4 Hidden Treasures of Nayarit, Mexico
By: Tanya Brooks
When people think of traveling to Mexico, they usually decide to go to large, tourist destinations such as Puerto Vallarta, Cabo, Cancun or Riviera Maya. But what about those hidden little treasures which are off the beaten path? I found out about Sayulita when my best friend Lisa lived there for close to 18 months. Lisa had traveled down to Sayulita for a short visit with a friend of hers and ended up falling in love with this wonderful little haven instantly, as did I.
Sayulita is a quaint little surf town about 45 minutes to 1 hour North of Puerto Vallarta by bus, which only costs 25 pesos (about $2.50) to ride. If you have a rented car it takes approximately 30-45 minutes depending on traffic. Not only is it very easy to get to, but the bus that takes you there is right across the street from the Airport in PV. I’ve landed here 3 times in the last few years and every time I was traveling alone. I was always greeted by the locals with warm smiles and helping hands which made me feel very safe. The first time I stepped off the bus in Sayulita, I was overcome with the wonderful smell of delicious Mexican cuisine. Everywhere I looked I saw restaurants, taco stands, and little nooks in between the shops full of heavenly aromas. I was so excited to explore. Not only did I have a great time learning about this town and surrounding areas, but I also made some amazing friends along the way. Te amo mi familia Mexicana ❤
There are a bunch of great places to stay in Sayulita, from cute little bungalows on the beach to beautiful resorts with fully furnished rooms. http://www.sayulitalife.com/ has information on superb casita’s to rent varying in price. If you find yourself backpacking and looking to save some money you can even bunker down in the local hostel. No matter where you stay in this amazing place, you are guaranteed to have friendly residents guiding you through all there is to see here. While I visited, I found so many fun and exciting places. If you love seafood you can dine at Chilli Willies and have your taste buds explode with delight. Sayulita is known as a very popular fishing town so the seafood is always fresh. Or maybe if you’re looking for a bit of diversity and crave a juicy burger, you can hit up Munchies for a brilliant combination of American food and Mexican ambiance. My favorite little eating place is called La Terrazola, which is situated right on the gorgeous beach. They serve up a scrumptious meal and a nice cold cervesa to quench your thirst while basking in the sun. Muchas Gracias!
In the center of town, there’s La Plaza, the town center, full of little clothing shops, coffee stands and inexpensive souvenirs made by the locals. Watching the kids running around and playing tag in La Plaza is one of my favorite things to do; listening to laughter and squeals as they fill the streets. Once the sun goes down and everyone has had their afternoon siesta, the nightlife in town is a blast. Fire spinners and break dancers fill the streets as onlookers take photos and videos. You can boogie down at Yambak or Tigres which are right across the street from one another or you can hit up Cumbia night which is situated directly on the beach every Friday evening. Whether you like reggae, hip hop or electronic music there’s always bumpin’ tunes to dance to.
Once you’ve seen the sights around Sayulita, there are 3 more hidden treasures just outside of town. If you’re looking for a more relaxing and laid back atmosphere, you can drive to Punta De Mita which is about a 15-20 minute drive from Sayulita. Punta De Mita is nice little getaway from the hustle and bustle of big crowds. This is another cute, little town you can venture around and find the perfect trinkets and gifts to take home. There’s a beautiful beach to soak up some sun, a strip of shopping, delightful Mexican restaurants and you can even go out on a sailing tour to see what the Pacific Ocean scenery has to offer. One tour I was fortunate enough to have as a gift from some local friends was to
Here I was shown a fantastic snorkeling spot where I could swim into a big cave that opened up onto a tiny, concealed beach completely secluded from the boats that surround it. You can take a day tour to explore this mysterious beauty on La Ponga or La Chica Loca sailing tours which include free beer, food, and music to enjoy. If you’re lucky you might even see a whale or a school of manta rays jumping in and out of the water like we did when we were on our trip.
And last, but not least, surfing in Mexico is a must do! Lisa decided to take me to a great surfing spot at La Lancha Beach on the last day I was in Sayulita to experience my first surfing lesson. The beach is about a 15-minute drive from town and if you can spare about 400-500 pesos (about $40), you can get some great surf lessons. If surfing is something you’re interested in then you can get some information from my friends at Mexican Surf Mafia surf shop or check out Wild Mex to get the details on great surfing spots. You have to walk down a path to discover this hidden gem, but once it opens up the beach is a sight for sore eyes. The white sand on La Lancha is so fine and silky smooth you will feel like you’re standing on velvety, fleece pillows.
Surfing on the La Lancha waves are so much fun… if you don’t mind a little bit of sand in your shorts that is! In the summer months during low season the south swell makes for bigger waves and tremendous surf, but if you’re a beginner and want some smaller waves, the high season might be a better time for you to hit the water. But all in all, Sayulita is the best place for surfing whether you’re a seasoned surfer or just starting out. The waves in Sayulita are absolutely spectacular anywhere you go. Even if you’re not into surfing, just watching the locals and practiced tourists tackle the waves is a wondrous thrill and will leave you thoroughly entertained.
So there you have it, if you’re looking for some fun in the sun, these hidden treasures are a great way to spend your Mexican vacation. I know I fell in love with these hot spots in Nayarit, Mexico as soon as I experienced the culture and way of life there. Always in high spirits and enthusiasm, visiting my friends down in Sayulita makes for the best trip ever. I am so happy my girl Lisa introduced me to this home away from home, mi casa en Mexico… where our good friends are always waiting with open arms for our next trip down 🙂 Hasta luego mi amigos!
I can’t wait xo