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Sayulita is located on Mexico's Pacific coast, the Mexican Riviera, 30 miles (48kms) north of Puerto Vallarta, just below the Tropic of Cancer at latitude 20.868889 and longitude –105.440833 with a population of approximately 5,000 full time residents. Sayulita's location is ideal, only three hours flying time from southern California (LAX) or 45 minutes from Guadalajara (GDL). A first-class road connection via hwy 200 allows for an easy 45-minute drive from Puerto Vallarta (PVR), 1.5 hours to Tepic (the State capital) and three hours to Guadalajara (the cultural capital). Telephone and Internet connections are excellent with numerous Sayulita businesses, hotels and rental homes in the area offering Wi-Fi Internet service.
This is the area of Sayulita located at the north end of the Sayulita bay. Until about 10 years ago, it was free of any construction except a few homes on the beach. Now it has become quite popular with new foreign-investment high-end vacation homes. The walk to the center of Sayulita from the North End is between 10-15 minutes. Advantages to renting on the Sayulita north end are tranquil environment, close to the beach, not a lot of traffic, no general town noise. The Nanzal area on the north end of Sayulita offers some of the best views for miles around. Almost all of the homes up here have been built in recent years and offer a variety of modern conveniences. A car is almost mandatory due to the steep windy road up to the homes. However, the views, tranquility, and privacy up here can be well worth the 5-10 minute drive.
This is the general "downtown" area of Sayulita, south of the school, where most of Sayulita's commercial locations exist. Plenty to do and see here and you are right in the middle of everything and can easily walk to almost any place. Advantages to renting in Sayulita' s central neighborhood are proximity to stores/restaurants/shops, closeness to the original Sayulita-Mexican environment, and walking right to the surf break.
The south end of Sayulita has become another recently developed area once only inhabited by local Sayulita fisherman and their families. Most of the houses here are just about 5 minutes walking from town and some offer great views. Advantages to renting here include proximity, easy access to Los Muertos Beach, local Mexican Sayulita neighbors, and a relaxed environment.
Appropriately named for the original foreigners who came here in the 1980's and constructed a few vacation homes. The original name still used by locals is Monte Calvario. Located on the hill overlooking Sayulita, most of the homes here are very well cared for and offer a variety of rental possibilities. Advantages include views, walk to town (a bit of a hill though), closeness to other foreigners on vacation, and luscious gardens. Due to the ocean breezes and abundance of trees, it can be about five to ten degrees cooler on Gringo Hill, than it is in town, which is very welcome when it is hot.
For detailed directions please see Beaches of Sayulita section.
The main beach of Sayulita can be crowded throughout the year, especially on weekends, with the busiest times being Christmas and Easter. The constant activity of fishing boats, surfers and bird life make it a pleasant place to enjoy, especially with restaurants offering beach-chairs and shade umbrellas and personal food & beverage service. The north beach, located across the river and in front of the campground and trailer park and beyond, is usually less crowded but the waves can be rough here. It is not recommended to swim due to the strong shore break and rip current. If the red flags are out, do not swim on the north end. The beach stretches for another 1km and offers a lot of room to walk and lounge in a quieter setting. There are numerous other nearby beaches less visited by tourists and worth discovering as well.
The nearest is La Playa de Los Muertos, a 10-minute walk around the south end of the bay. Further south there are wonderful beaches called Carricitos, Patzcuaro and Patzcuarito. Take water and food as there is nothing available out there. In the opposite direction, North (to the right when facing the sea), beyond the main Sayulita beach, is a long wild beach bordered by palms that is usually unpopulated, called Playa Mal Paso. Please be aware that this beach has a strong undertow.
You should not drink tap water.Purchase a "garrafon" (20 liter bottle) of purified water for your home. Small, medium, and large size bottles of purified water are for sale at various stores and restaurants. (To assist Sayulimpia's recycling project, please try to reuse your personal water bottle by refilling it from your home garaffon. Thank you). The town's restaurants have an excellent record for cleanliness and you may be confident that vegetables & fruits have been thoroughly sanitized and that ice is safely made from bottled water.
There are doctors in Sayulita, some of which speak English – Dr. Jose Luis Chavez and his wife, Doctora Monica Chavez at Banderas Bay Clinic, located next to Alas Blancas market. St. Lukes offers a full range of medical and ambulance services 24/7, located on Calle Revolucion below the bank. There is also a health clinic when you first enter the village on the main road to your left. It is a gray and red colored building, which says SALUD on the front. The hours are flexible so it is best get there in the mornings. There are also several pharmacies located in Sayulita. San Francisco (a.k.a. San Pancho) four miles north of Sayulita has a basic yet functional hospital 311-258-4077. Punta de Mita Hospital is close to Sayulita & highly reccommended for 24/7 medical emergencies +52 329-688-0059. CMQ Hospital in Bucerias and AmeriMed and San Javier Hospital in Puerto Vallarta are highly recommended for serious incidents. (See "EMERGENCY PHONE #'s").There is a new medical facility out by the gas station as you turn off highway 200 for Sayulita. It is open 24 hours, and has an English speaking staff member on hand at all times. They have an ambulance, and accept some American Health insurance plans.
To cut down the number of mosquitoes in Sayulita or any other tropical area, make sure there is no standing water around the house. Dawn and especially dusk are the worst times for getting bitten. Otherwise wear long pants, long-sleeved tops, use an anti bug cream or spray, which you can find in any farmacia in town. Light citronella candles and mosquito coils, and sleep under a mosquito net. For bites, Lanacane is excellent (only available north of the border) or locally (and north of the border)"After Bite" home remedies include pressing a finger nail into the bite to form an X or try rubbing an ice cube over the bite.
