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Our New Favorite Mexican Getaway

Every so often, you just need to get away. Maybe your heart's been recently broken, or you're suffering from BlackBerry burnout, or you just can't stand the monotony of another day in the life.  In these times, it can be a challenge to put together a vacation that won't end up leaving you further enslaved to the man.  For a little help in this regard, we've enlisted the expertise of our NYC-based friends, The Lazy Travelers, who have put together a trip so delicious-sounding that we actually wept a bit upon reading what follows: 

While we love New York, we love it even more after coming back from a nice, relaxing vacation—preferably somewhere warm, tropical, and with little umbrellas in our drinks.  Our current vacation fantasies take place in Sayulita, Mexico. About 45 minutes north of Puerto Vallarta, Sayulita is the quintessential laid-back surfer town, catering to locals and expats alike. But don’t be fooled—Sayulita has more to offer tourists than great surfing (and hot surfers!). With its natural beauty and beachfront restaurants, Sayulita has all the perks of life-off-the-beaten-track, yet still remains one of the safest places to visit in Mexico.   

How to get there: An easy-breezy, three-hour flight from LAX to Puerto Vallarta plus a 45-minute drive from the airport makes Sayulita the perfect long-weekend escape. Flights are around $350. 

Where to stay: Sayulita prides itself in never caving to the chain resort, and luckily for us that means most places don’t have to cave to resort prices, either. “Eco-chic” hotel Playa Escondida encapsulates everything Sayulita prides itself in. Prices are as low as $145 per night in the off-peak, and with all the activities they have to offer, you’ll never miss the cookie-cutter feel of a larger resort. Another option with even better prices: Hotel La Casona, which offers bright, clean, and adorably decorated rooms from $60 to $100 per night.

Where to catch some waves: Sayulita may be famous for its surf, but other beaches within close proximity (and with smaller crowds) are La Lancha, Burrows, and Punta de Mita. If you don’t want to experience the trouble of flying your surfboard down with you, the top spot for renting is Quiverito (Little Quiver). Go vintage, retro, or modern, and rent short or long-term depending on your itinerary. If you, like us, are positive you couldn’t so much as stand up on a beached surfboard, Captain Pablo’s Adventures offers lessons for $35 per person and rentals starting as low as $5 per hour.

Where to catch some rays: When you’ve had enough surfing (and cursing Captain Pablo), you’ll need a place to nap in the sun. Because the residents of Sayulita make it their goal to protect the environment, they aim to keep their community—and their beaches—as natural and untouched as possible. This means you can skip the hotel pool and take to the beach for the perfect place to sit back and enjoy the sound of the waves… pale skin be damned. A few beaches we’d like to snooze on: Playa de Los Muertos, Playa Carricitos, and our personal favorites: Playas Patzcuaro and Patzcuarito. For directions and more beaches, check out SayulitaLife.com.

Where to get toned: In addition to its gorgeous beaches, Sayulita is home to some serious hiking trails.  Most of the trails lead you from jungle to beach and back again, so you can get the best of both worlds. If you're really looking for an active day that doesn’t include lazy beach time, try the Monkey Mountain hike or the hill hike towards San Pancho (and, we're glad we're not traveling with you!). 

Where to explore: If you’re looking to venture out a bit, Sayulita Jose offers fishing trips and surf tours to nearby beaches at seriously impressive prices.

Where to shop: Sayulita is no Fifth Avenue, but that’s part of its charm. Focus your energy on the artisanal shops and beach vendors that carry jewelry, artwork, and locally-made gifts.

Where to dine: Because of its small-town charm, your best bet is to stroll along the beach and pop in at one of the small, family-owned spots. While part of the allure of Sayulita is stumbling upon these hidden gems, we particularly recommend Capitan Cook. The ceviche is a local fave.  Sayulita surfers prefer to grub at ChocoBanana which, contrary to what you might think, is actually known for great veggie burgers.  Sayulita Fish Tacos is another must-try, if for no other reason than that the restaurant boasts 250 different bottles of tequila. 

Where to watch the sun go down: After dinner, fill & refill your glass at Don Pedro’s for late-night, on-the-beach debauchery. 

Mar 20, 2012 - 07:45 AM

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