When we look back on this crazy adventure, I know that one of our favourite memories will be of San Pancho.
With one main street that leads to the beach, San Pancho is tiny but it's filled with restaurants, cafes, little boutiques and juice bars. People walk around barefoot, there are friendly dogs snoozing on every corner and a huge, beautiful beach where people go to watch the sunset each night. It's chilled and quiet and friendly.
For anyone headed there – and you should, for as long as you can – here are a few things to know.
We went to the beach every day. Sometimes to read in the sun, sometimes for a walk in the morning, sometimes to watch the sunset. Once we even went for a run (but it was so hard we never did it again).
San Pancho's beach is almost perfect. The sand is golden, it's huge and quiet, the sun sets over the water. But it's not great for swimming (unless you like getting knocked about by waves).
- Café Mañana: This was our favourite cafe. We were so disappointed when it closed for the summer a couple of weeks after we arrived. The coffee is great and it's really friendly. There's a quiet space upstairs where you can work. And also a big book exchange.
- Chocobanana: This became our regular once Café Mañana closed. They do banana bread and muffins, and it's a good people-watching spot.
- Cafe Paraiso: Another coffee shop that does great cake!
Where to eat
For such a small town, San Pancho has some seriously great restaurants (and, yes, we did eat out a lot, no judgement).
- Bistro Organico: One of the fanciest restaurants in town, this is where to come for a special treat. We ate here once for breakfast and once for dinner. Everything was incredible.
- Gardenia: Opposite the ribs restaurant, this little spot is great for a classic Mexican lunch (we had the gorditas).
- Baja Takeria: Fish tacos and burritos with the best chipotle mayo. There's often live music too.
- Il Santo: A pizza restaurant with a chef from Naples – yes please! We ate here a lot.
- Darjeeling: We preferred the pizza at Il Santo, but this place has the best atmosphere and we saw some great bands play upstairs. The pizzas are big, so you can share.
- Mexotik: After travelling around Bali, the chef created a Mexican and Indonesian fusion menu and it really works. A nice place to go for a special meal.
- La Chalupa: This is the oldest restaurant in town. Go for the catch of the day, which the fishermen bring in each morning.
- Los Arbolitos: a cheap and cheerful taco spot that's always busy.
- Chuyita: Another good place for a quick lunch (it's on the corner of Mexico). Colin loved the tortas; I loved the quesadillas.
- Maria's: A super popular brunch place that also does nice meals in the evening.
- La Ola Rica: Some of the dishes here are a bit expensive but it does serve the best guacamole we've ever had.
- Barracuda: One of our favourites, this place is all about fresh seafood. For lunch they serve ceviche and tostadas, and the evening menu is a little more refined.
Every Tuesday, from 10am to 2pm, there's a farmer's market in the main square. It's not as big as Sayulita's market, but it's still a nice place to browse and you can get things like French pastries and quiches, and locally grown greens.
One of the lovely things about San Pancho is the live music. Almost every night of the week there's a band playing somewhere. Our favourite was Vagabond Swing.
Popular spots to listen to live music are: Baja, Maria's, Il Santo and Darjeeling.
There's a real sense of community in San Pancho and Entre Amigos is a big part of that. With planned activities, an education centre, a library and recycling facilities, it's a place for children and adults to hang out, learn something new and meet people.
Considering its size, there are quite a few shopping options in San Pancho, from surf shops to a vintage boutique selling 1960s ponchos. My favourite was Mexicolate, a handmade chocolate shop with flavours like grapefruit and habenero.
- Laundry: Our regular laundry was the place opposite Hotel Cielo Rojo. It's cheap and if you drop it off when they open, it'll be ready by the end of the day.
- Where to work: Our favourite place to work was Café Mañana, which has really fast wifi and plenty of space. Chocobanana has good wifi too, but mornings are best there as it gets very busy. There are also computers and desk space at Entre Amigos.
- Exercise: I went to yoga classes at El Estar Yoga Centre, which I really enjoyed. We also went running on the back streets around the golf course, which are quiet and quite shady.