Pacha Mama, one of Sayulita’s many shops, is a colorful haven for the boho-chic traveler. // © 2015 Pacha Mama
Feature image (above): The Revolucion del Sueno boutique presents a contemporary, graphic approach to Mexican culture. // © 2015 Valerie Chen
Looking for a place to stay near Sayulita? Try Matlali Hotel
in the Riviera Nayarit for luxurious, villa-style accommodations.
An easy drive from Puerto Vallarta and Punta Mita, Sayulita is much smaller and more traditional than the two tourist hot spots in Mexico. Stray, but friendly, dogs trot to and fro; locals and visitors sport identical tans; and the promise of shade serves as an excuse to order another round of cheap, slushy margaritas.
Though idyllic ocean conditions are what largely put Sayulita on the map as well as into the bucket lists of surfers, the modest beach town has another lure: lots and lots of shopping. The laid-back vibe of Sayulita trickles into the town’s approximately 45 stores — almost all located within a four-block radius from each other — creating a pleasant, culturally-rich shopping experience. The following boutiques are some of our favorites.
Evoke the Spirit
This creative/retail space shines with natural light and beachy neutral tones, and its handcrafted home goods, jewelry and clothing only elevate the ethereal ambiance. One highlight is the unique collection of skulls available for purchase, each meticulously festooned with paint and yarn. The Thousand Prayers necklaces are another — like the skulls, they are handcrafted by the Huichol tribespeople in Nayarit. Each bead is infused with a prayer, hence the necklaces’ name.
Evoke the Spirit also sells macrame wall hangings, colorful Mexican blankets, beaded clutches, wool rugs, tapestries, textiles and wall sconces.
A mother/daughter pair operates the sunshine-yellow Gypsy Galeria, a spacious souvenir store that will whet any shopper’s interest. Knickknacks range from crosses and other traditional “milagros” (religious folk charms) to polka-dot ceramic bowls, glitzy skull ornaments and embellished pillowcases.
Prices at Gypsy Galeria are considerably less than many of Sayulita’s other boutiques, so if you are in search of small, affordable trinkets, be sure to rummage through Gypsy Galeria’s bazaar-like set-up.
Free spirits are unsurprisingly drawn to the renowned gypsy den that is Pacha Mama. Owned by the Mignot sisters who hail from France, the funky boutique sells boho-chic items such as vests and handbags with fringe; unique necklaces with Tahitian black pearls strung on leather cords; and hand-embroidered, caftan-inspired Mexican wedding dresses. Polychromatic art adorning the shop reminds visitors to “Live What You Love” as they peruse the aforementioned pretty little things.
Revolucion del Sueno
This Sayulita shop is bursting with bold colors mixed with stark black and white, and modern graphics fused with Mexican culture. For one, there’s a cheeky, oversize fluorescent mustache hanging above a door.
On certain items such as T-shirts and magnets, visitors may even catch sight of a brawny “luchador” (a competitor in the lucha libre form of professional Mexican wrestling) wearing a wrestling mask — as well as a bright pink tutu. Shoppers can also stock up on hand-woven neon beach totes and throw pillows screen-printed with painter Frida Kahlo or members of the 1910 Mexican Revolution.
Sayulita Sol Jewelry
Sayulita Sol specializes in using natural gemstones, vermeil, gold fill and sterling silver in its line of jewelry. All of the bracelets, earrings and necklaces are handmade, either by owner and designer Kimberley Keehn or her small team of designers. Customers can also commission jewelry, a lovely option for weddings, holiday gifts and more.
Playful poms in the window of Ula beckon curious passersby to browse the store’s wide selection of patterned handbags, scarves and wall hangings. There are also neon bikinis for sale — perfect to don while catching rays and waves nearby. Like most of the shops in Sayulita, a purchase made at Ula greatly supports the local community of makers.