watch for it from shore.. you’ll see right away where all the short boards are hanging out). If you are a beginner, I only have one piece of advice. STAY on the beginners side. Looking at the beach, you will want to stay LEFT. There is still a mellow break, and it’s perfect for learning. Get some lessons on the beach, they are everywhere. This is a great place to learn, and progress, with minimal crowds, unless you’re there over easter or christmas. It gets a little hairy around those times.
During the high season, there are surf comps that are always coming through. They usually host 2 or 3 longboard comps in December, and sometimes a couple in January. They just hosted the Longboard national there a week ago. It’s amazing sitting on the beach and watching some of the locals do their thing. Make sure and check out some of the other beaches around Sayulita, too. Punta Mita is only about 15 minutes away, and the beach is less crowded, with a good beach break, same with La Playa de Los Muertos, which is about a ten minute walk around the south end of the bay in Sayulita.
The town itself is simple. One town square, some amazing restaurants, and Friday night salsa dancing lessons in town or on the beach, if that’s what you fancy. There are countless places to rent surfboards, along with lessons at almost every single one. Along with surfing, and dancing, there is zip lining nearby, hikes all around Sayulita, jungle tours, golf cart and bike rentals if you want to explore the edges of the town a little more. You will NOT need a vehicle to rent when you’re in Sayulita. It is incredibly easy to commute to neighbouring beaches. Unless you plan on being in Puerto Vallarta a ton, and travelling back and forth, then that is the only time I would advise a rental, otherwise, save your money for cerveza!
Sayulita is easily one of the most amazing places I’ve visited. With a quiet village allure, and an enjoyable and upbeat nightlife (make sure and check out the live music at the Bicyclette bar, and Buddha Mar http://www.buddhamar.com/, along with the after hours club, Red Dragon), it marks one place I definitely plan to re-visit. Pack some t-shirts, eat some tacos…. you will not regret spending some time in this little Mexican pueblo.