When you are driving along the highway when you see the signs mentioning San Pancho you'd never guess it would be worth your time to visit it, but once you get in and around and around, you really notice you've discovered a hidden jewel.
In this area, where the Sierra Madre del Sur starts off, the original natives were from the Tatuán de Nayares tribe, the original name given to the area in 1524 by Francisco Cortés de Buenaventura was Azapan and the town was named San Francisco de Azapan. In 1936 the ejido of Sayulita to which San Francisco belonged was established, laying the start of what is now the town of San Francisco in the state of Nayarit.
- 1600 inhabitants, quaint cobblestone street town.
- 50 minutes from Puerto Vallarta Airport along Highway 200 North towards Tepic.
- A number of activities available on the beach.
- A great place for surfers and surfing.
- Part of Riviera Nayarit.
North of Sayulita, just 4 miles and seven minutes away, and 7 miles south (15 minutes) from Lo De Marcos 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.
We recommend this place as a one day trip, you drive north along the edge of the bay, continue past Bucerias along the highway to Tepic, approximately 32 miles (80-90 minutes) away from downtown Puerto Vallarta you'll find the entrance to the picturesque town of San Francisco, known informally and affectionately. as "San Pancho".
It's 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 Ocean 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.
The town received quite a bit of a boost, for example, cobblestone streets and a full-service hospital thanks to funds the Mexican President at that time, Luis Echeverría, was able to funnel to San Francisco, a place he visited regularly to let off steam, he even built a summer mansion here by the sea.
It is known as a cultural capital of Nayarit for the many initiatives and activities, for example, education projects, care of the environment and the promotion of the arts.
San Francisco video
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 sports fishing, surfing and others.
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 offer of tacos and birria.
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.
There's even a local environmental group that promotes various projects that protect the Jaguar and sea turtles.
A list of things you can do in town:
- Walk along the beach
- Stroll around in town and the surrounding hills
- Yoga or a massage at a spa
- Polo and other related activities website
- Enjoy the food and coffee in town¿
- Visit the many art galleries (Huichol art)
- Whale watching from November to March
- Jardín Lo De Perla website
There are many beautiful hotels & rentals available in this village, most have a warm flavored Mexican style, 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
A quiet family warmth permeates it all, inviting you to relax and escape the normal daily stress.
The place and the general surroundings invite you to relax, to slow down and enjoy life.
Some recommended accommodations:
- Galería Suite San Pancho
- Hotel Casa San Pancho
- Villa Esperanza
- Hotel Maraica
- Vista La Ola
- Shaka Surf House
- Hotel Cielo Rojo
- Aldea Bamboo Village
Finally, the beauty of the beach San Francisco offers, a glance at the photos and the videos says it all, you'll find out why this little town should be included on your list of places to visit if you have the time.
To get to San Pancho, if you are at the Puerto Vallarta airport, a white airport taxi will be around 90 dollars... so we recommend you cross the pedestrian bridge and hail a cab there or get an Uber, it should set you back about half that amount (check out this video explaining how to get a cheaper taxi).
In Puerto Vallarta, you can go to the bus terminal where buses leave to San Pancho for 5 dollars more or less.
If you drive there from the airport, take the highway to Tepic, it will take almost 50 minutes depending on your transport option.
If you are traveling to San Francisco, the closest airport is Puerto Vallarta International Airport.
Route from Puerto Vallarta to San Francisco, Nayarit
The climate is characteristic of a dry tropical forest, with an ecosystem that develops between the coast and the mountains, there is a wide biodiversity, especially birds.
The average annual temperatures are between a maximum of about 83°F (28.5°C) in July and a minimum of 72°F (22.2°C) in January. The rainy season starts in July and lasts until October, more or less.
|Average temp (°F)||72.0||72.0||72.0||75.0||78.8||82.0||83.3||83.1||82.9||82.0||78.3||74.1|
|Min temp (°F)||59.9||59.7||59.5||62.4||67.5||73.0||74.3||74.3||74.3||72.5||67.1||63.1|
|Max temp (°F)||84.2||84.2||84.6||87.6||90.1||91.0||92.3||92.1||91.6||91.6||89.4||85.1|
San Pancho video
More San Pancho info sources: Wikipedia (en inglés)