For those not familiar with Sayulita’s northern hills, the neighborhood built onto them is called Nanzal. You can see it from downtown and the beach—it’s where all those houses perch up high on the north side of town, looming large, colorful, and expensive.
A walk up into Nanzal can be a great work-out, a mini-adventure, and a chance to experience some of Sayulita’s most amazing views–and also to get a closer look at some of Sayulita’s most architecturally inspired and/or high-priced homes. Nanzal offers an interesting mix: undeveloped stretches of wild, jungle-clad hills countered by perfectly-groomed streets and homes that make you feel like you’re in one of the nicer hilltop neighborhoods of Puerto Vallarta, or even somewhere in Southern California. And around every bend or turn in the road, you’ll run into another breath-taking view
If you head north on Avenida Palmar, paralleling the beach, you can get up into the neighborhood by turning right at almost any of the roads once you get a block or so past the primary school, and then just meandering up, and up. If you hit an unmarked dead end, well, that’s when you backtrack and try another road. Consider it an add-on to your workout.
These hills can get very steep—I swear, sometimes I feel like I should be using my hands as well as my feet, climbing a couple of stretches up there–and while they are almost all well cobbled and/or paved, ascending them can be strenuous. Take water, do your walk earlier in the morning or later in the afternoon, and wear decent walking shoes rather than cheapo flip flops, the shoe of choice for Sayulita.
As you wander around up there, the constantly shifting views of town, jungle, hills, surf, and bay are simply awe-inspiring, and with any luck, in season, perhaps you’ll see a couple of whales at play out towards the horizon.
What goes up must come down. The descent works different muscles, and sometimes it feels like you need to take tiny little steps to keep yourself from tumbling forward, head over heels, the road is so steep; but still, it’s a breeze coming down when compared to going up, and when you hit bottom, you can head into town for that well-earned smoothie, liquado, cerveza, or even a mid-day margarita.