Saving Turtles in San Pancho Mexico

In San Pancho Mexico, (also known as San Francisco Nayarit), the  San Pancho Mexico Turtle Project began  on April 16, 1993, when theLogo Grupo Ecológico de la Costa Verde, A.C. received official recognition by the MexicanNursery Government to become the first environmental non-profit civil association of the region with the special interest in the protection of the marine turtle.  Through the Mexican Government, SEMARNAT (Secretary of the Environment and Natural Resources) the Group was granted permission to continue its work along the neighboring beaches. The board of directors was created to carry out the objectives and goals via voting, with the officers now in standing; Frank D. Smith as Director, Maria Elvia Garcia Palmera, Secretary, and Rocio artinex Ocegueda as Treasurer.

They and the volunteers work day and night protecting the turtles by removing the eggs form the nests so poachers can’t collect them, usually at night. They have had terrific success! Frank also writes a monthly newsletter, and you can sign up for it here.

Being a completely non-profit organization in San Pancho Mexico, they need your support, whether its you time, money or equipment. there is always a way to help out.

Nests Saved in San Pancho Mexico
The Number of nests recorded by the end of July came to 108, (down 16 nests from last July.)  Around 96 were placed in the box nurseryOlive Ridley, 5 were left in place on the beach and, unfortunately,  7 nests were taken by poachers. I suppose that is pretty good odds considering! All seven species of sea turtles are endangered worldwide and all are protected by law. Turtle meat, eggs, leather or shells are illegal to own or to sell and the penalties are very severe.
This year the almost extinct Leatherback turtle nested in San Pancho. There is a huge difference in the size between the Leatherbacks and the Ridley species. The leatherbacks are truly amazing giant turtles! They did not see the mother turtle on the first  nesting, but got to release those little darlings, helping to ensure the species survival. Most of the turtles laying eggs on the Riviera Nayarit are of the Ridley species and the Pacific Green Turtle. 

They rely on volunteers, and this July 2013 they are: Joslin, Starlie and Summer Bertrand, Kristen Barbour, Patricia Dombrowski, Megan Ewald, Lisa, Carly and Annie Hoffner, USA and Amalia Sedlmayer, Germany, Manuel Murrieta, México, and Lisa Fisher, Canada.
These volunteers not only take care of the nurseries, and collect the eggs at night, but also clean up the trash on the beaches. Did you know that turtles eat jellyfish? Now, there is a happy thought, if you have ever been stung by one!
Well, the turtles also mistake plastic for food! The plastic holders that hold the bottles can also get wrapped around animals bodies, necks and faces. Please, don’t litter, and help pick up the trash when you can. This San Pancho Mexico Turtle Team is AWESOME!

When to see a Turtle Release
The turtle releases in San Pancho Mexico are at the sunset hour, down in front of the restaurants on the San Pancho beach. The hatchlings look for the subtle light reflecting off the surf and waves to direct them towards the sea.Hatchlings Other forms of  lighting can point them in the wrong direction, and wandering about on the beach can lead to almost certain death. Even hatchlings that eventually find their way to the water can be too exhausted to swim – becoming easy pickings for fish. The lights from houses and restaurants play a large role in the disruption of nesting sea turtles and they can get lost or confused, and also confusing to the hatchlings.Olive Ridley

There has also been some concern with the heavy rains and flooding, as the beach nursery could get washed away.  The turtle nests need to remain dry for the first 12 days of incubation.  When eggs drop from the nesting turtle they are soaked in a antibiotic water solution, glossy, cream-white in color.  At the point when the eggs hit the sand its shell must quickly turn a dry, chalk-white color.  This transformation will allow the eggs to shed water, sand and bacteria, and most importantly, it will allow it to exchange carbon dioxide for oxygen.  Although white eggs may die if they receive heavy rain or flooding waves anytime within the first twelve days of incubation.

