Ever since I studied abroad in Guatemala in 2011, I’ve been wanting to return to Central America. I love this part of the world so much–from the affable people to the stunning architecture. I’ve never felt more at home than when I’m south of the border. So when I learned about a yoga retreat taking place in Sayulita, Mexico, I decided this would be a perfect opportunity to use some vacation time and get away from the stress of everyday life.
Sayulita is located on the Pacific Coast of Mexico, about a 45-minute drive outside of Puerto Vallarta. The tourism industry is alive and well in this quiet beach town, and while I much prefer a culturally immersive experience, this did mean that vegetarian and vegan options were abundant. Before I arrived in Sayulita, I briefly researched the options around town; however, over the course of the week, I ended up coming across even more vegan-friendly restaurants than were listed online. Proof that it pays to do a little exploring by foot when you’re in a new place! Here are my favorite restaurants and meals from the trip.
Vegan Eats in Sayulita, Mexico
Falafel & Friends is located in the center of town, at the very heart of popular shops and tourist attractions. While not completely meat-free, everything that is vegan and vegetarian is clearly labeled on the menu. I dined here twice and ordered the falafel sandwich both times. It was stuffed with lettuce, tomato, crispy falafel, and tahini. I was really impressed with the quality of the falafel; it tasted authentic and wasn’t greasy. Judging by the fact that I was a repeat customer, it’s safe to say this one was a hit!
During my trip, I stayed at Hotelito de los Sueños, a gorgeous hotel situated only a couple blocks away from the beach. I highly recommend staying here, if not for the kind and welcoming staff, then for the delicious vegetarian breakfasts served up daily. Pictured above was one of my favorite meals from the entire trip: assorted steamed veggies, black beans, and fresh papaya and banana. I think I’d be happy eating this meal for the rest of my life! The hotel also prepared vegan chilaquiles, smoothies, and plenty of coffee and tea.
I stumbled upon Veggie Land on my first day, as I was wandering around town looking for lunch. This restaurant is 100% vegetarian and has no problem omitting cheese on request. I ordered the seitan fajitas, which were served with peppers, fresh guacamole, and handmade tortillas. This meal was very filling and flavorful, and I returned to order it again on a different day. This was by far the most expensive meal I ate in Sayulita (about $10 USD), so you might want to consider other options if you’re traveling on a budget.
Yeikame was a restaurant that several people recommended online. From the outside, the restaurant is unassuming–it’s a place that serves traditional Mexican food, so one might not naturally think there are vegan options available. However, all of the staff knew what vegan meant and was able to tell me which options could be made without cheese (and meat and dairy). I ended up ordering the sope. A typical Mexican dish, sope consists of fried masa rolled out like a tortilla, which is then topped with beans, meat, vegetables, cheese, and various salsas. My order was topped with black beans, onions, peppers, lettuce, and tomatoes. It was also served with a few (very, very) spicy salsas. I can’t wait to try a homemade version now that I’m back in Cambridge!
Have you been to Sayulita, Mexico?
Also by Molly: Vegan Chicken Tortilla Soup With Jackfruit
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Photo: Molly Lansdowne