Sayulita Travel Guide

A Sayulita travel guide like no other, and other tips from someone who got “trapped” here

This Sayulita travel guide is based on my experiences from traveling here to potentially living here for 2 years! This small town in Riviera Nayarit is everyone’s favorite but note that this is not for everyone. Read on to see if Sayulita is the destination for you.

Reader Mail: Hi Trisha! I see that you are currently in Mexico and I’ve looked all over for your Sayulita travel guide and didn’t see any. Are you still there?

I am planning to visit from San Diego in a month. I got a direct flight! Can you please recommend anything (place to stay, food, etc) in Sayulita? I hope you are going to be there when I arrive! I’d love to meet!
– Christine Franklin, USA

Dear Christine,

Thanks a lot for reaching out! I now live full-time in Sayulita and loving it. At first, I didn’t think I will like it because it was too small (I usually find myself overwhelmed with small towns like this) but it’s been working great for me. I love living here!

I just started creating a few contents about Sayulita so if you have more questions that weren’t answered here, please feel free to send me a message via Instagram. If you ever make it here, I’d love to take you for coffee! Good luck!

Xx,
Trisha

Sayulita is currently where I live. I traveled here three years ago and never left. The vibe here is so different that you barely can differentiate between traveling and living here – everyone knows each other. There is a deep desire to be involved in the community

The bulk of my round the world travels involve living with local families, which I mostly did in South American countries like Colombia and Argentina. I also did a few in the Middle East where I stayed with a Jordanian family for 5 weeks to teach English.

When I first arrived in Mexico, my goal was to do more local content for my blog but the branding of my personal travel blog is way different than what I have in mind.

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Where is Sayulita?

The strange pattern that I find here is that a lot of people know Puerto Vallarta (the airport that serves Sayulita) but those who visit PV skip Sayulita and vice-versa.

Sayulita is a young town so when you look for places to visit in Mexico, it does not really appear in the listicles. Sayulita is only popular by word of mouth, often by Americans and Canadians.

It’s only 40 minutes from Puerto Vallarta and it has a way different vibe. While PV belongs to the state of Jalisco, Sayulita is in the state of Nayarit.

It has less than 3,000 inhabitants and most of them are foreigners. Sayulita is popular for its surf and yoga culture. Most people who come here go on surf trips as we have many beaches suitable for beginner to professional surfers.

What type of travelers visits Sayulita?

Before you decide to travel solo to Sayulita, think about this: is Sayulita for you? Is this a destination that will fit your travel style? People originally come here to just travel but for some reason, everyone I know (I swear, and that includes me) never left.

There are lots of repeat visitors who eventually end up moving here especially in these strange times. You are going to enter a bubble and it’s not going to burst – give it a year, I gave it two, HA!

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👪 Are there lots of families traveling to Sayulita?

Yes! This is a family-friendly vacation destination! You will see lots of kids on the streets and often in the plaza. I’ve never been to Sayulita main beach without not seeing children, they’re always just there!

The Northside is a family traveler’s favorite in Sayulita. Avenida Palmar is a long street of Airbnbs with great sunset views of the bay of the Banderas and massive vacation rentals. In short, it’s fresa.

Sayulita is also a popular weekend destination for Americans since it’s just a flight away from many major US cities. Families always find it easy to spend a weekend in Sayulita with kids.

sayulita mexico

September 2020, taken with my film camera.

There is a small big group of Sayulita digital nomads but since the wifi in Sayulita is not that great, it is often skipped by remote workers. Most of them go to Puerto or Nuevo Vallarta as they have better infrastructure.

Yogis, health buffs, massage therapists, physical therapists – if your job is about holistic health, then you’ll fit in! Photographers and creatives are here too as there is a lot of jobs for marketing.

If you are also a wedding planner, a florist, a videographer, etc., Sayulita is a famous wedding destination in Mexico. You will definitely have lots of clients from the USA here.

Is Sayulita safe?

Sayulita is a very family-oriented town so you can see a lot of families on the beach and a huge amount of kids running around town every weekend. It has been a destination for family travelers, including Mexican families.

Sayulita is only a 4-hour drive from the city of Guadalajara so it serves as the closest vacation spot to Mexicans.

Police are patrolling around town every night to keep the Sayulita environment safe. There aren’t a lot of crimes in town so they are more focused on enforcing laws regarding drug possession.

It is very likely that you will see (and smell) people smoking weed on the streets. People here don’t mind but the police do. Avoid smoking pot in public places and be discreet if you want to use drugs. You’re a big girl – you know how the rules are.

moving to sayulita

Sayulita’s streets are well-lit so don’t worry!

Sayulita safety travel tips

Be careful when swimming

Just last week, I faced a very terrifying experience when one of the girls I went to Carricitos Beach with almost drowned. We were watching her from the shore and couldn’t do anything about it.

The waves were pretty strong and none of us couldn’t get to her. Good thing a lad from Seattle bravely (and greatly) swam the strong waters to get to her. It was terrifying!

Never leave your bags unattended, but you actually can

This is a protocol everywhere and I usually put it in all of my solo travel articles. But honestly, in Sayulita, I am not hyper-vigilant with my things because I know everyone already. And you probably will after a week of being out and about.

