Logistics. We were heading in the general direction of Puerto Vallarta. But we really wanted to go to Sayulita, a small surfing town about an hour north. We would have to drive right by the turnoff to Sayulita in order to get to Puerto Vallarta, but no buses operating from Guadalajara had an option to go to Sayulita. We could just turn right around upon arriving to Puerto Vallarta and get a bus back up north, so it wasn’t a lost cause, but we were lucky. I asked, but apparently didn’t get my point across, so we just piggybacked onto another couple that alighted at the turnoff to Sayulita, a couple of kilometres from the town itself. We luckily saw a taxi straight away, and completed our mission to disembark early.
We turned up at the Sayulita trailer park, located right on the beach. Next door there was another campground, but for the sake of security, power, and a real shower, we opted to pay a slight premium for our very own trailer site. We were paying 300 pesos a night, which isn’t particular cheap for a campsite, but Sayulita tends to have rather inflated prices, due, in part, to the large number of expats living there. Tacos ran closer to 20 pesos than 7, you could grab a smoothie for about 40, a cappuccino for 35, a margarita for 60, and a meal in a cheap restaurant for around 100. A number of holistic health and wellness practitioners operate out of the small town, charging essentially what you’d pay in the States for their services – aaround 60 USD for massage or acupuncture. Surfboard rentals were in the neighbourhood of 10-15 USD an hour / 30 USD a day. This is the first place we had been where English had been even remotely prevalent, and it was everywhere. Signs and menus were printed in both Spanish and English, and the majority of people we dealt with had a reasonably grasp. Despite the influx of (mostly North American) toursits and expats, parts of Sayulita are still pretty hard to beat. We were lucky enough to have an amazing set of neighbours, Raime and Jen, a Canadian/Australian couple who worked in the film industry in Vancouver and opted to spend half their year, every second year, in their Volkswagen bus in Sayulita, along with their young daughter, Chia (sp?). They more than helped make us feel at home, offering us lights, bananas, and even a surfboard (for Tim) to use. They regaled us with travel stories; we of thoughts on what was to come. They felt a twinge of jealousy and the itching of the travel bug they had scratched far less since having their daughter (though they’re still doing a pretty damn good job). We admired the life they had cultivated for themselves and the freedom with which they decided to live. There was also beach, there was sun, there was surf. Our uncertainty of how long we would say stretched into four nights as we enjoyed finally relaxing for the first time since we’d arrived. Both Tim and I had a day of average health; I think we were both a bit run down from the last week (the last month, really). And some shrimp tacos didn’t really agree with Tim’s system, the first unpleasant experience either of us had had with the food or water. (For reference, the water in Mexico is generally not safe as drinking water. We have a Platypus GravityWorks water filter that is probably the most useful bit of gear we’ve brought, and it lets us drink the water essentially everywhere. This is thanks to extensive research by Tim, so don’t bother doing your own. Ridiculously easy to use, gravity-operated, lightweight. You can bring just the bits of the kit you need, we make due with the dirty reservoir and the filter.) We became regular patrons of Orangy, the juice bar in town (I recommend the Surfer’s Brunch) and tried out most of the taco stands along the street that has all of the taco stands on it. The one next to Falafel & Friends is more local – we may have ordered “head” one night. There is also tongue on the menu. Burrito Revolution is awesome. Eat as many fish tacos as you can. Fish tacos and smoothies – the Sayulita diet. And that was essentially it. With plans formulating for the stretch south down the coast, and a new surfboard under Tim’s arm, we set off to Puerto Vallarta.