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A Sayulita travel guide like no other, and other tips from someone who got “trapped” here

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This Sayulita travel guide is based on my experiences from traveling here to potentially living here for 2 years! This small town in Riviera Nayarit is everyone’s favorite but note that this is not for everyone. Read on to see if Sayulita is the destination for you.

📬 Reader Mail: Hi Trisha! I see that you are currently in Mexico and I’ve looked all over for your Sayulita travel guide and didn’t see any. Are you still there?

I am planning to visit from San Diego in a month. I got a direct flight! Can you please recommend anything (place to stay, food, etc) in Sayulita? I hope you are going to be there when I arrive! I’d love to meet you!

– Christine Franklin, USA

Dear Christine,

Thanks a lot for reaching out! I now live full-time in Sayulita and loving it. At first, I didn’t think I will like it because it was too small (I usually find myself overwhelmed with small towns like this) but it’s been working great for me. I love living here!

I just started creating a few contents about Sayulita so if you have more questions that weren’t answered here, please feel free to send me a message via Instagram. If you ever make it here, I’d love to take you for coffee! Good luck!

Xx,
Trisha

 

Sayulita is currently where I live. I traveled here three years ago and never left. The vibe here is so different that you barely can differentiate between traveling and living here – everyone knows each other. There is a deep desire to be involved in the community.

The bulk of my round the world travels involve living with local families, which I mostly did in South American countries like Colombia and Argentina. I also did a few in the Middle East where I stayed with a Jordanian family for 5 weeks to teach English.

When I first arrived in Mexico, my goal was to do more local content for my blog but the branding of my personal travel blog is way different than what I have in mind.

Click show to jump to the content you are looking for show

Where is Sayulita?

The strange pattern that I find here is that a lot of people know Puerto Vallarta (the airport that serves Sayulita) but those who visit PV skip Sayulita and vice-versa.

Sayulita is a young town so when you look for places to visit in Mexico, it does not really appear in the listicles. Sayulita is only popular by word of mouth, often by Americans and Canadians.

Recommended: Mexico is no longer giving 180 days tourist visas
Sayulita travel guide

Find Trisha on Instagram, @psimonmyway.

It’s only 40 minutes from Puerto Vallarta and it has a way different vibe. While PV belongs to the state of Jalisco, Sayulita is in the state of Nayarit.

It has less than 3,000 inhabitants and most of them are foreigners. Sayulita is popular for its surf and yoga culture. Most people who come here go on surf trips as we have many beaches suitable for beginner to professional surfers.

What is Sayulita Mexico known for?

Sayulita is famous for its surfing culture. The waves at Sayulita main beach are for beginners, hence, people who want to learn how to surf come here.

That being said, Sayulita has lots of beaches and you will learn about them as you read this article. This town is very big on outdoor activities – I swear, you will not run out of things to do!

What type of travelers visits Sayulita?

Before you decide to travel solo to Sayulita, think about this: is Sayulita for you? Is this a destination that will fit your travel style? People originally come here to just travel but for some reason, everyone I know (I swear, and that includes me) never left.

There are lots of repeat visitors who eventually end up moving here especially in these strange times. You are going to enter a bubble and it’s not going to burst – give it a year, I gave it two, HA!

This is a family-friendly vacation destination! You will see lots of kids on the streets and often in the plaza. I’ve never been to Sayulita main beach without not seeing children, they’re always just there!

The Northside is a family traveler’s favorite in Sayulita. Avenida Palmar is a long street of Airbnbs with great sunset views of the bay of the Banderas and massive vacation rentals. In short, it’s fresa.

Sayulita is also a popular weekend destination for Americans since it’s just a flight away from many major US cities. Families always find it easy to spend a weekend in Sayulita with kids.

sayulita mexico

September 2020, taken with my film camera.

There is a small big group of Sayulita digital nomads but since the wifi in Sayulita is not that great, it is often skipped by remote workers. Most of them go to Puerto or Nuevo Vallarta as they have better infrastructure.

Yogis, health buffs, massage therapists, physical therapists – if your job is about holistic health, then you’ll fit in! Photographers and creatives are here too as there is a lot of jobs for marketing.

If you are also a wedding planner, a florist, a videographer, etc., Sayulita is a famous wedding destination in Mexico. You will definitely have lots of clients from the USA here.

Is Sayulita Mexico safe?

Sayulita is a very family-oriented town so you can see a lot of families on the beach and many kids running around town every weekend. It has been a destination for family travelers, including Mexican families.

Sayulita is only a 4-hour drive from the city of Guadalajara so it serves as the closest vacation spot to Mexicans.

Police are patrolling around town every night to keep the Sayulita environment safe. There aren’t a lot of crimes in town so they are more focused on enforcing laws regarding drug possession.

