Tag Archives: Beach

Sayulita Market Pietro Place Peter Jones

The Beauty of Sayulita

What a pleasant surprise to discover that just 45 minutes south of Puerto Vallarta is a cool, laidback, surfer’s town called Sayulita.

Famous for its beach break, Sayulita has a guaranteed supply of mixed level waves, perfect for the amateur and pro together.

It feels that Puerto Vallarta has been attacked by the overdevelopment syndrome, but Sayulita, with its year-round population of around 2,000, has remained relatively unscathed.

It was first discovered in the 1960’s and was (and still is) a surfer’s paradise.  The beach is a beautiful, huge crescent shape intersected by a river that seems to emanate from the jungle.  Grazing by the river by an old plank bridge are horses and donkeys.

This is a town where the beach is the magnet.  The beach is stacked in the center with surfboards, surf shops, and surf schools.  You can rent everything from paddle boards to boogie boards.  I sat under a very civilized umbrella easily rentable from Don Pedro – a restaurant come beach set-up where you can get fantastic grilled octopus and seared tuna.

Frankly, my idea of fun on a beach is to find a place like Don Pedro that sells umbrellas and lounge chairs and where I can get incredibly fresh and delicious seafood with a drink while watching other people do what I cannot do, namely surf and paddle board!  So I watched expert surfers, beginner surfers (who wore beginner’s t-shirts), paddle boarders, body surfers, and just regular splashed types like me.  At the far ends of the beach the fishermen and the pelicans went looking for their dinner.  I’ve never seen so many pelicans diving in between surfboards in my life.

There are numerous tiny seaside accommodation places and at the end of the beach is a very nice, but not glitzy, hotel called Villa Amor which is where I stayed.  Rooms range between $175-$300 per night for a one bedroom in high season.  Sayulita is loaded with fantastic restaurants, taquerias, and a whole slew of funky bars that stayed open way after midnight.  The crowd was mixed, cool, and very fit looking.  Surfers usually are.

I love this place.  The tiny shopping streets that stray off of the beach, the groovy restaurants, the mix of locals, old hippies, and newcomers.  The beach had a freer feel to it.

If the beach was a spectacular white coral sand beach like the one in Cancun, it would have been ruined years ago with high-rises and packaged tours.  This place never got there.  A fiercely strong local citizenry protected it and the beach was funky enough to not pull the developers in.  One of my favorite shops in Sayulita is Révolucion del Sueño which does an incredible trade with Zapata t-shirts made from beautiful soft cotton.  My only tip to travelers who discover this place, don’t tell too many people.

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Dead Sea Pietro Place

The Dead Sea

The Dead Sea is something that you just have to go to once in your life.  The surface is 428 meters below sea level – the lowest point on the face of the Earth.  It’s part of the Great Rift Valley and is fed by the Jordan River to the north.  Its salt content, because of the lack of outflow, is about 34% or 10 times more than the normal salty ocean that we swim in.  Essentially, it is two lakes held together by a thin thread in the middle.  There are “health resorts” on the Jordanian and Israeli side which promote all sorts of minerals that are supposed to make you young again.  Yeah, right.

There is actually nothing quite like going into this hyper-salty lake/sea.  It is very difficult to stand up and for the most part it is pretty uncomfortable to hang around for more than about 15 minutes.  If you shave the night before, you are in for a rough time, and if you have a cut, think pain.  There is no way out in this bathtub.  It will attack you wherever it sees a weakness and if you make the mistake of putting your eyes in the water, you will suffer temporary blindness.  Yep – it was a lot of fun.  Probably the greatest single moment was that moment when you get to stand under the fresh water shower and remove the salty deposits.  That will keep your hair looking strange for several days no matter what.

As for reading the newspaper, it is easy to do.  Swimming is impossible, floating is fun, and more importantly, if there is anybody in your party that cannot swim, they will overcome their fear of water and swim.  This has to be the place where Jesus walked on water.

There were Russian groups here that were all staying at the hotels by the beach.  You had to be a hardcore salt water person for that.  For me, been there, done that, great stories, funny photos, but I couldn’t wait to get to the shower.

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