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San Blas: moving gently into the modern age

The Pacific Coast town and port of San Blas has been itching for a tourist boom ever since the opening of a speedy toll road from Tepic almost three years ago.

City fathers were also hopeful that the addition of a spiffy new malecon on the Matanchén beach would draw more visitors and cash to the area. Add to this the port’s distinguished history (officially founded in 1768, it became the most important shipyard on the Mexican Pacific during the Viceroyalty of New Spain), its fame for wildlife, plus a slew of slick tourism promotion campaigns in recent years, and everyone was convinced this idyllic corner of Nayrait state was in a prime spot for blas(t) off!   

But although the drive to San Blas from Guadalajara is now a seamless, three- to 3.5-hour journey on a faultless autopista, the invasion hasn’t really materialized and – in contrast to other swanky tourist resorts in Nayarit – the town still maintains its genial Mexican core: chilled, ragged at the edges and somewhat ambivalent to the changing, globalized world surrounding it.  Suffice it to say, and pesky bugs aside, San Blas is still the perfect hangout for laid-back travelers adhering to simple life philosophies.

While it would be wrong to say San Blas lacks the conveniences the modern traveler insists upon, a whiff of bygone times still hovers over the resort – pleasantly, there isn’t a Starbucks or fast food franchise in sight! Mid-afternoon siestas remain in vogue, motorbikes seem to outnumber cars, and the area’s delightful beaches are blissfully unencumbered by hideous high-rise hotels and their all-inclusive guests.

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