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Sayulita, Mexico: A Delightful Hippie Town that Everyone Loves

Updated: Apr 26



We are in Sayulita, Mexico. As you can see in the video above, I can't recall the last time I had such a delightful time wandering, exploring, and photographing a town. The thrill of discovering its hidden gems, along with the stunning views of the ocean and jungle and the rustic charm of this endearingly unpolished town, has made for a truly memorable experience.



Sayulita is a charming beach town on the Pacific coast of Mexico, about 25 miles north of Puerto Vallarta. Despite its modest size, Sayulita attracts a colorful mix of tourists from both the United States and Canada as well as from Mexico.



After having been in the arid highlands of central Mexico for several weeks, we were yearning for the coast and delighted to be in Sayulita. While the town itself might be the first thing to catch your eye, its real beauty lies in the stunning natural landscape surrounding it. Nestled between lush jungles and impressive rock formations along the coastline, Sayulita offers gorgeous vistas and is well-known for its lively surf culture.



The warm waters and pleasant climate are perfect for surfing. The waves are known for being both powerful and playful, providing great surfing for both beginners and seasoned surfers alike. And although Sayulita is a surfer's paradise, it is also thought of as a "Hippie Town."



When I first walked the streets of Sayulita, it triggered a memory of my first encounter with the hippie culture. When I was 14, and living in the suburbs of D.C., I got on my bike one day and impulsively decided to ride downtown to Georgetown, a place I'd heard a lot about. It was 1968, and at that time the streets of Georgetown were bustling with hippies - their long hair flowing and protest signs in hand - it was vibrant and alive beyond my wildest imaginings.



Despite my uncertainty and reservations about my spur-of-the-moment visit, I was struck by an unexpected sense of comfort and safety. In a city like D.C., where safety was not always assured, these streets felt strangely familiar and welcoming. The warm greetings from people meant the world to me at that time, and from that moment on, I felt a profound connection to the essence of the hippie movement. Although I wasn't a card-carrying member of the hippies then, they welcomed me and extended immense kindness to a wide-eyed 14-year-old who felt like he had just stepped into his own starring movie scene. Experiencing a glimpse of the hippie culture firsthand was a remarkable experience for me, and perhaps the most exhilarating encounter of my young life.



Now, 56 years since that memorable bike ride into Georgetown, I tend not to categorize myself, but it's safe to say that by most standards, I was a hippie back in the day, and in many ways, I still embody that spirit. While I typically avoid aligning myself with any particular group - be it religious, spiritual, political, or otherwise - I still find comfort in the principles and ideals of the hippie culture that shaped my formative years. To me, it was always about simplicity - focusing on love, compassion, kindness, and inclusivity. Unfortunately, our long hair, experimentation with "certain substances," and our distinct style of clothing and music often overshadowed our core values in the eyes of mainstream America. However, the fundamental beliefs of the hippie movement - focusing on love, kindness, compassion, and empathy - still deeply resonate with me today. I continue to hope for their broader acceptance in mainstream culture, especially in our current times.



And it is this hippie vibe of kindness and inclusivity that you immediately feel in Sayulita. This spirit permeates the town and creates a welcoming atmosphere where acceptance and kindness are integral to the community. Almost instantly, it feels as though you have become part of a community that enfolds you in a warm embrace.



Enhancing the spirit of inclusivity in Sayulita is the town's demographic diversity, which includes not only American, Canadian, and international visitors and expats but also a significant Mexican and indigenous population. The range of ages, from young adults in their 20s to seniors in their 70s and older, adds a vibrant and refreshing dynamic to the community.



In Sayulita, there are no dress codes. The only code here is about community, kindness, compassion, and inclusivity. You'll see people of all ages dressed in t-shirts, shorts, and flip-flops mingling comfortably with those in nice dresses and sport jackets - a testament to the enduring influence of the wonderful hippie spirit in Sayulita.



Sayulita enchants with its bohemian-style architecture. The streets are adorned with striking murals and street art, adding to its artistic and free-spirited ambiance. The slightly weathered and eclectic buildings exude a unique charm, further enhancing its bohemian appeal.



