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Life is Good in Sayulita, Mexico


For anyone who didn’t know, I spent the month of July traveling through Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala and Mexico. It was another excellent adventure and I’ll get around to writing more about it as soon as I have a chance.
But at the moment, I’m living in paradise! I’m in the small village of Sayulita, right on the west coast of Mexico, in the state of Nayarit. I’ve been here for 10 days so far and I have no intention of leaving any time soon.

Here’s why…

1. The town is small (about 1500 residents) and super-friendly, making it a great place to improve my Spanish.

2. The atmosphere is about as laid-back as it gets and I never have to wear shoes or a shirt.

3. The beaches are perfect – long, beautiful stretches of sand set under a backdrop of jungle and palm trees.

4. It’s cheap – the monthly rent for my modern apartment with huge balcony and a swimming pool is about the same as 3 nights in a hotel in the USA (and I’m only a 5 minute walk to the beach).

So, what do I do all day? I go to the beach and I swim in the ocean. And then I swim in the pool at my apartment, eat a cup of esquite (corn mixed with sour cream, cheese, lime juice and chili) from a street stall, walk up and down the beach at sunset and then go to sleep by 9pm. And I also manage to find a little time to work on my websites and writing in between.

Life is simple here yet it is oh so good!

And, starting tomorrow I will be surfing every day…or at least learning to surf every day. It’s always been one of my goals and now it’s time to make it happen.

So, that’s a brief summary of where I’m at the moment. And now I’m off to the beach!

Stay tuned…

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50 Responses to Life is Good in Sayulita, Mexico

  1. Lily says:

    I am from the US but live in Mexico and just wanted to offer a different perspective to Randy Jorden’s comments about the nuisance of people walking up and down the beach in tourist areas selling “cheap trinkets.” This is not the first time I’ve heard someone complain about it.
    I think it’s important to remember that people selling their wares are doing what they can to make a living. They are not out to ruin your otherwise pleasant vacation. If they are an annoying interruption to your lovely beach front meal (which many of them could never afford, mind you) I think you need to rethink things. You as a foreigner are a guest in their country and you need to act as such. Who cares if you have to say no 5 times? (Maybe you could say “No, gracias” and extend them a little humanity by looking them in the eyes while doing so).
    I remember an American woman talking about kids working on the street here in Guadalajara (most of whom don’t attend school) and saying that you shouldn’t give them any pesos because it’s just encouraging them. I just thought, “encouraging them to do what? Eat?” All the while she’s on her way to her nice apartment in a taxi (really unaffordable for most here in Mexico).
    All I’m saying is that we as foreigners need to be super culturally sensitive whenever we are outside our home turf. That includes being aware of what the people who live in the places we are visiting are up against in their day-to-day lives. You’d probably be surprised at how strong they are in dealing with all the challenges they face [grinding poverty, political corruption and violence, environmental contamination that's making their kids sick, disdain from people with greater wealth -which unfortunately includes the tourists they are catering to-, to name a few]… things that you’ll never, si Dios quiere, have to deal with.

  2. Ruslan Pavlov says:

    Hey Earl,

    My girlfriend just got a job in Sayulita, and we are looking for apartments, can you forward a good link for apartments in Sayulita?

    • Wandering Earl says:

      Hey Ruslan – Just check out the apartments listed on SayulitaLife.com and be sure to contact the owners directly because they will typically give you a much better monthly rate than what is listed on the website.

  3. hola_girl says:

    I will be visiting Sayulita for the first time in March! Food is definitely my passion so I was wondering if you have any recommendations for where to eat and if there are any markets that I should definitely hit up to buy fresh groceries to cook my own meals? Thanks in advance!

    • Wandering Earl says:

      @hola_girl: There really aren’t any markets in Sayulita…it’s a very small place. You can walk around the center in less than 10 minutes :) You’ll learn about all of the restaurants in town within a few hours of arriving!

  4. David says:

    Hi Earl,

    I appreciated your reply. Those are very good insights. Showing up and looking for a place with good prices seem to be the way to go. As you said, it’s good to secure a place for a couple of day to do the rental hunting.

