Playa San Francisco is a beautiful wide, sandy beach, fierce and riotous, set in the artsy town commonly referred to as “San Pancho.” Like most towns along the Nayarit coast, San Pancho was once a fishing village and mango processing town. It is now an up and coming small Mexican town bejewelled with the striking tropical homes of well-heeled North Americans. San Pancho’s main street is cobblestoned, which is a true luxury in Mexico, especially in the rainy season. The town also boast a fine a golf course and even a small beach boardwalk.
The scenery is luxuriant because San Pancho is surrounded by the Sierra Madre Mountains, covered in verdant foliage. A forest of palm trees lines the beach. It is spectacularly beautiful and a popular destination for brave surfers. But because of the wild waves and strong currents, the beach is best enjoyed by walking along the shore and taking in the magnificent scenery, playing cautiously in the surf at the shoreline or — better yet — horseback riding its full length. Whales are common to the area, especially from November through March. It is said that the humpback whales come to mate here and give birth off shore. During the rainy season, sea turtles still come to lay their eggs on this beautiful beach.
San Pancho offers a variety of moderately priced accommodations, as well as some very luxurious choices that include exclusive B&Bs, striking beachfront palapa style homes, and even an Adventure Resort. The town also offers vacationers a few unique clothing and arts and crafts type shops. Vacationers and residents also enjoy a few fine dining restaurants. Ola Rica is one of our favorite restaurants specializing in fresh seafood and Mexican fare.
The town hosts several art and music festivals throughout the year, which give it a unique flavor. Whereas Sayulita’s flavor seems to be “anything goes,” San Pancho is reserved. It’s a great choice for nature lovers who wish to explore the Nayarit coast with the assurance that, when they settle for the night, their vacation is truly a quiet and relaxing getaway. San Pancho is chic and beautiful, and I have no doubt it will become a retreat for the rich and famous in the not too distant future.