Travel : Sayulita, Mexico

It had been 10 years since I last visited Mexico. The first time, I was only 17 on a family vacation, at an all-inclusive 5star resort. It was also the first time I had travelled outside of Canada or the US. My experience as a naive 17 year old was pretty unremarkable. Although I managed to scuba dive in a Cenoté, explore the ruins of Tulum & Chitzen Itza & snorkel with sea turtles the most memorable part of that trip was probably my first time drinking Tequila followed by vomiting all over myself and the girl I was trying to pick up next to me on a bus. 

Fast-forward to 2018 and I started realizing this year that except for Thailand in my early 20's, I hadn't really done any travelling... Most of my travel had taken place within Canada and the US, which really started to bum me out. This trip to Mexico was really a hopeful step forward into more travel opportunities this year. 



Sayulita, Nayarit

Spoiler alert : I wouldn't recommend booking Sayulita as your only destination if you are planning a trip to Nayarit.

Truthfully, friends had told me about this place for the last 5 years or so, saying how wonderful it was, a little quaint surf town with a fun vibe, low-key and not very touristy. All of these things rung my bell for a cheap destination only 6 hours from Vancouver, so when Julia asked me to come with her for a wedding, I couldn't resist. I think Sayulita is far enough from Puerto Vallarta that it feels really laid back in comparison, but as I discovered, the further away from PV you go, the better it gets. 


  1. More low-key than Puerto Vallarta
  2. Great mix of local flavour with some upscale delights
  3. Golf Carts everywhere
  4. Surfing
  5. Safe
  6. Great people


  1. There is raw sewage pumped out into the ocean ( they are working on it )
  2. Depending on when you go, it is touristy / busy. 
  3. Not as cheap as you might expect... 
  4. Food is just average overall, this is not your authentic Mexican destination you may be looking for, but a great place to vacation.

Where to Stay : 


Amor Boutique
Honestly, one of the nicest places i've stayed at before, beautiful open-concept villas with the best views, great restaurant, beautiful landscape basically in a jungle. Very quiet and off the beaten track from the main part of the town. Definitely $$$ but worth it for the quiet luxurious accommodation with beautiful amenities.

El Pueblito Sayulita
Great location in the heart of Sayulita, only a block from the beach. The hotel surrounds a pool, creating a private space that feels tucked away from the town. The rooms have good amenities, and soon the rooftop terraces will be complete which offers great spaces for lounging. The stay here includes access to a private beach club, which also has food and drinks and a nice lawn. 


Where to eat : 

There are lots of options for food here, but we were on the search for the best street tacos. We were a bit disappointed by most of the places overall, except for the Al Pastor tacos found in the evening across from the OXXO store. They had the freshest ingredients and consistency. For fish tacos, there is a place just around the corner from there a block north of the hostel. For breakfast we opted for a place called Organic which served smoothie bowls that were delicious. For a nice dinner i'd recommend the outdoor restaurant at Amor Boutique around sunset as it might be the closest patio to the ocean and is truly a beautiful spot off the beaten track.


Where to drink  : 

My favourite bar in town. Great craft cocktails, beautiful space, great music and surf videos. Definitely on the pricey side, but I couldn't help diving into their great list of cocktails + the bartender and owner were great hosts. 




Palmar Trapiche
Craft beer tap room, serving local Mexican craft beers in an outdoor jungle space. This was a hidden gem we loved... Very chill vibes in the evenings, covered with string lights and great seating, great space to escape the busy streets of Sayulita. 



Local tips : 

  1. Knowing a little bit of Spanish goes a long ways, being fluent is your best friend.
  2. Take the city bus from Puerto Vallarta to Sayulita, it's only 30 pesos each way. 
  3. The golf cart rentals are expensive, but worth it for at least a day or 2. 
  4. Mary's is one of the better restaurants for overall food
  5. If you head outside the town a bit, you can buy cheaper groceries and cook for yourself to save $
  6. Playa de la Mortes is a beautiful beach only a 15 minute walk from town, it is also cleaner. 
  7. If you go even further in that direction, down some dirt roads about 30-45 minutes is a really beautiful beach with nice sand and only locals go there. Highly recommended. 
  8. The Mexicans don't like plastic either, try ordering your meals with no straws and no take-out single-use plastics. You will often be thanked by the locals.


San Pancho

San Pancho, Nayarit

Looking back at the trip, and the only thing I would change is spending less time in Sayulita and more time exploring the coast of Nayarit, to the smaller towns and beaches. We only had a couple of days to explore San Pancho, also known as San Fransisco, just 20 minutes north of Sayulita but already, just getting away that far brought us closer to the vibe we were after. We were lucky to meet the owner of a boutique hotel called Hotel Cielo Rojo, right off the main strip in San Pancho. The hotel is charming and the vibe was inviting... we were blown away by the little shop inside that sold arts and crafts from local artisans and the restaurant on the back patio was the best food we enjoyed on the coast. They served local, fresh & organic food choices with a focus on sustainability. 


