San Francisco Mexico | Nayarit Huichol Cultural Capital

San Pancho – Riviera’s Cultural Capital

The history of San Pancho, as San Francisco Mexico is lovingly called, can be read on the walls of a compound near the San Pancho beach. Here you’ll find exceptional images painted in acrylics depicting colorful personalities sprinkled across landscapes known to this area.

Located just 5-km north of Sayulita, San Francisco Mexico is considered the “cultural capital” of the state of Riviera Nayarit, thanks to the numerous initiatives carried out here to promote Mexican culture and education.

San Pancho History

The first inhabitants in the area of San Pancho Mexico, where the Southern Sierra Madre begins, were indigenous tribes pertaining to the Tatuan de Nayares group.

In 1524 Don Francisco Cortés de Buenaventura named the area Azapan. The Spanish eventually christened the town San Francisco de Azapan and made it a part of the Jaltemba Hacienda, which produced coconut oil.

In 1936, the Sayulita common lands, which San Pancho belongs to, were formed. This establishment, in a way, created the community spirit that characterizes this destination. It is precisely the social advocacy of its inhabitants, plus their work in conjunction with educational projects, environmental issues, and the promotion of the arts that has spurred the positive growth and development of San Francisco Mexico.

Vacation in San Francisco Mexico

With an intense luminance, the San Pancho beach area welcomes anyone in search of rest and relaxation, bright tropical sun, and a good book. However, if you are of a more adventurous spirit and wish to defy the waves of the Pacific Ocean with your surf board, then come vacation in San Francisco Mexico. You’ll find that this is one of the most truly remarkable Nayarit destinations.

Lining the streets of San Francisco Mexico you will find cultural centers, galleries, small restaurants, traditional bakeries, diners and even soccer fields and golf courses. Many have names that recall far away places such as Kenya, Pakistan, India, and Egypt,

Also worthy of praise is the La Patrona polo club (, a symbol of San Pancho.

Here, fans of Polo can become members of the club, take private lessons, and participate in national and international polo tournaments. And for those who do not play polo, La Patrona also includes other facilities such as a restaurant, an art gallery, a concert hall, and organization services for private events and weddings. And if you still need more convincing to vacation in San Francisco Mexico, be sure to admire the impressive mansions that rise from the hills surrounding San Pancho, and imagine that one of these architectural masterpieces as your dream home.

Culturally enrich your visit to the Riviera Nayarit with a stop in San Francisco Mexico. You will appreciate the incredible Huichol handicrafts, the art pieces on display in the galleries, the exclusivity of its polo club, and the tranquility of this traditional fishing village. San Pancho, with its spirit of community works, has managed to evolve while maintaining its time-honored essence of old Mexico.

If you are looking for luxury accommodations, consider the new One and Only Mandarina in Lo de Marcos (opening on November 1st, 2020), which is just 16km up the coast.

San Pancho House of Art Opens Its Doors

“I have known of San Pancho for 32 years. I came here when they inaugurated the warehouses that were constructed for communal works and as co-ops. They produced coconut oil and fish, among other things. And since then, I have liked San Pancho,” states the gallery owner, Helmut Kohl.

Dedicated to art for years, Kohl decided to move the celebrated Haus der Kunst gallery from the city of Guadalajara to one of the tranquil streets of San Pancho.

The gallery has already held some exhibits showcasing artists such as Ricardo Pinto Gollas, Carlos Vargas Pons, René Almanza, and Ariel Saiz. Saiz was a co-founder of the San Pancho Collective, a community of independent art that aims to facilitate artistic processes for the cultural and community development of the town.

Celebrating the Huichol Community

“Another interesting thing about San Pancho is the Huichol community, which has a strong presence here; they live here, they share their daily lives here,” adds Kohl.

Also known as the bridge for contemporary art, the Haus der Kunst has discovered an interesting market of art collectors in San Pancho; “We have internationalized ourselves more than ever” concludes Kohl, from the tranquility of his new residence.

San Francisco Mexico is well worth the visit the next time you vacation in Riviera Nayarit!

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