Trip date: November 2017
There's plenty to do on the Nayarit Coast but Gail and I really just wanted to relax in the warm sunshine during our Sayulita trip. But we also wanted to go snorkling so we decided to take a 1/2 day trip to the Marieta Islands with Punta Mita Expeditions.
Gail and I grabbed a taxi for 400 pesos to nearby Punta Mita to meet our guides. Our jet boat had a total of 10 guests on it and was very comfortable, not to mention it was an absolutely gorgeous morning on the water. 20 minutes and we were there!
The islands' only inhabitants are birds, mainly the brown and the blue-footed boobie. This is one of the only places outside of the Galapagos Islands where they nest and it was awesome to see them all on the shore!
The island is protected now and you must have one of 600 daily tickets to be in the water space. Additionally if you want to see the popular Hidden Beach you have to have one of only 100 or so tickets, be able to swim from the boat, under the arch, enter the beach area, and return after approx 30 minutes for your swim back to the boat. We just peeked at it from afar.
Our boat captain was such a great driver! He had us close enough to the rocks to spot crabs, birds, and even popped us into a cave. We drove around the islands a bit before going for a swim.
Our tour guide took a Go-Pro and didn't even charge us for any photos we wanted. We had a great time swimming, the water was choppy but clear, and there was a good selection of fish. I spotted a puffer fish and also a trumpet fish which I hadn't seen before.
Because of overuse before the visitation rules changed, a lot of the coral has died. They are "replanting" it though which is great to see. They also try to regulate that you only apply sunscreen and lotion that is environmentally safe. You're not allowed to apply once at the islands so lotion up before you head out!
Originally the plan was to SUP after snorkeling but seeing how choppy it was, no one was really up for it. We cruised around the islands some more, checking out the awesome rock formations, cliffs, and caves, it was great!
We left in search of whales as it was the very beginning of the season. We hadn't been searching too long when our captain changed course and soon we were watching 2 humpback whales right in front of our boat! There were two males fighting over a female and a curious dolphin splashing amongst them! All very cool!
It was just a beautiful way to spend a morning, I highly recommend the group we went with. When we returned to Punta Mita we originally thought we'd have lunch but the 2 street town (save for the big resorts on the outskirts) had few options so we grabbed a taxi and headed back to Sayulita.
Another day we decided to take a taxi to the tiny town of San Pancho (also called San Francisco), just about 10 minutes north of Sayulita. We arrived in time for breakfast at Maria's which was excellent! The food and the service were both wonderful and we devoured it all!
After breakfast we took a walk through town which took all of about 20 minutes. It is very small! We zigzagged up and down the mainly dirt and brick streets, stopping into a few shops, and admiring the pretty houses. On one sidewalk we came upon two baby chickens who had escaped their fence. One found his way back but the other was a bit frantic, not being able to find the gap. I finally opened it up and saved the day! That chicken will be much tastier when it's bigger! :)
At the main square there was a little tourist market going on with local crafts but even that was quiet. We finished up our walk at the beach, grabbed a table with an umbrella at the only restaurant on the sand and ordered a few beers. Unlike the beach in Sayulita, this one didn't have loud music playing. It was quiet and peaceful, with few surfers or swimmers as the red flag was posted.
We had the restaurant call us a taxi since we didn't see any kind of obvious queue, and for 150 pesos he returned us to the now seemingly bustling Sayulita.
I thought this little town was wonderful. We only came across one boutique hotel and I read there are only about 3000 people who live there year around. I suspect it is what Sayulita use to be like. Go visit before they build a Four Seasons!
All Sayulita photos here.
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