Mexico was under the dominion of the Spanish crown for about 300 years, during which time its laws were followed and a process of dominance, exploitation and acculturation of indigenous peoples was carried out. In 1810 the Independence of our country in the state of Guanajuato began, the priest Miguel Hidalgo was in charge of orchestrating the early morning of September 16 with the famous cry of Dolores and the tinkling of the bell in the parish of the town.

After 11 years of fervent battle, where tireless insurgents fought to make our Mexico a country where justice would rule, on September 27, 1821 it is considered the consummation of the struggle for independence.

On September 15 of this year, the 209 anniversary of the independence of Mexico was celebrated, and with it the traditional parade was held in La Peñita de Jaltemba, where high school and high school students simulated the struggle that gave us freedom.

This parade started at approximately 9:15 p.m. Along the main avenue that culminates in the town square, where there was typical Mexican food, desserts, drinks and live music, awards were granted by local authorities to local talents, who with their effort and discipline have Put our bay on top. With the money raised from the sale of food, the almost 70 palm trees of the avenue and plaza will begin to be maintained, the remainder will be used for the payment of the cleaning staff of the same town.




Guayabitos Festivities 2019



The construction project of the new road is still ongoing, we know that the process is slow but we trust that a great job will be done.


Photographs by: Gary W. Wietgrefe

What I found was an almost unimaginable amount of dirt and rock that has to be moved from hills and mountains to valleys on a raised roadbed allowing rivers, streams, and farm-to-market access below the highway’s surface.

Glance through the photos and you will notice the northbound lane(s) are being completed first. The southbound lane is gradually being graded to allow construction crews and equipment to access various segments.

story by: Gary W. Wietgrefe


We love sports!


Photography by LICAYCIM

Thank you for this great bochera party.


2019 spring parade

On March 21, the most colorful season of the year began, the Spring, and was received with the traditional parade, which took place on the main avenue of La Peñita that culminated in the main square.
They attended some schools and colleges of preschool, primary and even secondary. There were several allegorical cars where the king and the queen of spring threw candies and rubber balls for the spectators while their little companions were dressed with flowers and multicolored animals, some of them prepared with choreography.

It really was an incredible parade, not only do we have to recognize participation in schools but also parents who make an effort to dress their children as best they can.



There was a great participation, not only of the La Peñita schools, but also of the local companies, where they assumed the task of bringing allegorical cars with the main theme “The Carnival”, sharing their best steps with cheerful dances, sweets and shirts .

Later in the main square there were some musical groups, where the municipal authorities concluded this event.
IT WAS ALL A SHOW, thanks to all the collaborators.


This Sunday there were several schools in the community of “La Peñita de Jaltemba” to parade in honor of our national symbol. It was a parade of escorts and bands of war that ended with honors to the flag in the main square of the peñita.

Avenue La Peñita



We thank our friend for sharing his great adventure, without any doubt he has obtained incredible images of our nature, if you have something that you want to share, do not hesitate to send it.


We are very grateful to the people who participated in the contest of the best image for a delicious pizza, it has been a very difficult decision since they were all images of experts, our final decision was based on the great meaning and importance that activity in the bay, It is one of the main sources of income and a very difficult act to perform. Thank you very much everyone, they have done a great job!


Great New Year’s Event

Last Monday, December 31, 2018, the end of the year event took place in the main plaza of Rincon de guayabitos, which began at 9:00 a.m. with a totally family atmosphere accompanied by live music and sound, being 11:50 Pm. on the verge of receiving the new year, we moved to the beach to enjoy the show of the pyrotechnic games which were launched from the high seas and some on land.
There was a lot of tourism, both at the beach and on the beach, where hundreds of launching of cantoya balloons that illuminated our night, a great recognition for the organizers, Happy New Year 2019!

Christmas Parade

On December 20, 2018 took place on the main avenue of the town of La Peñita de Jaltemba, the commemorative navieño parade, which culminated in the main square with music and shows for children.

The parade involved vehicles from the town hall, firefighters, municipal police and without forgetting businesses such as “Fruteria Varillas”, “Comex” and Alica de Occidente (“Coca Cola”), sharing sweets, balls, shirts and, of course, much joy After the tour and the music so enjoyable, the night ended with the lighting of the Christmas tree, we thank the people who organized this event being a success.


The remodeling project of the main avenue of La Peñita de Jaltemba, is still underway, is already passable for cars, something that has been of great help to avoid road chaos.

Now, the new objective is to obtain a more uniform appearance in the established businesses around the avenue, since they have been asked to install pillars where an apparent stone will be placed, and it is very likely that a “Teja” roof will be placed. In this remodeling, the installation of sidewalks began in the style of “concrete stamping”, previously the underground services were established, in the next months the removal of the concrete posts began and, therefore, sidewalks were released for the pedestrian traffic.

Photos and story by David Thompson

The portion of the “new” highway 200 that roughly parallels the old one in this area, is progressing but very slowly.

If you have driven just south of La Peñita and RdG, you probably have observed the beginnings of the new road off to the east. I was able to access the construction just south of La Peñita and again just south of Villa Morelos.

The work currently being done is pretty much limited in scope to clearing the brush and placing of some of the culverts. There is almost no evidence of workers on site and very little in the line of heavy equipment, the likes of which one would expect to find there. One photo shows the heaviest concentration of equipment with 3 pieces sitting at the ready when Monday comes.

A few of my photos are taken to the north showing some of those culverts and the beginning of the roadway base. Others are taken to the south and show the very end of any excavating clearing.

If you have ever been on the dirt road I took, you may recognize the remnants of the clay dome ovens which lie just off the new construction site.   I hope you enjoy the photos and plan your bets accordingly. Someone is rumored to be starting a pool for guessing the exact inauguration day. 2023 sometime maybe??

These are in no particular order, so you are on your own. But you will get my gist.







These final two photos are of the very end of the clearings and my attempting to escape when about 45 bulls came wandering down the less than well traveled road. (cow-path)


Story and photos by David Thompson

Here are some of the latest photos of the progress on the Avenida.


As you can see, the sidewalks are one of the last parts of this project to be completed.


And there is nothing like a pinkish orange sidewalk, filled with puppy prints. Look close!


Even a few of our resident sidewalk superintendents are watching as construction continues.



We are getting there folks. Progress abounds.


Streets of the Peñita

On December 13 of this year, the emptying of cement took place in some streets of La Peñita, we are aware that it is not the best way to repair some streets but the intention is to reduce potholes caused by daily wear and rain .

Here we provide the images.










December 12, 2018

As usual in our community, a tribute is made within the Catholic religion (religion that predominates mainly in Mexico) which is known as the day of the Virgin of Guadalupe, said event takes place on the night of December 11 in the homes of the believers or in the churches of the localities, where they perform dances, pilgrimages, fireworks and a dinner is offered to the faithful believers (such as the typical tamales of several stews, atole, champurrado, a traditional posole, among others) and On December 12, most of the establishments are managed as a non-work day.

In Mexico City, it is the largest celebration in the Basilica of Guadalupe, where every year thousands of pilgrims leave from different parts of the country and walk to the place as a form of gratitude or to make or fulfill a promise.

Thus we live in the celebration of the Catholic religion in our town.





Hurricane Willa

Last October, 2018, we witnessed the impact of the hurricane willa north of the state of Nayarit and Sinaloa, leaving villages totally isolated and many families without their family heritage.

In Nayarit, the overflow of the San Pedro and Acaponeta rivers caused a great flood in the Nayaritas towns, leaving behind thousands of houses buried in tons of mud, it is estimated more than 180 thousand victims, damage to homes, road infrastructure, businesses, agriculture and isolated localities. The declaration of disaster zone is for the municipalities of Tecuala, Acaponeta, Huajicori, Rosamorada, Santiago Ixcuintla, Tuxpan, Del Nayar and Ruiz.


Over the hours after the impact of the hurricane, the situation of those affected was increasingly critical, since everything had been lost and there was no food or place to prepare.
The houses and streets totally flooded with mud and water, which forced the inhabitants to take refuge in the roof of their houses.



The citizens of nayarit and other states expressed their solidarity by organizing collections of basic necessities, clothing, mattresses, blankets, fundraising events and being able to provide support to affected people.

It is important to recognize our friends from La Peñita de Jaltemba and our surroundings who joined the aid, not only in food, but in an arduous street cleaning.






It is important to mention the personnel of Civil Protection – Base Rincon de Guayabitos, Rotary Club (La Peñita), students CONALEP Peñita de Jaltemba, and thank so many people who volunteered for cleaning in homes and streets, in addition to establishments such as Fruteria Varillas who provided a large amount of fruits and food for those affected as well as many families who joined the collection and provision of food showing that Nayarit has supportive people ready to support.



Thank you all!




“La Peñita de Jaltemba Is with you”



Last Tuesday, November 20, there was a parade in tribute to what happened many years ago in the Mexican nation, it is a civic act of great importance, then we will give you a brief introduction of why the celebration.

On November 20, 1910 begins the armed conflict in Mexico known as the Mexican Revolution. Usually referred to as the “most important political and social event of the twentieth century,” the antecedents of that revolution go back to “the Porfiriato“.

A group of Liberals began the struggle with the main objective of overthrowing the current government’s dictatorship and obtaining justice for the people. Once the struggle was won, the workers were able to form unions and strike without fear of brutal reprisals. The peasants achieved the agrarian distribution that gave them back their lands and Mexico finally became governments based on institutions and not on caudillos who abused their power.

Nowadays, year after year a parade takes place where schools, secondary schools, high schools and some companies participate, where characteristic dances of the region are carried out, children with costumes of the characters of the Mexican Revolution, sports exercises, among others. activities. The event started from 9:00 in the morning until 2:00 in the afternoon culminating in the main square of the town, it is important to recognize the participation and effort of all the students of the schools, who are the ones who give life to this important event.

Below we present a small sample of the parade of our town:






 ***  New additions  ***



If you look closely at this photo, this man is draining the water from the street using a cut-out
plastic water jug, transferring it to a 20 liter pail and lugging it off. Manual labor at its finest!



Patience is a virtue!




Upon close examination of these two photos, you should be able to see that the backhoe is holding up the power pole. Oops!



Sidewalks are treacherous.


Undaunted by the construction, El Pollito (Martin), dug in to the dirt to level some spaces for his sidewalk tables.





It appears that there is but one concrete block cutter. Every brick bordering on the curbs or decorative concrete spacers, needs to cut to size using this saw. Electric saw with an electric generator. To their credit, they are saving all available pieces to avoid special cutting if necessary.


When completed, this should be a work of art, albeit a very expensive one. Right now, it is very disruptive to all the businesses, whether adjacent to the Avenue or not. Crossing the avenue from the sides streets is limited, with most vehicles heading to the malecon street or the highway to get to the other side. Walking is quite dangerous because if they were to tape-off all the work areas, there would no access for anyone. Completion time guesses range from mid January to the end of March.

BBC World




Bad news for those who enjoy what they thought was a “healthy” glass of wine a day: even moderate drinking is bad for your health.

That is the warning of the authors of a large global study published in the prestigious journal The Lancet, which confirms what some previous studies had already pointed out: that no level of alcohol consumption can be considered healthy.

The Global Burden of Disease study is the largest and most detailed research on the causes of disease and death in the world, and its data also analyzes the levels of alcohol consumption and its impact on the health of the population in 195 countries.

In 2016, drinking alcohol was the main risk factor for premature death and disability for people between 15 and 49 years of age and its consumption is linked to one-tenth of all deaths in this demographic group.

So while researchers admit that moderate drinking may slightly protect against some heart diseases, (as some studies have pointed out in the past), the combined risks of developing cancer, injuries, and other illnesses associated with alcohol consumption largely outweigh these possible benefits .

“No limit is safe”

“Although the health risks associated with alcohol when you consume one drink a day are very low, they increase rapidly by drinking more ,” the lead author of the study, Dr. Max Griswold of the University of Washington, told the BBC. Seattle.

Erveza bottle

“If you’re going to drink, educate yourself about the risks, and assume them in an informed way,” says one of the co-authors of the study.

“Previous studies found a positive effect of alcohol for some heart diseases, but we found that, combined, the health risks associated with alcohol increase with any amount consumed,” however low it may be, he said.

“This report shows that no limit is safe, ” said Sonia Saxena, one of the study’s authors.

According to the academic, the recommendations of public health institutions should be updated and governments should rethink their policies.

“If you’re going to drink, educate yourself about the risks , and make a well-informed decision,” he recommends.

The figures of “risk”

The study was carried out by researchers from the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation , University of Washington.

According to Saxena this is one of the most important and detailed investigations ever conducted on the subject.

Friends drinking beer

Among young people, the risk to health of drinking one drink per day is only slightly higher than abstention, 0.5%. But the risk of taking two increases to 7%.

The academics analyzed the levels of alcohol consumption and its impact on health in 195 countries, between 1990 and 2016 and for ages between 15 and 95 years.

They used information from nearly 700 studies to understand how common is the practice of drinking alcohol and almost 600 others to measure health risks. In total it is estimated that they considered data from some 28 million people around the world.

And so they were able to compare the health of abstainers with people who drink different amounts of alcohol per day.

It is estimated that one in three people in the world drink alcohol . In global terms, it is consumed by 25% of women and 39% of men.

Woman looking out the window

According to the study, the level of alcohol consumption more “safe” for health is abstinence.

Among young people, the risk to health of drinking one drink per day is only slightly higher than abstention, 0.5%.

But that risk increases rapidly with a higher consumption of alcohol, 7% for those who drink two drinks a day and 37% for those who drink five

An alcoholic beverage was defined as 10g of alcohol , which is equivalent to a small glass of wine, a can or bottle of beer or a standard measure of hard liquor.

The study found that globally among those over 50, 27% of cancer deaths among women and 19% of those of men were linked to alcohol consumption.

Among the youngest population, the highest risk of death linked to alcohol consumption is tuberculosis (1.4% of deaths), traffic accidents (1.2%) and self-harm (1.1%).

A nuance

Although alcohol abuse is a serious health problem at the global level, some people ask to take some perspective on these results.

Professor David Spiegelhalter, professor of public perception of risk at the University of Cambridge, makes a nuance about the conclusions of academics.


“Given the pleasure presumably associated with moderate alcohol consumption, saying that there is no ‘safe’ level does not seem to be an argument for abstention, ” said the academic, who was not involved in the study.

“No level of driving is safe, but the government does not recommend people not to drive,” he said.

“If you think about it, no way of living has a safe level , but nobody would recommend abstaining from it,” he concluded.

Editor’s Note:  You be the judge….

Is this just another way of confusing us innocent fun loving folks?

Or is this some FAKE news, the likes of which we have been filled up with lately?

Or should we all stop all together and just walk down to the beach lugging our $9.50 Starbucks coffee?

I know what I am going to do……. and it doesn’t include any coffee.

CAFÉ PEÑITA DE OCCIDENTE are our local coffee roasters. This not going to be a history of roasting nor a history of the family involved. This is a casual observation from this afternoon.

Upon driving by a couple days ago, I noticed a lot of smoke coming from their rooftop coffee cup.(see photo without smoke.)

Today, I got lucky, as the owner was just beginning to roast a batch of coffee beans for sale in their modest storefront.   He had a specific roasting schedule that he follows. I sure do love munching on those fresh roasted beans. I have attached a few photos I took today, mostly in the dark and without any sunshine.

I also had a chance to chat with his wife, who was minding the store. She was pretty much surrounded by 20 kilo plastic bags of partially roasted, coarsely ground Capomo. Capomo is a bean that looks and tastes very similar to the coffee bean but grows in much taller trees in the same area as the coffee beans. The big difference is that Capomo contains no caffeine, but still tastes similar to regular coffee.

There were 50 – 20 kilo bags (1000 kilos) of Capomo ready and waiting for a special truck sent by Starbucks to do the transport of the Capomo to Seattle. In Seattle, it will be mixed with coffee beans to produce a coffee with a combined less amount of caffeine.





Fresh roasted beans falling into a plastic bucket

Just in case you didn’t get my innuendo, the title of this is the title of a song.

In case you haven’t been paying attention, there have been some disparaging remarks, on the forum, made about the prices of cerveza around here. In the past, we have enjoyed some rather inexpensive prices on our adult beverages provided by Corona and Co. These prices have ratcheted up pretty fast lately. I certainly do not appreciate the steep increases, any more than the next guy. BUT, if you look here at what your hard earned pesos are going for, you will understand. They just could not stack it any higher, so they had to raise roof.

I’ll just bet that you all have been wondering about this. Well, maybe not, but one of our ‘forever’ landmarks, Ferreteria Peña has changed its name.





Under the classification of “What, not why” The changes to main street are proceeding. It is almost ready for the pavers. Key word here is ‘almost’.





I had to slip this one in. See those two pollo near the left end? Those are two there for Taco and I. You can just barely see them for the smoke, and that is a good thing. Nummy! Pollo Asado.




I know that there are a few of you who will miss the Castillo Gentlemen’s Club on the highway between the towns. Well it’s gone, but not forgotten. It has been remodeled with a name change, Tapanko. The logo gives it all away though. Look close!

BTW, my car was only there so I could take a photo on the outside.


Here is a photo of the newly dredged rio near the Transito station. East side of the highway. I have been patiently waiting for a heavy rain to show you what happens then.

Sorry folks, the real heavy rains came after dark, so no photo. The rains were pretty darned heavy as they flooded streets just about everywhere and caused this little creek to overflow its banks.


I have included a report on the new highway. There are many optimistic guessers of when it will be open to PV, but sometime in 2020 seems to be as good as any.

Today being Sunday, and that is the best day to traverse the new highway because there are no workers, I ventured out to the highway project to see what progress had been made since Jim and I went snooping last year.

Being overly optimistic, I started by driving up the Alta Vista road to see how the two roads were going to meet.(Overpass-Underpass?) Not one sign of the new highway there! So I decided to go to the El Capomo road to see how far past that highway it had had gotten since Jim and I were there.  Sorry to say, there was no apparent  progress to the south on that front either.

There is a rather large pile of boulders, near the El Capomo road crossing, that my be used for landscaping.

The next step of my investigation required my traversing the new road from El Capomo to the north. It took some finagling to get onto the road surface. I needed to circumvent some concrete highway blockades, climb some scary trails, meant only for road building equipment and then head on to the north. Fortunately, it being Sunday, there were no guards nor workers visible anywhere and my trusty all-wheel drive came in very handy.

The road itself is as smooth as any I have driven on. I had to dodge a few big rocks sitting in the middle of the road, probably put there to deter the crazy snoopy people like me, but all in all a very nice drive. I drove about 15 – 20 km before I came to an area that had some construction equipment sitting around, un-attended and lonely. This was about where Jim and I were stopped the last time we were on this road. Then, over the crest of the hill, I spotted a huge tunnel being dug. I walked down into it and found that the tunnel was only about 75 yards deep, before coming to a seemly insurmountable rock wall.

My curiosity was piqued again, so I found a single lane construction trail leading to the other side of the tunnel. Thank God for my all wheel drive, I needed it. The result of my search was anti-climatic, to say the least. The tunnel was not going to be much deeper than what I had already seen from the other end. Perhaps 250 feet long(less than 100 meters). A very short tunnel. Why didn’t they just avoid the costs of constructing a tunnel and simply use earth moving equipment to dredge out a small valley. Not being a highway engineer, I will refrain from speculating any further. My honest thought is it was done this way to allow wildlife to traverse from one side of the highway to the other.

There being no visible escape route from that point heading north, I returned to where I started on the southern end of the unfinished highway, at the El Capomo road.

The part of this story I really want to tell is as follows:   The first dozen or so times you use this new highway, after it is finished, you will be spellbound by the beauty it beholds. The vistas are some of the most spectacular I have ever seen. If you do not fall in love with what you are viewing, you need to clean your glasses. As you can tell, I was truly taken back by the beauty.

The photos included herein do not do the scenic beauty justice. You will have to wait until you have your chance to possibly sneak in for a look.  I was able stop and look for as long as I wished. No one to bother me and no one to be seen. And my cerveza was ice-cold.



A bridge to nowhere and from nowhere. Maybe for the animals to cross.???





Un-anticipated rock slide. That small chunk in the middle of the photo is about 5 meters long. And the one above it to the right is about the size of a small school bus.




The other end of the tunnel.






More of the beauty.






From inside the new tunnel.






A smooth and wide open highway, just not finished yet.





A quick observation… I did not try to look any further to the south towards Puerto Vallarta. I have been watching and have seen no signs of new access roads. I hesitate to make any predictions on a completion date.  2020 maybe!  It is hard to tell. The worst or most difficult part, through those treacherous mountains, is mostly over. They have done a remarkable job so far.  When finished, it will be something for all of us to be proud of.

If anyone has some photos they would like to share, send them to me and I will add them to this blog entry. Or perhaps start a new one.


This years Fiesta de la Peñita, features parades and celebrations from all 9 Colonias. One by one for 9 days, the parades and celebrations continue.

By police escort, the parades start in the colonias and finish at the plaza and church in La Peñita. They are timed to arrive in time for a church service, during which everyone is welcome and most people pack themselves inside, musical instruments and all.

After the service ends, the crowd spills out into the plaza for fireworks, kiddie rides, usually a concert featuring local talent, games of chance and miscellaneous food vendors.

This goes on for 9 nights and will finish on the 20th of May.


Fireworks are setup and fired from in front of the church, including this gigantic thing that spins and showers all kinds of sparks and noises, right next to the church!

On behalf of GEMA, the Project For Abused and Abandoned Women and Children in our community, we would like to thank everyone for their support this season.  It is because of your caring and generosity that we are pleased to announce we are able to start construction of one of the bedrooms for a much needed shelter, and eventually realize a dream.

There are so many to thank…

*David Thompson, at Explore Nayarit for continuing to include the publicity for our Bingo, as well as information about GEMA.  We appreciate your interest and support of our program.  You helped to make our endeavors so much more successful!

*All the people that came out to support our Bingo, especially the loyal ones who came out week after week and helped with set-up clean up as well.  Many thanks to those that purchased the Quilt Raffle tickets. Thanks to Gail Lowe who donated her 1st prize quilt back for the new shelter.  Congrats to Arlene Pratt, 2nd prize winner.  To all the volunteers who helped make it possible.  I couldn’t have done it without you. We plan to start again next season – November 13th/18 and continue every Tues afternoon 2:00-4:30 at the Seniors Center.  Please spread the word!

*Mary, Bob, Andrea and Nathan for their Fund Raiser Birthday Party and matching all the donations.

*The 2018 Fashion Show Committee for their very generous donation.

*Trudy, Margie and the “Old Bitches Club” for their support.

*Thanks to all those who came out to support the 50/50 Draws

*Bungalows Marlenne – Socorro, Cesar, Margie, Trudy and the band – Canuck Country.  To John for all your support and getting everything started.  Thanks so much for the donation of a Lap Top Computer as well.  Special Thanks to Lana Caulfield for donating ALL of her winnings back to GEMA.

* The great band of Noble, Cole & Company who not only played especially to help GEMA, but also donated all of their tips back as well!  Thanks to Julio at Tonitas 111 for hosting us.  Special Thanks to Vell Cole, who donated her entire winnings back to GEMA TWICE!

* Sam & Anna and the Street Rockers at Ultima Parada

All of this required many hours from dedicated Volunteers, for which we are very grateful!  Forgive me if I have missed anyone.

*Thanks to all who donated clothing, toiletries and many other items to GEMA.

Many have asked what is needed in the season to come.  Certainly clothing for Women, Children and Babies, towels and linens, toiletries, bunk beds, other bedroom furniture and lamps for the  shelter; as well as Laptop computers to teach the women basic skills.  All of this would be very much appreciated! If you bring down a humanitarian bag on your flight, please try to put it in a suitcase or backpack that can be donated as well.  When these rescued women and children leave the shelter to go to a safe place with family or friends, they need something to hold the clothing, toiletries and supplies that they are given through your generous donations.