It is very likely that you will see (and smell) people smoking weed on the streets. People here don’t mind but the police do. Avoid smoking pot in public places and be discreet if you want to use drugs. You’re a big girl – you know how the rules are.

Sayulita’s streets are well-lit so don’t worry!

Is Sayulita Mexico expensive?

Compared to Puerto Vallarta (and like many small Mexican beach towns), Sayulita’s prices are higher but not as crazy as Tulum!

You can definitely travel Sayulita on a budget. Accommodations can range from $45 USD – $500 USD per night. Whatever type of accommodation you need, we have it!

 

Is Sayulita a party town?

Yes, it is! Although it isn’t like a normal spring break scene that you see in Cancun or Tulum. Sayulita has a very vibrant nightlife – it’s a town that never sleeps!

Here, you will find amazing bars and the music scene in Sayulita is fantastic! I will share with you all the good spots where the cool kids hang out.

If you’re not into partying, that’s not a problem, too. I know some of you are family vacationers and are looking for a tranquil vacation in Sayulita.

Don’t worry about it! You can get away from the bustling party town because all these happen at the center, where the plaza is located. Just look at the map and Google “Sayulita plaza.”

This way, you will know how far your accommodation will be from the noise and the parties.



Sayulita travel guide: costs, where to stay, what to eat, and everything you need to know

Sayulita Quick Information

💲Currency

The currency in Mexico is called the New Mexican peso (MXN). As of 03 Feb 2020, $1 USD = $20 MXN. The travel budget in Sayulita will be discussed in this article, too.

🔌 Electricity socket

Mexico uses types A and B but in Sayulita, type A is more common. See all plug types here to know what to pack!

🛂 Visa

Mexico will not stamp your passport but they will give you an entry card. Don’t lose it because it’s your only proof that you legally entered the country. You will need to present it when you leave.

🛬 Airport in Sayulita

The airport that serves Sayulita is Puerto Vallarta International Airport. From the airport, it will take you 40 minutes to an hour to get to Sayulita. The following airlines and destinations fly direct from the US to Puerto Vallarta:

  • Austin: American Airlines, 2h 07m
  • Charlotte: American Airlines, 4h 08m
  • Chicago: American Airlines and United Airlines, 4h 05m
  • Dallas: American Airlines,  2h, 32m
  • Denver: Frontier Airlines, 3h 24m
  • Detroit: Delta Airlines, 4h 13m
  • Houston: United Airlines, 2h 27m
  • Las Vegas: Frontier Airlines, 3h 13m
  • Los Angeles: Alaska Airlines and American Airlines, 2h 59m
  • Minneapolis: Delta Airlines, 4h 16m
  • Phoenix: American Airlines, 2h 24m
  • Portland: Alaska Airlines, 4h 53m
  • San Diego: Alakas Airlines, 2h 52m
  • San Francisco: Alaska Airlines, 3h 50m
  • San Jose: Alaska Airlines, 3h 38m

📶 Wifi in Sayulita

The fastest speed of wifi in Sayulita is 20 MBPS for most Airbnbs. There are only a few establishments that have fiber-optic Internet. Unfortunately, Sayulita’s infrastructure is not yet ready for high-speed wifi.

 

Sayulita COVID update

We are very lax in terms of COVID here. People don’t wear masks but other stores require wearing masks. Unlike some Mexican cities, for example, Puerto Escondido, where it is mandatory to wear masks when entering restaurants.

However, when I was in other parts of Mexico, restaurants only require masks when you are entering restaurants and establishments but once you are in, it is okay to remove them.

So I don’t know how that changes anything, really. It’s just more of an ‘entry pass.’

sayulita nayarit

All Americans are free to fly to Mexico so if you decide to come to Sayulita during COVID, do it at your own risk. Most of the tourists here rent a big villa via Airbnb and stay in their accommodations.

They only go out for food but we do have a lot of deliveries here, something that we didn’t have pre-pandemic. American and Canadian families still travel here with their kids but again, I need to tell you, we are lax when it comes to wearing masks because it is not required within the pueblo.

😷 Where to take a COVID test in Sayulita

Punta de Mita health tent

There is only one hospital that serves Sayulita which is Punta de Mita (PDM) hospital. There is a new hospital in Sayulita but I’m not sure if they do COVID tests – it’s a very fancy hospital and I haven’t tried it myself so I will not recommend it in this post.

  • PCR: $3,690 MXN ($180 USD)
  • Antigen: $1,250 MXN ($61 USD)
  • Antibodies: $400 MXN ($19.60 USD)

The funny thing about COVID tests here in our area is that prices are different so if you want a cheaper option, you can just go to Puerto Vallarta which is an hour’s drive from Sayulita.

