Mexico: The Best and Worst

Last week I said goodbye to Sayulita, wrapping up 7 months in Mexico. I’ve said all I have to say on the subject for right now and it’s on to new adventures, but not before we wrap up our enormous Mexican honeymoon:

Sayulita’s Beautiful Beach

Total Time: 209 Days or about 7 months.

Days that it Didn’t Rain: I estimate it probably rained a grand total of maybe 14 times during our entire stay. From the first week of January until the day we left it didn’t rain once. Amazing right?

Favorite Place: Sayulita, of course. We didn’t travel much once we got settled, and part of that was because of how comfortable we felt there.

Bloggers and beers

Least Favorite Place: Might have been the heat, or the gritty-city feel, but Guadalajara didn’t do much for me. The Pinterest-famous Playa del Amor was also a disappointment.

Favorite Food: So many things! Tacos of course, in all their variety, but I also developed a penchant for chilaquiles (fried tortillas in tomato sauce) that I will have to learn to re-create. Pozole, sopes and tortas ahogadas are all a close second.

Most Memorable Moments: Releasing baby turtles on the beach at sunset, celebrating the Day of the Dead with the locals and eating my way through Puerto Vallarta’s food scene.

Day of the Dead Decorations

Biggest Annoyance: Mexico is SO LOUD. Sometimes I loved it, like when the crazy trucks would go by broadcasting their wares. Sometimes I hated it, mostly when I was trying to sleep and someone was blasting mariachi music late into the night.

Scariest Wildlife Encounter: In April our bathroom was invaded by an enormous wolf spider- I mean, huge. Mike and I were both too chicken to kill him so we named him Wolfie and tried to co-exist. Eventually (like two weeks later) he crawled out the window on his own.

Coolest Souvenir: Before we departed I loaded up on beaded bracelets, cute t-shirts and Mexican vanilla.

Jalisco Countryside

Biggest Regret: Not making it to Mexico City, Puebla or Oaxaca. It wasn’t really in the budget this time around but it’s a great reason to return!

Biggest Misconception: Obviously that Mexico is a dangerous war-zone. While some parts I definitely wouldn’t visit, we never felt safer than in our little town by the beach.

Best Advice: When it comes to food, be willing to push past your comfort zone. Sure you could come to Mexico and stick to restaurant-made quesadillas and enchiladas, but what is the fun in that? The street stands are where all the real Mexico action is.

Also, if you’re planning to rent an apartment in Sayulita like we did, get there well before the start of high season.

Would I Go Back? In a heartbeat! There is so much more of Mexico I need to see. Plus, I know we’ll be back in Sayulita someday in the future, although the place is changing so rapidly we may not recognize it anymore.


All Mexico Posts:

Sayulita First Impressions

The Horror of Apartment Hunting in Sayulita

Inside Our New Sayulita Apartment

Baby Sea Turtle Release Party

What I’m Doing in Mexico

Sugar and Skulls: Mexico’s Day of the Dead

Celebrating the Mexican Revolution with some Serious Cuteness

The Surprising World of Mexican Food

Life in Mexico

Confessions of a City Girl in a Small Town

Sick in Mexico

Sayulita’s Mercado de Pueblo

The Fruits and Vegetables of Mexico

Let’s Talk About Safety in Mexico

Playa del Amore Doesn’t Live Up to the Hype

Life in Mexico Goes On

Diving Deep into Mexican Food with Vallarta Eats

Things I Don’t Understand About This Insane Mexican Carnival

A Beginner Guide to Mexican Tacos

A Town Called Tequila

Guadalajara in Photos

Visiting the Guachimontones Pyramids

The Crazy and Wonderful Trucks of Sayulita

Where to Eat in Sayulita Part One: Mexican Food

Where to Eat in Sayulita Part Two: Non-Mexican Food

The End of An Era: Goodbye Sayulita

19 Responses to Mexico: The Best and Worst

  1. Rachel of Hippie in Heels May 18, 2014 at 4:55 PM #

    was always fun reading about Sayulita, it would take me back there! I might get to go back for my bf’s work in the fal- fingers crossed!

