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Tumbling down a forested hillside on the Mexican Pacific coast – to a seemingly endless golden beach – Sayulita is backpacker central with a barefoot vibe, yet it’s in tamale-tossing distance of resort city Puerto Vallarta. The rolling waves here have attracted in-the-know surfers since the 1960s, but it’s only relatively recently that the town has drawn a wider audience, who now stay in a string of hotels sprinkled across the steep hillsides or soaking up the sun on the beach. Check out our pick of the best, all bookable with Culture Trip.
This laid-back resort at the northern end of Sayulita feels like a private seaside escape, with direct access to quiet beaches. The 14 spacious villas all have a main sleeping quarter, a separate sitting room with bright accents, a kitchen and one or two balconies overlooking the warm outdoor pool. A private three-bedroom residence sprawls in front of the beach and has its own pool and entertainment area with a barbecue grill. There’s also a shared thatch-roofed hut next to the pool and a rooftop jacuzzi.
Villa Amor is a collection of hilltop villas set on the edge of Sayulita’s main beach, a 10-minute walk to the main town square. The villa features and decor vary greatly, as they are run by private owners; some have outdoor dining areas, plus saltwater pools. They range from studios to three-bedroom villas, and all offer views of the ocean and jungle canopy. There’s a restaurant on site with seating on a small inlet overlooking the ocean. An open-air yoga studio, main pool and spa are also on the premises.
Perched on a hill overlooking the ocean, the thatched-roof villas at Siete Lunas peek through their nest in the jungle. Each of the seven properties offers breathtaking views that make up for the steep climb to reach them. While there’s no in-house restaurant, there is a common area with a kitchen and dining table where breakfast is served. A private chef can be called to prepare dinner, and a massage therapist is also available. A small outdoor pool is surrounded by loungers and has a tiny bar.
Canopied beds, private hot tubs on balconies and terraces and unobstructed views of the ocean make Playa Escondida a luxurious jungle getaway. The spa is set in open-air thatched-roof huts that allow you to see and hear the crashing waves, and you can practice yoga on a natural stone platform terrace. Gourmet meals are served at the on-site restaurant.
Alex Robinson contributed additional reporting to this article.