Seven Family-Friendly Activities and Accommodation in San Pancho Nayarit for 2019 & 2020

So you are planning your next vacation escape to Mexico. You have found Puerto Vallarta, maybe you have already been there and are looking into exploring the areas outside Puerto Vallarta. You have heard of the up and coming vacation and popular retirement destination of San Pancho (San Francisco) Nayarit. What can someone do there? Where can a family stay? 
We have two young boys in our family 7 and 10 years old and we looked at potential accommodations, hotels, and houses to rent. In our search for family-friendly places to rent we encountered several issues and we have taken specific steps with our own San Pancho rental Selva Suites to address those challenges others are not interested or able to fix.
During our research, the houses or rooms we found were not appropriate for a family! I kid you not – there are several homes in the San Pancho Nayarit rental market which have in their frequently asked questions whether the property is appropriate for a family with the answer being negative! Some claim that there is not enough room. Others that there are lots of stairs and therefore “dangerous” for children. 
Another issue we found was that when the vacation rental home or hotel was actually accepting children, they did so at a high-cost premium. The rooms were rented on a per room basis of a two-person capacity. This resulted that we would have to rent and pay an additional room for the children to sleep. 
There are some rentals that are specifically and explicitly advertised as “adults-only” hotels or vacation rentals for the benefit of the other adult guests who are looking for quiet!
This was frustrating and we wanted to make sure that with our San Pancho Nayarit rental home Selva Suites we are able to offer a family of four, a couple with two children, feel welcome in San Pancho without costing an arm and a couple of legs! 
What does a family look for in a family-friendly vacation rental? We looked at our family; we want to have enough room for both ourselves and our children, without however being cramped. So we built our rooms to be the suite type. There is a master bedroom with a queen-size bed for the parents and next to it there is a living area or living room. The living room is equipped with a functional and comfortable sofa that opens up to a couple of beds. This additional space can either be used as a living room by a couple without children or as a bedroom for the children and it comes at no additional cost. Both the bedroom and the living room enjoy wonderful views of the San Pancho’s Nayarit tropical jungle and ocean. 
As a family, we want to have a fridge where we can store leftover food or medicines we may need to have. We want to have a comfortable way of warming up or cooking food. So at our vacation home Selva Suites we have a full-size fridge, cooktop stove, microwave, toaster oven with all the cookware and silverware necessary. These small details make a huge difference in the comfort of a family’s vacation and we are excited that we will be able to provide it for our guests. 
As a family we also want to have a way to cool down and for our kids to be able to play in a swimming pool. At Selva Suites in San Pancho, we built a really cool and unique swimming pool. On the upper floor, there is an infinity view pool. The water leaving the infinity pool cascades down the wall to the first floor where the suites are located. The unique feature is the area that collects this water (which re-pumps it back up to the main pool), functions as an additional small and shallow pool. That actually becomes a practical and usable pool to sit in and cool down while enjoying the absolutely stunning view of the jungle. It is also very useful if you have young children who would sit in the pool in safety. You just have to see it for yourselves to appreciate it. 
Having a family and children should not come as a disadvantage and should not have to compromise having quality vacations. 
We were also concerned about ways of entertaining our kids. I don’t know about your kids, but ours are big-time video game players, and we are happy to get them away from what amounts to a small addiction and into doing other things, away from TV monitors and electronics.

So what can you do here in San Pancho Nayarit? 

