If you are wild at heart and can do without the creature comforts of a private beach club, the Riviera Nayarit offers those options, too. Just take a short drive up to the quaint village of San Pancho and settle your towel, umbrella and cooler in a quiet location on the mile-long stretch of soft golden sand.
San Pancho Beach is absolutely one of my favourites. It has enough for me to do and see if I’m in an active mood – or absolutely nothing to do or see if I’m feeling lazy. The waves create a dramatic impression as they come crashing into the shore offering some great opportunities for more experienced surfers and some great wave jumping activity for those who just want to feel the spray on their face.
Just off the Malecon, where local artists and beach vendors hawk their wares, there are two excellent beach restaurants – Las Palmas and La Perla. Both offer super-fresh local specialties and cold beer or cocktails under a shady palapa. They’ll even bring your order out to the lounge chairs beyond. Las Palmas has recently expanded to the new three-story tower on the Malecon. From the top level, you can enjoy a fabulous view of the stunning sunsets San Pancho is known for.
Surfer dudes and chicks congregate at La Fresona, the go-to place for the beach bums and babes. Formerly La Playa Restaurant, this venue offers drinks, botanas and a D.J. several nights a week.
These restaurants offer plenty to feast the eye on, especially at the weekends when families are out with their kids, dogs and picnics. But, take a short stroll a little further north along the beach and you will rarely see a soul – maybe somebody occasionally passing to walk their dog or on a healthy jog – otherwise the beach is yours.
Head south towards President’s Point (named for former Mexican President Luis Echevarria who kept a vacation home here during his term in office) and the beach curves out, forming a small cove. Here, the waves are smaller and the swimming much safer. This is where the local families with young kids go to spend a relaxing afternoon at the beach.
San Pancho Beach is home to the first marine turtle conservation program on the Vallarta-Nayarit coast. Olive Ridley sea turtles, interestingly enough, are programmed to lay their eggs on the same beach on which they hatched. By the early 1990’s, these turtles had become endangered because of uncontrolled poaching and the slaughter of the mothers when they came ashore to nest.
Grupo Ecologico de la Costa Verde, led by its founder, Frank Smith, began its work to save the marine turtle population in 1994. The all-volunteer group patrols the beach all night long to discourage poachers from making off with the nests. They dig up the freshly-laid eggs and place them in boxes of sand in their hatchery – keeping them safe from poachers, dogs and powerful ocean waves that could wash them away.
The group has made a huge difference in the number of turtle nests being laid on the beach. The first year of the project fewer than 100 nests were recorded. In recent years, this number has grown to over 1000 nests per season. The group recently released its one millionth turtle hatchling.
Ready for an amazing San Pancho beach vacation?
Contact us for a fabulous vacation rental in San Pancho or anywhere else that suits your fancy. Or, contact our concierge who will be happy to arrange a day trip for you and your group to this incredibly beautiful beach.
See you in Paradise!
Bon vivant, gastronome and all-around great guy – Miguel Neves de Carvalho brings you the best of what Punta Mita and the surrounding area have to offer. His passions include polo, horse riding, rugby, cigars and most recently … golf.
Miguel lives in Punta Mita with his youngest son, his fiancée, Lisa, and his two dogs “Tanqueray” and “Tonica”.
He started Punta Mita-Rentals in 2012.
Subscribe to our newsletter for delicious recipes and timely updates about his little corner of paradise.