We caught up with local girl Effy Betancourt to give us an inside scoop on her little slice of paradise.

Where did you grow up? I was born in San Diego, California and raised in Tijuana, Baja California until my early teens. Then I moved back to San Diego to study high school and college, where I studied Merchandise Product Development. Looking back, I feel super lucky and blessed to have been raised within the busiest border on earth, where there’s such a cultural shock that made me who I am today. 

What does the ocean mean to you? The ocean is one of the elements of nature that I need always near me. It brings me peace. It cleanses me and whenever I go back to the ocean, I feel complete. It’s actually a really sentimental attachment I suppose. It’s one of my favorite childhood memories, going to beautiful beaches throughout La Baja, swimming big, cold waves since I was a kid, getting lost through rocks and caves, collecting shells and make them into jewelry or just having them around the house like a crazy shell lady for no reason, jumping from piers, having fish tacos after a surf and so on. My parents love the ocean and nature and the beauty of the simple life, so of course they took me to the beach for the first time when I was around 2 months old and since then I haven’t stopped been a beach goer, which I thank them for. It’s part of me… it’s home. 

What’s your favorite beach to go to in Sayulita area? My favorite beach to go to in Sayulita is definitely Los Muertos beach, which is right before one of the most vibrant cemeteries I’ve known. It’s my go to when I need to be with me, when I need to find answers, when I want to get away from people and most importantly, when I want to get ma booty tanned, haha. I like to go really early in the morning when there’s no people and the horizon is misty. I take my flippers after a double shoot expresso and go for a swim from Muertos to the south, to Punta Sayulita. Then I look for a nice, big rock and do some whole body exercises Anne Marie style (if you know, you know), then swim back to Muertos where I hid my headphones and coconut oil and do a well deserved tanning session while listening to either.

Best local spot to eat in Sayulita? There’s really delicious spots to eat in Sayulita. For breakfast and coffee I love to go to Miscelanea, It was a really local and friendly atmosphere. It’s small yet cozy and the food presentation is neat. My favorite dish are the corn pancakes. Another favorite at the moment is Matiz, where they have the most yummy, healthy and yet cheap seafood in Sayulita. For less than 5 dlls you can have a fish taco, a tuna tostada and fish consome with a liter of fruit juice, and its all locally caught and healthy!!!

Any must-see’s in the Oaxaca / Sayulita area? Of course, Puerto Escondido is a gem (I like going to Carrizalillo), but also the city of Oaxaca is so rich in culture, food… lots, the art is in everywhere you look. The architecture is beautiful and the people even more. Is truly México. In Sayulita, like I already mentioned, I like to have my mermaid sessions on the south side of town. It’s called Los Muertos beach, The beach from the dead. It’s called that because there’s a cemetery right before approaching the beach. Which is one of the most beautiful, colorful cementaries that I’ve encountered. You see, in our culture, we celebrate life and our people even when we die. The physical part goes but the spiritual side always stays in our hearts. We see beauty in dead. Anyways, the beach is my favorite because is walking distance from town, yet is less crowded. It has different beach sections in between big rocks. That’s a fun exercise. It's the perfect beach for swimming, tanning, and being grateful. But yes, the cementary walk is a must. Also there’s more secret beaches that I love, but I would respectfully keep it for myself hehe. 

Thank you Billabong and the whole production team. I had a blast showing you around Sayulita. If I told my 15 year old self that I was writing an interview for Billabong Womens she would really freak out in a good way haha. That’s for giving a voice to not just me, but to badass females out there that embrace their roots, have a special link with the ocean and are not afraid to express themselves creatively.