  2. Justine May 18, 2014 at 6:06 PM #

    I’m actually thinking of renting an apartment in Mexico for a few months. I just came across your blog so I’m super excited to read all about your time there. I’ve traveled in a few areas in Mexico before but I’d never heard of Sayulita until now. It sounds awesome. Thanks for all the info!

  3. rebekah May 19, 2014 at 5:16 AM #

    I’m really glad you talk about mexico being safe because I think I had sort of written off as a place to buy drugs or get murdered by a cartel…. but clearly I was wrong. I’m glad its back of my travel radar 🙂

  4. Christine May 19, 2014 at 6:34 AM #

    I love how honest this post is! Mexico is definitely a favorite of ours and such a huge country that you can keep going back for more. We’ll have to add Sayulita on the Mexican bucket list.

  5. Ryan May 19, 2014 at 8:10 AM #

    Seems like an amazing trip! Central and South America are fast becoming a must for me on upcoming trips…and though I’ve never really been like “I have to visit Mexico!” now it seems like it.

  6. sonali May 19, 2014 at 2:23 PM #

    Stephanie, you did an amazing job. Fantastic post with stunning photographs. keep up your good work.

  7. Katie May 20, 2014 at 5:35 PM #

    We’ve going back and forth with where we want to head to next, and Mexico keeps coming up. I’ll have to come right back here if we ever make up our minds!

  8. Jeanette Todd May 21, 2014 at 1:28 AM #

    I have never been to Sayulita but you have definitely give me an idea on how it is out there. I would have freaked out if I see large spider on my room good thing you outlasted it.

  9. Nicole May 21, 2014 at 12:57 PM #

    where to now??

  10. Daryl May 21, 2014 at 4:07 PM #

    Awesome! I love posts like this that offer unique insights to a place. I’ve been to Mexico twice, each time only to more touristy destinations, but I would love to do something long term as you did!

    <3 Daryl

  11. Peter Thomas May 23, 2014 at 5:33 AM #

    This is a good list! You have given me an overview of what to expect in the area.

  12. Ross May 26, 2014 at 10:39 AM #

    Im glad you say it wasn’t a war zone. I was in several parts and found it to be very safe. In Cancun they said Merida was dangerous, in Merida they said Mexico City was dangerous, in Mexico they said the north was dangerous. I didn’t find any of that to be the case.

  13. Drew | The Hungry Partier May 27, 2014 at 1:43 AM #

    Amazing post!! I plan on doing a 3 month backpacking trip thru Mexico in a year from now, so it was great hearing insight from you!

    Let me know if you find yourself in Korea anytime soon! It’s amazing here!

  14. rebecca June 1, 2014 at 4:39 AM #

    I hear so much from bloggers about this place it must be good. Those baby turtles would of been really cool

  15. Escape Hunter June 3, 2014 at 8:15 AM #

    Wonderful vast Mexico… too bad that this drug war thing is going on. It surely scares many curious visitors away.

  16. channon December 13, 2015 at 11:10 PM #

    Just came across this post looking for places to eat in Sayulita. Based on the few I’ve tried, I’d say we are in very close agreement. Interestingly, though, we’re in complete disagreement over Sayulita and Guadalajara… Absolutely love Guadalajara, and I cannot wait to leave Saluyita and have this thumping bass from the all-day, all-night nightclubs fade from my overstressed system. I will never return, which is good for some stranger; as it is physically impossible to cram another human being into this congested town, my departure will create the space necessary to admit one soul into this nightmare existence. May they have the good fortune to have not prepaid their entire stay…

    • Steph December 14, 2015 at 11:17 AM #

      Yeah December/January are definitely the loudest, most crowded months in Sayulita. If you ever do come back aim for March or April. It’s much lovelier then!

  17. Steph October 18, 2016 at 6:19 PM #

    Hell yes. Chilaquiles are the most underrated yet most awesome Mexican dish that I’d never heard of before moving to Mexico!!!
    (and really easy to make well)

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