How do the Turtle Eggs breathe???
How do eggs breathe under eighteen inches of damp sand??? Its all about the tide coming in and out.  As the tide goes out, a large amount of water under the beach will go out with it. This allows air to be drawn down through the sand and around the nest.  As the time come in, it pushes carbon dioxide up and out of the next to the surface, much like an air bellow. And…this is how they can breathe…its so amazing! Thanks for all of the terrific information Frank!

If you have information on the location of a nests or a nesting turtle, or someone poaching a nest or capturing a turtle, please contact Frank and the gang at 045-322-191-1475 or 258-4100.
 Joslin has created their new and fun facebook page :

These folks in San Pancho Mexico have really helped save the turtle population here on the Riviera Nayarit.
Find out more on their website at, and how you can help, or come out out to San Pancho Mexico, down on the beach at 8:30pm for a hatching release. If you have never experienced this, you will find that it opens your heart with joy, and it is a great experience for all the kids.
Thanks to Frank and the San Pancho Turtle Project team for the information and the fun photos!

Enjoy the experience of a turtle release on the beach with the San Pancho Turtle Project  on the beautiful Riviera Nayarit in San Pancho Mexico.



San Pancho Music Festival in Mexico

Its that time of year again, and the 13th annual San Pancho Music Festival is happening on February 22 through the 24th.
They will feature performing artists from the region of Riviera Nayarit, Mexico, as well as musicians from the United States and Latin America.  The San Pancho Music Festival has really come a long way and grown from the original concept of a backyard venue of a local resident in 2001. Click here for last years photos!

San Pancho, also traditionally known as San Francisco,  is located on the Riviera Nayarit just north of Sayulita and South of
Lo de Marcos off of the 200 highway  in Mexico. A small quaint town filled families and unity, this town is also chalked with Mexican culture, art and wildlife. The San Pancho estuary holds many birds and other wildlife, with clean pristine beaches making San Pancho a place to go and be remembered.

The location of the San Pancho Music festival is at the Plaza del Sol, and is easy to locate, as there is only one main avenida. As you come into San Pancho, it is off of the main street on the left, about half way into town. Last year in early 2012 the  Plaza del Sol in San Pancho was remodeled and it’s facilities updated.  A new stage was completed to enhance the Plaza as an entertainment venue.  Public rest-rooms were modernized, the portico was remodeled with new landscape installed.   The Plaza is now better suited for the ever increasing crowds drawn to the community celebrations and festivals.

The San Pancho music and  fun will begin at 5pm each day, with performances up until 11pm each night with fun a jam session Saturday evening. The lineup for music looks like fun this year.
Here they are :

Friday 2/22
5pm – Folkloric Dancers
5:45pm – Juan-Ted (rock-n-roll, blues, pop, guitar)
6:30pm – Frida’s Eyebrow (blues, folksy ballads)
7:15pm – Pantera Fantasma
8pm – Dave Fisher & the 8 O’clock Band (folk, ballads, guitar)
8:45pm – Los Bertos y Las Muses
9:30pm – The Duvalin Band (classic rock, pop)
10:20pm – Atrakadero (Latin ballads and Banda)

Saturday 2/23
5pm – Leonardo (Swedish hang)
5:45pm – Joe Hadlock (jazz, pop, keyboards)                                     
6:30pm – Uiok and Friends (classic, new age, pop)
7:15pm – Werther Ellerbrock (blues, pop, rock, guitar)
8pm – Jeff Oster (smooth jazz, trumpet & flugelhorn)
8:45pm - Steve O’Connor & Doug Robinson (jazz, keyboards)
9:45pm – Banderas Bay Jazz Allstars (jazz)
10:15pm – Jam Session with:

·         Jeff Oster, trumpet
·         Chas Eller, keyboards
·         Bryan Savage, alto sax
·         Steve York, bass
·         Werther Ellerbrock, electric guitar
·         Lazaro Poey, drums
·         Doug Robinson, melodica
·         Steve O’Connor, acoustic guitar

Sunday 2/24
5pm - to be announced                                                
6pm – Luna Rumba
7pm – Tatewari (flamenco)
7:45pm – Beto, Carlos, and Carlita (traditional ballads)
8:15pm – Latcho & Andrea, The Blonde Gypsies (flamenco, gypsy boogaloo)
9:15pm – Los Compas (Nortena music, Latin)
10:30pm – Mariachi / folklorico

It is a truly wonderful balance of amateurs and professional performers coming together for 3 days to share an unforgettable and enriching musical experience in one of the most beautiful regions of Mexico.  Come early and enjoy the day and the San Pancho Beach.

