We were heading to Sayulita and knew we wanted to do something other than hang out by the beach. After some brief research, we decided to book a tour with Nayarit Uncovered. We loved the fact that the tours were totally customizable and offered off the beaten path experiences. We went into the day with little to no expectations, and our guide, Jorge, made sure it was one of the best tours we’ve ever been on!
We started off our day at Bistro Organico, located in an adorable courtyard at the Hotel Cielo Rojo in San Pancho. We discussed a plan for the day as we fueled up on a variety of nutritious, organic, GMO-free meals: a buddha bowl, huevos rancheros, banana pancakes, mushroom omelette, and a tuscan sandwich, to be exact. The ambiance, staff, and food were all fantastic.
After about a 45 minute drive from San Pancho, we arrived in a small traditional Mexican pueblo. The dirt road we were driving on turned into a narrow path with rocks ranging from pebble to boulder sized. There were no signs marking the path or stating that there was a waterfall ahead. At this moment, the feeling that a great adventure was about to take place ensued. We couldn’t help but ask, “how in the world did you find this place, Jorge?” He told us that he speaks to the locals to see how they spend their weekends. In return for letting him take tourists here (and other similar locations), Jorge helps out with maintenance such as clearing falling trees, rocks, debris, etc.
After parking the jeep and a short hike, we arrived at our destination. It wasn’t very hot yet, but the water looked too enticing to not go in. I can only imagine how refreshing it would be to jump in during the warmer months! We had a cerveza and sat and enjoyed the magic of having the place all to ourselves.
Alta Vista Petroglyphs
I had seen the Alta Vista petroglyphs online prior to booking this tour and knew it would be something my family (my dad in particular) would enjoy. Again, a rocky path lined with granjas, or farms, took us to our destination. Most tour companies park approximately 2 miles away from the entrance of the petroglyphs, but Jorge drove us as close as we could get. It was apparent that he also had a good relationship with the local farmers here too. Jorge traded cold cervezas and water in exchange for carambola, or star fruit, for us to snack on.
Although there are a number of signs, the site still feels very raw and fairly unexplored. Jorge explained that many independent researchers and archeologists have studied the Tecoxquin people, the petroglyphs, and their significance, but that very little research has been done by the Mexican government. Over time, many of the rocks have separated so I can see how documenting the site could be difficult. Today, the Huichole still use the site for ceremonies and offerings and the site certainly has a sacred feel to it.
Note: The Nuevo Ixtlan hot springs are fairly close to the petroglyphs. We chose to skip it because we didn’t have time and heard that they are usually pretty crowded.
About 15 minutes outside of San Pancho, Jorge took us to a small road side stand where we ate guyabano (supposedly linked to kill cancer), jack fruit, coconut with chile and limon, banana, and more candy than I think I consumed all year. Our favorite candies were the chile covered mango and the sweet coconut rolls.
Since our first visit to San Pancho was earlier that day, Jorge offered to take us back and show us around a bit. I think we all wished we made the trip from San Pancho to Sayulita sooner. Jorge explained that the town is very community-focused. It was reflected in the children’s after school center and the many parks and colorful murals that we saw. Unlike Sayulita, you get unobstructed views of the sunset. We watched the sky change colors over margaritas, ceviche, pulpo (octopus), and fish tacos. We may or may not have ended the night over shots of tequila.