solo travel Sayulita

Traveling by yourself? Meeting locals in Sayulita is easier than you think

Reader message via Instagram: Hi Trisha! I am traveling to Sayulita for 2 weeks on my own in November. Would love to hear from you on things to do and people to meet. I’m traveling solo so I’m quite nervous! Would appreciate your tips. Thanks!

– Aamir, USA

Dear Amir,

Thank you for reaching out and I am glad that you decided to go to Sayulita for your solo travel trip. I got really excited when I read your message because Sayulita is the perfect place for solo travelers! You’ll never be alone! This post is not about guides on where to eat or where to go but this is more of a meeting locals in Sayulita post. Meaning, I will definitely give you contact numbers of the cool kids in town!

Good luck and please reach out via Instagram when you arrive. I would love to meet you!

Xx,
Trisha

Meeting locals in Sayulita

Sayulita and I: the love-hate relationship

I don’t want to start this article on a bad note but I recently published a blog post about why I left Sayulita. In June 2020, I started Sayulita Insider, a platform where you’ll get to see the very local life of town, I put all my energies and efforts to it. For me, Sayulita is not only about the beach or the luxury resorts (like what we always see on Google search) but the heart of the town is the people.

In this project, I went around town filming the stories of a lady selling the best fish tacos on the street for $25 MXN ($1.20 USD), people who have lost their jobs during COVID and re-invented themselves by selling food from home, creative individuals who are contributing on the growth of the community, and so much more. I had the urge to show Sayulita in this kind of imagery because the people here are really really really genuinely amazing.

My Sayulita tribe, celebrating @iz_in_paradise 33rd birthday at a beach club in Sayulita

When I first came to Sayulita, I never really expected to build these long-lasting relationships and that honestly made me stay. One of the pros of living in small towns like this is that you’ll never run out of people to be with. Everyone is always greeting you on the streets! I actually had that trouble moving to the city because I got used to saying hola to every single person. Unfortunately, that doesn’t work in the city where I am now. As you can imagine, people who live in the city always walk fast and are looking at their feet while walking. They will never engage in eye contact. I’m sure you’re familiar with New York and London lifestyles. I just moved to Nuevo Vallarta 3 weeks ago and I never had that vibe of familiarity where I am now.

But anyway, I like experiencing new things so this change was really something I needed. I still go to Sayulita every week and there were a lot of people who bet that I will not like Nuevo Vallarta and eventually move back to Sayulita. But I am on solid ground and I love the change I am currently experiencing.

Meeting locals in Sayulita

WHERE TO STAY IN SAYULITA

I used to have an Airbnb in Sayulita and most of the bookings come from this blog, honestly! Since I moved out, I had to get rid of it to completely disconnect myself from the Sayulita lifestyle. However, I still have my very close friends who run their rental homes in Sayulita, and in this section, I will introduce them to you. They will only not give you a roof to stay in but they are also very attentive to their guest’s needs.

For long-term rentals: meet the Flores, Peralta, Plascencia family (they’re a big family LOL)

A little story on how I got to be part of this amazing original Sayulita family: after my hostel living gig in Sayulita for 5 weeks, I decided to be an adult and move to a real house. It was when I met Martin Flores. He was subletting his beautiful flat for 6 weeks as he was on his way for a trip to Madrid. The moment I saw his house, I took it right away because of his beautiful energy.

Get in touch with Martin via Instagram: @moysayu

I believe he still rents his apartment up to now but his place is always booked so get in touch with him! Martin is also a physical trainer. He can take you running in the jungles of Sayulita and just teach you how to be fit while you’re on vacation.

I fell in love with Martin’s place so much when he got back from his trip, I literally asked him if I could extend my stay. Unfortunately, it was also his personal home so I had to move out. However, he recommended his sister’s rental apartment which I ended up living in for 14 months! Now, this is pretty exciting because Martin’s sister, Yamara, and her husband Beto is the most Mexican family you’ll ever meet. They were living above me and in the beginning, I thought this was going to be a problem because of privacy. As it turned out, it was the best first home in Sayulita I could ever ask for because they treated me as part of their family.

Yamara on Instagram: @yamaraperalta

Whenever they have parties in our shared backyard, I was always invited. I met their cousins, nieces, aunties, uncles, best friends – I swear, everyone was a part of my daily life! A little bit of a warning: they drink a lot so prepare yourself!

