For such a small town San Pancho has a surprising number of excellent restaurants, many of which are vegetarian friendly, ranging from simple taco stands to gourmet bistros. The range of veggie street food isn’t as diverse as in big cities like Mexico City and is usually limited to cheese quesadillas, so to avoid boredom vegetarians need to spend a bit more on some of the other restaurants in town, or cook for themselves.
San Pancho is surrounded by jungle covered hills and last weekend we decided to head out and explore them. We followed America Latina from the centre of town, continuing on the dirt road known as the Jungle Road.
The houses of Guanajuato tumble down the hills that surround it in every imaginable colour. There’s no subtle, complementary colour scheme—fuchsia pink mingles with pillar box red, saffron yellow, baby blue, and lime green. We like the city better for its discordance. Despite its beauty it’s not perfectly restored and retains a gritty realness—it’s a city where people live, work, study, and play, not a museum piece for tourists.
After living on Mexico’s Caribbean coast for three months in Playa del Carmen we travelled to Cuba, Mexico City, and Guanajuato before settling down for another three months—this time on the Pacific Coast in the tiny beach town of San Pancho (officially called San Francisco), 50km north of Puerto Vallarta. As in Playa we discovered that living in Mexico is much more affordable than travelling around when the cost of hotels and buses can really add up. By slowing down and getting to know a place for longer we not only had plenty of time for work and relaxation, but also spent much less.
In most of Latin America the news for vegetarians isn’t great, so Mexico comes as a pleasant surprise. It is a meat focused country and vegetarianism isn’t widespread, but luckily vegetarian ingredients like corn tortillas, beans, cheese, and vegetables feature in many dishes so there is almost always an option for tasty meat-free meals.