Where to stay in Sayulita, a hidden pearl on the Mexican coast
Want to experience authentic Mexican culture and enjoy gorgeous beaches and, at the same time, stay away from the tourist crowds? If so, Sayulita may be the destination of your dreams. This little town on the Pacific coast is a gorgeous place for both vacations and permanent stays.
Although tiny, Sayulita has a lot to offer. This picturesque town prides itself on its wonderful nature, beautiful beaches, and friendly lifestyle. It has been the main surfing destination for decades, so beach activities are one of its strongest points. In Sayulita, you can spend your days learning how to surf and scuba dive and enjoy your evenings sipping cocktails and eating local specialties. Sayulita is also known as a wellness retreat as yoga and meditation are an important part of the local culture. Its location is fantastic and you can take daily trips to larger cities such as Puerto Vallarta, explore the Marieta islands, or even go whale watching. Whatever your needs may be, you can rest assured that your stay in Sayulita will be one of the best in your life.
Photo credit: chrisclark182
Transportation in Sayulita
Sayulita has a public bus system that can be useful when exploring the city. Unfortunately, the buses aren’t very reliable, so not many people use them. Both locals and foreigners prefer renting cars or even better, golf carts. Golf carts are incredibly popular and you will see them on every corner. Since Sayulita is such a small town, you won’t have to rely on any sort of transportation—you can get to the city center from each neighborhood in about 20 minutes.
Photo credit: townaroundgolfcarts
5 best neighborhoods to stay in Sayulita
Since Sayulita is such a small town, there aren’t many neighborhoods to choose from. You will find most of the popular locations in the central area. But that doesn’t mean that the surrounding neighborhoods have nothing to offer. If you don’t like crowds or don’t want to spend too much money, one of the suburban areas will probably be to your liking. Wherever you decide to stay, you will still be close to the city center. To help you pick the best area, we have made a rundown of our favorite Sayulita neighborhoods:
- Sayulita Plaza
- Gringo Hill
- The South End
- The North End
Our picks were based on these factors:
- Interesting things to see and do
- The overall atmosphere of the neighborhood
- Cost of staying
|Where to stay in Sayulita, Mexico|
|Best for the first time||Central||A lively, downtown area where you will find all major spots|
|Best for nightlife||Sayulita Plaza||A downtown square surrounded by pubs, bars, and restaurants|
|Best for budget travelers||Gringo Hill||A suburban area on the hill with cheap accommodation|
|Best for bohemians||The South End||An interesting neighborhood surrounded by wonderful nature and pristine beaches|
|Best for staying long term||The North End||A peaceful residential area with all the amenities you may need|
Photo credit: pueblosmagicosmex
Where to stay in Sayulita for the first time: Central
The so-called Central is the main downtown area of Sayulita. This neighborhood is ideal for your first visit as it is in the vicinity of all major tourist stops. Central is where you will find most shops, restaurants, and bars. There are many street vendors and boutiques, as well as several high-end shops. If you like crowded places where all the action takes place, Central may be the best neighborhood for you. The only downside to this area is that there are few accommodation options with an ocean view.
What to do in Central
In Central, you’ll never get bored. Whether you are looking for great food, sandy beaches, or trendy shops, you won’t have to waste your time searching for good places to visit: this neighborhood has something for everyone. To help you pick the best spots, we have selected some of the most interesting places to visit in Central:
- Playa Principal
- Evoke The Spirit Gallery
- Mercado del Pueblo
- Don Pedro’s Restaurant & Bar
- Aloha Sayulita
Two kilometers long, Playa Principal is the main beach in the town. The beach is filled with cafes, restaurants, and interesting lounges. If you want to go sunbathing or just dip your toes in the Pacific, this beach should be your first stop. You can also try out some of the beach activities, such as surfing, snorkeling, and scuba diving. If you’re not into these types of sports and prefer a relaxing swimming experience, make sure to check the swimming safety first. Red flags are quite common due to the undertow. The southern part of the beach is usually crowded, so if you need some peace and tranquility, go to the northern side instead.
Photo credit: papelillolofts
Mercado del Pueblo
As it is the only farmers’ market in Sayulita, Mercado del Pueblo has a lot to offer. It is a fantastic place to buy organic, natural food, try local snacks, and experiment with Mexican spices. You will also see many merchants, craftsmen, and artists selling their best works, which makes this market an ideal place for buying souvenirs and gifts. You will be surprised by inexpensive leather bags, bohemian home decor, and wonderful jewelry made of precious stones and metals.