Calle Gaviota (where the Kiosko is) is one of the sketchiest streets in Sayulita

Personally, I never avoided this street because the locals here already know me. I can also handle myself well when it comes to the people living here as I am fluent in Spanish. However, I passed with some girls here one time and they did not feel comfortable with the guys standing in the dark, offering drugs.

➢ Click here to see all safety tips in Sayulita

travelwifi travel guides

Sayulita travel guide: costs, where to stay, what to eat, and everything you need to know

Sayulita Quick Information

💲Currency

The currency in Mexico is called the New Mexican peso (MXN). As of 03 Feb 2020, $1 USD = $20 MXN. The travel budget in Sayulita will be discussed in this article, too.

🔌 Electricity socket

Mexico uses types A and B but in Sayulita, type A is more common. See all plug types here to know what to pack!

🛂 Visa

A 180-day visa is automatically given to foreigners who enter Mexico. Mexico will not stamp your passport but they will give you an entry card. Don’t lose it because it’s your only proof that you legally entered the country. You will need to present it when you leave.

🛬 Airport in Sayulita

The airport that serves Sayulita is Puerto Vallarta International Airport. From the airport, it will take you 40 minutes to an hour to get to Sayulita.

📶 Wifi in Sayulita

The fastest speed of wifi in Sayulita is 20 MBPS for most Airbnbs. There are only a few establishments that have fiber-optic Internet. Unfortunately, Sayulita’s infrastructure is not yet ready for high-speed wifi.

Sayulita COVID update

We are very lax in terms of COVID here. People don’t wear masks but other stores require wearing masks. Unlike some Mexican cities, for example, Puerto Escondido, where it is mandatory to wear masks when entering restaurants.

However, when I was in other parts of Mexico, restaurants only require masks when you are entering restaurants and establishments but once you are in, it is okay to remove them.

So I don’t know how that changes anything, really. It’s just more of an ‘entry pass.’

sayulita nayarit

All Americans are free to fly to Mexico so if you decide to come to Sayulita during COVID, do it at your own risk. Most of the tourists here rent a big villa via Airbnb and stay in their accommodations.

They only go out for food but we do have a lot of deliveries here, something that we didn’t have pre-pandemic. American and Canadian families still travel here with their kids but again, I need to tell you, we are lax when it comes to wearing masks because it is not required within the pueblo.

😷 Where to take a COVID test in Sayulita

Punta de Mita health tent

There is only one hospital that serves Sayulita which is Punta de Mita (PDM) hospital. There is a new hospital in Sayulita but I’m not sure if they do COVID tests – it’s a very fancy hospital and I haven’t tried it myself so I will not recommend it in this post.

  • PCR: $3,690 MXN ($180 USD)
  • Antigen: $1,250 MXN ($61 USD)
  • Antibodies: $400 MXN ($19.60 USD)

The funny thing about COVID tests here in our area is that prices are different so if you want a cheaper option, you can just go to Puerto Vallarta which is an hour’s drive from Sayulita.

To see the COVID testing prices in Puerto Vallarta, click here. Unlike Sayulita, there are over 10 hospitals in PV that offers COVID test and you’ll be surprised to see how different their price ranges are.

Puerto Vallarta International Airport

If you are coming back to the US from Sayulita, you only need an antigen test. It’s only $25 USD at Puerto Vallarta International Airport. You just need to arrive 4 hours before your flight to make sure you get the test on time.

The test is super fast – you will get it within 10 minutes so don’t worry about missing your flight.

Sayulita Trip Planning

The busiest season in Sayulita is from October 15 – June 1. During this time, you will experience nice weather while enjoying the sun. This is actually the season when more Americans and Canadians come to Sayulita.

If you want fewer foreigners or tourists, come during the low season (June 1 – October 15) where most people in town are only locals. Expect extreme humid weather – summer heat is unbearable here!

🧳 Planning your Sayulita rough budget

You can easily put $35 – $50 USD per day as your Sayulita travel budget, depending on the type of traveler that you are. Hostel costs are about $15 USD, Airbnbs at $35 USD (for 2 people), and hotels can be up to $45 USD.

Airbnb is the preferred way to book here as it really depends if you want simple accommodation or big villas with pools.

sayulita restaurants

Photo: @sayulitasocial

As for food, you can always get tacos (ehem) for as low as $1 USD. Restaurants range from $7 – $10 USD. If you’re staying in an accommodation with a kitchen (like a hostel or Airbnb), you can buy ingredients in the market for meals for as low as $100 MXN ($5 USD) per meal for 1 person.

There are many free things to do in Sayulita so you don’t have to worry about paying for tours. If you are to book tours, they usually start from $100 USD depending on the tour you want to avail.

This is mostly for outdoor adventures like Monkey Mountain or surfing trips.

Transportation budget? Forget about it. Sayulita is a walking town so join the fun! If you are not a person who is not a fan of walking, you can rent a golf cart for $50 USD per day.


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What to pack for Sayulita

Season-wise, there are only two in Sayulita: the low season which is summer (from June 1 to October 20th), and the high season which is winter (October 20th – May 30th). This is how we determine the seasons but it has nothing to do with the weather.

During the low season, 50% of the bars and restaurants close and you will only see locals. The high season starts from dia de los muertos, Christmas, New Year, etc).

Please note that you will only bring summer clothes during your vacation in Sayulita so if you can just travel with a backpack, that is going to be more convenient for you!