Surfing and Surfing Lessons: If you and your children are experienced surfers you can rent boards at the local San Pancho surf stores and head for the beach. If you want to learn or just experience surfing the local San Pancho surf stores offer classes. They provide the surfboards and transportation to calmer beach waters where you can try in an extremely fun and safe manner. We did this a few times and it is absolute fun for the kids. So for your vacation in San Pancho bring a surf shirt so you don’t get skin burns and environmentally friendly sunblock lotion. 
Release some baby Sea Turtles into the Ocean: This is also a unique experience. Sea turtles come to our beach in San Pancho to lay their eggs. Local environmental organizations staffed by volunteers protect the eggs and when they hatch, invite our San Pancho visitors to look at the baby turtles, hold them and release them into the ocean. As they will tell you, the walking part of the baby turtle from the sandy beach into the water is one of the most important challenges that the baby turtle must overcome on its own if it is to survive in the ocean. So, please follow the instructions of the people managing these events, but take lots of pictures and videos of your children enjoying these unique experiences and create some unforgettable memories. 
Horseback Riding: There is a very inexpensive, almost private class provided by professionals. The horseback riding classes are happening at the La Patrona Polo Club, which is in San Pancho and nearby our San Pancho vacation rental Selva Suites. The class is fun and for the inexperienced first-time rider, it is a surprise how difficult a sport to do it properly and correctly. Make sure you wear long trousers/pants because you must use your knees a lot to ride the horse. 
The Tourist version of Horseback Riding: This is a more easy-going ride, no need for long pants here, just sit and enjoy a relaxing ride. There are local companies that will rent a few horses and take your family on a slow, guided tour that lasts approximately two hours. The routes are determined by the guides based on the route conditions, how crowded the area is and so on. In general expect to ride through the jungle, cross some rivers, get to a high vista point for gorgeous views and photos, maybe ride on a beach and through a village. We did this with our friends and their children, the experience is amazing and the kids are bonding over such a unique activity.
La Patrona Polo Sunday Brunch: During the high tourist season in San Pancho between November and May, the Polo Club hosts a very relaxing Sunday Brunch and they absolutely welcome kids. The event starts at 11 am and ends around 4 pm. It includes an unlimited grill buffet and certain drinks. On the grill, you will find everything: beef steaks, beef and pork ribs, sausages, octopus, chicken. There is a game of Polo by the local Polo teams which is described by a commentator. There are opportunities to get photos with the horses. The area is large, open and flat, so the children can run around safely so you can easily act like an iguana keeping one eye at the Polo game and the other at your children.
Nature and Bird following and watching: Our village of San Pancho and the surrounding areas are in the middle of an amazing and exotic ecosystem. There are animals, birds, and plants not seen normally in usual urban cities or even in zoos. You get to see these in their natural habitat, guided by experienced biologists and zoologists. Depending on the time of year you visit our beautiful San Pancho, you will encounter different fruits. There are mangoes, avocados and other exotic fruit that at times they simply drop to the ground and you will see local people just eating it. Go ahead, do the same, free fruit provided by nature, without any pesticides.  
Restaurants, Restaurants, and some more Restaurants: All of them unique, each with their own original taste. You will want to visit each restaurant every day in San Pancho. Extremely tasty and very affordable. 
Well, there you have it, I hope I have given you enough information about our family-friendly AND wheelchair accessible vacation rental home Selva Suites and our San Pancho village in Nayarit Mexico. 
Do you have comments or questions? Please contact me through the contact section of our website https://www.SelvaSuites.com. I always respond fast and hope to see you and your family as our guests at our San Pancho vacation rental home we named Selva Suites.

Whale Watching Season in Puerto Vallarta, and San Pancho Mexico!


December 12, 2018
Whale watching in San Pancho
Each year from December to March, Banderas Bay and the waters off the coast of Vallarta-Nayarit offer some of the world’s most spectacular whale watching. (Photo: Larry Bennett, Aspen Photo Art Gallery)
Our wonderful room accommodation of Selva Suites in San  Francisco (San Pancho) will be right in the heart of this migration!!
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico – Discover the extraordinary world of whale watching on your Puerto Vallarta vacation! Each year from December to March, Banderas Bay and the waters off the coast of Vallarta-Nayarit offer some of the most spectacular whale watching opportunities in the world.
Each year in late November, hundreds of Humpback whales start arriving off the coast of Puerto Vallarta and the Riviera Nayarit. Their annual migration from the cold waters of Alaska brings them as far down as the Bay of Banderas where they will procreate and raise their young in our warm waters, which offer some of the most spectacular whale watching opportunities in the world.
This year’s whale watching season officially opened on December 8, 2018 and will run through March 23, 2019. Every year the Environment and Wildlife Secretariat (SEMARNAT) grants permits to vessels that are authorized to offer whale watching tours. On these boats, crew members have been trained to offer participants the best possible experience without affecting the natural habitat of the whales.
A typical whale watching expedition will take between 2-4 hours. Tours leave daily from Puerto Vallarta’s Maritime Terminal, beginning at 8 am. One can choose from special boats designed specifically for whale observation, a variety of smaller boats, or the larger tour boats that also provide food and beverages.
Each authorized vessel is required to have a copy of their permit onboard and to fly the whale watching flag, so when you are offered a Puerto Vallarta whale watching trip, make sure the boat has the proper accreditations. This will ensure that you, your family and friends enjoy a safe whale watching experience, while helping to protect these gentle giants that call the Bay of Banderas “home” for a few months every year.
There’s absolutely nothing that compares to the thrill of seeing these fascinating animals in the wild, and Puerto Vallarta tour operators offer a variety of exciting whale watching expeditions that are safe, educational, and most importantly, lots of fun!
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Moving to the Land and Soil Survey.

