In Lo de Marcos, just 11-km north of San Pancho (San Francisco), one can enjoy the essence of a true Mexican town. Wide, calm streets, colorful flowering trees, and brilliantly painted façades accompany locals commonly seen commuting on horseback. The local fishermen weave and patch their nets, later to be thrown into the river or the warm Pacific Ocean located at the end of the principal avenue.
Over the years Lo de Marcos has retained its Mexican charm and tranquil character. It attracts many retirees from the US, Canada, and Europe. Located about an hour north of the Puerto Vallarta airport, it has a year-round population of around 2,500, which swells to 3,000-3,500 between November and the end of April, considered the high season. At about 2 square kilometers, all of Lo De Marcos is very walkable. The Plaza is centrally located and is the hub of village life. Lo De Marcos’ biggest draw is obvious – it is blessed with a long, wide stretch of near-perfect beach, and almost completely empty. There is a river outflow on the north end of the beach near the Tlaquepaque RV park and resort, and tidal pools at the south end. Humpback whales are commonly seen off of the beach. Lo De Marcos is built around a central natural wetland, where turtles, waterfowl, and other wildlife can be spotted.
In 1918 Don Apolonio Palomera and his three children, Liborio, Pedro and Ramón, arrived in the area that formed a small part of the extensive land that the Camarena family of Guadalajara owned. Hacienda Camarena, managed by Santiago Camarena, nephew of the owner Doña María Camarena, brought workers from the Jalisco coast to harvest coconut oil. During the 1920s, Lo de Marcos witnessed the establishment of the Palomera, Cruz and Parra families, which would become important in the future development of the town.
During the presidency of Lázaro Cárdenas (1934-40), important agrarian reforms were made and many of the lands of the large estates – including those of the Camarena family – were distributed and converted into ejido communal land. The ejido managed the land and only its members could live or work on the land or take advantage of it. Lo de Marcos, like almost the entire coast of Nayarit, Jalisco and Colima, remained relatively unburdened and unknown for the next 30 years with few roads, no electricity or running water.
From the mid-1960s onward, a major change occurred in the area’s economy: residents began to depend less on agriculture and increasingly on tourism. A large part of the land belonging to President Luis Echevarría (1970-76) or to the ejidos was sold and developed; roads were built and towns like Sayulita and Rincón de Guayabitos flourished and grew rapidly during the new emergence of the national and international tourism industry. Lo de Marcos, with a few hundred inhabitants and only two streets, began to grow.
By 1986, the population of Lo de Marcos had reached 1,238 inhabitants and 290 children attended the local schools. Despite its growth and its proximity to tourist sites, Lo de Marcos retains its same characteristics as it did three quarters of a century ago. Oil coconuts are no longer harvested and alligators have disappeared from the vicinity, but the beautiful nature of its beaches and jungle remains unchanged. electricity was installed and a drinking water tank was built. Some bungalows, trailer sites, restaurants began to appear, and schools were built.