*All of the restaurant names when first mentioned in this article are clickable links to their instagram accounts!*
This was our third time to Mexico to photograph weddings this winter, and we had stayed on the resort grounds for the previous two trips. We felt so pampered on the resorts, but we LOVE to explore new spots. During our recent trip to Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico (a resort area close by Puerto Vallarta), we had the opportunity to take a day trip to Sayulita. Having heard it called a “sleepy west coast surfer town”, we felt very compelled to check it out considering those are all of our favourite words put together. Hahaaaa.
If you haven’t been to Mexico before, you are supposed to ask the cab driver how much before you get in. In this case, our 45 minute cab ride was only 400 Mexican pesos (~$28 Canadian dollars), we also gave him a 150 peso tip. Among our conversation topics were his family, the area around us, and how much he disliked (to put it politely) Trump. The drive was so beautiful and we were marvelled at every turn.
We got there around lunch time, and we totally won the lottery when we stumbled upon Miscelánea Sayulita and decided to make it our first stop! There’s a little sign on the road pointing you towards the cafe, as it doesn’t have “streetfront”. Walking in, you can’t help but immediately notice the perfectly attended to details of the entire place. The space is cozy, and they leave the large doors open to the outdoor patio, letting in beautiful natural light and a soft warm breeze if you’re lucky. The menu boasts some incredible drinks, including the Latte Rosa – a beet cappuccino! Sooooo yummy. I could have spent all day in that cafe, but we new we had other places to see! So we continued on.
After this we thought we’d head to the main beach. It was now afternoon, and the beach was extremely busy with people playing soccer, relaxing, and of course, SURFING!
Our second stop was to a little bar called CAVA. It was extremely quiet in there, and we had the perfect spot for people watching. Another spot we could stay all afternoon. Among the beers we drank, a favourite was this Mexican craft brew from Cucapa, a brewer based out of Mexicali, Baja Sur.
After Cava, we decided it was time to find somewhere to eat! We took a quick stroll through the colourful cobblestone streets, and came across La Esperanza. It translates to “The Hope” in english. I’m still drooling about the food we had there. We grabbed a seat at the back booth, and started chatting with the couple seated next to us. They were from Vancouver Island (there are TONS of Canadians down there at this time of year), and they shared some really cool spots with us that they had been to. Among the spots was a place called Isla Marietas. We were so bummed to not be able to check it out, as we were only there for the day. It looks incredible and if you plan ahead, we think it’s definitely something you should do. I mean, if you’re into incredible scenery and beautiful hidden beaches and stuff. Haha. It’s basically looks like “The Beach” in real life. We’ll definitely be sure to go next trip. Anyways! We had some really incredible eats and drinks at La Esperanza. We decided to split the fish tacos and fish burger, and drank some Mezcal! As Lucas described Mezcal: Tequila is technically consider a Mezcal but is only made from a single agave plant ‘tequilana’ where as Mezcal can be made up from up to 28 varaities of agave. The Mezcal we tried had a wild smokey after taste that definitely sparked my interest more than any tequila has. I left out the part where he tells you I didn’t like it. Because I think mixed into a drink I could like it, just wasn’t in the mood for sipping it… :) Someone suggested mixing it with grapefruit juice and club soda, which sounds like the best beach drink of all time. Here are some images from our La Esperanza experience:
Sadly, we were too hungry to take photos of the delicious food there. You’ll just have to go see it for yourself :)
We decided it was time to go for a real stroll around Sayulita. If you don’t get lost in a place, do you really ever learn about it? We started to walk up a cobblestone street, and after a few wrong turns we found ourselves at what seemed to be a highway with a small mall near it. We saw this hip lady walk out of a shop and asked her which way to the beach. She pointed us in the right direction, but we figured we should check out where she came from. It turns out it was Terrenal Sayulita – an organic shop! They had all kinds of stuff in there, but we ended up bringing home a bag of their locally roasted organic coffee! Which I am currently sipping on as I write this… mmm :-)
With our new loot, we headed back to the heart of town. We came across an inviting restaurant called Ino. We grabbed a seat at the bar and asked the bartender for some Mexican Craft Beers. He suggested Pedra Lisa! It was a delicious, hoppy IPA. Perfect for a hot day! We then asked the staff what we should order. They suggested the pizza, as it’s woodfired and delicious. We went for the traditional Margharita and we were so happy and satisfied, but also so full as this was our second Lunch of the day. We figured that it was time for a swim.
Lucas had heard about a beach called “Beach of The Dead” or Playa de Los Muertos, which was a smaller beach past an old cemetery on the South West side of Sayulita. Sounds… cool? Scary? Whatever, when in Sayulita right!? Along the way, we walked past a mix of a few construction sites, the cutest little stray dogs (SO hard for me not to pet those little cuties), vendors carrying around fresh donuts (if we weren’t so full we def would have bought one), beached fishing boats, outrageous beach front mansions and quaint bed and breakfasts. Then we came across the sign.. “Playa de Los Muertos” with an arrow. We took a left turn onto a quiet gravel road. We walked past a few resting construction workers, then after a short walk we saw it! The cemetary! The graves were totally what you’d expect of a Mexican cemetery… a celebration of life, full of colour and photos and candles and flowers. What a beautiful place to be put to rest. Out of respect we didn’t take photos of the cemetery, but as I write this I regret it because I’m sure those souls would want us to share with everyone to see how beautiful their graves are. Past the cemetery was the entrance to the beach. This beach had only a handful of people at it. I went straight to the water. We saw a group of girls my age walking over the rocks on our right side…where could they be going? Lucas went to check it out. Past the rocks was an even smaller beach, which only had the group of girls and another couple at it. He called me over. We sat on the big rocks at the back of the beach and took deep breaths in and realized how freaking amazing our life is at the moment. We went for a swim! Another place I could have spent a whole day at.
The sun was getting a bit low, so we decided to head back to town to quench our thirst! We stumbled upon a restaurant called La Rustica (their instagram game is off the hook, check it out). We were really impressed with the overall aesthetic, and the kindness of the staff. It seems to be pretty consistent in all of our restaurant experiences in Sayulita! We were still full from our two lunches, so we just settled in for some drinks. I had a Cabernet wine and Lucas had a lager. Nothing too fancy, but we really enjoyed our experience!
Next time we will stay for longer, surf, and try even more delicious restaurants.
If you’re still reading this, thank you for following along! I hope this blog post encourages you to head south to Sayulita. We can’t wait for our next visit.
-Julia & Lucas
PS - What did you think of this article? Do you want more articles like this? If you’ve been to Sayulita, did you go to any of the spots we mentioned? Tell us your thoughts!