Sayulita, Where Does Its Name Come From?

Sayulita, Where Does Its Name Come From?

Sayulita is a small village on the south coast of Nayarit, Mexico, that was once home to few little houses made of sticks and thatched roofs. Today, it is one of the most popular magical towns in Mexico. The name Sayulita is said to have been given by a man who worked on the hacienda in the area.

According to local chronicles, this man named the small town after his hometown, Sayula, Jalisco. He had worked at the hacienda and its main house was located where the town square is now.

The celebration of February 24, known as “Las fiestas del pueblo”, in Sayulita dates back to the 1950s. In April 1951, the then President of Mexico, Miguel Aleman, inaugurated several schools in what is now the Municipality of Bahía de Banderas, including the school in Sayulita. The school was fully organized by Professor Gildardo López. According to Bonifacio Peña, it was the first class of teachers who began the traditions of “the town’s festivities” in Sayulita.

In “The Relación de Compostela”, written by Lázaro Blanco in 1584, a town with the name of Santa Cruz Saloc appears on the coast of the Valle de Banderas. This is undoubtedly Sayulita, as it is located between two points that have kept their names from then until today, one called Pontoque and the other San Francisco. “Saloc” appears to derive from tzallantli, a Nahuatl word that has several meanings, including port, gorge, and ravine. All very appropriate words to describe the area of Sayulita, a port on a plain, sheltered by mountains and gorges, where the indigenous population of Saloc was located.

On a map of the Coasts of Nueva Galicia dated in the year 1798, the place continues to appear under the name of Santa Cruz. At that time, the site belonged to the property called Jaltemba, of the Romero family from Guadalajara. With around 50,000 hectares, the hacienda stretched along the coast from Punta de Mita to La Peñita.

The word Sayula derives from the Nahuatl tzaulan, which means a place where flies abound. According to Don Federico Munguía, Chronicler of Sayula, Jalisco, around 1920, it was Don Lauro González Guerra who baptized the place with the name of Sayulita. Don Lauro, originally from Sayula, Jalisco, managed the Jaltemba hacienda at that time. During a visit to the area, recalling his beloved hometown, he decided to baptize this small coastal village located on the hacienda’s land with the name of Sayulita.

Don Lauro González Guerra was born on June 2, 1887, the son of Mr. Lauro González and his wife Basilia Jiménez. He was a progressive citizen, the initiator of carnival celebrations in his town, and one of the best municipal presidents in the history of Sayula. He died in Guadalajara in 1977. In a report on a visit to our region in 1880, made by Homobono Anaya, parish priest of Mascota, a place in the region is mentioned with the name Sayulilla. The information is interesting because it is most likely that the name was given by Don Lauro González Padre who apparently was also the administrator of the Jaltemba hacienda. 

These details about the origins of Sayulita’s name are chronicled by Professor Eduardo Gomez Encarnación in the official municipal chronicle.

The photographs are from journalist Bernardo Macías. D.E.P