*Last, but certainly not least, thanks to all those who just simply donated money and gave from their hearts, be it spontaneously, their Bingo winnings or something that they had planned to do.

Every one of you is making a difference for these Women and Children and giving them hope for a better life.

Without all the wonderful people that live in our community, the start of a dream for a local Women and Children’s Shelter would not be possible.

Your kindness, caring and thoughtfulness are appreciated more than you could know.


Kat on behalf of GEMA

The Journey of a Cancer de Mama Prosthetic  begins when I receive an email from the owner of a lingerie store.  She tells me she has several large boxes of prosthetics that she’d like to donate to our next Cancer de Mama Clinic. I’m thrilled to get this news, but it means a two hour drive to pick up the donation!  I’m more than happy to do the driving though, because I know the really signi?cant value of this donation.  I know how many lives it will change.

The next morning, home again from my journey, I begin to unpack the boxes.  As expected, each prosthetic is still well protected in its own individual case. But I know it can’t remain like that – much too bulky for the long journey to Mexico.  So I remove each prosthetic from its safe and cushioned spot, laying it on my king size bed. By morning’s end, the bed is full and the ?oor is covered with empty cases. These are valuable too, so they’re gathered up –  next week they’ll be dropped off at our local school.

Now I begin to layer the prosthetics in sturdy boxes. These are some of the most special moments for me as a volunteer with the Cancer de Mama Clinic.  It’s almost a sacred time. I handle each prosthetic gently, respectfully.  If I think it’s been used before, I wonder about who the donor was? Where is she now and why was her prosthetic returned to the lingerie store? I say a quick prayer for her, wherever she is. With each prosthetic, my thoughts turn to the Mexican woman who will one day receive it. Where is she today? What has been her breast cancer story?  Does she even know right now that she has breast cancer, that she will soon lose her breast? Or was her breast removed many years ago and she has only just now learned about the Cancer de Mama Clinic? Is she wondering how she will ever even get to the Clinic? How old are her children? My questions seem endless …

My box ?lls slowly, but I don’t rush the process. I know that once these prosthetics get unpacked at the Clinic, it will be a really busy time, so I value these quiet moments with them.  I often  cry. It’s the prosthetics that lie at the heart of the Clinic and I’m so grateful that I can see and touch so many of them.

Once my tears are over and the boxes ?lled to the brim,  it’s time to get these treasures on their way. There are 150 of them this time! Not many people from my part of the country drive an RV all the way to Mexico, but I’ve found a generous couple who’ll be driving to La Penita in a few weeks and I’m so happy to soon be meeting them!  Not long ago, I posted the need for transportation on our CdeMC FaceBook page, and they let me know that they’d be happy to add a few extra boxes to their rig! They live about four hours away from us, but we’ll be traveling near their home in a few days when we head off to visit cottage friends.

My husband squeezes the boxes into the car between our two golden retrievers and we’re on our way!   A few hours later we unload the boxes at the home of our newest friends. We watch as they ?t the boxes into various nooks and crannies in their beautiful RV. i can see that they handle the boxes with the same respect that we did and it feels good  – i know this precious cargo will be well cared for on its long journey.

A few busy months pass, Christmas is over and it’s Clinic week now.  Someone has told me that the boxes arrived safely and have now been unpacked. Other gentle hands have sorted the prosthetics according to size and I take a peek to see them all waiting in bins for our ?rst Clinic Day.

Many of the Mexican women have left their homes in the dark of night to travel long miles by bus in order to get to arrive at the Clinic by early morning. The excitement in the air is palpable as they line up outside, bunched together in little groups, waiting for our doors to open. Eventually registration begins. Each woman is greeted in Spanish and given a small piece of paper with her name on it. She will cling to that ticket for hours as she waits her turn, wondering what this day will hold for her? Finally, her name is called and she is welcomed by a smiling volunteer who with a gentle arm, guides her into a ?tting room. It’s in this tiny space that the magic begins …

In a way that feels similar way to the sense of sacredness that I experienced when packing up the prosthetics in my bedroom at home – I experience a feeling of sanctity in this space too. The ?oors are just basic grey cement and the walls as such are simple pink curtains, hanging from ceiling railings to serve as dividers. Great care has been taken so that each woman can have a secure experience of privacy.

All of the women who come to the Clinic have suffered. All are brave. Sometimes, after their very long wait, in the privacy of this safe space, their smiles turn to tears and the search to ?nd a good prosthetic is put on hold. Mujeres a mujeres, woman to woman. In this moment, comfort is far more important than ef?ciency.

After the woman’s measurements have been taken, a volunteer heads off to ?nd a few prosthetics for her to try out. Sometimes a good ?t is found immediately and at other times, several tries are needed. But slowly the magic is happening. The right prosthetic suddenly ?ts.  It has been slipped into a new bra and has begun its transition. Before long it will become almost a part of this woman’s body. It will meld into her ?esh every day. It will allow her to be proud of her shape once again. It will give her con?dence. It will give her new hope that life can go on after a mastectomy.   The prosthetic that was once an expensive blob of gel, has now become priceless joy. It has found its forever home. It has found new life.

This story is by Liana Gallant.

Over the next year, many more breast prosthetics will happily be making their own journeys to La Penita – in time for the 2019 Cancer de Mama Clinic on February 1st, 2nd and 3rd!

This year, almost 450 women attended the CdeM Clinic at the La Penita Senior Centre. Support and care was provided to them over three days by over 100 volunteers, from Canada, the USA and Mexico. In the few days before the Clinic opened, heavy winds and rain blew through the Centre, badly damaging the frames that were in place to create spaces and small rooms within the Centre. Using the remnants of the frames which could be salvaged, volunteers pieced things back together and the Clinic was ready again! It was clear though that new frames and canvasses will be needed for next year in order to create safe and sturdy spaces.

     One of the newer elements of the Cancer de Mama Clinic has been the development of our Lymphedema Team. Under the very capable direction of  Caroline Maze, we have created and trained a team of volunteers who offer support to women who are suffering from lymphedema, a very painful complication which may occur at anytime post-mastectomy.  In Canada, about 10%-15% of women will develop lymphedema at some point in their life after a mastectomy.  However, at our CdeMC, about 45% of the women we see show moderate to severe signs of this painful and often debilitating condition.  The good news is that our team of skilled volunteers are able to identify these women and to teach them how to wear a lymphedema sleeve and how to bandage their arms throughout the night.  This can be a rather complex undertaking, but the relief offered by a lymphedema sleeve is almost immediate and clearly evident.

However, our significant challenge is that the supplies needed to provide this level of care have tripled the costs of running the Cancer de Mama Clinic! In the high humidity of the Mexican climate, sleeves and bandages will last only for a year, so need to be replenished annually. Obviously, this has put a strain on our financial resources.  As a result, we’ve decided that the time has come for the Cancer de Mama Clinic to hold a fundraiser!

We hope that the La Penita and Guayabitos community will happily join us as we try to raise funds for our Lymphedema Team!  Further information will be available in the months ahead. In the meantime, if you think you might like to help us out at this event, we’d love to hear from you!
Just send us an email, and we’ll be back in touch with you sometime this Fall.


A Mexican  OCTOBERFEST in January!
Saturday January 19, 2019 
Noon to 3:00 p.m.
Zapata Club, 32 Avenida, La Penita
200 pesos per person
Beer, bratwurst, sauerkraut, music, prizes and fun!
Plan to bring your friends out for a fun afternoon  
in support of the Cancer de Mama Clinic
If you come dressed in German attire, some lederhosen 
or even a Tyrollean hat, you might even win a prize! 

Another joint clinic with the JBAR association and the MEXI-CAN Vet Project is completed.

During the past almost 15 year tenure of JBAR, there have been 27 spay and neuter clinics. There have been 7,375 animals neutered. Can you even imagine how many stray animals we would be dealing in our area if JBAR and other clinics were not in operation? Thank you Linda Chimes and everyone connected with JBAR for those years of dedication.

This recent Clinic finished on March 24th! There were 283 total intakes with 263 animals sterilized. Numerous surgeries including dental extractions, 1 leg amputation, tumors removed, embedded coiled tail operation, drainage of an infected eye, treatment of a cat with infected mammary gland and treatment for(severe mastitis) and inflamed gum treatment were among the 20 extra-ordinary consultations. 

There were 10 adoptions. And be sure to scroll down to see some more photos from this wonderful clinic.

Many thanks to all of you who made it happen! All our incredible volunteers, donors, those who offered hospitality, food for the clinic volunteers, and of course our wonderful hosts, Marielena and Salvador who have offered their lovely home again for our fall clinic.  Also many thanks to our medical teams from both Mexico (Pets for Life) and Canada (Mexi-Can Vet Project).

Over 70 volunteers arrived along with three Canadian Veterinary Clinics from Mexi-Can Vet Project, they also brought many of the necessary supplies. They are listed here:  South Burnaby Veterinary Hospital:  Dr. Carolyn Buxton, Madeline Palmer, Vet assistant, Kim Morrison, Vet assistant

Glenview Veterinary Hospital:  Dr. Chris Collis,  Sara McGeachy, Technical Assistant, Megan Walters,Technical  Assistant.

McKenzie Veterinary Services:  Dra. Jaclyn Hockley, Elly Blake, Vet Tech assistant and Karin Roslee, AH Tech, Michael Ring, Tech assistant.

Dr. Malcolm Macartney and Margaret Purdy are the founders of Mex-Can Vet Project.

In addition, we had our Mexican veterinarian team:

‘Paws For Life’ team:  Dr. Anthony Garcia Carrillo, Dr. Poly Lopez, Dr. Jesus Pacheco Ponce and vet tech Leslie Caratachea.

As a result, we had seven operating tables working daily.

We also hosted 15 high school students from the Edmonton Rotary club along with their chaperones who took part in a wonderful day long learning experience helping in animal recovery.

Our next clinic is planned for November 14th to 17th, 2018 in La Colonia.

Many thanks are needed to all those who provided photos for this article. Muchas gracias a todos!

And we would be remiss if we didn’t thank all of you that provided food and beverages for the doctors, techs and other volunteers throughout the clinic. Thank you, thank you, thank you!


Semana Santa 2018 was what seemed like a continuation of the Easter holidays of years past. Busy, Busy.

The southbound traffic on 200 went on for days as the seemingly endless numbers of cars and buses filled to the brim with impatient vacationers arrived at their destinations. As witnessed by myself on a drive into Bucerias, many vehicles exited in the Jaltemba Bay area but countless numbers continued south towards Puerto Vallarta as well. Patience was the virtue to be rewarded by actually arriving safely.

Here are some photos of the crowds. If you look close enough, you may see someone you know. You will have to look even harder to find a place to lie on the beach.

As with all fun times and parties, there is always the clean up after. The beaches were certainly full during the days and the streets turned into party-ville at night. The streets of Guayabitos were closed off at night to allow for the revelers to spread out and party-hardy. The aftermath was cleaned up by anyone that wanted to help. The streets of Guayabitos did get fairly messy.


All good things have to come to an end, and that means the drive back home. Bumper-to-bumper traffic was an understatement as seen from this aerial shot.



Only in Mexico…


“The past is another country: they do things differently there.” I’ve loved this quote – the opening sentence of L.P. Hartley’s novel ‘The Go Between’ – ever since I first read it. At the risk of being somewhat simplistic, I love Mexico for much the same reason – they do things differently here. Every day we spend in Guayabitos, a small resort town an hour or so north of Puerto Vallarta on the left coast of Mexico, brings a moment when Scottish Wife or I will say: “Did that really just happen?”

Take this morning, for instance. There we are, having breakfast in Abel’s, a palapa just down the street from our hotel, watching the world go by as we wait for our huevos rancheros to arrive. Mum on a bike, one kid sitting on the crossbar and a smaller one perched in a panier on the back. Motorbike behind, two young lads between dad and the handlebars, not a helmet between them. And behind the motorbike is a garbage truck, two guys stood on the rear bumper with a third swinging precariously from the open passenger side door at the front. Anyone watching from Health and Safety Canada would have had an apoplectic fit right then and there!

Then there was our visit to La Peñita a couple of days ago. It’s a good forty minute walk from our hotel along the beach, over the Bridge of Doom and through the back streets until you get to Hinde and Jaime’s restaurant/bar. It’s well worth the trek, however – a massive shrimp omelette for fifty pesos ($4) and beer at 15 pesos a bottle means you need have no concerns over starvation or dehydration. The last ten metres were a bit of a challenge though: guys were digging up the street and your options were to walk right through the hole they were making – timing it just right in order to avoid the backhoe – or tiptoe along a sort of narrow plateau which led to the side door entrance.

Urged on by Hinde the owner, Scottish Wife clambers up the last few metres across the abyss and into the bar.

The beach in Guayabitos is always a hive of activity. The vendors spend long hours trudging up and down the sand, most of them knowing by now that we’re not going to buy another hammock, or a braided bracelet or an inflatable dinosaur or a rubber chicken even though each item is either guaranteed to be “very cheap, almost free” or, disarmingly, “more junk you don’ really need”. We laugh and say “no, gracias” for the umpteenth time and get on with our game of boules. Some of the vendors join in the game for a few minutes, but our favourite is the old guy selling donuts who shouts “malo, malo” at us every time he sees us playing. We know we’re bad at boules, but it’s still kind of shocking to be scorned by a beach vendor. Some of the Mexican tourists bring all sorts of paraphernalia with them to the beach while others amuse themselves in a more old fashioned style. The parents of the nipper below were perfectly happy for me to take a picture of their son fast asleep on the sand, surrounded by cans of Pacifico, one of the most popular beers in these parts:   Heavy night, amigo?

Right next door to our hotel – in fact less than ten metres from our room – is a field in which are kept half a dozen horses used for riding trips for tourists. In the same field are a couple of dogs which will be quiet during the daylight hours and then bark incessantly throughout the night. That’s not necessarily a bad thing – it means we can’t hear the rooster which has absolutely no concept of restricting itself to welcoming each new day; it just starts crowing whenever it darn well pleases – usually as I’m getting settled into my afternoon siesta. There are also a couple of large iguanas that sun themselves on the branches just above our balcony. (SW and I have come to like iguanas on the basis that they are some of God’s quieter creatures).

Anyway, we were excited last week to see a young foal from the field being taken down to the beach for its first swim in the ocean, along with its mum. It took to it like, well, a duck to water:

“Piece of cake, eh Mum?” Those are pelicans on the boat in the background, seeing how he gets on with this swimming lark.

Of course, getting to the beach this week is not quite as easy as it was then. Guayabitos had heavy floods back in July, so the town decided to put in a new drainage system from the Avenida Sol Nuevo, the main street, down all the access roads to the beach. And they start work on it now, just as the tourist season is getting into full swing. No problem, though; even though there’s tape everywhere saying ‘prohibido el paso’, the workers just smile and wave you through. Just make sure you time it right, though – that digger’s not waiting for anybody!

“Pase, señor. No hay problema!”

Not quite how we’re used to roadworks being done back home in B.C. (although, as my buddy Stu pointed out, town planners everywhere clearly have a few things in common, whatever country they’re from). But, as I said at the start, they do things different in Mexico – and that’s part of why we love it here.


Dave B.

P.S. I have to add this bit: Mickey, Stu, Julie and I went out to a taqueria (taco place) this evening. Great food, lively atmosphere, probably 75% Mexican customers, 25% gringos. A busker came in and sang a couple of songs, finishing with the Spanish version of  Sinatra’s classic ‘I did it my way’. We chucked in a couple of bucks for a tip, all in coins, and the table behind us threw in a 20 peso bill. ‘Demasiado’ said the singer (‘Too much’) and gave them 5 pesos change. Only in Mexico…

George and Loretta hosted another great Wednesday outing for the special needs children, this time, from Las Varas. Complete with a lunch made by Loretta and lots of time riding the rescue horses and playing with the other rescue animals (cats and dogs) at the refugio.

This has become a Wednesday tradition for these very appreciative young boys and girls. The children come from various schools from around the state, this time from Las Varas. They are not always children. The special needs participants range in age from 1 year to 30 years old. They come from various communities, including Las Varas, Zacualpan, Ixtapa, Chacala, El Capomo, La Peñita and El Monteon.

If you haven’t been up to the Refugio in a while, you owe it to yourself to pay them a visit to see what improvements have been done. Weekdays from 8-10 am and

A couple other big happenings… Lindsey Kato’s horse gave birth to a very spry young filly named “Lindsey” on Saturday morning early.  She is a beautiful filly.





And another rescue horse had it first birthday today. The whole group of children along with their chaperones, sang happy birthday to one year old “Junior”.

I am not sure of the official name to this fundraising group, but here are the fabulous results.

There were over 700 people that took part in the Walk this year. The Walk culminated again at Hinde and Jaimes Restaurant in La Peñita. Burgers on the grill for everyone, and probably the most beer served in a long time. Fun was had by all at the party.

The highlight was when Patty Hueso put her beautiful long shiny locks up for bid. Even Hinde got into the act with her scissors.

When all the donations were in for the haircut, Patty alone raised over $110,000 pesos for the cause. The numbers are not final yet, but there were over $220,000 pesos raised for the Prevention of Cancer for Mamas. This money goes to fund what the women cannot afford, principally Mammograms and preventative procedures.





Chris and Val won this butterfly creation for $5000.

Thanks to all for the great photos.

Sioux Falls, South Dakota (PR MediaRelease) February 6, 2018

South Dakota provides storyline of ancient norms to identify an evolving culture.

Electronics Aid Memory Loss

Can’t remember phone numbers like you used to? You are not alone. “Why are we losing our memory? Its impact on society” is one of several presentations by South Dakota author and traveler, Gary Wietgrefe.

“Since man first started writing he has less need to remember. Traditional learning relies on memory. The computer literate do not.” Wietgrefe claims, “World transition to electronic artificial memory may be the biggest setback in human history.”

Since taking early retirement, Wietgrefe and his wife, Patricia, have been traveling the world—
including eleven countries on three continents in 2016. His books identify a tech-savvy culture
paralleling ancient ways.

As a societal explorer comparing developed and undeveloped cultures, his intriguing new books–over 700 pages–punch holes in many accepted 21st century systems.

Wietgrefe’s New York distributor has plans for national and international distribution for his two
newest hardcover books, “Relating to Ancient Learning” (440 pages) and “Relating to Ancient
Culture” (320 pages).

His winter book release tour begins in his hometown of Ipswich, South Dakota and is highlighted on his 65th birthday in Sioux Falls February 26th.

As is common in the winter, his tour moves south where he will give eight presentations at the
nationally recognized Tucson Festival of Books on the University of Arizona campus March 10-11. It
ends on the west coast of Mexico in La Penita de Jaltemba March 25. The public is welcome to attend his presentations at all locations.

The February 26 Sioux Falls signing event and kickoff will be at the Sioux Falls Holiday Inn City
Presentations include:
10:00 a.m. – Riddles of 21st Century Culture
12:15 –21st Century Technophobia & Busiphobia
2:45 –Why the School System Won’t Last
5:30 –Why are we losing our Memory? Its impact on Society

For more details, visit his website
His e-books and hardcovers are available worldwide anywhere fine books are sold, or locally at
Zandbroz Variety, 209 S. Phillips Ave., and Chad Phillips Photography, 1908 W. 42nd Street, Sioux
Local libraries and bookstores are encouraged to have copies on hand.

Walking  On Sunshine

It’s 5:45 am in Guayabitos and it’s dark outside.

I hear an aggressive rooster crowing in the distance as I quietly crawl out of bed not wanting to disturb my sleeping husband.

Making my way to the bathroom in the dark , I  quickly splash some water on my face, brush my teeth and arrange my hair into a decent braid. My clothes have been laid out the night before so I can get dressed easily and quietly.  My shorts, t-shirt, socks and running shoes are ready to go and in a few minutes, so am I! Another rooster crows, a dog barks, they are the regulars!

I grab my camera and quietly go out the door.

Now it’s 6 am and there is a hint of light coming from behind that big mountain in the distance as I make my way down the stairs and onto the street. Nobody in our building is stirring and the night watchman is fast asleep in the lobby. Another dog howls somewhere in the distance. Next door, several roosters are now crowing loudly and likely annoying those who are trying to sleep.

I run out onto the almost deserted street.

As I make my way to the beach, the Mexican taco cart owner is unloading his truck with his helpers. They speak in hushed voices. There are breakfast tacos to be prepared for the locals and they are busy setting up their street side diner. It’s pleasantly cool outside . The sun has not made an appearance yet so the locals are dressed warmly as they get the cart ready for their morning customers. I greet them with a cheery “buenos dias” and they quietly and sleepily answer back. They are what I call the regulars!

I get to the beach and jump into the soft sand and make a run for the shore where the sand is hard packed and smooth. There I can easily start walking fast or make a run for it.

The sea air smells fresh and feels damp on my skin.

It is no longer totally dark outside and the first morning light is making its’ appearance. Nobody else is walking the beach at this hour. I see the almost full moon above Los Ayala and it is slowly disappearing.

The headlights coming towards me on the beach are bright. The pickup truck stops up ahead, a boat is unhooked and positioned on the beach and the work begins. The fish vendors are setting up shop and displaying their catch.  Soon the first customers will make their way there to buy some fresh fish for an evening meal or perhaps a tasty breakfast or lunch. I wave and they wave back. They too are what I call the regulars.

I walk on and walk faster along the shore. The beach is perfect today! The tide is out. Sometimes if I feel energetic, I jog for a minute or two. But my passion is walking! Walking fast!! Today I chose to walk really fast!

I walk past some of the local restaurants along the beach. A few dogs bark and come out to have a look at me and then wag their tails as I call out to them, hola! hola! They  too are the regulars!

By now the birds are stirring in the trees. The chirping, squawking and the chattering is getting louder by the minute. None of them make a move to get up for breakfast just quite yet. They are enjoying their spot in the palm trees making a loud, and for some sleeping people, an unwelcome racket. I love the racket! They are what I call the regulars!

I see more of the morning light appear and the sky above me is on fire.  Shades of orange and pink fill the heavens. The clouds are moving wildly and they look like angry streaks smeared on a blank canvas. I quickly take out my camera, I must capture this spectacular light show now as it could change and be over at any moment!

There is an explosion of colour above my head and the drama in the sky changes within seconds. Sometimes the colours are so intense that I am left breathless.  I snap some more photos so I can capture this amazing spectacle. The reflections at my feet in the water mirror the sky and I am now seeing double as I continue my walk along the beach!  The colours fade but the show is not yet over, it’s only the beginning! It’s an unforgettable moment in time! Not one of the sunrises in Guayabitos is ever the same!  And on this morning , this one is especially beautiful!


The sandpipers and shorebirds are skedaddling along the shoreline digging their pointy little beaks into the sand picking up small morsels of food for their breakfast.  Their reflections in the pools of water on the beach enhance the beauty of this postcard like scene. They too are what I call the regulars.

The sun is still hiding behind the mountain as I make my way to the rocks and the cross. I walk faster, run a bit and breathe in the fresh morning salty air. I whisper a silent prayer and thank God for this amazing moment and for having the opportunity to take this all in! I am so blessed!

I walk to the rocks until they are in front of me. I choose a special rock for today and touch it gently with a purpose. This is part of the morning ritual, touching one of the rocks at the end of the beach.  I am here, I am alive! These rocks are what I consider the regulars!

Now it is time to leave the rocks behind and make my way back down the beach. I see a few familiar faces. I recognize some other walkers by their walk. I pass some holidaying Mexicans who are strolling along with their large families. Their children are frolicking in the ocean  with their clothes on and screeching with glee. Their parents are laughing with them. Perhaps they have never seen the ocean before! Grandmothers and grandfathers search for bits of shells and stones as they wander along slowly at a relaxed and easy going pace. Some are bundled up in heavy coats and layers of warm clothing. Many of the Mexican tourists have come a long way by overnight buses to experience the beauty of this beach. We greet each other with a friendly buenos dias and early morning smiles.

