In a one-time sleepy fishing town on Mexico’s rainforested Pacific coast a boho crowd of dreamers and surfers has carved out a funky beach scene to nudge up against those of Tulum and Trancoso.
A little pocket of wave-strewn dreams, Sayulita tumbles off the Sierra Madre Mountains and out of the jungle, tousled and a little bit sleepy, blinking through the palms that fringe the beach and a hazy, lazy sea. Tucked off Highway 200, which carves the coast from the Guatemalan border all the way up Mexico’s Pacific shore, this tin-topped surf town beats the pulse of the Nayarit region; the daily rhythm set by the ocean waves. Moreover, the party is never far away in Sayulita, where the spirit is young and the charm comes from this friendly inclusiveness. Everyone knows everyone, shops and cafés open and close, people move in and out, and the sun shines.
Anywhere it is possible to live both in and out of the water produces a quality of relaxed bliss that cannot be manufactured or easily defined. In Sayulita, it comes from decades of barefoot hippies padding up the dusty streets, sea salt and sunshine touching every surface. All over town the stories echo the same dream. Across town, Katherine Londos is running the show at Los Corazones, a red-painted restaurant in the heart of town. She met her Mexican husband in Sayulita when she came for a holiday. ‘I quit my job back home in Oregon and we moved here. He cooks and we live across the street with our kids; it’s a beautiful place to be a family,’ she says. We eat sweet- potato chips and salsa, shrimps stuffed with mushrooms and the most tender fillet steak at a candlelit table outside as a procession dances up the street, percussion jingling.
Here, everything has been rinsed through with the elements – sea, sun, rain, wind, even the stars come down to earth in Sayulita, as fireflies glow through the foliage that ranges up the hill. This is a place of magnificent beauty, where a simple life is treasured and the hot Mexican tempo meets the hypnotic breath of the Pacific Ocean and makes a kind of magic.