Part 1: Sayulita Life
It seems that I arrived in Sayulita at just the right time, my AirBnB host Nix explained that they were in the final throes of the busy season (November to April), so most of the gringos that live in Sayulita during the northern hemisphere winter were all making their way back to Canada and the USA. I was happy to hear this news to be honest; no one wants to be jostling shoulder to shoulder with hundreds of other tourists in 30-degree heat!
My first few days in Sayulita were therefore fairly relaxed. Myself, my AirBnB neighbour (French actor Frédéric AKA Fred) and Nix set about touring quite a large selection of restaurants, bars and street taco stands over the following days and nights. I wasn’t sure if this was what being a travel blogger was all about but it seemed like excellent research, and so I somehow managed to endure the barrage of wonderful Mexican meals, tasty new beers and vibrant locations…it was awful, honestly ;P
Nix, Fred, Me
Bar street tables
Mexican blonde beer ‘Bohemia’
Amazing burrito at ‘Manjare’
Live music at ‘Su Casa’ (Your House)
One of the first things that struck me about Sayulita is how metropolitan it is; I think I was expecting it to be more…Mexican. It’s a Mexican town and thus the majority of inhabitants are Mexican nationals, but walking through the streets you’ll hear plenty of other accents and languages. There’s a large amount of English spoken here with so many Canadians and Americans, and obviously Spanish is the local parlance, but you’ll also hear a smattering of French if you listen closely. All this mixes together with the sun, sea, sand and surf to create an exquisitely chilled atmosphere; live music almost every night is the icing on the cake.
Another element of Mexican culture that I hadn’t really considered before my arrival is the way that animals are so heavily integrated into everyday life. Dogs are everywhere, roaming the streets, the beach and the bars; some looking healthy with collars, some looking decidedly unhealthy without, but 99% are generally friendly. I’m a big fan of animals, dogs especially, so I’m loving the daily opportunities to meet a new pooch. In the less built-up back streets a lot of families tend to keep roosters and chickens, and the roosters are vocal to say the least! If you’re a light sleeper you might want to consider getting accommodation in the more developed areas of town. Add in the cats, tropical bird songs, geckos, bugs and insects and it’s quite the menagerie.
Friendly street puppy
Lots of bars and restaurants blur the line between business and family home, so you might find the family pet snuffling around under your table at some point. Either that, or the kids might chase each other out of the family room at the back of the shop and run around screaming for a bit before zipping off the way they came, with no one even batting an eyelid. That’s Mexico folks.
Part 2: Playa de los Muertos (Beach of the Dead)
One of our little forays around Sayulita was a quick walk over to Playa de los Muertos. As mentioned in Blog 3, the beach isn’t actually dangerous in any way, it’s just that it’s located next to the local cemetery, hence ‘Beach of the Dead’.
Looking out from Playa de los Muertos (ignore the random bum…oops)
I don’t think this counts as Rock-climbing for Action Sports Nomad purposes
View of Sayulita beach on the walk back from Playa de los Muertos
Part 3: San Pancho (San Francisco)
San Pancho (officially called San Francisco) is a smaller version of Sayulita just a 10-minute bus ride north along the Pacific coast. You can get a local bus from Sayulita for about $15-20 pesos (60-80 pence) which drops you off on the main road outside the town, it’s then a 10-minute stroll down the main street to the beach at the end. Other than a few roads leading off the main street to some residential areas there’s not much there, but again there is a discernible calm vibe to the place. Shop owners happily smile out at you as you pass, and children play in the street as bare-footed surfers wander back from the beach, boards under arms.
Nix and Fred stroll down San Pancho’s main street
Watermelons for sale off the back of a truck; “rojo y dulce” (red and sweet)
Modified VW Beetle; ready for the sand
Another friendly local: “Coyote” the dog (who escorted us all the way back down the main street from the beach)
Pacific Ocean waves crash on San Pancho beach
As with all touristy areas, the general feelings of those from Sayulita is that “San Pancho is too boring man”, whilst those in San Pancho say, “Sayulita is too over-developed hombre, it’s not cool anymore”. Whilst San Pancho was a little quiet when we visited, I couldn’t really fault it.
Part 4: Surfing in Sayulita
I had booked a 5-day surf course whilst still in the UK with a company called Sayulita Surf Camps ($395 USD). They teach all levels from complete beginner to seasoned surfer, and the tuition includes trips to various beaches around the Sayulita area. They also offer some great accommodation options in association with a guy called Pepe at the Sunset Bungalows (ranging from $55 to $65 USD per night, it’s quite expensive but the rooms are well equipped with kitchenette and air con).
The only problem for me was the concern that my collarbone/shoulder was still too weak following surgery in January 2017, where a metal plate was inserted to repair my broken collarbone. (For more info check out the two articles I wrote about my 3-day snowboard trip to Bansko, Bulgaria, and how I dealt with my travel insurance whilst being injured abroad).
If I’m really going to make the Action Sports Nomad idea work then I’m going to need my body to be in full working order. So despite huge frustration that I couldn’t start my trip with a 5-day surf course as I’d planned (plus the irony that the Action Sports Nomad wasn’t going to be doing many action sports for a while), I decided to postpone the surf course until later in 2017. Sayulita Surf Camps were really cool about it and completely understood my situation, since I had already paid in advance they were more than happy to offer me a course whenever I was ready later in the year.
…after a couple of weeks in Sayulita I might have let frustration get the better of me…
Tune into Blog 5 next week to find out what me and this rental surfboard got up to…(hey, I said I loved surfing, I never said I was any good ;P)