Picture a pristine coast line, swaying palm trees, organic farms, delicious locally sourced food and friendly faces. San Francisco, known nationally as San Pancho (SP), is the Mexican getaway you have been yearning for. Away from the international spotlight of neighbouring town Sayulita and the very popular, Puerto Vallarta, the sleepy town of SP provides all the modern day resources you need as an exploring nomad; all the while not losing its traditional Mexican roots.
Having lived in San Pancho as a freelance photographer for almost 3 months, I want to share with you the 5 reasons why San Pancho should be your next travel destination.
Although the town is evolving into a travellers hot spot on the West coast, I am continuously reminded of the traditional Mexican life. San Pancho will leave you feeling a natural coexistence between animals (especially dogs!) and humans, unpaved street ways lit by multi-coloured homes, road stalls cooking up authentic Mexican meals and plenty of friendly local faces. These everyday aspects of the Mexican suggest that , in its own coastal way, San Pancho is yet to be bitten by the tourism bug. So experience it while you can!
2. Easy access
Although the village is tucked away behind hills and cornered by the Pacific, San Pancho is still easily accessible from as far south as Puerto Vallarta by bus, car or in true Mexican style, the back of a Ute. All options are fairly cheap, costing anywhere between 30 – 90 pesos. The latter will most likely only cost you a few bumps and bruises on the buttock. With regular buses, you are well connected to larger towns and other vacation hot-spots, like Bucerias and Punta Mita.
3. A variety of delicious eateries
Whether you’re the nomadic backpacker, flashpacker or a retiree, San Pancho hosts a generous selection of food-outlets, from pizza to sushi, to suit your diverse palate. If you are travelling light, with money on your mind, consider filling up on roadside tacos from Al Pastor Tal Ivan (above). Perhaps you’re in the mood for something hearty, try La Ola Rica or Maria’s, for the complete A La Carte dining experience. Expect to fetch some extra notes from your wallet but you’re guaranteed to a rounder belly for the walk home! For that ultimate ocean view experience, look no further than La Perla restaurant; well priced with a broad variety of Mexican and international cuisines. The nachos are irresistible! If that’s not good enough, when it comes to food, It’s super easy to find what you’re looking for in San Pancho, with many of the towns restaurants and food stalls located on the main road – Av Tercer Mundo.
4. Activities Galore
It probably deserves its own post but there is literally hundreds of things you could do in San Pancho, which is even more impressive considering the small size of the coastal village. From yoga, to horseback riding, to surfing, to volunteering, San Pancho offers a range of recreational and vocational activities to suit individuals of all shapes and styles. With internet speeds slowly improving, it’s no surprise that the once sleepy coastal Mexican town is awakening to keen interest from travellers and freelancers from all over the world.
5. The Sunset
You couldn’t publish a post about San Pancho without citing its daily mainevent. The sublime San Pancho sunset. Having seen sunsets over the Ghats of Varanasi, over the great African plains in South Africa, I was certain it could not get any more visually stunning…cue San Pancho. The tangerine, magenta hue of the sky, scattered clouds, a perfectly straight horizon and with the still ocean reflecting all of the above in foreground, the San Pancho sunset makes for an incredible sensory delight.
In fact, the San Pancho sunsets are so striking, they are appreciated with a beach wide applause every single evening. Beat that.