To see the COVID testing prices in Puerto Vallarta, click here. Unlike Sayulita, there are over 10 hospitals in PV that offers COVID test and you’ll be surprised to see how different their price ranges are.

Puerto Vallarta International Airport

If you are coming back to the US from Sayulita, you only need an antigen test. It’s only $25 USD at Puerto Vallarta International Airport. You just need to arrive 4 hours before your flight to make sure you get the test on time.

The test is super fast – you will get it within 10 minutes so don’t worry about missing your flight.

Sayulita Trip Planning

The busiest season in Sayulita is from October 15 – June 1. During this time, you will experience nice weather while enjoying the sun. This is actually the season when more Americans and Canadians come to Sayulita.

If you want fewer foreigners or tourists, come during the low season (June 1 – October 15) where most people in town are only locals. Expect extreme humid weather – summer heat is unbearable here!

🧳 Planning your Sayulita rough budget

You can easily put $35 – $50 USD per day as your Sayulita travel budget, depending on the type of traveler that you are. Hostel costs are about $15 USD, Airbnbs at $35 USD (for 2 people), and hotels can be up to $45 USD.

Airbnb is the preferred way to book here as it really depends if you want simple accommodation or big villas with pools.

sayulita restaurants

Photo: @sayulitasocial

As for food, you can always get tacos (ehem) for as low as $1 USD. Restaurants range from $7 – $10 USD. If you’re staying in an accommodation with a kitchen (like a hostel or Airbnb), you can buy ingredients in the market for meals for as low as $100 MXN ($5 USD) per meal for 1 person.

There are many free things to do in Sayulita so you don’t have to worry about paying for tours. If you are to book tours, they usually start from $100 USD depending on the tour you want to avail.

This is mostly for outdoor adventures like Monkey Mountain or surfing trips.

Transportation budget? Forget about it. Sayulita is a walking town so join the fun! If you are not a person who is not a fan of walking, you can rent a golf cart for $50 USD per day.

What to pack for Sayulita

Season-wise, there are only two in Sayulita: the low season which is summer (from June 1 to October 20th), and the high season which is winter (October 20th – May 30th). This is how we determine the seasons but it has nothing to do with the weather.

During the low season, 50% of the bars and restaurants close and you will only see locals. The high season starts from dia de los muertos, Christmas, New Year, etc).

Please note that you will only bring summer clothes during your vacation in Sayulita so if you can just travel with a backpack, that is going to be more convenient for you!

➢ See the complete packing list to Sayulita, Mexico

How to get to Sayulita

Tourists who visit Sayulita normally come from Guadalajara by bus or from anywhere in the world through Puerto Vallarta International Airport.

This airport caters to flights from San Francisco, San Diego, Vancouver, Montreal, and many parts of North America. Getting to Sayulita from the airport takes 45 minutes – 1 hour.

Read the full guide on how to get to Sayulita from Puerto Vallarta Airport
 

🚖 How to get to Sayulita from Puerto Vallarta Airport

You can take the bus outside Puerto Vallarta Internationational Airport. All you have to do is to cross the bridge and you will see the Compostela buses there that say “Sayulita.”

This costs $40 MXN ($2 USD est) and it will go directly to the bus station in Sayulita. The trip takes an hour and a half though Sayulita is only 40 minutes by private car.

Ubers are not allowed in Puerto Vallarta Airport so if you take the regular taxi inside, they will charge you at least $1,200 MXN ($58 USD).

🛒 Click here to see the prices for the Sayulita airport taxi service. Use PSIMONMYWAY10 for a 10% discount.

Getting around Sayulita

Sayulita is a small town so everything is walkable. If you are not a fan of walking, the most common mode of transport is the golf cart that you can rent per day.

This will not take you to nearby places like San Pancho, Punta Mita, etc. You can only use this within the town.

I got a golf cart because it is really helpful, especially if you live here long-term!

Daily rental starts at $50 USD and can go up to $100, depending on the size and capacity of the cart you are going to rent. Taxis are also available within the town but they are pretty expensive.

🚕 Uber in Sayulita

The Uber app functions in Sayulita but please take note that these rides can be very expensive. They’re cheaper than the normal Sayulita taxis, though.

For example, a ride with a normal taxi from Puerto Vallarta airport to Sayulita starts at $1,000 MXN ($50 USD) while Uber only charges between $500 – $700 MXN ($28 – $37 USD).

If you are coming from Sayulita, it can be a bit more complicated as fewer Uber drivers travel this route. In my experience, I always get lucky with Uber so give it a try!

If not, I have a trusted driver who takes my Airbnb guests around Nayarit and Puerto Vallarta. Get in touch with me and I’ll definitely hook you up!