➢ See the complete packing list to Sayulita, Mexico

How to get to Sayulita

Tourists who visit Sayulita normally come from Guadalajara by bus or from anywhere in the world through Puerto Vallarta International Airport.

This airport caters to flights from San Francisco, San Diego, Vancouver, Montreal, and many parts of North America. Getting to Sayulita from the airport takes 45 minutes – 1 hour.

sayulita travel guide

🚖 How to get to Sayulita from Puerto Vallarta Airport

You can take the bus outside Puerto Vallarta Internationational Airport. All you have to do is to cross the bridge and you will see the Compostela buses there that say “Sayulita.”

This costs $40 MXN ($2 USD est) and it will go directly to the bus station in Sayulita. The trip takes an hour and a half though Sayulita is only 40 minutes by private car.

Ubers are not allowed in Puerto Vallarta Airport so if you take the regular taxi inside, they will charge you at least $1,200 MXN ($58 USD).

Click here to see the prices for the Sayulita airport taxi service. Use PSIMONMYWAY10 for a 10% discount!

➢ See the full guide on how to get to Sayulita from Puerto Vallarta Airport

Getting around Sayulita

Sayulita is a small town so everything is walkable. If you are not a fan of walking, the most common mode of transport is the golf cart that you can rent per day.

This will not take you to nearby places like San Pancho, Punta Mita, etc. You can only use this within the town.

Sayulita travel guide

I got a golf cart because it is really helpful, especially if you live here long-term!

Daily rental starts at $50 USD and can go up to $100, depending on the size and capacity of the cart you are going to rent. Taxis are also available within the town but they are pretty expensive.

🚕 Uber in Sayulita

The Uber app functions in Sayulita but please take note that these rides can be very expensive. They’re cheaper than the normal Sayulita taxis, though.

For example, a ride with a normal taxi from Puerto Vallarta airport to Sayulita starts at $1,000 MXN ($50 USD) while Uber only charges between $500 – $700 MXN ($28 – $37 USD).

If you are coming from Sayulita, it can be a bit more complicated as fewer Uber drivers travel this route. In my experience, I always get lucky with Uber so give it a try!

If not, I have a trusted driver who takes my Airbnb guests around Nayarit and Puerto Vallarta. Get in touch with me and I’ll definitely hook you up!

🏍️ Can you rent a motorbike in Sayulita?

It’s not a thing because there’s just too much liability attached to it. The motorbikes you see in Sayulita are not from rentals. They are modes of transportation by the locals.

There is no particular company renting motorbikes in Sayulita but when you arrive and meet people, you can easily ask them which local can rent you a bike for the day.

🚘 Can you rent a car in Sayulita?

There used to be a Budget rent a car office in Sayulita but since 2020, I have not seen it operating. Renting a car in Mexico is a little complicated for foreigners.

There are a lot of locals in Sayulita who rent their personal cars for $50 – $100 USD a day but you need to know these people. I have a local contact who has several cars – contact me for availability!

Where to stay in Sayulita

Sayulita is really expensive compared to most of Mexico. The influx of tourists has made prices increase over the years. In Sayulita, the majority of the tourists are Canadians.

In these strange times what we are living in, I noticed how travelers have changed the way they travel. Most of us prefer a minimum 2-week vacation and short-term vacation is decreasing.

Now that the US requires a COVID test for everyone entering the country from January 26, 2021, many Americans find a month-long vacation more practical.

Below are my top vacation home rentals in Sayulita that I’ve personally stayed in (or filmed for my project).

Best Sayulita Airbnbs

🗺️ The Sayulita layout

The thing with Sayulita hotels, Airbnbs or Vrbos, you won’t really know what the exact location’s like unless you’ve been to Sayulita. Note that this is a hilly and jungly town – some pretty accommodations are way deep in the jungle or have very bad road conditions.

Let’s say you already found an accommodation you like: my advice is to put the address on Google maps and then see how far it is from Sayulita plaza. The plaza is the center of town and it’s probably the place you’ll frequent so it’s a great point of reference.

Most accommodations won’t show you the address unless the booking is already confirmed. Sayulita accommodations always have names in the format of “Casa ____” (i.e. Casa Iguana, Casa Vecino, Casa Rosa, etc).

These casas are usually on Google maps so if the casa name is available on the listing, put that on Google maps first then see directions to the plaza. This way, you can be sure if you need a golf cart or it’s within walking distance from everything you need.

Sayulita Airbnb Unique Stays

Accommodations like this can be very attractive online but know where it is located first!

I usually do consult calls with clients who are not sure which area of Sayulita to book. For example, my client last week has back problems and his wife booked a deep in the jungles where road conditions are not that good (for his back).

They did not know that it was going to be a big deal since the host did not say anything but for his condition, they needed to cancel and book another one.

Other things you might want to consider are if it’s accessible to families with children, wheelchairs, etc. If you want to be 100% sure about this, we can get on a consult call before you book – just contact me for a trip planning service.

🛏️ Best Sayulita hotels that are close to the center

Foreigners who often visit Sayulita opt for Airbnbs but since I stopped supporting Airbnb this year, I will give you some recommendations on Sayulita hotels that are in good locations.

The problem with Airbnb is that they don’t disclose the hidden costs so you’ll end up paying for more. Again, if you need help in finding the best accommodations, just get in touch with me!


