Working in bikini: the digital nomad guide to Sayulita, Nayarit, Mexico
Sayulita has been 2020’s favorite digital nomad destination in Mexico despite its infrastructure problems. I lived here for 2 years and in this digital nomad guide to Sayulita, you’ll find out if Sayulita is the right base for you.
Reader Mail: Hi Trish, my name is Lu from Pine Grove, Pennsylvania. I’ve been following you for quite a while I just don’t remember when I first came across your blog.
I can see that you are in Mexico and I am planning to travel there and stay longer in places. Do you recommend Sayulita? How is the Internet there? If you already have a digital nomad guide to Sayulita, can you send me the link?
I am really worried about the Internet. I have daily working hours even though I work remotely. My employer requires me to be online at certain times of the day. Thanks for your help and hope to meet you in Mexico!
– Lu Gallman, Pennsylvania, USA
Thank you for following the blog. I am glad you find this blog helpful. I am currently living in Sayulita and have been very efficient in working remotely here.
The average Internet speed is 11 MBPS but you can get better connectivity in a co-working space. Some cafes also have strong Internet but not all.
In this digital nomad guide to Sayulita, I will share all the hacks I learned after weeks of failed attempts in being productive. Sayulita has too many activities it can hinder productivity!
I hope to see you when you come – it would be lovely to connect. I can be easily reached via Instagram DM. Good luck and see you soon!
Sayulita as a digital nomad: my personal experience
When I first arrived at Sayulita, I asked the hostel I checked in about the Internet connection and they said it’s really slow and more often, really bad.
I figured I tried it anyway because I really wanted to visit and I was sure cafes had a good Internet connection. I also thought that hostels have decent Internet enough for me to access my e-mails.
But the Internet connection didn’t end up to be good enough, especially when uploading blog posts. It was really slow and it hindered my productivity.
Sayulita is also a town where something is always happening so it was hard for me to get the work momentum, especially I was staying in the hostel.
There were so many activities that I always had to participate in, day and night. I don’t usually have patience with slow Internet – I always end up telling myself that I will try again “tomorrow” but it became a vicious cycle. I couldn’t find the momentum.
Then I moved to my own apartment and had the Internet to myself but it still was pretty slow. It’s the same connection that I had when I stayed in the hostel.
The only difference is that the Internet in my apartment wasn’t shared. It gets faulty in the morning and goes on and off during the day.
I really hated starting my day working at home and going out mid-day to go to a cafe. The little pueblo of Sayulita also starts its day pretty late (10:00 am) so you’ll find peace and quiet before that.
I find 8:00 am – 10:00 am a very crucial time for productivity: no loud Mexican music and fewer people on the road. At this time, I always sit outside the cafe. They normally open between 7:00 – 8:00. They are all closed by 6:00 pm though.
For the 8 weeks that I am here, I unlocked some productivity hacks that I will share with you in this digital nomad guide to Sayulita.
[Updated]: After visiting Sayulita for 8 weeks, Trisha moved to Sayulita and stayed for 2 years! She moved out last October 2020 because of the wifi problems in Sayulita. She now lives in Nuevo Vallarta, about 30 minutes away from Sayulita (near Puerto Vallarta airport)
Sayulita digital nomad: quick facts
🌍 Region: North America
🚩 Country: Mexico
📡 Internet speed (avg) 15 Mbps
⛅️ Weather: October-April (best time to visit); May-October (extremely hot/humid)
🌧 29°C + 🥵 Sweaty (80%) = feels 34°C
🔌 Outlet: 115V60Hz
🚑 Travel medical insurance: Safetywing Digital Nomad coverage
📱 Best wireless carrier: TelCel
🏧 Suggested ATM takes out: do it at the airport!