🏍️ Can you rent a motorbike in Sayulita?

It’s not a thing because there’s just too much liability attached to it. The motorbikes you see in Sayulita are not from rentals. They are modes of transportation by the locals.

There is no particular company renting motorbikes in Sayulita but when you arrive and meet people, you can easily ask them which local can rent you a bike for the day.

🚘 Can you rent a car in Sayulita?

There used to be a Budget rent a car office in Sayulita but since 2020, I have not seen it operating. Renting a car in Mexico is a little complicated for foreigners.

There are a lot of locals in Sayulita who rent their personal cars for $50 – $100 USD a day but you need to know these people. I have a local contact who has several cars – contact me for availability!

Where to stay in Sayulita

Sayulita is really expensive compared to most of Mexico. The influx of tourists has made prices increase over the years. In Sayulita, the majority of the tourists are Canadians.

In these strange times what we are living in, I noticed how travelers have changed the way they travel. Most of us prefer a minimum 2-week vacation and short-term vacation is decreasing.

Now that the US requires a COVID test for everyone entering the country from January 26, 2021, many Americans find a month-long vacation more practical.

Below are my top vacation home rentals in Sayulita that I’ve personally stayed in (or filmed for my project).

Recommended: 14 best hotels in Sayulita near the center

Best Sayulita Airbnbs

🗺️ The Sayulita layout

The thing with Sayulita hotels, Airbnbs or Vrbos, you won’t really know what the exact location’s like unless you’ve been to Sayulita. Note that this is a hilly and jungly town – some pretty accommodations are way deep in the jungle or have very bad road conditions.

Let’s say you already found an accommodation you like: my advice is to put the address on Google maps and then see how far it is from Sayulita plaza. The plaza is the center of town and it’s probably the place you’ll frequent so it’s a great point of reference.

Most accommodations won’t show you the address unless the booking is already confirmed. Sayulita accommodations always have names in the format of “Casa ____” (i.e. Casa Iguana, Casa Vecino, Casa Rosa, etc).

These casas are usually on Google maps so if the casa name is available on the listing, put that on Google maps first then see directions to the plaza. This way, you can be sure if you need a golf cart or it’s within walking distance from everything you need.

Sayulita Airbnb Unique Stays

Accommodations like this can be very attractive online but know where it is located first!

I usually do consult calls with clients who are not sure which area of Sayulita to book. For example, my client last week has back problems and his wife booked a deep in the jungles where road conditions are not that good (for his back).

They did not know that it was going to be a big deal since the host did not say anything but for his condition, they needed to cancel and book another one.

Other things you might want to consider are if it’s accessible to families with children, wheelchairs, etc. If you want to be 100% sure about this, we can get on a consult call before you book – just contact me for a trip planning service.

🛏️ Best Sayulita hotels that are close to the center

Foreigners who often visit Sayulita opt for Airbnbs but since I stopped supporting Airbnb this year, I will give you some recommendations on Sayulita hotels that are in good locations.

The problem with Airbnb is that they don’t disclose the hidden costs so you’ll end up paying for more. Again, if you need help in finding the best accommodations, just get in touch with me!


Booking.com

Villa Amor

If you look at Villa Amor’s location on the map, it can be confusing as they are located on a hill. They have two entrances, one in the flat area (by the beach) which is very accessible and centric but the other entrance, you have to go deep into the jungle. Don’t worry about it because this hotel is really accessible!

Villa Amor is popular to honeymooners and families because of its great views and amazing rooms. Price per night starts at $150 USD.

👉🏽 Check prices and availability at Villa Amor

Casa de la Ballena

Located on the street of Niños Heroes, La Casa la Ballena is not very hard to spot. There’s a big whale mural right outside of the building. Ballena means whale in Spanish.

This street is about a 2-minute walk to the plaza so rest assured that it would be comfortable for you to walk back and forth your accommodation without a golf cart.

👉🏽 Check prices and availability at Casa de La Ballena

Best Sayulita restaurants

I love cooking but this little pueblo called Sayulita has a lot of food options to choose from. Ever since I moved here, I’ve been tempted to try all the best eats in Sayulita they’re very interesting and delicious.

Compared to the rest of Mexico, this town is a bit more expensive but even if I live here, it wouldn’t hurt to eat out every now and then.

For a year living in Sayulita, I feel like it’s not enough time to try all the good restaurants but here are the ones I recommend you to visit when you’re in town!

See also: 35 essential  Sayulita restaurants
sayulita

#1: Gloria’s Mexican-style breakfast

I go to Gloria’s when I am craving a big Mexican breakfast. They have this ‘bandeja paisa’ plate with beans, eggs, avocado, bread, rice, and meat of your choice. Mexicans like to have heavy breakfast so if you wake up with a hangover, Gloria’s is your place!