Booking.com

Villa Amor

If you look at Villa Amor’s location on the map, it can be confusing as they are located on a hill. They have two entrances, one in the flat area (by the beach) which is very accessible and centric but the other entrance, you have to go deep into the jungle. Don’t worry about it because this hotel is really accessible!

Villa Amor is popular to honeymooners and families because of its great views and amazing rooms. Price per night starts at $150 USD.

Click here to check prices and availability for Villa Amor »

Casa de la Ballena

Located on the street of Niños Heroes, La Casa la Ballena is not very hard to spot. There’s a big whale mural right outside of the building. Ballena means whale in Spanish.

This street is about a 2-minute walk to the plaza so rest assured that it would be comfortable for you to walk back and forth your accommodation without a golf cart.

Click here to check prices and availability for Casa de La Ballena »

Best Sayulita restaurants

I love cooking but this little pueblo called Sayulita has a lot of food options to choose from. Ever since I moved here, I’ve been tempted to try all the best eats in Sayulita they’re very interesting and delicious.

Compared to the rest of Mexico, this town is a bit more expensive but even if I live here, it wouldn’t hurt to eat out every now and then.

For a year living in Sayulita, I feel like it’s not enough time to try all the good restaurants but here are the ones I recommend you to visit when you’re in town!

sayulita

#1: Gloria’s Mexican-style breakfast

I go to Gloria’s when I am craving a big Mexican breakfast. They have this ‘bandeja paisa’ plate with beans, eggs, avocado, bread, rice, and meat of your choice. Mexicans like to have heavy breakfast so if you wake up with a hangover, Gloria’s is your place!

The owner (Gloria) is always there and she’s very accommodating to guests even if she does not speak English. Gloria’s restaurant is not on Google maps but it’s just right in front of Jhoul Foods (click for directions).

The big breakfast plate that I always order is only for $100 MXN ($5 USD) and it can last me for two meals!

#2: Sayulita Friday Market

💲 | Avenida Revolucion 

Every Friday, Sayulita’s mercado del pueblo is open and there are lots of food options here. I make sure to have brunch here every week because you won’t see these guys often – they don’t have a permanent ‘puesto’ in town.

My favorite in the mercado is the paella and the choripan (chorizo sandwich). You can also buy artesanal breads, farm-produced fruits, vegetables, spices, etc if you want to keep some for your home cooking.

We are not Tulum but we have lots of cafes in Sayulita like this!

#3: Chilaqueen: street food stall

💲 | Avenida Revolucion | +52 322 429 1864

Marcela and I met at a random Mexican party in Sayulita and that’s when I got to know about her chilaquiles food cart. She is a licensed lawyer from Mexico City and decided to leave her job to live a simple life in Sayulita.

She opened Chilaqueen, which is a food cart with tables and chairs on the streets and she makes the best chilaquiles!

Be careful though, she does not adjust the spice level for her clients. She believes that when you come to Mexico, you need to adapt to how the Mexicans eat and cook.

Spicy food is very iconic to Mexico but I’m sure she’ll adjust it for you if you ask nicely.

#4: La Fogonera: best burger in Sayulita

💲 | Calle Playa Azul 338 | +52 322 274 7889

Tamara, Radaii, and Jenny are professional chefs who left their life in Veracruz, Mexico to travel with their food truck. On their travels, they came across Sayulita, loved it, and never left.

Their burgers are really cheap but it’s very filling. I remember one time I visited them and they did not have artisanal bread – Tamara told me that she was only using the normal Bimbo burger buns that day and she refused to sell me any.

They always strive to serve the best food and this is what I really like about them. They are also so warm, humble hard workers – I hope you can support them!

Local tip: After your sumptuous burger, make sure to order churros for desserts. It’s a big plate for sharing and it’s the best churros in town!

➢ Click here to see 35 Sayulita restaurants by category

Best Sayulita bars: discover the nightlife

#1: Yambak 

💲 | Calle Marlin 29 | +52 329 291 3756

If you’re a beer fan, then Yambak’s is your place (like everyone else). Their beers are more expensive than other bars because they have their own brewery inside the bar but I would honestly pay 60-80 MXN ($3 – $4 USD approx) for a pint of good beer.

Yambak is also in front of the plaza so it’s a good place to meet people. Their seating arrangement (standing, rather) makes people gather and mingle the entire night.

#2: Bar Don Pato 

💲 | Calle Marlin 12 

I remember being at Don Pato every day during my first month in Sayulita. This is where everyone ends up at night because something is happening nightly! If you are out of options and looking for something to do after midnight, Don Pato is your place!

sayulita nightlife

Photo: @sayulitasocial

#3: Le Zouave

💲💲 | Calle Jose Mariscal 3-5 | +52 329 291 3806

Zouave is a little nook in between Yambak and Cava. You won’t miss it because of its loud red and Moroccan-like structure. It looks like an upper-class bar but most people who hang out here are expats.

Zouave has a nice set-up inside but they also have high tables and chairs and outside for people watching.

#4: El Barrilito

💲 | Calle Jose Mariscal 9 | +52 333 105 0351

Let’s call Barrilito the chill version of Yambak. It has a very similar set-up as they are on the same street but Barrilito is way smaller.