Unfortunately, the house I lived in is no longer available – it really is an awesome 2-bedroom house. But don’t worry! Yamara has lots of friends who have long-term rentals in Sayulita. She can definitely hook you up! Her husband Beto and her father-in-law Manuel do horse tours and fishing expeditions. I’ll talk about these two later in this post.

Finally, I also had a chance to rent Martin and Yamara’s mom’s house for my friends who are coming to Sayulita short-term. Doña Martha has treated me as her daughter during my stay here and her husband Martin (Sr) also did the same. They are very kind and they always have the intention to take care of you. Martin Sr is a surfer so you might want to tag along with him if you’d like to know about OG surf in Sayulita. At his age, he still goes out of the water every day to surf. You’ll always see him in the sea!

RELATED POST: P.S. I’M ON MY WAY’S TOP 30 THINGS TO DO IN SAYULITA

Martha and Martin Sr have several houses for rent so feel free to get in touch and see the availability! The one I rented from them has a courtyard and private parking in a very Mexican neighborhood and I really recommend you to stay in that space. It has AC, too! Doña Martha is more of a Facebook kind of person so if you shoot her a message, she’ll definitely answer all your questions!

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Meeting locals in Sayulita

WHERE TO EAT IN SAYULITA

Now, this is going to be a little different because my where to eat in Sayulita list does not involve a lot of restaurants. I do have that post you can refer to if you feel like eating Western. I love all the Sayulita restaurants but I do not think that they still need the exposure. They are already established. The problem I’ve seen here while trying to study on how to promote Sayulita as a tourist destination was the lack of exposure of the street food vendors whom, through the years, I have become very fond of. If you truly want to support local, then you should visit all these places with all their amazing stories!

Churros and burgers with Tamara, Radaii, and Jenny

I have so much love for these guys! This trio was educated as real chefs but they woke up one day and decided to leave the rat race. Originally from Veracruz and Puebla, they bought a food cart and traveled every year in different cities mounting their pop-ups in every Mexican city they pass through.

They ended up in Sayulita where they stayed longer because they loved the lifestyle. “It’s a place where we could be whoever and whatever we want to be,” they told me. I am not exaggerating but their churros are the best in town! If you are also a fan of meat burgers, I highly recommend their Hawaiian burger which has a touch of different cultures from their travels. It’s not your typical Hawaiian! These guys are truly generous and are very down to earth. I would love if you can give your support. Their food is not expensive!

You will find La Fogonera’s food cart at Calle Playa Azul 338. Also follow them on Instagram, @fogonera.sayulita.

Late-night eats with Diana

Now that I am writing this, I remember flashbacks of Haburguesa Papo’s after-party eats. I always come to Diana’s food stall because it is the only place open after curfew. Since COVID started, we had a midnight limit to all the bars and restaurants but Diana stays open to serve the drunk youngsters of Sayulita.

Diana and I first met when we did a best burger series with her at Sayulita Insider but after that, we’ve been in touch and have remained good friends. You can find Diana at the southside of Avenida Revolucion (near Chillum and Aaleyah’s). You won’t miss her spot especially if you watch her short video above! Diana doesn’t have a social media channel yet but I am currently helping her build her social profile! Will update this post when I’m done with it.

All-day breakfast? We have that, too!

Now, in this case, I would like to recommend a very sustainable restaurant to you. Chocobanana is an all-day breakfast restaurant by the plaza. You might wonder why I am asking you to support a restaurant while most of this list is street food vendors but the woman who owns this is a very interesting person.

SEE ALSO: WHERE TO EAT IN SAYULITA: MY TOP PICKS IN THE PUEBLO

Tracie Willis and I are soulmates and have been working on a lot of environmental projects in Sayulita. I will talk about that later but it is very important for you to know that if you eat at Chocobanana, you will be supporting our environmental endeavors. This is a very sustainable restaurant that doesn’t use plastics, imports biodegradable materials from the US, does not use takeaway cups (you have to bring your own), and basically just encouraging other restaurants to do the same. It’s not very hard to find this place – they are literally next to the plaza!