There is no post office for mail in Sayulita. The closest post office is in Bucerias or La Peñita and also in Puerto Vallarta at the airport. Stamps may be purchased in Sayulita at the Telmex office on Av. Revolucion (at the one-way split) and safely posted at the red post box (Buzon) on the wall outside.
Check the daily exchange rates for the Mexican peso against US dollars, Canadian dollars, and the Euro. You can use US & Canadian dollars (no checks) at most of the stores and restaurants in Sayulita and the surrounding area, but you will get better exchange rates at the "Casa de Cambios" (Money Exchanges) and from ATMs. In Sayulita there are "Casa de Cambios" on Av. Revolucion just off the plaza opposite "El Espresso" coffee shop, and Calle Delfin just off the plaza next to Ruben's Deli. Opening hours vary.
Sayulita has several ATM cash machines. All ATM machines charge a $29–$90 peso surcharge (plus your bank's international fee.)
Due to a recent increase in ATM fraud, it is cautioned to avoid free - standing ATMs in Sayulita, and to use the ATM machines inside banks in Puerto Vallarta and Bucerias. If you do use a free - standing ATM, be sure to check the machine carefully and do not use it if it appears to have been tampered with. Sayulita now has its first bank, Intercam which is located on Calle Revolucion on the right side across the street from the police and fire stateion as you come into town. Hours of operation are Monday - Friday 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM and there is an ATM located inside.
There are also banks located in Bucerias - halfway to Puerto Vallarta. There is an HSBC bank with a cash machine (caja permanente) up the hill beyond the town center on the left hand side (when traveling from Sayulita), and a Bancomer bank and ATM next to the OXXO (right hand side), plus a Banamex cash machine is located next to the Chinese architectural building on the ocean side of hwy. There are also a few bank branches at the Mega shopping complex. Another bank is in La Penita, 19 miles/30 kms. north of Sayulita on Mex. Hwy 200 direction of Tepic, Bancomer & cash machine at #22 E.Calle Zapata. Banks are open Mon. – Fri. 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
If you want to cook at home in Sayulita, plenty of basic staples are available in the village. There are a number of small grocery stores in town, some offering better choice of products and fresher produce than others. Mi Tiendita on the plaza, and MiniSuper Rodolfo at the one-way split on Av. Revolucion (the main street) are the best stocked but it is worth a stroll through town to see what is available and fresh that day. Alas Blancas, on the corner of Calle Delfin and Av Palmar, has many international foods and specialty items. One of the most fun ways to shop is the pick-up trucks that circulate through Sayulita offering fresh produce, fish and shrimp.
For fresh fish, visit Pescaderia Piolin (tel. 322-291-3079) near the road bridge; and for meat there are now modern butchers shops (Carniceria) in town. Try Carniceria Tranco's opposite MiniSuper Rodolfo or El Tapatio opposite Rollie's. Sayulita truly offers a great selection of fresh fish and meats.
Liquor stores and beer depositos as well as the tiendas around town should be able to satisfy your requirements - some stores are better stocked than others. The best way to buy beer in Sayulita is by the case at the depositos. You will pay around $168-$180 pesos/case and a $50-$70 pesos deposit – keep deposit receipt safe for a refund upon leaving. Make sure to exchange your empty bottles each time in order to avoid the repeatedly repaying the deposit. You'll find a huge selection of fine wines and top shelf tequila/mezcal at Sayulita Wine Shop. They offer wine tastings every Saturday from 6-8PM.
Most of the local action in Sayulita is at Don Patos, south end of plaza,opposite of the church (small club with live music and a great scene), Don Pedro's (on the beach with salsa dancing on Mondays), Zen Garden and the bars around the central plaza. Also, you can enjoy a pleasant evening just hanging out around the plaza enjoying someone's guitar music and doing a little jewelry shopping.
During holiday periods, impromptu beach-parties are frequent, especially in front of Cameron's Sayulita camground. Saturday nights sometimes offers a disco on the basketball court and on Sundays maybe a bull-riding/live concert at the rodeo ring. After-hours parties and raves happen occasionally so ask around. To round off a perfect night …. Just look up at the bountiful stars in the Sayulita skies!
Major holidays affecting Sayulita and Mexico are Christmas thru New Years; January 6th Dia de los Reyes (Day of the Kings) traditional gift exchange; the week around February 24 (Sayulita Days); Holy Weeks / Semana Santos (the weeks before and after Easter), Cinco de Mayo (not generally celebrated much); Independence Day Sept. 16th becomes a long festive week-end; Revolucion Day November 20th; December 1-12 Celebration of the Virgin of Guadeloupe is a week long celebration of parades, concerts, and fireworks. During Christmas and Holy Week, most Mexicans head to the beach and Sayulita fills up. Beaches and evenings are not as quiet during these times, but it's still a great place to be. The Day of the Dead is at the beginning of November but is not a huge celebration in Sayulita as it is in Michoacan. Read Mexican Holidays Celebrated in Sayulita for a complete list of major holidays and festivities enjoyed by all in Sayulita.
Catholic services are held at the church on the plaza and there is also a Jehovah Witness church located in Tamarindo. Sayulita now has a non denominational Christian church, Calvary Sayulita, on Miramar #18, 1/2 block from Revolucion. Bilingual Sunday service at 10:00 am.
(Sayulita AA) Alcoholics Anonymous and Al-Anon in English:
Call 322-136-6740 or email Heather HERE for more info:
Meetings held at Calle Primavera #11, Sayulita
AA 5:30pm, Tues/Thurs and Sat nights
Alanon 5:30 pm Wednesdays