Sayulita, Nayarit, Mexico: Travel Diary

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Two weeks ago I went on my first real trip out of the USA - to Sayulita, Mexico for my sister's wedding. My sister and her now husband had visited before, and they loved it so much they decided to have us all fly down for their wedding. 

If you can't already tell from that first picture . . . we all fell in love with it, too.

Sayulita is a small fishing & surfing town about 45 minutes outside Puerto Vallarta. (Just south of a small town called San Francisco - ha!) Trivia: Puerto Vallarta is so far east along the Pacific border that it's actually on the same time zone as my sweet home Chicago. Crazy.

We were all there for a week. We stayed at the beautiful Casa Luna Llena, which sat stop a hill just outside the center of town. It was far enough up and away that there wasn't much noise, but still only about a 6-7 minute walk from the town. Every morning we woke up to full-tilt Hallelujah choruses of roosters and dogs, and if the weather was right, incredible crashing waves. 

Everyone we interacted with in Sayulita was ridiculously kind. On more than one occasion we got lost right outside town, and someone would just walk up to us and offer help. There were many tourists there, but far more locals - and though I've never traveled before, that balance seemed like a big part of why Sayulita was so awesome. People come to visit, to experience it - but the town didn't feel overrun by visitors. 

The food . . . oh man, the food. I ate my weight in tacos/cerveza/mezcal/raicilla. 

(Important sidenote: have you ever heard of raicilla? If you like tequila or mezcal, look into it, but good luck finding it in the States. And if you do find it, email me immediately.)

Highlights included Mary's Tacos, La Rustica Sayulita, Burrito Revolution (where the above taco photo was taken), and Tacos y Mariscos "El Rinconcito", among many others. We also were able to cook at our place and we found lots of wonderful produce in town, and made a delicious chicken dish one night on the grill. My one food regret is that we were never able to make it to the fish market at Av Revolucion and Pelicanos before they sold out for the day. If I ever go back, I won't make that mistake again.

Sayulita is tiiiiiiny. So tiny it doesn't have a mailbox. Modern technological amenities were definitely there, but you could so easily get away from them. I loved being separated from my overly-connected email/text/phone/newsfeed/computer/ipad/wireless life for a while. 

The shopping in Sayulita had my head spinning. There were gorgeous boutiques on every corner and fascinating vendors on every street. I came back with some beautiful jewelry, a new picnic blanket, and a beautiful print of the above skull from a shop called Evoke. I have every intention of one day buying one of the skulls themselves - there is quite a waiting list, as you'd expect. 

My sister and her husband organized a day long boat trip for the wedding party out to the Marieta Islands on the Chica Locca. On our way out we saw dolphins, sea turtles, tons of stingrays...I felt like a kid seeing animals for the first time. I admit I got pretty seasick on the way out, but it's amazing what a dive into the ocean can do to set your compass. 

I also tried paddle boarding for the first time and am proud/thoroughly shocked to say it felt totally natural to me. Just like when I tried surfing in Hawaii a few years ago. I think I need to spend more time on boards. (Sidenote, this experience flared up my desire to learn to skateboard again...)

This was the sunset on our second night. This picture also has not been edited or altered...

If you've been thinking about a trip to Sayulita, I can confidently give you this advice:
buy the plane ticket.

(And if you need some more advice or suggestions, SayulitaLife is an awesome resource.)

A million, billion, trillion thanks to my sister Michelle and her husband Hans for choosing such a gorgeous, memorable place to celebrate their love and commitment to each other. And for giving me an excuse to finally get my first passport stamp. Now that it's there, all I wanna do is cover the rest of the pages. 

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