Big growth for the little town of Sayulita

I think it was about 6 years ago that I last visited Sayulita, Mexico, when it was still a quiet little town about 40 minutes north of Puerto Vallarta.  When we were there it was just a few dirt streets, very few shops and the restaurants were all along the beach where it was mainly surfers enjoying the lovely waves that Sayulita is known for.  I remember the city bus that commutes between Puerto Vallarta and Sayulita dropping us off at the top of the hill and walking down the dirt road to the main part of town, very few cars or tourists.  Fast forward to my visit in February 2012 –  we caught the bus from Lo de Marcos to Sayulita for a mere 25 pesos and it took about 25 minutes to get there.  We were dropped off on the side of the highway and told that there would be a bus in about 20 minutes, so we decided that we would just start walking in towards Sayulita rather than standing around waiting for bus that could arrive who knows when.  It took about 15 minutes to walk into town and was I surprised when I saw how much it had changed since my last visit, there were lots of cars and so many stores and restaurants.  We were warned that Sayulita was undergoing lots of road work and it was difficult at times to manuever around piles of dirt and rubble….they were not kidding, I don’t think there was a road that was not being torn up and re-done with lovely cement brick work and new sidewalks it should look really pretty when it is completed.  Needless to say that the noise level was very high with all this construction, though a lot of it is still done by hand, such as carrying buckets of cement to be spread out by another worker. 

We were wanting a drink of some sort and my friend was really wanting a coffee so we stopped at this lovely little coffee place right at the town centre, I can’t remember what the name was I think something like Loco Choco.  I had a delicious fruit smoothie and my friend Jenny thoroughly enjoyed her coffee which is roasted and ground right on location.

In the town square where there were lots of vendors working on creating there wares and lots of children playing.  We weren’t meeting our friends for a little while so we wandered about and checked out some of the shops on the main street – discovering that Sayulita has a very large artist population and the art comes with a big price tag as well.

One of the main streets that goes down to the beach was really torn up and it was like hiking over piles of rocks and sand, but we managed and then found ourselves in the midst of the local vendors who were very persistent about trying to make a sale.  The beach was crowded with umbrellas, chairs, vendors and of course surfers.  We had now hooked up with our friends and us girls decided we wanted to get some lunch, so we left the guys to do their thing and we found this great sandwich shop, Reubens on the same street that goes to the beach.  The shop was very small but had some prime seats that faced  out onto the road so you could do some serious people watching while enjoying your delicious sandwich – if you visit Sayulita be sure to stop as it is well worth it and the service was very good.

After lunch we all met up at the beach and spent the afternoon sipping cold beers and fending off the countless vendors that stroll the beach non-stop.  The waves were not exceptionally big this visit so the surfers were mostly just hanging out waiting for even the smallest wave that they could ride in.

Overall the visit to Sayulita was great but I have to say I was happy to be back to sleepy little Lo de Marcos and being able to walk down the beach without a soul in view and just enjoy the sounds of the waves and best of all no traffic.  I thought about staying in Sayulita prior to this visit but now I would not even consider it, it has grown so fast and is so crowded now it has lost the small town charm  that I am drawn to and I imagine it won’t be long before it is just an extension of Puerto Vallarta but it is worth a visit and I will pay a visit next year to see how all the improvements have turned out.

Til next time

Michelle

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The delightful and pretty little town of San Pancho, Mexico

The first Sunday we were in Mexico, we did a day trip from Lo de Marcos to another little town about 15 minutes south called San Pancho and also known as San Francisco.  Though still small it offered many more restaurants and delightful little shops to poke around in.  There is a lot more traffic in comparison to Lo de Marcos which you can easily wander down the street and only have to more over to the side of the road for the occasional car.  In San Pancho it is better to use the rugged sidewalks, often being in a bit of disrepair, but they are working on improving the roads and sidewalks in some areas. 

If you walk down the main street you will end up at the beach, which is breath-taking but more crowded than Lo de Marcos.  It is scattered with beach chairs, loungers and colourful umbrellas provided by the adjacent beach restaurants. There are some vendors at the entrance to the beach that sell some really nice hand crafted items such as jewellery made with leather and silver and painted pottery, and beautiful hand-woven table clothes and runners.  The vendors are not in the least bit persistent like some of the bigger beaches in the Puerto Vallarta area.  There is a lovely beach restaurant ‘La Ola Rica’  which has been in operation for 15 years now.  They have delicious pina coladas served in mason jars, the beers are reasonable at 20 pesos for a Pacifico.  On Sundays there is a Cuban band that plays in the late afternoon and a dance floor on the sand for those that just want to get up and dance.  We came back the following Thursday and had lunch at this restaurant – shrimp quesadias which were delicious and the fish tacos are also very good.  They serve huge hamburgers too that looked fantastic they also have great guacamole.  I look forward to returning next year.

