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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

“Por Amor al Arte”

 

      

 

Easter week

(Rincon of Guayabitos)

The last days of Thursday 18, Friday 19 and Saturday 20 of April, Holy Week was celebrated in Mexico, where our beaches were filled with tourists from different places, willing to enjoy the sea with the family. There was quite chaotic traffic, and going out to do the daily shopping was crazy.
The traffic still exists but in a more fluid way.

We have compiled some images of different lenses authors about this Holy Week in the corner of guayabitos.

     

 

 

 

Photographs by: Radio Guayami, Alfonso Mayorquin, Fernando Rodriguez and our friends Ken & Bea Rauch

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.

John and Doreen Berg are not your normal hikers. Not only do they spearhead the clearing of the trails heading south out of Los Ayala, and take countless numbers of hikers on reconnaissance runs, but they also have a very informative blog of their own.

Click on its cover to read for yourself.

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.

Meet Isidro Sanchez, but no one knows him by that name. He goes by the name of Shorty!

He has a hat with that name on it and a wheelbarrow he takes to the Los Ayala beach early (6:30 to 9:00am) every morning, or the market on Thursday in La Penita.

Born in Tepic in 1960, Shorty lived there in the home willed to him by his grandfather. It is an adobe home and is well over 100 years old. He refers to it as his Flintstone house. On the property he grows, avocados, oranges, bananas, tangerines, plums and lemons. He lives in La Colonia now and has 2 adult children and 3 grand daughter in Wyoming. Shorty has been living in our area for the past 7 years. Before that he lived in Wyoming for 35 years.

He was married, had his children and a landscaping business for over 10 years in W. He employed 12 and 15 workers. He paid taxes, reasonable wages to the workers, owned a home, Wyoming car and was doing well. Someone reported him as being ‘un-documented’ and he was deported. That ended his marriage, his business and his life in the USA. We are the lucky ones here, as we now get to call Shorty our friend.

He takes the bus to Tepic every other day to gather some of his home grown produce, which he sells on the beach or at the Tianguis markets. He also sells fresh fish, lobsters and other sea-foods that his fisherman nephew catches for him. He sells only the freshest of fish and produce, and of course at very good prices.

Shorty is also a trusted guardian of many homes in our area, where he does the landscaping, and ensures that the homes are in top notch condition for folks when they return to paradise. Looking for a property manager? See Shorty! You can’t miss him or his smile. He is also a good translator. He is a man of many talents.The Mummy 2017 film

It’s not uncommon for Shorty to be helping out folks in our area whenever and however he can. Truly a wonderful fellow and very interesting to talk with. Say hi to him the next time you see him with his wheelbarrow. You won’t be sorry.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Elaine Smith and Janet Wortendyke, who shared stories and the old photos featured here. They said, “Children and dogs ran all over the town. Everyone got along famously, and everyone was happy. Albeit this south sea paradise had a lot more ants, at that time. It was truly the good old days!”

Top photo: Bungalows Los Ayala at the corner of Madre Perla and Avenida Coral. The bungalows and the grocery store are still in business today.

Los Ayala Beach

In the early 1980s, the property lines on Los Ayala beach were defined by the row of palm trees that lined the beach and a fence made of rocks and chicken wire. Hurricane Gilma (1994) knocked down many of the palm trees along Los Ayala beach when it passed the coast of Jaltemba Bay. Hurricane Kenna (2002) also destroyed many of the palm trees that lined our beach.


South end of Los Ayala beach.


View of the north end of the beach.


Central Los Ayala beach.

The First Homes on Los Ayala Beach (early 1980s)

The first homes built along the beach in Los Ayala were located on the south end. The construction consisted of bricks, wooden shutters and roofs made of tejas.


One of the first houses on the beach, built in 1955. Photo from the early 1970s.


Old Timer House with a palapa roof on the south end of Los Ayala beach. The walls were built of sticks, which was common in Los Ayala during the early years.


Home of Julian Ponce. It is located at the end of Avenida del Estero, right beside the mountainous hillside which marks the south end of Los Ayala. The first house on the south end of Los Ayala Beach. (There is no photo of the second house on the beach.)


Home of Old Doc Flanigan. Doc Flanigan discovered Los Ayala beach in the early 1980s as he used to fly the mail from Mazatlan to Puerto Vallarta. He talked everyone into coming to Los Ayala and arranged for the first property owners on the south end of Los Ayala beach to purchase their properties. Doc Flanigan is now living in Coos Bay, Oregon, and is 95 years of age (January 2012). He delivered several of the babies in Los Ayala, including the Vasquez boys. They say he tied the navel cord of the new born babies with a shoe string, which was all that was available at the time. Dr. McDonald owns this property now.


The third house on Los Ayala beach was bought by Jack Wortendyke. Today, it is the home of Janette (Jack Wortendyke’s widow) who has since remarried. The house today is “exactly” as it was when it was first built in 1980s.


Originally the home of Merv Smith and Joe Kaiser, this home was purchased by Lin Chimes and Jim Stewart and today is known as Casa Contenta. The original home has been renovated and enlarged, but the living room of Casa Contenta today reflects the original house construction retaining its full character and beauty.


Home of Elaine and Morris Smith, founders of the Los Ayala’s Learning Center. They purchased the home (which was renovated and enlarged in 1987 by the previous owners) in 1995. This home’s original construction was also retained during the renovations.


Home of Juan Vasquez and his wife Antonia. Juan was the caretaker of all of these properties for about 30 years. Juan lived in a traditional stick house with a palapa roof until Dr. Flanigan built a brick home for Juan and his family. The house was torn down, but was located where John Cole’s house is now. Juan’s wife, Antonio, is still alive and living in La Peñita.

Local Folks


Huichol child at the market in La Peñita de Jaltemba (left). Rosario, a beautiful Los Ayala local (right).


The teacher of Los Ayala’s Elementary School serving breakfast or possibly preparing for a party circa 1998 (left). Huichol mother at the market in La Peñita de Jaltemba (right).


A local gathering coconuts, which is still a common sight in Los Ayala today (left). Jack Wortendyke, one of the first home owners on Los Ayala beach, who has since passed (right).

Los Ayala’s Learning Center


Fabian, one of the Learning Center’s first students, walking in downtown Los Ayala.

The photos below feature children at the Learning Center from 1996-1997…

Los Ayala’s Elementary School

In the 1980s, the students of Los Ayala’s elementary school received only the very basic education in reading, and math. The students of today’s generation are completely different. They read and write, and their math skills are strong. They also have a good knowledge of their country and background, and many speak some English. The older generation interviewed for this page, say that it has been extremely gratifying to see it all happen.


Los Ayala’s original elementary school from approximately 1995. The male teacher lived with the Mayor and stayed and worked with the children in the afternoons. The female teacher rode the bus home every day to Tepic. They were a very devoted group of teachers.


A building located on the Los Ayala’s Elementary school property where the children were served a daily breakfast consisting of tacos and milk. In the early 1980s, the school was an 8 x 10 concrete block with a chicken wire fence and nine handmade desks.


Students of Los Ayala’s Elementary school in class.


Julian Ponce, Elaine Smith, Maggie Ponce, Jack Wortendyke (deceased), Lindy Worten Dyke (deceased).

Points to Ponder about Life in Los Ayala in the Early Years

  • The beach homes described were purchased in 1980 and it took the owners 16 years to obtain title.
  • The homeowners of these properties today describe Los Ayala as a south sea paradise. They subsisted on fish, vegetables and fresh fruit, and enjoyed plenty of potable water from gravity fed spring located on the hillside on the south end of Los Ayala.
  • The only road into Los Ayala at that time was a make shift road carved through the jungle coming over the mountain on the south side of Los Ayala.
  • There was only one small grocery store in Jaltemba Bay which was located in Rincón de Guayabitos, so property owners stocked up on convenience groceries in Tepic.
  • The only telephone in the Jaltemba Bay area was located in Rincón de Guayabitos.
  • Children and dogs ran all over the town. Everyone got along famously, and everyone was happy. Albeit this south sea paradise had a lot more ants at that time.
  • Supplies were delivered by boat, including the bricks that were used to build the homes. The mortar was made from beach sand which was washed to remove the salt.
  • Local folks enjoyed a simple life and fondly remember the days when they did not have to pay federal or state property tax, or a bank trust.

Photos courtesy of Elaine Smith, founder of Los Ayala’s Learning Center. Beach and home photos courtesy of Janette Wortendyke.

This article was originally published in March 2012 on Magical Los Ayala.

This is Iggy, our resident iguana, making whoopee on the roof after jumping down from one roof, running across the fence top and then making a flying leap on to the other roof. I just got this closeup shot from Condos Casa Rey, where we stay in Los Ayala.tutorial android

What a surprise when I went to take his picture – I thought he was traveling solo!

by Pat Belanger (Pain Court, Ontario)

Click here to view more Photos of the Week

Now it’s your turn! Email us your photos (at least 500 pixels wide) to Allyson@JaltembaBayLife.com 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.

