San Pancho: A Secret Village in Mexico
The hazy beach is full of salt spray, kicked up by the aggressive shore breaks: these towering waves that smash into the golden sand and drown out all other noise. Beach-side seems to be the only busy area in San Pancho, a quiet little village outside of tourists’ eyes and ears. Your coffee options speak no English, though you might get by ordering a latte with the right body language. (Just signal an S.O.S.) Restaurants, on the other hand, might require a bit more finesse.
The long stretch of sand is slowly growing denser, as more vacation rentals, hotels, and other facilities catering to the rich and powerful replace the palm trees and brush. There was even an odd-looking vacation spot with towering pillars that I mistook for a mosque. I don’t expect quiet, sleepy San Pancho to stay quite as authentic, nor as magical for long.
San Panchos’ Sleepy Innocence
Just a few tiny roads together, filled with tiny shops and tiny beach houses complete tiny San Pancho, a speck on the map of Mexico. The town really has a bit more energy after dark, when the beach cafes light up and the artists bring out their guitars. It’s almost as if the radiant sunsets invigorate the beach goers, but a few too many cervesas is probably just the case.
I loved how personal the village felt. It’s light years different than the hustle of Puerto Vallarta, with its’ overpriced shops and drunken tourists, and even more playful than Sayulita, that seemed to be losing its original edge, catering more to tourists than families.
There’s not a whole lot to do here, to be frank. If you don’t enjoy surfing, beach lounging, or general exploring, that is. San Pancho is sleepy, quiet, and content to be itself. It’s not there for the average tourist, but for someone looking to experience Mexican culture like a local might. You can watch seasoned wave-riders catch incredible breaks, or potentially join in on a light-hearted game of Frisbee in the sand. You might even blend in while Zumba-ing away at the weekly outdoor classes that are held in the community center.
Things to do in San Pancho
If I haven’t already convinced you that this is the perfect place to unwind……here’s some of the best activities and things to do in San Pancho.
- Watch the sea turtle babies race their way into the tide. Usually beginning from late may for some months, the sea turtles begin hatching and wiggling their way down into the sea
- Picnic on the beach for sunset. You won’t regret it. Some of the best Mexican sunsets I experienced were here on the beaches of San Pancho. Due to their true-western facing beaches, you have the prime real estate to watch the sun set directly into the ocean.
- Take classes at the community centre, that offers a range of options, from Cirque Du Soleil to painting.
- Grab a surf lesson at San Pancho Surf House
- Enjoy an empanada at the street-side vendors across from the bars
- Watch the soccer games at the outdoor bars on the main drag