The San Pancho Hostel is offering rooms on Saturday for 1/2 price! Stay Saturday, and get Sunday FREE, along with a late checkout on Monday!

That’s a sweet deal, and makes for a very fun weekend! 
You an contact them here.

Discover the San Pancho Music Festival on the Riviera Nayarit in beautiful Mexico!


Music on the Riviera Nayarit San Pancho Style

Its that time of year again, and the  12th annual San Pancho Music Festival will be opening in San Francisco (San Pancho), Nayarit, Friday February 24th at 5:00pm on the beautiful Riviera Nayarit in Mexico. The Festival will be held for three days, Friday through Sunday the 24th through the 26th.  Performances are free to the public and begin each afternoon at 5pm, typically ending prior to 12pm midnight.

San Pancho Music Festival History

San Pancho’s Music Festival is a vibrant, eclectic expression of performing art traditionally held annually for 3 days during the last weekend of February. It began informally in 2001, and by 2006 included some 116 performers. The Music Festival attracts some of the most colorful musicians from around the world, including international acts from Europe, the U.S., Chile, Guatemala, France and Germany. Regional talent has also been retained to include the traditional Mexican and Latin music of local musicians. (Werther Ellerbrock, on left and below Dave Fisher, both played in the 2011 event)

Musicians Play for Free

Traditionally there is no fee to attend, and performers are not paid. The Festival is entirely supported by the gracious contributions of local musicians and international recording artists, and by the local residents of San Pancho. Artists come to perform because they enjoy performing in the intimate venue and magical surroundings of San Pancho. It is a truly wonderful balance of amateurs and professional performers coming together for 3 days to share an unforgettable and enriching musical experience in one of the most beautiful regions of Mexico. Donations are encouraged, but there is no intent for the Festival to profit from the performances. Additionally, proceeds from sales of music and video CD’s go directly to the performing artists.

San Pancho Community Park

This year the Festival has been moved to the community park in San Pancho due to street construction and remodeling of the Plaza. Seating in the park is festival seating only, and is somewhat limited. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own chairs or blankets. Restaurants like the Blue Pig and bars like Ponchitos, who make the best drinks in town, and shops like  Galeria Serendipity with amazing native Indian beading and the cool kite shop San Pancho Aire Paplotes  next door that has kites and very colorful windsocks. They will all be open throughout the event to serve the crowd. There are also plenty of rentals at San Pancho Rentals…Caren will be happy to find the perfect place to stay so there is no worry about drinking and driving. Eat, drink, dance and be merry in San Pancho!


San Pancho Music Festival Itinerary

Check out and see who is playing so you don’t miss your favorite Riviera Nayarit band! Its time to get your groove on!

FRIDAY Feb. 24th

5:00 Nuiwarika (Grupo de Danza – Folklore Dancing)

6:00 Olivia de la Cruz

7:00 Frida’s Eyebrow

8:00 No Walls

9:00 Steve O’Connor

10:00 Jeff Oster

SATURDAY Feb. 25th

5:00 – open -

6:00 La Turquesa

7:00 The Coolerators

8:00 Werther Ellerbrock

9:00 Banderas Bay Jazz Allstars

10:00 Jam Session (with others to be announced)

Jeff Oster, trumpet Chas Eller, keyboards

Bryan Savage, alto sax Steve Goldberg, flugelhorn

Werther Ellerbrock, guitar Dov Schiller, percussion

Tom Lillienthal, bass Lazaro Poey, drums

SUNDAY Feb. 26th

5:00 – open -

5:30 Los Compas (musica nortena)

6:00 Awacero (trova Mexicana)

7:00 Sons of the Beach (featuring Jodi Moran)

8:00 Latcho & Andrea (Blonde Gypsies)

9:00 Tatewari

9:45 Jazz Tubo (with Beto and Carlos)

10:30 Atrakadero

For more current information and directions, please visit the Music Festival website:

Enjoy the sounds of the Riviera Nayarit in beautiful San Pancho Mexico and have a great time dancing and eating at the San Pancho Music Festival 2012.