The owner (Gloria) is always there and she’s very accommodating to guests even if she does not speak English. Gloria’s restaurant is not on Google maps but it’s just right in front of Jhoul Foods (click for directions).

The big breakfast plate that I always order is only for $100 MXN ($5 USD) and it can last me for two meals!

#2: Sayulita Friday Market

📍 Avenida Revolucion

Every Friday, Sayulita’s mercado del pueblo is open and there are lots of food options here. I make sure to have brunch here every week because you won’t see these guys often – they don’t have a permanent ‘puesto’ in town.

My favorite in the mercado is the paella and the choripan (chorizo sandwich). You can also buy artesanal breads, farm-produced fruits, vegetables, spices, etc if you want to keep some for your home cooking.

We are not Tulum but we have lots of cafes in Sayulita like this!

#3: Chilaqueen: street food stall

📍 Avenida Revolucion

Marcela and I met at a random Mexican party in Sayulita and that’s when I got to know about her chilaquiles food cart. She is a licensed lawyer from Mexico City and decided to leave her job to live a simple life in Sayulita.

She opened Chilaqueen, which is a food cart with tables and chairs on the streets and she makes the best chilaquiles!

Be careful though, she does not adjust the spice level for her clients. She believes that when you come to Mexico, you need to adapt to how the Mexicans eat and cook.

Spicy food is very iconic to Mexico but I’m sure she’ll adjust it for you if you ask nicely.

#4: La Fogonera: best burger in Sayulita

📍 Calle Playa Azul 338

Tamara, Radaii, and Jenny are professional chefs who left their life in Veracruz, Mexico to travel with their food truck. On their travels, they came across Sayulita, loved it, and never left.

Their burgers are really cheap but it’s very filling. I remember one time I visited them and they did not have artisanal bread – Tamara told me that she was only using the normal Bimbo burger buns that day and she refused to sell me any.

They always strive to serve the best food and this is what I really like about them. They are also so warm, humble hard workers – I hope you can support them!

Local tip: After your sumptuous burger, make sure to order churros for desserts. It’s a big plate for sharing and it’s the best churros in town!

Best Sayulita bars: discover the nightlife

#1: Yambak

📍 Calle Marlin 29

If you’re a beer fan, then Yambak’s is your place (like everyone else). Their beers are more expensive than other bars because they have their own brewery inside the bar but I would honestly pay 60-80 MXN ($3 – $4 USD approx) for a pint of good beer.

Yambak is also in front of the plaza so it’s a good place to meet people. Their seating arrangement (standing, rather) makes people gather and mingle the entire night.

#2: Bar Don Pato

📍 Calle Marlin 12

I remember being at Don Pato every day during my first month in Sayulita. This is where everyone ends up at night because something is happening nightly! If you are out of options and looking for something to do after midnight, Don Pato is your place!

Related: The Sayulita nightlife guide
sayulita nightlife

Photo: @sayulitasocial

#3: Le Zouave

📍 Calle Jose Mariscal 3-5

Zouave is a little nook in between Yambak and Cava. You won’t miss it because of its loud red and Moroccan-like structure. It looks like an upper-class bar but most people who hang out here are expats.

Zouave has a nice set-up inside but they also have high tables and chairs and outside for people watching.

#4: El Barrilito

📍Calle Jose Mariscal 9

Let’s call Barrilito the chill version of Yambak. It has a very similar set-up as they are on the same street but Barrilito is way smaller.

People come here any time of the day because their seats are arranged in a way that enables you to people watch. This is located in a very busy street in Sayulita (literally in front of the plaza) so you won’t miss it.

sayulita nightlife

#5: Escondido Bar

📍Calle Marlin 45-A

Escondido means “hidden” in Spanish. Surely, Bar Escondido fits that branding. Located in the steep streets of Gringo Hill, Bar Escondido is one of those bars that are always there but you won’t feel that they’re there.

Sometimes, you’ll feel that socialization is too much and yet you have the urge to drink – Bar Escondido’s is definitely the right place for that mood.

Things to do in Sayulita

🎁🎉 Use the code PSIMONMYWAY10 upon checkout to get a 10% discount on all local things to do in Sayulita.

#1: Watch the sunset at Carricitos beach

Carricitos is my favorite beach in Sayulita and I come here every day with my dog, Lola. It’s quite a hike to get there – if you are walking from the center of Sayulita town, it can take you 20-30 minutes depending on your speed.

The walk is a canopy forest where you can see hundreds of fireflies during its season (August-September).

Swimming in Carricitos is possible but waves can get really aggressive, most days, out of nowhere. This beach is not necessarily for good swimmers.