Photo credit: lifestyletravelnetwork
Where to stay in Central
As the very heart of the town, Central offers many accommodation options, ranging from cheap to luxurious. Here are our top picks for this area:
Budget option: this tropical guesthouse near the town center.
Moderate price: this cute comfy house.
Luxurious option: this amazing villa near the beach.
Where to stay in Sayulita for nightlife: Sayulita Plaza
Sayulita Plaza is the main square in this charming little town. It is located at the very heart of the town center. The Plaza is the hottest spot in Sayulita and it is where you will find the crowd. This small area is full of interesting restaurants and shops, and there is even a small chapel that you may find interesting. The streets surrounding the Plaza are filled with bars and lounges, so you will have plenty of nightlife options. Since Sayulita is such a small place, don’t expect to find any clubs that are open all night.
Where to go out around Sayulita Plaza
Whether you want to sip a cocktail and unwind after a long day on the beach or enjoy spicy Mexican food while listening to a local band, Sayulita Plaza is the place where your wishes will come true. There are many wonderful bars and restaurants, all known for their warm and friendly atmosphere. Here are some places we think you shouldn’t miss:
- Don Pato Pub
- El Mezcalito
- Aria Lounge
- La Zouave
Don Pato Pub
If you’re looking for a hip place to take cheap shots and dance to the beat of the best local bands, Don Pato may be the perfect place for you. Both locals and foreigners visit this pub so the atmosphere is lively and vibrant. Don Pato is one of the few places that stay crowded until late at night and it’s usually open until 3 am. Most of the time, this pub hosts live gigs, although there is also a DJ from time to time.
Photo credit: paula1393
Aria Lounge is the best place in Sayulita for party animals. It is probably the most crowded place in the town and certainly the wildest. Sayulita is known for its fantastic dancing parties, great DJs, and free body paint that will make you glow in the dark. Mexican music is not very common in this lounge and most of the time you will hear songs from current top charts and some old-school hip hop. The lounge has two levels and includes a huge balcony with a beautiful view of the whole Sayulita Plaza. Working hours vary from day to day but on weekends, the lounge is open until 3 am.
Photo credit: aruasayulita
Where to stay near Sayulita Plaza
The streets surrounding Sayulita Plaza offer a wide range of accommodation options. The average price per night is around $80, although there are many more affordable rooms. Check out our favorite AirBnBs:
Budget option: this private room overlooking the Plaza.
Midrange option: this bohemian room by the Plaza.
Where to stay in Sayulita on a budget: Gringo Hill
Gringo Hill is a neighborhood located on a hill overlooking the town. This area is known for having accommodation with a beautiful ocean view. The prices are lower than in the very center, so it is a favorite among budget travelers. Although it is located on the outskirts, Gringo Hill is close to the city center, and especially to Sayulita Plaza. It won’t take you more than 15 minutes to get to the downtown area on foot. Still, we recommend using a car or a golf cart as the hill is pretty steep, so your return to the accommodation may turn into a workout.
What to do in Gringo Hill
Gringo Hill is doesn’t have as many interesting places to visit as other parts of the town, as it is mostly a residential area. If you stay in this area, you will probably spend most of your time in the center. If you do decide to spend your day in the neighborhood, there are a few places you should consider visiting:
- Quintas Trujillo
- Iglesia Apostólica De La Fe En Cristo Jesús
- Trivia El Café del Mar
- Sayulita Nayarit Mexico
- Cocos Sports Bar
Trivia El Café del Mar
If you want to give the local coffee a try, Trivia El Café del Mar is a place you shouldn’t miss. Known as the best coffee shop in the town, it will probably provide you with the best cup of coffee you’ve ever had. Tourists also like this place because it serves fantastic Greek meals, as well as delicious pastries. If you’re looking for a reasonably priced place to have breakfast every day, Trivia El Café del Mar may be a perfect pick for you.
Photo credit: triviacafesayulita
Cocos Sports Bar
Located in the area where Gringo Hill meets the town square, Cocos Sports Bar is the best place in the city to experience authentic Mexican cuisine. You can enjoy delicious seafood, watch a football game while sipping cold beer and eating tacos or show off your pool skills. The food is just outstanding and the prices more than reasonable.
