Not sure how this is my first travel related blog post! Hopefully the first of many!
We haven’t travelled much since the pandemic, or since having a little one. This was our first time traveling without Daisy, which is part of the reason why we only went away for four nights. We planned this super last minute (~3ish weeks prior to leaving), and it was actually the most perfect little vacay!
This actually came about because we were really itching to get away, tired of cold weather, and just needed a little break. We are approaching our 5th anniversary and could take a few days off work, so it seemed like a great time for a little getaway!
I’m a big fan of just looking for the cheapest flights to any destination on Skyscanner, and just typed our potential dates and the cheapest flight that came up from Toronto was to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. We’ve never been resort people, but we have done a lot of backpacking through Central/South America, and I seem to remember a lot of people talking about how much they loved backpacking through Mexico and getting outside of the resort hot-spots. I did a quick Pinterest search and came across a small-ish chill surf town called Sayulita, which is 45 minutes away from away from the airport, and it seemed like the most perfect destination for what we were wanting for this quick little trip!
Exploring Riviera Nayarit
Riviera Nayarit is long stretch of stunning coastline along the pacific ocean. When doing more research about the area, we couldn’t decide between the little towns of Sayulita and San Pancho (which are only ~20 minutes away from each other), so we chose both! Two hotels for 4 nights is probably not ideal for most, but we always love a little adventure! We heard that San Pancho was slightly more chill & relaxing than Sayulita, so we decided to start in Sayulita, and end in San Pancho to relax a bit before heading home.
We arrived late at night, so we booked an airport shuttle to get to our hotel so that we didn’t need to figure out car rentals or taxis when we got there.
We spent two nights at the most gorgeous boutique hotel called Distrito 88. It has two pools, a great little restaurant, and the most beautiful suites with stunning views. We had the best time relaxing by the pool, and it felt like we were the only ones there! Distrito 88 was also within walking distance from town, and was in a really quiet and safe area that overlooked the ocean. It was actually super affordable, and probably the best service we have ever received at a hotel – ever!
In terms of things to do, Sayulita has lots of options! It’s a great beginner surf spot, and has a few great beaches. We didn’t end up going surfing on this trip, but wished we did, and definitely want to go back.
We did spend a lot of time wandering around and checking out all of the cute little shops and market stands. We also spent a lot of time eating! The food options felt endless, and it was so hard to decide where to eat at each meal.
- Yah Yah Cafe for breakfast/coffee
- El Itacate for Tacos
- Tacos Tal Ivan
- Orangy for smoothie bowls.
After two nights in Sayulita, we grabbed a 20 minute taxi from Sayulita to San Pancho and checked into the sweetest little Eco Boutique hotel called Maari Hotel Boutique. It felt like a little jungle escape in the middle of town, and I loved all of the sustainable touches and use of bamboo in the suites. They also had the most wonderful restaurant called Cafe Flora, that had delicious coffee and fresh juices, and also the most amazing french toast – best we’ve ever had!
We absolutely loved San Pancho. It was a little more laid back than Sayulita, and felt much more relaxing. We wandered around the town a lot and did a lot of eating there too! We loved the tacos and guac at San Pancho Marino, the pizza at Dolce Jardin, Mezcal Margaritas at la Cerveceria Artesenal, and went to the Churro stand on the street multiple times!
We also spent a lot of time at the gorgeous pool in our hotel. They don’t have a ton of rooms, so it feels really secluded. It was super quiet and so relaxing!
Beach Club Day
Since we had a full day after checking out before our flight home, we decided to get a day pass to the Tierra Tropical Beach Club. We chilled on loungers by the beach, swam in the infinity pool, and ate some delicious food from their restaurant. It was a bougie and wonderful way to spend our last day in paradise!
Overall we had such an amazing trip. We didn’t do a ton in the little time we had, but it was wonderful and relaxing, and just what we wanted! Would definitely recommend if you’re looking for a safe, chill, and affordable getaway destination. We are seriously considering taking Daisy back there! It felt super safe, easy to get around, and I saw so many families with toddlers and tiny babies in carriers. There’s definitely a lot more to see and do in the area and in Puerto Vallarta as well. We are currently trying to convince our family and friends to go back in a larger group!
Trip Planning Tips
- Book hotels directly with the hotel if you can – it’s better for them, and you typically get a better deal. Also Maari hotel gives you free breakfast if you book directly with them!
- You can definitely rent a car here, but in the tinier towns you definitely don’t need it. Especially if your hotel is close by, you can pretty much walk everywhere
- Bring pesos – sometimes the ATMs were a little tricky/out of order, so I recommend bringing a decent amount of cash with you.
- For people used to staying in resorts, it can maybe feel a little sketchy to have to eat outside of the hotel – but there are soooo many wonderful places to eat. I recommend doing some research beforehand to scope out some places you think you’ll like! We definitely had decision fatigue with all of the options some days!
If you have any questions or are considering going and want more info, please feel free to reach out!