Riviera Nayarit
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Origin and history of the town of San Pancho

By Danna Sabido

June 06, 2023

The town of San Pancho is located in Bahía de Banderas, Nayarit, near Sayulita and Lo de Marcos. This picturesque place has a rich history that began before the time of the conquistadors, when San Pancho was inhabited by the Huichol and Cora ethnic groups, as they inhabited the Sierra Madre mountain range, also passing through Jalisco and Nayarit.

When the Spanish conquistadors arrived in Jalisco and Nayarit, they attacked the towns causing devastation for more than a century, so the Huicholes and Coras decided to migrate to the mountains to mitigate the damage caused by the Spanish military explorer Don Francisco Cortés de Buenaventura, who named the new village San Francisco, in honor of St. Francis of Assisi.

The town of San Pancho grew steadily over the years until the Mexican Revolution and the ensuing agrarian reform altered its history. With the passage of time and changes in power, the agrarian reform and the maxim “the land is for those who work it” were able to reclaim the stolen land. This reform gave rise to the Sayulita ejido, comprised of Sayulita, San Pancho, Higuera Blanca, and Lo de Marcos, which was founded in 1941.




San Pancho managed to develop to the point of almost becoming a model, self-sufficient community that prospered during the administration of Luis Echeverría, who provided financial support during his six-year term. The support dried up after the end of his administration. With no support from the next president, San Pancho was left with several unfinished projects that were finally abandoned by the government.

The town of San Pancho suffered a great deal from the government’s abandonment, which had a negative impact on its growth and prosperity. Nevertheless, the locals have persevered and remained so supportive of one another in the face of hardship that they have helped to restore San Pancho’s reputation as the Cultural Capital of Nayarit. 


San Pancho: A cultural and naturally captivating destination


Visit San Pancho to see how various cultures’ art and traditions meld with modern life. The town has grown over time as a result of welcoming tourists who decide to make San Pancho their permanent home. In addition to foreign art, you can also find Huichol and Cora art in the streets as you stroll through the town. These businesses include cultural centers, art galleries, restaurants, and artisan bakeries.

For those looking to surf or buggy board, San Pancho beach is very appealing due to its golden sand and amazing waves. The beachfront establishments invite you to sunbathe and unwind while taking advantage of a dining choice that will undoubtedly not let you down.

Bahía de Banderas Bay and other Riviera Nayarit regions have developed significantly as a result of Puerto Vallarta’s popularity, but San Pancho’s residents’ cooperation and civic engagement have undoubtedly been crucial to the community’s positive growth and development. Visitors’ experiences have been enriched and the community’s identity has been strengthened thanks to educational initiatives, environmental protection, and art promotion.





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