Traveling to Sayulita soon? Here are 10 things I learned visiting Sayulita, along with some tips and pointers.
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I knew Mexico would be a lot different from our cold home in Montana. I also did a bunch of research before we left. But, there were still things that I wasn’t prepared for and that took me by surprise during our stay.
From having to pay to use the bathroom to the startling strength of the coffee. Here are the 10 things I learned visiting Sayulita.
10 Things I Learned Visting Sayulita
Bathings suits won’t dry
Due to the weather in Sayulita having pretty constant high humidity, it’s next to impossible to get cloth items to dry out without an electric dryer or a rooftop line, as many locals in Sayulita have.
We hung our bathing suits and towels on the railing outside our hotel room in the evening and left them there through the next day as we explored the town. Even the following evening, suits and towels were still wet.
Pack a large plastic bag for dirty clothes
On the same note, this also means that your clothes retain moisture and will start to smell mildewy. We had a large plastic bag and attempted to tie them all up in our suitcase before leaving. However, everything in our suitcase had a damp, musky smell when we returned home.
There is A LOT of walking vendors
Another thing I wasn’t prepared for was the number and the intensity of the street vendors. The locals and some who come from neighboring towns, come to Sayulita to sell their handmade and imported goods to tourists.
They will approach you on the street, at the beach, while sitting at a restaurant. Be kind, and say “no, gracias”, unless of course, you are interested in buying something.
If you are interested, be aware that many of the local vendors speak very little English. Communication can be difficult with the language barrier. But if you are on the hunt for a good deal, the street vendors have much more reasonable prices than the boutique shops. And many of the vendors can be talked down in price.
We snagged a really beautiful crocheted hanging chair (random) from a vendor on the beach for 500 pesos. Originally the man approached up with a price of 900 pesos.
Snag Some Reef Safe Sunscreen
This wasn’t something I learned visiting Sayulita, but I think it’s worth the mention. Luckily, before we took out trip, I did some research.
The ocean around Sayulita and Puerto Vallarta does have coral reefs. Traditional sunscreen can be very harmful to these endangered ecosystems. So, doing a little part to take better care of the earth, we grabbed some Reef Safe Sunscreen.
You Don’t Need to Be Fluent in Spanish
This isn’t to say you shouldn’t brush up on some of your Spanish skills. But, for the most part, everywhere we went, many of the employees spoke some English.
It was helpful to know some basic words and phrases in Spanish, including
- Where is the bathroom? – “Donde esta el baño?”
- Water – “Auga.”
- Thank you – “Gracias”
- No, thank you – “No, gracias”
- Please – “Por favor”
- With milk – “Con leche” (frequently when ordering coffee)
- Without milk – “Sin leche”
- How much is this? – “Cuánto cuesta este?”
- Bill, please – “La cuenta, por favor.”
If you want to get in some practice before you travel to Sayulita, download Duolingo. I use the app religiously and it has helped improve my basic Spanish skills.
You Have to Ask for the Bill
Unlike America, when you go out to eat at restaurants in Sayulita, you will find out that many of the waiters will not automatically bring your bill to the table. You need to request it.
From my understanding, people in Mexico don’t want to make you feel rushed or like they are being rude by bringing the bill. So they will allow you to sit at your table as long as you like.
You can ask for your bill in Spanish by saying, “La cuenta, por favor.”
Read about our favorite places to eat in Sayulita here.
Explore Sayulita at Night
It’s not advertised anywhere, but one thing I learned visiting Sayulita is that the nightlife scene in town is incredible. Almost every night there is some form of entertainment in the town center.
The nights we went down, there was a magic show with a flame juggler, a clown, and an acrobat. The show is free to watch, but it’s extremely appreciated if you tip.
Another night we came upon a drumming band and dancers down by Buonissimo Gelato. The group occupied an intersection and played music, sang, and danced for the people walking around.
On certain nights, some of the businesses host music and bonfires on Playa Sayulita. Many of these activities are family-friendly, so bring the kids along and enjoy the nightlife in Sayulita.
There are Few Public Restrooms
It was something that absolutely baffled me, but many places in Sayulita will charge you around $10 pesos per person to use the restroom.
I’m not 100% certain for the reasoning, but I assume it has to do with the fact that Sayulita has struggled to keep up with the growing number of people and respectively the waste in town. It could also just be a way to make a couple of pesos.
Many restaurants will allow you to use their restroom if you are dining there. But, we ran into this situation when we went to Playa los Muertos. They had two outhouses that could be used free. But they were in terrible condition, the doors didn’t stay shut, and the filth was overwhelming.
In order to use a nice bathroom, each person had to pay $10 pesos to use the restroom across the street, located in the parking area.
The Coffee is Strong and Small
I love coffee. All coffee. But, I’m very accustomed to Americanized coffee which is full of tons of sugar, is a bit more watered down, and not so strong.
Almost every morning when we went out to eat, I ordered a latte, a caramel macchiato, or an Americano. To my surprise, the coffee in Sayulita is much darker and stronger than the coffee you find in America.
I don’t know if it’s correlation or not, but the sizes are also much different. I ordered a caramel macchiato at Chocobanana and was surprised when it came out in the tiniest teacup I had ever seen. It was very tasty, but again, I’m used to everything being supersized in America.
ATMs Often Run Out of Money
If you are traveling to Sayulita during one of the busier times of year, this is a more common situation. While there are quite a few ATM locations around town, they run out of money quickly during the busy season.
If you are traveling light on cash and only pulling out money as you need it, plan ahead. ATMs are restocked a couple of times a week, but it’s a guarantee that they won’t be stocked on Sundays.
The average charge to pull money out of an ATM in Sayulita was around $1.75, plus whatever fee your own bank may instate.
Check the map below for the different ATM locations around town.
No matter where you go, you will likely find things to be different from home. But that’s why we travel, right? To explore and become acquainted with new cultures, customs, cuisines, etc.
Don’t overthink your travel. Allow things to be as they are. Pay the little fee for the nicer bathroom. Learn new things. And laugh while you’re visiting Sayulita.
If you’ve been to Sayulita, let me know if I missed anything on this list?