Riviera Nayarit Community Fun

Its the middle of January already and the Riviera Nayarit in beautiful Mexico is in full swing for the winter season. There have been many community functions and business attractions, and we want to share some of them with you! There is always a lot happening on the Riviera Nayarit, and you can check out the happenings on,,,, and

The Third Annual Jaltemba Bay Rotary Fundraiser

The third annual Jaltemba Bay Rotary fundraiser was held this last Saturday on the 21st of January, 2012 at Tonita III in La Penita. The festivities included the beautiful Mexican Tepozcalli dancers from Las Varas and live music for some dancing with Manuel and Son. A lovely chicken dinner was served that included any beverage of your choice.
There was also three different auction fundraisers, the Chinese Auction, the Silent Auction and a Live Auction, which made for a really fun time! Every year the Rotary Club members give out awards to the outstanding citizens in Jaltemba Bay.
This year there were four volunteer groups that were recognized and honored for their services to the community.
If you are interested in becoming a Rotary Member, the Rotary meetings are held every Wednesday at Pina Coladas at 8:00am in Guayabitos. I am very proud to be a Rotary member here in Mexico and help bring in changes that help the peoples and the community without changing their wonderful culture.

Whats up on the Guayabitos Strip Mall

The Guayabitos Strip Mall is located behind the Oxxo in Rincon de Guayabitos, and has a lot to offer!
Starting out with Beauty by Aurora. She has a full staff and offers hair shampoo, cut and style, hair coloring, highlights and hair attachments. Manicure the hands and pedicure the feet, change your polish or add gel nails. Waxing for legs, bikini lines, lips, eyebrows, underarms and back. Aurora offers a complete line of hair and skin care services. Come and visit Aurora….you deserve it!

Next in line is the Espresso Internet Cafe, where you can enjoy a delicious cup of coffee or a tasty latte’ while you check your e-mail.

And, what is a day without a great workout? Come and work off ail of those extra holiday pounds at the Fitness Pad.  The Fitness Pad has 20 fitness machines including treadmill, stationary bikes, a full kickboxing bag, adjustable 6-setting ab/crunch bench and a pull-up tower! There is also a entire free weight system with a professional trainer on staff.  Dell also has some fun workout clothes as well as other fun things to wear out and about. She has some great specials as well.

Then its time to eat! One of the best places in Guayabitos to eat at is TeriYaki Time Restaurant. Yakisoba, chicken, beef or shrimp teriyaki, fried rice and a variety of pasta dishes are served daily made fresh to order. Try a large fresh salads for lunch or check out their daily breakfast specials. They also make a great Thai Iced Tea, and have a good selection of wine and beer.

Annual Amigos de Lo de Marcos Fundraiser

It s that time of year again, and the Amigos de Lo de Marcos is having their amazing annual fundraising event on the beautiful Riviera Nayarit in Lo de Marcos Mexico. It all starts on Friday, February 3rd, at 8:30am, with a town “Walkabout” with a guided tour of Lo de Marcos. The tour will visit sites where the Amigos of Lo de Marcos works with the town, and will also cover the water issues of Lo de Marcos. There is also the new town compost project which is a great success!

When the tour of Lo de Marcos is finished there will be breakfast served at the Lo de Marcos town square.
The following day on Saturday, Feb 4th the Silent Auction begins at 4:00pm, along with the huge  rummage sale that you will not want to miss as well as freshly baked goodies for purchase. And what would a celebration and fundraiser be without ice cold beer and tasty margaritas? They will be served later in the evening form 7:00 to 10:00 pm. along with dancing to the Latin reggae sounds of two local bands, Mal Bichos, as well as some fun Salsa music with Rhythm Eleison.    Come and support the town and peoples of Lo de Marcos!

