Have you ever wanted to live close to the beach, surrounded by tacos and palm trees? Then Sayulita is for you. An hour outside of Puerto Vallarta, the small town has everything one could need (or almost). Even if it’s not always quiet, the beach is a great place to relax. And during the dry season (winter), you don’t have to worry about the rain since it’s sunny almost every day. Which means you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy the water.
How did we end up in Sayulita? Well, we knew we wanted to go to Mexico since Chris has a friend here. But we would only spend a week in Mexico City/Puebla, and then we had two months that we had to spend somewhere else. After looking online and reading some blogs, we narrowed it down to Playa del Carmen or Sayulita/San Pancho. Since we don’t like very crowded and touristy places and we prefer an authentic experience, we decided to visit the west coast. Then from reading online about San Pancho, it became clear that the internet there was too slow to work on, so Sayulita it was!
Note that the currency exchange at the time was 15 pesos for $1US
Getting to Sayulita
The best way to get to Sayulita is to land at the Puerto Vallarta International Airport. Depending on where you’re coming from, the price will vary. Since we decided to visit Mexico City first, we arrived from there. Flights with Interjet can be pretty cheap, so if you decide to travel within the country, I would recommend checking them out. We flew twice with them (Costa Rica to Mexico, then Mexico City to Puerto Vallarta), and we never had any problems. We spent $82US each for the flight.
Once you arrive in Puerto Vallarta, you can either take a taxi or the bus. Of course, one is cheaper than the other; it all depends on how much money you want to spend. We took the bus, which was fairly easy and much cheaper. Outside of the airport to the left, there is a bridge crossing the highway. You simply have to cross it and wait for the bus on the other side. I expected a bus terminal, but there wasn’t one. It was just a stop on the side of the road. Look for the white and green buses that say Compestela and make sure it says Sayulita on the windshield. One ticket costs 35 pesos ($2US) whereas taking a taxi from the airport could have costed us from 500 pesos ($33US) to 800 pesos ($53US) (all depending on if you take the more expensive airport taxi or one on the street). For more information about how to get to Sayulita, visit Sayulita Life.
Because we couldn’t find a place to stay online, we simply arrived in Sayulita and booked a hostel until we found a more permanent location. We met a lady on the bus who told us where she was staying, so we followed her and ended up at Lush. I don’t regret that choice! The hostel was comfortable and for 250 pesos/night ($16US), it was great value.
Read Chris’ post on how to find an affordable apartment in Sayulita if you would like more info on that.
In the high season, we were lucky to find an apartment for 7,000 pesos ($415US) a month. It’s cheap for what we have, even though the internet is not perfect, and the shower lacks some hot water (which we think are quite common problems for the area). But we have a nice kitchen, a comfortable bed and everything else that we need.
If you’re not interested in having internet or you don’t care where you’re staying, you can find cheaper apartments. We were offered a place for $250US a month, but it didn’t have what we needed. It all depends on what you’re looking for.
On our first days here, we had to eat three meals a day in restaurants. If you’re going to do that for a long time, it can get expensive very fast. Depending on the type of food you like to eat, you’ll have to pay between $3US and $20US a person. Where are you going to find a meal for $3US? Street food. They have hamburgers and tacos that you can get for this amount. Don’t expect a lot of vegetables, though. For a standard sit-down restaurant, you can expect you meal to be around $10US. If you’re going for something fancier, that’s when you’ll hit the $20US.
There’s plenty of restaurants in the city, most of them offering local Mexican food, but you can also find Italian Restaurants and pizza places.
On average, we go out once a week and spend around $20US for two people.
Groceries are a bit more complicated here. There are a lot of stores, and not all of them have the same things. What you can find in one, you might not find in another, so sometimes you have to go to all of them. It’s hard at first, especially when you’re trying to cook something a bit fancy. After a few weeks though, we finally learned what we could find where, so things are a bit easier. If you’re having difficulties, you can always read my post about where to eat in Sayulita. Take the time to compare the prices, because they can vary a little bit depending on the stores. There’s not one that is really cheaper than the other ones. For example, alcohol can be cheaper somewhere, but they’ll have pricey pasta. On average, the two of us spent around $400-500US per month on groceries, which includes around $60US for a few bottles of wine and tequila.
For water, we buy it in a convenience store close to our house. A jug is 28 pesos ($1.86US), and it lasts us for a good 3-4 days. It’s not a really big investment, but at the end of the month, it’s still 280 pesos ($18US).
Unfortunately, I still had to do a trip to the doctor. What’s the good news then? It’s not that expense! A consultation with the doctor costs only 200 pesos ($13US). Pills are usually cheaper than in North America too!
We ended up buying two paddleboards that we plan to sell at the end of our time here, which were about $750US each. In the end, this won’t really be an expense, since we plan on selling them for the same price, but it’s something we needed the money for and that you might want to consider, since renting one is $10/hour.
We didn’t have to pay for laundry here since there is a machine in our building, but there are a few places around town to do that. One of them charges you 30 pesos ($2US) for washing and 40 pesos ($2.50US) for drying.
So every month, we spend on average $960US on food and rent for two people. I don’t count plane tickets, transportation or any kind of touristic activity.
- Ciel 1.5L water bottle: 11 pesos ($0.73US)
- Sandwich bread bag: 24 pesos ($1.60US)
- Fresh bread: 25 pesos ($1.66US)
- Salted butter 200g: 51 pesos ($3.40US)
- Small bag of rice: 18.50 pesos ($1.20US)
- Instant Noodles : 6 pesos ($0.40US)
- Whole barbequed chicken with rice and salad: 120 pesos ($8US)
- Half a kilo of ground beef: 58 pesos ($3.86US)
- Taco: 35 pesos ($2.33US)
- 3-4 Bananas: 13 pesos ($0.86US)
- Barilla pasta 500g: 15 pesos ($1US)
- Spagetthi Sauce 24oz: 58 pesos ($3.86US)
- Cheddar Cheese (400g): 60 pesos ($4US)
- 20 flour tortillas: 22 pesos ($1.46US)
- Argentinian wine: 90 pesos ($6US)
- Tequila bottle 100% agave: 115 pesos ($6.33US)
- Ice Cream Bucket (1L): 35 pesos ($2.33US)
- 4 toilet paper roll: 34 pesos ($2.26US)
- Sunscreen 236ml : 185 pesos ($12.33US)
- Hammock: 350 pesos ($23US) (don’t forget to negotiate for the best price!)
I hope this helps you plan your trip! If you have any questions or would like info about anything, send me an email and I’ll be happy to help you!