I meet up with a couple of  friendly ladies who are picking up the trash left on the beach. They are there with their pooches and the dogs greet me with excited barks. We stop for a moment to chitchat and catch up on bits of the gossipy news in town. They too are the regulars!

Another boat  has set up with some  fresh fish for sale . Someone is selling muffins, turnovers and  pastries. Another is making juice and smoothies. One young man is selling coffee. Tamales are being sold by another local vendor. They too are the regulars!

I keep on walking ,often waving at familiar faces!

The sky is getting much lighter now but the sun has not yet come over the mountain. There are more walkers now. One man is busily searching the sand with a metal detector looking for buried treasures. Another is fishing and sitting on a chair. I have seen him before but I have never seen him catch a thing! I think he does it for the fun of it! He is a what I call a regular!

Up ahead there is a bit of a commotion! The pelicans and seagulls are squawking and arguing  as they line up near the  parked boats  on the beach. They are selling more fish. The birds are waiting for a few handouts and scraps that might be thrown their way. The vendors are selling an interesting variety of fish, shrimp and ocean delights today. One is grinding up some fish for ceviche. A senorita is calling out ….cameron!…cameron!….shrimp !…..shrimp!…come buy your shrimp!  There are lots of people here ! Mexican tourists and others like me, stop to see what is for sale today, some are just looking, others are buying.  There is red snapper, dorado,   sole or other local fish that has been caught recently. I watch as the  vendors  sharpen their knives and get ready for the next order! Their filleting skills are admirable! I cannot resist snapping a few more photos even though I have done so many times before! The scene is interesting, lively and entertaining!

One of the fishermen that I have known for many years is calling out to me!  He waves furiously and laughs and smiles as I wave back…sometimes I whistle to get his attention.  He is counting my laps as I walk on the beach. He is one of the regulars!

The bread roll vendor has the loudest voice of all…

B-O-L-I-L-L-O he calls out…his mini baguettes are delicious, crusty on the outside and soft in the inside! We all know him!

Several food carts selling fresh BBQ fish are getting ready for their first hungry customers. The charcoal is burning, the grills are smoking and the vendors are preparing fish kebabs. I can smell the aroma of their special BBQ sauce! Pelicans are lined up beside the cart, their beady eyes watching in anticipation for an easy meal ! They are the regulars!

I pass all of the little beachfront restaurants and not much is happening at this early hour. A few lazy dogs are camped out in the sand and barely open an eye as I pass by. Some locals are sweeping and raking the sand and  getting  ready for the day. We exchange morning greetings, they continue to work, the dogs continue to sleep, I continue to walk. They are the regulars.

I have to keep on moving, there is  so much to see and photograph…I am always  thrilled to see this morning entertainment!

As I near the end of the beach, there are several fishing boats  bobbing in the water. A few fishermen with big rubber boots are unloading their nighttime catch onto a waiting truck. Others are washing their boats out and straightening up their nets.  Some are getting ready to head out for a day of fishing or banana boating. Someone is sitting on the steps watching the action and is smoking a cigarette. They are the regulars.

I touch one of the rocks on the wall at the end of the beach, another ritual…I turn around and walk on!

The sun is just about ready to pop over the mountain top and I do not want to miss this special show! I stop briefly to watch what the sky is doing . It is now that the sun really shows her face and the golden sunbeams stream through the cracks in the clouds as she appears from behind the mountain. Today there are many clouds. That makes it an interesting and beautiful sunrise.  I am ready for this! I snap a few more photos, I want to remember this moment forever!

I quietly say another little prayer of gratitude! I thank God for this  moment, for this  special opportunity to be here in this place to see this glorious miracle in the making! A miracle I will never take for granted! The sun has come up again! Another breathtaking sunrise in Guayabitos!  The sun, she is a regular!

I continue walking and head down the beach to finish my first round …..round two coming up!

The regulars are happy.  I am happy.

We’re  all walking on sunshine!



Written by Jasmine Hohenstein

While walking through the many colonias, which together, make up what most of us call La Colonia, I realized just how poor many of the folks living there really are. I decided to see what I could do to help them better manage their holiday season and began starting a tradition, I hope. I asked around to find out just what they could use and found that many do not have enough money to buy food, let alone any presents for each other.

That did it. I decided to purchase food and somehow distribute it. I found that buying the food required some expertise in knowing what foods might be needed or wanted. I confronted my God-children’s parents, Rosalva and Adan with my thoughts and we came up with a proposed shopping list.

I grabbed a shopping cart at Fruiteria Varilla in La Peñita, and proceeded to fill it up. I decided to only take exactly what each family would receive according to my list. This cart filling was just for figuring how much this was going to cost me.

Here is what I purchased 100 each of:  4 roll package of toilet paper, 4 each of small packages of pasta, 2 cans each of tuna fish and sardines, 1 kilo of sugar, 1 kilo of corn flour, 1 kilo each of 2 kinds of beans and 1 kilo of lentils, dish washing soap, floor multi-cleaner, vegetable oil, crackers and rice.

After about 10 minutes of filling my cart, I went to see Ana, the proprietor of the store and have here come up with a price for 100 sets of everything on my shopping list. We arranged a time when she could have it pulled from the shelves, bagged and then delivered to La Colonia. We decided on December 29th for the distribution date.

They delivered the pickup truck load, along with some extras, donated by Ana, to a central location and we began carrying bags around to deliver to the most needy folks we could find. Ana also donated 6 huge bags of oranges that we then repackaged into smaller bags. She also donated the sorting and bagging of the 100 bags and truck loading, and delivery and help unloading.  Thank you Ana! And thank goodness Adan borrowed a pickup and driver to do some of the big hauling throughout La Colonia.

It was a labor of love to carry those heavy bags around and distribute them.  We sure did create a lot of smiling faces and you could feel the love as they did their best to say thank you in English and the occasional Feliz Navidad and Feliz Año Nuevo!

All of us involved, including some children, are looking forward to doing the same thing again. We missed some families and we will certainly figure out a way to provide for them next time. The ones we missed were mostly the ones that had their whole families working the beach in Guayabitos selling whatever they made.

I am looking for ideas of a better way to do this again and again and again. I don’t have any dates in mind, but if someone wants to get involved and help make some of the decisions, I would certainly appreciate it. I love giving to our hosts. It makes you feel all fuzzy inside.

The Cancer de Mama Clinic is an exciting and important event which happens each February in La Penita. Over 100 volunteers (primarily but not solely women), contribute their time, energy and financial support at our three-day Clinic, where Mexican breast cancer survivors are provided with free breast form prosthetics and bras following mastectomy. In addition, some of out trained volunteers provide very specific support and supplies to women who have developed lymphedema following their surgery. As supplies allow, we also offer wigs, summer hats and scarves to the over 500 women who visit the Clinic each year. While women wait for their private prosthetic fitting, we offer an exercise class and makeup application as well as a nutritious lunch.

The Cancer de Mama Clinic also funds a Survivor Program, assisting women in need with some of the added costs surrounding breast cancer treatment. We help these women pay for such things as transportation to and accommodation at treatment centres throughout the state where they receive their chemo and radiation therapies. Money is also available to help with drugs not covered by their government e.g. drugs for treatment side effects like nausea and/or pain.

For many years, the Clinic was run out of the La Penita RV Park. However, wanting to be more deeply embedded in the Mexican community, in 2016 the Clinic successfully transitioned into its new home at the La Penita Senior Centre.

Throughout the weekend, while the Clinic is taking place inside the Seniors Centre, outside we host a small Tiangus (street market).  Here we offer our ladies the opportunity to shop, at very rock-bottom prices!  We’re always in need of new and gently-used items to sell.  We count on donations of summer clothing, hats and scarves, jewelry, sandals and shawls (both lightweight and heavier for women who live at higher altitudes) – anything really that women everywhere might like to shop for! Like most of us, these women often shop for their families, so donations don’t need to before women only!  We accept children’s and men’s clothing as well. If you’re interested in donating some things to our little Tiangus, please send us an email for details!

Since its inception in 1996, the Clinic has been funded entirely on donations. Financial support is always needed and deeply appreciated by the hundreds of very grateful women who receive our services. For further information, please check out our website – Our email address is   we’d love to hear from you.

Starting November 14th

Charity* Bingo, every Tuesday from 2:00 to 4:30 pm

La Peñita Seniors’ Center

Calle Bahia de Guaymas #18 (near CFE)

Come and have some fun, bring your friends and support your

community. Cash prizes and a special “Progressive Blackout Bingo

Jackpot” prize that builds each week until it’s won.

*GEMA is a charity project for abused and abandoned women in our community.

NOTE:  GEMA is relatively new charity organization (May 2017).  Already, 4 women and their children have been rescued and moved to a safer place.

This article is presented here in its entirety, courtesy of Mexico News Daily.

Internet speeds are showing improvement

Netflix identifies Totalplay as fastest fixed broadband supplier; Telcel, AT&T in close race for mobile

Mexico is not generally known for breathtaking internet speeds, but indications are that the situation is improving.

Data gathered by the streaming media company Netflix not only indicates which fixed broadband internet providers are offering the best speeds, but shows an increase in speeds in the last year.

The company’s monthly index measures the download speeds of subscribers during a three-hour period when its audience numbers are highest.

 In Mexico, Totalplay led the pack of internet providers in September with a speed of 3.81 megabits per second, followed by Axtel Xtreme with 3.57 Mbps and Telmex Infinitum with 3.39.

In general, the numbers were up over September 2016. Axtel Xtremo, which had the highest speed last year, gained slightly but the other providers saw significant increases.

Totalplay and Telmex Infinitum both moved up from 2.81 Mpbs.

On the mobile side, speed and other factors are also improving, reports OpenSignal, a company that gathers data on wireless coverage.

It also says that AT&T, a relative newcomer to the Mexican market, is in a close race against Telcel for download speeds. Measurements obtained over the summer show the United States-based telecommunications giant has pulled into a tie for 4G speeds, although Telcel is in the lead for availability, giving users access to LTE connections 76.4% of the time, up from 69.4% six months ago.

OpenSignal’s October network report revealed Telcel’s average 4G download speed was 23.48 Mbps and AT&T’s was 22.76.

Third-place Movistar saw its network improve but it fell further behind AT&T and Telcel in the metrics tested by Open Signal.

One significant finding was that Mexico enjoys 4G speeds that are among the fastest in Latin America, and faster than the U.S. Mexico’s national average LTE download speed was 22.4 Mbps, faster than any other country in Latin America apart from Ecuador, and well over the typical 15 Mbps experienced by consumers in the U.S.

For 3G download speeds in Mexico, AT&T led with 4.39 Mbps, well ahead of Telcel’s 2.96, and its overall speed of 14.28 Mbps was much higher than the 9.23 recorded by Telcel users.

OpenSignal collects its data from smartphone users who have download the company’s mobile application. For the October report, it collected data from 111,584 users in June, July and August.

Thank to Ken & Bea Rauch for this series of photos of the seahorses from the  past to the present. Please click on this link to see all their photos plus comments on the possible angels that made this possible.  Click heredownload full movie The Lego Batman Movie


La Penita Flooding 8

The Jaltemba Bay area has experienced very heavy rains this week, which caused flooding as well as damage to homes and roads in several colonias in La Peñita. The flooding occurred without warning on Monday night.

This morning, Sergio Galicia and I visited with people living near the police station in La Colonia, as well as homeowners near the transito station on the east side of the highway in La Peñita. Many of them had up to 1 meter (3 feet) of water in their homes. Some lost everything including kitchen appliances, furniture, mattresses and clothes, all of which were ruined due to the flooding. One man even claimed that his car was swept away by the rushing water. When we asked how we could help, they said they needed “things” not “money.” The main request was for food and a dry mattress to sleep on.

Octaviano Figueroa, Juez (Judge) of Rincón de Guayabitos and Chairman of the Rotary Club projects, said the worst hit colonias are “Las Cabras, Las Rosas, Isla del Verano, El Campesino, Miramar, Palmar and Cedros.”

There are ways we can help, says Octaviano. “The municipal delegate is in charge of distributing food and other benefits. Carlos Rendón (past president and current treasurer of the Rotary Club) is in charge of money, and donations can be deposited into the Rotary bank account. In-kind donations can also be made to Viky Robelo Rodriguez at the Centro Comunitario Cultural (CCC) in La Peñita. Much is needed and greatly appreciated by the victims of the storm.”

According to the Jaltemba Bay weather station, we received 82.1 mm (3.23 inches) of rain between Sunday, September 15 and Tuesday, September 17. So far this month, we’ve already received 304.5 mm (11.99 inches). And as I type, I can hear lightening in the distance which indicates that even more rain is probably coming our way.

The following photos and captions were provided by Octaviano Figueroa.

La Penita Flooding 2

The strong water undermined the foundations of three houses. They need to be reinforced with stone, gravel, cement and sand to avoid collapsing.

La Penita Flooding 10
La Penita Flooding 1

The people affected do not have the resources and need the support of our community to help repair their homes.

La Penita Flooding 5

Clean up along the river near the transito station continued throughout the day today.

La Penita Flooding 4

The river at this location is about 3 meters wider than usual.

La Penita Flooding 7
La Penita Flooding 6

There was also a major cleanup effort along the river and bridge near the CCC.

La Penita Flooding 9
La Penita Flooding 12

The whole community is being asked to donate the following items: cement, mattresses, blankets and clothes in good condition, canned food and water. Please donate them directly to those affected or bring items to the Centro Comunitario Cultural (CCC), which is located at Rubén Jaramillo no. 9 in La Peñita.

Thank you for your support.

by Allyson Williams

What a Difference a Year Makes!

The author of our newsletter joined J.E.E.P. one year ago. Valerie notes how “simply amazing it has been to watch the transition this project has undergone during this time. Much credit has to go to George and Loretta Leavitt for their donations and persistence. Generous ongoing donations can be credited as well. Thanks all around to everyone who has participated in this important community-wide project. The construction is first class, and the Hilltop Refugio is a “Cadillac” stable, and dog and cat refuge.”

Last year at this time, the Hilltop Refugio had the following:

  • 10-horse stable with a roof
  • Uncovered arena and small area for staging the equine therapy
  • Bathroom, tack room and food storage area

Since then, J.E.E.P. has added:

  • Both covered and sand arenas
  • Covered and enlarged equine therapy area
  • Sink and prep area for the kids’ activities
  • Three dog areas with multiple kennels
  • Gates for access to the back area for the horses
  • Large water tank
  • Concrete fencing around the entire front area with lovely bougainvilleas
  • Wood for each stall to keep horses from fighting and playing!

And now… currently under construction:

  • Covered staging area for the vets to spay and neuter, and dog washing clinics
  • Large covered and enclosed area for rescue cats
  • Enclosed dog play area for dog boarding
  • Two new bathrooms
  • Equipment shed
  • Hen house for laying hens (project of the Junior Trainers), with plans for 20 laying hens
  • The old bathrooms will become a J.E.E.P. store

Refugio3 012
(top feature photo) New bathrooms on the left, storage shed in the middle, boarding kennels and vet area on the end. (above) Beginning of the cat house and dog run.

Refugio3 016
Gates for access to the hill for the horses


J.E.E.P. Store: The new J.E.E.P. store will open this next season with custom t-shirts with fun new designs, bags of foods to feed the horses, dogs and cats, Hilltop Refugio and J.E.E.P. calendars, and framed pictures of some of the animals.

Are you sometimes bored during the season? We will be sponsoring Bingo this upcoming season, complete with cash bar. It will be fun for all. Put bingo on your entertainment calendar.

Mama Sedona is looking pregnant already. Her belly is expanding!

New Volunteer Activities for next season: We will be offering multiple new volunteer activities for the upcoming season, something for everyone: Bingo night, bartenders, dog walking, dog/cat kennel cleaning (our kennels are built for easy cleaning), fundraisers, dog bathing, our new store and of course all the current activities for the equine therapy and horse/stable care. Get active in the Nayarit community. The rewards are amazing!

January Fundraiser: Our ongoing annual fundraiser will include amazing food prepared by Loretta, a show facilitated by the Junior Trainers, equine girls in full riding regalia among other fun things. We will be announcing the date soon!

Fashion Show: We plan to sponsor a Contemporary Western Fashion Show featuring local teens strutting their stuff in southwest-inspired outfits! And yes, this event would not be complete without a good ole’ western BBQ prepared by Loretta. This will be a “fancy and fun” evening for all and will be held pool-side at Los Compadres Resort. Some of the parents and caregivers of the children participating in equine therapy will be speaking about their life-changing experiences with the project. The fashion show will raise funds specifically for our therapeutic horseback riding program.

Hilltop Refugio Updates

Horse Rescue and Education

Last year, J.E.E.P. sponsored shots and medicine for 33 area horses. The intent was to educate horse owners about the need for regular shots and medicine to maintain the health of their horses. This year, 18 owners returned on their own for shots and medicine. This is real progress that we are proud of.

The Junior Trainers and their Board have developed the “hen house” project. They are building a hen house to accommodate 20 laying hens. Fresh eggs will be available daily at the refugio for J.E.E.P. members at a reasonable price. The leadership skills being taught to the Junior Trainers will serve them well in the future, preparing them for jobs, while simultaneously being role models in the community for the care and treatment of animals. Kudos to the Junior Trainers!

Refugio3 024
Christian, one of our Junior Trainers, hard at work

Refugio3 007
The Junior Trainers found 20 of these (which were donated) which will be used by the laying hens in the hen house.

Refugio3 027
Morning dog and cat romp. The dogs are let out for exercise every day, and the cats are free to roam.

Refugio3 028
Early morning siesta

Therapeutic Horseback Riding

Our therapeutic horseback riding program has been suspended for the season, but we have exciting plans for next season. All participants will receive new t-shirts among other fun things already listed in the past and current newsletters.

Dog and Cat Rescue/Fostering & Adoption

We are excited about the upcoming “cat house.” It will be a state-of-the art area for our rescue cats. With the addition of the dog play yard and grooming area, we will also be ready to begin dog boarding next season. This strategy will help defray some of the ongoing costs which are increasing significantly as the project grows. The dog boarding kennels will accommodate 8 dogs. Boarding fees will be reasonable and we encourage all local dog owners to board at the refugio in support of J.E.E.P., remembering that we also rescue and care for local dogs, cats, chickens and roosters. Right now, the Junior Trainers are caring for a hurt chicken.

Please remember that we still have many dogs and cats up for adoption and looking for their forever home. Think about adoption when you come down next season. These animals need the love of a “family.” Click here to view some of the J.E.E.P. rescues up for adoption.

Refugio3 011
Morning dog greeting


Monetary Donations:

George and Loretta Leavitt:

  • Construction: $3,000 USD
  • Personnel: $450 USD
  • Boarding Income: 1 horse = $100 USD

Other Monetary:

  • Greg and Madeline Bennett Family Foundation: $200 USD
  • Donna Brownfield: $25 USD
  • Gary and Patty Wietgrefe: $1,000 pesos

Donations of Equipment and Other Items:

We didn’t have any equipment donations this month. Please start thinking about equipment you can bring down next season!

by Valerie Bennett-Naquin

About Jaltemba Equine Education Project (J.E.E.P.): Jaltemba Equine Education Project was established in December 2012 by George & Loretta Leavitt to help large animals like horses, donkeys and mules who are ill, malnourished or being mistreated in Jaltemba Bay, Nayarit, Mexico. We’ve added dogs and cats to our cause as well. To learn more or to make a one-time gift or recurring donation, visit Jaltemba Equine Education Project (J.E.E.P.) on the Jaltemba Bay Life website.

Your donations will help J.E.E.P. buy food, shelter, medication and the equipment necessary to care for the rescue horses and other animals, as well as complete the Hilltop Refugio. Remember, donations of tack and gear, both new and used are always needed and much appreciated.

J.E.E.P. is very proud of our Team. Volunteers just keep stepping up for the project. We appreciate each and every volunteer and would like to give a special thanks to some extra special people:

  • Ron & Simone Nicholls have been caring for four of our rescues (Rusty, Joey, Jenny and Benji) at their home because they needed special attention. Ron took the animals to the vet for care, paying for their medical needs and has found all of them beautiful homes. They are very happy pups. Ron was at the Hilltop Refugio almost every day during the season, caring for the animals up there, as well as in his home.
  • Rob & Heather Erickson care for the cats and have found some of our rescues happy homes. They’ve also purchased meds for the dogs and cats, and Rob brings treats up to the horses almost every day.
  • Deb & Rob Tomlinson have been involved throughout the season as well. They clean kennels, feed and walk the dogs.
  • Kathy Thoens cleans horse stalls, rides the horses and keep things neat and tidy.

We certainly miss you all when you’re not here!

jeep signs
The new signs are hanging on the stalls thanking our contributors!

All is quiet at the stables… the “season” is over for another year, 
and what a marvelous year it was.

Hilltop Refugio Updates

Refugio Horse Rescue and Education

The Junior Trainers continue their education while working at the stable, assisting George and exercising the horses on a regular basis. As they age and learn more, they will definitely be a wonderful resource for advocating for the healthy care, feeding and treatment of horses in our community.Watch movie online Logan (2017)

Lindsey Kato JEEP Part 2

The famed horse “Sedona” was adopted by Lindsey Kato (top photo and above). She wrote several articles for J.E.E.P. and fell in love with Sedona last year. She came to visit this May just to see Sedona. It was clearly love at first sight for both of them. When Lindsey is in town she works at the stable each and every day and is a big help. We love her! Lindsey is an Alaska resident, but has been working on her Master’s degree in Colorado. As soon as she finished her last semester, she headed down to see Sedona, her baby.

Read Lindsey’s articles here:
In Search of Something: My Month in La Peñita, Mexico (Part 1)
In Search of Something: My Month in La Peñita, Mexico (Part 2)


More roofing and extension of the area for the therapeutic horseback riding is complete. The back fence and gates are in and allow access to the horses from the back, rather than from the arena side so the arena stays clean and can be used for exercising the horses during the summer months. Shade is critical during the these months!

Therapeutic Horseback Riding

Our therapeutic horseback riding sessions have been suspended for the season. It was a marvelous season for one and all. The children are now looking forward to each new season and gaining confidence in their skills. Smiles abound!

Dog and Cat Rescue/Fostering & Adoption

The dog and cat rescue continues to expand as the word gets out in the community. Local people are bringing rescue animals up to the Hilltop Refugio, and Ron and George are caring for them, getting the needed shots, and in some case veterinary care for the animals that are not healthy. Street dogs tend to have all sorts of health issues. We adopted out one of the puppies in May. The plan is to build a cat kennel in the near future.

jeep rusty is adopted

Rusty (ADOPTED): Ron and Simone Nicholls took several dogs to Canada for adoption, but sweet Rusty (center) stole their hearts and is now part of their family forever! Shown here with Beans and Hardy.

jeep joey adopted

Joey (ADOPTED): Andrea Nicholls and Mike adopted Joey (at right). He’s one lucky pup.

jeep kittens for adoption

We rescued a mama and three kittens (Chula is shown above), and they are faring well. Mama is a fierce advocate for her babies, not realizing she is not a big fierce lion! For anyone interested, we almost always have kittens up for adoption.

jeep lindsey and pups
Lindsey and the puppies (up for adoption)… and boy are they growing!

jeep rooster
Our rescue rooster! Isn’t he beautiful?

Events at Hilltop Refugio

The Hilltop Refugio hosted two animal-related events during April and May. George and Loretta hosted a dinner for the volunteer vets who helped at the JBAR Spay and Neuter clinic. It was a nice send off for them.