The 2012 Pro Surfing Tournament

On January 12,13 and 14 the 2012 Pro Surfing Tournament in Arroyo Seco was amazing.  Felipe Hernandez (left), age 21 from Sayulita, Nayarit took the first place for the Men’s Pro Category, as well Adan Hernandez, age 24 from Sayulita, taking 5th.
Edgar Rodrigues, age 14 from San Pancho took 4th place in the Sub 18 Category and Adan Hernandez (right) from Sayulita was presented a trophy by Artemio Rosas for “Arroyo Seco Pro 2012 Surfer of the Year”, recognizing his involvement in a large number of important international tournaments and his support for the surfing industry. It was really an amazing time and I loved covering the event, as all of the people I met were really cool and well as the fact tht surfing is a big thing in Mexico and all over the planet! The entertainment with DJ PIN, Christian Reggae by Majhave, and Christian Rap by 12 Clan was awesome and they all rocked the house.
I posted about 450 pics on the RivieraNayaritFun Picture Gallery as well! Enjoy!
You can read more about it on our town sites and
Here is a list of all of the winners below:

Sub 18 Catagory:                                                                                                             

1st  Place     Mario Farias, age 17 from Play Azul, Michoacan
2nd Place    Marcos Hootman, age 16 from Tecoman, Colima
3rd Place     Victor Alarcon, age 11 from Manzanillo, Colima
4th Place     Edgar Rodrizues, age 14 from San Pancho, Nayarit
5th Place     Edgar Juan Camarena, age 15 from Manzanillo, Colima                              

Mens Pro Catagory:

1st  Place    Felipe Hernandez, age 21 from Sayulita, Nayarit
2nd Place   Martin Olea, age 23 from Barra de Navidad
3rd Place    Adrian Rodriquez, age 25 from Sayulita, Nayarit
4th Place    Raul Medina, age 30 from Playa Azul, Michoacan
5th Place    Adan Hernandez, age 24 from Sayulia, Nayarit

It was a terrific time, and I can’t wait for the next tournament. Congratulations to all of the contestants and winners.
There are so many different things to do here on the Riviera Nayarit. I really love living here all year long! Come enjoy the amazing flavors of the Riviera Nayarit in beautiful Mexico!

Come to the Riviera Nayarit for your Mexico Vacation and enjoy all of the diversity this region has to offer! 


- By Desiree Bilon

Endangered Sea Turtles

Although Olive Ridley might sound like the name of a children’s storybook character, it is the actually the name of a species of sea turtle in trouble. The Olive Ridley takes it name from the grey-green color of its heart-shaped shell. Even though this is one of the most abundant species of turtles in the world, it is still considered an endangered species on the Pacific coast of Mexico where the Riviera Nayarit is located.

The second smallest of the sea turtles, after the Kemp Ridley, Olive Ridleys weigh between 75-100 pounds (34 – 45 kg) and reach 2-2 ½ feet (0.6-0.75 m) in length. Mostly omnivorous, this turtle lives off a diet of crabs, jellyfish, lobster, and shrimp. Commercial fishing, loss of nesting habitat, and climate change are among the human-induced threats to turtle population levels worldwide.

The Olive Ridley has a number of natural predators. In San Francisco (San Pancho), a small town one hour north of Puerto Vallarta on Mexico’s Pacific coast, the domestic dog is the largest predator, digging up turtle eggs. Human poachers are also known to gather turtle eggs while the female is depositing them into the sand, only later to resell the eggs – considered an aphrodisiac in Mexico. If the eggs do remain in the sand, fly larvae pose the greatest threat to the nests. Once the turtles have hatched, ghost crabs become the new predators, going after the baby turtles and tucking them into their sand holes.

