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Hola Volunteers ~ Updated July 5, 2010

The schedule:

  • The names of the volunteers and the countries they are coming from
  • Whether family, couples or singles
  • The date/s and length of stay
  • The type of accommodations

General Information:

  • Safety
  • Passport and Tourist permits
  • Things to bring and your arrival
  • Volunteer accommodations
  • Renting a private home
  • What you should be careful of
  • Things to do in the area

Other information about San Pancho:

  • The community of San Pancho
  • Landscape
  • Climate
  • Transportation
  • Supplies
  • Communication

The Schedule

The chart below contains the names of those volunteers who have been selected to join us this coming 2010 nesting season. Names in yellow are return volunteers and countries in blue are families or couples. The green colored blocks indicate private homes while orange represent volunteer housing.  The dates below are approximate. Important, if any of the information below is incorrect or you wish to change your dates or remove your name/s from the list, please let us know as soon as possible. 

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To help you plan your trip to San Francisco, (commonly called San Pancho by the locals,) volunteers from previous years have put together the following information to make your stay here more enjoyable.

Safety:

Several volunteers this year have voiced a concern regarding their personal safety. San Pancho is as safe as any country town in the United States, Canada, or within the European Union. I have lived in México since 1991 and feel very comturable and safe here.

Passport and Tourist Visa:

To enter México and return home you will need a Passport, there are no exceptions to this rule. A Mexican tourist permit or Visa will be issued at the airport when you arrive in Puerto Vallarta or cross the border by car or bus.. Be sure that the Tourist Visa covers the period of time you will be staying in México If possible obtain a permit for 180 days. If your Visa expires before you are ready to leave México, we will have it extended in Bucerias.

Things to bring from home and your arrival:

ATM card with pin numbers, and/or
American Express card is handy
Traveler’s checks
Good Raincoat
Alarm clock
Flashlight (LED preferable)

Beach shoes
Insect Repellent
Sun Block
Lip sun block
Sunglasses
Hat
Anti-diarrhea medicine
Sweatshirt or light jacket

Pack accordingly; keep in mind that we are in the tropics, pack light, although at night while on the beach a sweatshirt or light jacket may be necessary.  Also, keep in mind that almost everything you need can be found in Puerto Vallarta, Bucerias or La Peñita.

When you receive your airline ticket/s, let us know the date, time, flight number and airline that you be arriving on in Puerto Vallarta. We will pick you up at the airport or bus terminal.

After your arrival you may need to exchange money and/or use your debit card. Important, bank debit cards must have pin numbers. Use only ATM machines that allow you to hold on to the card, swipe through, also use ATM machine within a bank only.

Once a week we will drive into Bucerias for food and supplies, as the choices of supplies are limited in San Pancho. 

Volunteer housing:

At this time we have three very nice volunteer homes that can hold up to Five volunteers each. The cost of rent is 200 USD per each volunteer, per month. The Group will pay all utilities and maid.    

You will need to purchase bottled water from water trucks that routinely drive though town. Trash pickup is generally three times a week.  Fresh vegetables can be purchased from trucks that routinely drive though town. Listen for a loud speaker announcing vegetables for sale (generally in the morning).  We have our own washing machines and clotheslines.

There are several good restaurants in town. Check with other volunteers regarding which restaurants are recommended.

Since these homes are privately owned we ask that all volunteers follow these rules:

  1. No smoking in the house.
  2. Absolutely No pets in the volunteer housing.
  3. No overnight guests.
  4. Do not remove or loan any of the property, i.e. blender, plates, sheets, etc.

Renting a Private Home:

Many families and some couples prefer a private home over volunteer housing. We can help you find prospective homes but you must make your own reservations, We subject that you e-mail Caren or Allison at: allison@sanpanchorentals.com or http://www.sanpanchorentals.com/ for accommodations. Also ask for a home close to the nursery on America Latina.

What you should be careful of:

We do have some mosquitos and they can make your life miserable if you don’t take them seriously.  You must use good repellent, (we suggest 28% DEET) and start applying it the minute you get off the airplane, especially on the feet, ankles and legs.

There is good very good surfing and swimming in and around San Pancho. Be careful of the local surf during high tide and/or heavy waves, you can run into serious rip-tides and undertow, swim at low tide if possible.