We also hosted a lunch for owners Pam Sullivan and Marilyn Khan, from the PuRR Project in Puerto Vallarta. They are a “no-kill” facility and have over 150 cats. It was an educational time for us on cat rescue and fundraising. As you can see from the photos below, it was a “fun for all.”

jeep luncheon jeep luncheon 2


Monetary Donations:

George and Loretta Leavitt:

  • Construction: $3,200 USD
  • Personnel: $450 USD
  • Boarding Income: 1 horse = $100 USD

Other Monetary:

  • Little Rig RV Park (Brian & Carol Francoeur): $1,000 pesos
  • Emer & Marlyn Gudmundson: $100 CDN
  • Carla Rathburn: $1,000 pesos
  • Ross & Tara Rainsford (B.C., Canada): $400 pesos
  • Barbara & John Webber: $4,000 pesos
  • Pam Sullivan & Marilyn Khan (PuRR Project, PV): $100 USD
  • Dave & Suzanne MacNeil: $13,000 pesos
  • Sarah Walker and Friends: $500 pesos
  • David & Ally: $500 pesos
  • Barb Ratheaber & Mina West: $200 pesos
  • Jim & Lin Chimes: $1,000 pesos
  • Greg and Madeline Bennett Family Foundation: $200 USD
  • Donna Brownfield: $25 USD

Donations of Equipment and Other Items:

  • Heather & Randy Gunn: 2 bags of dog food
  • Chris Balardo: 3 bags dog food
  • Andrea Nicholls & Mike: Collars, leashes and automatic waters for the kennels
  • Dr. Jeff Bowra: Doxycycline from Aldergro Animal Hospital
  • Nancy Wilson: Meds, collars, leashes, tack, etc.
  • Dr. Malcolm Macartney: Meds for dogs (very special medication)
  • Gina Smith & Joy Patterson: Leashes, collars, toys and $200 pesos

New Kennels: Special thanks to Linda & Orval Haugan, who donated the proceeds from the Meat Auction Fundraiser, along with donations from Ron & Simone Nicholls, which made it possible to build the new kennels.

by Valerie Bennett-Naquin

About Jaltemba Equine Education Project (J.E.E.P.): Jaltemba Equine Education Project was established in December 2012 by George & Loretta Leavitt to help large animals like horses, donkeys and mules who are ill, malnourished or being mistreated in Jaltemba Bay, Nayarit, Mexico. We’ve added dogs and cats to our cause as well. To learn more or to make a one-time gift or recurring donation, visit Jaltemba Equine Education Project (J.E.E.P.)

Your donations will help J.E.E.P. buy food, shelter, medication and the equipment necessary to care for the rescue horses, as well as complete the Hilltop Refugio. Remember, donations of tack and gear, both new and used are always needed and much appreciated.

I captured this brother/sister duo on their Sunday afternoon outing. The little girl looked like a princess, minus the royal wave.

Taken near the “Bridge of Life” from our rooftop casita in La Peñita.

by Bea Rauch

Click here to view more Photos of the Week

Now it’s your turn! Email us your photos (at least 500 pixels wide) to along with a photo title, the photographer’s name and a detailed description of what the photo is and/or where you took it. We can’t wait to see what you’ve been up to lately.

We never know who’s going to come visit the Hilltop Refugio in La Peñita these days. Recently, a boy brought a rooster to us after hearing that we accepted rescues. Even though Jaltemba Equine Education Project (J.E.E.P.) is not a “refuge for roosters,” we were able to find the rooster a new home and he is doing well!

Hilltop Refugio Updates


Construction continues under the guidance of George Leavitt, with the assistance of our Junior Trainers… and thanks to generous donations! The dog kennels are now complete and provide comfortable accommodations for our rescues.

JEEP Dog Kennels

The most recent construction are the poles on the property. They are being installed along the road side so the horses can get exercise in the large outdoor area, without being able to run over the edge to the street (which one infamous horse has already tried!).

JEEP 418
JEEP 443

All 75 new bougainvilleas were finally delivered and are in the ground. They were planted along the new poles to create a wind break for the horses. Those planted earlier in the season are doing well and are an example of what the new wind break will look like when the plants mature.

JEEP 425

Refugio Horse Rescue and Education

Ongoing community equine education continues and includes teaching owners how to care for their horses, doctoring the horses and providing needed medication. The Junior Trainers are at the refugio almost daily assisting with the care of the dogs and horses, as well as receiving additional education.

JEEP 422
JEEP 368
JEEP 431

Helping the only way we could. This month, we rescued a mule whose foot and leg were severely damaged. The mule was living near the refugio and was generally tied and healthy. We are unclear what exactly happened, but somehow, he got tangled up in the rope and his hoof and leg were mangled. George received several calls about the mule and went out to find him, as well as the mule’s owner. He recommended putting the mule down, but the owner would not agree. We figured the owner would then take care of the mule, but that was not the case. George saw the mule a couple days later and its hoof had fallen off. George and Ron moved the mule up to the refugio and contacted the police to see if they could intervene. They didn’t, but knew about the refugio and allowed George to deal with the mule. George and Ron contacted the local vet, Dr. Eladio Tello, who said the mule was suffering greatly, could not be healed and to put the animal down. Eladio has been extremely helpful to J.E.E.P., donating his time, medication and assistance whenever asked or needed. We are so appreciative of his help. When contacted, the mule’s owner thanked George for stopping its suffering. Although it is sad to put an animal down, needless suffering is much worse. Too frequently, both mules and horses are injured from being tied out. George continues to educate local owners when these circumstances occur.

JEEP mule

Therapeutic Horseback Riding

Visit the Hilltop Refugio any Wednesday during our therapeutic horseback rides, and it’s easy to see the importance of this weekly event. The special needs children who participate are thriving, and we continue to receive positive feedback from the teachers, parents and caregivers. In one example, a young boy was not speaking when he first starting coming, but he is now talking up a storm. The smiles of confidence on the children’s faces are visible testimony to the benefits of this experience.

JEEP kids
JEEP kids 2
JEEP 384

Dog and Cat Rescue/Fostering & Adoption

This has been a big month for both rescue and adoption. George Leavitt and Ron Nicholls oversee this activity and have taken in four rescues.

One dog was hit by a car and is being cared for by Ron. Another was brought to us for care, but had to be euthanized. It was a pup, and someone kicked it so hard that it crushed his hip. After the vet recommended that the dog should be put down, Ron took him to a vet in Puerto Vallarta for a second opinion, and he confirmed the diagnosis. We were very sad. A third dog was repeatedly attacked by other dogs and had bites all over his back. He has since recovered and has been adopted.

Last we rescued “Rusty,” a pup that we think had boiling water thrown on him. His head and the front part of his body, chest and legs were full of blisters. He had no hair left. Thanks to Ron’s care, his hair is growing back and he is one happy little guy. Rusty has just been adopted as well.

JEEP Rusty After
A happy and almost healthy Rusty today (shown on right) / Rusty when rescued (below)

JEEP Rusty 2
JEEP Rusty 1

Many of you may have heard about the heartrending story of “Spider.” Spider was found in La Peñita. He was so weak that he could barely stand and his body was covered in mange. He was immediately taken to the vet and given life-saving injections for mange and parasites. For the first couple of days he just laid there. Ron and Simone cooked rice mixed with veggies and ground pork. They delivered and fed it to Spider for at least two weeks, maybe longer, and he gobbled it up along with small amounts of kibble. His recovery was quite remarkable, and after a couple of weeks, he began to grow his hair back. After two short months, he has fully recovered and has a new lease on life. He is an active, loyal and loving dog that is neutered and fully leash trained. He’ll make an excellent dog for a family with children.

JEEP Spider  IMG_1453
Spider before (above) and Spider now… ready to be adopted! 


What a marvelous community we live in. Donations continue to flow in, and our two fundraisers were a huge successes this year. We are so very thankful!

On a personal note: For me, the “heart” in J.E.E.P. represents George and Loretta Leavitt. Their monetary donations, time commitment and hearts are dedicated to all phases of this project. The project has grown by leaps and bounds in all its activities. George is up at the Hilltop Refugio twice daily – rain, shine or muggy summer weather. Loretta assists in the summer when their hotel is closed. Donations come from her restaurant profits. Loretta also cooks frequently for the kids. I want to give them the credit they so strongly deserve. Donna Brownfield, one of the original project visionaries, has been in town and up at the refugio training horses. She also deserves commendation. We are so lucky to have such dedicated people overseeing J.E.E.P.

– Valerie Bennett-Naquin


The 3rd Annual Pony Up! for J.E.E.P. Fundraiser was held on Friday, January 23rd at the Hilltop Refugio in La Peñita, and it was a huge success. Attendees had an opportunity to meet the rescue horses, dogs and cats, and to see the progress being made at the stables. Thanks to the generous participants and volunteers, our annual fundraiser broke our last two event records. Together, we raised a whopping $112,780 pesos in support of the J.E.E.P. project! You can read more in our annual Pony Up! update.

Our second fundraiser of the season was a “meat auction” held on February 10, 2015, and brought in a total of $11,320 pesos from 50/50 tickets, meat and alcohol sales. The event was a success thanks to Linda and Orval Haugan, who planned the event, and of course, all the volunteers who pitched in to help.

Monetary Donations:

George and Loretta Leavitt:

  • Construction: $2,500 USD
  • Personnel: $450 USD
  • Boarding income: 3 horses = $300 USD

Other Monetary:

  • Greg and Madeline Bennett Family Foundation: $200 USD
  • Donna Brownfield: $25 USD
  • Laura Gross (Corvallis, Oregon): $100 USD
  • Anonymous donations from people visiting J.E.E.P: $1,850 pesos

Donations of Equipment and Other Items:

  • Lunches for Therapeutic Horseback Riding: Greg and Cathy Weller; Brad and Karen Mattern; Bertha Cueva and friends; Carniceria La Nayarita, owner Efrain Cueva, in La Peñita
  • Jodi and Mike Ryall donated several kennels, collars, leashes and supplies for dogs and cats; also tack for the horses reins, bridles, etc.

by Valerie Bennett-Naquin

About Jaltemba Equine Education Project (J.E.E.P.): Jaltemba Equine Education Project was established in December 2012 by George & Loretta Leavitt to help large animals like horses, donkeys and mules who are ill, malnourished or being mistreated in Jaltemba Bay, Nayarit, Mexico. To learn more or to make a one-time gift or recurring donation, visit Jaltemba Equine Education Project (J.E.E.P.)

Your donations will help J.E.E.P. buy food, shelter, medication and the equipment necessary to care for the rescue horses, as well as complete the Hilltop Refugio. Remember, donations of tack and gear, both new and used are always needed and much appreciated.

The 3rd Annual Pony Up! for J.E.E.P. Fundraiser will be held on Friday, January 23, 2015 at the Hilltop Refugio in La Peñita. Mark your calendars and please consider a donation to the silent auction. We will be hosting a BBQ and it will be fun for all! More details to come.

Special thanks for two very generous donations:

Don Menchhofer for the boxes of new tack! Don, from Indianapolis, Indiana, donated boxes of halters, blankets, lead ropes, cinches and other items worth several thousand dollars. All the horses are now nicely outfitted. In the spirit of the holiday, reindeer antlers were included and could be seen on three of the J.E.E.P. horses during the Revolution Day parade (see photos above and below)… a big hit with the children! As an FYI, we always need tack, as the weather rots the tack over time. Thanks also to John and Barbara Webber for transporting these items.

Simone and Ron Nichols of Nova Beauty Products held a raffle and collected $800 CDN.

These two efforts are phenomenal and our horses appreciate it!

J.E.E.P. is now hosting Saturday Trail Rides. For $250 pesos an hour, you can enjoy the fields of La Peñita on one of the rescued horses. Trail rides vary depending upon the number of people who join us. Contact George at Los Compadres Resort for a reservation.

Día de la Revolución (Mexican Revolution Day Parade)

Thanks to Brenda Wright, from Fernie, British Columbia, for sharing these amazing photos of the J.E.E.P. Horses and Team participating in this year’s Día de la Revolución parade in La Peñita.

JEEP 1 copy
JEEP 2 copy
JEEP 7 copy
JEEP 6 copy

Hilltop Refugio Updates


Construction continues under the guidance and generosity of George Leavitt. The arena is dug out and sand has been delivered for a nice soft base for the horses. The sides of the arena are built up to accommodate trees which George plans to purchase and plant. Next is the roofing over the children’s area and a gate to the stable/arena so the horses can be let out to run and exercise (without coming back into the stable/arena to taunt the other horses!).

Hilltop Refugio/Horse Rescue Efforts

We are excited to report that Canelo has found a forever home in El Monteón. He is the only rescue horse that we have been able to rehab and reintroduce to open pasture feed, however he is high strung and can only be ridden by an experienced rider (not safe for children). Chuy, a local rancher fell in love with Canelo, and offered to provide him with the kind of home he needs and to ride him regularly. In appreciation, Chuy provided sand for the indoor arena at the Hilltop Refugio. Canelo will always be part of the JEEP Team and we will monitor him to make sure he is well taken care of. And although we would like to keep all the rescue horses and dogs, permanent placement with local families/ranchers is always preferable so they can receive even more individual attention and love.

JEEP Nov 2014 4

Meet Hermosa, one of the original rescue horses. She is fat, calm and happy. She is turning out to be an excellent horse for the children. When we rescued Hermosa her bones were showing through her hips and she was quite leery of interaction with people. She also seemed to prefer men and when Valerie initially started grooming her she would not allow it. Now she likes being groomed and is friendly. To illustrate her current level of domesticity and contentment with her new home, she does not even need a lead rope when George takes her outside the arena for exercise. She just follows him around like a puppy.

Equine Therapy for Disabled Children

Due to construction, equine therapy won’t begin until January, but the arena and picnic area will be well worth the wait! There will also be seating for parents and caregivers. We will serve lunches every Wednesday when the children are here. Volunteers would be greatly appreciated.

Dog and Cat Fostering

The cats from the newest litter are almost ready to transfer to the Hilltop Refugio. Loretta is having a difficult time letting them go! The new cats join the other older litter of 3 cats, our great vermin catchers! The three dogs are great for security. Oprah, the Rottweiler, has become very territorial about HER stable! A new dog was rescued who was in sad shape. The new dog, Spider, has already made a new home for himself and loves being in his new home. He happily greets all visitors. He, as well as the other rescue dogs and cats, are up for adoption so they can have full-time families.

JEEP Nov 2014 1
JEEP Nov 2014 2


Donations are always appreciated!

Monetary Donations:

George and Loretta Leavitt:

  • Construction: $1,000 USD
  • Boarding Income: 3 horses = $300 USD
  • Personnel: $450 USD

Other Monetary:

  • Madeline and Greg Bennett Family Foundation: $200 USD
  • Donna Brownfield: $25 USD
  • Diane Thompson: $100 USD
  • Rauol and Wil Schuhmacher: $50 USD

Donations of Equipment and Other Items:

  • Don Menchhofer: New tack (valued at several thousand dollars)
  • Kristin Giglio (thanks to delivery from Dr. Malcolm Macartney): Used tack

Donations for Silent Auction:

We are currently collecting items for the silent auction which will take place at the 3rd Annual Pony Up! for J.E.E.P. Fundraiser on Friday, January 23, 2015. Clean up and clean out! Donate to the silent auction. We are in desperate need of donations. Items can be given to Loretta at the hotel or restaurant at Los Compadres. These items have been received so far:

  • Traditional Vest from Michoacan – Value $70 USD: Valerie Bennett-Naquin
  • Original Oil Painting – Value $100 USD: Valerie Bennett-Naquin


George will be building the dog kennels the week of December 15th and could use help with labor and/or materials. Join him and meet the fostered dogs and cats. Take one home with you!

Things to Bring Down When You Return!

We could use lead ropes, head sets, horse brushes, curry combs, cinches (medium to large), as well as horse shampoo and conditioner. Donations for school supplies and art materials for the special needs children who come visit are also appreciated. These are relatively small items that will fit in a suitcase.

Ongoing Needs

We are always in need of contributions of feed, tack, medicine, medical supplies, money and other resources. Keep in mind that not only do the horses need feed, they must be also be shoed, have regular injections and sometimes medical care. All these things cost money. WE NEED YOUR HELP!


If you like to ride, please volunteer at the Hilltop Refugio. All the horses need brushing, attention and maintenance. If you volunteer, you can go on the frequent trail rides. Get to know a special horse during your time in the region or adopt one of the rescued dogs and take it home with you!

by Valerie Bennett-Naquin

About Jaltemba Equine Education Project (J.E.E.P.): Jaltemba Equine Education Project was established in December 2012 by George & Loretta Leavitt to help large animals like horses, donkeys and mules who are ill, malnourished or being mistreated in Jaltemba Bay, Nayarit, Mexico. To learn more or to make a one-time gift or recurring donation, visit Jaltemba Equine Education Project (J.E.E.P.)

Your donations will help J.E.E.P. buy food, shelter, medication and the equipment necessary to care for the rescue horses, as well as complete the Hilltop Refugio. Remember, donations of tack and gear, both new and used are always needed and much appreciated.

I have been struggling to write something that I feel could accurately put into words those amazing last twenty-two days in La Peñita, Nayarit, Mexico. I ended Part 1 with an excitement of new friendships, animals and humans alike, how could I wrap up the last portion of my trip with words?

I kept my promise to Freckles (I later found out her real name is Sedona), I saw her every day of my trip, and spent as much time with her as I could. Riding, walking, talking, laughing, singing, crying, we did it all together. I made more than a new friend, I discovered a kindred spirit, a familiar, a soul that I feel has traveled in multiple lifetimes with me in different physical forms. Now, no matter what your views on life, death, reincarnation, one thing is undeniable, and that is the bond that I made with that little filly.

As I sit here and try and recall each moment spent with her, deciding which moment to write about, which moments to share with readers, it’s hard to decide which is more worthy to be written about. Do I focus on the life lessons learned from George and Loretta and Jaltemba Equine Education Project (J.E.E.P.) and caring for such incredible animals, or do I write about the intense bond I now share with a horse that is almost 4,000 miles away.

Lindsey Kato JEEP 2  Lindsey Kateo JEEP 4
(left) Stopped for kisses while getting everyone ready for the cabalgata. (right) Traffic stops when 400 horses cross the road.

My adventures with George, Loretta, and J.E.E.P. lead me to ride in a cabalgata with around 400 other horses and riders. Although I didn’t ride Sedona (Freckles) in the parade, I did however keep an eye on her the entire time as she rode with a more experienced rider among so many other horses. She did beautifully. As the cabalgata was held towards the end of my journey, it was incredible to see her growing confidence and character as she trotted from El Monteón to La Peñita and as I reflected on her immense progress in my short trip.

When I first came to La Penita, I didn’t quite know what I was coming for, I only knew it was something that I had to do. I strongly believe now that it was something stronger than curiosity that had me travel so far and so unprepared. A calling that was deeper into my soul than I had ever originally even thought. This magnet that brought me to the J.E.E.P. doorstep and turned two incredible humans and 10 horses into a family that I will have forever, and gave me the opportunity to connect with one very special filly who will have my heart until the end of time.

I could have written about her, how special she is to me; it’s hard for me not to go all Dr. Doolittle when talking about her, because I do feel I can communicate with her and understand the things that she says. But until you experience it for yourself, or witness her and I together in our own little world, taking selfies, singing or just leaning on one another, you probably would just think I am crazy.

So I leave you with this. Get up to that hill, and if you have trouble getting through the canine guards, tell them Lindsey Kato sent you. Learn the names of everyone up there, learn their stories and about the J.E.E.P. project and their Hilltop Refugio. I guarantee there is something for everyone on top of that hill, and just like in my case, you might find things you didn’t even know you were looking for.

Lindsey Kato JEEP 3
Tears rolling out of both of our eyes in this moment (our last early morning walk before heading to the airport)

I woke at 6am on my last morning in Mexico to get up the hill and spend my last bit of time with my Freckles. I told her how much she means to me, how incredible she is, and how proud I am that she’s doing so well. I explained to her how much I would miss her and whether or not it was me who cried first, or if it was her who shed the first tear, the two of us sat together the rest of the morning, embracing and crying, but knowing that one day we would be together again.

A special thank you to George and Loretta for the endless laughs, life lessons, and the opportunity to help out with the project (and for so many other things, I would have to make a Part 3 to list them all), and to Allyson for letting me spill my words all over her newsletter.

by Lindsey Kato (Juneau, Alaska)

About Jaltemba Equine Education Project (J.E.E.P.): Jaltemba Equine Education Project was established in December 2012 by George & Loretta Leavitt to help large animals like horses, donkeys and mules who are ill, malnourished or being mistreated in Jaltemba Bay, Nayarit, Mexico. To learn more or to make a one-time gift or recurring donation, visit Jaltemba Equine Education Project (J.E.E.P.)

Your donations will help J.E.E.P. buy food, shelter, medication and the equipment necessary to care for the rescue horses, as well as complete the Hilltop Refugio. Remember, donations of tack and gear, both new and used are always needed and much appreciated.

Christmas Ornament(Updated Dec. 24, 2014)  The holidays are almost upon us. To help you decide where to eat, drink and celebrate this season, we have begun compiling our annual Holiday Dining Guide. We will continue to update this list as we receive additional information, so check back often.

Restaurant Owners: If you are holding a special event or holiday menu, please let us know so we can add them to our list. Don’t forget to login to your account and edit your individual webpages to include this information. If you own a cafe, bar or restaurant and would like to be added to the Jaltemba Bay Dining Guide, email Allyson@JaltembaBayLife.

La Peñita

Backstreet Italian Restaurant: Open as usual. More

Los Compadres Restaurant & Bar: Christmas Day (Dec. 25) Menu: Roasted turkey, baked ham, homemade dressing, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn, cranberry sauce, green salad, dinner rolls and choice of dessert (homemade apple pie or cheesecake with cherry topping). Time: 5:30-8:30pm. Price: $300 pesos per person; includes glass of wine, beer or soda. Limited seating, so make reservations early in person or via phone. More

Xaltemba Restaurant: Christmas Day (Dec. 25) Menu: Traditional turkey dinner, filete mignon or salmon. New Year’s Eve (Dec. 31) Dinner Specials: Salmon, prime rib or filete mignon. Live music “Simon Lamer’s Jazz, R&B, Soul.” Time: 9pm 1am. New Year’s Day (Jan. 1) Dinner Specials: Salmon, prime rib or filete mignon. Closed Christmas Eve.

El Parral de Villa Restaurante Bar: Christmas Day (Dec. 25) Menu: Stuffed turkey or pork loin, both with mashed potatoes, steamed veggies, cranberry sauce, 1 drink (any) and flan for dessert. Romantic live guitar music. Time: 6pm. Price: $200 pesos per person. More

Los Ayala

Santo Remedio Restaurant: Christmas Eve (Dec. 24) Special Christmas Dinner. Price: $250 pesos per person. Romantic music from 8-11pm. New Year’s Eve (Dec. 31) Call for information and reservations. More

Rincón de Guayabitos

Don Porfirio Restaurant & Bar: Info to come. More

Latitude 21 Bar & Restaurant: New Years Eve (Dec. 31) Mescales band with special menu. More

Mr. Ribs Restaurant: Open both Christmas Eve (Dec. 24) and New Year’s Eve (Dec. 31) On New Year’s, dance and enjoy live country western music of Dan & Jack. Serving up our regular menu, including dorado all night long. Time: 6pm til ?? Reservations are necessary, so stop in to get signed up. More

Teriyaki Alex: We will be open as usual for Christmas Eve (Dec. 24), New Year’s Eve (Dec. 31) and New Year’s Day (Jan. 1). We will be closed on Christmas Day and would rather see you all in churchMore

Toñita III Restaurant: Christmas Day (Dec. 25) Menu: Turkey with dressing, mashed potatoes, veggies and dessert. Time: 6-10pm. Price: $200 pesos per person; included a free drink. DJ music. New Year’s Eve (Dec. 31) Music by the Perez Brothers from 7pm-midnight. Menu: Chicken breast stuffed with shrimp and cheese or pork tenderloin with plum sauce (both served with mashed potatoes and vegetables). Price: $300 pesos per person; includes one drink. Tickets: Must be purchased in advance from any Toñita Restaurant. More

Restaurante Villanueva: Christmas Eve (Dec. 24) Menu: Broccoli soup, choice of roasted turkey with mashed potatoes and steamed veggies or stuffed pork chop with same sides. Time: 6pm. Ramon on keyboard (romantic music). New Year’s Eve (Dec. 31) Menu: Coconut shrimp stuffed with cream cheese and pineapple sauce on the side, baked potato and steamed veggies; Dorado served on a bed of fried bananas, topped with shrimp and a cheese sauce; or Stuffed pork with bacon, green pepper and cabbage with baked potato and steamed veggies. Comes with flan for dessert and 1 (any) drink. Time: 6pm-1am with jazz music. Price: $250 pesos per personMore

Vista Guayabitos Restaurant & Bar: New Year’s Eve (Dec. 31) Menu: Choose from three special 3-course meals (herbed beef fillet, stuffed pork fillet or jumbo shrimp). Price: $280-350 per person. More

christmas stocking clip artGive the Gift of Holiday Cheer!