    Thanks again and whatever you’re up to in your adventours , all the best

  5. David says:

    Hi Earl,

    Hope all is well. I stumbled into your website some time ago because I was starting to get more info about Sayulita. Since I’m looking to move there in a couple of months I thought about this blog to ask you some questions regarding accommodation. I’ve been contacting some places where to stay including the one you stayed and the lowest one I have found so far (which I think it’s a good deal) doesn’t have an A/C and a kitchenette. Knowing that you stayed there for some time, I was wondering if you could tell me how necessary can be to have a kitchenette in Sayulita??. I would be saving off $500 of the rent that I would pay for example here at this place but without a kitchenette. Would it be worth that saving that can go towards eat-out meals ?? Did you find the kitchenette very essential for the time you stayed there??

    Also, how important is to have an A/C vs ceiling fan?? I’m thinking of staying there for the whole month of August but not sure if the A/C also becomes a must-have when it comes to making this kind of decisions to move there due to the weather???

    Any insight would be appreciated.

    Cheers!

    David

    • Wandering Earl says:

      Hey David – Keep in mind that there are a ton of places for rent that aren’t listed on the internet so you could also show up in Sayulita, get a room in a guesthouse for a couple of nights, walk around town and contact all of the ‘For Rent’ places. You’ll have a much better range of options if you do this and will probably find what you’re looking for at at lower price. But as for a kitchenette, I enjoyed having one as I cooked most of the time, simply because Sayulita is on the small side and the restaurant choices are limited. Of course, if you’re just staying for one month, that might not be a problem. With the AC, I liked having it but I only used it at night. I would turn the AC on about an hour before I went to sleep and then I would turn it off when I got into bed. This helped me fall asleep as there were nights that were incredibly hot. But that was just me…I know some friends who survived in the summer there just fine with only a fan.

  6. Cora Flora says:

    Hi Earl!

    I’d also love info about how to find monthly rentals in Sayulita… Thanks!!! :)

    Cora

  7. Dave says:

    I just spent the day in Sayulita with Christine Gilbert and family, and if I had the time, I’d shack up there for at least a few weeks. Wonderful little surf beach (even though I’m not much of a surfer, I still like the atmosphere).

    I’m sure it’s grown a lot in the last 4 years, but it’s still small enough for my tastes. Eventually, I think Montanita in Ecuador will be more developed like Sayulita.

    Both beaches are what I expected to find at Taganga in Colombia, but no dice. Without surfers (or a pretty beach for that matter) it’s just not the same.

  8. Carolyn says:

    I LOVE Sayulita, my son is living there and I went to visit for 3 weeks. It is so friendly and I felt safe walking back to the house at night. Dogs, yes, but its a part of Mexico you just accept, like the chickens.
    Eating can be very cheap, street food is great, seafood is reasonable and fruits and veggies are so cheap, do you own cooking and save a bundle.
    I would love any tips on finding an affordable place to live for 3 months during hight season, I’m going back.

  9. colleen says:

    youre one lucky dude

  10. Donna says:

    I forgot, I’m 60, in good health & well I just love island/beach life…D

  11. Donna says:

    Earl, I realize this blog is over 2 yrs old, but I wanted to write & see if you had any other suggestions for the area….I would love to spend a few months down there, but man has the cost of rentals went up..cheapest I have found is around a $1000 p/month…too much for this old lady to pay…any help would be appreciated…I have around $1100.00 living income, so if you know of any other areas/countries where it’s warm, sunny & has a beach near to boot, give me a shout….

    • Wandering Earl says:

      Hey Donna – It’s still possible to find a place for a lower price in Sayulita. Just hop on SayulitLife.com, click on the 1 BR rentals tab and scroll to the last page where you’ll find the cheaper places. Then, email each of the owners, tell them how long you want to rent for, and they’ll give you their best monthly price.

      Apart from that, there are other places in Mexico and all of Central America that offer what you’re looking for, as well as in Southeast Asia.

  12. Hey Earl! Thanks so much for writing this review :) We have a few friends who live down in Sayulita part time running their online biz and this is what we plan to do in 2 months. At first, Mexico was sounding pretty blah but after hearing about Sayulita I’ve started to get excited.

    A friend living there right now with his wife says they have been drinking the tap water for years and don’t get sick, that it’s very clean and you can get an affordable place down there or pay up to 3k for a really sweet pad.

    I’m curious if you have any tips for finding a place online before we get there? I always just end up in circles finding vacation rentals and our plan is to be there for minimum 2 months, all the way up to 6. Any recommendations?

    Also – how did you find the wi-fi? Our lives revolve around having solid wi-fi to run our website and I would imagine that’s a pretty important requirement for you to. Thanks for all of your posts, they’ve been helpful!

