If you visit Banderas Bay in Mexico, you’ll likely be there to see Puerto Vallarta or one of the coastal towns in the Riviera Nayarit. During your stay, make sure to check out the small coastal town of San Pancho Mexico. San Pancho is an adorable Mexican town that’s about 40 minutes north of Puerto Vallarta. The charming small town has pristine beaches and only around 2000 residents. However, thousands of travelers visit the area each year and fall in love with its small-town vibe with cool art galleries, excellent restaurants and great shopping, too. Also, the pleasant climate and ideal ocean temperatures support vibrant sea life and biological diversity. If you’re planning a Mexico vacation in 2022 to the Riviera Nayarit, make sure to take a day trip to San Pancho. In the meantime, keep reading below to learn more about why San Pancho is a great place to visit.

San Pancho Mexico

The official name of the town is San Francisco, although most people refer to it by its nickname, San Pancho. Located just 25 miles north of the Puerto Vallarta International Airport, San Pancho has a laidback and peaceful atmosphere that visitors really love. While it was once a fishing village, today the town has great restaurants, high-end art galleries, community cultural centers, and so much more. Take a stroll to explore the town and really soak up its amazing vibe. The long strip of beach offers wonderful views of the Pacific Ocean’s open waters. If you want to get involved, there’s a turtle rescue center where visitors can help volunteer and participate in baby sea turtle releases, too. If you want to rub elbows with the local uppercrust residents, head to La Patrona Polo Club to watch polo matches and enjoy fine dining with live entertainment, too.

What To Do in San Pancho

Cabo San Lucas whale watching tour

Thanks to great weather, there are various outdoor activities to enjoy in the area. The natural beauty of San Pancho includes a protected national marine reserve known as Las Marietas Islands. To get there, visitors will need to take a boat to reach the famous hidden beach. You can also enjoy whale watching in Banderas Bay during the winter months between November and April. In addition, the Lo de Perla jungle garden has some exotic orchids that you can’t find anywhere else. If you want to go hiking, there is a popular 1 hour hike that starts at Hacienda San Pancho and weaves its way through the jungle to Sayulita. If you want to challenge yourself, try the longer 2 hour hike that takes you to a buddha statue. Last but not least, popular water activities to enjoy in the area include surfing, snorkeling, sport fishing, diving, paddleboarding and more.

Strong Local Community

San Pancho has a strong local community focused on art, culture, social assistance, and animal protection. Plaza del Sol is the city’s main town square and also the meeting point or location for various events, too. Various festivities are held in the main plaza including international art and music festivals. Bring the whole family along to go watch a movie at Ciné de San Pancho at the Bodega Teatro or local park. The latest documentaries and poignant films are featured there in the evenings. Also, an artisanal market is held on Tuesdays from 10am to 2pm in the Plaza del Sol. There, local vendors sell handmade jewelry, handicrafts, foods, drinks, and so much more. In addition, noteworthy community organizations include Entreamigos, Circo de los Niños, Alianza Jaguar and Colectivo San Pancho. Due to these important local organizations, San Pancho has been referred to as The Cultural Capital of Riviera Nayarit.

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