💸 Tipping: 15%
💳 Cashless society: no, cash only
💻 Best coworking space: Tabachines Cowork
🚰 Safe tap water: No, not drinkable
👨👩👧👦 Population: 3,000 people
🏞 Foreign land ownership allowed: Yes
💻 Online electronics shop: None. You have to go to Puerto Vallarta
🏠 Apartment listings: Vrbo
✈️ Where to find cheap flights: Kiwi.com
Sayulita nomad costs/budget
💵 Cost of living for local: $550 USD per month
🏠 1br studio rent in center: $400 per month
🏢 Coworking: $120 USD per month
🏨 Hotel: $800 per month
🏨 Hostel: $20 USD per night
🏠 Vrbo: $1,000 per month
🍛 Meals (restaurants): $8 USD
🍺 Beer (bars): $1.71
☕️ Coffee: $2.20
Pros and cons
✅ Lots of fun stuff to do
✅ Warm now
✅ Warm all year round
✅ Good air quality on average
✅ Very easy to make friends
✅ Easy to do business
✅ Roads are pretty safe
✅ People can speak basic English
✅ Safe for women
✅ Very friendly to LGBTQ+
❌ Internet is slow unless you pay for fiber-optic ($100 USD/mo)
❌ More expensive than most Mexican towns
❌ Too hot in the summer
❌ Only one hospital in town
❌ No groceries so shopping for food is more expensive
❌ ATMs always out of cash during the weekend
❌ Town is very small that your privacy is not guaranteed
The digital nomad scene in Sayulita
I’ve met many artists in Sayulita who are working remotely. Mostly from Canada and the United States, digital nomads choose Sayulita because of the beach and the tropical vibe.
Photographers are the most common digital nomads here as there are many opportunities for the photography business here.
I rarely met people who are in the digital marketing niche but most of them are in finance. There are a lot of opportunities to collaborate with fellow digital nomads in Sayulita, especially if the work that you do is related to art and photography.
RELATED: HOW TO MEET LOCALS IN SAYULITA
Though there is a thriving digital nomad scene, cafes are not that crowded. You can always find a table in a cafe if you opt not to sign up for a monthly co-working space desk.
The size of the cafes are big enough to accommodate digital nomads so no need to call for reservations. It does get busy every peak hour (lunch).
In order to connect with nomads, you can join the following groups:
- Witches of Sayulita: exclusive Whatsapp group for digital nomad women in Sayulita
- Sayulita People Comunidad: a new Facebook group for locals (mostly Spanish)
- Sayulita People: it’s harder to get in here because the admins are only accepting long-term residents. It took me a while to be accepted into this group!
- The Original Sayulita People: most of the foreigners and expats are in this group
Sayulita internet speed
There are many mobile carriers in Mexico but for Sayulita, Telmex is preferred. When I arrived in Mexico, I bought a sim from AT&T but that didn’t work well when I was in Sayulita.
Telmex still has better coverage than most Mexican mobile carriers. I pay $10 USD per month for a data plan with calls and texts. This data plan, however, is not enough for you to connect your phone via hotspot.
I did it once and within minutes, my credits run out! This pricing plan is only for unlimited social media use (i.e. updating Instagram). I didn’t even find it enough for Facebook/Instagram live – they use so much data!
There is a Telmex kiosk in Sayulita so don’t worry about buying the sim card beforehand. You can definitely do it as soon as you arrive. Higher data plans are available but I didn’t want to spend that much on the Internet.
I also have a portable wifi device that works in over 100 countries. I use it in case of emergency. You can get a 10% discount when you use the code PSIMONMYWAY upon checkout.
Cost of living in Sayulita
Here’s the thing in Mexico: the norther you go, the more expensive it will become. I find Sayulita really expensive compared to Guadalajara and Mexico City.
This is a very touristic place and the nearest airport (Puerto Vallarta) has direct flights from major cities in the USA and Canada.
The currency in Mexico is called the Mexican peso (MXN). $1 USD = 19.05 Mexican pesos. To have an idea of your monthly budget, see the tables below. All prices are in United States dollars (USD).
Food costs in Sayulita
|Basic lunchtime menu||$7 USD|
|Local taco stand||$2 USD|
|500 gr (1 lb.) of boneless chicken breast||$2.25 USD|
|1 liter (1 qt.) of whole fat milk||$0.82 USD|
|12 eggs, large||$1.50 USD|
|1 kg (2 lb.) of tomatoes||$0.88 USD|
|500 gr (16 oz.) of local cheese||$3.85 USD|
|1 kg (2 lb.) of apples||$1.53 USD|
|1 kg (2 lb.) of potatoes||$1.04 USD|
|0.5 l (16 oz) domestic beer in the supermarket||$0.96|
|1 bottle of red table wine, good quality||$7 USD|
|2 liters of Coca-Cola||$1.22 USD|
|Bread for 2 people for 1 day||$1.14 USD|
I find cooking and eating out with very little money-saving difference in Sayulita. You see, most fruits, vegetables, and meat have to travel all the way here, so it costs more. Below are some restaurants I can recommend in Sayulita that are cheap and tasty:
- Burrito Revolution: a vegetarian burrito costs $4.72 USD
- Itacate: tacos start at $1.57 USD
- Mary’s: my favorite jalapeño poppers costs $2.62 USD
- La Rustica: a whole pizza costs $8.92 USD
There are many food options for eating out in Sayulita. It’s a small town so if you are staying for a month, you can try all the restaurants in town!
