How beautiful it is to do nothing and then rest afterward ~ Spanish proverb
We first came to Sayulita, Mexico, for a wedding in 2008. The marriage didn't last, but our fond memories of this place did. So we decided to come back for a mini-vacation over Thanksgiving. This chronicles our all-too-brief stay in Sayulita between November 24 and 29, 2011.
The Anderson family has had a tradition of "Thanksgiving anywhere but here" for some years. It started when my parents were both around the bend and the big family gathering no longer made any sense. We always run to the sun, because the endless November drizzle on the Upper Left Coast is just starting to get us down about Thanksgiving. Tucson, New Orleans, and San Diego all fit the bill. This year Patty decided we ought to go back to Sayulita, a small fishing village about 20 miles north of Puerto Vallarta. We used to take all the kids and their spouses or boyfriends / girlfriends, but this year, we only brought Austin and girlfriend Kristi, since Barrett and Laurie now live in Barcelona and Lydia, Conor and granddaughter Harper live in Omak and it was the Hamiltons' year for Thanksgiving.
We had a 9 a.m. non-stop from SeaTac to Puerto Vallarta Thanksgiving morning - the airport was like a ghost town. Four and a half hours later we landed at Puerto Vallarta Aeropuerto, changed some dollars to pesos, walked across the street and caught the bus for Sayulita. It is about a one hour ride to Sayulita. By 6 p.m. Central Time (we lost two hours traveling east, which we will gain back going home), we were settled into our apartment at Xocotla, Mariposa Calle No. 2, a short distance up Gringo Hill.
Xocotla is a private house on a steep hillside in which the owners have the top floor and there are three guest apartments on the two floors below. All the guest apartments have a fully furnished kitchen, bedroom and bathroom, and the kitchens all are open and daylight on the downhill side, above a pool, patio and jungle-like grounds.
Thanksgiving dinner was wonderful - street tacos and beer! The street taco stand was not a complicated thing - a big pan on concrete blocks with some kind of flame under it, beef, pork or tripe in the pan, and a cutting board for chopping onions and cilantro.
Time really runs together when you have nothing to do and then get to rest afterward! I could not tell you what we did on one day or another! We divided our time between reading and relaxing at Xocotla and being out and about, with the edge to relaxing! Patty read a couple of novels. I am obsessed, as Patty will tell you, with boating the Great Loop, a 5,000 mile circumnavigation of the Eastern US and Canada, so I spent a lot of time buried in some Skipper Bob Guides and entering routes into the Navionics iPad navigation app - which is absolutely awesome, by the way.
Sayulita is a very colorful little town, so we did the usual sightseeing and shopping.
Sayulita is a bona fide fishing village. The fishing boats come in early in the morning and you can buy fresh fish right off the boats. I soon discovered the chances of being up early enough for that were slim to none! We also thought we might rent some ocean kayaks, but being down on the beach, with the surf pounding, it suddenly did not seem like such a great idea.
Back at Xocotla, we had a bit of pool time too! The first two days were really hot and we needed the pool to cool our core temperature down (not really, but that is how it felt). The next couple of days it was a little cooler, and since the pool was not heated, it was actually a bit of a challenge to get in it! Once in the water, however, we quickly got used to it and enjoyed it a lot. We probably would have used the pool more, though, if the last three days had been as hot as the first two!
We had most lunches out, mostly tacos and burritos. Burrito Revolucion seemed quite expensive, but was really quite good, and so big that we all brought the second half home and had it for lunch the following day.
The owners have thoughtfully left a brief guide they have written, including information about the local doctor, emergency services, things to do in Sauyulita, and some restaurant recommendations. Two of their recommendations particularly deserve mention. Sunday night we dined out at Antonia's, a very authentic and inexpensive restaurant. The food was just excellent! I had chicken mole and Patty had chile rellenos. The other recommendation we tried this morning was Rollie's for breakfast. What a kick! Rollie's is run by - what a surprise - an ex-pat American named Rollie. Rollie and Jeanne are wonderful hosts, and Rollie is always "on." Right from when we walked in and said "We heard this place is good" and Rollie hollers back to the kitchen "Oh, oh, these people heard we were good - we better step it up back there!" The food is American with a distinctly Mexican touch, the portions are huge, and Rollie will NOT let you go away hungry. Both these places are highly recommended if you ever visit Sayulita! m
Thus ends this chronicle, we need to be out of our apartment by 1 p.m., and there is not a whole lot more to tell anyway. Sayulita is a great place, Xocotla is a wonderful place to stay, and we are pretty sure we will return again some time! You can find out more about Xocolta here.