I remember the first time I landed at Puerto Vallarta’s international airport in 2007. I was backpacking, and I remember how the smell of the ocean and the warm breeze through the palm trees immediately convinced me that I would have a blast during this “life at the beach” experience.
My intuition turned out to be correct. I have lived in Sayulita—a 40-minute drive from Puerto Vallarta—for 10 years now. It’s a quaint little surf town, nestled in the lush Sierra Madre jungle on the tropical coast of the Mexican Pacific. From the moment I arrived, I immediately felt welcome and at home in this community of travelers, artists, surfers, and yogis. The mixing between locals and expats satisfied my desire to have an authentic Mexican experience and an international environment.
Every day starts at sunrise with the chants of the many roosters of the village. I go for a long walk on the beach, which is only a short five-minute walk from my apartment. I love watching the early-morning surfers and the first rays of sunshine hit the waves. Many people walk their dogs or go on their morning run on the beach but it was always quiet and recharging.
After the walk, I get a freshly pressed $2 juice or smoothie at Orangy—a juice bar serving only local and delicious juices, smoothies and breakfast bowls—before heading to work at a co-working space. I managed the office and spent the day helping like-minded digital nomads get settled in and find their way around town.
With approximately 5,000 inhabitants, Sayulita is brimming with little art galleries, cafés, yoga studios, and surf schools. There is never a dull moment. In the winter, one of the things I like the most is the turtle releases. Wild turtles still come to lay their eggs on the beach, and each year the eco-minded community participates in protecting the eggs and helping to release the babies when they hatch.
You can get lunch in Sayulita for about $5 and there are countless options, from traditional Mexican food at the Blue Corn Mama Café, to one of the many Italian or vegetarian restaurants. I never ate the same dish twice.
The office is only a two-minute walk from the beach and I go watch the sunset after work.
It makes me feel like I’m on vacation. I’m so grateful to be living in a place many people dream about their whole life.
Monday nights are salsa night at Don Pedro’s, one of the oldest restaurants in Sayulita, and people of all ages come to dance to the live band. The cover is only $2.5 and the food there is to die for—dinner is around $10 to $15. On Fridays, during high season, from October to May, the farmer’s market brings everyone together. It is the perfect place to get fresh, locally-produced fruits and veggies, all sorts of crafts and foods, meet with friends, and listen to live music.
The rest of the week I usually go to yoga, and I love to wander around the many art galleries—my favorite being Evoke the Spirit, which supports the craft of native Mexican women. And on weekends, I go explore the area, or visit one of the many beaches with some friends, after having the best coffee at Yah-Yah Café on the main plaza.
My 10 years living in Sayulita has given me lifelong friends and an experience that I will never forget. Living in paradise isn’t just a brochure fantasy…it’s my daily life.