Editor’s Note: This Sayulita northside mini guide aims to show you what’s around you if you ever want to book accommodations or buy a home in the north of town. We did not mention any accommodations here but you’ll have a general feel of what this area is about.
Hello! We are looking to buy a house but we are not in Sayulita yet. The realtor said it’s in the “north” of town but I have no idea what that’s like. Is it a good neighborhood for travelers and expats? I would like to get your opinion since I cannot travel yet at this time. We are very positive about buying the house but I just want to know the area. Thank you!
ANDREW WILLISON, USA
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The ever-growing town of Sayulita continues to expand at a rapid rate, providing more and more necessities to its local residents and a continuous flow of visitors from all over the world. This former fishing village located about 45 minutes north of Puerto Vallarta has grown so much and draws in more and more tourists every year, we at the Sayulita insider felt it was time to create the first neighborhood guide, or as it’s referred to here, guia del barrio, to help answer your questions about our charming, colorful beach town.
We have approximately 9 neighborhoods: Northside, Central, Southside, Gringo Hill, Mangal, Avestruz, Tortuga, Ninos Heros, and Punta Sayulita. The northside runs northeast of the Sayulita river and north of Ave. Revolution and is primarily residential at its northernmost parts but has plenty to offer its visitors and residents.
Sayulita Northside ATMs
Sayulita northside is definitely not home to an abundance of ATMs, however, there are a few around that can save you when you find out that the restaurant you just treated the family to. Like most places in Sayulita, is cash only and all you have in your wallet is your MasterCard, Visa, and bank debit card. You can find one stand-alone close to the stretch of restaurants at Avenida del Palmar where it crosses with Calle Miramar under a green awning marked “ATM” next to a cafe; but beware, this ATM dispenses American dollars, which are easily accepted in most places in Sayulita, however, at a usually at a very poor exchange rate.
Tip: Always check the ATM because some, especially Intercam ATMs often dispense either Mexican Pesos or American dollars, if the ATM does not specify, it will dispense Mexican pesos, and the rate of exchange can be determined by calling the phone number or checking the website posted on the machine. Sometimes, a higher ATM fee can cost you less if the exchange rate is better than one with a lower fee.
You can also find an ATM inside of a tienda on Calle Miramar halfway between Calle Manuel Rodriguez Sanchez and Ave. del Palmar with a yellow sign above a white awning saying “cerveza fria/cold beer”. This store is called Mini Chewbacca. If you head away from the beach towards the main drag, Ave. Revolution and head east (as if you were leaving town and going in the direction of the highway), you will find and Intercam bank, which is the only actual physical bank located in Sayulita. It houses 2 ATM machines (one for pesos and one for dollars) inside an air-conditioned booth easily located in a building that is also home to Sayu´s only hospital and a fitness center. It is accessible 24 hours a day, not to mention, one of my favorites on a hot day!
There is an abundance of these stores on the Northside, which are comparable to bodegas in New York City. These are popular for cold beverages, beer, ice, cigarettes, candy, and chips plus other food and home items you may find in your home town 7eleven, minus the ¨slurpees¨ unfortunately!
There are a few located on the main street Ave. Revolution, and a few more one block towards the beach on Calle Miramare and Calle Playa Azul, and the two closest to the beach are on Calle Miramar and Calle Playa Azul between Calle Manuel Rodriguez Sanchez and Ave. del Palmar perfect for all your needs for a day on the beach.
In addition to purchasing beer in the local tiendas, you can find a specialty liquor store on the corner of calle Playa Azul and calle Manuel Rodriguez Sanchez that has an excellent selection of craft beers, specialty tequilas, and mezcal alongside any liquor or beer you are searching for. There is another liquor store across the street next to a tienda ready and waiting to stock your cooler on your way to the beach.
In Sayulita, there really is nothing comparable to a traditional grocery store that we ex-pats are accustom to for all our food requirements, hence the need to visit a carnicería or butcher shop if you find yourself in the mood for a steak or another type of meat. The Northside is home to only one carnicería located on Calle Miramar one block away from Ave Revolution heading towards the beach on the right side of the street.
Although the Northside runs along a vast stretch of beach, it is not home to any pescaderías, but the closest option is in Central on Ave Revolution just west of the bridge on the left side of the street just before Revolution splits into single direction roads that travel around the plaza.
Fruit and Vegetable Markets
Some fruits and vegetables can be purchased in the tiendas we previously covered, but the Northside does play home to Sayu´s largest vegetable market stocked with fresh fruits and veggies on Calle Manuel Rodriguez Sanchez mid-block as it branches of Revolution Ave directly across from the baseball/football field.
Restaurants and Cafes
You will never be short of places to get a bite to eat on the Northside, there are various beachside restaurants as you travel north on the beach parallel to Ave. del Palmar. These cater to all different levels of budget and dietary requirements ranging from Mexican-American, gourmet fusion, seafood, traditional Mexican. All are family-friendly, mostly dog friendly, and directly on the sandy shore of Playa Sayulita.
