Vibes & Vices: Palmar Trapiche

It was Jim Carrey`s ¨Yes Man¨ that fully crystallized for me the sheer potency of the affirmative. An amenable attitude and flexible schedule has opened an entire galaxy of unique opportunities in the years since, and an example of this commitment to experience unfolded when I opened my email to find a personal invitation to an event at Trapiche in Sayulita. 

Did I know anything about the venue? The scheduled attraction? The dress code? Not really…but what I did know is that some guy that seemed cool online invited me an hour north for a good time, and I`ve certainly done more with less. Saturday morning came, and I tied on my party streamers in anticipation of…something. 

The Vibes: After the bus from Vallarta broke down about 15 minutes from our destination, I couldn’t help wondering if the delay was an omen.  

My promise to arrive as early as possible during the event to get a few words with Jason, my gracious host for the evening, had fallen through due to circumstances beyond my control…I might have been in a much more vinegary mood had I not had the foresight to stuff my adventure shorts with Dos Equis for the ride. 

Arriving in Sayulita I did take note of the spiffy new bus station complete with state of the art amenities such as schedule screens and usable seating, so it was good to see that the fare increase for the route had gone somewhere legitimate since it surely had not been used to maintain the vehicles. 

The walk into town did its part in improving my disposition, as the streets of Sayulita are always populated with smiling surfers and stylish stoners…one might even call the community vibrant, do you see what I did there.  

In any event, it’s usually a good sign when you can search for a venue with more than one of your senses, and the sight of savvy citizens flocking toward the colored lights was backed by thumping bass audible several blocks away.  

No directions needed…clearly, this was the place. 

At the door I was pleased to discover that I was on the guest list, and the dancing door girl scrawled out a large red number three on my arm so I couldn`t be confused with anyone who had not come to party. My frustration with the journey dissipated like wisps of smoke as I stepped into what is best described as a tropical beer garden, instantly secure in the knowledge that the decision to make the trip was the right one. 

The Vices: Inside I was greeted by Jason, warming up to slip into his DJ alter ego by handing out welcome shots of raicilla along with gourmet chocolates because why the hell not. After a quick tour of the premises, he directed me to a special seating arrangement with a full view of the open air bar and restaurant along with a hammock where I could make camp for the duration. The man knows how to host a party. 

Before turning to his DJ duties, Jason also…well, he gave me more raicilla so I could put my considerable skill in dancing while taking notes on display more effectively…but also introduced me to Edmundo, the manager of Trapiche.  

It was Edmundo who informed me that the establishment was also affiliated with Cerveceria Colima, a well-known craft brewmonger in the country with a footprint in 5 cities nationwide, and had a few exclusive brews on tap.  

Naturally, this meant that the time to drink for the Tribune was nigh once more. 

Edmundo summoned a flight for this journalist to journal, offering a diverse selection of suds from the light and fruity Colimita to the coffee-tinged stoutness of their Cayaco beer. A personal favorite of mine went by the moniker Bocad`Apiza, and is, according to these barely legible notes I have here, crisp and zippy.  

I was most refreshed. 

When the samples were sipped, it was time to dig into the menu of appetizers. Chips and dip just about always make a solid choice, and I haven`t met the quesadilla I couldn`t accept into my life yet, but for me the real standout were the crispy fish tacos stuffed with potato and served on a bed of tangy aguachile. How could it not be, read that ingredient list again. 

Seeing that I was obviously enjoying myself, Edmundo took the opportunity to explain the concept for Palmar Trapiche: “We wanted to create a sustainable environment, which is why this bar is made to work with the existing space. Putting a higher-end experience in a natural setting like this has a special appeal, and we’re proud to bring that to the people that visit Trapiche.” 

Sitting in a tropical thicket eating fresh fish under the night sky of Sayulita, I found it hard to disagree. 

The Verdict: You can`t always predict what will come of the decision to say “yes,” but for me it works out more often than not. Heading up to Sayulita on a Saturday afternoon is typically a safe bet for a memorable day anyway, but spending an hour or 6 at Palmar Trapiche makes for a virtual guarantee. Maybe I`ll catch you there.


AJ Freeman on Email
AJ Freeman
AJ Freeman is an adventurous spirit, serial friendmaker, and general enthusiast. He lives his everyday life hoping to demonstrate the nearly infinite potential for discovery and wonder on this small wet rock orbiting a dim yellow star in the backwoods of the Milky Way.