Take a few minutes this holiday season to write a recommendation for your favorite local restaurants. It’s a wonderful way to say thank you, it’s FREE and you will make their holidays just a little brighter!

I came across this little guy on the beach in La Peñita. I was on the beach just north of the malecón, but not quite to the estuary. It was about 10am on Wednesday, November 12, 2014. He was standing there all by himself.


by Kiva Aditi (Tucson, Arizona?)

Click here to view more Photos of the Week

Now it’s your turn! Email us your photos (at least 500 pixels wide) to along with a photo title, the photographer’s name and a detailed description of what the photo is and/or where you took it. We can’t wait to see what you’ve been up to lately.

Start donating now for the Spring Silent Auction at the annual J.E.E.P. Fundraiser (date to be announced). Be creative! Donations can be dropped off at Los Compadres Restaurant & Bar in La Peñita.


The water is hooked up and being delivered now. We can now wash the horses regularly. They are quite happy about their baths and somewhat spoiled in the process. Roofing now covers most of the stable and the area that will become the arena for the kids. The next step will be to dig out the arena. This is expected to be accomplished before equine therapy starts up again.

JEEP October 2

Hilltop Refugio/Horse Rescue Efforts

To-date, donations have not covered the full cost of food, equipment, shoeing, veterinary care, etc. Therefore, the Hilltop Refugio entered into an income producing enterprise at which is a win-win in terms of resources, as well as availability of horses for the equine therapy project. Three horses are now being boarded at a profit of $300 USD per month after feed costs. These fees cover shoeing, vets, equipment, etc., and are an ongoing source of monthly income. (All the horses were shoed again in October and their feet are looking good). One of the boarded horses is for personal riding only, but two of the three are for J.E.E.P. use and are available for riding for those who want to ride and the children as George feels they are ready. The horses belong to local full-time resident Valerie Bennett-Naquin. You might remember BeBe (picture below). She won a local horse race this spring. Valerie also donated one horse, Chino, at the urging of Donna Brownfield due to his excellent temperament with the children.

BeBe (4 year old mare).

JEEP Sedona
Sedona (3 year old mare)

Equine Therapy for Disabled Children

We are gearing up for the equine therapy. More helmets were donated for the kids to insure their safety. We expect to start the equine therapy again in December. Volunteers would be much appreciated, as we need help serving lunch to the kids and their teachers/parents, as well as with the individual horses and kids.

Dog and Cat Fostering

Pictures are included here for two of the four dogs available for adoption and looking for a permanent home. Last month we pictured the other two.

We have now added a litter of cats. We already had a litter of cats to keep the rats at bay, but a new litter arrived recently. The kittens are currently being tended by Loretta, feeding them at home until they are old enough to be on their own at the stable. Pictures will be forthcoming soon. All these wonderful animals need homes. Come and visit and see if any of them are a good fit for your family.

JEEP Sadie

JEEP Chato

Upcoming Events

Save the Date: November 20, 2014

All J.E.E.P. participants who want to ride one of the rescue horses in the Revolution Day parade in La Peñita, bring a long-sleeve white shirt so we can get them all embroidered. There are also several other horses available if you want to ride.


Donations have been coming in all summer and now as people are returning the donations are increasing. These contribute to the long-term sustainability of J.E.E.P. and the Hilltop Refugio. All types of donations are welcomed and put to good use – monetary, equipment/items, time, donations for silent auction, etc.

Monetary Donations:

A huge amount of credit must go to George and Loretta Leavitt. They have invested both a tremendous amount of time, money and effort into this project. George is up feeding and caring for the animals every day, rain or shine, and there was quite a bit of mud to contend with this summer! Loretta can usually be found during the evening visit. In addition, they have also made significant monetary donations to the project including:

  • Personnel: 7 months @ $6,000 pesos/month = $42,000 pesos (approximately $3,230 USD)
  • Construction: $10,500 USD
  • Boarding Income: $300 USD/month since July ($1,200 USD)
  • Greg and Madeline Bennett Family Foundation: $200 USD/month ($800 USD) and Chino (donated horse)
  • Donna Brownfield: $25 USD/month since March ($200 USD)
  • Lindsey Kato: $500 USD
  • Kylie Kato: $145.37 USD (Kylie is Lindsey’s sister and she is only 7 years old!)
  • Frank Schwartz: $50USD

Donations of Equipment and Other Items:

  • Helmets: Lisa Trahn & Jason Nielson

Silent Auction Donations:

  • 4-Wheeler Helmet (used only twice; cost $250 USD): Valerie Bennett-Naquin

Volunteer Time:

  • Lindsey Kato spent one month working at the stable every morning assisting George, washing the horses, feeding, cleaning, etc. She left at the end of October, but was a wonderful resource for the horses!


Things to Bring Down When You Return!

We could use lead ropes, head sets, horse brushes, curry combs, cinches (medium to large), as well as horse shampoo and conditioner. Donations for school supplies and art materials for the special needs children who come visit are also appreciated. These are relatively small items that will fit in a suitcase.

Ongoing Needs

We are always in need of contributions of feed, tack, medicine, medical supplies, money and other resources. Keep in mind that not only do the horses need feed, they must be also be shoed, have regular injections and sometimes medical care. All these things cost money. WE NEED YOUR HELP!


If you like to ride, please volunteer at the Hilltop Refugio. All the horses need brushing, attention and maintenance. If you volunteer, you can go on the frequent trail rides. Get to know a special horse during your time in the region or adopt one of the rescued dogs and take it home with you!

by Valerie Bennett-Naquin

About Jaltemba Equine Education Project (J.E.E.P.): Jaltemba Equine Education Project was established in December 2012 by George & Loretta Leavitt to help large animals like horses, donkeys and mules who are ill, malnourished or being mistreated in Jaltemba Bay, Nayarit, Mexico. To learn more or to make a one-time gift or recurring donation, visit Jaltemba Equine Education Project (J.E.E.P.)

Your donations will help J.E.E.P. buy food, shelter, medication and the equipment necessary to care for the rescue horses, as well as complete the Hilltop Refugio. Remember, donations of tack and gear, both new and used are always needed and much appreciated.


The VW bug made this composition just jump at me. I was coming back from the Tianguis market in La Peñita, and there it was staring me in the face saying PLEASE take my picture!

Fortunately I had a camera with me. As someone reminded me the other day, the best camera you have is the one you have with you, so I tend to carry my camera everywhere. You never know when a PHOTO will jump out to you!

by Conrad Stenton, Midland Ontario Canada

Click here to view more Photos of the Week

Now it’s your turn! Email us your photos (at least 500 pixels wide) to along with a photo title, the photographer’s name and a detailed description of what the photo is and/or where you took it. We can’t wait to see what you’ve been up to lately.

I arrived in La Peñita the night of September 29th, having never been to Mexico before (other than when I was a toddler) and not speaking a sentence of Spanish. Many would call this a quarter life crisis. I had recently acquired some free time, last minute unforeseen circumstances forced me to enroll in online classes for this semester of graduate school. I knew I didn’t want to stay in Alaska for this season, fall in Southeast is not the nicest time of year, but where would I go, what would I do? Somehow with all of these unanswered questions I still jumped at the opportunity to come to a place I never even knew existed. It was a last minute decision to come here, the tickets were cheap and a good friend of mine who spends her winters here offered me the opportunity to stay at her place, free of rent (what more could a college student ask for). I booked the ticket, looked at the map, read about the area and downloaded a Spanish language app for my iPhone. Before I knew it I was already here.

(above photo) Bath time for Freckles. I sang rubber ducky to her the entire time.

I was in search of something, personal growth, self-discovery, adventure, independence, whatever it was it lead me here. My friend had mentioned a horse refuge nearby that peaked my interest even more; I had always loved being around horses and had ridden a bit in the past. There is a level of comfort I feel being around them, no need to pretend to be anything, they see you for who you are. The first day I was here I went on a hunt for a couple named George and Loretta. I wandered the neighborhood asking for George, Loretta and the horses in mangled Spanish mixed with some English, until I finally wandered to the right spot.

George was on his balcony and told me to meet him at 8am on top of the hill. I walked up the hill that afternoon to time how long it would take me to get up there, not long at all, and went to bed as soon as the sun went down, too excited for the next day. I couldn’t sleep, I tossed and turned, lightning and thunder isn’t something common in Juneau, Alaska. But finally morning came and if I was fit enough to run up that hill, believe me I would have.

George pulled up, opened the gates and what I found was more than I could have ever dreamed of. George introduced me to all of the horses; I learned each of their names and conversed with all of them. I spent the first few days talking and walking with them, getting to know each one individually. It’s lonely in a place where you don’t speak the same language as everyone else, but horses speak the language of love and compassion and I had never felt more at home.

That very first day, Freckles and I made eye contact. George was lunging her around, and something in her eyes made me feel like she could see into my soul. (She also reminded me of a unicorn, a species I believed really existed until I was 15 years old, this made her even more special.) I told myself to get to know her slowly, but we instantly bonded, walking and talking, I knew she was the one because the conversation was never forced and the silence was never awkward. We chose each other, and I decided then that I would spend every day of my trip working with and spending time with her. In the first week I learned the stories of all of the horses that had been saved, and those that had been lost.

JEEP Lindsey 4
A very clean Freckly face.

I found some WiFi and read about the J.E.E.P program and all that it stands for, not just rehabilitating horses but giving a safe place for special children to come and be with such incredible creatures. How perfect, therapy for horses and humans! Having studied mental and behavioral health in my undergraduate work, I was aware of the healing and therapeutic nature of horses, but never in my dreams did I think I would get to be a part of something like this.

JEEP Lindsey 2  JEEP Lindsey 1

Freckles is three years old, the least experienced and newest of the group, and just like me, everything is foreign to her. It only seemed fitting that her and I take on this next chapter of life together, spending time learning about ourselves, each other, and the world around us. I look forward to seeing her each day. In the mornings she’ll put her nose to my nose or on my forehead while I ask how her night was. Small things like resting her head on my shoulder, lets me know she trusts me. In the afternoon when I say goodnight, she watches me with those all knowing eyes as I walk away. I have made friends here these past nine days, but none compare to the friendship I have already developed with her. It’s early in our journey, I have 22 more days left here and each day I see changes in her, her confidence and her demeanor, and I consider myself so lucky to be a part of this. I thank George and Loretta for being so welcoming and allowing me to be a part of this incredible family here, I have found whatever I was looking for here with them and their rescued animals and I can’t wait to see where the rest of the month will take me.

by Lindsey Kato, Juneau, Alaska

About Jaltemba Equine Education Project (J.E.E.P.): Jaltemba Equine Education Project was established in December 2012 by George & Loretta Leavitt to help large animals like horses, donkeys and mules who are ill, malnourished or being mistreated in Jaltemba Bay, Nayarit, Mexico. To learn more or to make a one-time gift or recurring donation, visit Jaltemba Equine Education Project (J.E.E.P.)

Your donations will help J.E.E.P. buy food, shelter, medication and the equipment necessary to care for the rescue horses, as well as complete the Hilltop Refugio. Remember, donations of tack and gear, both new and used are always needed and much appreciated.

The civil groups from the different communities along the Riviera Nayarit continue to strengthen the Beach Cleanup Network, which now boasts 13 groups coming together on the second Saturday of every month; the next cleanup will be tomorrow, October 11th.

This time around, students are joining in with the cleanup teams along the beaches of La Cruz de Huanacaxtle. San Pancho and Bucerías are also receiving reinforcements.

Four more non-profits joined the beach cleanup efforts during this fifth round, including La Cruz de Huanacaxtle with reinforcements heading to Bucerías and San Pancho; there are now 9 communities on the receiving end of their labors. 

In La Cruz de Huanacaxtle the group Manos a la Obra, comprised of 50 students from the Bahía de Banderas Instituto Tecnológico (ITBB), will begin cleaning Manzanilla beach; the Vecinos de Huanacaxtle group will have two sessions, one meeting at 9 a.m. at the boardwalk in Bucerías and the other at 6 p.m. in La Cruz.

Bucerías is also being helped by the Culture Club, a group organized by the staff members of the Hard Rock Hotel, who will meet at 8:30 a.m. at Agustín Melgar street. This area is receiving strong reinforcements in the shape of 15 students who will be joining in alongside the Amigos de Bucerías, the group that began this particular local cleanup effort.

Last month the Grano de Arena group, who is in charge of La Peñita de Jaltemba, created a spinoff to clean in San Pancho, where the EntreAmigos group is also working.

The rest of the cleanup teams include the following groups: Platanitos Ecológico at Playa Platanitos, the Compostela Hotel and Motel Association in Los Ayala and Guayabitos, the Mexcaltitán Women’s Group on their island and the Punta de Mita Foundation in Punta de Mita.

It’s important to note that the Punta de Mita Foundation, for example, has picked up to 230 bags of trash per cleanup. They not only clean the beaches, but also the gullies, where the trash tends to pile up and eventually gets washed out to sea.

For more information and comments, if you’re interested in more details about the project including the hours and meeting places or would like to propose your community join the Riviera Nayarit Beach Cleanup Network, please call 297-2516 ext. 108, and someone from the Riviera Nayarit CVB will be happy to help you.

Originally published by Riviera Nayarit CVB

Ya son 13 grupos en la Red de Limpieza de Playas de Riviera Nayarit

Cuatro agrupaciones civiles más se unen a la limpieza de playas en esta quinta edición, donde ya aparece La Cruz de Huanacaxtle y se refuerzan Bucerías y San Pancho; suman 9 comunidades beneficiadas.  

Los grupos civiles de las distintas comunidades a lo largo de la Riviera Nayarit, siguen incrementando su adherencia a la Red de Limpieza de Playas de Riviera Nayarit, la cual ya llegó a 13 equipos que estarán operando el segundo sábado de cada mes, siendo el próximo 11 de octubre, la fecha en turno.

Cabe destacar que comienzan a unirse alumnos de planteles educativos para esta edición, que ya tendrá presencia en las playas de La Cruz de Huacaxtle. Se reforzaron también San Pancho y Bucerías.

En la Cruz de Huanacaxtle, Manos a la Obra, un grupo de 50 jóvenes del Instituto Tecnológico de Bahía de Banderas (ITBB), comienzan a limpiar la Playa de la Manzanilla; por su parte Vecinos de Playas de Huanacaxtle, ingresan al movimiento con dos limpiezas, una a las 9:00am en el Malecón de Bucerías y otra a las 6:00pm en La Cruz.

Bucerías, también recibe el apoyo de Culture Club, un grupo organizado por personal del Hard Rock Hotel, que se ubicará en calle Agustín Melgar a las 8:30am. Esta zona se reforzó fuertemente, porque se suman 15 alumnos del Instituto Harkness para apoyar, además de Amigos de Bucerías, quienes comenzaron con la limpieza de esa zona.

El mes pasado el grupo Grano de Arena, quienes se encargan de La Peñita de Jaltemba, crearon una sección para limpiar San Pancho, quienes ahora cuentan también con el apoyo de Entre Amigos.

Los demás grupos que ya estaban trabajando son: Platanitos Ecológico en Playa Platanitos, la Asociación de Hoteles y Moteles de Compostela en Los Ayala y Guayabitos, Grupo de Mujeres de Mexcaltitán en su isla y Fundación Punta de Mita en Punta de Mita.

Es de resaltar que por ejemplo, Fundación Punta de Mita, levanta hasta 230 bolsas de basura por limpieza, ya que además de limpiar la playa, limpia las cañadas, zona donde se concentran desechos que tarde o temprano llegarían al mar.

Para más información, comentarios o si estás interesado en conocer el proyecto más a fondo, horarios, puntos de encuentro o quieres proponer a tu comunidad para integrarse a la Red de Limpieza de Playas de Riviera Nayarit, comunícate al 2 97 25 16 ext. 108, con gusto el personal de OVC Riviera Nayarit te atenderá.

Our first house sitting assignment in La Peñita is drawing to a close. It’s been a truly great experience and we have enjoyed almost every minute. While the humidity of the Mexican summer has certainly challenged us, it is starting to cool down and we are making the most of the fresh mornings and comfortable evenings.

It’s been interesting to witness the sunset gradually move across the horizon and the days become shorter. We’ve loved watching the storms roll in over the mountains and the magnificent lightning over the water.

We’ve enjoyed living in a local town we would otherwise never had the opportunity to see and have become used to waking up to 180 degree views of the Pacific ocean, punctuated by a little blip of an island called el coral.


When my sister came to stay for the weekend we caught a boat to the island and snorkeled around the mound of earth we’d been staring at for two months. It turns out that isla el coral is indeed a tiny chunk of paradise.


We’ve enjoyed great food, friendly locals and interesting ex-pats; balmy evenings spent watching families stroll along the malecon and some lovely drives to explore the towns and beaches of the ‘Riviera Nayarit.’

But despite all these wonderful things, the biggest problem with this house sitting business is that we have to leave Chica and Matu, the two cats we have come to love as our own.


I really didn’t see this coming (the loving, not the leaving. That, I knew about.) I mean, I like animals and adored my adopted stray cat as a kid, but didn’t expect to fall in love with these two balls of fur like I have.


I got it bad.

It’s not just me, either. If anything, Tyrhone has an even stronger bond with them as they have warmed to him more than me. Watching Chica canoodle with him as he scratches her belly is just hilarious, particularly as she wouldn’t let us near her when we arrived.

Our sweet, anxious tom cat Matu is still a rather unpredictable soul. He will occasionally relax long enough for a belly rub but for the most part seems to be suffering some post traumatic stress from his days as a stray kitty in the jungle. Poor Matu. We love him so much.

So much, that even when he eats geckos and vomits them up in the kitchen or brings in dead birds to devour, leaving bloody internal organs for us to discover, we can’t get mad at him. Such is the nature of unconditional love.

We are happy that soon they will be reunited with their dads, who have been missing them during their time away in Canada. But I am already worried about who will be looking after them next summer and am thinking of asking the owners of El Panorama if I can be part of the vetting process to ensure our babies get the best possible care.

I’m kidding (kinda).

I know that when we leave, we will miss them more than they miss us.

Which is why Tyrhone made us this video to watch whenever we are feeling cat sick for Chica and Matu, who have without a doubt been the best (and the worst) part of our house sitting experience.

You’re welcome.

by Sarah Chamberlain

Editor’s Note: Sarah is an Australian traveller, writer and dreamer who happens to be house-sitting at the beautiful El Panorama Villa Hotel B&B in La Peñita this summer. Thanks to Sarah for allowing us to share her article, originally published on her blog Sarah Somewhere.

If you want to join in and share information, stories and photos of Jaltemba Bay, Mexico, please email them to

Exciting things are happening with J.E.E.P. up at the Hilltop Refugio! Last month’s article provided updates on the building project at the Hilltop Refugio complete with pictures. Click here to read more J.E.E.P. news.


Now completed are 10 state-of-the-art stalls, a tack room (below), feed room and bathroom. Most of the area which will include an arena is now covered. Plans for the future include electricity, seating area for the kids and dog kennels. Most of the construction at the Refugio has been through the generous donations and hard work of George and Loretta Leavitt, year round residents. Rain or shine George is up at the Refugio. He can be found every morning with the project’s full time paid employee, Mickey, doing the construction in addition to feeding, watering, exercising, grooming and caring for the horses and cleaning the stalls. The rain has been a real challenge to maintaining dry stalls! Loretta joins George in the afternoon for the second feeding and watering of the day.


Ongoing Horse Rescue Efforts

Both the stalls at the Hilltop Refugio and property that George owns in El Monteón provide placement for the rescue horses. The horses that are gentle and can be used for the children are placed at the Rufugio and the others are in El Monteon. Since both of these locations are now full, in alignment with the goals of medical attention and educating equine owners to better care for their animals, George visits local owners with starving animals equipped with medication and food as well as education to prepare them for more humane treatment of their animals. He has also facilitated two local clinics providing the necessary vaccinations to establish and maintain the health of the horses.

Notice how healthy and fat Peso is. He was one of the rescue horses!

Equine Therapy for Disabled Children

After the horses are rescued, then what? Horses, like people, thrive when they have a purpose. The rescued horses are used for equine therapy for disabled kids. These children are drawn from all over the region and are accompanied by parents and teachers. The horses which were starving and mistreated now enjoy the attention of children and their caregivers. They are thriving accordingly. Every Wednesday, beginning again in December, children will be bused in from the schools as far away as Bucerias, or transported by parents or other caregivers to the Refugio. Up to 30 children and adults arrive weekly to spend time with the horses. The children and their caregivers are fed lunch following their time with the horses (and now the dogs as well).

Equine therapy promotes physical, occupational and emotional growth in both adults and children suffering developmental and other disabilities. Equine therapy can help children build confidence, self-efficiency, communication, trust, perspective, social skills, impulse control and learning. Part of equine therapy is introduction of touch and interaction with the horses, which is in alignment with one of our project goals as well. Disabled children in our area have few resources, with the nearest school in Las Varas. Some children are unable to attend school. Spending time with the horses meets many of the needs described. The children are delighted to participate as witnessed by their shrieks of joy and smiling faces.

Dog Fostering

The word is out among the local dog population… “Hey guys, come up to the Refugio. They feed you up there!” There are now four rescued dogs at the Refugio. Realistically the dogs are most likely being dumped. The dogs are checked out by a vet and given appropriate shots and medical attention. These are wonderful animals and available for adoption. They will also be an integral part of the children’s program teaching the children how to care for and appreciate the dogs. The dogs help meet our goal to educate community members, in this case children, about the value of animals in our lives. Many of the children who visit have not had the opportunity to own or be are around dogs. Construction of dog kennels is a future building project for fostering the ongoing arrival of dogs. Oprah (below) arrived about a month ago with mange and is being treated for it.

Victor arrived skinny and unable to gain weight. He is just now starting to recover.

Oprah arrived with mange as well (see her eye). She just completed her second shot.


Things to Bring Down When You Return!

We could use lead ropes, head sets, horse brushes, curry combs, cinches (medium to large), as well as horse shampoo and conditioner. Donations of school supplies and art materials for the special needs children who come visit are also appreciated. These are relatively small items that will fit in a suitcase.

Ongoing Needs

We are always in need of contributions of feed, tack, medicine, medical supplies, money and other resources. Keep in mind that not only do the horses need feed, they must also be shoed, have regular injections and sometimes medical care. All these things cost money. WE NEED YOUR HELP!


If you like to ride, please volunteer at the Hilltop Refugio. All the horses need brushing, attention and maintenance. If you volunteer, you can go on the frequent trail rides. Get to know a special horse during your time in the region or adopt one of the rescued dogs and take it home with you!