A couple months ago, Gerti had an idea to cover the chainlink fence around the sewer pump station in Los Ayala. I started to canvass friends and neighbours for financial support for the project, and amazingly fast, we had enough pledges to order the material. Humberto Sandoval, our architect, picked up the material in Puerto Vallarta and gave us instructions on how to install it.

Los Ayala Pump Station 1

Our thanks go out to Bruce Brown, Bryon Kost, Chester Platninski, Jim Laturnas and Ed Doll who made up the installation crew.

It was amazing how many locals stopped to say thank you and showed how much they appreciated what we where doing, and also offered to help.

by Helmut Wassermann

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 Allyson@JaltembaBayLife.com

This photo was taken early one morning on the Los Ayala beach, after the fishermen came in with their loaded boats.

by Robert Koch (Seattle, Washington)

Click here to view more Photos of the Week

Now it’s your turn! Submit your photos along with a photo title, the photographer’s name, a detailed description of what the photo is (the longer, the better) and where you took it. We can’t wait to see what you’ve been up to lately. Learn how to submit your photos here.

A mini-palapa on the Los Ayala beach.

by Robert Koch, Seattle, WA USA

Click here to view more Photos of the Week

Now it’s your turn! Email us your photos (at least 500 pixels wide) to Allyson@JaltembaBayLife.com 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.

Guests on the Gilligan’s Island Party Cruise, a fundraiser for the streets of Los Ayala, were treated to the spectacular site of breaching Humpback whales. Yes, you should’ve been there!

Photographed off the coast of Chacala, February 2012.

by Christina Stobbs

Click here to view more Photos of the Week

This photo 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 Allyson@JaltembaBayLife.com

This photo of a shrimp boat was taken near military point (Punto Militares) between Rincón de Guayabitos and Los Ayala. I was hit sideways by a wave after taking this photo and it ruined my camera, but the card was okay.

We have been staying in Guayabitos for 8 years and have already booked there for 2015. Looking forward to meeting all our Mexican and Canadian friends again.

by Les Langager

Click here to view more Photos of the Week

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

Little Martin enjoying a special moment with one of his pet goats. Indeed the little goat looks like he his smiling, too!

Photographed June 2012 in Los Ayala

by Christina Stobbs

Click here to view more Photos of the Week

This photo 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 Allyson@JaltembaBayLife.com

As our departure date approaches, this question presents itself… Where will the next day trip take us? Like a thunderbolt, the answer flashes from the road atlas page. There centered in bold print is the destination – Compostela, a colonial city. We’ve driven past the Nayarit city on our way to the Mexican interior, but never paused to visit. Thus the present adventure was grasped.

Leaving Los Ayala early insured breakfast in Las Varas enjoying “Divorced Eggs” and “French Bread” at Angelita’s ever popular restaurant. As mentioned in an earlier article, the trip is not solely about the destination, but about the journey along the way. Conversations flowed uninterrupted until reaching Mesillas, stopping at Café Nayarit for a coffee and a brief visit with friends, Elizabeth and Mario. Over the seasons we’ve visited the family’s coffee plantation to film petroglyphs on a rock wall.

Compostela John Berg P1150941
A visit with our two young friends at Café Nayarit in Mesillas. Great fresh brewed coffee.

You can learn more about Café Nayarit and their coffee plantation in this previous article.

After saying our goodbyes, we drove across the highway to visit another good friend, Felipe Rodriguez, an elderly stone carver. As always, our visit is heartfelt and of course we purchased a small figurine while friends, Ted and Jan, scooped up stone carvings for family gifts. Visiting Felipe’s workshop is a worthwhile stop to gain a glimpse of a Mexican culture that is seldom experienced in coastal tourist towns. A must stop for any adventurous inquisitive individual. If his shop door is open, the welcome mat is out.

Compostela John Berg P1160166
Visiting with stone carver, Felipe Rodriguez. A must stop in the small town of Mesillas.

Compostela John Berg 5060
A sample of the many stone carvings that can be found on Felipe’s dusty shelves.

Felipe, our Mexican friend- a Mesillas icon.
Felipe, our Mexican friend and Mesillas icon.

Continuing to follow the twisting turning highway through the Sierra Madre Mountain range our next brief stop is a green two-story roadside shrine where small candles were being lit by people who probably lost loved ones or pray for safety along this stretch of highway. Reaching Compostela’s center, we locate a nearby parking spot. A short walk returns us to the historic picture-perfect zócalo with the 16th century Cathedral (photo below), complete with its loud clanging bell announcing the hour. Something to recall if planning to stay overnight in a nearby hotel! In the center, the majestic bandstand holds the spotlight. In front of the Cathedral, a small fountain provides a drink for the pigeons while the flowering shrubs complete the picturesque setting. In the southern corner of the square, the compact Compostela Archeology and History Museum presents inherited evidence from the region’s past. Diagonally across from the museum is a popular restaurant, thus cementing the plaza’s tourist importance.

The majestic 16th Century Cathedral.
The majestic 16th Century Cathedral.

An excellent display of preclassical (400BC to 200AD) ceramic figures.
An excellent display of preclassical (400BC to 200AD) ceramic figures.

Most might consider the Cathedral and its ornate interior the community’s main attraction. For us the major impact were the spotless streets, the pedestrian walkways and the helpfulness and friendliness of the local people. One such example occurred when after purchasing watermelons, we managed to splatter one on the sidewalk. For the clean-up a plastic bag was required. The vendor didn’t have one, but seeing our plight a merchant rushed across the street with a large store bag. Compostela turned into a hidden gem, and it’s only a brief drive from Rincón de Guayabitos.

First things first a  chance to purchase Hwichol crafts.
First things first, a chance to purchase Huichol crafts.

While in Compostela we found an opportunity to purchase a western style belt.
While in Compostela, we found an opportunity to purchase a western style belt.

The intrepid tourists or so we think!
The intrepid tourists or so we think!

Compostela John Berg 5109
This restaurant served delicious fresh meals and was the final highlight before heading home.

Driving Directions

From the Rincón de Guayabitos Pemex, the round trip is approximately 134 km (84 miles). Direct driving time one way is 45-60 minutes. During holiday periods, the highway can be congested.

Drive Highway 200 towards Tepic. Nearing Compostela continue towards Tepic, turn right onto Calzado Gral Flores Munoz, the first road past the Pemex station #2380. We never did spot the street name! Passing a stadium you’ll come to a white coloured roundabout, blend to the right onto Miguel Hidalgo. Follow this street directly to the square. Locate a parking spot nearby. Visit the square’s attractions, wander the city’s streets, possibly shopping and maybe rent a Mexican bike rickshaw complete with driver for an escorted city tour. Enjoy your Compostela visit.

by John and Doreen Berg

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 Allyson@JaltembaBayLife.com

As our Mexican holiday season slowly draws to a close, the desire to be on the road again beckons. Our destination was to visit the source of El Molote hot springs, a rustic spot to enjoy an amazing soak in a natural setting without the hustle and bustle of commercial enterprises. The hot springs are located in a picturesque fertile valley where huge cabbages and other garden crops flourish. On this day, contrasting cultivation methods were at work with a team of horses pulling a cultivator and a motorized rototiller breaking sod, in the same field! Since our journey is as important as the destination, time was taken to photograph such events along the way.

A TEAM OF HORSES TILLING  -   A RARE SIGHT TODAY.
A team of horses tilling – a rare sight today. 

THE 19TH AND 20TH CENTURIES IMPLEMENTS OPERATING IN THE SAME FIELD!
The 19th and 20th Century implements operating in the same field!

GIGANTIC CABBAGE PATCH VISIBLE FROM ROADSIDE
Gigantic cabbage patch visible from the roadside.

FOLLOWING THE ROAD THROUGH THE STREAM.
Following the road through the stream. 

The narrow gravel road meanders through the valley crisscrossing a shallow stream toward the hot springs source. Reaching an open barren area, a slight sulfur odour and faint steam vapour cloud floats above the boiling bubbling hot waters. The source is a somewhat barren rocky area with the boiling water bubbling from the earth’s crust. Employing long handled barbecue tongs, eggs were placed in the hot bubbly water. Voilá, in 5-10 minutes we had hard boiled eggs ready for the lunch salad! In addition, prawns or other foods might further enhance the cooking adventure. After briefly exploring the area and dipping our toes in the nearby cool flowing stream, we returned a short distance to a warm shallow pool. Shade trees overhang the natural tranquil pool. The comfortable water’s temperature is an opportunity to soak away all tensions and stress allowing them to flow downstream. Do the waters contain healing powers as well?

