Semana Santa in Sayulita: What You Should Know

Have you ever been “on holiday” during another country’s BIG holiday?

That’s exactly what happened to the UU team in Sayulita, Mexico last weekend. You see, Semana Santa was upon us, and that translates to one thing and one thing only: party.

Semana Santa, aka Spring Break, aka the week before/during/after Easter is a BIG deal here in Mexico, especially on the coast. It sounds sweet and saintly, but be warned—every beach town in this country goes nuts.

Usually a semi-tranquil place (okay, the Sayulita secret’s been out for a while now—tons of tourists come here), as of last week this little town switched into full-blown Mexican party mode. Here’s a bit about our experience and what you should know if you somehow wind up here during one of the biggest party weeks around.

The beaches were packed

The beaches were packed

Where did all these people come from?

It seems that every Mexican family has flocked to the beach for long, beer-filled days filled with similar sentiments: splashing in the waves, kicking off spur-of-the-moment fútbol matches, doting around abuelos (grandparents) fanning themselves under umbrellas, and general family fun time with no end in sight. With hordes of people walking into town from the bus stop, traffic becomes nightmarish and there’s not much in the way of car parking or even places to park your sunburnt self.

The beaches are packed with extended families, couples, kids, and folks from every corner of Mexico. The bustling main beach of Sayulita gets packed to the point there’s nowhere to sit, while the northern part of Sayulita (usually more chill) also gets busy.

If you keep walking north, however, you can still find some basic refuge—particularly at the “hidden” beach between Sayulita and San Pancho. The waves are a bit intimidating there, but the allure of a deserted beach all to yourself makes it worth the trek.

Beach sunset

Beach sunset

Local Strain

Despite the perception that business is booming, it seems a lot of beach vendors and even restaurants/bars shut down during Semana Santa. Why? Most families bring their own supplies for BBQ, beer, etc. The kioskos (general stores), on the other hand, are buzzing—the staff often has to exert crowd control.

There are also those ever-persistent rumors about Sayulita’s water quality. More specifically, there’s a rumor that sewage drains directly into the water where thousands of people are splish-splashing around on the daily.

Supposedly that’s not true anymore—at least none we can see (or smell), but according to some locals there’s simply not enough bathrooms to go around for the influx of people. In some cases, even water is hard to find. Those stacks of beer at the entrance of kioskos make up for it, though.

Staying Safe

Without a doubt, an influx of people comes with an influx of, well, not so great people. Transients come and go as quickly as the waves, and despite the easy comfort of this place, you do need to stay aware of yourself and your surroundings with slightly more vigilance during Semana Santa. We heard a few horror stories about this time of year, so taking extra precaution is recommended.

A few tips:

  • Don’t leave valuables lying around unguarded: ask neighbors to watch your things if you’re going for a swim, or have someone stay on shore to watch

  • Watch your drinks / NEVER accept drinks from strangers

  • Lock your doors and leave lights on so it looks like someone’s home

  • Don’t get wasted to the point you can’t make it back to where you’re staying

  • Don’t hang out in front of kioskos late at night. Stay in well-lit places

  • Don’t reveal too much about your routine/where you’re staying to anyone

  • Keep your credit cards/passport safely locked away

Are you a digital nomad in Mexico? Join our Facebook group!

As always - the food was delicious!

As always - the food was delicious!

Introducing the Do More Than Roam Series

Why do we travel?

What drives us to be permanently or semi-permanently nomadic—rather than staying put and scheduling vacations? To name a few: the food, waking up to new possibilities everyday, the warmth of sunshine in a different hemisphere… the list goes on.

But there’s something we’ve noticed. As more and more people decide to become DNs, it creates some unique challenges; most land-bound communities have set laws and societal standards that dictate how people conduct themselves. Some have called out the DNs for being aloof to the communities they inhabit—for hijacking cultures rather than highlighting them.

Taking trains, planes and automobiles all over is intoxicating, but it can be, well, a little toxic. Many nomads already practice minimalism, but is it possible to show up in places in more ways than one? To show up for local communities, for sustainability—for the planet?

There are no simple answers. Our “Do More Than Roam” series seeks to investigate some of these tougher questions, as well as provide resources for DNs with similar interests.

Okay… we’re seriously not trying to guilt you here. We get it. Travel is FUN. If it weren’t for all the different cultures, flavors, smells, lovely people, challenges, language barriers and general spice of life, what would be the point of living out of a suitcase?

Digital nomads aren’t going anywhere, so the time is ripe to distinguish our presence in the world—in a positive way.

Some nomads are way ahead of the game.
Sometimes giving back is as simple as showing up. There’s Nomads Giving Back, started by Tarek Khaloussey in Medellín, Colombia, which places digital nomads directly into communities they inhabit or are passing through through volunteer events and programs.

Since the majority of us are already online, harnessing some of your skills as a marketer, social media guru, etc. could also create a real impact on the places you travel to. As pointed out in this Finding Beyond blog post, you can leverage some relative privilege by raising money online for specific community causes or for other issues around the world. Ask yourself—what are you good at? How you can contribute to the world?

Here are some other ways you can be a DN without being, for lack of better word, a dick:

  • Place communities and the environment at the center of your actions.

  • Learn the local language.

  • Invest in people: hire those who need a job or you can help directly with something.

