The coastal town of San Francisco (or San Pancho, as it’s more commonly used moniker), in Riviera Nayarit, invites rest and relaxation like few others in the region. And yet, with its art galleries, restaurants, artists and writers collectives and environmental organizations, not to mention annual music and art festivals, it encourages short or long-term visitors, national and international, to get as involved with the community as they choose.
San Pancho has a really friendly vibe conducive to spontaneous chats, which is just one of the reasons down-to-earth expatriates are moving there and Vallarta locals love to spend the weekend. Still very much a small town with a funky local flavor, its main street is really fun to check out, the best of the Old World without sacrificing today’s benefits, like the perfect latté. And then there’s its untamed natural beauty, with long stretches of pristine sandy seaside and lush jungle to explore. Surfers are attracted to the area’s best waves and the restaurant scene is surprisingly fantastic and diverse.
San Pancho’s history can be traced back to prehispanic times, and it was in 1524 that it was christened with its name by Don Francisco Cortés de Buenaventura.
Nothing much changed in this mango processing town until a few years ago, when there was a sudden a boom in real estate development and visitors discovered the town’s many pleasures.
San Pancho is located less than an hour north of Puerto Vallarta along Carr. 200 North, and only five minutes past Sayulita, another popular beach town. The exit to San Pancho is clearly marked on the highway, and most of it’s attractions are located on, or within walking distance to Ave. Tercer Mundo, its main thruway, that runs from the highway to the beach. A leisurely stroll from the highway to the beach along Tercer Mundo will take you less than 30 minutes.
For people going to San Pancho directly from Puerto Vallarta’s International Airport, it is wise to check ahead of time with your hotel to verify if pick-up and transportation can be arranged. Public transportation from Puerto Vallarta is available throughout the day by way of the Compostela bus line, which can be boarded at Walmart, in front of the Maritime Terminal. Bus lines offer departures from Puerto Vallarta’s Bus Terminal to Tepic and points north, and will often stop at San Pancho on the highway upon request.
Neighborhoods & Neighboring Regions
Most of the activity in San Pancho takes place in or near Ave. Tercer Mundo. North of town, a residential neighborhood features beautiful oceanfront homes and hillside properties, along with a few hotels. Given the short distance between Sayulita (five minutes south) and San Pancho, it is possible to explore and discover both destinations on a single trip.
San Pancho Photos
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