The El Molote Hot Springs.  Note the hot steam rising from the spring.
The source of El Molote Hot Springs. Note the hot steam rising from the spring.

OUR TAILGATE LUNCH.
Our tailgate lunch.

Soon the stomach rumbles pulled us from a warm soak to a tailgate party of two. Others enjoyed lunch immersed in the pool, while some ate creek side. In the back of the Xterra and without chairs, Doreen and I stood enjoying the scrumptious outdoor lunch and the area’s quiet remoteness. (Remember to bring chairs.)

FRIENDS ENJOYING THE RUSTIC SETTING.
Friends enjoying the rustic setting and a relaxing afternoon soak.

John Berg El Molote Hot Springs P1160817
Expect the unexpected! Sharing warm waters with locals, plus being interrupted by a cattle drive.

John Berg El Molote Hot Springs P1160845
Drive past the busy swimming hole. With sixteen parked cars, it was a family fun Sunday afternoon.

After a return to the pool for a brief soak we packed up and bid farewell to the warm stream waters. A fantastic day drew to a close as we departed for our bumpy return drive to the highway and home to Los Ayala.

FANTASTIC. WE MADE IT!
Fantastic, we made it!

JUST PAST THE SIGN TURN LEFT AND FOLLOW THE GRAVEL ROAD.
Watch for the sign to El Molote.

Driving Directions

Head north on Highway 200 towards Tepic. Stopping in Las Varas at Angelita’s Restaurant for breakfast is always enjoyable. Continue driving, watching for a green road sign listing three towns – “El Molote 6, El Salitre 7, Palos Maria 10.” The distance from the turnoff to El Molote hot springs is 8.29 km.

Turn left off Highway 200 following the gravel road to a junction. At 2.5 km, take the right branch which appears less travelled. Continue bumping past ranches and fields traversing through a wider stream bed with a low rock dam to your right. This is a favourite swimming spot for Mexican families to spend the day. Continue on, passing through the small town of El Molote. Drive through the town and take a right turn as you exit. An open field should be on your left and a basketball court on the right. Soon after, when crossing a creek, watch for a turn to the left. The turn is approximately 7.5 km from the highway. Going to the right or straight ahead will take you to Mesillas. The left turn road is rough gravel constituting a slow drive. A car with reasonable clearance should have little difficulty, although a 4×4 is best.

Very quickly, you’ll pass cultivated fields growing huge cabbages and other garden crops. Continue on following the road crisscrossing the flowing stream. When traversing the stream select a rocky route avoiding soft sandy areas. Watch for a shallow pool area on your right. Later, return to this spot for your soak. Coming to a barren open area look for the hot spring’s faint mists on the left and a stream on the right. Well done, you’ve arrived! Driving time from the highway will be 45-60 minutes. Use extreme caution if attempting to place food in the hot spring waters. Once you have explored this area return the short distance to the warm soaking pool to enjoy a relaxing immersion.

FUN TO COOK FOOD IN THE BOILING WATER , WITH CAUTION!
Fun to cook food in the boiling water, with caution!

by John and Doreen Berg

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 Allyson@JaltembaBayLife.com

When first arriving in the Riviera Nayarit, contentment is achieved by enjoying the sun’s warm rays and splashing in the sparkling Jaltemba Bay waters… while listening to the Zac Brown Band sing “I got my toes in the water, a_ _ in the sand. Not a worry… life is good.” After two or three months of sun and surf, it’s time to venture further afield to investigate the many nearby beautiful vistas and remarkable sites.

Our first day trip was planned nine months ago in June 2013, after reading Rob’s Ramblings article featured in Jaltemba Bay Life. A copy was made to become our road map to drive north toward San Blas to discover El Cora Cascades. Without fail, Rob’s explicit driving directions successfully directed us to the dry weather road leading to the waterfalls.

After parking the Xterra, we continued on the eroded roadway for a short 10 minute hike to the trail head. We climbed a short pathway to a rocky viewing platform which offered us the first glimpses of El Cora Cascades with its massive water flow plunging into the large lower pool. Upon descending to the pool one could hear the thunder and feel the rush of the river flowing over the upper lip to plummet into the lower pool. After our hike in the hot mid-afternoon sun a dip into the cool waters was a welcome relief. We enjoyed a poolside lunch and a final cooling dip before our climb to the top to return to Los Ayala.

El Cora Cascades is a lovely spot tucked away, but near enough and worth the effort to discover and enjoy the raw power and spectacular beauty of the cascading waters providing an impressive sight.

AFTER THE HIKE, DOREEN AND AL ARE READY FOR A COOLING SWIM.

Along our drive to El Cora Cascades, we enjoyed a brief stop at Playa Platanitos to check out the restaurants and beach. Met a fisherman bringing in his catch of 65 kg of Sierra, a tasty fish. Easily found the small village of El Cora and followed the dry weather road as far as we could. Parked and hiked 15 minutes to the trailhead. Rough concrete steps made the descent to the fall’s base easier. After our hike in the hot afternoon sun, the cool swim was a welcome relief. Enjoyed our lunch poolside and had a second cooling dip before heading back to the jeep. Few stops on the way home to conclude a great adventurous day!

THE "SHARK" BOAT HAS BEEN ON PLAYA PLATANITOS FOR YEARS
The “Shark” boat has been on Playa Platanitos for years.

PAY DAY!  MORNING TOTAL CATCH OF 68KG. OF SIERRO.
Pay Day! Morning total catch of 68 kg. of Sierra.

Driving Directions:

You can refer to Rob’s Ramblings: Hike to El Cora Cascades as your map. We’ve added a shorter set of directions that should take you to the falls.

Round trip from Rincón de Guayabitos to El Cora Cascades and back is 298 km (185 miles).

Drive north to Las Varas and take the highway towards San Blas, and after Platanitos look for a Pemex station on the right. It is located at the intersection of Highway 76. Here turn right toward Tepic. When you reach the 37 km marker you’ll be at the entrance to Tecuitata. Turn right and drive 10 km to El Cora. Continue into El Cora turning right at the Zocalo, and after one block turn left. Now drive out of town passing a graveyard. Note the newly constructed sidewalk and the finely crushed gravel smoothing out the cobble stone road. A green sign “Cascades” points left. Continue a short distance reaching a dry weather road. The scenic road passes numerous jack fruit orchards. Watch for an obvious parking pull out. Park and walk the steeper eroded roadway passing an old palapa to the trail which goes uphill at first to a viewing spot where the corner posts of a palapa are still standing. From here the trail consists of numerous cement steps dropping steeply to the pool – about a 15 minute descent. At the bottom, enjoy the view and cool waters.

by John and Doreen Berg

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 Allyson@JaltembaBayLife.com

This Los Ayala/Punta Raza trail update was submitted by Lori Schneider-Wood from Sicamous, British Columbia. Lori leads this hike nearly every Tuesday between January to mid-April. On average, she has 6-20 hikers who join her each week. The group meets promptly at 8:30am at the south end of Los Ayala Beach, before the trail begins, and everyone is invited to join her.

Lori also organizes a group to clear these trails after rainy season ends. She welcomes anyone who is willing to help and as she says, “it’s fun!” This season, because rainy season ended so late, she was able to see several mature plants she had never seen before.

If you decide to go without a guide, Lori asks that you please be respectful of the gate at Playa del Beso (Kissing Beach), as the owners generously allow hikers to pass through their property – in other words, if the gate is closed, be sure to close it behind you!

The last hikes of the season are scheduled for March 25, April 1 and April 8. If you are interested in participating or would like additional information, please leave a comment for Lori below.

Enjoy Lori’s very detailed hiking notes…



Lori Los Ayala Punta Raza Map 500
(Click to view the full-size map)

Before You Begin – Important Notes to Remember

  • Each Trailhead and Junction will have two red or orange flagging tape tags (one each side of the trail) indicating a trailhead or a junction. The rest of the trail will have pink flagging tape tags indicating that you are not lost, but are in fact, still on the trail.
  • Since this is the jungle and it is a live, ever-changing environment, these directions and the map are current as of February 2014. Weather conditions, can and do, rapidly result in changes to the trails.
  • As of March 2014, Trailhead #1 to Playa Punta Raza (white line on trail map) is a single track trail from local fisherman and us trekking through it and has not been cleared. This is due to the length of time it took to clear the other sections of trail this year from all the extra rain and growth. Trail #1 is still doable.
  • Use of any of these trails is, as always, at your own risk.
  • Pack out what you take in – leave only your footprints – only take your memories.
  • Make sure you let someone know where you are going.
  • This map and directions are not GPS tracked or to scale. Feel free to send GPS coordinates to Lori.

Directions

These directions are in order of the loop hike Trailhead #1 to Trailhead #2.