People come here any time of the day because their seats are arranged in a way that enables you to people watch. This is located in a very busy street in Sayulita (literally in front of the plaza) so you won’t miss it.

sayulita nightlife

#5: Escondido Bar

💲💲 | Calle Marlin 45-A 

Escondido means “hidden” in Spanish. Surely, Bar Escondido fits that branding. Located in the steep streets of Gringo Hill, Bar Escondido is one of those bars that are always there but you won’t feel that they’re there.

Sometimes, you’ll feel that socialization is too much and yet you have the urge to drink – Bar Escondido’s is definitely the right place for that mood.

➢ Click here to see the best bars in Sayulita

Things to do in Sayulita

#1: Watch the sunset at Carricitos beach

Carricitos is my favorite beach in Sayulita and I come here every day with my dog, Lola. It’s quite a hike to get there – if you are walking from the center of Sayulita town, it can take you 20-30 minutes depending on your speed.

The walk is a canopy forest where you can see hundreds of fireflies during its season (August-September).

moving to sayulita

Swimming in Carricitos is possible but waves can get really aggressive, most days, out of nowhere. This beach is not necessarily for good swimmers.

There are days when the tide is low and everyone can enjoy a dip. However, be mindful about certain conditions. I had a bad experience here when one person I know almost drowned but don’t let this discourage you.

Sitting by the beach and bringing beers is your thing if you don’t want to swim.

#2: Take surfing lessons

Surfing is one of the best things to do in Sayulita. In fact, some people come to town only for surfing! When I came here in May, it was the best time to learn as the waves are really low and are perfect for beginners.

Most of my friends who tried it the first time were able to ride right away.

These waves are really friendly! There are many surf schools in Sayulita but they are pretty expensive. It can cost up to $35 USD per hour. In my case, I took surf lessons with a young Mexican guy who works at the beach.

He’s not a teacher but he is very good at it so I casually asked him if he can teach me some longboard techniques.

Just for fun, he agreed without even asking me for a fee! Of course, I still paid him at a minimum amount but if you don’t want to pay for expensive surf lessons in Sayulita and still want to learn with a teacher, make friends with the locals at the beach.

Click here to book a surfing class with a local »

Beaches in Sayulita

Playa Carricitos in Sayulita, Nayarit, Mexico.

#3: Private breakfast at a local’s home

My friend Macarena, who is a chef from Argentina is one of those people who opened her home to tourists by providing private breakfast.

This experience is not only about food but Macarena also shares some insider tips about the beauty of living in Sayulita.

You will get a full-service breakfast at a local’s home – it’s the best way to get to know the Sayulita lifestyle.

Click here to book your breakfast at a local’s home »

#4: Get a home service massage at your accommodation

I should tell you this now but massages are expensive in Sayulita. They’re all at $600 MXN ($30 USD) per hour but they are all pretty good.

I can recommend a massage parlor by the beach that does deep tissue massage – just get in touch with me and I’ll connect you to them with a special price!

Click here to book your private massage with a local »

#5: Tequila or mezcal tasting

David is my bartender friend who I was talking about in things to do in Sayulita #6. He works at Don Pato but in his free time, he also offers private tequila tasting and bartending!

Basically, if you are having a private party at your Airbnb, David is definitely the guy to hire.

Check prices and availability for tequila tasting in Sayulita »

➢ See 40+ things to do in Sayulita

Currency, budget, cash, etc

The currency in Mexico is called Mexican peso (MXN). $1 USD = $18.67 MXN. To understand this conversion, I’m going to give you an idea about some basic prices:

  • Basic lunchtime menu (including a drink) in the centre: $11 USD
  • 1 cocktail drink in a downtown club: $5 USD
  • 1 beer in neighborhood pub (500ml or 1pt.): $1.87 USD
  • Cappuccino in a specialty coffee shop: $4 USD
  • 1 package of Marlboro cigarettes: $3.50 USD

Sayulita travel budget

💰 Money exchange in Sayulita

Money exchange in Sayulita is very low. If you google USD to MXN, the conversion rate is $1 USD = between $18 – $19 MXN. However, if you exchange US dollars or Canadian dollars in Sayulita, they do it for only $16 MXN per USD or $14 MXN per CAD.

I don’t really recommend that you exchange money here in Sayulita because you will lose a lot but in case of an emergency, most stores (mini tiendas) give you better rates. There is a money exchange house near the plaza but as I said, their rates are very low.

If you will arrive at Sayulita from Puerto Vallarta, it is better to exchange money in Vallarta. It’s a big city with malls and lots of money exchange houses (casa de cambio) so you’ll get better rates there.

🏧 ATM withdrawals in Sayulita

There are lots of ATM machines all over town but depending on your bank, these machines charge from $5 – $7 USD withdrawal fees.

There is a big bank near the Sayulita town entrance that only charges $3 USD per withdrawal but it’s quite a walk from town (about 15 . minutes from the plaza).

This bank is right next to Saint Luke’s Medical Center and Sayulita Fit in Avenida Revolucion.

💳 Credit/debit cards

Sayulita is still a little backward in terms of use of credit/debit cards so make sure you have cash when you come.

Most restaurants and convenience stores accept credit/debit cards, however, small shops and restaurants still operate in cash. Some will even charge you 3% for paying with a credit card!

