Frequently Asked Questions

Is there much flora and fauna to see here?
Yes! Sayulita, as with many tropical coastal locations is home to countless flowers and other exotic plants (pitcher plants and other species of orchids can be found in the wild and gardens in and around Sayulita). Some of the most common trees are towering palms (not native to this region), strangler figs, known locally as higueras blancas or ‘white figs’. The seeds of these trees fly on the breeze and often land in the crowns of palms and other trees; from there, they send tendrils down to the ground which then bury themselves in the soil and thicken, turn into roots, and continue to thicken around the trunks of their trees until (after a century or two) choke their host trees to death. Another noteworthy tree is known as the parota, with high quality wood and a canopy that often grows to over 100 meters in diameter. Also found here are walking palm trees (socratea exorrhiza), whose roots grow outward from its trunk, allowing it to ‘walk’ up to 20 meters per year! These trees form excellent breeding places for epiphytes (air plants). Many fruiting trees are also visible in the neighborhood and/or greater Sayulita area: two types of coconut palms, avocado trees, mango trees, papaya, tamarind, guava, jackfruit, banana, passionfruit, pineapple, plum, mamey, guanabana, grosella, guamuchil, nancy and many other locally known edible plants. A stop at any of the (well-priced) fruit stands on the highway between Sayulita and Puerto Vallarta will immediately reveal the local abundance of tropical fruit as well as candy, sea salt, and other local treats. The most common and abundant fauna in the tropics is bugs. Almost all the bugs in Sayulita are less harmful than mosquitos. While Sayulita rarely experiences the pesky sand fleas or no-see-ums that can plague tropical beaches of the region, biting spiders, and venomous (though almost never lethal) scorpions are sometimes encountered. At Casa Vecino, we pride ourselves in cleanliness and tidiness, which minimizes hiding places for these pests as well as eliminates their potential breeding grounds. Though many bugs can be a nuisance there is also a stunning array of moths and butterflies that make Sayulita home or a stop in their migration routes as well as beetles and other critters in barely-imaginable neon hues and all the colors of the rainbow. The most common terrestrial vertebrates are dogs and cats. (If you are interested in adopting a pet or fostering a rescue animal during your stay at Casa Vecino, please see our section on giving back). With slow-moving vehicles and indulgent humans sharing scraps of their food at the local restaurants, Sayulita is a great place for dogs. Many dogs and cats have a home where they eat a meal or two per day but are allowed to wander as they please. At Casa Vecino, we have five full-time dogs, four indoor cats, and feed a total of approximately ten cats. We also foster and help rehabilitate rescue dogs, cats, and other animals (including but not limited to ducks, which we successfully released to their natural habitat, and other birds, lizards, and bats). Lizards too are a common sight. Tiny, quick-moving geckos are commonly seen on walls and ceilings, helping keep your room bug-free; large, scaly iguanas are quite common in the trees eating fruit or sunning themselves high in the topmost branches of trees (though at ‘the iguana tree’ in the center of town, they will often descend for a hand-fed banana or other piece of fruit). In the jungles, you will often see quick movements out of the corner of your eyes and the dust kicked up by blue-tailed skinks. Tiny frogs and warty toads can also be seen and heard, especially during the rainy periods. Over 300 species of birds are found in Sayulita and the surrounding area. Shorebirds, such as gulls, pelicans, and the majestic frigate are a common site at the beaches, and turkey vultures, parakeets, yellow-winged caciques, hummingbirds, woodpeckers, thrushes, sparrows, and the noisy chachalaca, which is the state bird of Nayarit, can all be seen flying from tree to tree. In the Sayulita River and other bodies of fresh water, herons, cranes, and egrets are quite common, while other birds, such as lilac-crowned parrots and even the military macaw, are far rarer, preferring the deep, undisturbed jungles. These abundant and manifold land animals are equalled or surpassed in number by the aquatic life off the coast. Fishes of all shapes and sizes inhabit the warm waters of the Pacific; even a short snorkeling expedition will reveal parrotfish, clownfish, groupers, and others, while a longer snorkeling or diving excursion will also likely feature eels, blowfish, manta rays, stingrays, the Olive Ridley sea turtle, and others. The extremely lucky and eagle-eyed underwater explorer may encounter a seahorse among the algae. Deeper waters can feature amberjack fish, blue marlin, striped marlin, mahi mahi, sailfish, bass, yellowfin tuna, red snapper and wahoo. In addition to the reef-dwelling and deep-sea fishes, humpback whales and orcas make the waters off the coast of Sayulita a stop on their annual migrations during the winters where they mate (humpback mating rituals inlude displays of strength such as breaching and slapping the surface of the water with their tails and fins) and give birth to calves before returning to the colder plankton-rich waters of the north Pacific in the Spring. During the winter, humpback whale sightings are quite common while dolphins can be seen year-round. If you are interested in a bird- or whale-watching expedition, check out our Tours & Partners page.
