On the Pacific coast, one hour’s drive from Puerto Vallarta, the tiny, walkable surfer-turned-tourist-town of Sayulita brims with small-town life, gluten free-friendly restaurants, hidden beaches (with rugged surf), and eco-tourist adventures. It’s so compact, you don’t need a car once you arrive. Instead, meander the dusty roads, all of which lead to a shocking amount of restaurants., all with alfresco dining options, or the beach. With a taco and cold beer in hand, there’s nothing else needed. Following are a few of our favorite places from a recent visit.
Playa San Pancho
If you don’t have a car (you don’t need one), rent a golf cart or take a taxi and head 4.3 miles out of town to the small neighboring beachfront community of San Pancho. Secure a lounge chair on the beach (they’re free if you agree to eat and drink on the property), and enjoy the quiet, expansive beach with potent margaritas and killer tacos.
Chica Locca Tours
It’s the boat, music, and the GF accommodation that makes this one of the best day cruises we’ve taken (and we’ve tried a lot). Perks include optional hammock lounging, an open bar, lots of freshly made ceviche, a trip to Marieta Islands Marine Reserve, snorkeling, paddle boarding, and an optional bumpy-fun ride on an inflatable raft pulled behind the boat. chicaloccatours.com
There are many great abodes for rent—and not many awesome hotels—so insert yourself into the community with accommodations ranging from a single room to multilevel luxury homes. airbnb.com
The biggest oceanfront hotel is actually a collection of villas tucked into the waterfront hillside just a few minutes’ walk from downtown Sayulita. A pool, restaurant, prime ocean views, and chill vibe add to the allure. villaamor.com
Pretty much everything is GF at this dirt-cheap, authentic Mexican restaurant where you order at the window and eat ultrafresh tacos at one of the few streetside tables. Must-try: chicken mole tacos. No website
The organic Mexican fusion cuisine that’s mostly vegetarian or vegan includes plenty of GF options and rare comforts like leafy green salads served in a groovy setting. Must-tries: any of the smoothies or salads; vegetable stirfry with quinoa. No website