I am so excited about today’s travel guide as my trip was just THE BEST. Seriously, the best. I had never even heard of Sayulita prior to this trip (from what I’ve heard, it’s more popular with the West Coast set as it’s a little easier to get to for them), but it is just the cutest place and SUCH a good place to have a girls’ weekend.
Sayulita is a colorful little town nestled on the Pacific Coast of Mexico right in the rainforest/jungle. It’s a former fishing town and big for surfing now. It reminded me of a cross between Cartagena and Tulum – probably a little bit less touristy than either spot, though. Oh and the shopping is AMAZING… usually I don’t shop much on vacation but I bought a lot on this trip (all of the pom poms!) But we’ll get to that. Really though, what made this trip so special was where we stayed, the group (the three of us travel really well together), and all of the yummy bars + restaurants we tried.
Where to Stay in Sayulita
From what I have heard, the way to do Sayulita is to get an Air BnB. They are generally considerably less expensive AND nicer than most of the hotels, which is a win win. I got asked how we found Air BnB, and it was really just a group effort – we had an email thread going around (there are TONS of cute ones, like so many) and ultimately decided on Casa Sonrisa. I really cannot say enough good things about it, it was perfect (and as you probably saw on my feed, very instagrammable).
It’s a cute little two bedroom (with two bathrooms). The bedrooms are up a little set of stairs and the communal indoor space is pretty small (a kitchen with adjacent living room) but what makes it so special is the outdoor space. We had our own little pool (so necessary – Sayulita is humid and HOT) and a shady porch which made for the perfect reading/napping nook. The owner was so helpful and amazing – she also arranged for our airport transfers ($140 round trip split between the three of us // and he took us to the Mega – a huge grocery store on our way) and gold cart rental (so great for getting around!)
Random aside about our Air BnB – the linens on the beds were amazing! This was noted in some of the AirBnB reviews so we asked the host – and these are them. They’re so inexpensive and are the softest sheets ever! It was like sleeping in a cloud. I put the mosquito net around me and felt like a princess in a canopy bed cloud.
I will say that wherever you decide to stay, make sure it has AC and make sure there is a pool – it’s HOT!
Food // Where to Eat in Sayulita
Okay first of all, if you get an Air BnB, have your taxi or shuttle driver stop at the MEGA (yes that’s what it’s called, and it’s exactly what it sounds like – a giant Costco-esque grocery store). We stocked up on all the important stuff (eggs, avocados, tortillas, etc), TONS of bottled water, and of course lots of tequila, mixers, and wine. Our Air BnB was up a giant cliff, so we really only went into town once a day. Usually we’d do a big breakfast at the house, have a snack, and do dinner in town. I got asked if we had a chef (LOL no) but I guess you could hire one if you had a really big group? It was 3 of us and we’re all pretty good in the kitchen so we just cooked for each other.
There are so many great restaurants in town. We joked that it’s pretty much either all pizza/delicious Italian or street style tacos and Mexican food.
Mary’s Tacos //
This was a real gem. We went for lunch and loved it. It’s hot and sweaty inside but the tacos are heaven and their ceviche was the best ceviche we had all trip. HIGHLY recommend!
This was recommended to me by so many people on Instagram! We had an amazing dinner here. I can’t say enough good things about the Moro pizza. It had artichokes, mushrooms, and salami (I think) and was just so flavorful and delicious. They are funny about wine there – they serve one kind of red, by the bottle only. It wasn’t bad! We also had an amazing homemade pesto pasta…. So good!
La Rustica //
We ended up eating here twice… once for breakfast (love the omelettes!) and again for dinner (more pizza). It’s just a really nice spot with great drinks and good food.
Honestly this was probably my least favorite restaurant, but it was still good? The paella was heaven but please don’t have the ceviche. It was kind of gross. The vibe is nice though, and it’s really well ventilated (haha I know that’s a funny thing to say but most of the good spots to eat are tiny, crowded, and hot!)
drinks on the beach at Don Pedro’s
Cava Bar //
This was unanimously our favorite spot. It’s a smaller spot with maybe only ten seats and the cocktails are DIVINE. The watermelon mezcalita was paradise.
El Patio //
This is a really cute little bar on the beach. The cocktails are SO good (I had a passionfruit margarita, which if you know me, you know is my favorite cocktail IN THE WORLD. The music got a little loud (we are old and like to sit and talk) but otherwise it was wonderful.
Don Pedro’s //
This was a fancier spot (you can also go for dinner) and was probably the most expensive place we ate/drank at.
We loved this spot! It was so cute and the drinks were fantastic. We sat on comfy couches outside and drank passionfruit margaritas. YUM.
Getting To and From and Around Sayulita
Honestly, Sayulita is more popular with West Coasters for a reason – it’s much easier to get to! We had a rough time with delays, etc. And the flight was expensive (flying to Cancun is much less expensive from New York). That being said, it was so worth it once we were there.
The closest airport to Sayulita is Puerto Vallerta. Depending on traffic (the stretch between San Francisco and Sayulita is ROUGH) it can take up to three hours to get to Sayulita. Our AirbNB offered a shuttle service which was $140 and definitely worth it. He also stopped at Mega (a big grocery store) along the way where we loaded up on groceries, wine, and tequila.