Upcoming Events

SAVE THE DATE: November 20th

All J.E.E.P. participants who want to ride one of the rescue horses in the Revolution Day parade in La Peñita, bring a long-sleeve white shirt so we can get them all embroidered. There are also several other horses available if you want to ride.

by Valerie Bennett-Naquin

About Jaltemba Equine Education Project (J.E.E.P.): Jaltemba Equine Education Project was established in December 2012 by George & Loretta Leavitt to help large animals like horses, donkeys and mules who are ill, malnourished or being mistreated in Jaltemba Bay, Nayarit, Mexico. To learn more or to make a one-time gift or recurring donation, visit Jaltemba Equine Education Project (J.E.E.P.)

Your donations will help J.E.E.P. buy food, shelter, medication and the equipment necessary to care for the rescue horses, as well as complete the Hilltop Refugio. Remember, donations of tack and gear, both new and used are always needed and much appreciated.

Manuel of the Americas BookManuel Rodriguez, a builder from La Peñita, is the subject of a new book entitled “Manuel Of The Americas, Historia de Fuertes Amores.” The book is about his family’s love, commitment and survival.

We want to thank Jane Miller (Fellows), KinderAide founder, for bringing this book to our attention and for sharing her personal relationship with Manual and his family.

Jane writes:

This book touches my heart. It is said that “once the dust of Mexico settles in your heart, you can never go home again.” This is so true. I am honoured to say that Manuel and Elena Rodriguez and family are my dear friends. I gladly inherited them from the close relationship that my father and Manuel shared for over 20 years. When I return annually to La Peñita, Manuel strongly tells me, “When you are in Mexico, you are my family.”

After reading the book, “Manuel of the Americas,” I have a better understanding of what that means to my friend. At a young age, he took responsibility for his new bride and baby and his brothers and sisters. Then when he went to the States seeking employment, the young Elena took on the responsibility and trusted that her “noble” groom would come home to her, which he did.

Words to describe Manuel include: honourable, a man of integrity, honest, hard working, passionate, family oriented, loving, responsible, respected and respectful, nonjudgmental, charming, punctual and dependable.

Just this summer, I had the pleasure of visiting my friend (Manuel and Elena’s oldest child) Cecy in Westbank, BC and meeting her husband Frank and the first grandchild Joaquim! That is when I learned that Manuel and Elena were coming to visit them in a few weeks. My husband Doug and I then, hopped in the car for a 10 hour trip to surprise them! That is when Manuel gave me this book.

I am blessed to have the Rodriguez family in my life and in my heart.

– Jane Miller (Fellows)

Manuel and Elena in BC  Jane, Cecy and Baby
Elena and Manual (left). Jane, Cecy and Joaquim (right). Photos taken at a BBQ hosted by Karen and Dale Nagy, La Peñita snowbirders, at their home in Vernon, BC.

Karen and Dale Nagy
Our hosts Karen and Dale Nagy, Cecy’s husband Frank and Jane’s husband Doug.

We also want to thank the author, David Roybal, for taking the time to correspond with us. He writes…

I don’t know if Manuel Rodríguez of La Peñita de Jaltemba, Nayarit, knew how many friends and admirers he has. So many people have contacted me in just the past few months since the publication of his true, powerful story to assert their friendship with this middle-age man who has faced enough hardships and challenges to fit into multiple lifetimes.

The story is carried in a new book titled, “MANUEL Of The Americas, Historia de Fuertes Amores”. I wrote Manuel’s story after visiting with him over the years too many times to count, all along the beautiful Bahía de Jaltemba.

My inescapable conclusion: México should be proud of Manuel Rodríguez. Indeed, the courage, determination, loyalty, love and respect that define his life can make us all in the Americas feel good about those among us who refuse to succumb to difficult circumstances.

It is the simple truth to describe Manuel as a man who stood strong and brave during prolonged periods when all but the will to survive was stripped away.

The story becomes even more compelling when you realize that many in his extended family have followed his lead to become their own fonts of strength and compassion. For example, Manuel is the central figure in the book. But it is easy to feel at least as much respect and compassion for his faithful, loving wife, Elena.

The text of the book was written in English then carefully, sensitively translated to Spanish. Both English and Spanish texts appear in the book along with photographs and illustrations.

“This book should be shared with bilingual education classes and social science classes everywhere,” remarked a former bilingual education coordinator/administrator with the Boston and Washington, D.C., public schools.

“It reminded me of Oscar Lewis and ‘The Children of Sanchez’,” said one reader.

Readers already are positioned from Mexico City to Manitoba; California to New York. It truly would be gratifying for this to become a book of the Americas.

– David Roybal, Cundiyo, New Mexico USA

Here is a short excerpt from the book…

A Canadian named Jane Fellows also seems to be on constant alert for projects that Manuel can pursue. Jane is the daughter of a man named Bill, who hired Manuel to build his house in Colonia Los Pescadores near La Peñita. Through the course of construction, Bill became like an older brother to Manuel. Around 80 years old, Bill soon carried the name of “Marce” around Manuel. “The Anglos called him Bill, I called him Marcelo or “Marce.” I was working on condominiums near La Peñita when “Marce” found me,” said Manuel.

Manuel and “Marce” grew to enjoy each other’s company. They would share stories not only while Manuel labored but after work, too. “We became very close,” Manuel said. “He would tell me a lot of confidences, things that people don’t normally talk about. I always felt like he was more than just my patrón. It almost felt like we were from the same family.”

Manuel y Elena Rodriguez
Manuel y Elena Rodriguez (all photos by Jane Fellows)

To learn more about the book, you can watch this video of author David Roybal describing his relationship with Manuel and his family.

You can purchase a copy of Manuel Of The Americas directly from the author, David Roybal, or on Amazon for $26.

If you want to join in and share information, stories and photos of Jaltemba Bay, Mexico, please email them to

The monthly beach cleanup of the destination’s beach communities will take place this Saturday, August 9th, with the full support of the Riviera Nayarit Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB).

Platanitos and the Playa Platanitos Ecológico association will join Punta de Mita, Bucerías and La Peñita de Jaltemba in maintaining the beaches to benefit all of the people of Nayarit.

The Riviera Nayarit CVB provides the groups integrated by this civil society with the necessary cleaning materials like gloves, bags, t-shirts and water.

First contact has also been made with the San Pancho and Sayulita communities, and collaboration has begun with Rincón de Guayabitos and San Blas; all have responded positively to the invitation to become part of the group. The objective is for all the picturesque towns of the Riviera Nayarit to be a part of this movement.

If you are with of a group that wishes to join in our community cleanups or are interested in putting together a group of volunteers in your community, please don’t hesitate to contact us at 297-2516 ext. 108.

Times and meeting points:

Punta de Mita – Crews will gather at the Punta de Mita Sports Center at 7 a.m. The contact is the Punta de Mita Foundation at (329) 291-5053 or (322) 779-2906.

Bucerias – There are two meeting points with 8 a.m. schedules, as the Volunteer and Friends of Bucerías Group has joined in as well. The first group will meet on Allende street in front of Decameron and the second will be on Benito Juarez street in front of Karen’s place. The contact number is (322) 140-6881.

Platanitos – The crew will meet at 9 a.m. at the Fiesta del Mar restaurant right at the entrance to the beach. The contact is Lulú Santana from the Playa Platanitos Ecológico association at (327) 105-6947.

La Peñita – The meeting is at 6 p.m. at the malecón (boardwalk) with the Asociación Grano de Arena, contact number (322) 116-9440.

Originally published by Riviera Nayarit CVB

Se adhieren más grupos a las limpiezas de playas

Para este sábado 9 de agosto, Platanitos se une a Punta de Mita, La Peñita de Jaltemba y Bucerías; ya hay un primer contacto con San Blas y Guayabitos, quienes también estarán ingresando a la limpieza eventualmente.

Este sábado 9 de agosto, en coordinación con la Oficina de Visitantes y Convenciones de la Riviera Nayarit (OVC), se llevarán a cabo la limpieza mensual de playas en las comunidades costeras del destino.

A Punta de Mita, Bucerías y La Peñita de Jaltemba se une Platanitos, localidad en la que Playa Platanitos Ecológico A.C. se adhiere a los trabajos de mantenimiento de playas para beneficio de los nayaritas.

La OVC Riviera Nayarit proporciona a los grupos integrados por la sociedad civil, materiales de limpieza como guantes, bolsas, camisetas, gorras y agua.

Además de los primeros contactos con San Pancho y Sayulita, ya se iniciaron las labores de colaboración con Guayabitos y San Blas, todos han dado una primera respuesta positiva para integrarse. El objetivo es que todos Los Pueblos Pintorescos de Riviera Nayarit pertenezcan a este movimiento.

Si formas parte de una agrupación que guste de participar en la limpieza de nuestras comunidades o te interesa generar un grupo de voluntarios en tu comunidad, no dudes en contactarnos al 2 97 25 16 ext. 108.

Horarios y puntos de encuentro.

En Punta de Mita a partir de las 7:00 horas en el estacionamiento del Centro Deportivo Punta de Mita. El contacto es la Fundación Punta de Mita: 329 291 50 53 o 322 779 29 06.

En Bucerías son dos puntos de encuentro a las 8:00 horas, ya que también se unió el Grupo de Voluntarios con los Amigos de Bucerías. El primer grupo se reúne en calle Allende frente a Decameron y el segundo en calle Benito Juárez frente a Karen’s Place. Contacto al 322 140 68 81.

A las 9:00 horas comenzarán a reunirse en Platanitos en el restaurante Fiesta del Mar, justo en la entrada a la playa. El contacto es Lulú Santana de Playa Platanitos Ecológico A.C., al 327 105 69 47.

Finalmente en La Peñita de Jaltemba a las 18:00 horas en el Malecón, con la Asociación Grano de Arena. Contacto al número 322 116 94 40.


It’s hard to believe that the Malecón in La Peñita unofficially opened to the public one year ago.

During the past year, the new malecón has become a popular gathering place and well-used destination for both locals and tourists alike. Many events have already taken place here – including art shows, the staging area for a women’s beach volleyball tournament, weight lifting contests, a biathlon and even kite flying demonstrations – and many more events are on the drawing board.

Sunsets are a particularly busy time when you will find at least 100 folks enjoying our beautiful malecón.

La Peñita Malecón Timeline

While it may have felt like the malecón project took an eternity, it was actually only a few years from concept to completion. Like any community project of this magnitude, there were also political and social considerations that needed to be addressed before the first concrete footing could be poured.

Even though building anything in Mexico is far less complicated than almost anywhere NOTB, typical bureaucratic and environmental hoops still needed to be jumped through. Also, there were multiple resource centers that needed to be tapped into in order for this project to even get to the drawing board. Costs were ultimately shared by the federal and municipal governments, as well as tax money taken in by local hotels. As you can imagine, not an easy process.

Various related projects were necessary before construction could be started. These included the removal of numerous structures on the beach itself, creating accommodations for storm water runoff, installing new sewer water and fresh water lines and the underground routing of power lines.

The adjacent and adjoining streets were torn up to accommodate these utilities and were rebuilt using stamped concrete. All of this was done while accommodating vehicular and foot traffic to the nearby businesses.

Here is a brief overview…

September 2011 – Environmental studies, surveying and planning began.

August 2012 – The removal of beach structures began (below).

Malecon 1

November 2012 – Initial street demolition and reconstruction.

Malecon 8 Malecon 12

January-February 2013 – Digging and pouring of the malecón footings. This work was hampered by high tides.

Malecon 6 Malecon 2

April 2013 – Finish work on the streets was going fast, aided by a couple of local comedians (Tom doing the screeding and Tiki supervising).

Malecon 5

June to mid-July 2013 – Most of June and July was consumed by pouring walls, the concrete deck, the exposed aggregate top coat and installation of the stainless steel railings.

Malecon 4 malecon ojo de dios logo

The photo below shows how the power lines used to look (minus most of the pelicans and frigate birds).

End of July to August 2013 – The finishing touches were being completed… decorative street lamps, stainless steel railings, palm trees, beautiful park benches and finally colorful decals on the walls depicting the official colors of Nayarit.

Malecon La Penita 1403
Malecon La Penita 1397

Drawings of the project were initially circulated back in June 2012 and portrayed a longer boardwalk, one of 300 meters in length, as well as a fishing pier extending out into the ocean to allow for a promenade as well as some boat dockage. However, after the reconstruction of the streets and related costs were taken into account, the extended pier idea had to be scrapped. What we ended up with is a beautiful and user-friendly 217 meter long, palm tree lined boardwalk.

malecon 5

by David Thompson
Photos by Tom Plattenburger, Tiki and David – Muchimas Gracias!

Like this story? Sign up to receive the Jaltemba Bay Life Newsletter

This story was submitted by one of our regular contributors. To learn more about the author/photographer, click on the “Contributors” tab near the top of the page. If you want to join in and share information, stories and photos of Jaltemba Bay, Mexico, please email them to

Try saying that one five times! Welcome to La Peñita de Jaltemba, a small town on the Pacific coast of Mexico, an hour north of Puerto Vallarta.

We arrived on a rainy day. The clouds hung thick in the sky like sodden laundry and the streets, made from mud and stone, disappeared into giant potholes underneath our tires.

“Uh ooooohhhh…” my internal dialogue began. I mean, they said it was local, but this is really local, I thought as we began the steep climb up the hill to our adopted abode.

“That whole thing cannot all be ours,” I said as we laid eyes on the big ‘yellow house on the hill’ we had been solicited to take care of. Surely it was two or three homes in one complex and we would be residing in one.


But no, it was all ours, complete with two resident cats to keep us in line, two iguanas who live on the roof and scare the bejeezus out of me on a regular basis and a gazillion different bugs of every imaginable size and color which we fish out of the pool and examine every day.


I’m becoming the David Attenborough of bugs and can definitely see why people study them.


The King and Queen of the house are Chica and Matu (who have their own throne). They have stolen my heart and I pour love over them every day, much to their disdain. To them I am the giver of tuna and occasionally strawberry yoghurt (yes) and that is about it. I like to think they are testing how far my love reaches and whether I can make the distance. I tell you, I can and I will MAKE THEM LOVE ME!!!


The star of the house though is definitely the view. Or, should I say, views. A panoramic, 360 degree beauty-fest of the Pacific ocean and rolling jungle clad mountains. I seriously don’t know where to look. It causes me great anxiety that when I am looking one way, I miss the other way, so I have devised a viewing system of facing the mountains in the morning while I do yoga, then the ocean in the afternoon.


Because, THIS.

I mean, seriously??!!! My eyeballs cannot handle this much beauty. I get very overwhelmed, hence the obscene amount of facebook updates made lately because I just can’t take it all in and need help to process this display of nature’s glory every evening.

The fact that I get to witness 90 of these makes me giddy with gratitude.


Oh yeah, then there’s the sunrise. If we’re up early enough, we get to catch it rising over the mountains and staining the sky the color of the mangoes hanging from the tree next door.


Which brings me to my next point – the mangoes. And the pineapples and the coconuts and the bananas which are bursting forth from the trees right now. It is seriously hard (and sad) to believe there is a food shortage in the world when you are in the lush ‘Riviera Nayarit’ of Mexico.

Devouring a mango over the sink while it spills down your chin must surely be one of life’s great pleasures.

The town of La Peñita, it turns out, is absolutely wonderful. A small yet busy epicenter of industry and commerce which services the nearby resort town of Guayabitos. We have found our ‘seafood place’, our ‘local eats’ place and our cafe which roasts local coffee beans and does a mean frappacino – perfect for these humid days.


From the seafood place we watch local families escape the heat of their homes in exchange for a sea breeze and dripping helados. They gather on the newly built malecon every evening, a pedestrian promenade which was built a little over a year ago after a decade of planning.

Life in La Peñita is lazy and languid. Every day we wave to our neighbour down the road who hangs in his hammock under the shade of a tree, just… chilling. If there is something Mexicans do well (except cook and laugh and eat and drink) it’s relax. The heat here during the summer is enough to slow even the zestiest of folk down to a crawl, but in this little town that no-one has really heard of except the lucky ones who live here, life, just, goes, slow.

Until you get onto the highway leading south to San Pancho, Sayulita and Puerto Vallarta which becomes the stage for a testosterone fueled, four-wheeled machismo fest of overtaking on blind corners at high speeds. Go figure.


A five minute drive from ‘our house’ sits the charming beach resort of Guayabitos. A jumble of colourful buildings, striped umbrellas and beach hawkers selling everything from ceviche to sunglasses.


A local resort popular with the residents of Guadalajara and Mexico City, Guayabitos is like stepping back in time. Families gather on patches of sand which spill down into the water, enjoying the simple pleasures of sun and sea, set to the soundtrack of a local musical act.

Bowls of fresh fruit and skewers of plump prawns are passed between niños and abuelas while touts tempt tourists onto boats heading across to the island or neighbouring bays.


We love it here. Tyrhone has clocked two flights over a long, empty stretch of beach north of town, improving his skills and increasing his confidence.

I have been attempting to be present with all this natural beauty around, and have been feeling very blessed to wake up to such gifts every day. I’m definitely experiencing the beauty of my imperfect journey at the moment and am falling in love with a new part of this rich and varied country which has come to feel like home.

by Sarah Chamberlain

Editor’s Note: Sarah is an Australian traveller, writer and dreamer who happens to be house-sitting at the beautiful El Panorama Villa Hotel B&B in La Peñita this summer. Thanks to Sarah for allowing us to share her article, originally published July 13, 2014 on her blog, Sarah Somewhere.

If you want to join in and share information, stories and photos of Jaltemba Bay, Mexico, please email them to

IMPULSARTE “expandiendo mentes” (expanding minds) is a social program funded by teacher JAVIER CARRILLO in order to promote culture and the arts in public school children in vulnerable communities. It is certainly a very important tool that is paying-off highly not only to promote art and make beautiful works by students through their methods, but is also making gains in the values of the student, such as SELF-ESTEEM, INTEGRATION, PERCEBTIBILITY, VISUAL ACUITY, CONCENTRATION, MOTOR SKILLS DEVELOPMENT, ETC. It is also proving successful in improving the academic level of the students as well as encouraging them to notoriously better their school performance.

It is gratifying to see that the students who make-up the program earn recognition for their school performance; in the 2013-2014 school year, the program achieved serving over 200 students!

It should be noted that this program has no support from any authority and works thanks to donations from altruistic parents and godparents who like and support the same cause; to achieve this, more than 10,000 miles had to be explored in the period, students from over 20 public schools were attended to in the communities of, COMPOSTELA, LAS VARAS, LA PEÑITA DE JALTEMBA, ZACUALPAN, LAS PIEDRAS, AND THE CITY OF TEPIC, CAPITAL OF THE STATE. The coverage could also be extended because from this cycle forth, THEATRE classes were integrated, classes that are led by the actor of the theater company of the state, CARRILLO LUIS ANGEL ESCOBEDO, who in the initial phase was able to attend minors of the community of LAS VARAS. Currently there are talks with other artists to incorporate them into the program with other disciplines, the goal is to serve a higher volume of students; a goal is to achieve integrating the group as a foundation or a non-profit civil association in order to gain official support and extend the coverage of the program.

Impulsarte 11
Impulsarte 3

This school year it is gratifying to see how it was possible to enlist nearly 400 works of art for all students, as well as being able to present 3 plays with students in the young, theater workshop. It is certainly a major effort but in its outcome comes a great incentive, which is to see students grow in their academic aspirations. This is a long-term program that undoubtedly seeks to positively impact not only students, which is already a tangible achievement, but also impact the communities in which the program “IMPULSARTE” is currently active. This is the mission as a teacher of JAVIER CARRILLO, to continue promoting young talent.

It is certainly valid to also recognize the essential support of the special education teachers, classroom teachers, and principals of schools in which they carried out the program. The program serves children from 4 years of age and up as well as the same teachers interested in receiving training in order to improve their knowledge. This certainly is what will keep the program on track, special thanks to all who have been involved in the program and have made donations for the same to work. Here outstands the help of parents, volunteers and generous people who have sent their aid our way; undoubtedly the program has many needs and these materials have a financial cost, but the confidence prevails that we can expand the coverage to more schools and students in the same school year 2014-2015 beginning the 18th of August.

by Javier Carrillo
Translated by Edgar Castellon for Jaltemba Bay Life

View more photos below and learn more about this community project here: Meet Javier Carrillo: Artist and Teacher to Nayarit Youth


IMPULSARTE “expandiendo mentes” es un programa social fundado por el maestro JAVIER CARRILLO con el objeto de fomentar la cultura y las artes en los menores de escuelas públicas en comunidades en situación vulnerable, es sin duda una herramienta muy importante que está dando frutos de gran calidad no solo al fomentar el arte y lograr bellas obras por sus alumnos gracias a sus métodos, sino que también está logrando beneficios en los valores del propio alumno, tales como AUTOESTIMA, INTEGRACION, PERCEPTIBILIDAD, AGUDEZA VISUAL, CONCENTRACION, DESARROLLO DE DESTREZAS MOTRICES, ETC, dando además buenos resultados en el mejoramiento del nivel académico de los alumnos, fomentando de manera notoria su rendimiento escolar, es grato ver que los alumnos que integran el programa obtienen reconocimientos a su desempeño escolar, este ciclo escolar 2013 2014, el programa logro atender a mas de 200 alumnos, cabe hacer notar que este programa, no cuenta con apoyos por parte de autoridad alguna y funciona gracias a donativos de padres de familia y padrinos altruistas que gustan de la causa y apoyan la misma, para lograrlo hubo que recorrer más de 10 mil millas en el lapso, se atendieron alumnos de más de 20 escuelas públicas en las comunidades de, COMPOSTELA, LAS VARAS, LA PEÑITA DE JALTEMBA, ZACUALPAN, LAS PIEDRAS, Y LA CD DE TEPIC, CAPITAL DEL ESTADO, se pudo además ampliar la cobertura pues a partir de este ciclo se integraron las clases de TEATRO, mismas que están a cargo del actor de la compañía estatal de teatro, LUIS ANGEL ESCOBEDO CARRILLO, quien en su fase inicial logro atender a menores de la comunidad de las VARAS, actualmente se está en platicas con otros artistas para integrarse al programa con otras disciplinas, el objetivo es lograr atender un volumen mayor de alumnos, se busca también el lograr integrar al grupo como una fundación o una asociación civil sin fines de lucro para poder conseguir apoyos oficiales y extender la cobertura del programa.

Impulsarte 12
Impulsarte 1  Impulsarte 4 Impulsarte 5

En este ciclo escolar es grato ver como se logro firmar cerca de 400 obras de arte por el total de los alumnos, así como también el poder presentar 3 obras de teatro con los alumnos en el joven taller de teatro, sin duda es un esfuerzo mayúsculo pero que en su resultado tiene un gran aliciente que es el ver a los alumnos crecer en sus aspiraciones académicas, este es un programa a largo plazo que busca indudablemente impactar positivamente no solo en los alumnos, algo que ya es un logro palpable, sino también a las comunidades en donde el programa IMPULSARTE está vigente, esta pues el compromiso del maestro JAVIER CARRILLO de seguir impulsando el talento joven y sin duda es válido reconocer el apoyo fundamental de los maestros de educación especial, maestros de aula y directores de las escuelas en las cuales se ha llevado a cabo el programa, este atiende a menores de edad desde los 4 años y hasta a los mismos maestros interesados en recibir una capacitación en aras de mejorar sus conocimientos, esto sin duda es lo que hará que el programa siga por buen camino, un agradecimiento especial para todos los que se han involucrado en el programa y han hecho donativos para que el mismo funcione, aquí se destaca la ayuda de padres de familia, voluntarios y gente generosa que ha hecho llegar los apoyos, sin duda el programa tiene muchas necesidades de materiales y estos tienen un costo económico, pero hay la confianza que se podrá lograr ampliar la cobertura de escuelas y alumnos en el ciclo escolar 2014 2015 mismo que inicia el próximo 18 de agosto.

by Javier Carrillo

Impulsarte 9  Impulsarte 10
Javier Carrillo mural

En especial un agradecimiento a la escuela primaria AMADO NERVO de compostela nayarit, a su director, maestro Celso Quintero, al personal docente y de intendencia por su valiosa cooperación para la realización del mural “EL BARDO Y LA PATRIA” sin duda una de las actividades mas relevantes del ciclo escolar .

