There seems to be a lot of confusion on walking between Sayulita and San Pancho. I did the hike the other day, so thought I'd write up something more specific for future use.
Note: This description follows the jungle trail, and does not involve any fence hopping, trespassing, or other mischief. From all the information I gathered, both online and locally, trying to make the walk via the beach is very unlikely. The jungle trail DOES NOT come close to the beach on the San Pancho end. If you want to try bush whacking through the jungle to get around the private property blocking beach access, I'm sure it will provide many hours of harmless entertainment, but is unlikely to get you to your destination.
- This trail is not visible from Google Maps satellite view. The obvious "trail" you see is the power lines, and are very over-grown.
- Wear decent footwear. Flip-flops are a good way to twist an ankle as the trail is rough in places. Sports sandals would be the minimum if you're an experienced hiker. Proper shoes highly recommended.
- Distance was 5.2 km one way, from the north most point in Sayulita. Elevation gain/loss 160m. It took us 1:15 at a leisurely pace. It's another 15-20 minutes from centre of Sayulita.
- The trail is well defined, and would be difficult to get lost once you are on it.
- Bring at least a half-liter of water per person.
- The short distance walking on the highway is by far the scariest/most dangerous part.
- Leave yourself at least 3 hours of daylight. The Jungle is a dark place at night. Even with a flashlight, what was obvious in the day is not at night.
- At the Northern terminus of Av. Del Palmar, cross a chain gate onto a quad trail. Follow this, staying on the most obvious trail.
- At a fork with a big rock in the middle, keep left.
- Cross a cobblestone road.
- Keep left at the next fork and go downhill.
- Stay right on the main path when you cross under the power lines (obvious)
- You will end up down by the beach, where there are some abandoned ruins of buildings on the right.
- If you took an alternate route and ended up on the beach early, look for the building ruins. The trail is not accessible from the beach beyond this point.
- The trail head is obviously marked with a barbed wire fence, and signed permitting walking and bicycle, but not horses or OHV.
- Follow this trail for about 45 minutes.
- The trail will spit you out on a road, follow the sign indicating San Pancho to the right.
- You will end up on Highway 200, follow it north a short distance to the next road on the left.
- Follow this road downhill, it will cross a bridge, then bring you into San Pancho.
FROM SAN PANCHO:
- Walk South down Calle El Salvador, cross a bridge going over the river/stream.
- You will end up on Calle Primavera. Walk up this road to the highway.
- Walk south down the highway for a short distance to the entrance to Haciendas San Pancho. This is the next road on the right. There will be a yellow gate with a guard house (likely occupied).
- Walk though the open gates immediately south of the guard house.
- Keep an eye for a sign on the right. There will be an arrow pointing towards where you just came from labled San Pancho. The other arrow will point up the road, labeled Private Property. From here, look for a trial on the left (south). A short distance in there will be a barbed wire fence used to block motorized traffic.
- Follow this trail for about 45 minutes. It will eventually bring you down to a beach with some ruins of old buildings.
- The trail will now be a quad track. Stay on the main, most obvious track. Don't worry too much about taking a wrong turn, you will either end up at the highway, the beach, or Sayulita.
- When you cross a cobblestone road leading to a private residence, you are almost there!
- You will end up at the very end of Av. Del Palmar, on the north end of Sayulita.