They are all very good and have a wide variety of options. Taquerias (taco stands) on the street are super cheap and you can find them anywhere.
Housing costs in Sayulita
|Studio apartment||$367 USD|
|One-bedroom apartment||$472 USD|
|Two-bedroom apartment||$550 USD|
|Villa with pool||$1,100 USD|
|Utilities 1 month (heating, electricity, gas)||$15 USD|
|Internet 8 Mbps (1 month)||$30 USD|
|Daily rate for cleaning help||$15 USD|
I am currently renting a two-bedroom apartment with a garden view for $550 USD per month, utilities not included. Airbnb is pretty common here and is often the cheapest choice for digital nomads staying a minimum of one month.
There are many cool apartments in Sayulita for cheap though the cheapest studio I found is at $20 USD per day. If you don’t have an account yet, sign up on Airbnb and get $40 off on your first booking!
I use Agoda and Booking.com to find the cheapest accommodations in Jordan and all over the world. I love the “pay at the property” feature which doesn’t require a credit card and has no cancellation fees.
I also stopped using Airbnb as I find Vrbo easier to use. They have a lot of Sayulita listings with flexible cancellations. Meaning, Vrbo will give your money back in the event that your trip gets canceled.
House-sitting is also very big in Sayulita, especially during the summer. This will save you on accommodations homeowners only need house-sitters to watch for their pets.
You can do your work in between without having to pay for rent! Locals in Sayulita (foreigners) post house/pet sitting gigs on a Facebook group called The Original Sayulita People.
Please read: an important note to digital nomads who plan to visit us in Sayulita
I don’t live in Sayulita anymore but during my 2-year stay there, I have cultivated great relationships with locals. As an outsider, the first thing you need to know is that the Sayulita community may be very inclusive and welcoming to tourists but people who live there for a long time can be snobs. Sometimes with reason, sometimes, just petty.
But I am writing this because I want to warn you that a very small town and community like ours have very close ties with each other. It’s either you blend in or keep yourself in the cube.
If you ever decide to be friends with the local community, you need to be mindful of how you behave, especially with environmental concerns (or anything, really). Sayulita people can be very judgy but anyway, it happens anywhere in the world.
Anyway, no drama whatsoever. I am writing this because just last week (end of June 2021), there was a big concern in the community that digital nomads are bad for Sayulita.
I was actually a bit hurt because they also attacked bloggers and Influencers who popularized Sayulita but I understood that everyone was coming from a place of love and concern.
Yah Yah cafe, the most popular digital nomad spot in Sayulita because of their fiber-optic wifi posted about digital nomads sitting down in a cafe for hours without ordering, demanding to turn off the music because they have a Zoom meeting, etc.
It was really bad and I couldn’t believe that people would do this. The post was in English and they usually publish Spanish posts so I guess this is directed to foreign digital nomads who come live in Sayulita.
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Look, I lived in Sayulita and have sat down at different cafes but I order. Actually, most of us locals do. This is why I wondered why dollar-earning nomads can’t even order.
I’m sure $25 USD (500 pesos) for 4 hours isn’t that bad, right? I mean, come one? If you sit down a whole day at a cafe, you need to understand that they are losing customers because you owned the table.
If you are only ordering one coffee for 8 hours, then that doesn’t help them as a business.
Most cafes in Sayulita are really small and have less than 10 tables. The staff and locals who work there depend on these jobs for a living so I highly encourage you not to stay in cafes for more than 2.5 hours.
If you would at least spend $5 USD per hour by ordering food. If you’d like to save money, go to a Coworking space that charges less than $10 for the full day. This way, business will be fair for everyone in Sayulita.
