15 useful Sayulita travel tips for first-time visitors
These Sayulita travel tips are from my 2 years living in Sayulita. Sayulita is not a hard place to travel to because it’s a small town – you’ll learn everything in a week. However, it’s still best to be prepared before coming here.
Reader Mail: Hey Trish! I love all your Sayulita content. I honestly wasn’t looking anywhere else because your advice is so real. I have never read it in any other blogs! I already have accommodation and know how to budget more or less. I also booked the taxi driver with you and plan to purchase a tequila tasting.
Is there anything else I need to know? Any other Sayulita travel tips? I really appreciate the time and effort you put in this blog. I hope we can meet when I visit Sayulita. I want to take you for drinks! Thank you in advance!
– Sean, USA
Thank you so much for supporting the blog!!! I would love to meet you but I am in La Paz, Baja California in the summer. Visiting Sayulita in the summer is not a good idea (first tip, there you go!) that’s why I’m in Baja for a bit.
I do have a lot of insider Sayulita travel tips that I will share with you in this post. They are very specific and I am very sure that they will help you have a great trip.
If you have any more questions, please feel free to e-mail me or get in touch via Instagram! Enjoy Sayulita!
Sayulita travel tips for first-time visitors
Sayulita travel tip #1: Atm take out in Sayulita
If you can do this at the airport, do so. Although I must warn you that US bank cards are charged higher at the airport. I don’t understand why they do this while the same banks outside the airport charge normal rates.
There is actually no great explanation about getting the best currency in terms of withdrawal in Sayulita or Puerto Vallarta Airport in general. You can bring USD too but exchanging them here will not give you a better rate either.
There are many ATM machines in Sayulita but they are often out of cash! Withdrawing every Monday is a pain because these cash machines are not filled out until the evening (of Monday).
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 peso and USD. It’s also a very safe place to withdraw since it’s inside the restaurant. You can withdraw there even at night!
As for the bad ATM machine, I always have had bad experiences with the ATM machines outside Hotel Oz. The first time I took cash there, the machine ate my card. The second time, they did not give me the same withdrawal amount and yet my bank was charged!
When I asked the guard at Oz if they can help me take my ATM card from the machine, they said they don’t have control of the machine even if it’s within their premises. I still needed to report it by calling the number on the machine.
Sayulita travel tip #2: There are no supermarkets in Sayulita
As soon as you land Puerto Vallarta, ask your taxi driver to swing by a supermarket. Just give him an extra $5 USD tip for waiting. The best supermarket that is in between Sayulita and Puerto Vallarta Airport is Walmart (Nuevo Vallarta).
La Comer and Mega are both in Bucerias so they’re also good choices. They’re right next to each other and there are more parking spaces there for the taxi driver.
Since you’re on a vacation, you may not need to hoard a supermarket if you’re going to eat out. There are many restaurants in Sayulita so you won’t really need to stock food.
However, you might want to stock up on alcoholic beverages in your accommodation. Beers, liquors, and wine are way cheaper in supermarkets.
What’s next after Sayulita? Check out Puerto Vallarta
Sayulita travel tip #3: Do not pay more than $50 USD for an airport taxi service
Like all airports in Mexico, Puerto Vallarta International Airport only allows VIP taxi services that have licenses. The license, according to my source, is really expensive so the minimum amount you will pay is $125 USD.
The van service to Sayulita can take up to 7 people and costs $220 USD. Fortunately, I have a local taxi friend that only charges $45 USD to get you to Sayulita.
He’s a local that I met when I first moved to Sayulita and I am helping him promote his services through my blog. If you want to support local, you can book Juan’s taxi service.
He’s a good guy and I am vouching for him. Sometimes, when his schedule is tight, I call my other taxi friend, Michelle which you can also book using Juan’s taxi service link. Go read client reviews and see what visitors think about their services!
If you don’t want a pre-arranged airport taxi service, there are many ways to go to Sayulita from Puerto Vallarta Airport. You can check out that post and see what fits well on your budget.
Sayulita travel tip #4: 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.
La Selecta also sells craft beers and there are lots of wine selections. Another place for wines is El Coyul (also in the north). The wine here is as cheap as the supermarket! El Coyul is my favorite and I exclusively go here!
If you search on Google, it will suggest Sayulita Wine Shop but this is a fancy place that offers wine and tequila tasting. I never tried them myself and I only go there if I want to buy fancy wine for gifts to friends.
Please note that tiendas and wine shops might sell the same products in Sayulita but their prices are all different. The stores above (except fancy Sayulita Wine Shop) are the ones that have better prices and good product quality.
Sayulita travel tip #5: How to check the location of your accommodation (before booking)
I stopped supporting Airbnb in 2021 because of its high fees but Airbnb is still the platform that everyone uses in Sayulita. But the thing that many Airbnb hosts don’t tell you is the road conditions where their property is located.
I get it. You want to book a place with a pool and a view but these properties with a view are in the jungle and are not close to town. Before booking, ask your host what street the property is in. You do not need to know the number.
You may click on street view to see what the streets are like. You can also check the distance by putting the street name then get directions to Sayulita plaza. This is the center and from there, you’ll know if you need to rent a golf cart.