3D Land Elevation and Selva Suites Building Layout on the Lot in San Pancho! Only three minutes from the beach, close to Sayulita!

Today was a pivotal point of our project. We are getting closer to finalizing the architectural design and positioned the proposed builing onto
Selva Suites Floor Plan on the Land of Selva Azul in San Pancho
Selva Suites Floor Plan on the Land of Selva Azul in San Pancho
the available lot considering the zoning laws and regulations. The green lines on this image show the lines within which we are allowed to build. Zoning rules demand certain distance from the neighboring lots, which is great as it ensures both our and the neighbors’ privacy and tranquility.
The blue shape is the layout of the building and its location on the lot. The majority of the building will be located on the existing flat platform. Off to the left side and at the lower levels of the lot, there will be a great sistern which will be collecting rain water. The sistern will also function and be part of the necessary retaining walls.
This information was shared with the community management and provided this information for the land and soil surveyor. The land and soil surveyor will go to the lot, dig several holes at different points and depths of the proposed building site and collect land samples. They will do a chemical analysis which will tell us what it the quality of the land and whether we would need to reinforce it with other materials to make is strong to sustain the weight of the building.
It is exciting that we completed one stage and are moving to the next phase of this building project.
In this animation video you can see a three-dimensional view of the lot elevations. There will be additional retaining wall and land on top of the flat platform, which will raise the starting level of the building structure of the garage and the suites by approximatelly 3 feet giving better view to the ocean and the jungle cliffs. The second level will be 8 feet higher on top of the 3 feet. The second level will have our main living area, and the swimming pool accessible via stairs and ramp for the guest renting the suites or rooms.  Check out the animation:
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Don’t Miss This One Thing in the Building Process in San Pancho, Sayulita, Punta de Mita, Puerto Vallarta.

Topography, Land and Soil Surveys

Satelite-Topography-San Pancho-Selva Suites
Satelite Topography map San Pancho Selva Suites Lot

Important parts of our building project are the Topography, Land, and Soil studies. This was an exciting weekend; we met with the topographer, architect, civil engineer and the soil surveyor at our lot.

The topographer spent about a week getting all the exact points of reference and defined the border lines of the lot. Downloaded these data via GPS satellite. It recorded the land’s steepness and identified all major trees. Based on these data and the zoning laws and rules, a defined perimeter was proposed to build.

This photo is a satelite image of our lot with the blue lines pointing the perimeter.  The following image shows the elevation of each lot area and the main trees marked by type of tree and height. Remember this is extremely important as mentioned in this other posting.

We shared this topography information with the Land & Soil surveyor so that he has an idea of which parts of the soil will need to be studied. The surveyor will be digging at 4 to 5 holes at different points on the lot at apprximatelly 4 meters depth each hole. Soil sample will be taken to a lab to analyze its composition to determine how stable is the land to build on. So many people try to cut corners to save money in the short-run only to regret it later. These topography and soil surveys are well worth the investment to save you from potential disastrous building decisions.

Topography-San Pancho-Selva Suites
Topography Tree & Elevation map San Pancho Selva Suites Lot

Next step will be for us to complete the initial architectural layout with measures and render it within the proposed building location. This information will be passed to the Land & Soil surveyor so that he can perform the survey. We are looking this to be complete between the end of 2018.

We will be spending our end of 2018 vacation in Puerto Vallarta and San Pancho. It will be the first time our kids will get to see our lot and they are very excited.

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Architecture Designs

We have been creating many different designs and layouts for the home. We study over all of them and keep changing things. The framework consists of the allowed size set by the city, the shape of the lot and our imagination.

Selva Suites Upper Floor Layout
Selva Suites Upper Floor Layout

We are making the home layout to be practical.

 

Entrances to the home and mobility will be made easy. Moving between the two levels of the property will be done both with stairs and a ramp to make it easy for any age and ability to move around.