Recommended: 40+ things to do in Sayulita, Mexico

sayulita things to do

There are days when the tide is low and everyone can enjoy a dip. However, be mindful about certain conditions. I had a bad experience here when one person I know almost drowned but don’t let this discourage you.

Sitting by the beach and bringing beers is your thing if you don’t want to swim.

#2: Take surfing lessons

Surfing is one of the best things to do in Sayulita. In fact, some people come to town only for surfing! When I came here in May, it was the best time to learn as the waves are really low and are perfect for beginners.

Most of my friends who tried it the first time were able to ride right away.

Sayulita Surfing Lessons

These waves are really friendly! There are many surf schools in Sayulita but they are pretty expensive. It can cost up to $35 USD per hour. In my case, I took surf lessons with a young Mexican guy who works at the beach.

He’s not a teacher but he is very good at it so I casually asked him if he can teach me some longboard techniques.

Just for fun, he agreed without even asking me for a fee! Of course, I still paid him at a minimum amount but if you don’t want to pay for expensive surf lessons in Sayulita and still want to learn with a teacher, make friends with the locals at the beach.

👉🏽 Check prices and availability for surfing classes with a local

#3: Private breakfast at a local’s home

My friend Macarena, who is a chef from Argentina is one of those people who opened her home to tourists by providing private breakfast.

This experience is not only about food but Macarena also shares some insider tips about the beauty of living in Sayulita.

You will get a full-service breakfast at a local’s home – it’s the best way to get to know the Sayulita lifestyle.

👉🏽 Check prices and availability for breakfast at a local’s home

#4: Get a home service massage at your accommodation

I should tell you this now but massages are expensive in Sayulita. They’re all at $600 MXN ($30 USD) per hour but they are all pretty good.

things to do in sayulita

I met Nahomy in 2019 and now we’re super good friends! She comes to my house for weekly massages.

I can recommend a massage parlor by the beach that does deep tissue massage – just get in touch with me and I’ll connect you to them with a special price!

👉🏽 Click here to book your private massage with a local

#5: Tequila or mezcal tasting

David is my bartender friend who I was talking about in things to do in Sayulita #6. He works at Don Pato but in his free time, he also offers private tequila tasting and bartending!

👉🏽 Check prices and availability for tequila tasting in Sayulita

sayulita mezcal tasting

Currency, budget, cash, etc

The currency in Mexico is called Mexican peso (MXN). $1 USD = $18.67 MXN. To understand this conversion, I’m going to give you an idea about some basic prices:

  • Basic lunchtime menu (including a drink) in the centre: $11 USD
  • 1 cocktail drink in a downtown club: $5 USD
  • 1 beer in neighborhood pub (500ml or 1pt.): $1.87 USD
  • Cappuccino in a specialty coffee shop: $4 USD
  • 1 package of Marlboro cigarettes: $3.50 USD

💰 Money exchange in Sayulita

Money exchange in Sayulita is very low. If you google USD to MXN, the conversion rate is $1 USD = between $18 – $19 MXN. However, if you exchange US dollars or Canadian dollars in Sayulita, they do it for only $16 MXN per USD or $14 MXN per CAD.

I don’t really recommend that you exchange money here in Sayulita because you will lose a lot but in case of an emergency, most stores (mini tiendas) give you better rates. There is a money exchange house near the plaza but as I said, their rates are very low.

If you will arrive at Sayulita from Puerto Vallarta, it is better to exchange money in Vallarta. It’s a big city with malls and lots of money exchange houses (casa de cambio) so you’ll get better rates there.

🏧 ATM withdrawals in Sayulita

There are lots of ATM machines all over town but depending on your bank, these machines charge from $5 – $7 USD withdrawal fees.

There is a big bank near the Sayulita town entrance that only charges $3 USD per withdrawal but it’s quite a walk from town (about 15 . minutes from the plaza).

This bank is right next to Saint Luke’s Medical Center and Sayulita Fit in Avenida Revolucion.

💳 Credit/debit cards

Sayulita is still a little backward in terms of use of credit/debit cards so make sure you have cash when you come.

Most restaurants and convenience stores accept credit/debit cards, however, small shops and restaurants still operate in cash. Some will even charge you 3% for paying with a credit card!

💵 Tipping in Sayulita

Tipping is not mandatory in Sayulita but it is very much encouraged. I live here but I still tip. Mexican salary is very low so most workers are dependent on tips.

Imagine, some servers only earn $200 MXN ($10 USD) for 8 hours of work! 10% is the most decent tip but if you liked the service, feel free to give more.

moving to Sayulita

Useful Sayulita travel tips

#1: The cheapest and best fruit and vegetable store is Carolina’s

I exclusively just go to Carolina’s because their fruits and vegetables are good and new. Not only that – for some reason, they are the cheapest vegetable place in town!

