We are always curious about Real Estate, and a shop owner in Sayulita mentioned to us that perhaps real estate would be less expensive in the neighbouring town of San Pancho. San Pancho turned out to be very expensive compared to Sayulita. It is a little Mexican town that is being taken over by gringo vacation and retirement homes.
You can see Sayulita in the background of these two pictures. San Pancho is only a few kilometers to the north of Sayulita.
San Pancho proved to be another deserted beach. Yet there are several beautiful, empty resorts.
There is quite a bit of construction, and a large gringo community.
We came across a vendor of roosters. It is the first time we have seen them caged or tethered. These two cocks are beautiful, but I had a feeling they were to be sold for cock-fighting. I am not 100% positive, but I googled "cock fights San Pancho" and found this link. http://www.jaltembasol.com/20111/June%2012%202010/cock%20fighting.htm It is very disturbing.
This park seemed strangely out of place to us.
This Mexican home is typical of the town. Of course the gringos homes are in a separate neighbourhood and sell for upwards of 250,000.00 . It really struck us how the two communities seem to be segregated, even to the point of two town squares.
In the early stages of San Pancho’s development , the story goes that the town evolved out of a hacienda and later communal ejidal territory into a humble fishing village still named after the patron saint San Francisco. For decades, the handful of families that made up the town fished for their subsistence, and raised livestock and local fruit crops. The development of San Pancho, Mexico would have continued slowly and unremarkably--in step with all the other pueblos along the Bahía de Banderas coast--if the President of Mexico had not taken a special interest in the town during his term that lasted from 1970 to 1976.
After a visit to San Pancho, and the construction of what was once his family’s vacation mansion Vista Mágica, Luis Echeverría became very invested in the unique development of the town. During his term, President Echeverría adopted San Pancho as the site for his particular vision of a “third world” “self-sufficient” model town. As a result of his special interest, funds were poured into the humble village that at the time did not even have electricity. Nonetheless, an infrastructure was constructed. Roads were laid and proper housing was built for the small population of fishermen and farmers. Not to mention schools, a fishing museum, industrial factory, and modern fully-equipped hospital were all constructed and inaugurated by the president as part of his dream of turning San Pancho into a “university of the Third World”.
While the factory that processed local fruits went on to provide jobs for the community well on into the 1980s, the rest of Echeverría’s vision for San Pancho was brought to an abrupt halt with the end of his presidential term and the miserable state of the Mexican economy at his term’s end. Consequently, the ventures the President had proposed failed, and San Pancho drifted back into a drowsy tranquility. The fishing museum that had once housed perhaps the largest palapa in Mexico and was graced with elegant fountains, shortly fell into disrepair. Once the fruit processing plants closed down, and the “university” building went vacant without any students or professors to fill it, the overgrown tropical vegetation reclaimed the new developments and San Pancho went back to its sleepy existence. The town’s inhabitants went back to fishing and growing fruit, and with San Pancho still hard to reach, little changed.
Yet with the cobblestone streets, schools, and fully-functioning hospital, San Pancho still remained clearly unique and desirable, and in recent years has received the interest of an increased amount of tourists especially as a 2nd-home destination. Development in San Pancho, Mexico has still been much slower than that of the neighboring towns to the South, partly due to the fact that there is still no reliable bus service that reaches the town, and the beaches’ strong undertow does not lend towards water sports. Yet those two apparent negative attributes have had the oppositely positive effect of allowing San Pancho to develop as a genuine alternative to the mass-market holiday options, and therefore to attract a very special and eclectic international group of residents and visitors.