There are also a couple of restaurants on the main street that serve really good coffees and lattes which I was totally craving.  There is a new restaurant that was to open today in fact ‘Zedeco’s’ which is owned by some Americans from New Orleans and the restaurant will specialize in Cajun fair. By what they told us it is going to make you feel like you are in the heart of New Orleans, so another restaurant to visit on my return.

For dinner we went to ‘The Blue Pig’ and feasted on some wonderful barbecued ribs, baked beans, coleslaw and potato salad and delicious garlic toast and great staff. This is definitely a restaurant to visit if you love ribs, a bit more pricey then some of the restaurants but well worth it.

The Sunday evening that we were in San Pancho there was a Jazz Festival in the town park, some very talented bands played along with our friends from the RV parks ‘The Sons of Beaches’.  It was a very fun atmosphere and an area to dance as well.  Be sure to bring some good bug spray though as there are little no see-ums that bite the heck out of your ankles and legs and if you have a lawn chair even better but there are a number of park benches to park yourself on. 

San Pancho is really a sweet little town that is home to many artists, very friendly people,  and a number of different types of accommodation from bungalows, small hotels and houses to rent. The energy was  really good there and I completely felt at home  perhaps the creative air that was very apparent and I could definitely see myself spending a lot more time there. It is so great that you can fly to Puerto Vallarta and catch a bus from the airport and stay in a small town and really soak up the local culture.  I look forward to visiting again next year.

Until next time

Michelle

The tranquille little town of Lo de Marcos

Sunset in Lo de Marcos

I have just returned from a lovely two-week vacation in Lo de Marcos, Mexico which is located about 1.5 hours north of Puerto Vallarta.  I have friends that have been to Lo de Marcos a number of times and they raved about what a wonderful little piece of heaven it was so I decided to meet up with them this year.  It is a small, quiet little town for sure but it has a number of RV parks scattered along the beach and some  have bungalows for rent. The RVers spend 3-4 months, and the bungalows are great for friends that are coming for just a week or two.  We stayed in bungalows at El Pequino Paraiso one of the RV parks at the south end of Lo de Marcos.  It was a very nice location, just a short walk to the mostly deserted beach and the bungalows were clean and had cooking facilities and a nice balcony, nothing fancy but certainly adequate and the price was definitely right at approximately $35 CAD a night.  It is a bit of walk into town may be 15 minutes at a slow pace.

It reminded me a bit of Barra de Navidad, only smaller, where you can walk on the streets and when a car comes by you just move over to the side.  There is only one out of the 3 main streets that is paved with cement and only a few cars parked on the side here and there.  There are some good restaurants in town – Luna’s Pizza which just opened recently, and is run by a young man from Italy and his lovely wife and another friend from England.  The italian fare is unbelievable, you would think that you were in Italy not a sleepy little town in Mexico.  The pizza was authentic italian style,delicious thin crust and the spinach salad incredible.  They offered a number of other Italian dishes and a special of the day – if you visit Lo de Marcos you definitely have to stop in there. Every night there was waits to eat there, and the service was always great and friendly.  .

Another fun place especially on Wednesday evenings was Tia Juana’s when they had live entertainment and the restaurant was filled to capacity with snowbirds enjoying the tunes from the band Sons of Beaches – a group of retirees from British Columbia and the US who have a love for music and play together during their stay in Mexico.

A great place for breakfast was Clarita’s, it is only open Thursday through Sunday another place where you may have to wait for a table.

The beaches are clean and very few people except when the waves get big and then it becomes a little bit of a boogie board haven along with a few surfers.  There is a surf shop in town next to Claritas for those wanting to rent a board and try out the surf. The locals are very friendly and helpful and I never felt unsafe walking along the streets at night.  If you like a quiet beautiful atmosphere and just want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the bigger tourist areas, Lo de Marcos is an excellent choice. You can catch a local bus right from the airport for 40 pesos and it will drop you off right at the town centre.

I will be posting about some of the surrounding towns we visited in the next couple of days.

Til next  time

Michelle