Sayulita Mermaid Yogis Retreat: Part III


Where did August even come from?

I'm pretty sure that yesterday I was stoked about kicking off summer on Memorial Day weekend and somehow here we are, at the beginning of the end of my favorite season.

Sure, in San Diego it seems like we have an endless summer... and we sorta do. But I have 20+ years of East Coast seasons baked into my circadian rhythm. I can't help but feel like August is an endcap. Actually, I just saw a perfect description on Instagram this morning: August is like the Sunday of summer.

As of right now, I have yet to plan any end of summer activities and it's making me antsy. The only thing I have decided to do this month is participate in the #MermaidYogas yoga challenge on Instagram, even though I have a lot of catching up to do already! One of the prizes is the gorgeous Glide Lotus SUP Board... I'd say winning one of those puppies would be a pretty epic way to round out summer.

But in the meantime, the challenge is a nice way to stay connected with a fantastic group of merbabes who I first got acquainted with last November, when I went on a retreat with the founders of the Mermaid Yogis movement: Amelia of Stoked Yogi, Mandy of Zen Girl Chronicles and Janalyn of Horizon Light Productions.

Starting the challenge and seeing a bunch of these chicas at the One Love Movement yoga event on Saturday made me miss our adventures in Sayu and I remembered for the millionth time that I really needed to finish recapping our retreat on this blog. Plus, all of these wonderful women have just announced different retreats coming up this fall. So if you're thinking about going on your first yoga retreat, take this as a glowing endorsement for some of my favorite mermaids around!

Day 4 - Paddling to Private Beaches

One of the downsides to getting older is that you have a hard time remembering all the details when you write a recap of something that happened almost a year ago. Unfortunately, such is the case for Wednesday morning of our Sayulita retreat. After a night out on the town, Wednesday morning is kind of hazy for me. I don't think we did yoga, in fact I'm pretty sure we were a little yoga-ed out, but I can't be sure.

Anyway, the first thing I remember from our fourth day in paradise was heading back to Stand Up Sayulita to rent our paddleboards for the morning. The leaders each took a group out for some ocean exploration. As we paddled out onto the ocean, Janalyn graciously hung back with Rebecca and I, who had decided to Sit Down Paddleboard our way to the secret beaches. The three of us had a nice relaxing paddle and chatted along on our way out into the unknown.

We lost track of the closest group pretty soon after we set out, but after rounding a few corners we spotted them on shore to our left, having just landed on a private beach.

Despite almost crashing our boards into a giant rock that suddenly emerged beneath us when the tide went out, we managed to paddle through the rocky waters and safely ashore. It was tricky, given how strong the tide pushed us up onto the beach, but we managed to survive.

By the time we had dragged our paddleboards up onto the beach, Amelia, Amanda and Jess had scrambled up the rocks and were posing on top of the tallest one.

Janalyn followed them while Rebecca and I took some pics on the beach for a bit and then I climbed up as well. Too scared to do any standing poses on top of the rock, I opted to channel my inner Little Mermaid and went with a much less-likely-to-fall-off-the-rock-and-die Cobra pose.

Soon enough, the other group passed us by on their way back to the beach. We took a few more pics, I fumbled my way off the beach, and then we started on the long paddle back to shore.

We were starving after our morning paddle session, so Jess, Rebecca and I dropped off our paddles and hit the streets in search of food. But for better or worse, we didn't want to eat too much since we headed off to do a group photoshoot with Janalyn soon after. So while Jess and Rebecca got some light fish tacos, I went into a European style cafe called Paninos on Delfines for a sandwich, salad and sparkling water... very Mexican.  We reconvened, ate our delicious meals beachfront, and shopped a little on our way back to Villas Sayulita.

Back at the resort, we got our directions for the photoshoot with Janalyn that afternoon. We were going to showcase all of the awesome swag we received on the retreat to send pictures to the retreat sponsors: our brand new Teeki pants, Jolyn bikinis, Sunski sunglasses and Blooming Lotus mala bracelets.

