- Visited: February 2020
- Time spent: 7 nights
- 6 friends
- Accommodation: Villa through Airbnb in the north of Sayulita: $3,728.40 (in total)
- Flights: we flew direct from Chicago with United and American for around $700 (per person)
- Car rental: $620 (in total)
- Food, drink (miscellaneous, e.g. gas/petrol): approx. $240 pp
- Total spend per person: $1,665 (per person)
- Boat day trip: $95 pp x 2
- All currency in US$ unless otherwise specified
In previous years we have paid around $400 for flights from Chicago to Puerto Vallarta (PV), so we were horrified at the cost this year (2020). Chatting to Americans we met during our stay, it sounds like it was expensive from other American cities too. I was able to get one leg of the journey through points so paid about $450 for flights. You can obviously get cheaper flights with one or two stops or by leaving/arriving in the middle of the night, but we’ve done those and decided we’re too old for that anymore!
We rented a car through Gecko, who I would highly recommend. We used them the last time we were staying just outside of Puerto Vallarta two years ago, and had positive experiences both times. They speak fluent English, are super friendly, and everything was very smooth and easy.
Saying that, getting to their office from the airport was slow. We had to queue up for about 45 minutes outside (in the shade) to get a mini-van to take us to their offices just a 5 minute drive away. But I think this is how you get to any rental car place or resort, I don’t think it was just Gecko.
It is very popular to rent golf carts to get around Sayulita. These are not cheap at around $70 a day but they are perfect for pottering around. There is also very limited parking in the town center, but you’d have better luck with a golf cart.
Where To stay
I would HIGHLY recommend staying in Sayulita. We have stayed in some beautiful all-inclusive resorts in PV, but when these started getting out of our price range, we looked at Airbnb options. Two years ago we rented a lovely house just outside Bucerias, but had to drive everywhere and we also weren’t that impressed with the food options.
Sayulita is THE CUTEST little town – it is so brightly colored and hung with papel picado and yarn crafts. There are loads of little coffee shops, restaurants and bars. It is all very walk-able. It is touristy in the sense that there were lots of tourists there, but very much with a hipster, trendy, instagram-vibe. It’s no Cancun. Pretty much everyone in the service industry either was a native English speaker or spoke excellent English. We tried to speak Spanish but were often replied to in English!
Our villa ‘Casa del Sol’ was incredible! It is three separate apartments which you can rent separately or all together. Private pool, views over the lush mountains and out towards the sea. Stunning sunsets. We are already looking into renting it again next year!
One word of warning would be the incredibly steep hill it was on. Sayulita is surrounded by hills/mountains, so if you are not based in the town, there will be some sort of hill. It was pretty scary driving up and down this hill, it was that steep. It was also cobbled, which made walking it a bit tricky, especially in sandals or in the dark. I also wouldn’t like to try driving a golf cart up and down, although our neighbors did it just fine!
Obviously, Spanish is spoken by the locals in Mexico. However, English was widely spoken – even when arriving at the airport. All our servers, tour guides on the boats etc. spoke English. The only time we really had to speak Spanish was with the housekeeper who came daily to clean the villa.
The currency in Mexico is the peso. I am so glad that I read PS I’m On My Way’s Sayulita tips, as she had warned that most places only accept pesos, and that the ATMs in Sayulita often run out. We got pesos from the ATMs in the airport when we arrived. The only time we were able to pay with a card was at the big Mega supermarket. Everything else (tours, meals out), we had to pay with cash. I took out 3,000 pesos ($187 USD) and it was perfect for 6 evening meals out and a few lunches.
Food and Drinks
We stopped at the Mega supermarket as we were leaving Puerto Vallarta and stocked up on the essentials: breakfast foods, tequila and rum 😉 We made one more run back to Mega during our week’s stay and bought a few things at the local OXXO too. We spent about $350 for the week for 6 people, which is pretty cheap.
I was really impressed with all the meals we had out during our stay. Read more about the amazing restaurants in Sayulita here – suffice to say that you will be eating and drinking well during your stay!
I’ll also do a post talking about the two boat trips I went on – which one was best and why!
Any questions about Sayulita? Drop me a line in the comments or email me directly at email@example.com