Stephanie Yoder is a girl who can’t sit still! She is the Editor-in-Chief of Twenty-Something Travel. When she’s not out traveling the world Stephanie lives in Seattle, Washington.
Visitors are drawn to Puerto Vallarta by the sunshine, the sparkling sea and the food. Most people simply stop in via cruise ship or head to a big name resort, but those who step off the beaten path will be rewarded. Venture just an hour through the northern jungle and you will emerge somewhere entirely different: the small but cheerful surf town of Sayulita.
Here are some tips on how to make the most of your trip:
Aim for shoulder season
The most popular time to visit Sayulita is during December and January. Every inch of space is packed with people and prices are typically doubled to reflect the high demand.
During the off-season summer months (June-October), temperatures rocket into the triple digits and afternoon thunderstorms are standard. You can get an apartment rental for a steal this time of year, but most businesses close for the season.
The best time to visit is in November, March, or April, when the weather is pleasant but prices are more reasonable.
Ready to book? Search for flights at alaskaair.com.
There is only one road to Sayulita, a winding two lane highway through a lush jungle. The most inexpensive option from the airport in Puerto Vallarta is to take a compostela, the public bus. They depart every half hour across the street from the airport. Look for a bus that says Sayulita on the window, and expect to pay 30 pesos for the 90-minute ride.
Alternately, you can rent a car (not recommended if you are arriving after dark), arrange a private car transfer or hire a taxi at the airport.
Boutique hotels and apartment rentals
You won’t find a Hilton or Holiday Inn here; all of Sayulita’s hotels are independently run. The mediterranean themed Petit Hotel d’Hafa is a good central option. The flower-covered Villa Amor is an easy walk from downtown.
The best way to experience Sayulita like a local is to rent a house or an apartment. There are hundreds of rentals available, ranging from single rooms to beach-front villas. The most important thing to consider, apart from price, is location. Gringo Hill is a popular spot with gorgeous views, but the streets are very steep. Some further away accommodations may require a car or golf cart rental for transportation.
Tacos and more
Whether you want to dive deep into Mexican cuisine or just enjoy some fine dining, you will be spoiled for choice in Sayulita. In addition to local food, everything from homemade pasta to gyros is available thanks to the expats who call Sayulita home.
For the best Mexican food avoid the restaurants on the main square. Instead head to Itacate for perfect steak tacos, or neighboring Yeikame for authentic Yucatan cuisine. Or look for Tacos Ivan, a late night tacos al pastor truck where tacos are just 10 pesos each. Afterwards head to Wakika for a paleta (flavored ice pop).
Sun and sand
Sayulita’s biggest selling point is the long, beautiful beach. If you visit the main beach near downtown, be prepared to shoo away dozens of vendors selling everything from jewelry to squid on a stick. The North Beach is less crowded but beware of strong riptides. You can also hike through the jungle to reach several less crowded beaches.
The shallow water makes Sayulita popular for surfers and stand up paddle-boarders. It’s possible to rent a board or take a lesson from half a dozen local companies. On the beach you’ll often find yoga classes in session, particularly in the early morning.
In the evening, relax on the beach, have a cocktail, and watch the one of the best sunsets of your life.