Most properties in Sayulita are under the name ‘casa’ (i.e. Casa Cielo, Casa Petra, Casa Jungla, etc) and if you type those casa names, they will appear on Google.
Airbnb hosts also put their property names as “casa” so you won’t have a hard time looking for them on Google maps. If it’s within walking distance to the plaza, then that’s a good accommodation.
Sayulita travel tip #6: 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!
Jhoul foods is also a great place for shopping for fruits and vegetables. They have high-quality products and this is one out of two stores that I go to in Sayulita.
Alternatively, you can also go to Intercam bank to exchange USD but don’t expect a higher conversion rate.
Sayulita travel tip #7: Support local when visiting Sayulita
I told you there are many restaurants in Sayulita that are modern and more upper-class but don’t forget about our street food vendors who are locals in Sayulita!
In my things to do in Sayulita list, you will also see a lot of local people organizing tours and you won’t find their tours in any other websites. I also added short stories about them so you’ll gain confidence in taking tours with them.
Big tour companies have taken over Sayulita so if you check my Sayulita adventure tours, you will see a lot of locals there together with their personal stories!
Sayulita travel tip #8: There’s a market open every Friday
Well, it’s only open during the high season which is November to May. During the summer, it’s too hot to be in Sayulita’s Friday Market so if you’re here in the high season, this is a must!
It is guaranteed that only locals of Sayulita sell in the Friday market. You will find stuff here that is not usually available in Sayulita like farm-fresh vegetables and other Mexican products.
There’s also a Oaxacan cheese store here and I often order from them! The Friday market is also a great place to eat. Paella, Argentine bbq, fresh Chilean bread – this can be a great Friday brunch activity!
Sayulita travel tip #9: Don’t visit in the summer
It is too hot and humid from June to October. Locals of Sayulita leave and go to their second homes (like me in La Paz). Some even go back to the USA and Canada because it’s just too hot!
Another reason not to visit in the summer is most restaurants and bars are closed. The weather is just too harsh to open and fewer people are in Sayulita.
However, the summer is also a good opportunity to see the swarm of fireflies in the jungle (August) and the bioluminescence (between June – September).
You can still visit in the summer although when people ask me in this blog, I don’t really recommend it. The summer season is also a time when accommodations in Sayulita are cheap so take it as your budget vacation!
Sayulita travel tip #10: Wifi could be a problem
One of the reasons why I left this town is because Sayulita wifi is really a pain, especially for digital nomads like me. I tried to survive 2 years living here but I couldn’t take it. Paying $100 USD a month for fiber optic was too much.
If you want to be a Sayulita digital nomad, it could work for you but bear in mind that if you need fast upload/download speeds (i.e. Youtubers, vloggers), it’s going to be hard.
If you’re just doing calls like Zoom or e-mailing, the speed is fine but if your job requires high-speed Internet, then Sayulita is not for you.
There are many other digital nomad destinations in Mexico you can check out that have better infrastructure and are close to the ocean. However, I must warn you that none of these compare to Sayulita. Sayulita is the best!
Sayulita travel tip #11: 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!
Carolina’s is next to Tortilleria Calamar. For some reason, they don’t have their location on Google maps yet but they’re one of the oldest stores in Sayulita!
Sayulita travel tip #12: Every Tuesday, it’s 2 for 1 (beers) in Yambak
Yambak is a great place to drink and socialize every night but Tuesdays are different. We locals prepare to go to Yambak because of 2 for 1 on local beers — all night!
This is like a social gathering in Sayulita. I see all my friends whom I haven’t seen for the whole week. Everyone just appears out of nowhere because it’s Tuesday.
As a tourist, this is your best chance to see the local life in Sayulita and at the same time, meet people, socialize, engage, and drink for cheap all night!
Sayulita travel tip #13: There’s a Whatsapp group for female entrepreneurs
The Witches of Sayulita Whatsapp group is a fruit of our digital nomad event held in 2021. It was the first of its kind and there were many digital nomads in town who participated.
Only women are allowed in this Whatsapp group but if you are traveling solo in Sayulita, this is the best group to get to know people. Yoga retreats, last-minute events, and secret parties are always announced first in this group.
Sayulita travel tip #14: You won’t get easily accepted in Sayulita’s Facebook group
Even I who was already living in Sayulita took time for them to accept me in the Facebook group. If your name does not ring a bell to the admins, then you won’t get accepted.
There are already a lot of members in the Sayulita People Facebook group so they’re trying to maintain its exclusivity by only accepting people vouched for other members of the community.
Most information about town is in this group but word goes out so fast in a small town in Sayulita – you don’t really need a Facebook group to know that.
Although you must know that this is where all the news and events are posted first.
Sayulita travel tip #15: Where to get a COVID test in Sayulita
If you are going back to the US, you only need an antigen test. You can get that at Puerto Vallarta International Airport for only $25 USD but you need to come early to the airport.
I usually tell people to be there at least 4 hours before their flight. But, if for some reasons, you don’t want to make it early to make it to your flight, you can go to the Punta Mita Hospital tent in Sayulita.
The price for an antigen test is more expensive (double) and you will get it within an hour. This way, you won’t have to go to the airport early.