💵 Tipping in Sayulita

Tipping is not mandatory in Sayulita but it is very much encouraged. I live here but I still tip. Mexican salary is very low so most workers are dependent on tips.

Imagine, some servers only earn $200 MXN ($10 USD) for 8 hours of work! 10% is the most decent tip but if you liked the service, feel free to give more.[

Useful Sayulita travel tips

#1: The cheapest and best fruit and vegetable store is Carolina’s

I exclusively just go to Carolina’s because their fruits and vegetables are good and new. Not only that – for some reason, they are the cheapest vegetable place in town!

I also can request special vegetables here (like Asian squash). One time, I asked them why they don’t sell this kind of squash (Mexico only uses the zucchini) and the owner told me he can get it for me with 2 days’ notice!

#2: Change your USD in this store

There is a money exchange center in Sayulita but the rates are so low I don’t really exchange USD there. I change my USD in a store called Jhoul Foods.

I used to live next to this store and got to know the owner. He gives me a better USD exchange rate to peso so make sure you are friendly enough so he’ll give you better rates!

#3: Best places to buy alcohol in Sayulita

I have two favorite places to buy beers in town because they’re cheaper. One is Camacho’s, which is in the southern part of town (at Niños Heroes Street).

For the northerners, buy your beers at Chewbacca. Camachos and Chewbaccas are not big places but are mini-markets. They are what we call “mini super tienda” in Mexico.

#4: Best ATMs in Sayulita

The best place to take cash is at the Intercam bank, the only bank in Sayulita. Everyone goes there to take cash so I can’t really guarantee there will always be cash available.

Another good ATM machine is inside Don Pedro’s restaurant. They have two cash machines there that dispense Mexican pesos and USD. It’s also a very safe place to withdraw since it’s inside the restaurant. You can withdraw there even at night!

➢ Click here to see all Sayulita travel tips

Best time to visit Sayulita

Before deciding when to visit Sayulita, please note that we have two seasons: high season and low season. We don’t have a shoulder season here but from the beginning of COVID, I realized that people are still visiting even during the low season.

High season (October 15 – June 21)

This is the high season in Sayulita when Canadians and Americans escape the harsh winter in their countries. High season starts during the week of dia de los muertos, a big holiday in Mexico.

The weather starts to be cool (18 degrees celsius) with occasional rains. But the sun is always up! Everything is open and town is busier.

If you are to travel to Sayulita at this time, you need to book your accommodation at least 3-6 months in advance since hotels in Sayulita get easily booked.

As for COVID during high season, nobody really cares and everyone just ignores the number of COVID cases. Since Americans and Canadians love to go to Sayulita at this time, Mexico does not want to interrupt tourism so no COVID talks, lockdowns or closures.

Low season (June 21 – October 15)

Very very very hot. I’m not kidding. Last year, I stayed here in Sayulita all summer and suffered from the heat and humidity! This is a time when restaurants close for renovations and people who live in Sayulita travel.

50% of the bars and restaurants are closed not because of COVID but because it’s just… too hot. There aren’t a lot of people at this time anyway. Establishment owners also go to their second homes (either in the US or Europe where the weather is better).

I don’t recommend you to travel to Sayulita in this period because it will be very hard to find accommodations and restaurants with air conditioning. AC is still not very common in Sayulita. If you are easily irritated by heat, go another time!

As for COVID on low season, there are a lot of lockdown implementations. Mexico makes up for the no lockdown during the high season so expect a lot of curfews during low season.

They’re not super strict. It’s just liquor bans and early closure of bars and restaurants. You can still do things during the day with no problem.

Beaches in Sayulita

Major holidays in Sayulita

Below is a list of major holidays in Mexico where people flock the coast. Please note that in these holidays, Airbnb/hotel prices are double so if you plan to travel Sayulita in this season(s), make sure to book your accommodations in advance!

Based on experience, these are the holidays where I saw Sayulita holding more people than it can. This is a small town so it gets easily crowded during the holidays.

Dia de los Muertos (day of the dead)

From October 29 – November 2, Sayulita holds a major celebration for the day of the dead. There will be parades, parties in the plaza til 5am, and huge crowds on the streets.

Christmas/New Year

From December 20th until January 2nd, people from all over the world visit Sayulita to spend Christmas and New Year. Tourists usually book in advance so if you are planning to visit Sayulita on these dates, plan ahead.

Holy Week (Semana Santa)

Depending on the holy week dates of the year (usually March or April), semana santa draws crowds from Guadalajara and Mexico City. It’s better to travel to cities in this period because everyone’s on the coast!

Mexican Independence Day

Mexicans love to celebrate and we all know that. September 15 is Mexico’s Independence Day and no matter what day of the year it falls, it is always a holiday.

The Sayulita culture

Sayulita is a very small town but it is very family-oriented and you will see kids everywhere. The community here is very close-knit: Mexican families help design the town during major holidays like dia de los muertos.

Locals are very much involved in maintaining the “pueblo magico” vibe of Sayulita.

There is a big population of American and Canadian ex-pats in Sayulita so don’t be surprised if you see a lot of gringos around town. Most of them permanently live here. 80% of the tourists are also Americans and Canadians.

sayulita travel guide

Direct flights from the USA and CA are the reasons why Sayulita is a hotspot for the gringos.