This story was submitted by one of our readers. If you want to join in and share information, stories and photos of Jaltemba Bay, Mexico, please email them to

We are delighted to announce that Jane Fellows and Doug Miller eloped on July 17th at the Kingfisher Resort in Courtenay, Vancouver Island, BC. Their dear friends Molly and Chris witnessed their marriage.

For those of you who may not recognize Jane, she has been visiting the Jaltemba Bay area for 30+ years. She also founded KinderAide, an independent, non-profit group of volunteers who assist local under-privileged kinder schools.

Jane says, “The following day, we enjoyed a morning of fishing (we caught five salmon and a seal, by accident of course, who ended up swimming away with my fish), followed by a couple’s massage and fine dining. Now, we’re back to work selling houses and building our new one. A short honeymoon, but our November 1st honeymoon in Mexico is coming up soon.”

Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Miller!

Jane Fellows Vows

Bob-Howell-PhotoBob shared himself widely, with community, with family, old friends and new, strangers, and even strange people (an inside joke for you, Bob, on the remote chance that you are listening to me). Although Bob belonged to everyone, if you were lucky, Bob would give you a little piece of himself, an exclusive gift that was totally yours.

Bob was one of the early encouragers when I began my online bulletin board: La Peñita Folk (later, Jaltemba Bay Folk). Bob’s gift to me was his posts to my board, and sharing of his tales of adventure, exploring in Mexico. There is no doubt that Bob’s sharing had much to do with the early popularity of my board.

When Bob and his partner Vicky took to the back country in his Magic Jeep, along with their trusty thermos of coffee, they always loaded up with the donated clothing, food packages, and medicines for encounters with people in need. It would be hard to overstate the extent to which Bob influenced our community. The largest and most successful of today’s community service organizations, Los Amigos de Jaltemba, can trace its grass roots back to a fund raising party we once had to help support Bob and Vicky’s efforts in the wake of Hurricane Kenna.

Today, there are other groups continuing Bob’s good works here in Jaltemba Bay.

Planning for the future and knowing his time here was limited, Bob built a solid, two story structure on a piece of Vicky’s property. It has two income producing apartments upstairs. The ground level has a small office and a large storage area. It is known as the McKibben Foundation (McKibben was Bob’s mother’s name). Sometimes the bodega is packed full of donated clothing, food staples, school supplies, and medicines; sometimes it is bare. Vicky, now retired from her nursing career, quietly carries on a devotion to the work that she and Bob so loved.

Among about a zillion other things, Bob was a champion horseshoe player. What began as a yearly party with his family and friends has grown into a yearly, weekend party and fundraiser. Since his passing, it is known as the Bob Howell Memorial Horseshoe Tournament. Many people from far and wide, plan their winter vacations to be here for this event. Along with the support of many of Bob’s old friends, his sons Jimmy and David have carried the torch and have been able to pass on hundreds of thousands of pesos to local children for education, recreation, and good health.

When I met Bob, right off the bat, it was fun to know we shared a mutual enjoyment of going off exploring in our Jeeps. Bob was more gregarious than I am. Along with Vicky, he always packed in as many people as the Magic Jeep could fit. Selfishly, I almost always go off solo. But Bob showed me that later, when I return, I can still share the adventure through photos and writing about the adventure.

Bob believed in sharing, and I do too. Anyone liking these stories can make a donation to THEIR cause (see below).

…with the utmost respect, admiration, and love; Happy Trails, Bob.

by Tom Plattenberger

Tom Plattenberger’s personal dedication serves as an introduction to a series of essays written by Bob Howell, a long-time resident of Jaltemba Bay. The series, entitled “Back Roads of Nayarit,” details Bob’s day trips and adventures between 2001-2007. We are sharing these stories in an effort to preserve Bob’s memory – and to help Bob’s partner and traveling companion, Vicky Flores Ramirez, who still lives in La Peñita and quietly carries on the work that she and Bob so loved. If you enjoy reading these articles, please consider making a donation so the McKibben Foundation (Nurse Vicky’s Dispensary) can continue helping schools, seniors and needy families in the Jaltemba Bay area. And if you have copies of any of Bob’s old stories or photos, please contact us.

This story was submitted by one of our regular contributors. To learn more about the author/photographer, click on the “Contributors” tab near the top of the page. If you want to join in and share information, stories and photos of Jaltemba Bay, Mexico, please email them to

TV Azteca’s domestic campaign, “Limpiemos Nuestro México” (Let’s Clean Up Our Mexico), celebrated its sixth year on Sunday, May 25th. The Nayarit Ecologists Group requested to be part of this project, and thus participate with the cleanup of Nayarit. This civic association is dedicated exclusively to the operation of the El Naranjo Turtle Camp, which is located on the beach just north of La Peñita de Jaltemba and is part of the Costa Capomo development.

Ricardo Villaseñor, president of the association and the person in charge of the camp, worked together with his team to unite over 50 locals to take part in the cleanup of seven kilometers of virgin beach. “It’s important to begin the beach cleanup in June, because the sea turtles will arrive soon. We also put together three more cleanups besides this one during the course of the year, basically one every two months once the rainy season starts,” he explained. The rainy season brings in the most trash as the rivers flow to the sea, taking with them all the waste, which washes back up onshore. It then creates an obstacle course for the turtles.

Francisco Mendez, regional delegate for the Fondo Nacional de Fomento al Turismo (FONATUR), was present at the event, participating in the cleanup with his family alongside the rest of the locals. Families from Tepic, Compostela, Bahía de Banderas and Puerto Vallarta all came together for this cleanup. Afterwards, they all enjoyed a family day at the camp’s beach facilities.

“Limpiemos Nuestro México” is an annual domestic campaign inviting citizens to participate in the biggest cleanup in the history of the country, raising awareness along the way for people to put trash where it belongs. The Riviera Nayarit was part of this important environmental consciousness movement, which brought together over 85 million volunteers who cleaned up 42 thousand tons of trash on the aforementioned date.

Originally published by Riviera Nayarit CVB

Earlier this week, I drove up to the Hilltop Refugio in La Peñita to see what was happening. While I was there, I decided to help muck-out the stalls and share some love with the horses. Jaltemba Equine Education Project (J.E.E.P.) founders, George and Loretta Leavitt, continue to provide the rescue horses with necessary medical care, food, water and much needed TLC – and I am happy to report that the horses (as well as the dogs and cats being fostered there) and the refugio are all looking great.

With the school year winding down for the summer, these two angels are finally getting a much deserved break. Over the past several months, hundreds of school children (accompanied by their parents, teachers and chaperones) have taken field trips to Hilltop Refugio to get to know the horses, too. They have enjoyed riding, feeding and enhancing the lives of the horses – and all the while, these children are learning that horses, cats and dogs all respond to love, gentle touch and companionship.

It has been a win-win situation ever since J.E.E.P. and the Hilltop Refugio were established just 18 short months ago to care for the original seven rescued horses.

Currently, a roof is being constructed to shelter the children, other guests and the horses from the hot summer sun and rain.

JEEP New Roof 2

Seeing the great need for this shelter, George and Loretta have spent their own funds to purchase and erect the substructure. All that is left to complete the shelter, is to purchase and install about 60 galvanized roofing panels.

If you would like to support their efforts and/or the J.E.E.P. project, donations of any size will gladly be accepted. The panels cost about $600 pesos each. Let’s pull together so we can help complete the roof by the time the sun gets any hotter and rainy season begins.

JEEP New Roof 5

by David Thompson

About Jaltemba Equine Education Project (J.E.E.P.): Jaltemba Equine Education Project was established in December 2012 by George & Loretta Leavitt to help large animals like horses, donkeys and mules who are ill, malnourished or being mistreated in Jaltemba Bay, Nayarit, Mexico. To learn more or to make a one-time gift or recurring donation, visit Jaltemba Equine Education Project (J.E.E.P.)

Your donations will help J.E.E.P. buy food, shelter, medication and the equipment necessary to care for the rescue horses, as well as complete the Hilltop Refugio. Remember, donations of tack and gear, both new and used are always needed and much appreciated.

Each year from May 10-20, La Peñita de Jaltemba celebrates Nuestra Señora del Rosario de Talpa (the Patron Saint’s Festivities of Our Lady of the Rosary).

During these 11 days, the different colonias (neighborhoods) in La Peñita organize themselves and show their devotion to Nuestra Señora del Rosario de Talpa through several activities, mass, singing, pilgrimages and fireworks.

This year’s program includes artistic and cultural events all of which will be held in the plaza in La Peñita.

2014 Patron Saint La Peñita

Local artist, Roberto Gil de Montes, unveiled his new series of paintings and chalk pastels at the Lora Schlesinger Gallery in Santa Monica, California yesterday. The show, entitled “Hecho en México,” runs through May 17.

The Los Angeles Times writes, “The 62-year-old artist – whose first solo show in nearly 10 years opens at Bergamot Station’s Lora Schlesinger Gallery on Saturday – was born in Guadalajara, Mexico, and as a teenager, his family lived in East Los Angeles. He’s spent the last nine years living in the small beach town of La Peñita, Nayarit, Mexico and in Echo Park, where he still keeps a home, while also traveling extensively throughout India and Europe for inspiration.”

According to the Huffington Post, “Roberto Gil de Montes’ paintings exist in a hazy terrain somewhere between Mexico and Los Angeles, art history and folklore, a memory and a dream. His works are tapestries of life as it exists around us and as it lives in our minds, weaved together into two-dimensional fields. His colors are as buttery and sharp as morning, rendered with the soft edges of a legend partly forgotten. “Hecho en México,” a new series of neo-surrealist artworks, are the perfect antidote to gallery trends and their clever emptiness.”

Congratulations Roberto, from the entire Jaltemba Bay Life team!

Read more about Roberto’s exhibit on The Huffington Post and L.A. Times.

With your help, the Jaltemba Bay community has benefited in many ways: we will have playground equipment, a kiddy corner, nifty and needed school supplies, alternative prostheses for breast cancer survivors, and Community Cultural Center (CCC) programs for women and children.

The November Tapas and Sangria Party at El Panorama Hotel netted $5,053 pesos, which will help establish a ‘Kiddy Corner’ full of books, toys and equipment to provide a safe and fun environment for the little guys who accompany their moms to their classes at the CCC.

Our December Christmas Stocking Campaign brought in several bags full of school supplies which were distributed to mostly kindergartens in area schools by Gema Marquez, who runs the Books on Wheels project.

Also in December, the oh-so-popular Country Casual Pig Roast at El Rodeo raised $21,950 pesos – enough funds for the construction of two playgrounds, coordinated by the Recycling Committee of Los Amigos de Jaltemba; the El Tonino school will receive one of them. The recent refurbishing of play equipment at the Eco Park on the north side of La Peñita is a joint project with money from Las Tres Amigas and private donors as well as a lot of volunteer labour. The swings, teeter-totters, climbing bars and serpentines are going to provide a safe and entertaining playground for little guys.

January brought the Under Wraps Dinner and Mystery Auction at Xaltemba Restaurant & Galeria. The $13,760 pesos will provide scholarships for four students at CONALEP next school year.

Five more scholarships will be awarded by the Los Amigos Scholarship Committee with the $16,570 pesos that were raised at our Handbags and Hankies Tea Party at El Panorama Hotel in February.

And last but not least, proceeds from the International Women’s Day Luncheon on March 8 at Latitude 21 will match a private donation of $500 US so that Cancer de Mama can continue to develop a locally manufactured alternative prosthesis. The balance will provide safety and first aid equipment for the CCC and supplies for their after school program.

None of this could have been achieved without the support of many in the community:

Where would we be without our ticket sellers? Jeanie Mintzmyer (Hidden Paradise Real Estate), Rick Helberg (Re/Max Jaltemba Bay Realty) and Hala at Hamaca Maya who helped with every event, along with assistance from Xaltemba Restaurant, Cafe Dolores, El Rodeo, Latitude 21 and El Panorama Villa Hotel B&B, and the La Peñita RV Park office.

Raffle prizes and draw items were provided at our various events by Super Maxi Alvarado, Casita de Irma, each of the restaurants involved, Marena del Mar, Cafe Peñita de Occidente, Avanti Restaurant, Terapeutica Emilia Esperanza G., Carniceria La Nayarita, Joan Hagar, Joyce Vanderstaak, and Las Tres Amigas members.

Musicians, an artist and even an auctioneer volunteered their talents too: Mimi and John Flamang, Manuel and his friend Martin, Linda Fraser and Dave Stevens deserve a great deal of thanks.

Sydney Richmond, the Los Amigos tianguis booth, Armando’s Joyas and Cafe Dolores made the Christmas Stocking Campaign possible.

An extra special thanks goes out to all of you who attended the events. It goes without saying that without you, these results would never have been achieved.

We want to pass along our congratulations to Los Amigos de Jaltemba, Vicki Robelo and the folks who work so hard at the CCC volunteering and keeping the doors open, Gema for her labour of love with the Books on Wheels project and the Cancer de Mama committee – for seeing the projects from our 2012-2013 fundraising efforts through to fruition.


We’re going to whisk you away on an International Tour, starting with an Evening in Paris on Wednesday, November 19 at Xaltemba Restaurant & Galeria. With the assistance of chef Lurah Magee-Newgen, you can enjoy an evening of French cuisine on the Left Bank (well, not quite, but it is close to the Avenida). Let your inner Bohemian out!

We will then head on to Italy for a Cena de Natale at El Gigio Italian Pizzeria. He is going to serve up some of his family’s traditional Christmas dishes on Sunday, December 14. And what would Christmas be without bells? Bring a bell, wear a bell, ring a bell and we’ll see you there ‘with bells on’.

On Wednesday, January 14, we’re going to step back in time to Merry Olde England. Join us for a Mediaeval Feast at El Rodeo. Polish up your armour and shine up your crowns and jewels. You never know what royalty might drop in!

We’ll stay in Britain but bring you back to modern times with a Petals and Pearls Afternoon Tea Party at El Panorama Villa Hotel B&B on Wednesday, February 18. Pack your pearls! Go wild with flowers – in your hair, on your dress, maybe even your shoes!

The very deserving and community-based programs at the CCC and CONALEP scholarship students will benefit from these fundraisers.

We will also continue the Christmas Stocking Campaign starting in early December to collect items needed for the after-school program at the CCC. A list of desired supplies will be circulated later.

And there may be more! We’ll keep you advised. Between now and then, have a happy and healthy summer and we’ll see you again in the fall.

Thanks for the community’s support!

by Las Tres Amigas (Helma, Maxine and Nora)

If you have information about an upcoming event, community group, organization or project, email us the details along with any photos and we will include it in the next issue of our newsletter. Please also add it to our online community calendar.

I am a fish taco junky. For me, they are the quintessential hand-held Mexican comfort food. I am especially fond of the traditional baja-style tacos… you know, those beer battered, deep fried morsels of goodness wrapped in warm corn tortillas, topped with crisp cabbage and served with a mayo-based sauce. With that said, I am certainly not opposed to thinking outside the baja-style taco box and ordering grilled or sauteed tacos or those topped with mango, peach, pineapple and other fruit salsas. In my humble opinion, all fish tacos, no matter the style, should be required to have either a spicy chipotle or chile de arbol salsa available for drizzling, dipping or dunking.

I recruited my hubby and a few willing friends to join me in my quest to find “the best” fish tacos in our area. We visited several popular establishments known for their fish and shrimp tacos.

Here are our very flavorable findings…

Hinde y Jaime’s, La Peñita

For anyone who has ever visited the Jaltemba Bay area, chances are you’ve stopped by Hinde y Jaime’s Restaurant in La Peñita for their famous fish and shrimp tacos. They are pretty much the epitome of the perfect baja-style taco. They start with warm corn tortillas spread with just the right amount of mayo, then wrap them around deliciously moist lightly battered and fried pieces of mahi-mahi or shrimp topped with shredded cabbage, carrots and pickled onions… and serve them with a side of Hinde’s tomatillo salsa. Their tacos are served a la carte, and at only $10 pesos a piece you can afford to try at least one of each.

My usual “dos y dos” (two fish tacos and two shrimp tacos).

Hinde y Jaime’s casual atmosphere and friendly service attracts locals and expats alike. Often times, you’ll find Jaime sitting at the bar chatting with the regulars, Hinde working her magic in the kitchen and Patty (their daughter),  Javier and Jorge behind the bar making margaritas, daiquiris and other popular tropical drinks. They also offer a full menu with breakfast, lunch and dinner items that are worth trying as well. Go my friends and try these tacos. I’d be willing to bet that they’ll make their way into your day dreams!

Visit Hinde y Jaime’s Bar & Restaurant webpage to view their full menu, hours, location and more.

Baja Takeria, San Pancho

Baja Takeria offers a wide variety of tacos, burritos and salads, along with ceviche, burgers and such. The tacos come a la carte and are served with a side of their garlic pico de gallo and three salsas: spicy chile de arbol, creamy chipotle and crema (instead of the traditional mayo). We ordered the Pescado Baja Taco (Baja-style fish taco), Camaron Mezteño Taco (sauteed shrimp taco in garlic and chipotle sauce with cheese, which is more like a quesadilla than a taco) and the Marlin Conquistador Taco (smoked marlin taco with cheese). All three tacos were darn tasty, and while I am admittedly a baja-style taco fan, our vote was unanimously tied between the Mezteño and Conquistador. I also recommend washing your tacos down with one of their Micheladas, which they happen to serve without Clamato.

(top) Pescado Baja and Camaron Mezteño. (bottom) Baja Takeria’s Michelada and their creative taco menu.

The bistro-like atmosphere at Baja Takeria is charming, the food is fresh and the staff is friendly, attentive and they have a sense of humor… on nearly every page of their menu, it says “Relax, you’re on vacation! Each dish is prepared at the moment you order, we appreciate your patience.”

P.S. Learning about Baja Takeria online last season actually inspired me to write this story. Right then and there, I started thinking about how much fun I’d have writing it – and dreaming about how many fish tacos I’d have to consume to research it.

Stay tuned! You’ll find our findings on more local taco joints in an upcoming issue of our newsletter as we continue our quest for the best fish tacos in and around Jaltemba Bay. If you have other favorite fish taco places, please email them to or post a comment below and we will gladly put them to the test!

Like this story? Sign up to receive the Jaltemba Bay Life Newsletter

This story was submitted by one of our regular contributors. To learn more about the author/photographer, click on the “Contributors” tab near the top of the page. If you want to join in and share information, stories and photos of Jaltemba Bay, Mexico, please email them to

Nearly 60 adults and children were fitted with free hearing aids during a recent Hearing Aid Clinic in La Peñita. The clinic, the first of its kind in our area, was conducted under the watchful eyes of our own Dr. Martin Nuñez at his Central Medico La Peñita office. The purpose of the clinic was to furnish and fit hearing aids and provide technical assistance to some of the hearing impaired citizens of Nayarit. The recipients ranged from 6 to 91 years.

Dr. Martin Hearing Aid Clinic 1676

One hopeful patient, 4 years young, could not be fitted because of his complete hearing loss. He was directed to a speech therapist and psychologist in Tepic, with the hope of teaching him to use sign language.

Dr. Martin Hearing Aid Clinic 0956 Dr. Martin Hearing Aid Clinic 0959

There were hearing health practitioners and some very devoted volunteers, who not only contributed their time, but were also instrumental in procuring and transporting the hearing aids to Dr. Nuñez’s offices from Canada.

Special thanks to Dr. Louise Graham, her husband Patrick Taylor, and Cassie Choboter who organized the collection and transportation of donated aids and batteries; Margarita Gomez Corona, Veronica Morentes Perez, Amada Flores Aguilar and Lucio Sanders (translators/care and maintenance educators); Darlene Karran (sign language interpreter); Deborah Scott (project volunteer coordinator); Patti DeRita (assistant); and local doctors, Dr. Martin Nuñez and Dr. Fernando Oregta Hernandez, who donated their time and expertise.

Dr. Martin Hearing Aid Clinic 1665

The donated hearing aids were previously used by others, which made for some interesting and prolonged fitting procedures. As most of you know, most aids, at least those that fit inside the hearing canal, are custom made to fit the wearer. In attempting to fit aids that were designed for another person, it took a great deal of time and patience to fit the new users. But still, 59 people were successfully fitted with aids and walked away smiling because they now had better hearing.

Dr. Martin Hearing Aid Clinic 1678

Each patient was given a month’s supply of batteries, instructions on battery changing and inserting, removing and cleaning their aids. They were also given a container of rice to store them in at night to dry and protect them from the humidity. Patients were asked to return in one month for new replacement batteries and a check-up to ensure their new aids are working properly.

The next clinic is already planned for November of this year, which will include a big push to supply all of the children with ear plugs to wear during noisy events.

More volunteers, both professional and non-professional, are needed for upcoming clinics. Please help by bringing down any old hearing aids and as many ear plugs as you can carry. The disposable foam inserts work best.

To learn more, make a donation or find out how to volunteer, contact: Deborah Scott at
Dr. Martin Nuñez at Central Medico La Peñita.

Dr. Martin Hearing Aid Clinic 559 Dr. Martin Hearing Aid Clinic 518
Dr. Martin Hearing Aid Clinic 543 Dr. Martin Hearing Aid Clinic 553 Dr. Martin Hearing Aid Clinic 0966

by David Thompson
photos by David Thompson and Deborah Scott

This story was submitted by one of our regular contributors. To learn more about the author/photographer, click on the “Contributors” tab near the top of the page. If you want to join in and share information, stories and photos of Jaltemba Bay, Mexico, please email them to

Next month, Mr. Ribs Restaurant in Rincón de Guayabitos will celebrate their 15-year anniversary. This family-owned business is well known for their unique wood-fired meats and flavorful mesquite-barbeque ribs and chicken.

Delia y Jose Luis, the owners, would like to invite all of their American and Canadian friends to join them in their celebration. To say thank you to their clients, they will not be charging for dinner on Friday, March 28, but drinks will be offered at regular priced. There will also be live music and a DJ.

Date: Friday, March 28, 2014
Time: 5pm-close
Location: On the highway between Rincón de Guayabitos and La Peñita (km 94), just 200 meters south of the baseball field.

Reservations are required and are only accepted in person at Mr. Ribs Restaurant. Don’t forget to mention you saw this ad on

For more information, visit Mr. Ribs Restaurant webpage.

La Peñita de Jaltemba is ending the month of February on a high note and starting March off with a bang with its 2014 La Peñita Tropical Charro Carnival, which runs Friday, February 28 through Tuesday, March 4.

This Carnival is quite special thanks to its unique combination of attractions – this coastal village is known for its love of the traditional charrería, or Mexican rodeo, and the way it truly enjoys and appreciates beauty of its tropical surroundings. With almost 40 years of history, the carnival’s name stems from a group of charros (Mexican cowboys) in the mid-70s who began what is today quite a ritual.

According to Rossana Araujo, president of the Compostela Hotel and Motel Association, this organization is the main sponsor of this exciting event. The Association is backed in turn by several sponsors and the Citizen’s Action Committee.

“This festival takes place every year in La Peñita,” said Araujo. “There is a parade down the main street with floats, a charro parade, cultural events and boat racing in front of the Malecón; we even hold a beauty pageant for a carnival queen.”

On February 28th there will be an inauguration dance and a ribbon cutting next to the Emiliano Zapata monument; there are different activities every day to keep the entire family entertained.