    • Earl says:

      Hey Sheleana – The best way to find apartments in Sayulita is to check out SayulitaLife.com and click on the links for 1 BR or 2 BR apartments. Then scroll down to the bottom where you’ll find some of the less expensive offerings and just send the owners an email through the site, asking for their monthly rate for the time period you will be there. Usually, these monthly rates will be much less than the prices advertised on the site, so don’t worry if the prices on the site look too expensive at first!

      As for wi-fi, I would classify it as quite good. It is Mexico so there can be power outages every now and then but I didn’t really run into any major issues during the time I spent there and was able to do all of my online work without any problems.

  13. Randy Jorden says:

    While having the advantage of a primo geographical location, my opinion of Sayulita varies greatly from yours. The laid back charm of old Mexico seemed buried beneath the shabbiness of this small, mostly impoverished town. We drove up from the south along dangerously rutted, unmarked, scree-filled roads. The town seemed to us to offer none of the comforts of other costal areas, and was rife with overly pushy street vendors who didn’t understand the word “no” in either Spanish or English. Our beach front meal was constantly interrupted by hawkers of cheap trinkets we had no interest in purchasing. Sayulita salesmen set new standards of persistence, even for Mexico. Other negatives include a preponderance of mangy dogs and mangier surf bums all begging for whatever food or monetary scraps touristas might be compelled to offer. Note: we happened to be in Sayulita on Election day –alcohol prohibited–so our views were not tainted by the ridiculously sized Margaritas sold everywhere. Maybe one of these fishbowl sized drinks would have helped!

    • Earl says:

      Hey Randy- Well, your experience with Sayulita is interesting. You are officially the first person I’ve heard that has anything negative to say about the place :) In the months I spent there I never saw a single street vendor at all or any cheap trinkets anywhere. I actually just emailed my friend who has been living there for the past two months (just in case my memory was foggy) and he told me that he hasn’t seen any either during his time there. Perhaps you visited right after the flooding occurred a year or so ago because the roads leading from the south have always been perfectly paved, smooth and normal roads.

  14. martha says:

    hola quiero que me platiques mas acerca de sayulita estoy muy interesada en este lugar ciao ciao

  15. Cheri says:

    Hi.

    I to am thinking of moving to Sayulita later this year. Is it hard to find work there?

    • Earl says:

      Hola Cheri – That’s a tough question to answer! It all depends on many factors such as your Spanish skills and what type of work you would be looking for. Generally, foreigners can find work in small hotels and restaurants in Sayulita (the pay is usually around $5/hour) but keep in mind that this is quite a small village, so there really aren’t an abundance of opportunities.

      If you have any specific questions about what you might be looking for, feel free to send me an email and I will do my best to offer any advice that I can.

  16. Radita says:

    I’m working on a Sayulita blog (and as you will see it’s my dream to live there)

    The locals tell me they rent for $200-$300 per month, but you have to go there to find these deals. But this will likely change as Sayulita grows.

    • Earl says:

      Hey Radita – You can definitely find apartments in that price range like you said, but of course, these are not advertised anywhere on the internet. However, one thing to consider is that if you can afford something in the $500 range, you’ll be able to rent a much nicer apartment. Most of the low-cost places I saw were a bit dark and dingy and located on the outskirts of the village, farther from the beach. But hey, living in paradise for $200-$300 is not so bad at all :)

  17. czr says:

    That’s the problem with paradise, sooner or later everyone finds out about it. Anyway, it seems all the places I’ve contacted are offering close to the same summer – off season – rates, $700-800/mo. I don’t even want to mention the rates I was quoted during high season. It’s crazy. They all want you to come and stay and then they drop the big money bomb. Even still, it looks like a great place to visit. Thanks for the advise. czr

  18. czr says:

    Earl,

    Also, Casa Jaqui is also now at the $700/mo range during the summer frame. This, by the way, is the time the lowest rates are offered. czr

    • Earl says:

      @czr: Casa Jaqui must be doing quite well then! As it should be considering it is an excellent place to live for a while. To be honest, I wrote this post based upon my own experiences and I’m not too sure the names of the apartments where my friends and readers have stayed over the past 18 months. All I do know is that this is the first I’ve heard of there not being any places to rent for under $700. You can also try to contact some of the real estate agents in town (which I did during my search) and they’ll be able to tell you what they have available for rent. This is how I found Casa Yaka, Casa Namaste and a couple of others that were all in the same price range.