The vibe in Sayulita is very laid back. You will see everyone walking on the streets (or on their golf carts) wearing bikinis and no flip flops. Surfing culture is big, as Sayulita waves are very friendly to beginner (and professional) surfers.

➢ Read: Is the Sayulita lifestyle for you?

What’s next after Sayulita?

Sayulita is a small town and many people get hooked on staying here long-term. However, if you want to explore more of its neighbors, here are some recommended trips after your vacation in Sayulita:

San Pancho

Just 15 minutes away from Sayulita is San Pancho, a small town with the same vibe but more mellow. San Pancho is usually known as a hippie town with lots of artisanal stores and vegan restaurants. The beach is less crowded and lots of surfers love the waves here.

Puerto Vallarta

When you’re sick of the beach town life, Puerto Vallarta is just an hour away from Sayulita. This city is very modern with shopping malls, lots of restaurant options, and all-inclusive resort stays.

Check out my Puerto Vallarta blogs for recommendations!

Chacala

An hour south of Sayulita, Chacala is another less popular beach town. Can’t tell you much about it but I will write a blog post when I visit!

Lo de Marcos

20 minutes away from Sayulita, this beach town is not yet popular with tourists but is very limited in terms of restaurants and nightlife. It’s a good place if you want to disconnect for a few days!

Sayulita travel guide on Pinterest: save it for your trip!

Sayulita Travel Guide

Trisha is one of those people who left their comfortable life to travel the world and learn about life. Her style is to stay in one place she likes for 3 months (or more) to know what it feels like to eat, cook, speak, and sleep in another culture that isn’t hers. She'd like to believe she's not traditionally traveling but she just chooses to be somewhere else all the time. In no particular order, her favorite cities in the world are Barcelona, Buenos Aires, Hong Kong, Mexico City, and Tel Aviv.

Comments

  • Romey Glenn
    March 29, 2020

    Sayulita’s Junto al Rio refuses to return all my booking money, insisting on pocketing 20%. My stay was to begin April 2. The coronovirus forced this cancellation; American Airlines is refunding all my money.
    Is there a way to shame or force Sayulita lodgers from profiteering from this calamity?
    Romey Glenn

    reply
  • May 12, 2020

    First of all, Wow what an amazing post! secondly i love that there is something for everyones budget here! that’s so important. I would love to visit mexico it looks so beautiful. The way you explain the culture makes me more eager than ever to visit! thanks for sharing this amazing post.. Plus the doggy is super cute too 😉

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  • May 12, 2020

    I love walkable cities with delicious food choices so Sayulita sounds great! It seems like the town has a really good vibe too. Good to know about not traveling there between August and October. I don’t handle the heat that well and would hate to visit somewhere if most places are closed! I hope to explore more of Mexico so I will have to add Sayulita to my list.

    reply
  • Chloé
    May 12, 2020

    Ahhh I love Mexico, but have never made it to this area! Might have to add it to my bucket list for next year!

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  • Subhashish Roy
    May 12, 2020

    This is just an amazing place to visit. Mexico, reading all that I come across , would be in my plans for not too distant future. But the best comprehensive piece of information is right here to plan out a trip. Thanks Trisha for that. What draws my attention is the fact that this place Sayulita is not too costly at all. The food option seems great with the Pizzas and Chicken mole making me hungry. A great post which I loved going through.

    reply
  • May 12, 2020

    Again a well detailed with lots of insider info about a place. You said you arrived here and then never left, so I was curious as a reader are you native of this place because you did mention that u have an air BnB too. If you are, i would say you are indeed fortunate to stay in such lively and warm vibes emanating place in this world

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  • May 12, 2020

    It was good to read that there are many ways to explore Sayulita. A golf cart is always fun. I got very hungry reading about all the great places to eat. And so many veggie options too! I am a beach girl. But the summer temps may be too hot for even me!

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  • May 12, 2020

    Ive never heard about Sayulita before but this place looks so perfect! Amazing beach, delicious food, many wonderful activities and great people! I am dreaming to visit Mexico one day and I will definitely add Sayulita to my list! Great photos !

    reply
  • May 13, 2020

    I’m always so happy to learn about new cities to explore in Mexico! Sayulita looks like a dream. I would love to visit as soon as I can. Thank you for the beautiful photos and new bucket list item!

    reply
  • May 14, 2020

    Wow! This a thorough guide Trisha! I miss Mexico everyday and Sayulita looks like the perfect place to recapture the magic of your amazing country. The food photos alone are enough to make me want to jump on a plane now and visit…hopefully we can all do such things again soon.

    reply
  • November 12, 2020

    As I read this article, I wrote “Sayulita, Mexico” down on a post-it note and left it on my boyfriends work desk… he’s a surfer and I love exploring new cultures so I think this just might be our next travel destination! You are so kind to offer discounts, information and a contact. Also, thank you for describing the culture of this place. I feel that many travel blogs focus on the destinations and what there is to do, but not as much on the people, which for me is a huge part. Definitely saved this post, thank you!

