We had a magical day touring San Pancho and Sayulita with our guide Tony.
Hospitality/Knowledge/driving/ Vehicle condition: Tony picked us up at our home and greeted us warmly. He had a cooler of bottled water available in the immaculate SUV. We felt safe with Tony driving, he was skilled and cool
Cultural interpretation: We didn't just see places, Tony provided context and his personal connections to these amazing beach towns. For example, at the Plaza del Sol, the town square in San Pancho, he described the symbology and mythology in the murals. Walking around, it seemed everyone knew and loved Tony.
Our first stop was San Pancho. Coming from the hustle and bustle of Puerto Vallarta, this little town was like a deep, calming breath. We wandered the Main Street and enjoyed the beautiful landscaping and striking murals. Highlights of San Pancho were the Agua fresca tasting where we tried familiar flavors like strawberry and coconut and new ones Iike soursop (kind of funky tasting) and pineapple with basil, which was herbaceous and perfect for a warm day.
We had some excellent beach time. Playa San Pancho was beautiful but very busy. Tony drove us through the local cemetery to the quieter and serene Playa de Muertes. I don't think we would have been able to access this perfect beach without his skilled driving. Amazing waves and warm water. Wish we could have stayed all day.
In Sayulita, we visited the Artistans market and veiwed chaquria pieces of the Huichol people,the process of covering a 3-dimensional form in a single layer of beads, like a mosaic, but with distinctive patterns using geometric shapes and bright colors. There was a life size horse head that was especially memorable in the menagerie of beautifully beaded creatures.
For lunch in Sayulita, Tony was able to get us a table at the popular Mary's Tacos, for handmade tortillas. It was impossible not to over order, but we had to try tacos, empeñadas, and the aguachile. All excellent!
Tony would be an amazing guide for any traveler, whether going solo, with family or like us, with friends. I was deeply touched by Tony's nuanced cultural competencies for hosting LGBTQIA2S+ audiences. Our group of four gay guys felt genuinely welcome and safe. Our Spanish is much better after hanging out with him and he taught us some great etiquette to up our travel skills. We had so much fun. Highly recommended.