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Sayulita, Villa Amor, and Haramara

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#1 nylalany

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    Posted 18 November 2008 - 10:56 PM

    Just wanted to post and let you folks know that my husband and I went for a brief 3 night trip down to Sayulita, 40 minutes north of PVR, a few wknds ago, just in case any of you are considering a wedding or vacation there. After 2 1/2 days, I'm certainly no expert, but at least I've been to the place now. I had been considering the little authentic Mexican surf-town of Sayulita for my wedding since my hubby and I surf, until someone on tripadvisor, who loved Sayulita, convinced me that the Riviera Maya area would be more picturesque and appropriate for a wedding - and then of course I fell in love with Al Cielo, where I got married. After finally visiting Sayulita, I can see where the gal was coming from and I think I personally made the right choice. Although my guests probably would have loved the authenticity of it, it was a little grungy once you walk off the main beach - many streets were dusty dirty roads with dog poop and streams of water running through it - some of my guests wouldn't have been able to handle that, and the water, although amazing bath temperature, was just about as clear as the ocean here in LA, and seemed just about as clean (ha). HOWEVER, it was a really cute authentic town - on the wknd (compared to Monday), there were plenty of Mexicans enjoying the beach in addition to the tourists. Colorful restaurants, surf shacks, and cheap hotels lined the beach. My husband and I were already planning a future trip where we'd bring friends along and rent a private villa in the hills as we sat and ate yummy fish tacos during a break from surfing our first full day there.

    While I was there, there were 2 weddings going on. How do I know this? Well, we wanted to stay at Villa Amor, but it was booked up for a wedding #1. Then, on the way down from LAX, I sat next to a cool DJ who was DJing a wedding in Sayulita, not at Villa Amor, that wknd as well. He was actually bumped from his original flight and all stressed out, but the wedding wasn't until the next day, so I assume all was ok. I got his card in case anyone is interested - he claims he plays what the couple wants, but that he perfers non-cheesy music and has done a lot of big Hollywood events.

    Villa Amor:
    Villa Amor looked like it is very pretty. We didn't go inside, but since we were staying outside of town, we had to walk through the area that is in front of the property to get to the main beach of Sayulita, and it was very well taken care of compared with the rest of the beach front area. I have a few photos I can post if anyone is interested.

    We stayed at this very interesting place about a 15-20 minute hike south from the main beach of Sayulita, through the jungle and across a dramatic empty beach cove (cleaner water than Sayulita's, very swimmable, and often had it to ourselves) - and across some boulders. The place is called Haramara Retreat, and it is really mainly a yoga retreat, so we were total outsiders since we were the only guests there not on a yoga retreat. I just fell for the rustic-elegant open air cabanas with ocean views from the bed and shower, oil lamps instead of electricity, and I wanted to try something different. My husband called it upscale camping, but he grudgingly hiked up to the dining area, slipped of his shoes to adhere to the no-shoes policy, and ate the healthy, local produce based vegetarian food we were served as part of the rate. There are a bunch of cabanas, so perhaps if you wanted something REALLY different (and rustic) for your wedding, and you were having a small wedding, you could rent out the entire retreat. Their beach is very dramatic (you can hear the waves crashing from bed), and would make a scenic location, and the open-air dining area could be good for a reception. Not sure how they'd feel about it though, just throwing it out there. Haven't written my tripadvisor review yet, b/c I have to actually create an entry for the place, but will soon.

    #2 Mel&B

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      Posted 18 November 2008 - 11:14 PM

      Hi! I'm glad you enjoyed your trip and Haramara.

      #3 misha79

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        Posted 18 November 2008 - 11:45 PM

        I enjoyed your review, I am getting married in San Pancho which is neighboring Sayulita. Have you been to San Pancho as well? We are renting out a place called Bungalows Lydia for the wedding and some of our guests. I would welcome all and any suggestions that you may have. Our wedding is set for March 1st but were going sometime in January to secure our vendors and see the place first hand. Have you heard of this place at all? Or have any recommendations?

        #4 nylalany

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          Posted 19 November 2008 - 03:01 AM

          misha79 - we didn't rent a car b/c we were there for such a short time, so we didn't make it up to San Pancho, nor down to Punta Mita, both of which I'd like to visit b/c of their surf breaks.

          Did you already book the place for sure? It looks cute online. People on tripadvisor seem to like San Pancho and say it is quieter and less built up than Sayulita, so that is probably a good thing. I mean, I wouldn't call Sayulita built up - can you be built up without more than a couple paved roads? But it doesn't feel that private and it is nice to have more privacy during your actual wedding. We met a American guy while eating at a cafe who bought a place in Sayulita (he tore it down and rebuilt it to code for safety), and also bought land in San Pancho. He's probably in his 50s and he's divorced, so he says he spends his winters in Sayulita as more tourist and people are coming through and it is lively and easier to meet people. But he eventually plans to build in San Pancho when Sayulita gets too built up, and according to him, Sayulita has already changed a ton over the past 5 years. So I think you're probably at a good spot. I'm guessing it could be slightly cleaner water in San Pancho too? TOTAL guess though. Maybe less boats going through and that sort of thing.

          Other nice spot I read about was Playa Escondida, south of Haramara, also a semi-private beach (in that not so many other people around). It doesn't have air conditioning, but has a pool, and lots of different lodging options (bungalows, etc.). A middle-aged couple staying at Haramara walked over there for lunch and said the grounds are beautiful.

          Otherwise, lots of villa rentals in the hills of Sayulita, with views in the hills. I saw a bunch on sayulitalife.com. Also many in Punta Mita, which is a fancier area, but maybe less "authentic" Mexico. We'll probably rent one in one of those places with friends sometime in the future, but I think there may be extra big ones for weddings? That is, if you didn't already settle on Bungalows Lydia, which again, looks very sweet and directly on the beach, which is a plus for sure.

          I'd probably recommend figuring out how to get transportation to Sayulita for your guests - taxi costs, or maybe rent a few cars for the wedding and take a few trips - in case people want to go to Sayulita to take surf lessons (so many beginners taking lessons there, and I hear it is a better beginner break than San Pancho), or if they want to shop a little perhaps, but really, there isn't THAT much to Sayulita - you can probably walk around it in a morning. Some good restaurants though, if you run out of restaurants in your area. Maybe check it out and compare during your visit in January? And let me know how it goes - I'd love to hear about San Pancho. I wonder what the vibe is like there. Sorry, rambling, but I guess I am really not much help!

          Are you honeymooning in the area as well?

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