  19. czr says:

    I don’t know what happened to my prior email, but it seems to have cut out a portion of the message after I hit ‘send’. Anyway, it should be, “….find a place for less than $700/mo.” “At current prices, $1000 per month is peeking…..”

    Do you have any advise or other recommendations? Thanks gain. czr

    • Earl says:

      @czr: I wrote the post when I was actually living in Sayulita, which was at the end of 2009. However, since that time, I’ve had several friends and even readers who have spent time in Sayulita and most have also found accommodation for less than $700 per month. There’s a couple of factors to consider. First, the prices depend on the season and the high season is approximately early December to early April. During this time, prices skyrocket.

      Also, most of what you’ll find online will be classified as vacation rentals and will therefore have a higher price. However, if you contact the owners of apartments individually and ask for their off-season monthly rate, I’d be quite surprised if you weren’t able to find something for under $700. You can try to show up in Sayulita and look for a place to rent then. When I spent a day looking around, I found many more apartments and houses for rent that were not listed anywhere online and a good deal of these were below $500/month.

      I hope this helps!

  20. czr says:

    Earl,

    I was just wondering, when were you last in Sayulita? I ask because reading your comments made me look forward to a visit. I’ve checked around and I think gone are the days when you can find a place for $1000 per month is peeking just around the corner. Thanks in advance. czr

  21. Doug says:

    Hi Earl,

    I have been trying to find a place to move myself and wife to and reading your report on Sayulita sounds like it might be just what we are looking for. Would like to ask you a couple of questions. 1. We are both disabled and are wondering if there are any places there that are two bedroom and handycap accessable. 2. Their requirements for us to be able to bring our small dog with us and wherre to find maps showing how to get there from OH. 3. Our Van and anything else you can tell us.
    We are definately going to be moving south by the end of our lease where we live now so are trying to plain ahead.
    Thank You and keep up the great blog.
    Doug

    • Earl says:

      Hey Doug – Thank you so much for your comment and I continue to get excited each time I hear that someone is interested in Sayulita!

      As for your questions, as I haven’t been living in Sayulita for over 18 months now, I unfortunately don’t know of any places for rent off the top of my head that are handicap accessible. However, I would definitely be surprised if there weren’t any. My recommendation would be to check out the website http://www.SayulitaLife.com. On this site, simply click on the 2-bedroom apartments link at the top of the page. This will lead you to a long list of places that are available for rent. Keep in mind that the rates listed are per night during the high season so you can basically ignore those rates. All you need to do is email the places listed, ask them any questions you may have and ask what their long-term rental rates would be. You’ll find that many of the places will be more than affordable.

      As for bringing your dog, in terms of Mexico itself, I don’t know too much about what is required to bring a dog across the border. However, it can’t be too difficult as I remember dozens of foreigners in Sayulita who had brought their pets with them from other countries.

      Click on this link to a Google Map that shows the exact location of Sayulita. Once on the map, you can zoom in and out for more detail so that you can determine the best route from wherever it is you may be coming from.

      Having your van with you will be great as Sayulita is connected with Puerto Vallarta (the closest city) only by bus. With your own transportation, it will make trips to the supermarket and any other places you may need to go much easier. Apart from that, Sayulita is such a wonderful place to live. It’s clean, safe, small, friendly, perfect climate and just about everything else you would look for in the ultimate retirement location :)

      I hope the above information helps you out a bit but if you have any further questions, please don’t hesitate to send me an email via the “Contact Me” page of my website!

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  23. Brian says:

    Can you give me any tips on finding a place in or near Sayulita for an extended stay of say a month or more?

    • Earl says:

      Hey Brian – Have a look at SayulitaLife.com. It’s the best resource you’ll find anywhere for rentals in Sayulita. Just click on the 1-BR and 2-BR tabs at the top of the website and then start sending emails to as many of the Casas listed as you can. And ignore the rates that you see on the website as those are the nightly rates for the high season. If you want to stay for a month or more, just email the owners and ask for their long-term rates. You should be able to find plenty of 1-BR places within the $400 – $600 per month range.

      I stayed at Casa Jaqui (highly recommended!) and I also recommend Casa Namaste and Casa Yaka (which were my second and third choices)…all three are listed on SayulitaLife.com as well and their owners are quick to respond to emails.