Photo credit: karendayss
Where to stay in Gringo Hill
Although Gringo Hill offers many luxurious accommodation options and the average price per night is around $100, this neighborhood has hundreds of cheap but nice AirBnBs. Here are some ideas where you could stay:
Budget option: this exceptionally affordable apartment.
Mid-range option: this amazing apartment.
More expensive option: this fantastic rooftop house.
Where to stay in Sayulita for bohemians: the South End
The South End is a relatively new area in the town, filled with great accommodation options and expats’ houses. The neighborhood is known for having the best ocean view in whole Sayulita. The area is home to several interesting bars and restaurants, as well as gorgeous beaches. The South End is also fantastic for fans of the macabre, as its colorful cemetery is unlike any cemetery you’ve ever seen. Although the South End is a beautiful area with a couple of interesting places, keep in mind that it is not as lively as the downtown area. Luckily, the neighborhood is located close to the city center and it won’t take you more than 15–20 minutes to get to the major tourist spots.
What to see and do in the South End
- Playa de los Muertos
- Si Señor Sayulita
- Carricitos Beach
Playa de los Muertos
If you think Playa Principal is too crowded and loud, you shouldn’t miss Playa de los Muertos. This beach is off the beaten path, and it takes a couple of minutes of jungle hike to reach it. Locals sometimes call it “the secret beach” as many visitors never even learn it exists! It is an ideal place for enjoying pristine nature and getting some peace and quiet. There are two small caves linking Playa de los Muertos the main beach that you may also find interesting.
Photo credit: mayraloeramx
Si Señor Sayulita
If you want to try luxurious dining in Sayulita way, Si Señor Sayulita is a restaurant you should consider visiting. The ambiance is gorgeous, food outstanding, and the service remarkable. Another thing that makes this restaurant stand out is the fact that, unlike in most places, the staff speaks English incredibly well. You won’t have to use your broken high-school Spanish or play charades with the waiters to get your favorite meal.
Photo credit: gomezrocco
Where to stay in the South End
Due to its exceptional natural beauty and high status, the South End is a bit more expensive than other parts of the town. On average, one night in this neighborhood will cost you around $100. Take a look at our favorite AirBnBs:
Budget option: this villa near Playa de los Muertos.
Midrange option: this beautiful bungalow with a swimming pool.
Luxurious option: this large house near the city center.
Where to stay in Sayulita long term: the North End
The North End and the Nanzal neighborhood are located in the northern part of the Sayulita Bay. This area is mostly residential and quite new: almost all the buildings were built in the last two decades. It is a peaceful neighborhood where you can enjoy a relaxing lifestyle. The ocean view is breathtaking, especially during the sunset. The North End is the sunniest place in Sayulita so it can get pretty hot during the summer months. The neighborhood is near the city center and the main beach and it should take you less than 20 minutes to reach the most crowded spots.
What to do in the North End
Although the North End is mostly a residential area, there are a couple of places worth visiting. The neighborhood is home to many useful shops, as well as several nice restaurants. It also has its own beach, so you won’t have to mix up with tourist crowds. If you decide to settle in the North End, we suggest you check out these places:
- North Sayulita Beach
- Jardin Secreto (Secret Garden)
- Sayulita Beach Church
- La Terrazola
North Sayulita Beach
On the North Sayulita Beach, you won’t have to waste hours on finding a free beach bed: all you need to do is put your towel on the first spot you like and open your umbrella. This area is way less crowded than the main Sayulita beach, so you can enjoy your sunbathing session without the irritating presence of hundreds of people. The people who visit this beach are usually hip campers and locals. Since it is usually empty, the beach is known as the favorite place of Sayulita’s animal population. You can watch turtles taking care of their eggs and pelicans diving into the ocean.
Photo credit: ricardo_warlus
If dining fantastic seafood by the ocean seems like an attractive idea, you should hit La Terrazola as soon as you come to the North End. The ambiance and atmosphere are beautiful and romantic. You can try real Mexican guacamole and fajitas, or give a chance to the restaurant’s specialty: fresh tuna ceviche. La Terrazola also has a high-quality wine list, as well as delicious margaritas and other cocktails.
Photo credit: degustando.mexico
Where to stay in the North End
Whether you are looking for a cheap room or a high-end apartment, you’ll find what you need in this neighborhood. Have a look at our top picks:
Budget option: this nice room near the beach.
Midrange option: this modern apartment near the city center.
Luxurious option: this stunning traditional villa.
Don’t see anything you like? Browse for more AirBnBs here!