Drinking tap water is not recommended, use bottled water. All restaurants will serve potable water.  Do not drink out of the water tap.

Be careful what you eat. Don’t eat at a corner taco stand unless you know it is safe, or have a cast iron stomach, the staff can recommend at least good restaurant.

And last, be careful of scorpions although there are not a lot of them here. Check your shoes, bedding, and anywhere you place your hands.  You may never see one while you're here but be careful.

Things to do in the area:

Most of our work is between 6 PM and 4 AM which leaves a lot of time during the day  to explore the country and have fun.  Following are some ideas to consider. (Several times during the season the entire group will drive to other nurseries and explore the countryside)

Los Ayalos – Is a small beach community near Rincón de Guayabitos.  The sea here is much calmer than in San Pancho.  There are palapa style restaurants along the beach but few gift shops.  To get there, take a colectivo (explained at the end of this section) to Rincón de Guayabitos (20 to 30 pesos) and catch a colectivo to Los Ayalos (15 to 20 pesos)

Rincón de Guayabitos  - Is another beach town with calm seas, much larger than Ayalos.  This is a Mexican resort town with nice hotels, restaurants and many gift shops.  To get there take a colectivo from San Pancho to Guayabitos for about 25 pesos.
                                                                 
La Peñita - Just north of Guayabitos, this town has good grocery stores, restaurants, a bank, automatic teller machines, post office, great ice cream, and souvenir/t-shirt type shopping.  Take the colectivo from San Pancho to La Peñita for 25 pesos.

San Blas - A town 74 miles to the north known for it’s surfing and birding.  There are boat trips available through the mangroves swamps where one can see a variety of birds, pond turtles and alligators.  There are good hotels, restaurants and a sixteenth-century Spanish fort in the area.  To get there, take a bus or colectivo to the La Peñita bus station.

Sayulita - Five miles south of San Pancho, Sayulita has some small grocery stores, good restaurants, gift shops, great ice cream, souvenir/t-shirt type shopping and incredible surfing.  Take the colectivo from San Pancho.

San Pancho -  If you are interested in birding take a look at our local lagoon, a nature hike up the road past the hotel or the road out to the river.  Just get out and explore. There is a lot to see in the area. Just don’t forget the insect repellent.

Colectivo - These are generally vans that carry several passengers to many destinations.  It is much less expensive than taking a private taxi.  There are several areas in San Pancho to catch one such as the hospital, the school or walk to the highway to catch one (sometimes this is faster, but not always.)

Other Information:

Community:  San Francisco is a small country pueblo of 2,300 inhabitants, located 32 miles north of Puerto Vallarta.  San Pancho as it’s commonly referred to, contains many small stores, gift shops, many good restaurants, and a regional hospital.  President Echeverria rebuilt the pueblo in the late 70’s.  It's parks, market place, and cobble stone roads reflect the charm of old Mexico.

Landscape:  The northwest edge of the pueblo is flanked by the Pacific Ocean and a one mile stretch of beach. The town is enclosed on three sides by rolling green hills of heavy tropical forest.  There are six other beaches within walking distance of the pueblo.

Climate: Throughout the summer, daytime temperatures range between 80° to 95° (27°c to 35°c), nights 72° to 85° (22°c to 29°c)  The ocean temperature runs a warm 86°± (30°c) in the summer.  Humidity ranges from 65% to 85%.  Heavy thunderstorms and rain may occur at anytime between mid-June and mid-October.  Yearly rainfall amounts range between 24 to 72 inches per year.  Except for storms, winds are gentle, 3 to 9 mph.

Transportation:  A personal vehicle is not necessary although it can be helpful.  Bus and mini bus (colectivos) service runs every 20 minutes between 6 a.m. and 9 pm.. 

Supplies:  Many necessities can be found in San Pancho while a greater variety including auto parts, gasoline, a large selection of groceries and household supplies can be obtained in Bucerias, La Peñita and Puerto Vallarta. Once a week, the volunteers will be driven to one of these towns to purchase food and supplies.

Communications:  We have Skype, a volunteer computer, and high-speed Internet.  English language newspapers and magazines can be found in Sayulita.  Personal mail can be received through the Group's post office box, and sent through the Mexican mail.  Important, it may take up to a month to receive mail. Burros still in use?.

Frank D. Smith
Director
Grupo Ecológico de la Costa Verde, A.C.

 


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