  • Invest in community projects: create something for them, not yourself.

  • If you build a business, build it with the intention of helping the world at large.

  • Work towards a zero-waste/carbon-neutral lifestyle.

  • Use your skills online to raise money/awareness for locals

As our Do More Than Roam series continues, we’ll be diving headfirst into some topics like sustainable travel , eco-friendly staycations and voluntourism. What are some of your tips for being a responsible digital nomad?

By: Kelsey Shirriff

Self-care for the Win: Tricks for Health on the Road

Self-care on the Road: Tips and Tricks

It’s easy to imagine #digitalnomadlife in the typical fluffy form: mojito in hand, new faces, new places and a constant state of adventure from the comfort of your laptop. While life on the road certainly lives up to its reputation at times (wink), let’s be real—it can get exhausting. Whether you’re traveling on a shoestring or working 40-50 hours, too much of anything is, well… too much.

We rounded up some tips and tricks from nomads near and far to stay sane while you’re staying somewhere far from home.

Packing

Before you’re off to put another stamp in the passport, there are some things to add to the list. While you might not be able to control that hostel dorm mate who’s decided to wrestle a plastic baggie at 6 a.m., you can arm yourself against unwanted noise, light and general discomfort.

Remember to bring:

-Notebook

-Melatonin tablets/sleep tablets

-Earplugs

-Noise-canceling headphones

-Eyemask

-Soft sweatpants

-Your favorite lipbalm

These items might seem small, but they can make the biggest difference when you’re needing some comfort—or simply sleep.

Schedule Time

Whether it’s first thing in the morning, an entire day of sightseeing or just some time reading in bed, scheduling your self-care in advance helps you prioritize its importance.

Since travel often includes the hiccups of missing a bus, a delayed flight or the classic case of bureaucratic red tape, carving out time in your schedule to relax and reflect is crucial. If you want to handle all the bumps of the road in smooth style, having the time to take it all in makes everything easier.

Unplug and Unwind

Phones. Laptops. Cameras. Kindles. It seems like everything is on a screen these days— and it’s scientifically proven that screen lights have a habit of keeping us awake and anxious.

Unplugging from it all is an easy, natural-feeling way to refresh. Go on, bask in the glory of some time on the beach with just a good book and the sound of a guitar (the waves too). Find ways to occupy yourself without the easy flick of a thumb or typing on a keyboard—it will help you reset and power off.

Make Time to Reflect

Sure, you’re gallivanting the world, doing all the things and meeting all the folks—just make sure you take some time to pause and turn inwards. Bring a notebook. Write stuff down. Pause. You’ll thank yourself later.

And speaking of thanking yourself, why not take some time to reflect on where you are, where you’ve been, and where you’re going—both inward and outward? Even making a list of failures and wins can help get the hurricane of thoughts in your head a bit more organized!

Another proven way to pause is meditation. There are even apps to help you get out of your head and into that quiet space—even if it’s just a few minutes.

Meditation apps:

Insight timer - Free guided meditations + timer (https://insighttimer.com/)

Calm - Meditation techniques for sleep/stress (https://www.calm.com/)

Stop Breathe Think - Mindfulness guided meditations (https://www.stopbreathethink.com/)

Headspace - Classic guided meditation app (https://www.headspace.com/)

Physical health

It’s easy to get caught working one way or another (we’re definitely guilty of that), staying up too late sending e-mails… you get the idea. Since most digital nomads are traveling AND working, challenging themselves with an itinerary while trying to keep track of their work schedules, finding balance mentally and physically is crucial.

We rounded up a few gym apps in our last blog post, but here they are again as well as some health/wellness apps

Zeamo - International gym passes (https://zeamo.com/)

GymPass - International gym passes (https://thegympass.com/)

Global Fitness Pass - International gym passes (https://globalfitnesspass.co.uk/)

Sweat - app built with female trainers (https://www.sweat.com/)

MapMyFitness - app for tracking fitness (https://www.mapmyfitness.com/us/)

Skimble - workout app/trainer (https://www.skimble.com/)

My Water - Tracks + reminds you to drink water throughout the day (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/my-water-balance/id964748094?mt=8)

HealthyOut - Healthy Restaurant Nutrition Guide (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/healthyout-healthy-restaurant-nutrition-guide/id566409966?mt=8)

Food Intolerances - handy app for or peeps with intolerances/sensitivities (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/food-intolerances/id419098758?mt=8)

Self-care for the Win

In short, self-care is essential to staying healthy both on the road and at home. So go ahead, give yourself a self-hug—you deserve it!

Digital Nomad Life: Tips and Resources to Get Started

Digital Nomad Life: Tips and Resources to Get Started

So, you’re ready to become a digital nomad—congrats! No matter where you are in life, it’s exciting stuff—the flexible hours, ability to work wherever, opportunity to travel—we definitely get it.

Despite the persistent image of a DN working off their laptop from some idyllic location (usually in a swimsuit), digital nomad life still has its challenges like any other venture, especially when you’re starting out. There’s the grind to establish yourself. The uncertainties. Beyond everything, there’s logistics.

Lucky for you (and us!) there are TONS of resources out there to take some weight off your shoulders and work off your plate, plus the DN community is incredibly supportive. Everyone started somewhere—everyone. We rounded up some of the best tips and resources from around the globe to get you started as a digital nomad.

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