      If you have any other questions at all about Sayulita, feel free to send me an email as well!

      • Girly says:

        Hello Earl. Came across your blog and you seem to be knowledgeable on Sayulita. We are relocating with 2 young children but would like to be near San Francisco for the kids school, and also near Punta de Mita for work. Would Sayulita be a good halfway point for convenience? What are your thoughts? Id like to be close to the beach, but its not top top priority.

        • Earl says:

          Hey Girly – Yes, Sayulita is pretty much in the middle of both places and would be ideal. If you don’t have a car you’ll have to figure out bus transportation which is a little tricky but it’s definitely the most convenient town to live in.

  24. Nicole says:

    Hi! I just found your blog while searching for info on Sayulita. I’m thinking of moving there but, like Terri, all the info I can find on apartments are for expensive vacation rentals. If you have any info, that’d be fantastic!

  25. Terri says:

    Hi Earl,

    So sorry I didn’t respond earlier. Yes, I received it, and what great information it is! Thank you! I’ve saved it in my favorites to review extensively when I get a chance. I opened it during work (shhh!) and started surfing all of your links right away. I decided I should probably be working. I need to keep my job in order to save enough moola to quit and move to Sayulita permanently…which is truly one of our goals. Since we just returned from Mexico, it will probably be another year before we return…this time for a much longer stay. In the meantime, we’ll be living vicariously through you and will be following your blog of adventures. I have lots of research to do with all of the great info you sent. I’m sure I’ll have other questions as our next trip draws near. Thanks again and for responding so quickly.

    Happy Travels and best of luck to you!

    ~Terri

  26. Terri says:

    Hi Earl,

    Oh my gosh…I just got back from a couple days in Sayulita and am in love(with the town!) Are you still living there? My husband and I want to stay for an extended period next time (at least a month). How did you find your apartment? The properties we see online are much more expensive. We don’t want anything fancy…just require a kitchen and pet-friendly. Do you have any suggestions for us? You look young in your photo…good for you to follow your dreams…I wish I would’ve done it years ago! I just subscribed to your blog updates and am excited to see where you go next. Thanks for any advice you may have!

    • Earl says:

      Hey Terri – I sent you off some information about Sayulita the other day and just wanted to make sure you received it. If you didn’t receive my email just let me know and I’ll send it out again. Take care!

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  28. Rob Aitken says:

    Hi Earl-

    I have enjoyed your blog for a few months now.

    I also have travelled frequently to Mexico (once for four months), but most often for a week or two.

    My wfie is pregnant, and havinga ababy in the summer. I was thinking of settling down in Mexico for six months ago, and flying home to handle work responsibilities (probably one or two weeks per month at first).

    Do you think Sayulita would be a decent place for a family- me, wife, newborn, dog, minivan. We’d like to drive down (from Northern Ontario) – that way my wife could have a way to haul groceries/baby stuff from PV or wherever.

    Your place looks pretty decent- is it per friendly?
    Are we likely to find somewhere baby and pet friendly in such a small town?

    Are there any other places that may be more suitable. I love PV, but it is too “city” to enjoy with a baby and dog.

    Thanks for your help- keep up the good work.

    Rob

    • Earl says:

      Hey Rob – thank you so much for following the blog, I truly appreciate and always love to hear from readers! I’m actually going to send you an email with some info on Sayulita that you might find helpful…it’s definitely a great place for a family and close enough to PV that you’re never too far away from anything you might need. I’ll have that email to you shortly…

      • Billy says:

        Hello Earl…I’m Billy and I like your blog about Salulita and I would love more information about it…I want to take that big step and possibly relocate and or vist real soon so any information you have will be appreciated..thanks

        • Wandering Earl says:

          Hey Billy – I’m not sure what kind of info you’re looking for but if you send me some specific questions, I’d be more than happy to reply.

    • Earl says:

      Hey Rob – thank you so much for following the blog, I truly appreciate it and always love to hear from readers! I’m actually going to send you an email with some info on Sayulita that you might find helpful…it’s definitely a great place for a family and close enough to PV that you’re never too far away from anything you might need. I’ll have that email to you shortly…

  29. admin says:

    Hey Angeline…
    I’m actually just about to put up a post on how I earn my money. I do earn money from writing, but mostly in the form of writing eBooks. And I also do a bit of affiliate marketing. There’ll be some more details about it in the post. Thanks for reading and commenting!

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