Tacos al pastor with Brandon

The guys at Tacos Ivan are my first friends in Sayulita. Brandon, the son of the owner (Ivan) has been in Sayulita for a long-time serving the best al pastor tacos in town. You will normally find them by the plaza and they also have another stall in the center, in front of Telmex. Aside from al pastor, they also have adobada, gringa, tripa, and all the traditional Mexican tacos that you need to try. Like Diana’s burgers, they are also the go-to stall for late-night eats but for me, I can have their tacos anytime of the day!

Tacos Ivan is a family-run restaurant so when you go visit them, you will see Brandon’s sisters, cousins, nephews, uncle – it’s a whole family affair! I am also very close to them so I got to know their family better. They love what they do and I feel that’s what’s most important in small family-run businesses like this. You’re going to love their staff, too! My second mom, Tia Angelica will take care of you when you come. Just tell her you are my friend and she will be all in!

Javier and Francisco, the guys at Alquimista

Another small restaurant at the corner of Libertad and Revolucion, Javier and Francisco are very fond of me because I always go there for their chilaquiles and their milanesa! These guys are only open at a certain time of the day but Alquimista surely is a digital nomad hang out. They have decent wifi and their tables and chairs are by the streets so it really is a great place to have a meal. I really love their aguas frescas, too!

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Meeting locals in Sayulita

NIGHTLIFE IN SAYULITA

I already have a post about Sayulita nightlife but this time, I will give you a list of all the cool people to connect with when you want to party in town. I need to tell you though, it’s not that hard to go partying in Sayulita. If you go out on your own and go to the plaza, you will definitely meet a lot of interesting people!

In one instance, when I was new here, I literally just sat down at Public House (it’s a sports bar), and the next thing I knew, I was eating and drinking with 4 other people. Sayulita is a very open society. All you have to do is start with small talks and you’re good to go. You will be surprised how many people you will meet here just by small talks!

The bartenders

Sayulita nightlife

David Vergara (@demvh)

David Vergara works at Cava and Don Pato’s. He’s a very approachable guy and will also do anything for you! He’s been my friend for a long time now and he’s someone who will definitely jump a cliff with me. He recently started a tequila tasting company so if you are up for joining his groups, this will be a great way to meet more people in town!

Miguel Angel

Miguel Angel will definitely give you a great time if you visit him at Cava. Just sit on the bar and say hello and he will definitely chat with you all night while at shift! He’s also very good at doing cocktails and I recommend you try his Marta e Ines, a mezcal cocktail that I really really love.

Friends at Yambak

Kevin, Vanessa and Sebastian from Yambak are really beautiful people! You will definitely not miss Yambak because it’s where everyone goes at night. If you find these three, please tip them well because they really work hard! Apart from serving you craft beers, they will definitely give you some tips in Sayulita. Who knows, you may even end up being friends with them!

Nube Hirsch (@nubehirsch)

Nube Hirsch from Atico, an all-female run bar is a delight! I’ve worked with her many times, in many instances. She’s one of the organizers of the COVID free food drive in the pueblo where they served free food for everyone for 6 months. She really is very special to me and I hope you can pop by her workplace and have a chat with her!

The DJs

If I haven’t told you yet, Sayulita is a party place so if you’re looking for insider events on the coolest after-parties, sunset parties, house parties, etc, these DJs should be on your contact list! They are all good friends of mine and believe me, even if I don’t live in Sayulita anymore, they still send me daily party updates on Whatsapp! Additionally, you can even get them to play at your private parties. I am vouching for these people – they really are professionals!

RELATED: SAYULITA COVID TRAVEL – EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW
meeting locals in Sayulita

Photo: @max.mignot

Max Mignot (@max.mignot)

Max is Sayulita's favourite DJ (mostly because he gets the crowd going after hours). If he's not playing in a yacht, you'll probably find him in some private house parties. He organizes a lot of secret events at Public Secret. You better be in the loop!

Alejandra Leon (@dj_ale_bitch)

Ale is amazing because she can play anything! I was really surprised when I contacted her for a job to ask what's her music specialty is and she said anything. Cumbia, house, salsa - she's very flexible!

DJ Van (@vanesadebraekeeler)

Vanessa is also everywhere, more like the female version of Max. However, she's very popular with the after parties in secret hostels and bars. Get in touch with her via Instagram and she will surely give you more details! She is also a very good friend of mine so I am sort of required to go to her gigs. And man, they are always packed!

