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Hiking from Sayulita to San Pancho

2 posts
1 review
2 helpful votes
Hiking from Sayulita to San Pancho

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.

General Information:

- 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.


- 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.

Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
39 posts
1 review
1 helpful vote
1. Re: Hiking from Sayulita to San Pancho

Great information, and I can back up the route from Sayulita to SP.

We took it and took our time, it was about 5 miles and 1:45 minutes for us. Sure, walking on the road is a little dangerous but a very short distance we're you're not in the grass/on the rain gutter. Just walk on the left side of the road and the cars will have plenty of time to see you.

We were surprised with the lack of bugs/wild life. There were two times where we saw lots of ants, but nothing else outside of that...

Tons of beautiful trees! It was one of the highlights of the trip for me.

Santa Rosa...
1 post
2 reviews
2. Re: Hiking from Sayulita to San Pancho

Thank you so much for posting this, just two days before we made the trek. We were wanting to make this hike, but we're concerned about the crazy directions we were seeing online, i.e. trespassing and having to crawl over boulders and hope to find the trail. Anyway we followed your directions to a T with a a baby on our back and a 5 year old hiking the whole way. It took us closer to two hours with breaks. It's not stroller friendly and rocky at points, but totally doable for kids and ppl in pretty good shape. I didn't feel super safe on the highway, but it wasn't a very long stretch and the ease and beauty of the majority of the hike made up for it. I echo a lack of wildlife, some butterflies were about it. We were chupacabra hunting, so that kept short attention spans engaged. This hike was one of our fave day trips while here, so thank you!

Vancouver Island...
6 posts
1 review
3. Re: Hiking from Sayulita to San Pancho

We did the hike a few days ago... directions were spot on. Many thanks to the OP.

Word of caution on the highway part though... my wife and I did the 200 yard dash around that semi-blind corner... good times!

Bora Bora, French...
Level Contributor
37 posts
3 reviews
6 helpful votes
4. Re: Hiking from Sayulita to San Pancho

Thanks for posting! We came from San Pancho. The first beach we entered in Sayulita was amazing.

It is nice to be in a place that is quite....just the sounds of nature.

Also worth noting....I use Backcountry Navigator Pro on Android and the Open Cycle Map depicts the trail.

Edited: 5 years ago
Portland, Oregon
Level Contributor
1 post
10 reviews
1 helpful vote
5. Re: Hiking from Sayulita to San Pancho

Many thanks for setting us straight! I plan on doing this next month, and until I found your post, info was confusing/daunting. Thanks also for the confirmations!

Los Angeles...
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233 posts
33 reviews
50 helpful votes
6. Re: Hiking from Sayulita to San Pancho

Thank you. Excellent info.

Boulder, Colorado...
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1 post
5 reviews
7 helpful votes
7. Re: Hiking from Sayulita to San Pancho

We followed these directions from Sayulita to San Pancho, and they were great. It took us about 40 minutes on the trail from the very end of Ave. Palmar to Highway 200, and another 15-20 on either end (we're staying pretty far south in Sayulita.) We're all in pretty good shape, but one of us is 9 ;-)

The stretch along Highway 200 is about a 1/4 mile, but we walked as much of it as we could on the inside of the guard rail. If doing this from San Pancho to Sayulita, I'd recommend getting a lift to the Hacienda San Pancho entrance, which is right by the trail head, so you can avoid the Highway portion of the hike.

It's lush and beautiful and hilly. We saw some beautiful butterflies, and some great moments of ocean peeping through the trees.

Edited: 4 years ago
Level Contributor
166 posts
11 reviews
10 helpful votes
8. Re: Hiking from Sayulita to San Pancho

Did the hike today starting at sayulita. The directions were easy to follow. The hike was beautiful as is San Pancho. The bus back to town was 15 pesos each.

1 post
9. Re: Hiking from Sayulita to San Pancho

Thanks for these directions. Easy to follow. Did the hike their and back from Sayulita this afternoon with a couple of hours on san pancho beach drinking daquiri's really pleasant walk and not so far really. Takes just under 2 hours each way and really worth the effort

Texas Gulf Coast...
Level Contributor
13,553 posts
132 reviews
228 helpful votes
10. Re: Hiking from Sayulita to San Pancho

I guess I'll have to pack some hiking shoes for my next trip to the area......just what I needed, a few more pounds in my carry-on! Thanks for sharing.


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