It’s pretty amazing what can happen in 3 days — true, sometimes 3 days passes without notice but other times it’s chock full of adventure. Just 72 hours ago we flew to Sayulita, Mexico for a friend’s wedding and in that time I racked up a ton of memories.
Our surfer friends have told us about Sayulita and it’s teeny pueblo of a neighbor to the north, San Pancho (aka San Francisco), because the area gets some pretty fun surf in the summer, but I had never made it to the area. To place them on the map for you, Sayulita and San Pancho are just 2 hours north of Puerto Vallarta by car — which means they share that awesome rainforest landscape and lively culture — but it’s a world away in terms of pace.
Surely everyone there is going to tell you it was better 15 years ago, 5 years ago, or whenever it was they first discovered it, but it’s still quite a gem. There’s a legit town in Sayulita with a funky hippie vibe, lots of eclectic boutiques (where I snagged a few great pieces of jewelry), and many great street food options. But the teenier town of San Pancho was more my speed because it was just a bit rougher around the edges and, well, just felt like an even bigger hidden gem.
Over the course of the weekend, we made many memories that ranged from drinking local tequila with a (relatively) local tequila maker, eating tortillas from the town’s tortilla factory, paying our respects at a local cemetery, and surfing the local breaks.
But the best memory of all was the trek to get to our friend’s wedding. Having rained for 24 hours straight, most of the roads (read: unpaved) were washed out and impossible to navigate without 4WD. After wrecking our rental car’s transmission, we ditched the car and hitched a ride with a local teenager who charged his 4WD pickup through the mud bogs like a pro. It took two hours and we almost got stuck in not one, not two, but three elephant-sized ditches, but it was all worth it once we reached the secret beach where they got married. They passed out Polariod 300 cameras and I went to town snapping so a lot of these pics I’m sharing here are actually the polaroids from the weekend.
Worth Checking Out
Because we were attending a wedding, I didn’t get to check out the local food scene as much as I would have liked. Even so, we found a few gems and a few places to check out next time we head that direction:
Revolucion del Sueno – Okay, there are quite a few cute shops in Sayulita so be sure to walk about and explore — I’m mentioning Revolucion because it’s modern pop art-y wares was a welcome surprise in an otherwise (seemingly) sleepy town.
Maria’s – They were super sweet to take a huge group of us just before they closed and gave us great dinner service. Of course, we found out later that Maria’s is really better known for breakfast than dinner but we enjoyed it just the same.
La Ola Rica – The minute I’d tell someone I was staying in San Pancho, they’d insist we check out La Ola Rica. We ended up there for cocktail hour so we didn’t get to try much of the menu but they were super popular as it was packed with local diners the whole night long.
Mar Plata – We didn’t get a chance to eat here but it was another place that everyone in the area kept raving about (maybe because we were staying next door). Their menu looks really interesting and fresh and we snuck over there to snag a peek at the awesome decor.
San Pancho Rentals – Our house was one of the nicest places I’ve ever stayed (replete with A/C, pool, jacuzzi, and great wifi) and we rented it through this site.
Hostal San Pancho – We were unsure as to whether we should bring body and surfboards with us but opted out at the advice of our friend who lives there. He took us to the surf shop attached to Hostal San Pancho and we were set for the weekend.