Is Sayulita good for children?
With its warm ocean and child-friendly beaches (most notably Playa de los Muertos, which is an easy 15-20 minute walk from Casa Vecino), Sayulita is a great destination for young ones. Please note that Casa Vecino is happy to host children aged 4 years and older, but for security reasons and the relaxation and comfort of all our guests, we cannot accomodate anyone younger than that.
Is Sayulita safe?
Yes, Sayulita is safe. Like anywhere in the world, it is important to pay attention to your surroundings and stay in control (that means knowing how many margaritas are too many).  While unfortunate incidents happen in Sayulita, the level of violence and violent crime in Sayulita is much lower than most of Mexico as well as most major cities in the US. The most prevalent crime in Sayulita is petty theft, usually of small items left in plain sight, and for that reason Casa Vecino has security walls around the perimeter as well as strategically-placed security cameras. We have had very few incidents of theft and zero instances of forced entry or armed robbery.
What are some outdoor activities in Sayulita?
Surfing is a great active pastime in Sayulita. Casa Vecino is a short walk to the beach and there are many stores that rent surfboards and other equipment and offer lessons at reasonable prices. (The best surf instructors are Risa and Diego from Surf it Out, which does not have a store front.) On Calle Marlín, between the plaza and the beach, you can find several places to rent boards–from foamy ‘soft-tops’ to longboards, short boards, and even paddle boards. The workers at those places speak English and will make sure you get the right board for the conditions and your skill-level. Beachgoers looking for more secluded beaches than the main beach have a few great options. The closest of these to Casa Vecino are the three beaches south of Main Beach: Playa de los Muertos, Playa Carricitos, and Playa Patzcuarito. Los Muertos is about a 15-minute walk from Casa Vecino; it’s a great beach for children or people who aren’t comfortable with waves and the most popular beach besides main beach. There are vendors selling coconuts, beer, and barbecued fish and shrimp on skewers. Playa Carricitos is about a 20-minute walk from Sayulita and it’s considerably more remote. There are no vendors or other services, so you have to bring your own beer and/or picnic supplies. There is also very little shade in the afternoon, so you might want to bring one of the beach umbrellas that Casa Vecino supplies. See the map below for directions to those two beaches: Playa Patzcuarito is a moderately difficult hike about one hour from Casa Vecino. It’s on the same path as Carricitos, but further down the trail. Ask us for more detailed directions if you’d like to discover this beach. Finally, on the North Side, there is a beach called Malpaso, and it’s the only beach between Sayulita and San Pancho. To get there, you walk through town heading north on Calle del Palmar until it ends at a chain. There, the road turns to a trail through the jungle. Continue north on these trails for about 20 minutes, and you will arrive at Playa Malpaso.
How can I pay for goods and services in Sayulita?
