San Pancho

San Pancho/San Francisco

San Pancho (San Francisco) . . . Art & Music Capital of Nayarit

This is a small beach town located just north of Sayulita. The  nick name for Francisco is Pancho and has become the  more common name for the town. A very relaxed atmosphere with many seaside restaurants where you can watch the surfers. A Lagoon at the south end  has several species of birds. If your lucky, you might see horses crossing the lagoon then roll in the sand.

Getting There

It is easy, you just go to the Public Bus stop on Ave. Francisco Medina, next to the HSBC Bank and across the street from Coppel plus other pickup spots in front of Walmart, Marina Vallarta, and across from the airport. There’s always a  man at the bus stop, who will tell you which bus to take. The buses run every half hour starting at 6 am. Buses from San Pancho to PV return till about 8:30 pm. The cost is about $62 pesos per person each way. Pay the bus driver. It takes 1.5 hours. If your lucky you’ll get George Russell, a driver who speaks English. The public bus will stop briefly in Sayulita then drop you off on the main road of San Pancho, that’s just a 15 minute walk to the beach. You can also take a Taxi from PV for about $35-$50 US each way.  Driving time is usually 45 minutes depending on traffic. Best days to visit San Pancho are Monday through Thursday.

Restaurant Suggestions

La Perla Seafood Restaurant is located on the south end of the beach.  Their ceviche de dorado for $190 pesos is my favorite. If you order food there is no charge for the beach chairs. Great place to hang out and watch the sunsets and ask for Alan the Bar Tender. They’re open daily 11:30 am – 8 pm.  Pay in pesos, US dollars, or Visa/MasterCard.  Edna Martinez, the manager, speaks English. Call 311-258-4334.

Maria’s Restaurant & Bar is located on Ave. Tercer Mundo # 28, next to Calandria Realty,  just 3 blocks from the beach. It’s a perfect place to have breakfast once you arrive to San Pancho. They’re open every day from 8 am – 11 pm for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Closed on Wednesdays. Their specialties for breakfast are  Jardin & Espanol omelets or chiquiles, and dorado and other Mexican specialties for lunch or dinner. Their friendly staff all speak English. Ask for Ivan or Maria Ines, the owners, whose family has been in San Pancho for 3 generations. Call 311-258-4439. They accept pesos, US dollars, or Visa/MasterCard.


The Bungalows La Perla next to the beach has 7 rooms, some with balconies overlooking the beach. Room rates range from $1,000-$2,500 pesos depending on the season. Ask for Marietta Vazquez, who speaks English. Call 322-429-1871. Check Availability.

Sports Activities

Nativa Surf Shop is located on Ave. Tercer Mundo # 123, just 3 blocks from the beach. They have a great selection of T-shirts that they design and produce plus give surfing lessons and rent surf boards, body boards, and boogie boards. They also have a snorkeling tour. Ask for Sam Lundgren, the owner, who speaks English. Call 322-140-9733 or contact them at their website. They accept pesos, US Dollars, or Credit Cards.

Pando’s Fishing Tours offer daily fishing trips with all the equipment in a 24 foot, roof covered panga (year round, weather permitting). January – March for grouper, red snapper, pompano, and sierra. April – December for dorado, sail fish, and amber jack. $280 US for 1-4 persons per boat plus whale watching trips November–March, for 1- 7 persons for $300 US for the entire boat. Call Pando Flores, the owner, who speaks English for more information. Call 322-182-1696, pay in pesos or US Dollars.

Bird Watching Tours are offered year round by Luis Morales who can be contacted at 322-139-7242 or  Their company Birding San Pancho Ecotours offers bird watching and nature experiences mainly in the Banderas Bay region (Jalisco and Nayarit) with the highest commitment to support conservation efforts. By supporting their tours you also support the conservation efforts of the San Pancho Bird Observatory which is  their non-profit arm that allows them to advance nature conservation in this region. Visit their website or their FaceBook page.

Turtle Rescue & Release director Frank Smith has been coordinating this effort since 1991 and has released over 1 million turtle hatchlings.  Information can be found at For more specific information  or questions call 311-258-4100.

Real Estate Sales and Vacation Rentals

Calandria Realty is  located next to Maria’s Restaurant . If your looking to buy, sell or rent in San Pancho contact Geno Lamphiear, who has lived in San Pancho for 19 years. Call 311-258-4285, Cell 322-117-1950, or visit

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