Starting at the west end of the Los Ayala beach, hike up the hill towards the small restaurant at Playa Freideras (also known as “Kissing Beach”), which will take you approximately 5 minutes/.4 km. The owners, Henry and Mary, have given hikers permission to pass through their property. If the entrance gate (see Figure 1) to the restaurant is closed, please ensure that you close it behind you! This is a very generous offer from Henry and Mary so it is very important that we keep the gate closed if closed when we arrive. They have a watch dog that Henry ties up when he opens the gate. Once across the footbridge stay to the left then rear of the building stopping where the chain link fence ends. Once there and directly in front of you, you will see an area in the chain link fence where you pass through (see Figures 2 & 3). Please note the red and orange flagging tape markers indicating the Trailhead entrance.

To show our appreciation to Henry and Mary, we always stop on our return for a cold drink (excellent food as well).

Kissing Beach to Trailhead #1
Approximately 10 minutes/.6 km

  • Single track of switchbacks for approximately 5 minutes where it changes to an old overgrown skid road (see Figure 4) for a further approximate 5 minutes.

Trail #1

Trailhead #1 East to Playa Punta Raza (see Figure 5)
Approximately 45 minutes/1.9 km

  • Great views of the estuary, Playa Punta Raza (see Figure 6) and the farming valley (see Figure 7).
  • Trailhead #1 to Playa Coral sign/trail junction (see Figure 8; approximately 35 minutes).
  • Turn left at the sign to continue to Playa Punta Raza (approximately 10 minutes).
  • This is a great spot to have a snack break and do some exploration of the area where you will see the estuary to your left and some great bays to explore once you cross the volcanic rocks (see Figure 9) on your right.
  • This beach (see Figure 10) is slated to become a tourist development, so enjoy the time to explore this beautiful spot in its natural form.
  • El Monteón and Lo de Marcos are accessible by walking to the south end of the beach and over the hill.

Trail #2

Trailhead #2 West to Playa Punta Raza to Mirador Lookout
and Playa del Toro

  • Backtrack along the trail from Playa Punta Raza (see Figure 11) to the Playa Coral sign/junction (see Figure 8) and turn left to continue on the loop trail (approximately 15 minutes/.6 km from the Playa Coral sign/junction) to the Mirador sign/junction (see Figure 12). Note: This is also the way to Playa del Toro.

Important Note: This is a major junction on the trail coming from Trailhead #1 West taking you to Trailhead #2 East (i.e. doing the loop). Facing East, if you turn right at this junction you will continue on to Trailhead #2 East and Kissing Beach; If you turn left the trail will take you to Mirador Lookout and Playa del Toro.

  • From Mirador sign/junction turn left to Mirador Lookout (see Figure 14; approximately 10-15 minutes/.73 km).
  • This a great view to see humpback whales, manta rays jumping in the surf, a variety of birds including turkey vultures, so make sure you bring your camera.
  • Prior to reaching Mirador Lookout, you will come to a little junction that will take you to Playa del Toro (see Figure 15; about 15 minutes) if you go to your right. Look for a large freshly fallen tree and the orange or red Trailhead tags.

Mirador Lookout and Playa del Toro Junction to Trailhead #2 East
Approximately 45 minutes/2 km

  • On returning to the Mirador Lookout junction continue straight across (see Figure 16). Do not turn right, as it will take you back to Playa Punta Raza (see Figure 13).
  • Continue to follow the trail paying attention to the flags. Approximately half way back, you will come across an overgrown skid road, where you will take a slight jog to the left and go straight across that skid road (see Figures 17 & 18). There will be two red/orange flagging markers on each side of that skid road in case that road ever gets regraded.
  • Continue following trail (pink flagging tape tags) until you come out at Trailhead #2 East (see Figure 19).
  • Turn left and follow old skid road (you started on this trail). Turning right will take you back to Trailhead #1 West entrance.

Trailhead #2 East to Kissing Beach
Approximately 10 minutes/.6 km (see Figures 19 & 20)

  • Follow flagging tape tags until you reach the switchbacks down to Kissing Beach (see Figure 4).
  • Congratulations you have returned to Kissing Beach, and it is now time to enjoy that cold beverage you’ve been looking forward to!

Overall, the total loop hike will be about 2.5 hours of total hiking time depending your speed and is approximately 6 km return in total length. Stopping to take photographs, eat, rest or appreciate the scenery will add to the length of time you are out there. Only doing a portion of the hike is also an option. Allow yourself 5 hours to leisurely hike the trails on the map.

Note #1: The times noted were from experienced hikers. Actual times may vary depending on your pace and experience level.
Note #2: Excess flagging tape tags are not for hikers, but to assist the guides in finding the trail again next year.

Recommended Things to Bring With You

  • Water is very important, but many people find that one bottle is not enough. Even though you are in the shade of the jungle, it is hot in there!
  • Good footwear is necessary. Flip flops are not recommended.
  • Hat
  • Camera
  • Pesos for that cold drink and snack at Henry’s on your return, if desired.
  • Bug repellent. It is also good to oil up over top of the repellent (olive, coconut, sunflower oil works well) to help keep off any ticks or chiggers that may be around.

Los Ayala Hike 2014 Figure 1

Figure #1 – Kissing Beach entrance

Los Ayala Hike 2014 Figure 2
Figure #2 – Trail entrance behind Kissing Beach restaurant

Los Ayala Hike 2014 Figure 3
Figure #3 – Trailhead behind Kissing Beach

Los Ayala Hike 2014 Figure 4
Figure #4 – Top of Kissing Beach switchbacks to old skid road

Los Ayala Hike 2014 Figure 5
Figure #5 – Trailhead #1 entrance

Los Ayala Hike 2014 Figure 6
Figure #6 – Trail #1 beach view

Los Ayala Hike 2014 Figure 7
Figure #7 – Trail #1 farming valley view

Los Ayala Hike 2014 Figure 8
Figure #8 – Junction to Playa del Coral

Los Ayala Hike 2014 Figure 9
Figure #9 – Playa Punta Raza volcanic rock

Los Ayala Hike 2014 Figure 10
Figure #10 – Playa Punta Raza looking south

Los Ayala Hike 2014 Figure 11
Figure #11 – Trailhead from Playa Punta Raza back to trail

Los Ayala Hike 2014 Figure 12
Figure #12 – Major junction to La Mirador and Playa del Toro

Los Ayala Hike 2014 Figure 13
Figure #13 – Major junction to Playa Punta Raza

Figure #14 (shown at top) – La Mirador, which translates to lookout or vantage point

Los Ayala Hike 2014 Figure 15
Figure #15 – Playa del Toro

Los Ayala Hike 2014 Figure 16
Figure #16 – Major junction to Trail #2 East end

Los Ayala Hike 2014 Figure 17
Figure #17 – Old overgrown skid road (west end) on Trail #2

Los Ayala Hike 2014 Figure 18
Figure #18 – Old overgrown skid road (East end) on Trail #2

Los Ayala Hike 2014 Figure 19
Figure #19 – Trailhead #2 entrance

Los Ayala Hike 2014 Figure 20
Figure #20 – Kissing Beach Restaurant

by Lori Schneider-Wood and Leah Berkhoff

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 Allyson@JaltembaBayLife.com

The half dozen fishermen, conversing and patiently waiting for customers, suddenly were out of their seats at our arrival at the Cooperativo de Pescadores (Fishermen’s Cooperative) in Punta Mita. The closest one to me asked, “Quiere pescar o tour de Las Islas?” (Do you want to fish or a tour of The Islands). I noticed a look of disappointment on his face when I responded, “Buscamos a Rudi; tenemos reservacion con el” (We are looking for Rudi; we have a reservation with him).

The eight of us had come to Punta Mita to catch a boat to Las Islas Marietas, two islands formed by volcanic activity thousands of years ago, now a nationally protected bird sanctuary. Our 20 minute trip to The Islands was lengthened somewhat by the appearance of a family of four humpback whales. Rudi slowed the boat, approaching as closely as possible, so we could see this marvel of nature.

Holly Trujillo Las Islas Marietas 202 Holly Trujillo Las Islas Marietas 203

There are 92 species of aquatic birds here, most notably the blue-footed boobie, only found in Las Islas Marietas and the Galapagos. The Islands are located just three miles off Punta Mita, about a 45 minute drive from our home in Los Ayala to the north, and 45 minutes to Puerto Vallarta to the south. After touring around The Islands, we spent the last 45 minutes snorkeling its reefs, which contain numerous species of coral and fish.

Holly Trujillo Las Islas Marietas 0053 Holly Trujillo Las Islas Marietas 1527

Time has flown by, and over half of our time here in Mexico is over. Our time has been divided between volunteering for Community Organizations, socializing with our North American and Mexican friends, and exploring new areas. As you know, I work with our annual breast cancer clinic, and Jeff and I are on the Steering Committee of our area’s community cultural center. In February, the Center sponsored a 50’s/60’s sock-hop, a fundraiser to benefit its operating costs. I “laughed till I cried” when Jeff’s outfit won “Best Dressed”. The prize should have been for “most dorky” dressed instead. (P.S. That is not me in the photo… I didn’t dress quite as dorky as Jeff; we were a sight to see). Five hours of dancing to the Oldies; it was so much fun.