The rooms are being laid out so that they can have the maximum available views to the jungle and ocean. The situational construction will be done to accommodate the lot’s layout as well as to take advantage of the sun’s trajectory and winds’ and breeze natural flow. The sun’s trajectory will be important to maximize the solar panels’ capacity. The wind will need to easily breeze through the home for natural air ventilation to keep the home as cool as possible and to help move any mosquitoes or other small flying insects through and out of the home.

The upper level will be our main living space consisted of three berooms, each with its own private bathroom, a living room and a kitchen. All living spaces will be built in a manner that will allow uninterupted views of the jungle cliffs and the Nayarit Pacific Ocean.

Selva Suites Lower Floor Layout
Selva Suites Lower Floor Layout

Plenty of space for several cars to park.

The lower level will have the rental lodging guest suite rooms.  Each bedroom will have its own bathroom for comfort and privacy. Each rental guest room will have the main bedroom sleeping 2 people and a separate living room with the ability to convert into a bedroom to sleep an additional 2 people. Each suite will have its own bathroom.

There will be a patio/veranda with a seating area. It will be possible to enjoy the views either from the outside seating area or from inside the bedroom.

The rooms from the lower level will be connected to the swimming pool patio area in the upper floor with a ramp and stairs. This way even guest needing a wheelchair or families with strollers can easily move around.

The home will be ecologically friendly with solar panels and potentially windmill to generate electricity. Batteries to store it. Water sistern will be large enough to collect plenty of rainwater so that we do not depend on the city’s water supply system. Bathrooms will be connected to an environmentally friendly, staged septic system to make good use of the gray water. I will post more details in future posts as these things start to materialize.

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Digital render of home rental in San Pancho, Mexico, near Sayulita.
Digital Render Back

Five (5) Secrets to Purchasing Vacation Rental Property in San Pancho – and how we managed ours at SelvaSuites.com

1. Be Persistent, Be Patient in your Vacation Rental Search.

As I mentioned, looking for a property will be a time consuming effort. You must really want it and must be persistent. We had a few deals fall through, mostly due to the price. You will need to be prepared for several trips to find the right property.

We made an offer at a property at Lo de Marcos. This deal fell through because the agent did not seem forthcoming and was playing games around the price and the size of the lot.

Another offer in Litibu – a small, very dry and empty, village between Punta de Mita and Sayulita fell through again due to price. While the lot had great view of the Nayarit Ocean, there was no privacy, other lots where attached right next to that lot. It was extremelly dry village, without the lash jungle views available in San Francisco. As a result, there was not any shade available. This dryness was also concerning about water availability for us and our lodging guests.  So our offer was reflective of these concerns and disadvantages of Litibu, which ultimately was not accepted by the seller.  Ours here at www.SelvaSuites.com was our baby! 🙂

2. Find the Right Realtor with Knowledge of the Local Market in San Pancho!

It is important to have a good and honest realtor. Someone with experience, who will work with you, be interested in what you are looking for, but also be a consultant who will educate you about the local market, the purchasing process and protect your interests.

So many realtors simply want to “push” to sell a property. We did encounter a couple such realtors. The one that helped us purchase our property was excellent, very helpful, honest and hard working. She asked questions we would not have thought. She made sure we understood the process and the market. She was prepared for our meetings and had ready for us to see several properties whenever we scheduled our trips to San Pancho to look at properties.

Such a good and organized realtor will save you time and money by utilizing your precious time by showing you a lot of properties within a given time, so that you have lots of options.

Selecting a good realtor is crucial in the process of purchasing your dream real estate in Mexico.

3. Protected Trees and Environmental Impact Study – Manifestación de Impacto Ambiental (MIA).

Although this is great for the protection of the environment, it can be a bitch for your building plans! 🙂 This could be considered the equivalent of the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) in the US. If you buy a jungle lot, as we did, it will have certain vegetation. You will want to preserve as much as possible for shading and to protect your lot from erosion.  At the same time, there are certain trees which are highly protected and you may or may not be able to remove, if they happen to be located in the area you want to build. Which trees are protected? nobody could tell us or nobody wanted to tell us, so as not to get scared.

One of the deals’ reason of falling through was because there were trees which we thought were protected, the realtor thought it might be protected, but nobody could confirm. So we were very hesitant to make an offer without this information.

