San Francisco (San Pancho) Nayarit

San Pancho snapshots

North of Sayulita in the state of Nayarit and not too far from Puerto Vallarta there is another very interesting and picturesque town and a beautiful beach you can enjoy for the day.

If you come traveling along the highway, you'd never guess when you see the signs mentioning San Francisco (San Pancho as it is called locally) one kilometer (1000 yards) toward the ocean, it all looks quite drab, but once you get in the town and over to the beach, you really notice you've discovered a jewel.

San Pancho Beach
  • 1600 inhabitants, quaint cobblestone street town.
  • 40-60 minutes from Vallarta, Highway 200 North towards Tepic.
  • A number of activities available on the beach.
  • A great place for surfers and surfing.
  • Part of Riviera Nayarit.

San Pancho Google Earth
San Pancho aerial view

San Francisco, actually is a quite quaint small town surrounded by jungle and hills that are what is left of the Sierra Madre Mountains toward the edge of the Pacific coast.

San Pancho offers a beautiful wide white sand beach and a very typical Mexican village, with horseback riders along the streets, roosters and chicken in your neighbor's yard.


San Pancho was helped quite a bit, cobblestone streets and a full service hospital came from funds the Mexican President at that time, Luis Echeverría, invested in this town, which he visited to let off steam, he even built a summer mansion by the sea.

Popular among expats from the US, Canada, Europe and South America, this eclectic local population adds cream to the tacos ("crema a los tacos" a local expression more or less like adding spice to mix), so you'll find art galleries and gourmet restaurants mixed in with the local offers.

San Francisco video

So, unlike small random towns in the area, there is a good offering of villas, restaurants (for example Café del Mar, MarPlata or Bistro Orgánico), hotels, yoga centers, jewelry shops, cafés and related services. There's even local environmental programs to protect both the jaguar and sea turtles.

San Francisco, the saint that gives the town its name

The local agricultural activities include lemon, mango, corn and papaya crops, as well as fishing, mostly red snappers.

The beauty, tranquility and delicious temperature of this small hidden village and people of San Pancho have made it prosper over time. San Pancho is also well-known due to its favorable location for various activities in Bahia de Banderas, such as whale watching, amateur fishing and sportsfishing, surfing and others.

San Pancho Plaza

On the other hand and certainly not less important, are the beautiful hotels available in this village, most have a warm flavored Mexico style touch, that both foreigners as well as locals enjoy. As expected, these hotels have all the amenities necessary for a pleasant stay, but furthermore, make us feel that we are in a magical place, the quiet family warmth permeates it all, invites you to relax and get away from the cold daily stress.

Notable hotels: Hotel Cielo Rojo and Paraíso Escondido.

San Pancho Beach

Finally, the beauty of the beach San Francisco offers, a glance at the photos, makes it clear, watch the video included here, you'll find out why this little town should be included on your list of places to visit, if you have the time.

San Francisco beach south zone

To get to San Francisco, if you are at the Puerto Vallarta airport, a taxi will be around 400 pesos (30 dollars). In Puerto Vallarta you can go to the bus terminal where buses leave to San Pancho for 40 pesos or less. And if you drive there, take the highway to Tepic, it will take almost 40-50 minutes depending on your transport option.

San Pancho video:


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Versión en Español