Nixs Dian (@nixsdian)

Slow tunes? Leave it to Nix. You will find Nix during the day when people are day drinking at the beach bars. If you want a little more beachy-chilly-sandy music feels, Nix is your guy!

Matti Zaiz (@mattzais)

Go to Sayulita main beach for sunset and you will surely spot Matti. Not playing, but walking his dog. HAHAHAHA! Matti is a friend of mine and is the sweetest person I know. He's played a lot in our private party between friends but you will also find him around the bars in town.

Just the cool kids who are always out and about

Whenever I am asked which friends I do recommend when in Sayulita, I always have this list in my head and it always fits. They never fail to deliver! These are my very close friends who have been living in Sayulita for a while now and they will definitely show you a good time. Honestly, I am not sure why I am making this list when you can easily spot them drinking by the plaza! But it would be nice to connect you to them because they also have very interesting stories.

RELATED: THE DIGITAL NOMAD GUIDE TO SAYULITA, NAYARIT, MEXICO

how I ended up moving to Sayulita

Genaro Zuñiga (@gen_arza)

G is my best friend and is the best person you will meet in Sayulita. In our group, he's in charge of all things gay so you can imagine how funny this person is. He is a private chef at @marialalafood so if you're up to some culinary adventures, G is your guy! Hire him, hang out with him, drink with him - name it, he will have it!

Rodrigo Dragonetti (@rodrigodragonetti)

Rodrigo is also part of my solid group and is an Executive Chef at one of the fine dining restaurants in Sayulita. He can be having fancy dinners with you and at the same time can be drinking a beer from the store with you in the plaza. He can also offer private chef services!

Julia Cherbit (@juliacherbit)

Julia and I met in Bolivia in 2014 and she's come to visit me in Sayulita in March 2020. From then, she never left! Julia and I go a long way back and now that she loves living in Sayulita, she will give you all the insider tips on which beaches to go. She's into the beaches and the outdoors so hanging out with her is always a great time!

Amanda Kusovich (@amanda.kuso)

Amanda is a party organizer in Sayulita and when you don't know where to go after hours, she will take you to jungle parties, secret house parties, and more! Amanda and I are good friends and she's really the go-to person for anything about Sayulita nightlife.

Luanne Corriente (@leave.it.to.lu)

Lulu is my first Filipina friend in Sayulita! She moved her last January with her partner, Mike, who is as equally charming. This couple is very friendly and they love to eat. They've probably been to all the bars and restaurants in town, more than I did. If you want to know about food, Lu documents her food adventures in Sayulita on her Instagram.

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Meeting locals in Sayulita

Connecting with digital nomads, artists, and creatives

Finally, if you are a digital nomad, you would definitely love to connect with like-minded individuals. Sayulita’s wifi is not that strong to be a digital nomad base but many creatives opt to stay here because of the lifestyle. Have a chat with these guys and plan your move to Sayulita!

how I ended up moving to Sayulita

Spencer Harris (@spencerianharris)

Spencer is my super friend and is a great photographer. He does a lot of water photography (surfing, paddle boarding, etc). Tourists normally contract him to be a surf photographer because he's really good at it. Do check out his work!

Mike Viruet (@mikeviruet)

Mike is crazy about creating! You will definitely love his energy. Mike specializes in Facebook Marketing so if you'd like to know more about his work (or if you're in the same industry), he's your guy!

Mady Haike (@madyinmexico)

Mady is a social media manager and has been working with different companies in Sayulita for years now. She works 100% online and she knows this town very well. You will probably see her drinking beers at Barrillito - she's not very hard to spot!

Jenn Farmer (@jenn_farmer_photography)

Like Spencer, Jenn is equally good with water photography. She's been living in Sayulita for over 4 years and is really in love with this town. Jenn does a lot of surf photography as well so take a look at her work and see if it fits!

Overall, meeting locals in Sayulita is not really hard. Sayulita has a very outdoorsy lifestyle so I really recommend you to go out there and drink a beer by yourself. You will be surprised how you will end up the night with 100 other people.

If there is anything else that I forgot to include in this post, please feel free to leave a comment/question below and I will definitely add them! Good luck on your solo travel to Sayulita and may the force be with you! I only live 30 minutes away from Sayulita and I go there often so if you are here, hit me up on Instagram.

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SAYULITA LOCALS

How do you meet locals when traveling? Is this something that you do?