One of the highlights of Sayulita is its incredible cuisine, particularly its famed fish tacos - a must-try for any visitor. One could spend two weeks here and be very happy eating nothing but fish tacos, and of course, washing them down with the occasional margarita.



Despite its quirks and imperfections, Sayulita's appeal lies in its unique character and its acceptance of imperfections. It transcends its individual elements to become something greater than the sum of its parts. While it may not be flawless, its beauty, charm, and the delight one feels while wandering through its streets make it a truly special destination. Sayulita may not conform to the traditional definition of picturesque, but its unconventional beauty and undeniable charm make it a delightful place to explore.



Sayulita certainly offers a sanctuary from the fast-paced and frequently divisive outside world, serving as a clear reminder that there are still places where compassion triumphs over conflict, and open hearts have the power to heal. It represents more than just a place; it embodies a mindset, a way of life that champions compassion and acceptance. It provides a peaceful break from a world that often appears consumed by fear, which unfortunately manifests as hate. Sayulita stands as evidence that empathy and acceptance can still thrive in our modern world.



In this idyllic setting, where the soft sands of the beach meet swaying palm trees, you’ll find a remarkable community deeply committed to kindness and mutual respect.



And to all the hippies, both young and old, a heartfelt thanks for playing such a significant role in shaping this welcoming, joyful, and peaceful environment. It’s a truly magical experience for all who visit.



 

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8 Comments


Hi Simcha and Carla, I enjoyed this blog entry very much. We spent a nice day there several years ago and had a hilarious bus ride back to Puerto Vallarta.

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Simcha
Simcha
Apr 27
Replying to

Hi Jerry . . . and thank you. I'm happy that you enjoyed the blog, and also nice to hear that you've had the chance to experience Sayulita. With its size, you can certainly cover a lot of ground in a day. Of course, now I'm intrigued about your hilarious bus ride back to Puerto Vallarta, which by the way is where we'll be spending some time beginning next Wednesday. We're looking forward to it.

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Guest
Apr 26

Yes, I'm also interested in your take about settling down here and cost of living.

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Simcha
Simcha
Apr 26
Replying to

Sayulita offers a relaxed, laid-back environment where the use of a car is unnecessary. The lifestyle really promotes outdoor activities - enjoying meals outdoors, walking everywhere, spending time on the beach, and exploring fantastic jungle hiking trails. The nearest airport, located in Puerto Vallarta, is about 40 minutes away, which might be important for some. The local dining scene is excellent, and as mentioned in the blog, the people are friendly and the community is diverse. While it’s unlikely to be our final settling place - not because of any shortcomings in Sayulita, as it remains our favorite spot in Mexico - we are drawn to exploring more of Europe and Asia. Living across the pond makes more sense for…


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Guest
Apr 26

Me thinks there’s a budding romance a brewing with this town

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Simcha
Simcha
Apr 26
Replying to

We genuinely love Sayulita. While it offers many appealing aspects for a full-time living situation, we wouldn’t choose to live there permanently as it's a bit too small for our tastes. However, it's absolutely delightful for a visit.

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Guest
Apr 26

I’m interested in your sense of cost of living versus Nashville, especially real estate, dining, grocery, etc. And having followed for some time, how do you rate the overall appeal for making this your home versus the best locations you traveled in Europe (Portugal, Spain). Thanks!

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Simcha
Simcha
Apr 26
Replying to

Hi there! I can only offer a very subjective perspective on living in Sayulita, based on our 17-day stay, so it's not entirely comprehensive. Here's a brief rundown: Compared to Nashville, the cost of living in Sayulita is noticeably lower. Nashville is rapidly growing and becoming increasingly expensive almost daily. Sayulita, on the other hand, provides a relaxed, laid-back setting where you can easily forgo using a car. The lifestyle allows for more outdoor activities - dining outside, walking everywhere, enjoying the beach, and exploring fantastic hiking trails. The nearest airport, in Puerto Vallarta, is about 40 minutes away, if that's a consideration for you. For more detailed information on real estate, groceries, dining, etc., I recommend checking out three…


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