Sayulita in July is hot. Local expats take great delight in telling us this is nothing compared to August and September, when the rain really starts to fall and humidity levels sky rocket. It is not, we are told, for the fair of skin or the faint of heart. As an Irish girl with freckled skin and a body temperature that I'm convinced reads higher than the national average, I take heed and plan my voyage north. The daily struggle to meet the day with so much as a single iota of cool begins to wear thin pretty fast and besides the wedding of one of my All Star gal pals was due to take place in the Rockies. From surfing mecca to mountain extremities with mozzies as the only constant.
So it was with a stroke of great fortune I got to ride out the last of my Sayulita days cocooned within the quiet surrounds of the Kupuri Hotel, lounging poolside and rising early to avail of the complimentary continental breakfast spread. Cereal never tasted so good.
Cushioned between Emiliano's, where the lovable David serves up possibly the best fried fish tacos known to the hungry-man and the gringo party failsafe Su Casa, Hotel Kupuri is well situated for a more sophisticated Sayulita stay that allows for a convenient, laid back respite from a town that is known to get a little chaotic and steamy at times.
"Kupuri" translates to "soul" in the Huichol language - the indigenous dialect of the people in the state of Nayarit on whose coastline Sayulita idly rests. Indeed, fewer things in life are more soul-fulfilling than that of a daily housekeeping service working to keep your en suite room spick 'n' span, the towels fluffed and the toiletry freebies topped up.
With room to breathe easy following a delicious sweat-free night's sleep (oh hi, air con) and a hot power-shower shooting jets of soothing agua, I get to thinking about what this little sliver of Mexican coastline has come to mean to me. I conclude that I can assuredly say, Sayulita I love you, but to my pre-beachside-dwelling self, here are just a few pointers:
1. Initiation into local Sayulita society can only mean one thing - Mexicution by way of the beach boy. There is zero chance of escaping scot-free from the surfer grasp so give up the good fight, succumb immediately, and promptly forget "the rules" as instructed by every glossy mag you've ever read for they don't apply here (these guys are masters). Simply go with it but accept when it abruptly ends; and end it will without so much as a word and you must gracefully move on. Hear that, simply move along now girl.
2. Rejoice in the fact that you will no longer have to applaud the highly-coveted avocado as is the custom at home and beyond, for here it is still simply considered a humble dip-concocting ingredient. Placing the word "smashed" in front of it does not translate to an instant £3 mark-up on the menu price to your poached eggs on a Sunday morning. Refreshing.
3. Bid a sad farewell to bottles of red wine, far too taxing on the purse strings. Here the £1 Pacifico and tequila freebies reign supreme; hello jelly (beer) belly - sadly a fate not at all conducive to the bikini beach bod but such are life's battles.
4. Lament the absence of Superdrug and all its many lotions and potions but hail the food stall of "Mary Bridget". Why myself and my sister took to calling this Mexican matriarch Mary Bridget is anyone's guess but the woman sure knows how to sell her fare at a price that's pocket-smackingly pleasing.
5. Berate yourself for thinking that anything short of 27 bikinis in your backpack was acceptable. Fool.
6. Accept that you too will grow fondly acquainted with the high five/fist pump. Expect it to become second nature despite all initial resistance and cheesy 80's movies' flashbacks. Chido güey.
7. Understand and learn once and for all that music men are never, EVER, under any circumstances safe to go near. You are not Penny Lane. Their black magic will swallow you whole. Find other "friends" to band aid.
8. Prepare to sport a new permanent all over physical glow. Your body will pump sweat at a rate you didn't think possible so go easy on yourself in those yoga stretch attempts, hot stuff. But also breathe a sigh of relief to learn that you will not reek like those post-5th-year-double-gym-class-changing-rooms. Small mercies.
9. You will meet oodles of folk only too happy to help you in your lifelong mission to speak Spanish like a local. Move beyond the "la cuenta, por favor", make the call and show up, always show up.
10. Sayulita may feel like it breeds a clash of cultures at times but be prepared to meet some of the best people of your life with stories so far removed from your own that you are humbled to be along for this joy ride. "Love us".
11. And finally, know that there will come a night when you will wake to a cockroach scuttling manically across the sole of your foot, hurling you out of your bed with the knowledge that you will never unfeel that feeling again. Take comfort in the fact it didn't nestle in your hair, the horror.
So there it is. Now all's for it is to go book that return flight.