Tomorrow we’ll be heading to the Interior of Mexico, south of Mexico City to the cities of Toluca (where President Obama, the Canadian Prime Minister and Mexican President recently met), Cuernavaca and Puebla. This area of Mexico is new for Jeff, a trip in celebration of another year of life for me also. There is so much to see in Mexico; we think we need another lifetime to cover it all.

by Holly Trujillo

For more information about booking a tour to the beautiful Las Islas Marietas, visit Eco-Aventours webpage.

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 Allyson@JaltembaBayLife.com

If you have visited or walked the cleaner playa in Los Ayala this year, you may have noticed that the beach is very clean. Twice a week, for the past six months, a group of 30 locals have been raking the sand and picking up litter. This was initiated and is spearheaded by a local fisherman, Rigo Hernandes. Three teams of ten people – children, teens, men and women – take turns cleaning the beach every Monday and Friday.

They do this faithfully, as volunteers, and have not asked for anything in return. A few of the hotels, restaurants and local residents have supported the group by providing money for rakes, garbage bags, etc.

Los Ayala Playa 2

As a result of this effort and commitment, the beach experience for all visitors and tourists has been a pleasant one.

We wanted to let the local volunteers know that their work is valued. Recently, we approached friends and beach users, asking for any donations they would like to contribute to do something to thank the committee. An amount was gathered, and with Rigo’s assistance, it was decided to purchase food bags for the volunteers.

Yesterday after beach clean-up, the bags were distributed to each helper. All received identical amounts and items of dried and/or canned foods. Many thanks and smiles were given!

by Myrna and Kevin Field

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 Allyson@JaltembaBayLife.com

Swimming in the sparkling waters of Bahia de Jaltemba interspersed with early morning jungle hikes comprise much of our group’s weekly activities, with the weekends reserved for downtown dining. The challenge being to determine just what our dining experience might be. Will the evening’s restaurant selection feature Italian, Mexican or International cuisine? After a few evenings of formal dining enjoying many fantastic meals, a change was in the winds.

What might be an alternative to the local restaurants? From an early January excursion to clear a corridor for El Monteón hikers, Bill and I discovered a fantastic lookout, complete with a palapa, overlooking Playa Coral/Punta Raza. During “Happy Hour” this location was suggested as a possibility for an evening eating location and an opportunity to watch the sunset. An overwhelming agreement to visit the viewpoint was quickly gained and the idea was endorsed as our next dining venue. Rapidly menu ideas were molded into a gourmet picnic dinner for the following Friday.

A FUN BUT ROUGH RIDE!
A fun, but rough ride!

The journey to our mysterious picnic site was to be an intrepid adventure for many. To reach the mountain top, four by four vehicles needed to be employed. And since we only had one four by four truck available and eleven people wished to go, it was necessary for many to pile into the truck’s box and hang on! The term “road” is politely being used to describe the rough track the truck bounced and bucked over to reach our destination. Upon arrival and after a few verbal complaints about bruised backsides and driving skills the truck was unloaded and the table set.

CHOW TIME.
Chow time

The 360 degree panoramic view encourages numerous photos to be taken before we sat to enjoy our gourmet mountaintop dinner. Needless to say spirits were high, and after our bellies were full, we chatted as we waited for the sunset to begin.

A sunset is a time of day when vivid and rich colours can paint the sky with brilliant hues. For many a favorite time of the evening. As the bright sun began its descent the question was presented. Will this evening’s sunset be a brilliant palette of paint or were we to be disappointed? The western sky slowly boasted mystical colour blends as the flaming ball softly sank below the horizon and cameras franticly clicked to capture nature’s moment. The evening fellowships, the panoramic views and scrumptious foods were memorable, but the evening’s climax was God’s colourful painting – THE SUNSET!

John Berg Sunset P1090689
Early evening, the sky was filled with vibrant colour.

John Berg Sunset P1090690

THE SUN DISAPPEARED AND THE COLOUR PALETTE  CHANGED.
The sun disappeared and the colour palette changed. 

by John and Doreen Berg

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 Allyson@JaltembaBayLife.com

This week’s “Photo of the Week” is a series of beautiful wide angle shots taken by Brett Chambers during his recent visit to Jaltemba Bay. Thank you for sharing Brett!

These photos were taken from my trip to Los Ayala, which is in the Nayarit Riviera of Mexico. I visited my parents who had a nice little place right on the beach. I really enjoyed the area, and all of the wonderful people. The food was also amazing, particularly the Pozole we had from Don Pedro’s in Los Ayala. I also think I discovered the greatest fruit of all time, the Jaca. I’ve never seen it in the states, but I am now always on the lookout for the giant, green and spiky, alien looking fruit.

Brett Chambers POTW 6Brett Chambers POTW 4
Brett Chambers POTW 5

by Brett Chambers from Spokane, Washington

Click here to view more Photos of the Week

Now it’s your turn! Email us your photos (at least 500 pixels wide) to Allyson@JaltembaBayLife.com along with a photo title, the photographer’s name and a 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.

The dawn of a bright sunny Sunday morning motivated Doreen and I to leave our bungalow and hot coffee early to hike “The Easy” trail located above Los Ayala. This was our second exploratory hike of the season to determine which of the jungle trails were clear and suitable for forthcoming group hikes. With perspiration dripping from our brows, we crested the first hill to pause at the junction where three trails begin, for a water break before proceeding onto “The Easy” pathway. The trail gained its name by default as in previous seasons, members of our hiking group thought it was an easier hike as compared to other route choices. As a result the trail’s name was born.

JUNGLE GIANT

We moved through the first sector, an older orchard area again being cultivated. The gently flowing path continues into the solitude of the jungle portion. Here we were greeted by the early morning song birds welcoming the glorious morning’s rays. The varied palm trees, the peeling tourist trees and the giant tropical trees give this trail’s section a Jurassic Park ambiance. The well-defined track begins its descent to the lower reaches of the bright sunlit grass meadows and marsh area. Here we observe the colourful flowers opening their bright petals to welcome the morning warmth and entice the butterfly profusion to alight for a draft of nectar.

John Berg Los Ayala Hike P1150362

John Berg Los Ayala Hike P1150436

John Berg Los Ayala Hike P1150424

“The Easy” trail received our stamp of approval and we declared it fit and ready for future group hikes. With sweat drenched bodies from the hour and a half exertion and moisture soaked pants from the heavily dew laden tall grasses our footsteps quickened as we followed the familiar El Monteon pathway toward Kissing Beach. We soon arrived at our bungalow with a sense of accomplishment and a desire for a cleansing, cooling shower and a hearty, healthy breakfast.

Small groups of 5-12 hikers leave the roadside entrance to El Delphin at 7:30 am every Tuesday and Friday. The hikers enjoy the many trail permutations created by Bill Smyth carving out a series of interconnecting trails. The approximate 2-hour hikes start and finish in Los Ayala, giving people the opportunity to enjoy the remainder of the day or locate a Los Ayala restaurant to enjoy breakfast. Periodically during the season, we hike to El Monteón enjoying the hike and a trail-end breakfast, plus hikes to Punta Raza.

Leave the morning comforts of your bungalow and the sparkling waters behind to come enjoy nature’s beauty while trimming the waistline. See you on our next hike.

John Berg Los Ayala Hike P1100267

MEADOWS-THIRD SECTION OF THE "EASY TRAIL

How many of the flora photos are you able to identify?

Article and photos by John and Doreen Berg, February 2014

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 Allyson@JaltembaBayLife.com

The numerous Christmas beach tourists in Los Ayala creates an ebb and flow of attention-grabbing human mass that is further enhanced by the numerous vendors hawking their wares. As one gazes upon the horizon, the hard working peddlers trudge the sandy playa vigorously working to sustain a living. I realize some tourists do not appreciate the intrusions, but a gentle “no gracias” usually sends them onto the next potential sale. A price inquiry or a lingering look at an item will promote the wise vendor to press for a precious sale. And if you enjoy a wee bit of bargaining, most vendors will enter into the exchange satisfying both the seller and the buyer. And how convenient having snacks and souvenirs brought right to your sunbathing spot!

Let’s hope that government rules are not injected to control the colorful inflatable toy sellers, the jewelry, clothing, hats and other varied merchandise people and the food hawkers all striving to obtain a living while adding color and interest to “people-watching” time spent on the beaches here in Jaltemba Bay.

