TRANSPORTATION TO SAN PANCHO, MEXICO including buses, taxis and car rentals:
San Pancho sits on the Mexico Pacific coast along Highway MEX200, 33miles (53kms) north of Puerto Vallarta airport in the state of Nayarit.
We suggest that if you didn't change money before arriving, you visit one of the ATM machines in the airport. When you exit customs turn right and head down the hallway toward the checkin area. On your right you will see about 5 ATM machines. All are moderately cheap, about 40 pesos, though fees vary slightly. They are definitely cheaper than the ATM's in San Pancho.
Buses to San Pancho: San Pancho can be reached by bus - if you don't have a lot of luggage it is a nice local experience, with school kids getting on and off as well as people going to and from work. It's also very cheap.
Exit the airport building and take the pedestrian bridge over the main highway and the buses stop right there. Watch for a green “COMPOSTELA” line bus with a sign in the front window saying “San Pancho”. There is about 1 bus every hour; and the passage is about $40 pesos. Alternatively, one can catch a bus to the neighboring village of Sayulita (2 buses every hour; cost about $30 pesos) and take a taxi from there to San Pancho. Note: Not all Compostela buses go to San Pancho or to Sayulita. Make sure to ask or look at the sign. Pacifico buses also make this trip. They are a little more expensive, but they are air-conditioned and better-equipped.
Although the bus to San Pancho is more direct, it drops you on the side of the highway at the entrance to town. This means crossing the highway and a walk with your luggage, so unless your accommodation is close to the highway it can make for a fairly long walk - as much as a mile. There are occasionally taxis available out by the highway, but there is no guarantee. The Sayulita option is a better in our opinion, if slightly more expensive. Taxis wait by the bus stop and will take you to your door in San Pancho. They cost about $200 pesos - make sure you have changed money, as they generally only accept pesos.
The other option for a bus to San Pancho is to go to the central bus station, approximately 1 mile north of the airport. Flag down a taxi at the airport and have it take you to the Central Camionera. Buses passing here go past the bus station but do not exactly stop there; therefore a taxi is recommended. Taxis are cheaper if you cross the pedestrian bridge to where the buses stop. At the bus station you need to buy a ticket (about $45 pesos) and take a “PACIFICO” line bus heading in the direction of Tepic. Buses leave approx. every half an hour. These buses, however, only stop at the side of the highway, like the Compostela buses.
Whether you catch a Compostela or Pacifico bus make sure you tell the driver that you wish to get off at San Pancho. The bus will drop you on the side of the main highway at the San Francisco (San Pancho) turn-off. Once again, we suggest taking a taxi from the highway if available.
Buses from San Pancho to Puerto Vallarta: From San Pancho to Puerto Vallarta or towns in between, Pacifico and Compostela buses may be flagged down on the main highway 200. Times are approximately 20 and 50 minutes past the hour.
Major airlines flying into Puerto Vallarta include: Aeromar, Aeroton, Aeromexico, Alaska, America West, American, Canada 3000, Delta, Frontier, Mexicana, Mexicana Aviacion, United, Southwest, Sun Trips and WestJet.
Our “Links Section” of the SanPanchoLife website lists phone numbers for all major airline carriers that fly to the Puerto Vallarta airport.
Aeromexico – 322-224-2777 / 221-4030
America West – 322-221-1333
Air Canada – 01-800-719-2827
Alaska – 322-221-1350
American – 322-221-1799
Aeroton – 322-221-1921
Aeromar – 322-221-0815
Aviacsa – 322-225-8744/46 / 01-800-006-2200
Delta – 322-221-1032
Frontier – 322-221-1426/35
Mexicana – 322-225-8744/46
United – 322- 221-3262/64
Taxis to San Pancho can be taken directly from the airport. Haggling will sometimes get you up to a 40% discount. Taxis from the Puerto Vallarta airport to San Pancho cost around $1000 pesos or about $600 pesos if you walk across the pedestrian bridge to the other side of the highway.
CAR RENTALS IN SAN PANCHO
All major car rental agencies are represented at Puerto Vallarta’s airport and reservations may be made prior to arrival (recommended) through your travel agent or when booking online (usually the best deal) and vehicles may of course be rented on arrival, providing availability. The major companies are recommended - their prices are higher but their quote is the actual price. The smaller companies appear very cheap, but when you pick up the car they tack on insurance costs, whether you try to refuse the coverages or not.