It’s been a long time since we’ve felt the kind of laid back beach vibe that was so common during our four years backpacking around South and South East Asia in the late ’90s. But the minute we pull into Sayulita, Mexico we recognize a certain languid pace, smiling attitude, and happy go lucky approach to life. Here’s how to best enjoy this beach town.

Balancing in the sunset on Sayulita beach.

While Sayulita is far from undiscovered, a big part of what made this beach town so nice was that locals hadn’t been priced out of the market. Yet.

Sayulita is a nice mix of So Cal beack town & Mexico.

Sayulita is a wonderful mix of So Cal beach town and Mexican hang out.

You already know what to do in a lazy beach town, namely: nothing, learn to surf, eat well, nothing, drink well, nothing. In Sayulita, you can add shopping to your beach town to do list at any of the increasing number of chic shops.

Virgins, Revolutionaries & Catrinas

Virgins, revolutionaries, and catrinas.

Where to sleep in Sayulita, Mexico

There are many charming bungalow styles hotels which offer stand-alone little bungalows. Usually around US$100 a night. Cheaper options may use the word bungalow when they’re really referring to regular old rooms.

A cheap option we like is Luna Mar Bungalows which offers big, sunny, pretty rooms, not bungalows, despite the name They book up fast because they’re centrally located and just a few blocks from the beach and they’re affordable for Sayulita–around 500 pesos / US$27 depending on the room. Some rooms have full kitchens and the hotel also had reliable internet access since the Lunamar is run by the folks who run the internet café downstairs.

Sunset on Sayulita beach.

Feeling splurgy? Petit Hotel d’Hafa is owned by a French (we think) brother and sister team who also own a shop in town that’s the most chic/unique shop we’ve seen almost anywhere in Mexico. The Hafa will run you around US$70 a night.

We also met a couple from the US who live in Sayulita now and they built and rent a beautiful house. It’s called Casa Paloma and you can rent the top floor can be rented with just one bedroom and a small kitchen or the whole two story house can be yours with a total of three bedrooms, a huge kitchen, a small pool, balconies, outdoor grill, laundry room, and fantastic views and breezes.

Where to eat in Sayulita, Mexico

Breakfast at Rollies. Just ask anyone  to point you in the direction of this institution owned by a former school principal from Monterey, California and his wife. We enjoyed huge portions and delicious bottomless coffee for about 65 pesos (US$3.50) per plate.

Restaurants, boat tours, cold beer, and the beach.

Lunch: The restaurants on the beach are actually surprisingly affordable and good, so don’t write them off right off the bat.

Dinner/afternoon snack at Tacos on the Street. This place is run by the son of a couple who’ve operated a legendary taco stand in a nearby beach town for years. We believe that Tacos on the Street is only open on weekends after 5 pm and they only served carne asada (grilled beef) tacos. Everything was homemade and delicious and cheap and they had nice tables to sit at and eat at. Find it by walking down Revolucion over the bridge and away from the center of town.

Dinner at Latitude 20 (formerly Tropical House). We believe they’re open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Good food, relaxed atmosphere and don’t miss the margaritas.

NOTE: Sayulita Fish Taco right on the square boasts about having the best fish tacos in Mexico. They’re good, but not mind-blowing (they were better in Baja, for example). But there are other fish taco places in town to try. Avoid the fish taco cart that sets up near the beach. Their stuff was overpriced and greasy.

Where to drink in Sayulita, Mexico

Bar Playa is a bar shack right on the beach. You can’t miss it. 20 peso (US$1) beer, good I (basically a bloody Mary made with beer instead of vodka), and decent mixed drinks too. They play music (mostly good) and have shade and a few chairs you can occupy as long as you want, even if you only order one drink.

Karen relaxing at our favorite beach bar in Sayulita.

Here’s more about travel in Mexico

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