Many places in Sayulita are cash only. They will usually accept US dollars, though the exchange rate is well below market value. The best way to get cash is from the many ATM’s at the airport upon your arrival or one of the ATM’s in town. Make sure that the ATM you are using dispenses pesos, and not American dollars. There have been some incidents of ATM fraud in the past few years, and we recommend against using free-standing ATM’s on the street. There is an Intercam Bank with two indoor ATM’s on Avenida Revolución, on the way into town. There are are also indoor ATM’s at Mini-Súper Mi Tiendita in the plaza, inside Restaurant Don Pedro and inside Alas Blancas grocery store. To exchange USD or CAD to MXN, there are a couple currency exchange places. Intercam will exchange US or Canadian dollars from 9-4 Monday-Friday and 9-12 on Saturdays. As most Mexican workers get paid on Fridays, there are often lines for ATM’s in the afternoon on Friday, and some will run out of cash. Make withdrawals on other days or before noon if possible.
Can I cook for myself while I’m here?
All of Casa Vecino’s units have fully-equipped kitchens. There are several local tiendas that sell groceries and fruterías that sell fresh produce within easy walking distance. Alas Blancas (on the corner of Calle Marlín and Calle Navarrete) and Carnicería Trancos (on Avenida Revolución across from Calle Río Zarquito) have good selections of harder-to-find North American foods. Frutería Carolina (on Revolución, across from Resaurante Aaleyah’s) has a great selection of fresh produce at great prices.
What is the population of Sayulita and how do the locals feel about tourists?
Though Sayulita has grown considerably in the last several years, it remains a small pueblo. The approximate population of full-time Sayulita residents is 5,000. At any given time, there are many additional visitors and part-time residents. During your stay at Casa Vecino, it is important to remember that you are a visitor in a foreign country and always be courteous and respectful. That being said, the locals recognize the importance of tourism on the local economy and are generally happy with the large number of foreign visitors.
Can I drink the water in Sayulita?
Like most places in Mexico and the developing world, water from the tap is NOT safe for humans to drink unless it has been boiled or treated with iodine or other sterilizing solutions. All the units in Casa Vecino have a garrafón or 20-liter bottle of purified water that we replace as often as you need. Also, any ice you see in your freezer or anywhere else in town is made with purified water. If you would like to wash fruit or vegetables during your stay at Casa Vecino, all units come equipped with a small blue bottle of Microdyn colloidal-silver solution. A few drops in the tap water (according to directions on the label) will kill any harmful bacteria in 10-15 minutes of soaking and your produce will be ready to eat.
Do I need Spanish while I’m in Sayulita?
While a decent command of the local language will make some things easier (mingling with locals or debating transnational governmental policies for example), and most Mexicans will appreciate your efforts to speak Spanish, even if it is just the basics. Since English is so common here, almost all workers in restaurants, stores, etc. will at least speak enough English to answer simple or common questions. Sayulita locals are very friendly and patient and will help you communicate with hand gestures and a blend of both languages.
Does Sayulita have tourists all year round?
Winter in Sayulita is considerably busier than the summer, though there are still visitors all year. Some people may find the weather too hot and humid in the summer, but others may enjoy the relative tranquility, abundant flora, and evening thunder storms. Though it rains several days a week in the rainy season (June-September), the days are still hot and sunny and the rain usually starts around sundown.
How far in advance should I book my stay at Casa Vecino?
We are often fully booked well in advance for periods like Christmas, New Years, and sometimes Spring break. We recommend booking your stay at least a month in advance. If you are coming with a large group (renting multiple units), we recommend booking at least two months in advance. You can also find availabilty by consulting the booking calendar here.
Can we rent cars or golf carts once in Sayulita?
Yes, there are multiple car- and golf cart-rental companies in Sayulita. We recommend National Car rental for automobiles and Roy’s for golf carts.
Do we need transport once we get to Sayulita?
Sayulita is a small town and very easy to get around just by walking. There are beautiful surrounding towns and beaches you may wish to visit, which are easily accessible by bus or taxi.
How far away is the closest airport to Sayulita?
PVR in Puerto Vallarta is the closest airport to Sayulita. We are a 40-60 minute bus or similar timed taxi drive away.