Situated in the area of Nayarit, the little but bustling Mexican town of San Pancho ( also known as San Francisco) just a few kilometers away from the infamous and eclectic Sayulita is the ideal escape for surfers looking for an authentic experience away from all the typical tourism. Located on the country's Pacific Coast, north of Puerto Vallarta, San Pancho offers some reputable surf schools to choose from, as well as a number of hostels and boutique or family run hotels that provide surf lesson packages. Restaurants and shops abound in San Pancho, finding everything from jewelry shops to unique swim wear and hats. Home furnishings, like beautifully hand-made crochet dream catchers adorn the windows along the main street in an array of colours and sizes. Walking along the promenade you'll be drawn by the aroma of Cafe Organico where my friend and I anticipated our daily breakfast bowls with yogurt, granola and fresh organic fruit like bananas and strawberries. By the time our holiday was over, we had sampled almost every restaurant while spending a few extra dollars at the amusing shops along the way. They offered the most unique souvenir key chains, ceramics, blankets and various Mackermay items.
I am sure my friend can attest to this but our surf skills improved immensely this time around. The surf couple, Javier and Bianca who ran the surf school known as Surf House San Pancho, were not only warm-hearted and accommodating hosts, sharing personal life stories with us but were outstanding surf coaches. Their team of surf instructors were just as patient and encouraging. They had the friendliest dogs on the complex following us around ensuring we were alright! One dog even slept by our door at night. The villa, with its nature-inspired decor was beautifully adorned, clean and brightly lit. The town itself felt safe and the people were inviting. Yoga schools and classes are plentiful if you're interested.
Whether you're looking for mellow or intense waves, you can find both. My friend and I rung in the New Year together. We made some new friends. We became better surfers. We proclaimed our New Year's resolutions with one another, promising to move forward relinquishing our need to control the future, but rather glide through life with as much fluidity as possible. After all, this is what life is made of...small fleeting moments, good friends, good surf and hopefully a lot of sunshine!