Moving from a fast-paced, high energy city like New York to a calmer, more relaxed place like Sayulita has been such a change of lifestyle that I find myself wondering how I ever survived in my past life. I have become so turned off by certain aspects of mainstream culture, or what I like to generally refer to as city life, that sometimes even dreamy Sayulita seems like too much for me. This is how my interest in San Pancho, Sayulita’s sister town, began.
San Pancho is located less than ten kilometers north of Sayulita on the same beautiful coastline and can be reached with a short bus or car ride up Highway 200. The main part of the village is much smaller than Sayulita’s cross-town stretch of shops and restaurants but has been growing at a similar rate over the last few years. Some might say there is less to do in San Pancho but that depends what you’re looking for. I would agree that there are not as many bars and restaurants, and much less shopping to be done, but there is enough to enjoy yourself without the crowds. On top of that, what the town lacks in tourist attractions, it makes up for with community programming.
San Pancho’s charm lies more in what it doesn’t have than what it does. It doesn’t have busses dropping off hordes of day trippers on the weekends, it doesn’t have a Starbucks or a Subway, and it doesn’t have that same busy buzz that seems to last year-round in Sayulita.
This less populated, community-driven, village is the perfect place to seek out solitude and serenity. The beach is long enough for a good stroll but way less populated than even Sayulita’s North Beach. The surf is a little stronger, so I would be careful if you plan on going in the water, but you can find a spot all to yourself if you walk less than five minutes in either direction on the sand.
Much like it’s sister town, San Pancho has a selection of cafés and restaurants for those of us who follow a cleaner or more organic diet. You will find a number of them on Tercer Mundo, the main street that goes straight from the highway to the beach.
During my time here, I also found a few yoga studios, some offering expanded services like massage therapy or barre classes. Both El Estar and Yoga San Pancho seem to be the main locations but I am excited to explore the rest of the community. The people who live here reflect that same quieter, slightly more introverted, mentality that the town gives off but are friendly and open to outsiders.
Now, any longtime resident reading this will probably roll their eyes at the idea that San Pancho is any different than Sayulita. They both attract similar kinds of people and businesses, and San Pancho is on its way to being the tourist attraction that Sayulita has become. However, for now, I am going to enjoy the feeling of a neighboring escape while I can.
PHOTO: San Pancho Beach: “San Pancho Beach offers a quiet place to relax”