If you've been to Sayulita, I'd love to hear about your experience, too! What are your tips for travelers who want to have a local experience in their travels? Leave your thoughts in the comment box below! Let's chat!

Trisha is one of those people who left their comfortable life to travel the world and learn about life. Her style is to stay in one place she likes for 3 months (or more) to know what it feels like to eat, cook, speak, and sleep in another culture that isn’t hers. She'd like to believe she's not traditionally traveling but she just chooses to be somewhere else all the time. In no particular order, her favorite cities in the world are Barcelona, Buenos Aires, Hong Kong, Mexico City, and Tel Aviv.

Comments

  • Angie Kunze
    October 28, 2020

    I have never heard of Sayulita before. It looks beautiful. The life of a digital nomad is so alluring and I love street food!

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  • October 29, 2020

    Sayulita seems to be a fun place with eclectic mix of people. I like how you have detailed out the interesting mix of friends you made there, the B&B owners, and digital nomads alike! It would be such an experience to live with the locals, go surfing one day, training the next and simply connect over earthy pleasures. The power of human connect, so well exemplified in your post.

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  • October 29, 2020

    A long stay is definitely a great way to feel like a local and get to meet the locals and their families. Eating is the spots where locals eat gives you an insight into the local cultures too. I love that you are promoting so many of these local spots in Sayulita. And providing contact info for people who want to reach out before they land.

    reply
  • October 31, 2020

    I LOVE what you’ve done with the video series, such a cool way to highlight the local people, food, and drinks. I’ve heard wonderful things about Salulita. I’m a Mexican American who doesn’t speak fluent Spanish and have been trying to learn more. I’ll have to plan a trip with these amazing recommendations and practice with the locals.

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  • October 31, 2020

    I really enjoyed this blog post, I have to be honest and say I had never heard of Sayulita before but I do like how you have set out this post with things to do and how to get involved with the locals. I may have to put Sayulita on my travel list.

    reply
  • Umiko
    October 31, 2020

    You really found the best people of Sayulita. Not just the locals, also visitors who now called Sayulita their home (at least for several months or years.) I enjoyed reading about them. It’s like adding something new to my knowledge. Thanks.

    reply
  • October 31, 2020

    Sayulita looks like a lovely place to visit. The locals seem so friendly, which always helps with being able to dive into the local culture. I think one of the best ways to really experience a destination is to connect with the locals and get some insight into their everyday life. Its great to know that Late-Night Eats With Diana is open so late. One of the things that has really gotten to me with the pandemic is everything tending to close so early, so it is nice to know there is an option in Sayulita. I loved reading about your experiences and your connections with the locals.

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  • November 2, 2020

    I love meeting locals usually at a place when I travel. But the experience can definitely be a mix of good vs bad experiences. I have never heard of Sayulita before and now I am so curious to research more and add it to my list. It looks so pretty.

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  • Nohemi Gomez
    November 12, 2020

    What an amazing experience! It truly looks like a wonderful place to visit and enjoy! Wish I can visit Sayulita one day!

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  • November 12, 2020

    Isn’t it amazing how the most unexpected things can happen when you travel? You see things, experience things, and forge relationships that you never expected.

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  • November 12, 2020

    It’s so much fun when you find like-minded people, especially on a trip like this. It makes things so much more interesting.

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  • November 12, 2020

    Looks like a blast in Sayulita! So many interesting people you were able to meet. So much fun! I want to go there, haha.

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  • November 12, 2020

    What a fun place to chill and hangout out. They all look like a lot of fun to hang out with.

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  • November 12, 2020

    Sayulita looks like such a cool place to visit! I’d love to be able to go and explore this one day and see it all first-hand.

    reply
  • Natalie
    November 12, 2020

    This is an amazing guide. Sayulita looks like a dream. Thanks for sharing all this info. I enjoyed this virtual tour. 🙂

    reply
  • November 13, 2020

    I read your post and I think you really had a great time in Sayulita and amazing experienced. Meet new friend and see other cultures and the local peoples looks friendly and wlcome, this is really great.

    reply
  • November 13, 2020

    Wow….Sayulita must be fun! I had never read this article talking about all these people and their experiences living here. I like it already!

    reply
  • November 18, 2020

    I want to visit Sayulita! It looks like a paradise! Can’t wait to see it!

    reply

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