I also can request special vegetables here (like Asian squash). One time, I asked them why they don’t sell this kind of squash (Mexico only uses the zucchini) and the owner told me he can get it for me with 2 days’ notice!

#2: Change your USD in this store

There is a money exchange center in Sayulita but the rates are so low I don’t really exchange USD there. I change my USD in a store called Jhoul Foods.

I used to live next to this store and got to know the owner. He gives me a better USD exchange rate to peso so make sure you are friendly enough so he’ll give you better rates!

#3: Best places to buy alcohol in Sayulita

I have two favorite places to buy beers in town because they’re cheaper. One is Camacho’s, which is in the southern part of town (at Niños Heroes Street).

For the northerners, buy your beers at Chewbacca. Camachos and Chewbaccas are not big places but are mini-markets. They are what we call “mini super tienda” in Mexico.

#4: Best ATMs in Sayulita

The best place to take cash is at the Intercam bank, the only bank in Sayulita. Everyone goes there to take cash so I can’t really guarantee there will always be cash available.

Another good ATM machine is inside Don Pedro’s restaurant. They have two cash machines there that dispense Mexican pesos and USD. It’s also a very safe place to withdraw since it’s inside the restaurant. You can withdraw there even at night!

➢ Click here to see all Sayulita travel tips

Sayulita safety travel tips

Be careful when swimming

Just last week, I faced a very terrifying experience when one of the girls I went to Carricitos Beach with almost drowned. We were watching her from the shore and couldn’t do anything about it.

The waves were pretty strong and none of us couldn’t get to her. Good thing a lad from Seattle bravely (and greatly) swam the strong waters to get to her. It was terrifying!

Never leave your bags unattended, but you actually can

This is a protocol everywhere and I usually put it in all of my solo travel articles. But honestly, in Sayulita, I am not hyper-vigilant with my things because I know everyone already. And you probably will after a week of being out and about.

Calle Gaviota (where the Kiosko is) is one of the sketchiest streets in Sayulita

Personally, I never avoided this street because the locals here already know me. I can also handle myself well when it comes to the people living here as I am fluent in Spanish. However, I passed with some girls here one time and they did not feel comfortable with the guys standing in the dark, offering drugs.

Click here to see all safety tips in Sayulita

Best time to visit Sayulita

Before deciding when to visit Sayulita, please note that we have two seasons: high season and low season. We don’t have a shoulder season here but from the beginning of COVID, I realized that people are still visiting even during the low season.

High season (October 15 – June 21)

This is the high season in Sayulita when Canadians and Americans escape the harsh winter in their countries. High season starts during the week of dia de los muertos, a big holiday in Mexico.

The weather starts to be cool (18 degrees celsius) with occasional rains. But the sun is always up! Everything is open and town is busier.

If you are to travel to Sayulita at this time, you need to book your accommodation at least 3-6 months in advance since hotels in Sayulita get easily booked.

As for COVID during high season, nobody really cares and everyone just ignores the number of COVID cases. Since Americans and Canadians love to go to Sayulita at this time, Mexico does not want to interrupt tourism so no COVID talks, lockdowns or closures.

Low season (June 21 – October 15)

Very very very hot. I’m not kidding. Last year, I stayed here in Sayulita all summer and suffered from the heat and humidity! This is a time when restaurants close for renovations and people who live in Sayulita travel.

50% of the bars and restaurants are closed not because of COVID but because it’s just… too hot. There aren’t a lot of people at this time anyway. Establishment owners also go to their second homes (either in the US or Europe where the weather is better).

I don’t recommend you to travel to Sayulita in this period because it will be very hard to find accommodations and restaurants with air conditioning. AC is still not very common in Sayulita. If you are easily irritated by heat, go another time!

As for COVID on low season, there are a lot of lockdown implementations. Mexico makes up for the no lockdown during the high season so expect a lot of curfews during low season.

They’re not super strict. It’s just liquor bans and early closure of bars and restaurants. You can still do things during the day with no problem.

Major holidays in Sayulita

Below is a list of major holidays in Mexico where people flock the coast. Please note that in these holidays, Airbnb/hotel prices are double so if you plan to travel Sayulita in this season(s), make sure to book your accommodations in advance!

Based on experience, these are the holidays where I saw Sayulita holding more people than it can. This is a small town so it gets easily crowded during the holidays.

Dia de los Muertos (day of the dead)

From October 29 – November 2, Sayulita holds a major celebration for the day of the dead. There will be parades, parties in the plaza til 5am, and huge crowds on the streets.

