Sayulita is a small beach town about an hour’s drive from Puerto Vallarta. If you’re looking for Mexican culture and charm, this is as good as it gets. Get your camera ready as you walk the cobblestones streets, shop from local vendors, and check out the Beach of the Dead. Get your full run-down of things to do in Sayulita and why you should include it in your next trip south!
Things to do in Sayulita
Mexico has been getting a bad rap these days. I am always hearing people say that “Mexico isn’t safe” to the point where I’ve even believed it for the past ten years. But my past two trips to Cancun in December and Sayulita and Puerto Vallarta in January have totally convinced me otherwise. I had nothing but friendly, welcoming employees and locals and there wasn’t a single time that I didn’t feel safe. I would absolutely recommend you giving it a chance!
While staying at Playa Escondida (the hotel where the tv show Bachelor in Paradise is filmed), we decided to take the 30-minute walk through the forest into the town of Sayulita. It’s a small beach town that relies solely on tourism and is full of character and charm. It’s perfect for window shopping along the colourful streets, indulging in Mexican cuisine, and my favourite: taking pictures.
Looking to bring home something unique? Sayulita is the place to find small boutique shops and local merchants selling handmade goods on the street. Be prepared that you will be interrupted many times to purchase whatever is being sold but a gentle “no” should be enough for them to move on if you aren’t interested. Or don’t be afraid to barter a little to get a better deal. There is absolutely beautiful home decor in this area, like their signature hanging pom-pom garland.
There’s something so romantic about eating outside, on the cobblestone street in Sayulita. We loved our long-table set up at highly recommended La Rustica. They have a fantastic cocktail menu and Italian food selection. Almost every restaurant in this village has great reviews. If you’re looking for more authentic Mexican or fresh seafood, you’ll find it here too. Eating on the street versus eating inside does have the drawback that you will be interrupted multiple times by street vendors and performers. But the ambiance is totally worth it in my opinion! And if you’re looking for something more casual, try a locally-made donut or street tacos from a vendor stand.
Playa de los Muertos
Playa de los Muertos or The Beach of the Dead will likely have you intrigued. Personally, I find the way the Mexican culture honours their loved ones who have passed, to be a beautiful tradition. The Sayulita cemetery acquired its name because of its close proximity to the beach. You can locate it by walking directly north to the beach, then turning left (east) and continuing the path onto the outskirts of town. The beach here is also much less crowded than Sayulita Beach.
Surfers have been visiting Sayulita for the past 60 years to take advantage of consistent waves and northern swells. If you’ve never surfed before, then I highly recommend a lesson from an experienced local. You can sign up for lessons or book a rental with Lunazul, WildMex, or any of the numerous shops that you’ll find by simply strolling the few mains streets leading up from the beach. Not ready for surfing? Try renting a longboard instead!
Instagram Walls in Sayulita
Along your walk to the Playa de los Muertos, you’ll find yourself in front of some beautiful Instagrammable walls! These smooth stucco property dividers and bright and colourful and perfect for a pretty photograph! There are many other spots throughout the town too if you just let yourself wander.
Sayulita is a photographer’s dream. Everywhere you look, this small village is alive in colour and culture. If you’re doing it for the ‘gram, it’s a very Instagram-worthy place with vivid walls and streets lined with handmade kites, and tissue paper flags, known as papel picado. As you’re likely noticing, yes my gradient maxi dress from Chicwish matched these flags perfectly.
Find a Beach Bar
Dig your toes in the sand and hang out with the locals. The beach has many great little picnic tables and bars. It’s also a good spot to negotiate your price with more local vendors selling souvenirs. I loved this cool little bar with the rope swings.
For more on visiting Mexico, please check out these other blog posts:
Love this region? Check out these previous posts!