Sayulita is located a short distance north of the international airport in Puerto Vallarta. By car or taxi it takes about 35 minutes. The bus, from the airport to Sayulita, takes a bit longer, with stops in the villages along the way. However, the additional travel time is well worth it, if you're not in a hurry, and the ride affords you an opportunity to sit back and enjoy the sights. A taxi ride to Sayulita, should cost around $50 U.S.D., while the bus is $20 pesos, or, just under $2 U.S.
According to the locals, it was not too many years ago that Sayulita consisted of coco palms and a few fishermen's palapa huts scattered along the beach. Even though Sayulita is no longer a little fishing village, many people still use that description. Look out over the ocean in the evening and you can often spot the lights of a few fishing lanterns.
The beach, at the south side of the cove, still belongs to the fishermen. Their pangas (little boats) line the beach, along with their fishing shacks, work tables, nets and, of course, a hammock or two. Lucky you, if you happen along while they're cleaning their catch: a little negotiating and you'll have yourself a wonderful meal. If you don't feel like cooking, not to worry, some of their catch is destined for the local street stands and restaurants.
Americans settled in Sayulita over 30 years ago. In the past 30 years Sayulita has seen an ever increasing population of extranjeros... foreigners.
These days, when the fishermen return to shore, they return to a village of cinder block homes, shops, restaurants, tourists, and construction. Sayulita has been discovered.
Currently, there are two types of land in Sayulita, ejido and regularized. Ejido land can not be owned by anyone, Mexican or foreigner. It is land that was provided by the Mexican government, to the local or village government, which is called an Ejido. This land is then given by the Ejido, to the individual villagers for their "use".
Early arrivals to Sayulita came here long before Mexico reformed their real estate laws. In December 1993, Mexico revised their Foreign Investment Law. These revisions were created to encourage foreign investment in Mexico. The Foreign Investment Laws in Mexico today provide foreigners with a way of obtaining "land rights" in the formerly restricted zones.
The term "restricted zone" refers to all land, from the beach high mark, inland for 50 kilometers, or approximately 30 miles, as well as all land 100 kilometers, or approximately 50 miles, inland from the Mexican borders. "Land rights" refer to the rights you will receive, if you purchase regularized land in Mexico and elect to place it in a Fideicomiso... bank trust.
A Fideicomiso, or bank trust, is a 50-year, perpetually renewable trust. As with fee simple land, it can be mortgaged, is transferable and can be bequeathed. Under this process, you have a "beneficiary interest" in the land, however, it is owned by the bank. To protect your investment, and assure your control of the land, the bank, in establishing the trust, agrees to honor and act in you behalf in all matters pertaining to the disposition of this land.
The second option that foreigners have for securing regularized property in the restricted zones is to establish a Mexican Corporation. Placing regularized property in a Mexican Corporation is, for some North Americans, a more comfortable choice. Any two adults may form a Corporation.
The most commonly established corporation for this purpose is either a Joint Stock Corporation, "societies anonimas SA", with fixed capital, or Joint Stock Corporation with Variable Capital, SA de CV. This type of corporation is popular with Mexicans and foreigners alike because it limits liability of the shareholders to the payment of their shares. Placing your investment in the corporation, gives you complete control, eliminating the need for a bank trust.
In the end, no matter how you choose to manage your real estate investments in Mexico, we at Sayulita Investment Realty strongly urge you to consult with an independent real estate attorney or Notario. These professionals know Mexican law and will work to protect your investment. Selling real estate in Mexico does not require a license. The lack of this government oversight continues to produce unqualified sales. In time, Mexico will require licensing and, in the meantime, protect yourself and purchase through an established real estate company. Most real estate sales here are conducted without benefit of mortgage companies, escrow offices, or title insurance. Invest wisely.
In some areas of Mexico, real estate professionals are working daily with title and mortgage companies concerning regularized property. Because Sayulita is still in the process of being regularized from ejido land, normally the real estate offices here are not working with these companies. This is because a property must meet U.S. standards before a title company will issue a title policy and a mortgage company will lend. In other words, title to the property must be able to be established, conveyed, and recorded. Little by little these changes are encouraging foreigners to invest in land in Mexico.
Real estate has long been recognized as a wise investment choice. In recent years, Sayulita has been 'discovered' by North Americans, many of whom are choosing to invest some of their real estate dollars here. Whether your goal is to have a vacation home for the family, an investment that has the potential for an immediate income stream, a retirement home, or, perhaps, all three, what could be a more perfect setting for your next real estate investment than a little sea side village in sunny Mexico.............Sayulita!