by Diana Lambdin Meyer
The Hotel Hacienda Flamingos is a property with a lot of history and character, certainly not your run-of-the-mill resort hotel. It was built in the 1880’s by the Southern Pacific Railroad as a hotel for workers and later, guests traveling the line from Tepic to Nogales.
In the 1930’s, it became a private home and opened as a hotel in the 1950’s. The Hacienda Flamingos still feels like a private home with lots of antiques, family photos and intimate dÃ©cor items that distinguish this from other hotels in Riviera Nayarit. It’s been remodeled several times to include modern amenities like Wi-Fi and air conditioning. The last remodel was in 2005.
This is a very typical Mexican home from the Colonial period with a simple exterior, but a gorgeous, tropical center courtyard. Many of the 20 guestrooms open with a screen door into the courtyard, which has a bubbling fountain, lots of places for sitting and reading, and an honor bar for drinks of your choice. Otherwise, screen doors to the pool terrace or to balconies always capture a refreshing breeze.
In the back is a good-sized swimming pool and plenty of green space for the kids to run and get exercise. A chapel, also typical of many Mexican homes, is located just beyond the pool.
This hotel could be a good place to introduce your children to the Mexican holiday known as Day of the Dead. Two life-sized skeletons greet you in the lobby and another shrine to the dead, complete with glowing candles, takes a place of honor in the courtyard. If the kids like ghost stories, tell them to watch for one particular rocking chair to rock, even when no one is around.
The pirate in your family should appreciate an original canon retrieved from a pirate ship that fired upon San Blas and a treasure chest of coins. Learn more about Mexican history with the displays of rifles and swords from the Mexican Independence of 1810 to 1821.
If you want to explore Mexican history, this is a good place to start. Founded as a port for Asian trade in the 1760’s, La Contaduria is the original fort protecting San Blas and one of two national historic sites in the state of Nayarit. Restoration continues at the site that includes remains of a Church of Our Lady of the Rosary. Take time to talk with the quiet little woman who sweeps around the church. She’s worked here for more than 30 years and has stories to tell about the ghosts of this church.
Many of the buildings downtown and around the port date to the early 1800’s. Yes, this is authentic Mexico.
Our Editor Loves
- Authentic Mexican hacienda
- Kiddie pool and adult pool
- Proximity to beach and cultural sites
- Free Wi-Fi
- Game Room
- Kids' Pool
Find the Best Price for Your Stay
All rooms are equipped with DVD and CD players, as well as wireless Internet. Only one of the rooms at Hotel Hacienda Flamingos offers a bathtub. All rooms are non-smoking in this historic building. The rustic ceilings are super high and vaulted in a Hispanic style known as Tapanco.
Master Room (second floor)
Two double beds are perfect for parents and two children. Oversized windows provide a lovely breeze, ample natural light and a view of the pool. Some rooms offer a balcony.
Master with terrace
The highlight of this two double bed room is the terrace that opens up to the garden and pool area. You have your own hammock if you book this room.
This is a fun room with kids because of the twin beds located in a cozy loft. The stairs are steep, so this is not for toddlers just getting comfortable with stairs. The main floor has a king bed. This is the only room with a bathtub.
by Carolina A
A lovely, inviting hotel,,,aire conditional‼️Wonderful old, immaculately maintained hacienda in “ downtown” San Blas. Breakfast included. Spotty internet reception, but l suspect all of San Blas is same or without. Owners/staff were most amable. Pure CHARM‼️????
The a la carte and buffet breakfast are delicious. The staff is very friendly and helpful. Property is beautiful and relaxing.
Rooms are spacious and very comfortable.
Just 2 blocks from the center of san Blas and nearby beach.
The only downfall is the WiFi.
The game room, just off the front lobby, is a relaxing family space. Enjoy some Ping Pong, a game of checkers or perfect your card shark skills. A chess set is ready and waiting. Telescopes are also available. The hotel has a huge collection of more than 200 DVDs that can be enjoyed here or in the privacy of your room. Books, magazines and antiques fill out this spacious play place.
El Borrego Beach is about 3 blocks away. It is considered one of Mexico's best surfing beaches.
A perfectly round kids' pool adjoins the rectangular adult pool, which is up to 5 feet deep in places. Surrounded by beautiful gardens and fountains, the pools include a great sun deck with umbrellas to protect you from the sun's rays, if that's what you prefer. The pool area is open from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m.
The Hotel Hacienda Flamingos has a dining room and lovely patio for dining, but the hotel no longer serves meals. The room includes a nice bar and fireplace, but otherwise, the room is used for special events.
While in San Blas, take advantage of the many restaurants on the beach called "ramadas." It translates to "small huts." The menus will likely offer fish tacos and other seafood "zarandeado," which means it is smoked with garlic-chile seasoning. It's a local style and so very, very good.
San Blas is considered to be a great food town, so don't hesitate to explore. Banana bread is quite famous in this part of Nayarit and no place is it better than at Tumba Del Yako. Buy several slices to snack on later at the hotel. Tumba Del Yako serves all sorts of yummy regional breakfast dishes from 8 a.m. until after lunch. Of course, ask the hotel staff for other recommendations.
Planning & Tips
Pack some bug spray for this part of Nayarit. Away from the major resorts, few properties spray for mosquitoes, which can become very hungry in the rainy season.
If you don't speak Spanish, you might want to brush up on it before you arrive here, and certainly bring a phrase book or download an app on your phone. While some of the staff speaks some English, not everyone does and you may experience some frustration.
It's tiny, but you can lift a few weights and spend some time on an exercise bicycle.
Pets are not allowed at the hotel.
Services can be arranged through a local agency.
The Art of Smart Timing
When it's cold and snowing in North America, the rooms at the Hotel Hacienda Flamingos are filled and at their most expensive rate. January is especially crowded because of a birding event called International Festival of Migratory Birds. There's a big international sailfish fishing tournament in late May and June that brings a lot of visitors to the village, as well.
Summer is also busy with mostly Mexican and South American visitors. Late spring -- after Easter -- and September, October, November will offer the best rates on rooms.
San Blas is a fishing community of about 10,000 people, located about 150 kilometers or 90 miles north of Puerto Vallarta. The bus station is in the middle of the town square, about 5 blocks from the hotel.
Few hotels in Nayarit have a shuttle service, including the Hotel Hacienda Flamingos. The town of San Blas is quite walkable and bicycle rentals are available in several shops. Taxis are not that expensive either, but if you want to explore much further, you'll probably enjoy a private vehicle.
For Mom and Dad
After the kids are put to bed, open a bottle of wine and simply enjoy the peace and beauty of the Hacienda Flamingos' courtyard at night. It's quite relaxing and romantic.