Polo in San Pancho, Mexico

Polo in Mexico? We’re not talking Ralph Lauren here, we’re talking sunsets, Mariachi and a night of polo in the romantic setting of La Patrona, San Pancho, Nayarit, Mexico. San Pancho is a laid-back beach hamlet on the Riviera Nayarit that sports a scenic and well kept polo field on the north side of the town.

While a group of friends were down visiting Sayulita, one town south of San Francisco or San Pancho as the locals call it, we decided to spend their last night watching polo.  Boy, did we make the right decision as it ended up being the high light of their entire trip. The evening was an all-inclusive ticket for $500MXN, without alcohol which included a 4 course meal, a complimentary tropical rum drink,  and the entertainment.

It wasn’t too long before the polo players came out on pretty well kept ponies and showed a surprising amount of skill considering the relatively small pool of talent they must have to draw from in the area.  I couldn’t imagine a better setting; the sun was setting, lush mountains provided the back drop, and cool breezes blowing off the Pacific ocean only a few hundred meters away. There were a few teams playing, including a well known one from El Careyes, which we were told was a regular for the event during the November to May season.  Each round is called a chukka, and the play lasted between 4 rotating teams about 2 hours.  As described in an informative and well crafted Wall Street Journal article on the same subject, ” Unlike Careyes, the posh riding resort three hours south, San Pancho is a destination with polo, rather than a polo destination… San Pancho offers plenty to do – surfing, horseback riding, jungle hikes, multiple yoga studios.”

After the game and meal, our lively dinner conversations were interrupted by a lone, perfectly pitched trumpet note piercing the night air, to kick off ?? A dancing horse which the club calls Spanish Dressage with accompanying female dancer!  The horse and female dancer, in my opinion, topped the polo playing as I’d never seen a more graceful looking animal or adept rider.  The accompanying Mariachi band then moved into the restaurant, and played near private serenades to the lower and then upper terrace. The charismatic band members all had huge smiles, and comfortably laughed and joked amongst themselves with obvious confidence in their ability as a troupe.

Dancing Horse in San Pancho

Dancing Horse

The evenings final act of entertainment was a Flamenco dancing couple which danced to the club’s band.  We were told by the wait staff that the Saturday events can also include other acts including magic, contortionists, body painting and other styles of dance and music.  As the evening continued and we were waiting for our taxi, a good friend of mine commented on the great value the $500MXN evening had given. He’s right, for the amount of entertainment you get it was an exceptional evening for good value, and thus, gets a Cuponismo endorsement!

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