Mara Ica, San Pancho
We opted to stay at this beautiful boutique resort 5 minutes outside town. It was quiet and just steps from a nice beach. The resort has lush landscaping, great food and a grassy field for lounging. We stayed during the shoulder season and were one of the only guests, which made for a really private experience. There are tons of isolated beaches just 10-20 minutes away by car that you can often have to yourself. In the mornings, fishermen will fish right from the beach, most likely a catch that you will try at one of the restaurants in the town in the evenings.


Special thanks to Visit Mexico, & for their support for this trip.
This article is dedicated to Anthony Bourdain, an inspiration for travel & journalism who passed away while writing this story. 

1 van, 2 friends, 1 dog & 4200 kms

Sudbury, ON - Vancouver, BC

I fell asleep for most of my flight from Vancouver and woke up in a daze, slobbering on myself as we were circling in for landing in Toronto. I grasped that the flight was 7 hours, but I never really stopped to think how long it would take to drive to Vancouver, especially in a 1977 Volkswagen Van with a top speed of 80km/hr. It's always been on my bucket list to travel across Canada, I tend to stick around BC or the Western USA because it's convenient, and well it's where the mountains live however, experiencing the flatlands of the prairies and the giant lakes of Ontario and everything in between gave me an interesting perspective about Canada, and amazed me just how big of a country it really is. 

Andrew & Momo

Andrew & Momo

As you venture further away from big cities, the towns begin to get smaller and smaller and seem to be stuck in time, but a good time or at least a simpler time. There are less chain stores and malls and more local shops and community places. It had me questioning how we ended up with such corporate culture influencing our communities, how people have moved away from the family owned businesses and started to support the walmarts and home depots... I guess it's hard to compete with a well-funded corporation, but I was always excited to experience the local flavours of the small towns.

Northern Ontario

Northern Ontario


After a long day of driving, sometimes the only thing that you can think about is sleep... And if you are like us, you'd rather find a side road or free campsite than staying in a motel or provincial campground... luckily along the way we were fortunate to find some "free camping." These are generally dead end side roads near a lake or river or in certain areas you can find free designated camping along the highways. 

Sunset in Saskatchewan

Sunset in Saskatchewan

Camp spot near Thunder Bay, ON

Camp spot near Thunder Bay, ON


We stopped mostly for gas, snacks and to take photos of unique places, but the best places we stopped were the truck stops, diners and shops in the middle of nowhere. We rolled into a small mining town in Manitoba to grab a drink at the local bar. It was a dark bar, with a shuffleboard table, some slot machines, Coors Light on tap and 8 locals. We mingled a bit and met a character named Doug who brought his own fly-swatter from home to the bar ( the bugs are bad in the prairies. ) Another guy had also brought a fly swatter from home... I couldn't remember his name. We didn't stick around long, but enough time to get a feel for the town and back on the road we went.


Growing up in BC, i've been fortunate to have the mountains around me, and never really understood why the Rockies were so much different. I had skipped over them a few times heading to Calgary in a plane, but when we drove into Banff, I couldn't believe how incredible the Rockies really are. We only had one night in Banff, so I made sure to battle a hangover and get up for sunrise. 

The drive from Banff to Jasper is filled with glacier lakes, intense peaks and winding roads... it's easy to get distracted while you are driving by the sights. There are signs for wildlife everywhere but when you see a row of cars pulled off the side of the road, you know there is a bear or elk or moose... we got lucky and had a group of elk cross the highway right in front of us near Jasper. 

We posted up near Jasper for a couple of nights, exploring around, camping and canoeing on Maligne Lake. We caught the canoe rental spot just after they closed but sweet talked our way into letting them rent us a canoe overnight. We were trying to make it to Spirit Island, about halfway across the lake, but after about 3 hours of paddling we made it as far as we could for sunset, enjoyed some sandwiches from the gift shop and then paddled 3 hours back to the parking lot with only the stars and some headlamps to light the way. There was complete silence on the lake as we drifted along the silky water, so quiet that my ears were slightly ringing... This was the highlight of the trip for me.


For every mountain is a desert, and British Columbia is no exception to that. The border of Alberta and BC lies in the Rockies, it was a familiar feeling when we entered back into BC as the first road sign had a sticker that read : "I <3 BC Bud." The further that we got from the mountains, the closer we got to desert land. We arrived into Kamploops around sunset and stocked up on a few things, ventured west towards Cache Creek and found a provincial campground... equipped with hot showers running water and electricity... a real camping experience, but it seemed to be the only place we could camp for the night so we popped the top and called it a night. In the morning we continued west and ended up in the middle of the desert. It was still mountainous but it reminded me of Arizona. We stopped briefly at a 'ghost town museum' which looked interesting from the road, but as we parked out front a man approached us, he was the owner of this weird establishment, told us that there were no dogs allowed and there was a sign out front that said no photography... a real inviting museum. He allowed us to take 1 photograph and warned us about the rattlesnakes.


Last stop, Lillooet. This would be our final night on the road... We could have made it to Vancouver that day, but taking our time on the last leg at a slow pace was nice. We camped at a free BC Hydro campground on Seton Lake, drank a bottle of bourbon with a nice french couple who were travelling in their van and had a friend from town come to join us for a drink. It was a beautiful part of BC that I had never been to, and a great way to cap off the trip. 


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