Sayulita is a small surf town on the west coast of Mexico. Compared to the big resorts in nearby Puerto Vallarta and Mazatlan, it's very relaxed, people walk around bare foot and all roads lead to the beach.
But if you're coming from San Pancho, like we were, it's practically the big smoke. There are a lot more restaurants, expats on golf carts and souvenir shops.
It's a great place to stay if you're looking for something busier and buzzier. We were glad we ended up in San Pancho but Sayulita is a fun place to spend the day.
The main beach in Sayulita is known as being a good place to learn to surf – there are smaller waves than San Pancho, but it's still a bit choppy for swimming.
The middle section gets really busy, but it's a big beach and you can easily get a spot to yourself if you walk to one of the ends.
You can hire sun loungers for the day or get them free with a minimum spend at one of the restaurants on the beach.
Playa de los muertos
Playa de los Muertos is a lovely little white sand beach, with calm waters for swimming, and a lifeguard and food stand at the weekends.
Walk along the beach, through the Villa Amor resort and over the hill past the cemetery. It takes about 10 minutes from the centre of town.
Where to eat
- Chocobanana: a nice coffee shop serving up all sorts of baked goods (try the banana bread).
- Casa Gourmet: a French bakery selling bread, quiche and pastries (owned by French people so it's legit!)
- Blue Corn Mama Cafe: this was one of our favourite restaurants in Mexico. Set up to help support the Huichol people, who live in the surrounding mountains, everything is made with blue corn. The huevos rancheros with smokey salsa and blue corn pancakes were incredible and the owner is lovely.
- Tacos y Mariscos El Rinconcito: the best fresh fish and prawn tacos, this place is always busy.
- El Itacate: more tacos! Choose your steak and cover with delicious salsas. Very filling and if you're brave enough you can try their special – a burrito wrapped in fried cheese instead of a tortilla.
Sayulita is full of cute shops. There are delis with local treats and imported foods, souvenir shops selling colourful ceramics and boutiques with beautiful embroidered clothes. My favourites are Revolución Del Sueño and Pachamama.
Each Friday, 80 vendors selling handmade, organic products set up shop at the Mercado del Pueblo. There's live music and food and a fun atmosphere. As well as organic produce, there are clothes stalls and people selling artwork, jewellery and essential oils. Our favourites: the sunflower seed bread, chocolates from Mexicolate and the salad lady (who grows her leaves just down the road).
How to get there from San Pancho
You can catch any bus from the stop on the main road. They're pretty regular and stop at the petrol station in Sayulita. It's then an easy 15 minute walk into main town. To get back there are hourly buses from the bus station (which you'll pass on the walk in). Times:
It's a 10-minute taxi ride between San Pancho and Sayulita, and costs around M$120.
You can also hike, which takes you through the jungle and passed a deserted beach. It takes 1.5 hours and the path isn't totally obvious, so it's best to do it with someone who knows the way the first time.