The town itself is very small and easy to get around but I would definitely recommend renting a golf cart because a) it’s fun, and b) it’s helpful, especially if your Air BnB is on a hill as ours was.
What to Know Before Visiting Sayulita
I was asked if it’s safe and I definitely felt safe the whole time. Especially as I was with two girlfriends. I don’t know that I’d visit Sayulita on my own as there isn’t really enough to do. It’s more of a go-with-friends sort of place. But like everywhere (New York included), be careful of your stuff and be mindful of your surroundings. Don’t leave your phone out, use a crossbody bag, etc.
Don’t drink the water, and be super careful with produce. A lot of people I know got sick visiting (I did not.) Brush your teeth with bottled water, drink only bottled water, and avoid produce that doesn’t have a skin or peel (we ate bananas, avocados, watermelon,
citrus, etc.) We might have been overly careful but didn’t want to chance it!!!
And bring lots of cash! Change it before you get to Mexico if you can. We didn’t have any issues changing our currency but Jackie had said that when she went there was a huge line to exchange it.
Shopping in Sayulita
As I mentioned above, the shopping here is SO good. Like so good. And the stores I list below are all really wonderful but in my opinion, some of the best shopping is on the street just walking around. There are so many gorgeous pieces of jewelry, woven bags, coverups and embroidered caftans, all the things. Just be sure to bring a lot of cash as most places are cash only!
Revolucion del Sueño //
We loved this store. It was recommended from in this Conde Nast Traveler article and was just the best for gifts. I bought a million little tassels that friends can tie onto their totes, a pretty rainbow beach blanket for Christina, tiny little embroidered dresses for my (unborn) niece, pretty jewelry for me, and more. LOVE. (They do take credit cards.)
R2 Fashion //
So, there isn’t a ton of high end shopping in Sayulita and that’s part of its charm. BUT if you are looking for a quality beach coverup, check out R2! I bought the one I’m wearing in this instagram post and I love it. It’s really well made, all organic cotton, and just beautiful + really special. (Also takes credit cards.)
The Hippie Market //
This isn’t a store per say, but more a collection of little booths with pom poms, stuffed animals, the works. It’s hard to miss and there is so much fun stuff. Just bring cash.
Everything in this store (pictured above with the animal planters) is SO CHIC. I didn’t buy anything but they have great t-shirts, leather goods, and of course ceramics. Loved this store.
Sayulita looks amazing! I’d love to visit if I get the chance one day! 🙂
Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
I hope you can go!
That Airbnb looks amazing and so well priced. It looks like the perfect relaxing get away.
I am looking for a ‘downtime’ vacation spot for my family but am so nervous about Mexico.
Don’t be nervous about Mexico!!!! It’s a great place to visit.
I’m obsessed with the pillows in that room, so cute–looks like you guys had a great trip!
The decor was so good! I wanted to steal everything 😉
Love your post–thinking about a visit after seeing how much you loved it. Just a question–since everything is cash, how much per day would you budget? Thanks!!
Hmmm that is tricky to say but I would say around $15-$20/meal, more if you are drinking, and definitely budget for shopping too!
Note that a lot of places take cards, but you should bring cash to be safe!!!
Your trip looked SO fun and SO relaxing. Definitely bookmarking this travel guide!
The Champagne Edit
I could see you really loving it (and taking the cutest pics!) with your friends!!! Hope you can go at some point!
Love this guide! I’ve always wanted to go to Sayulita but have never been. Thanks for sharing!
I hope you go, Sarah! It was amazing! xx
This trip looked so so wonderful! Such a nice escape with friends. Bookmarking and hoping I can get to Sayulita soon (mostly to buy all the poms). Where are your travels taking you next?
You’ll have to wait and see? Haha. Jk – going to Atlanta tomorrow for work! xo
*Maybe a typo* I notice it says San Francisco in the section about how to get to Sayulita, it makes it seem like there’s a lot of traffic between SF and Sayulita? Maybe you meant PV. Or maybe I just can’t read, long week and it’s only Wednesday 🙂
Haha it’s not a typo – San Francisco is another part of Mexico on the way from Puerto Vallerta to Sayulita.
Here you go 😉 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Francisco,_Nayarit
My family owns a home , been going once a year for over 10 years now. You are spot on with your description of Sayulita . Please don’t tell everyone about this gem …
It’s so magical – you’re very lucky! xx
Great article! Traveler tip: Try the local company, SayulitaLife for vacation rentals and other Sayulita information. There are no booking fees, so it is cheaper than airbnb. They give back to the local Sayulita community and have been in business since 2004!
Thanks for the tip!
When I visited a number of years ago (Thanksgiving 2012), I took the bus by myself between the Puerta Vallarta airport and Sayulita. It was only a couple dollars and a little over an hour. Yes, it helped that I was traveling with a backpack and spoke some Spanish, although neither would have been necessary. Try the bus if you’re not with a group to split shuttle costs or if you want to save your money for drinks/surfing/shopping/lodging!
I’ll be going to Sayilita in the next few months! Any suggestions on daytime activities? I am so excited !
Is the water really unsafe? Do you just avoid things like tomatoes (salsa etc) and fruit?