After a lot of research, we stumbled upon the community we eventually purchased. The developer of the community had already done the Study called MIA for all the lots they were selling, …. and it was available online!!!! We read it very carefully and we discovered this:

Protected Trees (no one will tell which ones, but here they are!!):

Palmas de coquito de aceite or Palm trees which produce a fruit nut (coco). This coco fruit can be processed and eaten. However, it is also the main food source of local birds and small animals in the area of San Pancho, Sayulita, Lo de Marcos and Punta de Mita. If these Palm trees are over 12 or 15 meters high, you are not allowed to cut them.

Tempizque Amenazado or the Endangered Tempizque. I do not know what that tree looks like. We did not have such a tree on our lot.

Here is the gray area; they may allow you to cut the trees if you agree to either re-plant some new trees of the same kind, on your lot and/or donate to the government for re-planting new trees maybe to a rate of 20 new trees for each tree you may want to cut.

We heard that the MIA report can be expensive and time consuming, because you are dealing with the government. We were very lucky in this area, because the developer already had the MIA done and we did not need to do it. It general, anytime you ask about the MIA, whether it has been done or what is the process, you will be given the run-around and vague responses.

4. Titled Property.

Extremelly important question: Is the property Titled (con escrituras in Spanish) or is it Ejido and if so at what stage of the Ejido?

Titled property legally belongs to a single person or corporation. It can legally be sold at seller’s/owner’s will. Ejido properties do not have clear legal ownership, instead they belong “to the people” the ejidatarios. If you want to buy an ejido property, you must do acrobatics, deal with Mexican beurocracy, pay a lot of money and go through a process which may take anywhere from 2 to 10 years. Ejido properties are extremely cheap compared to Titled properties, but they are so cheap for that reason. If you have time to invest and the patience to deal with this process, it might be worth it for you, because once you have managed to convert an Ejido property which you purchased very cheaply to Titled property, the price of the property will easily triple. For most people however, this is a very difficult process.

5. Water, Power, Drainage

Investigate and find what is the water situation. A scarce and extremely important resourse. Friends rented a vacation home in Cabo San Luca and half way through their vacation, the property run out of water. Imaging having this issue trying to rent your property. In San Pancho there is relatively more water and more rain that in Punta de Mita and Litibu. This is evident when you look at the surrounding environment and vegetation. However, even though there is more rain in San Pancho, this does not mean that the government will be able to provide you with water year round. Be prepared to build an undeground sistern and find ways of collecting the rain water to fill it up. Calculate your water consumption in order to figure out the appropriate sistern size.

Does you lot come with Electric Power services? Some developers have done the leg work to bring power to your doorstep. Some have not. We experienced two developers who were selling their lots at almost the same price per square foot, yet one had paved roads, water pipping to the property and electric boxes ready to be connected to the Electric company, while the other had done none of that.  It’s easy to miss these.

If your lot is outside the main village, be prepared to have to build a septic tank.  This is common thing in such areas and should not be area of concern.

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Our Little Piece of Peaceful Paradise

Today was the closing day. We are happy owners of our own jungle lot on a hill side, in San Pancho.

Our lot has amazing combo views of jungle, the village of San Pancho and the Pacific ocean.

Selva Suites Entrance
Entrance to exotic Selva Suites.

Searching for the right lot was a long and relatively complicated process. We started looking at a radius of 1-hour driving distance around the Puerto Vallarta airport.

We liked Puerto Vallarta for many reasons:
– Close to the equator has a more or less stable climate.
– There are no major natural disasters, no earthquakes or major hurricanes.
– It has a good International airport with direct flights to many cities in the US.

We have been coming to Puerto Vallarta for many years and thought about buying either a property or land to build a property for our vacation, retirement and as an investment.

The city of Puerto Vallarta is very developed with all the good and the bad things that come with it. It has easy convenient mega-stores, good internet access, and other modern comforts. It also has quite a lot of traffic, too many people and a very high rate per square footage. In Puerto Vallarta, you might be able to get a condo or an apartment with little to no privacy. For your one lot and an independent house, you can easily get in the million dollar level.

As a result, we looked farther out of Puerto Vallarta. We like the tranquility of smaller places with fewer people. We also wanted something that would be a good investment down the road. So we looked south of Puerto Vallarta in Mismaloya, and to the north at Punta Mita, Litibu, Sayulita, San Pancho, and Lo de Marcos.

We managed to find and purchase a great lot in San Pancho.

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