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Sayulita is known for it’s beauty, coastal beach lifestyle, delicious food, and community. For brothers Angel & Chingaling Cardenas Rodriguez, Sayulita means all these things, but most importantly, Sayulita means home. Angel and Chingaling were both born and raised in Sayulita, with a family lineage dating back to almost five generations. Growing up in a family of fishermen, both brothers took to the sea at a young age and have continued to preserve the tradition of fishing.
What was Sayulita like growing up?
Chingaling: Very beautiful! The town was very laid-back, very tranquil. There were not as many stores and restaurants as you see today. Life was slow and peaceful.
Angel: It was very quiet and peaceful. We are very lucky, we have everything we could need here; the ocean, abundant jungle… to be honest I thought everyone lived this way! Sayulita was all I experienced and figured this is how the world is. It wasn’t until I was a teenager and traveled to bigger cities that I realized how blessed and fortunate we are to live in such a paradise like Sayulita.
What was your childhood like in Sayulita?
A: We were free children. We were able to be wild and run free and have fun. Even when Chingaling was attending school I knew he’d much rather be in the ocean. I have a lot of good memories from childhood. Mostly, fishing and swimming.
How have you seen the town change over the years?
A: Oh there has been so much change in such a short period of time! There is such a huge difference in the generations & growing up. Technology for one; back when I was growing up there was maybe one telephone- if you received a phone call, the whole town knew about it!
When did you first learn to swim and fish?
C: That’s a good question! I can’t even remember.
A: I really can’t say, we were so young. I’m the oldest of all the siblings, so I was the first to learn how to fish from my father, and then Chingaling. By 7 years old we were already fishing by hand with nets.
Has fishing always been a trade in your family?
C: Yes. My father taught Angel and I, and he learned from our great grandfather.
What was a typical day like for you?
A: Back when we were younger, Sayulita was very different. On the beach, right about were Mi Chaparrita is was where our first home was located. There were cantina’s all up and down the beach and we were the only family who lived right on the beach. Every morning at 6 am our father would wake us up. We would step outside our home and look out onto the ocean. When the conditions were right (which was almost every day), we would be instructed to grab all of our gear and load the boat. We’d be on the ocean fishing before the sun came up. My father was very strict in that sense… [laughing] there was a lot of yelling, but we worked hard. By the time we were 15, we were captains and in charge of our own boat.
When did you start noticing a change in the fishing industry?
A: 25 years ago, the only fishing available was for commercial fishing. Businesses would buy our catch and transport the fish to Puerto Vallarta and Guadalajara.
C: Over the years, there has been more interest in fishing for tourism.
What do you do for work?
A: Chingaling and I have been working together for the past three years.
C: I was working independently for the past fourteen years.
Is it difficult running a business with family?
A: It’s only difficult when Chingaling and I are in the same boat. We both want to be the captain!
What is one thing you wish to let some know about Sayulita if they have never visited before?
A & C: We hope that you will come to enjoy our beautiful village and enjoy everything it has to offer. Please come with an open heart, respect, and responsibility to keep Sayulita beautiful.