Sayulita is a barefoot surf town 40 minutes north of Puerto Vallarta that began as a ramshackle fishing village and has been slowly infiltrated by European and American ex-pats looking for La Vie Boheme.  The once sleepy town has a dreamy pace,  consistent waves and an artistic community.  Here, the new bohemian or “Gypset” lifestyle lives alongside authentic Mexico, decorated with street craft vendors, barefoot children in traditional dress, and dusty fruit trucks with a bullhorn strapped to the hood blasting, “Sandia! Sandia! Barata! Barata!” (Watermelon! Cheap!) I love the collision of cultures that exists here; there’s an authentic Mexican surf village vibe mixed with elements of style from California, St. Barts, Bali, and local artisans.  Thrown together, it’s a style all it’s own.

Here are my top recommendations of where to stay, eat, and shop. Viva Mexico.

GETTING THERE:
It’s a quick 3 hour plane ride from LA to Puerto Vallarta and an easy 35 minute drive to Sayulita, so this is the perfect weekend getaway for romance or family fun.

TO STAY:
PETIT HOTEL HAFA (click for link).

Stay here! Amazing Euro-Moroccan-Balinese-Mexican decor in a boutique hotel setting. Barefoot chic is the idea here. It’s a simple hotel, no room service or fancy ANYTHING.  But that’s the Sayulita way:  colorful, beautiful, simple.  Located in the center of town, a 2 block walk to the beach.  A shaded roof top lounge where you can sip coffee in the mornings or tequila in the sun drenched afternoons.  In the evenings, their Moroccan style bar, Le Zouave is a local hot spot filled with cute surfers and local ex-pats.

TO EAT:
LA ESPERANZA

As soon as we found out about this place, La Esperanza, we ate here every chance we got! The most beautiful local couple, Jose and Lucy, own this place and the food is fresh, organic, vibrant and DELICIOUS!  Cold pressed juices in amazing flavors, fish tacos, incredible smoothies, desserts, and sprouted buckwheat pancakes topped with berry compote, mango, and passionfruit.  No other eating experience in Sayulita can rival this place.

TO SHOP:
1. EVOKE THE SPIRIT

Owned and curated by an ex-pat New Yorker, Evoke the Spirit exudes hippie chic and serenity.  Native cotton dresses with beautiful embroidery are mixed with modern delicate jewelry fashioned with ancient techniques, beautiful textiles, and interesting home decor such as hand beaded and painted skulls.  Imagine the artistic love child of Georgia O’Keefe and Frida Kahlo.

2. PACHAMAMA

Pachamama is the boutique of the famed Mignot Sisters who are said to live the ultimate Gypset life (indeed, it’s possible Julia Chaplin coined the term after them).  The Mignot Family are responsible for much of the colorful bohemian design and fashion that has come to signify the “Sayulita Style.”  Their shop is filled with their signature Tahitian pearls on leather, hand crafted soft fringe bags, cotton dresses, colorful embroidered caftans, Panama hats, and other essential items of the gypsy-chic life.

3. ULA
In the vein of Pachamama boutique, but the stand out item is the delicate and slightly surreal paintings hanging on the walls.  Painted by the owner and her young daughter, they are magical, colorful, and enchanting.  ULA is definitely something I will be going back for!

4. REVOLUCION DE LOS SUENOS
Revolucion de Los Suenos is cool shop influenced heavily by Pop Art, with swashes of neon color and lots of humorous posters, t-shirts, and home decor items.  This place is FUN.

STREET VENDORS & CRAFTS:
Stroll the streets and see the beautiful handmade items ranging from Huichol Indian necklaces, bracelets and hair items to handmade felted animals for children, hats, ponchos, dresses, and pottery.  The vendors are scattered throughout the village streets.

Bottom line:  this is a place to enjoy the sun, surf, and Sayulita Style.  Live, love, laugh.  And drink tequila! xxx, Leah

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