Francisco..........not the famed city by the bay
but a village by the sea, an hour's drive north of
Puerto Vallarta, is a little bit of heaven. Known
to the locals as San Pancho, it is for the moment,
relatively unspoiled. But don't wait too long to
visit this idyllic spot, as development if coming.
One can only hope that it won't erase the charms of
this sweet spot.
Most development thus far has been second homes
owned by North Americans, many of them decked with
all the luxuries including infinity pools.
But the most wonderful feature to be found in these
homes is spectacular ocean views. Casa Blanca, the
one my friends and I rented for 8 blissful
days, has an expansive deck with views that go
on forever. Just sitting on that deck gave me all
the bliss I needed. Add to that a few margaritas
and some of Estella's fabulous guacamole and
freshly made chips..........what more could anyone
Estella is the sweet, wonderful woman who comes
daily to Casa Blanca to
fulfill your every wish. Slice a few mangoes,
perhaps a fresh pineapple, squeeze fresh limes
for those margaritas? Extella is happy to
comply, in addition to washing your dishes, your
laundry, if you wish, and, of course, make your
bed and give you fresh towels. Sigh. If only I
had an Estella at home!
A long expanse of sandy beach fronts the village,
never crowded except by the Plaza del Sole and its
beachfront restaurants where you can drink or eat
and take in the view for hours. Horses and their
riders amble or sometimes gallop by. And, of
course, the ubiquitous jewelry, pottery and other
assorted crafts are offered for sale. But away
from this action spot, you can have the beach
virtually to yourself, for long walks or lounging
in the sun with only a ghost crab for
The highlight of my visit was the opportunity to
participate in the release of Ridley sea turtles
hatchlings. Grupo Ecologico de la Costa
Verde, which is dedicated to the
preservation of endangered marine turtles, is
making great strides in bringing back this
In the spring of 1992, the founding members of the
Group built the first marine nursery to incubate
the turtle eggs they collected from the beach. The
local sea turtle population had been decimated by
several preditors, including humans looking to
illegally poach the dwindling egg supply to use as
an early form of Viagra. But in 16 years the number
of nesting females has increased from 72 to 661.
What a record!
Nothing can compare with the thrill of seeing these
tiny babies struggle to make their way to the sea.
It's not an easy journey, with the waves frequently
washing them back to the beach, but each and every
one of them eventually made it into the ocean as we
watched. They will have a lot of other hazards to
overcome, but surviving to get into the water is a
major hurdle. it was wonderful to see them enter
their briny home.