Christmas/New Year

From December 20th until January 2nd, people from all over the world visit Sayulita to spend Christmas and New Year. Tourists usually book in advance so if you are planning to visit Sayulita on these dates, plan ahead.

Holy Week (Semana Santa)

Depending on the holy week dates of the year (usually March or April), semana santa draws crowds from Guadalajara and Mexico City. It’s better to travel to cities in this period because everyone’s on the coast!

Mexican Independence Day

Mexicans love to celebrate and we all know that. September 15 is Mexico’s Independence Day and no matter what day of the year it falls, it is always a holiday.

The Sayulita culture

Sayulita is a very small town but it is very family-oriented and you will see kids everywhere. The community here is very close-knit: Mexican families help design the town during major holidays like dia de los muertos.

Locals are very much involved in maintaining the “pueblo magico” vibe of Sayulita.

There is a big population of American and Canadian ex-pats in Sayulita so don’t be surprised if you see a lot of gringos around town. Most of them permanently live here. 80% of the tourists are also Americans and Canadians.

solo female travel in sayulita

Direct flights from the USA and CA are the reasons why Sayulita is a hotspot for the gringos.

The vibe in Sayulita is very laid back. You will see everyone walking on the streets (or on their golf carts) wearing bikinis and no flip flops. Surfing culture is big, as Sayulita waves are very friendly to beginner (and professional) surfers.

What’s next after Sayulita?

Sayulita is a small town and many people get hooked on staying here long-term. However, if you want to explore more of its neighbors, here are some recommended trips after your vacation in Sayulita:

San Pancho

Just 15 minutes away from Sayulita is San Pancho, a small town with the same vibe but more mellow. San Pancho is usually known as a hippie town with lots of artisanal stores and vegan restaurants. The beach is less crowded and lots of surfers love the waves here.

Puerto Vallarta

When you’re sick of the beach town life, Puerto Vallarta is just an hour away from Sayulita. This city is very modern with shopping malls, lots of restaurant options, and all-inclusive resort stays.

Check out my Puerto Vallarta blogs for recommendations!

Chacala

An hour south of Sayulita, Chacala is another less popular beach town. Can’t tell you much about it but I will write a blog post when I visit!

Lo de Marcos

20 minutes away from Sayulita, this beach town is not yet popular with tourists but is very limited in terms of restaurants and nightlife. It’s a good place if you want to disconnect for a few days!

✈️ Ready for your trip to Sayulita? This blog thrives on reader questions so feel free to ask questions about Sayulita travel by using the comment box below. You can also sign up for a 1-on-1 coaching with me if you need more help!

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Collin Bopp

Sunday 16th of January 2022

I emailed you about coming to Sayulita with my fiancé Julia on our honeymoon this next May (14th-21st). Would love to hear what you can offer in planning wise and how much it will cost. All we have done so far is book a house for us to stay in. It was quite expensive, but would be willing to hear what you have to offer!

Tommy

Sunday 16th of January 2022

Hi Trisha!

My girlfriend and I are planning a trip to Sayulita in January, and I've enjoyed reading your articles about the town. Your very comprehensive travel guide is one of the reasons we chose to visit Sayulita. That being said, my girlfriend and I found a lot of posts (mostly on Reddit and TripAdvisor) about Sayulita Sickness and/or Norovirus, even after the sewage system was fixed. What's your honest opinion on the likelihood of getting sick while in Sayulita? Your thoughts would be very much appreciated. It's hard to get a read on the situation online.

I also want to ask you about Juan's airport taxi service. Does he exclusively transport to/from Sayulita, or will he also go to other nearby towns? We plan to start our vacation in Sayulita and then spend a couple of nights in San Pancho before heading home. Would he be able to take us to the airport from San Pancho?

Thanks!

Claire Richardson

Sunday 16th of January 2022

We are not scheduled to go to Sayulita until June this year but I keep coming back to this post for planning. I am reading each part carefully because they are all helpful. We already booked tours with your local guides as well as our airport transfer from Puerto Vallarta Airport to Sayulita. Thank you for all that you do! This is truly a public service!

Tracy Bui

Monday 18th of October 2021

Hi Trisha! Thank you sooo much for your extensive and so very informative blog. This is going to be so helpful as my fiance and I will be in Sayulita next week. Yayyy!! We needed to get a driver from PV airport to Sayulita and I read that you had a driver. May I please have their information? Thank you so much! You are very appreciated! <3

KrizzyM

Wednesday 15th of September 2021

I am so much interested in Sayulita now! Thanks for the information especially about the people and culture. It is indeed important for me to get along well with the community, that's why I always wanted to stay in an Airbnb. We just recently stayed in Santa Fe for vacation and we are in so much happiness whenever we are in Mexico. Our next trip hopefully is to Sayulita, and I hope we can use your tips.