Thanks to its lengthy history the carnival has attracted many national and foreign tourists throughout its five days, as well as residents who live in the Riviera Nayarit six months out of the year. Public and private schools and establishments, social businesses and other sectors also participate and back the event, which starts off with a parade and ends with another, with plenty of cultural, sports and artistic events in between.

“These types of events are meant to generate more room nights,” said Rossanna, “especially since the high season ends at the close of February. We’re trying to strengthen the national market, though our foreign visitor numbers are still high.”

Originally published by Riviera Nayarit CVB

Tepic artist, Francisco Javier Carrillo Núñez, is helping local students express themselves through art and is uncovering exceptional talent. He currently teaches children and adults via his Grupo IMPULSARTE program. Classes are held at public schools in Tepic, Las Varas and La Peñita. Some of the children have intellectual disabilities, autism, down syndrome and other special needs, and being able to participate in this workshop can help them express their feelings. The quality of the students’ work is a testament to Sr. Carrillo’s teaching methods.

Javier Carrillo Feature

Each class costs $30 pesos per student which covers the time, instruction and materials to paint a small piece. There are many children who cannot afford this fee, however, so contributions and donations are needed to ensure that every child will have the opportunity to develop their artistic talents. You might also consider purchasing a piece as I did (see below), which helps the students directly. Either way, you will make it possible for the children in our community to learn how to be “real artists” with the guidance of this dedicated and talented teacher.

You are invited to come observe a class and learn more about Sr. Carrillo’s work:

  • Tuesdays and Fridays:
    Escuela Amado Nervo in Compostela
    (corner of Aldama & Leandro)
  • Wednesdays:
    Escuela Francisco Villa in Las Varas from noon-2pm
    (Av. Revolucion (carretera a Zacualpan) & Calle Tlaxcala)
    Escuela Hombres Ilustres Nayaritas in La Peñita from 3:30-5:30pm
    (Calle Golfo de Mexico & Vasco de Gama)
  • Thursdays:
    Escuela Primaria 16 de Septiembre in Las Varas
    (across from the main square).

For more information, contact Javier Carrillo at (311) 174-3256.

Javier Carrillo Impulsarte 1559804_624137504316435_1230786992_n-001Grupo IMPULSARTE Andrea Tucan 2 DSC07950

Mark Your Calendars!
Grupo IMPULSARTE will once again display their artwork during the Malecón Art Walk in La Peñita on Wednesday March 12 beginning at 5pm – and in Chacala on Thursday, February 27 from 4-7pm.

Sr. Carrillo and his students were invited to display their work during the first Malecón Art Walk in La Peñita back in January. When I witnessed this group of exceptional students presenting their work along the malecón that evening, I knew there was something truly magical happening here.

While perusing the students’ work, I was drawn to a painting of a Toucan (above). When I asked the artist, 8-year-old Andrea from Las Varas, how much she wanted for the piece, it was a bit more than I expected… but when she explained that she was going to use the money to “pay for more classes and necessary materials,” I was sold.

These kids are really talented, and the fact that these classes are available in our area makes it even more exciting!

More About Javier Carrillo and Grupo IMPULSARTE

by Francisco Javier Carrillo Núñez
Tepic Nayarit, January 17, 2014

For some time, I have had the desire to promote the development of the arts among the Nayarit youth. This is in response to the limited opportunities, workshops and courses available and the lack of financial help within the arts community.

From my experience teaching in elementary schools and as a result of the workshops I have participated in, I discovered a large number of youth and children with talent. Because there is no state funding for arts programs, this has motivated me to take workshops, trips and visit galleries and museums to view the work of prominent painters, mostly Mexican, to increase my knowledge, heritage and background and to offer painting workshops that will enrich these developing young talents.

Desde hace algún  tiempo he tenido la inquietud de poder fomentar el desarrollo de las artes plásticas entre la juventud nayarita, esto en respuesta a la falta de oportunidades para el desarrollo de tal actividad, son pocas las ofertas de talleres y cursos y en muchos de los casos inaccesibles para las posibilidades económicas de nuestra sociedad.

Por la experiencia recibida en mis incursiones en las escuelas de nivel básico y en resultado de los talleres que en ellas he compartido he podido constatar el gran número de jóvenes y niños con talento que hay en la población escolar mismos que siguen en estado inactivo al no tener una oportunidad real de desarrollo, razón que me ha motivado a buscar una constante capacitación mediante viajes y visitas a talleres, galerías y museos donde se crea, ofrece o muestra la obra de otros destacados pintores en su mayoría mexicanos, esto con el objeto de acrecentar mis conocimientos, mi acervo, mi formación, consolidar mi experiencia en el medio para poder enriquecer estos talleres que desarrollo con las jóvenes promesas de la pintura.

Javier Carrillo 6Javier Carrillo 1

There is no shortage of high quality talent here, and I realize that I have a lot of work to do and that I need to continue doing research, but I know that I can carry out this task and that children and young adults will continue to participate in workshops. Seeing the results from the many children who have taken my workshops never ceases to amaze me. It rejuvenates my spirit and drives me to pursue better quality programs and improved training methods.

I have the commitment, the idea and the conviction to continue with this task, and it is a pleasure to do so. In past years, I have been able to bring this program to the following schools: Primaria Miguel Hidalgo T.M., Primaria Miguel Hidalgo T.V. de la colonia San Jose, Escuela Primaria Estado de Nayarit de la colonia Los Sauces, Escuela Primaria Paises del Tercer Mundo de la colonia Menchaca, Escuela Primaria Francisco Gonzales Bocanegra de la colonia INFONAVIT Los Fresnos, Escuela Primaria Jose Vasconcelos T.V. de la colonia Gobernadores, Escuela Primaria Leona Vicario T.V. all in the city of Tepic Nayarit; and the Escuela Telesecundaria Miguel Hidalgo, Escuela Primaria Ultimo Emperador Azteca T.M. and Escuela Primaria Amado Nervo T.M., Escuela Juan Escutia T.M., and Escuela Primaria Profr. Duran T.M. in the city of Compostela, Nayarit; and the Escuela Primaria Hombres Ilustres Nayaritas in the community of La Peñita de Jaltemba.

I am currently working on offering advanced workshops with children and adults in primary and secondary schools in Compostela, the Escuela Primaria Francisco Villa y 16 de Septiembre in Las Varas, as well as the Escuela Primaria Hombres Ilustres Nayaritas in La Peñita de Jaltemba. I am also working with some adults and children from other primary schools and colleges in the region.

The program is successful thanks to financial support from the parents of some of the children participating in the group Impulsarte, which translates to “expanding minds,” and also in part to contributions from others. I should note that this is a personal project and I get no support from any businesses, institutions, foundations or agencies of any kind. In addition, I do not conduct it for profit, but rather to bring attention to children with talent.

There is certainly much to be done, but I have a great conviction and will continue to seek ways to promote the development of these talented young people. I will keep looking for ways and means to achieve this goal, be it with media, tools, materials, financial means and to obtain contributions of supplies, tools as well as financial support so that we can reach the greatest number of young people as possible.

Es sin duda innumerable la cantidad de talentos de gran calidad, mucho el trabajo por hacer, muchos talleres  galerías o museos que visitar para poder continuar mi investigación, pero el saber que podré llevar a cabo mi tarea con mejores argumentos y que los niños y jóvenes que participarán en mis talleres se verán beneficiados con ello es algo que me da la fuerza suficiente para seguir con el mismo objetivo, ya son varias las escuelas públicas visitadas, varios los niños que han participado en mis talleres y los resultados aun no dejan de sorprenderme, lo cual me hace redoblar esfuerzos y seguir en la búsqueda de una mejor calidad en mi programa y hacer  eficiente y mejorar en todo lo posible dicha formación.

Tengo bien puesto el compromiso, la idea y la convicción de continuar con esta tarea, es muy grato hacerlo, los resultados hablan por sus hechos, en años anteriores he podido llevar este programa a las escuelas  PRIMARIA MIGUEL HIDALGO T.M. ,PRIMARIA  MIGUEL HIDALGO T.V. de la colonia SAN JOSE, ESCUELA PRIMARIA ESTADO DE NAYARIT, de la colonia LOS SAUCES,  ESCUELA PRIMARIA PAISES DEL TERCER MUNDO, de la colonia MENCHACA,  ESCUELA PRIMARIA FRANCISCO GONZALES BOCANEGRA, de la colonia INFONAVIT LOS FRESNOS,  ESCUELA PRIMARIA  JOSE VASCONCELOS T.V., de la colonia  GOBERNADORES,, ESCUELA PRIMARIA LEONA VICARIO T.V. todas ellas de la ciudad de Tepic Nayarit, así como a las ESCUELA TELESECUNDARIA MIGUEL HIDALGO, ESCUELA PRIMARIA ULTIMO EMPERADOR AZTECA T.M. Y ESCUELA PRIMARIA AMADO NERVO T.M., ESCUELA JUAN ESCUTIA T.M., Y ESCUELA PRIMARIA PROFR. DURAN T.M., de la ciudad de Compostela Nayarit. Y en la escuela primaria HOMBRES ILUSTRES NAYARITAS de la comunidad de la peñita de jaltemba.

Actualmente estoy trabajando en los talleres ya avanzados con niños y adultos de las escuelas primarias y secundarias de la cabecera municipal, Cd de Compostela, así como con las escuelas PRIMARIA FRANCISCO VILLA Y 16 DE SEPTIEMBRE de la comunidad de LAS VARAS, así como en la escuela primaria HOMBRES ILUSTRES NAYARITAS, de la Peñita de Jaltemba misma a la cual se integran algunos adultos y niños de otras escuelas primarias y colegios de la región.

El programa funciona con la cooperación económica de los padres de familia de algunos de los niños participantes en el grupo IMPULSARTE “ expandiendo mentes” y en algunas ocasiones con aportaciones desinteresadas de algunas personas, cabe destacar que este programa es de carácter social civil, que no cuenta con apoyo de ninguna empresa, institución, fundación ni dependencia de ningún tipo , y que además no tiene objetivos de lucro, sino mas bien la apertura de espacios culturales y la atención a niños con talento.

Es sin duda mucho lo que queda por hacer, pero también muy grande la convicción de seguir en la búsqueda de fomentar el desarrollo de talentos y de esa manera seguiré buscando las instancias y medios necesarios para lograr este objetivo, conozco las carencias en todos sus aspectos, llámese medios, implementos, materiales, difusión, medios económicos, por tanto seguiré buscando las mecánicas y formulas necesarias para lograr desarrollar y apoyar a la mayor cantidad posible de jóvenes en ese aspecto.

Javier Carrillo 8Javier Carrillo 2

I am inspired to undertake this project due to the current situation in our state and the general social situation in our society – opportunities to develop specific skills are often very limited, ineffective, and in many cases, totally invalid. The influences that generate negative events are common in our society, like the obvious influence of the drug culture, the lack of occupational therapy and development for our young people. In order to implement alternative training and witness the greatest possibilities, we need to go into the schools and detect and support the viable prospects of this program. I have the ability to examine each student and determine which of them are able and willing to participate in training and artistic development, fostering in them important values ??such as excellence, honesty, respect for their general environment , self-esteem, etc.

Las razones que me han inspirado para llevar a cabo este proyecto son las que se derivan de la actual situación que vivimos en nuestro estado, y en general la situación social que prevalece en nuestra sociedad actual, las oportunidades de desarrollo de habilidades especificas en algunos casos son muy pobres ineficaces y en muchos casos totalmente nulas, la influencia que generan los hechos negativos que todos los días se ven en nuestra sociedad, la influencia clara de la narco cultura, la falta de terapias ocupacionales y de desarrollo para nuestros jóvenes hacen que adopte esta actitud y estas ganas de llevar adelante este proyecto,  así que en aras de implementar alternativas de formación de talentos veo la gran posibilidad de hacerlo yendo a los centros educativos y detectar en ellos a los prospectos viables para apoyarlos con este programa, tengo la capacidad para examinar a cada uno de los alumnos y determinar cuáles de ellos son sujetos capaces de ser apoyados en su formación y desarrollo artístico, fomentando en ellos valores importantes como la superación, la honestidad, el respeto a su entorno general, autoestima, etc.

Javier Carrillo 3

Seeing the results generated in the workshops held in the schools listed earlier, I know for sure that there is ample potential to continue with this training, to develop more sophisticated techniques from my training, to increase my knowledge of techniques and processes and to initiate new projects for both local artists and adjacent states. This will certainly generate a need for additional resources to conduct research, to travel to see the work of other artists, to learn about other materials necessary and to increase my knowledge. In turn, this will enrich each step of the program. It is certainly a daunting task and a lot of responsibility, but personally, I like to take challenges and achieve goals.

Unfortunately, not all students are supported by their parents in promoting their skills and others simply cannot help with financial support. If something isn’t done, these talented children will be unable to evolve due to lack of resources. We need to pay special attention and look for alternatives so these young talents are not put aside.

Al ver los resultados generados en los talleres efectuados en las escuelas mencionadas en la página anterior sé con certeza que existe un amplio potencial en ellos para poder seguir con su formación, desarrollando técnicas más sofisticadas, lo cual requiere de parte mía mas capacitación, mayor conocimiento de técnicas y procesos, conocer nuevas propuestas de otros artistas tanto locales como de otros estados circunvecinos, lo cual sin duda genera una necesidad de recursos para efectuar las investigaciones, viajes para conocer la obra de otros artistas y los materiales necesarios para la obtención de amplios y buenos resultados en mi experiencia, para poder tener a su vez mayores conocimientos y hacer que el programa se enriquezca mas a cada paso, es sin duda una tarea ardua, de mucha responsabilidad, pero en lo personal me gusta adoptar retos y lograr las metas.

Desafortunadamente no todos son apoyados por sus padres en el seguimiento de sus habilidades y algunos otros en el apoyo económico, esto si es algo doloroso pues son talentos que dejan de evolucionar por falta de recursos, aquí hay que poner especial atención y buscar las alternativas para no dejar a un lado a estas jóvenes promesas.

Javier Carrillo 4


My goals include having a broader knowledge of the techniques, styles and forms, as well as studying the work of other artists in order to share it with the young people who participate in this project in these schools.

I hope that the young people in this program can develop their talents and skills, and that they themselves feel the need to further refine their own skills, with very specific goals, and the continued capacity to create art, and along the way become optimistic and positive community members that instill the path of creativity. This will build a promising young art culture in Nayarit, and in turn, they will have a chance to channel their creativity and occupational abilities thereby developing in the field of education. An art lover is a lover of education and growth – and as a group, they will certainly build a better future for our state.

In order for this to happen, children need to be allowed to grow and pursue their artistic knowledge, by visiting workshops of colleagues in other cities and thereby reaching a stage of maturity – we will be able to continue the proper study of the arts for these young prospects, which in turn, leads to the better community welfare promoted by this program.


Sin duda alguna los objetivos son el poder tener un conocimiento más amplio, sobre las técnicas, estilos y formas, así como de la obra de otros artistas con el objetivo de poder tener un conocimiento fuerte, amplio y generoso para compartir con los jóvenes que abrigaran el proyecto en las escuelas de las comunidades anteriormente mencionadas.

Que los jóvenes incluidos en este programa puedan desarrollar con aptitud su talento así como el que ellos mismos sientan la necesidad de seguir puliendo ese aspecto con un objetivo muy especifico y que es sin duda el que tengan alternativas propias y a su alcance para que a su vez tengan la capacidad suficiente para crear arte y en su camino se hagan de alternativas optimistas y positivas que los encaminen por la senda de la creatividad, esto hará de ellos jóvenes promesas del arte en Nayarit y tendrán a su vez una oportunidad de canalizar su creatividad y con ello una terapia ocupacional que los haga desarrollarse de manera más optima en el campo de la educación, un amante del arte es un amante de la educación y el crecimiento, ellos sin duda serán jóvenes que construyan un futuro mejor para nuestro estado.

Para ello es necesario que su servidor pueda desarrollar en si un crecimiento optimo en la búsqueda de los conocimientos esto se logrará al visitar los talleres de colegas en otras ciudades para alcanzar esa etapa de maduración así como el poder tener mejores argumentos para formar y llevar por el camino de un estudio adecuado del arte a los jóvenes prospectos, esto a su vez redundara en un mejor bienestar de las comunidades que estarán incluidas en este programa.

Javier Carrillo 9


Support young talent for the purpose of awareness, friendliness and a high level competition which will affect our society in a positive manner.

Generate a refined taste for the arts in all representations, shaping better lives with better education and values. Showing art in cultural spaces, participate in exhibitions to influence others and support the arts in general.

Awakening the artistic spirit in the hopes to contribute and promote the arts of our state to provide a better future, supporting young talent and occupational therapy to discourage negative situations and develop positivity and creativity.






Participate in the community, specifically in the public schools, developing screening programs and training of young talent in drawing and painting with a goal of 15 students within each school, developing the required technical skills.

Also include groups of children with special needs, who are looking for direction and skills detection and development, specifically through painting. In my experience, special needs children show surprising results and it is wonderful to share this knowledge with them and those who doubt them.




por Francisco Javier Carrillo Núñez
Tepic Nayarit, enero 17 de 2014

Crocodiles are not only native to Mexico, they are prolific along the Nayarit coast including the fishing villages of Rincon de Guayabitos, La Peñita and La Colonia. Here, crocodiles thrive in the warm and balmy climate eating the tropical plants and sea-life that inhabit the fresh or salt water marshes along the inland waterways. According to the 2012 study, there are around 170 crocodiles living in the Bay of Jaltemba, most of them at the north end of Boca de Naranjo beach. As a species, crocodiles are reputed to have outlasted dinosaurs, dating back in time some 200 million years.

These prehistoric creatures have made this coastal region their home for a very long time, and most certainly before humans set foot. As long as we do not interfere with the crocodiles’ natural habitat, we can both exist without incident. However, recent development has and will continue to force crocodiles to go searching for new habitats and alternative food sources… don’t be surprised to discover one wandering into your open living-area or eyeing your pet for dinner. They prefer “dining” in the evening, and sleeping most of the day away (this is Mexico after all).

Crocodiles DSC07686

Today, crocodiles are protected as a result of over-killing for their skin, once a popular boot leather. This means you can’t just “get rid” of a crocodile, even if it is threatening your space, your welfare or your pet. Instead, you must report a crocodile to the authorities, who will then remove it IF it is a nuisance. If this crocodile is a lucky one, it may be transported to a new home at Cocodrilos del Nayar, just north of La Colonia. If not deemed a threat, you can go back to sharing planet earth, together.

Crocodiles DSC07695

Three years ago, Vicente Peña, a conservationist and wildlife educator, began work on a new project to care for nuisance crocodiles, propagate the sea turtles, protect indigenous plant life and showcase birds native to the region. With the help of his family, he purchased 40 acres of land north of La Colonia, where he is creating an eco-sphere to preserve and display species that humans are encroaching on. He started with crocodiles, constructing 8 different holding areas for these protected reptiles, ranging from babies who weigh just a few pounds to one that is a hefty 500 pounds that took eight men to lift out of the truck and into his newly constructed near-natural “home.”

Crocodiles DSC07651 Crocodiles DSC07653
450-pound Poseidon enjoying lunch

For only $15 pesos, you can get an up-close look at these incredible prehistoric creatures and learn a little more about the delicate balance between animal and human existence. You will be able to safely see their tough leathery skin/scales, observe their ferocious incisors that are visible even with closed mouths, watch the crocodile keepers feed them almost by hand, count their five fingered web feet and discover how they digest their food using complex membranes that also allow them to reduce their body temperatures to 65 degrees so they can stay underwater for two or more hours.

Crocodiles DSC07671
One of four young crocs currently being cared for at the cocodrilario

It’s worth the trip… for you will see crocodiles like you have never seen them before… close up. For more information about our native crocodiles, sea turtles, native flora and fauna… visit “Cocodrilos del Nayar” soon.

Cocodrilos del Nayar

“Cocodrilos del Nayar” is a temporary home for crocs that have entered people’s homes, been seen in ocean swimming areas during the day, been rescued from people (the Acutus crocodile is still protected worldwide) or hatched in a farmer’s land in Zacualpan. This project is run by a non-government organization on private land, but the tanks were built with a government grant. While this project began 3 years ago, it acquired its first crocodiles 9 months ago and just opened to the public 3 months ago. We have little crocs (400 grams) to Poseidon (4 meters and close to 450 pounds).

The entry fee of $15 pesos per person helps maintain and feed the crocodiles and the 3 full-time employees, in addition to the 3 dogs, 2 rabbits and soon, we will have a couple White-tailed deer which will be relocated to our facility from a Tepic zoo that is closing.

Location: Carretera Tepic-Puerto Vallarta at km 78 (12km north of La Peñita and 5km south of Las Varas). Watch for signs to guide you to the “Cocodrilario” and follow the road approximately 200 meters off the highway.

Hours: 8:30am-4pm Tuesday-Sunday (Closed Mondays)

Entrance Fee: $15 peso donation per person

For more information, contact Vicente Peña:
email: or cell: (311) 119-2118

by Karla A. Williams, just a gringo experiencing paradise
photos by Allyson Williams

This story was submitted by one of our readers. To learn more about the author/photographer, click on the “Contributors” tab near the top of the page. If you want to join in and share information, stories and photos of Jaltemba Bay, Mexico, please email them to

As she entered the La Peñita RV Park’s Clubhouse, location of the bright pink curtained dressing rooms, she peered over the top of her glasses, timidly greeting us with a wave and a smile. I responded with, “Bienvenidos… eres la primera (welcome… you are the first).” The nine dressing rooms were quickly filled with weary, anxious but hope-filled ladies, who had been looking forward to this clinic for many months. I do not know her story, or all the efforts put forth to be here on opening day, but chances are she boarded a bus somewhere in the middle of the night, same as the majority of the other 424 attendees, in order to be here by 7:30am. Welcome to Cancer de Mama Clinic, an oasis of hope for survivors of breast cancer.

Cancer de Mama IMG_0001Cancer de Mama IMG_0004Cancer de Mama IMG_0087

The yearly Cancer de Mama Clinic (Breast Cancer Clinic) took place over three days, January 31-February 2, at the La Peñita RV Park in La Peñita, Nayarit, Mexico. The women who attended received prostheses, prosthetic bras and if needed or desired a wig, head coverings and make-up. These products are difficult to acquire in Mexico, reserved mostly for the wealthy. The women were greeted with coffee and cookies, plus a bowl of the most delicious chicken soup at lunch. While they were waiting to be fitted, they were entertained by Marion, with songs sung in Spanish, French, English and Hebrew; Brian kept the ladies laughing with his continuous costume changes, coaxing the women to join in the Chicken Dance. Bingo Games and other activities helped pass the time, as the women waited for their bras to be returned from the Sewers, where prosthetic sleeves were added.

Cancer de Mama IMG_0077 - CopyCancer de Mama IMG_0079

The Clinic would not be a reality without its volunteers. This year’s clinic had more than 150 volunteers; volunteers served as Fitters, Runners, Sewers, Pinners, Translators, Hair Stylists, Kitchen Help, Drivers… the lists goes on and on. There are people who work year-round to make this happen, from crocheting “tit-bit” style prostheses to acquiring and transporting donations. I volunteered once again as a translator, and Jeff worked as “the official tortilla roller” in the kitchen.

Cancer de Mama IMG_0008

If you would like to read more about the Clinic or make a financial donation, please look at our website,

“El don que Dios les dio a todos ustedes es el de ayudar al projimo. Gracias los amo.” / “God gave you the gift to help your sisters. Thank you; I love you.”

– Isabel Cortez Ibarria, Breast Cancer Survivor

Cancer de Mama IMG_0082

by Jeff and Holly Trujillo

This story was submitted by one of our readers. To learn more about the author/photographer, click on the “Contributors” tab near the top of the page. If you want to join in and share information, stories and photos of Jaltemba Bay, Mexico, please email them to