Sea Turtle Rescue

Frank Smith, a US expatriate, who has dedicated his life to turtle conservation, founded the Grupo Ecológico de la Costa Verde, A.C. in 1992.  The “group” built the first marine nursery in San Pancho, Nayarit to help increase turtle numbers. Sea turtles, even though diminished in population, play a key role in oceanic ecosystems. They are vital in maintaining healthy sea grass beds and coral reef, which provide habitat for other marine life; help balance marine food webs; and help facilitate nutrient cycling from water to land.

Frank stays up every night until 4:00 am and then sleeps until noon. From the end of June until mid-November, he is out collecting nests. Two teams, 3-4 people each, take turns searching for nests. One team goes from 10:00 pm until 1:00 am and the next team goes from 1:00 am to 6:00 am. They look for turtle tracks in the sand, approximately 2-feet wide (about 0.6 meters wide), and then follow them up to the nest sites. Once the female has finished depositing her eggs, and leaves, the team retrieves the nest.

Sea Turtle Nurseries

Two types of nurseries are used in San Pancho. One is the beach nursery where eggs are buried into a fenced off area in the sand, simulating a more natural habitat. The second is the “box” nursery. By replicating commercial hatcheries, carefully selected sand is placed into a styrofoam box and kept in a semi-heated room. The eggs are placed into the sand in neat rows, as opposed to a bunch of eggs dumped into a hole. Survival rates in the box nursery are successful, around 89%.

Due to lack of space, not all the eggs can be kept in the box nursery at the same time and some have to stay on the beach. While susceptible to attacks from dogs and fly larva in the egg stage, artificial lights pose a problem for the new hatchlings, born after 45 days.

“When they emerge to the surface, they look for the bio and chemical luminescence of the waves to guide them – it’s like a flash of lightening for them. Artificial light behind the beach attracts the newborn turtles and they head up the beach in the wrong direction. When the sun comes up it kills them within an hour.” Frank explains and urges people on the beachfront to turn their lights off.

You might see Frank on the beach, driving his dune buggy along the sand at sunset with passengers, the baby turtles.

“We only release 60 hatchlings in one spot. Then we go 400 feet down the beach and release another 60. We don’t release any in the same spot for a week to avoid fish predators,” Frank assures me.

Over the past 20 years, with the help of Grupo Ecológico, the Olive Ridley population in San Pancho has increased from 200 to 1,170 nests.

For more information about visiting or volunteering, visit Grupo Ecológico de la Costa Verde, A.C.

Join the special residents of San Pancho on their mission for Saving Sea Turtles in Trouble in the Riviera Nayarit, Mexico.

[Photos courtesy of Grupo Ecológico de la Costa Verde.]


A Song for San Pancho

San Pancho Beach

Maybe you haven’t heard of the Mexican town called San Francisco, Nayarit, affectionately nicknamed ‘San Pancho,’ but the popular Mexican rock band Café Tacuba feature a video about this lovely beach town accompanied by their song, “El Aparato” (on YouTube).

If it’s worthy of a professional video and song, it’s also worth a visit.  Located on the Pacific Coast of Mexico in the Riviera Nayarit, San Pancho is a quaint town with pristine beaches, tropical nature, and a tranquil lifestyle.

Just a 15-minute drive north of Sayulita, a popular surf spot, and 45 minutes north of Puerto Vallarta, its charm and beauty will steal your heart away.

San Pancho Summary

San Pancho Sunset

Only 40 years ago, this town was just a sleepy fishing village consisting of four extended Mexican families totaling about 100 residents.  When it became an official town in 1975 by founding father and former Mexican President, Luis Echeverria, it began to grow, attracting nationals and foreigners to its shores, eventually reaching the current population of nearly 2,000, many who are relatives of the original families.

More than a few things make this town special:  its secluded location alongside the deep blue Pacific Ocean with sparkling gold beaches surrounded by tropical rainforests and fruit orchards in the peaks and valleys of the Sierra Madre Occidental mountains; fresh fish and seafood caught by local fishermen; colorful sunsets melting into the ocean; and the friendly local characters telling fascinating stories about the town and their lives.