Ave. del Palmar is also a hotspot for dining with everything ranging from cafes great for coffee, breakfast, or a digital nomad´s office for the day, to a casual pizza joint or an elegant dinner for you and your significant other. There you can also find an ice cream shop and a French bakery down on Calle Miramar to soothe your sweet tooth. Most of the restaurants on Palmar are located between calle Playa Azul and Calle Coral.
Calle Playa Azul also hosts a handful of street food vendors lined alongside the baseball field offering a variety of inexpensive choices guaranteed to fulfill any craving you desire; from amazing burgers, to churros topped with your choice of sweet sauces, fresh fruit, or your favorite candy, plus traditional tacos and quesadillas. You can also find more choices for any given meal along Ave. Revolution including rotisserie and grilled chicken, sushi, traditional Mexican loncherias, a cafe with all your breakfast desires, and morning coffee requirements. Whatever you are craving, you are most likely to be able to fulfill it in one of the Northside´s many eating establishments.
Bars and Nightlife
Once the sun has set vibrant Sayulita comes alive in a whole new light. Drinking, dancing, and live music can be enjoyed throughout. Most visitors often want to enjoy an adult beverage while relaxing on the beach and enjoying the escape of daily life at home. Many of the restaurants mentioned above include a bar, but you can also find some places on the beach on the Northside that are simply drinking establishments, including a tiki beach bar near Calle Islas Marias, and another closer to town near the Calle Miramar entrance to the beach.
You might also like: Sayulita Nightlife Guide
There is even one beach bar that doubles as a habitat for local turtles! The beach club restaurants also offer bar service, some that will hand you your drink without leaving the comfort of your lounge chair in the sand. What more could one ask for while trying to make the most of a relaxing vacation?
Things can get tricky when you in a foreign country and you want to achieve what would normally be a simple task in your hometown, for example, laundry. The most popular way to get your salty, sandy, sweaty garments back in wearable condition is to stop by your neighborhood’s lavandería and leave your dirty items for what’s normally a 24 hour period but this may vary depending on the establishment. There are a few places that boast they have a quicker turn around time, but I have often found those lacking quality.
Laundry is inexpensive, based upon the weight of the total of items, which you will pay when you collect your clean clothes, but most perform a quality service leaving your things clean, soft, and smelling great. As far as self-laundry establishments, you will only find one located in Sayulita, which we will cover in our Southside guide. In the Northside, lavanderías are limited but you can find one green storefront on Calle Miramar mid-block between Ave. del Palmar and Calle Manuel Rodriguez Sanchez.
Mexico is well known for its availability of prescription medications, which makes most towns a haven for multiple pharmacies marked with signs advertising their long lists of available over-the-counter medications. Sayulita is no different as it is home to many Mexican pharmacies with long hours of operation, usually opening at 8 or 9 am and not closing until 10 or 11 pm.
The only 24-hour pharmacy in Sayu is located in the Northside attached to the private hospital on Ave Revolution in the building that also houses a fitness center and Sayulita’s only bank. Most of you needs can be met however through a standard pharmacy two of which can be found next to one another on Ave. Revolution between Calle Playa Azul and Calle Miramar, and another closer to the beach on midway up Calle Miramar.
Yoga and Fitness Centers
In Sayu, staying active is easy and quite popular with the two most common physical activities being surfing and yoga. In the north end, you can find a dive shop on Calle Miramar, and a surf shop on Ave. Revolucion that will gladly hook you up with equipment and lessons and/or tours and will have you on or in the water before you know it. You can also find multiple yoga studios there scattered throughout the barrio, ready and willing to help you achieve the body you will want to show off on the beach and the mindset that fits right into Sayulita´s laid back, hippie vibe.
Golf Cart Rentals
Although Sayulita is small enough to reach most destinations on foot, many residents and visitors find the ease of a golf cart most practical for all your transportation needs. In Sayu, you will find just as many electric powered golf carts roaming the streets as you will cars. The Northside is home to multiple rental agencies most of which you can find on Calle Miramar. But if your daily adventure requires further transportation, you can also find a bus station on Revolution and a taxi stand where Calle Manuel Rodriguez Sanchez meets Revolution by the bridge and a second stand near the beach on Calle Coral.
Everyone wants to look and feel their best when heading out to the many restaurants and nightlife venues, so a salon may be a necessity for you when visiting our pueblo. The Northend is definitely not a hotbed of these businesses but you can find a few here close to Ave. Revolution on Calle Miramar and Calle Coral.
In case you find yourself in need of a machete to open that coconut you found on the beach, or many other handy items, you may want to check out the two ferreterías located on the Northside, both found on the main street, Ave. Revolution.
Ferraterias are Mexico´s equivalent to your local hardware store. They may not be the size of a Home Depot, but they can often provide whatever you are looking for in case something went wrong in your AirBnB and your handy side wants to step in to satiate your frugal side to avoid and additional damage charges.
Other shops in Sayulita northside
Shopping is another popular activity amongst visitors and there’s plenty to browse here in Sayulita. The Northside is home to the famous ¨Hippie Market¨ with rows of local vendors selling their handmade crafts and clothing. You can also find the occasional boutique, a shoe shop, and Sayulita´s only thrift shop here on the Northside.