Busy Navidad Berg 3 Busy Navidad Berg 5

Article and photos by John and Doreen Berg, January 2014

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 Allyson@JaltembaBayLife.com

Have you ever posted a homemade recipe to get rid of ants? I have a great one and as you can see from the pic – it works to attract them. This pic was taken about 20 minutes after I put out the trap. They take the food home to the mother and nest, and it kills them. I was good for days and days and then another colony found their way into my home and to my horror – it was a bit bigger. I got rid of those, and yesterday an even larger colony showed up. Soon I will have all the ant colony’s dead. I am on a mission here at Villas Marena. The good news is that I am not sharing my bed with 800 roommates anymore. The little crawlers stay close to the traps now if they get in my domain.

Ants Be-Gone Recipe

1/2 icing sugar
1/2 boric Acid (Acido Borico)

I make a batch and keep it in a tight fitting container. I save all the lids from the 5 gallon water jugs. I use them for under table and chair legs to prevent scratches AND for my little traps. Just put 1/2 teaspoon in each one and set them around the areas you find an issue with ants. After awhile the mix gets hard and I need to crunch it smooth again… or replace if it has been awhile.

by Lori Schneider Wood

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 Allyson@JaltembaBayLife.com

For your recipe this week, I was feeling a little bit Fall-ish… so I made Butter Tarts. Not the ones in the little shells, because we can’t get the shells here… and think of the work in a hot kitchen. NO THANK YOU.

And if I can bake in THIS TEMP (see photo below)… there is no reason for folks not to cook. LOL!

So, I made them into squares… same goodness, only easier for me and YOU if you make them. Here in Mexico, you will find the corn syrup in the baby food section. For those of you young ones, mothers used to use whole milk and corn syrup for the formula for babies… and that is where you’ll still find it… not in the cooking section of any store I’ve been in.

I hope you enjoy them.

Butter Tarts without Cornstarch

Original Recipe Yield: 2 dozen

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup butter
2 cups raisins
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 cup chopped walnuts
30 (2-inch) unbaked tart shells

Directions
1) Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (170 degrees C).

2) Cream the butter, sugar and eggs well. Add remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly.

3) Pour the batter into tart shells, no more than half full. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Watch carefully! they’ll burn quickly.

The filling will keep in the refrigerator for 2 weeks or so. Liquid coffee creamer can be used for cream. Use any good pie pastry for shells.


Yes, the outdoor temperature gauge really did read 54.9 C (130.82 F) while I was baking!

by Ellaine Spivak

Now it’s your turn! Email us your favorite Mexican-inspired recipes and we’ll feature them in an upcoming issue of our newsletter and blog. Please include 1-2 photos (at least 500 pixels wide). Send them to Allyson@JaltembaBayLife.com 

This White Egret was photographed on Playa Los Ayala on a perfectly sunny day, with beautiful front lighting. I followed this egret along the beach and hung around for about an hour until it was comfortable with me and my camera in close proximity.

by Christina Stobbs

Click here to view more Photos of the Week

This photo 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 Allyson@JaltembaBayLife.com

What a special and grand celebration Mother’s Day is in this beautiful country called Mexico! The beach, restaurants and streets are overflowing with families celebrating Mother’s Day. The local stores are packed with colorful flowers, especially roses. I wonder where they get all the roses from and how expensive they must be for those families on a limited income to purchase. The retail stores place big beautiful bows on all their merchandise and the bakeries display some very grand and fine-looking “Happy Mother’s Day” cakes which look absolutely delicious.

In the small and seemingly magical beach town of Los Ayala, everyone dresses up in their finest attire. Families attend mass at the local church to worship at the shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe; for on this day she symbolizes motherhood. The local schools host shows especially for Mothers and the children present Mom with handmade gifts and cards that they made for her at school. After mass, a meal is enjoyed; the whole family visits and spends the entire day celebrating with Mom.

However, what is most special to me about Mother’s Day here in Mexico is the tradition of children gathering outside of their Mother’s homes in the early morning hours to serenade their Moms. Indeed, the ability to sing astonishingly well seems to be a genetic trait in the Mexican people.

Some of the more affluent families actually hire mariachi musicians to serenade their Moms, as we learned during our first year in Mexico on Día de las Madres, or Mother’s Day, when we were awakened in the wee hours of the morning, to the sweet melody of “Las Mañanitas.”

Las Mañanitas is the birthday song of Mexico which is traditionally sung on the evening of December 11th as a serenade to the Virgin of Guadalupe and on Mother’s Day. It is a beautiful song. The chorus goes…

Awaken, my dear, awaken
and see that the day has dawned
now the little birds are singing
and the moon has set

The Virgin of Guadalupe as told by the story of the Virgin Mary as related in Mexico represents the mother of all Mexicans. Motherhood in Mexico is associated with kindness, tenderness, sincerity and virtuosity. Everything in Mexico seems to have more meaning. Life here is rich. If you research the word “Madre,” the Spanish word for “Mother” you will learn that Mothers are referred to as a cross between angels and saints, who are still virginal, and always self-sacrificing. Madres are pure and perfect – like the Virgin of Guadalupe, worshiped and untouchable. It should be said that everything that is good and bad in Mexico is laid upon the Virgin of Guadalupe and that because of her association with motherhood; the word madre is frequently used in the most serious of insults. Because of this relationship the word should be used with caution by those just learning the Spanish language.

If you look up the meaning of “Mother” in English, the meaning is most often clinical. “Mother” is defined as a woman who has given birth, conceived or raised a child; a female person who is pregnant with or gives birth to a child; or a female person whose egg unites with a sperm, resulting in the conception. Of course, Motherhood is also associated with love, caring and protecting but the word “Mother” in English does not carry the same religious connotations and adulation as it does in Spanish. We do not seem to worship our Moms as highly as they do in Mexico. Mothers in Mexico seemingly devote their entire lives to their children, creating bonds that last a life time. Mothers are glorified in Mexico.

In Mexico, the love of the family is first and foremost in life. This is one thing I love about this country. Another is the very special and personal celebration of Mother’s Day – not a Hallmark card in sight in any of the shops, and apparently not needed!

by Christina Stobbs

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 Allyson@JaltembaBayLife.com

Updated May 2013. Originally published on www.mexconnect.com
in May 2010.

The following legends and folklore of Los Ayala were translated from the book “Playa Los Ayala: Memorias de mi Pueblo” written by J. Jesús Carranza Diaz. This little gem of a book is filled with history and charming stories about Los Ayala.

Sr. Carranza is a lawyer, a professor at the Instituto de Estudios del Rey Nayar in the city of Tepic, Nayarit and a writer who has three published works to his credit. On occasion, he shares his stories about the rich Mexican cultures and traditions in a column entitled “Viva Nayarit” on Jaltemba Bay Life.

A great big thank you to Leo and family of Restaurant Las Ranas in Los Ayala for helping me with the translation!

The Goblins of The Old Fig Tree

It has always been commented that where a fig tree is born, there is water, and where there is water, there is life, but… what kind of life? It is said that small goblins exist, good or bad, but they exist and the small town of Los Ayala could not be without a fig tree when it is surrounded by so much water, the sea, the estuary, the underground rivers and all the springs. Below, I will narrate an anecdote by Don Jesus Rodriguez.

Many folks say that they could hear music playing in Los Ayala. The music seemed to come from somewhere in the area of the hill in Los Ayala; the hill that is adjacent to Guayabitos. The sound of drums was often heard at sunset, usually just before nightfall.

And somewhere around there, by a sidewalk that was there then, on the skirts of the hill, an enormous fig tree was located. It was this very same tree that Don Jesus Rodriguez told us about.

One day, when I was walking in the area of the fig tree, I heard very joyful music playing that seemed to come from within the tree! It was then that I decided to get closer to the tree; little by little, for there is only tall grass on one side of the tree. When I was close enough to peer into the hole of the fig tree, I saw a crowd of people, of no more than 15 centimeters tall; small bearded men and tiny women, dancing to the rhythm of the music. They were wearing very curious clothing and did not show their faces after being surprised by me. The crowd of tiny people disappeared into the root of the tree, restoring peace and calm to the area surrounding the fig tree. To this day, I remain very surprised of what I had seen.

The Woman of The Highway

Every night when I took passengers to Los Ayala, I had to entrust myself to God and his angels on the way back, for it was common to see a woman in white sitting on a rock. One could never see the lady’s face, just the silhouette of a woman that although ghostly, emanated elegance.

She never said anything. She just made the stop sign when wanting to board and then she would vanish in a mysterious manner, hiding somewhere behind the large rock which lies at the entrance to Los Ayala. Many taxi drivers noticed that when she did not hide, she’d disappear and hitch a ride on board their taxi. On occasion, the taxi drivers would spot her in their rear-view mirror, sitting on the back seat and then, she would vanish yet again.

