On the road from Guadalajara, before jetting off to Puerto Vallarta, a quick stop in the ultra-local Sayula, Jalisco, was a rustic reprieve from one bustling city to another. The tiny Mexican city is primitive, historic and filled with local charm — a worthy diversion for a daytrip with the family while traveling through the area or for travelers seeking an authentic hometown Jalisco experience.
Pro tip: A great place to test out your kid’s Spanish skills or brush up on your own, this town is not accustomed to English-speaking visitors.
With two main hotels in town, Gran Casa Sayula and La Casa de los Patios are your best bets for accommodations and local cuisine — you can do the town all in one day, but, even without a room key, you should plan to make a pit stop for lunch or dinner at one or both of these relaxed locales. Opt for Gran Casa Sayula for an alfresco lunch in the courtyard and a cozy dinner at La Casa de los Patios in the restaurant.
Spend the day in town and enjoy some shopping and sightseeing around Sayula Town Square, Jardín Principal (Principal Garden). With an obligatory Sayula sign photo op and rustic, open-air market with a great view of the colliding roads and alleyways of the town, expect locals mingling, the occasional live music and festivities depending on the season. Even without the theatrics, it is a great locale to take a beat and slow down for the day. Shop the stalls during the day, or night on the weekends, and peruse various market
goods, including plenty of pasteles, or pastries.
You will learn quickly: The entire state of Jalisco has a serious sweet tooth. Even the town’s main source of business economy, employing nearly 100 locals, is the Lugo factory, producing a beloved sweet known in English as burned milk — think flan meets crème brûlée. Visit the factory for a tour, but be sure to bring along your Spanish-speaking friends. If a tour isn’t in your future, a visit to the Lugo Factory store should be. Sample and purchase a few souvenirs (more than you can in the factory) and taste test the local sweet cranberry liquor. This is also a great, unassuming spot to take a few photos of the rustic beauty and charming architecture.
Pay a visit to the Cultural Center, El Páramo, and learn a bit more of the town’s local history. While a sleepy town, there’s definitely enough to entertain for a local taste of Jalisco culture and get that mid-trip sugar rush.
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