San Pancho’s hidden location in the tropics of Mexico and its natural lifestyle lend themselves best to nature activities both on land and by sea, such as hiking, mountain biking, four wheeling, and horseback riding across the rolling hills and lush jungles; and water activities such as swimming, fishing, kayaking, and some of the best snorkeling, diving, and surfing at nearby beaches.

Multicultural Community

San Pancho Girl

Thanks to its diverse community and increasing foreign population, this little authentic Mexican town has some big entertainment of its own, such as a 9-hole golf course centered amid fruit orchards (Las Huertas Golf & Beach Club) and a polo field (La Patrona Polo Club) with an art gallery, restaurant and lounge with music and is the place where social events and equestrian shows are held.

Community is what defines this peaceful beach town, and with an increasingly growing international population of Americans, Canadians, and Europeans, this brings with it increased employment and education opportunities for the locals.

In addition to the opening of shops, restaurants, and bars in town, the EntreAmigos Community Center teaches new skills to local families so they can achieve success in their evolving town.

San Pancho deserves the attention of the tourism industry for its attributes and contributions to the splendor of the Riviera Nayarit and for creating new opportunities for its Mexican residents.  Over 200 Canadians and Americans have discovered its charm and tranquility for themselves by investing in second homes and vacation homes, while travelers are just starting to catch on.  Why not discover it for yourself?

You too can Sing About San Pancho after visiting the beach town of San Pancho (San Francisco), Mexico, in the Riviera Nayarit.


San Pancho / San Francisco Mexico

Mexico is a nation overflowing with remarkable natural wonders, pristine jungles and mountain forests, and a virtually endless supply of beautiful relaxing beaches. The tides and culture of the Gulf and the Caribbean play against the eastern coast, while the Pacific San Pancho MuralOcean swells in from the west. The mainland area of Mexico narrows significantly as you travel south from the United States, and eventually the distance between the coasts – and their distinct cultural influences – becomes much smaller. In the tiny village of San Francisco – better known as San Pancho – in the state of Nayarit, Mexico, those influences have mixed in a special way, creating a local environment that is at once wholly traditional while being distinctly unique.

Not only do the denizens of San Francisco carry on their age-old traditions, but they carry on their respect and gratitude of their natural surroundings. Mexicans know the area San Francisco/San Pancho is nestled into as the Riviera Nayarit – a fifty or so mile long stretch of spectacular Pacific coastline tucked against the Sierra Madres and their rainforests and jungles. The area around San Francisco is entirely sub-tropical, spawning an immensely rich diversity of life in the waters, on land, and in the air.

The people of the area treasure this rich diversity, as it reflects the broad diversity of their population and its varied artistic, cultural, and ethnic influences. They are fiercely protective of the ecology and wildlife of the area, and despite the small size of the village, San Francisco boasts the support of a tremendous eco-community that is highly active. For nearly twenty years, the San Francisco-based Costa Verde Ecological Group has funded and led efforts to increase the critically low sea turtle population. Despite continuously diminishing numbers around the world, the non-profit group has been able to increase the sea turtle population off the coast of little San Pancho, Mexico by ten-fold since 1992. Recently, several locals halted the cutting down of hundreds of trees and the destruction of the town’s permeable stone streets by staging a spontaneous sit-in to protest.

Despite attempts to heavily develop San Francisco, aka San Pancho, into a resort spot, natives and ex-patriates from the United States have made a concerted effort to maintain natural state of the region. Over 500 species of birds live and migrate through the vast array of trees in the mountains and jungles. Scores of different mammals, reptiles and ocean life are actively protected and managed by the broad diversity of people who lovingly call San Pancho home.


There is a wall at the end of main street in San Francisco Mexico (aka San Pancho) on the Riviera Nayarit just an hour north of Puerto Vallarta. I snapped some shots of it telling the story.

Can you guess what story it is telling?

Come visit the Riviera Nayarit on your next Mexico Vacation. you will be glad you did. San Pancho makes a great little town to visit for the day, or stay in for your entire Mexico Vacation.


© 2012 Riviera Nayarit Fun Suffusion theme by Sayontan Sinha