This comment was made by Don Jerimia, one of the first taxi drivers in Jaltemba Bay of the Los Ayala-La Peñita route. This sighting was talked about by many drivers, they each shared anecdotes that matched up with Don Jerimias’. Is it true? Or just a myth so that the townspeople do not walk from Los Ayala to Guayabitos or La Peñita, and instead pay the taxi fare?

The Pirate and The Black Dog

On the shore of Los Ayala beach, very close to some boulders where today a palm tree is located, it was said by the locals that it was rather common to see at around 12 o’clock, a tall man of clothing from “other times” who sported an patch on his left eye. In his right hand, he held a leash tied to the neck of a precious black dog with the very delicate and shiny coat of hair seen in the Doberman race.

The pirate and his black dog both walked the beach, 200 meters from north to south and from south to north. Witnesses of this event claimed this man said nothing to them, the bare look of his only eye was very intense, to the point of stirring a terrible fear. The man and his dog were frequently seen to disappear amongst the boulders at the far end of Los Ayala beach.

The Headless Woman

The next anecdote happened to Doña Toña, who now lives in La Peñita de Jaltemba. She used to live in Los Ayala, near the beach, on the northern end.

Doña Teña had a beautiful nursery garden. It was unique and it was incredible to view the vast variety of plants located on the outside of the house on the small porch, which was furnished with a hammock. When she had visitors, they often slept on the hammock on the porch, under the soft light of the moon.

Many of Doña’s visitors commented that around 4am, they used to watch a woman that came from within her garden, walking towards where the “Ayala Brothers’” treasure could be hidden… they say…

The Treasure of The Ayala Brothers

It is said on the times of the conquest, that Chacala beach served as a small port from where ships loaded with jewels, gold, gem stones and very fine pearls departed. The ships were also loaded with very colorful ceramics.

However, there existed brothers with the Ayala surname Mobdro who always waited near the ‘Cuevitas’ (small caves) beach, which is located very close the Chacala beach.

The Ayala brothers were two strong and intelligent men, who planned their strategies well, and had great success assaulting the ships that carried the most valuable treasure. The Ayala brothers obtained a handsome loot which they then hid on a lone beach somewhere in Los Ayala in the dense jungle, in small holes or in hidden caves.

Time passed. The Ayala Brothers passed away, and to this day no one has ever found the treasure of Los Ayala. Some locals say they have witnessed other folks dig holes up to 3 meters deep all over Los Ayala, without ever finding the treasure.

Could it be possible that big premises have been built over the fortune, hiding it forever? Will the day come when the treasure of the Los Ayala brothers is found? What do you think?

“Playa Los Ayala: Memorias de mi Pueblo,” includes history, photos, myths and legends, recipes and more. The book costs $100 pesos and we currently have 20 copies available for sale. If anyone is interested in purchasing a copy, please email us at Allyson@JaltembaBayLife.com or leave a comment below.

To read more articles by either Christina Stobbs or J. Jesús Carranza Diaz, click on the “Stories by our Regular Contributors” category link.

This article was submitted by one of our regular contributors. If you want to join in and share information, stories and photos of Jaltemba Bay, Mexico, please email them to Allyson@JaltembaBayLife.com

Los Ayala residents invite you to join them at two upcoming town events. It will be much appreciated whatever support you can give. Please spread the word to your friends and neighbours.

Mexican Fiesta

This event is being put on by the teachers and parents for the benefit of the school. There will be traditional Mexican dishes, live entertainment, 50/50 draw. For more information, email scotthrdk@hotmail.com

Date: Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Time: 6pm
Place: Los Ayala Elementary School
Price: Cost of admission is $100 pesos

Los Ayala Town Party

There will be live music, folkloric dance and drinks will be available. The town committee is raising money for the much needed walkway from Los Ayala to Rincón de Guayabitos. The event is put on by town committee headed up by the Juez (Mayor) Miguel Sillas.

Date: Monday, March 4, 2013
Time: 5-10pm
Place: Los Ayala Town Plaza
Price: There is no cost for admission. Money will be raised by selling drinks and by donations.

Submitted by Linda Jeannotte, A friend of Los Ayala

Photos by Christina Stobbs

This 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 Allyson@JaltembaBayLife.com

The Tianguis in La Peñita de Jaltemba is a large open air market, full of colour, culture, tempting aromas and shopping at prices that will make you grin from ear to ear! Definitely, a must see if you are on vacation in Jaltemba Bay, Nayarit!

Year round, merchants in the market at La Peñita offer an abundance of fresh fruits and veggies, tempting baked goods including delectable sugar coated churros, and local organic coffee for sale. An abundance of shoes and clothing are for sale at the market; including a wide variety of undergarments and colourful, generously padded bras. Also available are every day essentials such as plastic ware, dishes, pots, assorted hardware, mops, brooms, hair accessories, eyeglasses, sunglasses, clocks, radios, CDs, movies, minerals, vitamins and herbs, and a few “Sometimes Hard to Find in Jaltemba Bay Items” such as cotton balls and Q tips.

During the winter tourist season, the market in La Peñita expands tremendously, both in size and in the variety of wares offered for sale. You will find unique silver, turquoise and leather jewelry, pretty hand woven baskets, rugs from Oaxaca, exquisite blankets and table linens, colourful Mexican pottery and beautiful glass ware. There is also a wide variety of authentic Mexican artisan items and crafts available for sale. The market selection also expands to include a wide selection of tempting baked goods, candies, dried fruit and nuts, including the ever popular sweet roasted, caramelized pecans and almonds. To complete the shopping experience make sure to stop by Hala’s Hamaca Maya to shop for an authentic Mayan hammock and Mexican folk art; or simply for the experience of meeting the very personable, Hala, in person!

Shopped out? Take the time to enjoy a meal with friends at one of the local restaurants. Treat yourself to eggs benedict at Xaltemba Restaurant & Galeria; a delectable cup of espresso or cappuccino at Soley’s Argentinean Steak House; or shrimp tacos at Hinde & Jaime’s. Work off the extra calories with a stroll along the beach in La Peñita.

You can learn more about the town of La Peñita here.

Still have energy to burn? Stroll up and down both sides of the main Avenida in La Peñita, stopping at Armando’s Jewelery for silver and turquoise jewelery. Continue on your way and shop for striking jeweled sandals, colourful inexpensive purses, casual fashion items and some very feminine and charming fashion items for women.

The Tiangus is held every Thursday in La Peñita’s town plaza which is located at the end of the main Avenida, about one block from the beach.

Tianguis is open from 7am-1 pm
Thursdays
La Peñita de Jaltemba

You can read more about the Tianguis in La Peñita here, including a map and directions.

About the Author: Christina Stobbs is a writer and photographer who lived in Los Ayala year round with her husband Robert. As a photographer, she feels fortunate to have lived in an area so rich in flora and fauna, and abundant in natural beauty. She enjoys landscape and wildlife photography, and has a fondness for pelicans. Most recently, she starting selling her photos with stock companies Dreamstime and Big Stock Photos. As a writer, she states that living in Mexico is perfect because each and every day is full of surprises. To view more of Christina’s work, click here.

This story was submitted by one of our regular contributors and was originally published on Magical Los Ayala. If you want to join in and share information, stories or photos of Jaltemba Bay, Mexico, please email them to Allyson@JaltembaBayLife.com

Valentine’s Day is only a few weeks away! Many local restaurants are offering dinner specials, so why not impress your valentine by making reservations to surprise her (or him). After all, a romantic dinner is the perfect way to say “I love you” (a nice bottle of wine or flowers, and a little chocolate for dessert wouldn’t be a bad idea either).

Here are a few suggestions. We will update this list as we learn more…

? Backstreet Italian Restaurant: Regular hours and regular menu.  Reservations

? Beso del Sol Steak House: Music by Roberto Curiel and a special Valentine’s Dinner including appetizer, soup or salad, main course (choice of rib eye steak, coconut prawns, barbecue ribs or stuffed chicken), plus dessert and a bottle of wine per couple. $350 pesos per person. SOLD OUT.  More Info

? El Gigio Italian Pizzeria: Valentine’s Day menu includes appetizer (choice of shrimp cocktail with stuffed mussels au gratin or sliced salami, cheese and grilled vegetables), main course (seafood fettuccine or baked spaghetti) and a special homemade cake for dessert. Includes a glass or wine, limoncello or coffee. $250 pesos per person. Might have music as well.  Reservations

? El Panorama Hotel: Saint Valentine’s Dinner starts with social hour 6-7pm with drinks and hors d’œuvres; dinner 7pm with house salad and dressing, main course coq au vin (chicken sauteed in red wine and Courvoisier cognac and mushroom sauce), pomme duchesse, french style green beans; and chocolate mousse and strawberry’s in butter short crust for dessert. Your choice of bottle red or white wine. $600 pesos per couple or $300 per person. Seating is limited so book early, last year sold out.  Reservations

