Sayulita, Riviera Nayarit Travel Guide
- Small town with a lively ambiance
- Beautiful sandy beach with a massage hut
- Gentle waves great for beginner surfers and families with kids
- Downtown area compact and easy to explore by foot
- Dozens of small boutiques selling traditional Mexican crafts and contemporary pieces
- Tons of small local restaurants serving outstanding food
- Colorful traditional architecture and cobblestone streets
- Several interesting art galleries
- Strong surfer culture and laid-back vibe
- Lots of charming small hotels near the beach
- Has managed to keep the local charm despite tourism
- Pleasant rooftop bars abound
- Very low crime rates
- 45-minute drive from the nearest airport
- Few kid-friendly activities besides the beach
- Can feel a little too remote (a pro for some!)
What It's Like
Sayulita is no longer the sleepy fishing village it used to be. Back in the day, few people outside the region had heard about Sayulita, but it is now an international surfing destination, with rolling, gentle waves perfect for beginners. Though many American and Canadian expats have moved to this once remote town on the southern coast of Riviera Nayarit, the small-town feel and the local charm have been mostly preserved. Low, colorful buildings and small local business line the cobblestone streets, and many young artists have opened art galleries, contributing to the thriving arts scene.
The downtown area, made up of a few blocks that lead to the sandy beach, is the liveliest part of town, with dozens of great stores selling items ranging from traditional Mexican crafts with a contemporary twist to clothing made by young, up-and-coming designers. Small, local bars and shacks offer great food and drinks, and “huicholes”, locals, and expats sell their crafts directly on the street.
The rest of the town is mostly residential, but the architectural style and vibe is mostly the same, though it's perhaps a little quieter and less international.
Where to Stay
There are many accommodation options here -- from small budget inns near the beach to ultra-luxe hotels hidden away amid the lush jungle. The downtown area is mostly home to small budget and mid-range hotels housed in low, colorful buildings on one-way streets. The rule of thumb is that the farther away from the beacha hotel is, the lower the rate.
Those who want to get away from it all but still be near a small town have in Sayulita the perfect mix. Just a few minutes from the city center, along narrow roads and dirt tracks, a couple of ultra-luxurious hotels can be found. They are remote and intimate, and offer an out-in-the-wild experience, as they are surrounded by the lush jungle that borders the town.