Three Days in Paradise: Tips For Exploring Sayulita, Mexico

Three Days in Paradise: Tips For Exploring Sayulita, Mexico

Day One:

We started our journey straight from the Puerto Vallarta airport.  We walked out of the airport and across a pedestrian bridge to catch an Uber ride to Sayulita.  It was 450 pesos and a beautiful, picturesque one-hour drive through the countryside.

Av Revolucion street should be one of your first stops.  There are a few Tortillerias where you can get fresh tortillas to go.  We grabbed a couple dozen to take with us to the beach that day and enjoy as an easy snack.  

Next we hiked to Playa De Los Muertos, which is just a 15 minute walk from downtown Sayulita.  Head to the left side of the Sayulita Beach and find the path that wanders along the ocean wall.  Follow that through a colorful arch and then down to a cool, ancient cemetery. To the right you will find Playa De Los Muertos.  The beach seemed to be filled with mostly locals. On the main beach there were a few trees for shade or you could rent an umbrella and chairs for the day.  There will be many locals there to offer you drinks and snacks if needed. They weren’t pushy, but polite. You could get a margarita, donuts, or shrimp skewer brought right to you.  If you’re up for a bit of an adventure, head to the right side of the beach and climb over a few rocks to get to a more secret, secluded area to lounge for the day. It’s also a great view of both beaches, so worth a bit of a hike up just for a new vantage point. 

When you’re done at the beach for the day, head back to town and be sure to stop by the Pollos Yolanda on Calle Gaviotas (right next to Hostal del Centro) for lunch.  You will not be disappointed. And while you’re stomach may be hurting from the spicy sauce, you will not regret purchasing this meal.  The “Chicken Lady” is an expert at her craft.  She and her crew grill up pieces of chicken all day, and you purchase a half or a whole to go.  She wraps up your meal with rice, coleslaw, tortillas and an extra side of the spicy sauce as well.  We met some nice locals while waiting for our feast. They called it “alley chicken” and said they ate it at least three times a week.

Take your chicken and go enjoy it at Sayulita Plaza park.  There’s a beautiful Catholic church there and on Delfines Street you’ve got the hanging colored flags, perfect for any Instagram picture.  At night in the Plaza, you’ll find people selling tacos and sweet treats (like flan). 

Later that evening, we wandered around town looking for a place for dinner.  We ended up choosing our location by selecting the one that had live music outside.  We had delicious mango margaritas and chicken mole enchiladas at Emiliano’s.  I’m pretty sure it’s not the top-rated Yelp spot, but it had great ambiance and friendly staff.  There are plenty of choices around town for dinner, though.

Finally, we ended our evening with some delicious gelato at Buonissimo Cafe.

Day Two:

Being a huge Bachelor in Paradise fan, I knew I needed to visit the Playa Escondida Resort while in Sayulita.  I definitely can’t afford to stay there for a few nights, but I called and found out you can visit the resort on a day pass for only $40 US.  Only a 30 minute walk from downtown Sayulita (a little over a mile), it was a perfect place to escape for the day. Upon arriving to the resort, they offer you a welcome drink and give you a tour of the grounds.  You are then free to swim, drink, relax, eat, get a massage/facial, do yoga–I believe they also had some ocean activity supplies (paddleboards and surfboards) but the ocean is usually pretty rough right there so we didn’t investigate.  We did try a round of ocean view yoga. We missed the 9am session so we had to create our own–we’d recommend downloading a yoga video to use before you go! The whole day the staff was super helpful, kind, and even willing to gossip about the tv show.  While the drink and massages cost extra, the prices for both are affordable. We ended up staying there all day, and having dinner at the restaurant that evening. The food was great and the views from the open air lounge were even better. The day was definitely worth a $40 pass.

Day Three:

We had booked a trip through Chica Loca the day before to go visit the Marietas Islands and Hidden Beach.  So before we headed off on our boat adventures, we filled up on breakfast tacos at Naty’s Cocina.  There were many varieties of tacos to choose from. We went with the standard eggs, cheese and pork and a large guanabana (soursop) juice.  A delicious way to start the morning.

We met our tour at 9am in the Sayulita Plaza.  You then head out on a 30 minute ride to the pier where you catch your boat.  I’m sorry, did I say boat? I meant mini yacht. This thing had a trampoline front, two water slides, a bar/kitchen area, and two decks.  Unfortunately the weather was less than cooperative that day and we ended up with just a trip to the islands and could not access the Hidden Beach (we were refunded for that part of the day). If you’re looking for a day trip, you’ll certainly get your money’s worth with this trip.  We got a few opportunities to get off the boat via waterslide or by going on a side snorkeling trip or by jumping overboard and swimming ashore. The service was top notch; we received a light breakfast, snacks, lunch and unlimited drinks. The crew had many surprises up their sleeves to entertain us throughout the 8 hour day.  The whole trip would have been $180 with the Hidden Beach included, but we were refunded $80 when we couldn’t get to the secret site. It’s an expensive day but still fun. They also offer shorter trips, which probably would have been more up our alley, but it was a day we will remember for a long time.

We rewarded our long day with a nice dinner at La Rustica, specializing in Italian cuisine.  We started with the tamarind margarita and “pina dropper” to drink.  Both drinks were delicious hand-crafted cocktails. We had a caprese salad and split a homemade pasta dish and the signature wood-fired La Rustica pizza.  This restaurant definitely takes pride in its meals, and you don’t have to worry about getting sick on this lettuce. The caprese salad was fresh and filling.  The homemade pasta was light and the sauce was tasty, and the pizza was a nice thin crust pie with unique ingredients–ours even had cilantro. We could hear live music upstairs but it was interrupted by thunder, lightning, and the power in the whole restaurant going out.  We learned an important lesson for travel: always carry enough cash to pay for your meals. Overall, it was a great dining experience with tasty cocktails and a resilient wait staff.

Finally, we had a chance to explore Sayulita Beach.  The area is great for both sunrise and sunset, and you can find many restaurants or bars for drink.  

If you need a late night snack, or a snack at any time of the day, Tacos El Ivan had a stand out front with al pastor and pineapple tacos that were amazing. The tacos were super cheap, mere pesos, and filled with well-seasoned meat and chunks of pineapple fresh from the trompo (like a vertical rotisserie named after a spinning top).  Highly recommended if you see the cart out front, stop by! 

Unfortunately we only had three days to explore this amazing town, but we both definitely want to return.  We both didn’t enjoy the big city feel of Puerto Vallarta, so escaping to Sayulita for a few days was just what we needed.  



Hello! We are a couple from Northern California. We both enjoy traveling and have been to over 60 countries. We will share our journey, pictures, interesting eats, and adventures with you.