Mexico editor Gay Nagle Myers was in the Riviera Nayarit for the opening of the Iberostar Playa Mita, the Spanish hotel company’s first hotel on Mexico’s Pacific coast. While there she also explored two fun and funky beach towns, discovered the beadwork jewelry of the Huichol Indians and caught three glorious sunsets on the beach. Her second dispatch follows. Click to read Gay's first dispatch.
SAN PANCHO, Mexico — I'm a beach person. Arriving in a town where I can see the sand and surf from every street corner is my idea of happy.
San Pancho and Sayulita, two small beachfront towns in the Riviera Nayarit region on Mexico’s Pacific coast just north of Nuevo Vallarta and 30 minutes from the new Iberostar Playa Mita where I’d been living the all-inclusive life, met my happy barometer.
It’s where real people live, and I like that.
I first dropped in at the Centro Communitario Educativo, run by a nonprofit group called Entramigos (Among Friends), headed by an expat named Nicole Swedlow.
“I came here on vacation and never left,” she said.
Kids were drawing, playing, making bracelets, writing, singing, dancing, reading. Many of their moms were sorting used clothing to be sold in the thrift shop.
Computer classes on donated laptops were going on in one room while a sewing workshop took place in another.
Out back, older kids were sorting glass and plastic for recycling.
A community gathering was scheduled for later that day to discuss plans for a show starring the kids in the center.
I dropped a lot of pesos in the gift shop, including 50 pesos (about $5) for a pair of earrings made from bottle caps.
I was happy that the proceeds would go to support scholarships for the school kids in San Pancho.
Later, I wandered into the Galerie Huichol, full of Huichol Indian beaded jewelry.
The Huichols live in the mountain region bordering the two Mexican states of Jalisco and Nayarit.
They are magnificent craftspeople and I was in earring and bracelet heaven.
Lunch was at Don Pedro’s down the road in the beach town of Sayulita, a favorite hangout of surfers. Shrimp tacos and a Pacifico beer hit the spot.
Later, I haggled half-heartedly with a beach vendor who wove me a name bracelet out of multicolored threads.
I bought a silk-screen pillow cover of Frida Kahlo in a shop called Revolucion del Sueno (Dream Revolution), walked the beach and had a Mexican coffee before climbing into the van, heading back to the Iberostar and another world entirely.
Follow Gay Nagle Myers on Twitter @gnmtravelweekly.