Thank you for your consideration and I hope you will bear in mind that supporting each other in our community is a high priority in Sayulita.
Sayulita wifi cafes for digital nomads
#1: Yah Yah Cafe and Bagels
Yah Yah is not located in town (in Sayulita, the most central is the plaza). It’s not a far walk – it’s about 5 minutes from the plaza. They are not in the commercial area (more residential) so peace and quiet are guaranteed even in their outdoor area.
🥯 Food options
Yah Yah specializes in bagels, brunch food, coffee, and breakfast food. If you are vegan/vegetarian, this place is your best bet. They also have gluten-free bread and a wide array of the sandwich menu.
Food prices start at $4.20 USD while beverages range from $1.57 – $5 USD. Whenever I stay here for 8 hours a day, I spend up to $15 USD on coffee, lunch, and snacks.
I always sit outside Yah Yah because the tables in the outdoor area are higher. Inside the cafe, there are sofas and low tables to it’s not ideal if you are going to spend the whole day here.
There are also high tables and chairs upstairs but you cannot bring food in that area. All tables have plugs very close to them so don’t worry about running out of power!
Yah Yah has air-conditioned so it’s a good place to work especially during the summer.
📶 Internet speed
Superfast! If you want to get work done, Yah Yah Cafe has the fastest Internet in Sayulita!
Tip: Yah Yah is always full during lunchtime and brunch so come before 11:00 am.
Organik is right next to the famous Sayulita bridge and is very central to town. It’s a 5-minute walk to the beach and is close to markets and other restaurants.
🥘 Food options
Organik is known for smoothies and bowls. If you are looking for a heavy meal, this might not be the place for you. They don’t have bread, sandwiches, or anything salty.
They do have pastries but I don’t recommend them. I’m not sure if they make them fresh but every time I try the pastries, they’re old and dry. Smoothie prices start at $4 USD while coffee is at $2.62 USD. Their bowls cost $5.25 USD.
🔌 Plug/outlet/table setting
Organik doesn’t have air conditioning but I love how airy their sitting area is. Outlets are available at every table (they have about 4-5 tables).
📶 Internet speed
Quite average and sometimes turns off/on but manageable if you don’t want to walk far to Yah Yah.
Recommended: The only Sayulita travel guide that you’ll need
#3: Anchor Cafe
This is my favorite location because it’s kind of hidden. You won’t see people passing by so you won’t be distracted while working!
🥪 Food options
Lots of tasty vegan meals and also big savory plates! They also have lots of bowls for those who prefer sweet breakfasts.
🔌 Plug/outlet/table setting
The Anchor has air conditioning and is in fact the most spacious cafe in Sayulita. There are plugs everywhere, even in their outdoor seating!
📶 Internet speed
Fantastic but I haven’t really tried uploading Youtube videos there, which is the bulk of what I do. I feel like if you’re just doing basic e-mails and conference calls, then you’ll be fine.
Co-working spaces in Sayulita
Tabachines CoWorking Space Sayulita
A brand new coworking space in Sayulita, you will love Tabachines because it’s in the outdoors! This used to be a food park and they turned it into an open garden coworking space – it’s really a brilliant idea especially in these strange times. The area is super spacious and you’ll be in an open-air space filled with plants.
The photos above are from when it was still a food park but I will go next week to take some more photos! Get your monthly or weekly pass at Tabachines Cowork using the code PSIMONMYWAY10 (10% discount) upon checkout.
Owned by Sayulita Wifi, it is one of the few places that have lightning-fast fiber optic internet, air conditioning, and a community of locals and international professionals.
- Day Pass Hot-Desk in common space – $13 USD/day
- Weekly Hot-Desk in common space – $66 USD/week
- Monthly Hot-Desk in common space (Calendar Month) – $131 USD/month
Dedicated cube spaces
- Daily Dedicated Desk – $21 USD/day
- Weekly Dedicated Desk – $97 USD/week
- Monthly Dedicated Desk(Calendar Month) – $184 USD/month
- Private Single Cube – $209 USD/month (only 1 available)
[Updated: February 7, 2021]: Sayulita Cowork does not have any availability. I was just there 2 days ago for some work stuff and the CoWork is super full!
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