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  • November 12, 2020

    Sayulita is on my list! I hope to visit it during my next Mexico trip. It’s great that you provide tips on how to travel during the pandemic time, that you give hints about all restrictions. I like places with a vibrant vibe. It’s great that people know each other and the atmosphere is so friendly. Carricitos beach looks fabulous. I would also like to try surfing.

    reply
  • Blair Villanueva
    November 12, 2020

    Wow, your home Sayulita is truly a gorgeous place, and yes that is because of all the people!
    I enjoyed reading your travel guide, it is very informative and even mentioning the small details like how much is the regular beer. You are awesome Tricia! Also, the name Sayulita is so beautiful, like a girl’s name 🙂

    reply
  • November 12, 2020

    Thanks for the comprehensive writeup! The streets look so vibrant and the food looks amazing. It’s so interesting that golf carts can be used as a form of transport here too!

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  • November 13, 2020

    The golf cart looks like fun! I’m glad I came across your blog because we are coming to Mexico next year. Although, I was sad to read that people aren’t wearing face masks or social distancing. I hope this improves, so our trip doesn’t get postponed again.

    reply
  • Umiko
    November 15, 2020

    Sayulita sounds like an interesting town, but I agree with you, it’s more for young people. From your story about the people and the town, and the pictures, I can feel the laidback vibes in this town. I’m drooling seeing the pizza and the beach.

    reply
  • Anne
    November 15, 2020

    I love Mexico (lived in Mazatlan 2x and spent last winter in Baja) and as someone who’s considering going back this winter, I found this real-time info VERY helpful. Mexican culture is incredible social (and that’s what we love about it) but that’s so tricky right now. Good for you reaching out the gov about masks and also not participating in the gatherings, that’s a start! I’ve been to Sayulita and it is indeed the lovely place you’ve painted it to be. If I come, I will bring a negative covid test 🙂

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  • November 16, 2020

    Hi, this is a really good update – especially coming from a local. I’ve been curious about the masks and such in Mexico and I did not know the rules varied in different locations. Thanks for taking the time to let us know all know:) NIkki

    reply
  • Yukti Agrawal
    November 17, 2020

    It is good that you compiled a complete Salylita travel guide post covid. As Mexico is on my bucket list on my upcoming trip and so is Sayulita then this post is very helpful to me. I love sunsets at beach and so as per your recommendations watching sunset at your faovirte beach Carricitos in Sayulita would be my choice too. I am feeling hungry after having a look of Mary’s traditional Mexican meal and I love Mexican meals because they are with full of veggies and spices.

    reply
  • Rebekah
    April 19, 2021

    Thank you for an incredible guide. We were still on the fence about booking a trip but decided to go for it after reading this! We can’t wait to visit!

    reply
  • Dylan C Hicks
    June 16, 2021

    We just booked a flight to PV and plan to stay in Sayulita August 9-21. Are we crazy to be going to Sayulita then considering the heat, rain and humidity?

    reply
  • Sarah
    June 25, 2021

    Hi! We are traveling to Sayulita from August 8th to the 14th, any suggestions for where to go/hike/eat/surf, during that time since it sounds like we’re going when it’s not recommended (oops!) and most places will be closed? Any offseason/rainy season recommendations would be amazing! Also, are there intermittent rainstorms during that time, or is it a nonstop downpour all day?

    reply
  • Kari
    July 20, 2021

    Hi!
    I lived your article and found it to be super helpful! I am planning to stay Dec 29-Jan 10, I booked an Airbnb. I read the reviews and it’s close to the beach and town. I would like to get your input on it and what New Years celebrations that might be taking place there as well.

    Thank you!

    reply
  • Jordan Bibbs
    July 22, 2021

    Trisha your content and advice is great. I am wondering if you hire / contract to plan vacations from the destination, being Sayulita this time around? Please let me know if you do!

    reply
  • Tim Beech
    July 24, 2021

    Awesome guide as always! I feel like I do not need to go elsewhere. This is so complete and more honest than other blogs about Sayulita. Can you please help me in booking the breakfast with local? I would like to support local Sayulita people. Muchos gracias

    reply
  • Linda Broussard
    August 13, 2021

    Trish, your blogs about Sayulita have been incredibly helpful. I have never read a blog like this about Sayulita that is this specific. All the other Sayulita blogs I saw online are very generic. So thank you! My husband and I are coming to Sayulita. We would like to rent a surfboard, get massages, and do the temazcal. Can you recommend the local tours? We are fans of supporting local so thank you for what you do. If you are in Sayulita, we would also love to take you out for dinner!

    reply
  • Scott Perusse
    August 23, 2021

    Trisha,
    I found the information in your blog very useful how can I reach you outside this blog? My wife and and I would like to ask some additional questions regarding a long term stay in Sayulita. Our next visit to Sayluita will be October 28th.

    Thank you,
    Scott

    reply
  • evita
    August 24, 2021

    hi trish, thanks for your comprehensive post on sayulita!
    do you know any permaculture inspired places to work/stay near a beach with longboard surfing waves ?
    (preferably sandy beach, not rocks) am looking to travel nov 2021-feb 2022.
    thanks, evita

    reply
  • KrizzyM
    September 15, 2021

    I am so much interested in Sayulita now! Thanks for the information especially about the people and culture. It is indeed important for me to get along well with the community, that’s why I always wanted to stay in an Airbnb. We just recently stayed in Santa Fe for vacation and we are in so much happiness whenever we are in Mexico. Our next trip hopefully is to Sayulita, and I hope we can use your tips.

    reply

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P.S. I'm On My Way is a blog by Trisha Velarmino. She didn't
quit her job to travel the world. She made a job out of traveling and you can do it, too.

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