I had never, ever in my life been part of a group photoshoot with a professional photographer, so playing dress up and posing with a bunch of pretty girls was a lot of fun. Janalyn made us all feel like models. Plus, it was a great way to capture some beautiful memories from the retreat. I feel like every yoga retreat should have a photographer on hand!

After a couple of hours of photos and posing by the sunset, we headed back to the hotel for another Villas Sayulita cooked meal on the grounds, complete with yummy salads and vino. We lit a fire and Janalyn and Rebecca played the ukelele for us while we swayed along under the stars.

For the most part, every one was pretty tired, but somehow I managed a second wind when Janalyn and Mandy told me they were going back into town to indulge in the night life again. They didn't really have to do any convincing to get me to come along, but had I known that our mode of transportation to town was going to be an old bus with a cute dog inside, I would have been the one trying to convince them.

We hopped in the back of Mandy's friend's bus, I pulled his dog into my lap and we rode the 5 minutes back to the middle of town to hit up Hafa for another round of yummy cocktails and good music.

As soon as I got home, I hopped into bed fully clothed and promptly passed out. The tough life of a model-for-a-day.

Day 5 - Getting Muddy

On Thursday morning, my main concern was food. I'd had four day's worth of granola for breakfast, a late night out, and a jungle hike ahead of me. I definitely needed something more than green juice and seeds to make it through the morning.

The plan for Thursday was to hop into a van with Salim, Villas Sayulita's manager and owner of No Rush Tours Sayulita, so that he could take us on a guided tour through the jungle to a remote beach. Even Salim needed some more substantial sustenance for the day ahead, so he sent us to his favorite empanada place in town, La Empanaderia, to pick up some empanadas for breakfast.

Once we were stocked up on food, sunscreen and all of the essentials for a hiking/beaching/shopping day, we loaded up into the van and hit the road, all of us belting along to the mix CD of 90s hits that the driver loaded up for us.

Within 20 minutes or so, we had arrived at our destination: the side of the road next to the jungle. There were no signs, no hint of the wonders beyond these trees. See, this is why you need a local like Salim when you head to Sayulita: were it not for him, we wouldn't have ever known about, let alone experienced, one of the most magical days of the retreat.

As soon as we emerged from the short 15 minute hike, we were treated to a jaw-dropping view of a secluded beach, one that we blissfully had all to ourselves. I think we were all pretty stunned coming down the stairs. It was like a picture from a postcard.

But Salim had one more surprise for us: to the far end of the beach there was a wall with natural blue mud dripping off of it. Under any other circumstance, I probably would not be inclined to rub this foreign dirt all over my body, but this was a trip for saying yes to new things. So, without further adieu, I dropped my backpack in the sand and took off with the other girls to find the mud.

We laid out in the sun for a while after and let the mud dry before hopping into the water. That's when I proceeded to do two more things I had never done before: float around in the middle of the ocean and ahem... go skinny dipping. Hey, what's a secluded beach for if not skinny dipping in the ocean for the first time?

We probably could have stayed there for hours if we hadn't gotten hungry again. So we piled back into the van and headed out on the second adventure of the day, a trip to nearby San Pancho, formerly / also known as San Francisco.

San Pancho is about three miles from Sayulita and has a similar small town vibe, but is far more relaxed. The plan for the afternoon was to try surfing if we wanted, to shop a little in town, and to have a nice dinner together on the beach. Upon arrival we split up into a few groups... Amelia, Janalyn and Salim went to investigate the waves and we headed out to scope out the town in clusters.

Eventually we all made our way back to the meeting spot, took some pictures in front of the gorgeous sunset and then headed over to La Perla, a giant beachfront restaurant where we could eat with our toes in the sand.

Drifting off to sleep that night I couldn't really believe that we only had one full day left in Sayulita, but I was excited. On Friday we were headed back to one of my favorite places, Islas Marietas, and I was going to get to experience Friday night Cumbia for the first time...

The final part, Part IV is next