? El Rincon del Arabe: Offering two dinner specials (filet of fish with shrimp wrapped in a banana leaf or Arabic breaded and fried chicken) served with rice and spinach, and carrot cake for dessert. Belly dancers and Charro player. Reservations are required. Open at 5pm. $300 pesos each.  Reservations

? Hinde y Jaime’s: Regular hours and regular menu.  Reservations

? Las Alejandras: Dance to the music of Manuel & Friends at Las Alejandras in downtown Guayabitos. Regular menu and specials will be available.  Reservations

? Las Brisas: Regular hours and regular menu.  Reservations

? Latitude 21: Dance to rhythm and blues music by the Rhythm Roosters and enjoy a special Valentine’s menu in addition to their all-you-can-eat-ribs.  Reservations

? Los Compadres: Regular hours and regular menu.  Reservations

? Mateja’s: Regular hours and regular menu.  Reservations

? Salvador’s: Salvador’s is holding a romantic Mexican dinner and dance at their highway location. Piano music 4-6pm; Folklore dance 6-7pm; Mariachi music 7-8pm; Fireworks and surprises… and music by Salvador’s band and his boys at 8pm. Dinner service a la cart (off the menu).  Reservations

? Soley Argentinean Steak House: Regular hours and regular menu.  Reservations

? Teriyaki Time: TBD  Reservations

? Tonita III: Julio is planning a special dinner and dance. Dinner includes caesar salad, choice of fish fillet with almond sauce or chicken stuffed with blueberry sauce, dessert and one drink per person. Romantic music. $350 pesos per couple. Prepaid reservations required.  Reservations

? Vista Guayabitos: Regular hours and regular menu. Reservations and deposit required.  Reservations

? ? ?

There is so much to do here in Rincón de Guayabitos, La Peñita and Los Ayala. We, at Jaltemba Bay Life, have updated our list of fun and interesting things to do to ensure that you take advantage of everything our area has to offer, no matter whether you’re vacationing here for a week or live here year-round!

You can read about our updated TOP 10 favorite things we think should not be missed when visiting the Jaltemba Bay area on JaltembaBayLife.com.

 Our Jaltemba Bay TOP 10 List was updated in January 2013.

J. Jesús Carranza Diaz, a lawyer and writer from Compostela, presented his book “Playa Los Ayala: Memorias de mi Pueblo” at the third book fair “Gran Nayar” at the Universidad Autónoma de Nayarit. Jesus was invited by City Hall to participate in this fair. He accepted with great pleasure and was proud to present the municipality with his most recent book, which César Ricardo Luque Santana discussed with attendees in two parts; one devoted to the author, and the other to the work itself. With respect to the author, he offered a brief profile for those who did not know of him yet. He explained that Jesús Carranza is a young lawyer and professor of the Instituto de Estudios Rey Nayar in Tepic. He is also a budding writer that has three published works. He has also completed a series of investigations and will likely release them in a new book soon.

Jesus Carranza has shown his commitment to culture, and is someone who is quickly gaining a name based on his perseverance and capabilities. His personal achievements as a professor and writer are due to hard work and his positive, responsible and efficient attitude. His studies and work have taken him from his youth in Los Ayala where he started working as a waiter at a place where he met a man of culture, Attorney Victor Pineda, who had a keen eye and suggested that he move to Tepic to pursue a higher education. Jesus tells in his book that Los Ayala is a place that obviously has prospered, but nevertheless retains the history of the people and their stories and legends. The images in the book allow his readers to rediscover a beautiful place which is certainly an interesting alternative for both of locals from Tepic and visitors from other states.

We, at Jaltemba Bay Life, would like to congratulate Jesus on his accomplishments and to thank him for sharing his stories about the rich Mexican cultures and traditions in his new column entitled “Viva Nayarit” on Jaltemba Bay Life.

To read Jesus’ articles, click on the ” Stories by our Regular Contributors” category link.

And for anyone interested in buying a copy of “Playa Los Ayala: Memorias de mi Pueblo,” We will have a limited supply available for sale after December 10. The price is $100 pesos. Leave a comment below to reserve your copy.

The original article (in Spanish) was written by Josefina Espinoza Rodríguez Viernes on November 16, 2012 on pnn.mx. Go to the original.

This is a wonderful use for your leftover turkey… and it’s rich and comforting. No one will guess it’s made from your leftovers, and you can bet this will be a family favourite! You can make this… sit down and watch the game… curl up and watch a movie… or after, go for a long walk on one of the beautiful beaches in Jaltemba Bay. Either way, you’re tummy will thank you and you will get plenty of besos!

Yield: 8 servings

Mexican Turkey Stew

Ingredients
3 large Anaheim chiles, seeded and halved lengthwise
2 teaspoons canola oil
Cooking spray
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons ground Guajillo chile powder
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
4 cups water
3 cups fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth

1 (15-ounce) can golden or white hominy, drained
4 cups leftover shredded cooked turkey breast
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup roasted unsalted pumpkin seed kernels
1/2 cup thinly sliced radishes
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
1/2 cup (2 ounces) crumbled queso fresco cheese
Lime wedges (optional)

And now… the Preparation

1. Preheat broiler if you have one; see below if you don’t.

2. Place pepper halves, skin side up, on a foil-lined baking sheet. Broil (if you have a broiler, LUCKY YOU) if not, use your BBQ or the top of your stove. Just put the peppers directly on the flame, 6 minutes or until blackened. Place in a paper or plastic bag, and fold to close tightly. Let stand for 15 minutes. Peel and chop; set aside. Do not run under water to peel it; just take a paper towel and rub. It’ll come off… if not all of it does, that’s okay too… it adds depth to your stock. Truly, trust me on this one.

3. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven coated with cooking spray over medium heat. Add onion to pan; cook until tender and soft, stirring occasionally. Add garlic; cook 1 minute. DO NOT BURN YOUR GARLIC; if you do, you will have to start over, stirring occasionally. Add chile powder and oregano (we have GREAT Mexican oregano right here; check out the markets or one of our wonderful veggie stores); cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in 4 cups water, broth and hominy; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes. Make sure the hominy is tender though, nothing worse than breaking a tooth on your corn… lol. Stir in Anaheim chiles and turkey; cook for 2 minutes. Stir in cilantro and salt; cook 3 minutes. Put it in your most beautiful bowl. Top each serving with 1 tablespoon pumpkin seed kernels, 1 tablespoon radishes, 1 tablespoon green onions and 1 tablespoon cheese. Serve with lime wedges, if desired. I just like the garnishes on the table and folks can add what they like… more of their favourites!! And less of the stuff they aren’t so fond of.

Salud!

Original recipe and photo from Cooking Light‘s Global Recipes for Thanksgiving Leftovers.

Just a forty-five minute drive north of Puerto Vallarta, at the foot of the Sierra de Vallejo Mountains, lies the lovely seaside fishing village of Los Ayala. Easily accessible by rental car, taxi, or bus, the drive there is half the experience, with lush, dense jungle on display alongside the highway, separated by surf towns and seaside villages along the way, as well as the occasional traditional cemetery to admire. This is not your typical Mexican vacation destination. You won’t find sprawling all-inclusive resorts here, no Hard Rock Cafes, no Planet Hollywoods, and no poolside beer-chugging competitions. In short, my kind of place.

Being new parents to a five month old daughter, it was a bit of a tough call to decide where to go on our first real family vacation. The answer came in the form of her doting grandparents. They invited us to join them on their yearly holiday to Los Ayala, Mexico, where they rent a place for two months of the year. Discovered by word of mouth, it’s the perfect place for a family vacation. Hosted by owners Manuel and Yolanda, they rent a two bedroom, two bathroom apartment in a small complex about a one minute walk from the beach. For a reasonable price, this includes your own kitchen, a courtyard pool, outdoor barbeque at your disposal, and outdoor dining area for groups of people, should you wish to entertain friends. There are a multitude of houses, apartments, and bungalows available with similar facilities in the area, and if you’re feeling brave enough to arrive without prearranged accommodations, it’s more than likely that just a short walk around the grid of dirt roads or the cobblestone street running alongside the beach through town will find you exactly what you seek.

Los Ayala is a very authentic Mexican experience, being a popular destination for families from Guadalajara and Mexico City to escape for weekend getaways. You also get your fair share of Canadian Snowbirds; retirees escaping from the dreary Canadian winters that can sometimes seem to last for years. Most of these folk have been coming here for many years running and have just as much knowledge of the area as the locals.

Having a basic knowledge of Spanish comes in handy here, as many of the locals do not speak English, which adds to the experience. Get ready to mime out many of your conversations with local shop owners, who are more than patient and willing to help you find what you’re looking for.

The half mile strip of beach that runs the length of Los Ayala makes for the perfect morning walk. Large waves not quite big enough for surfing pound the shore as pelicans beg for scraps from the prawn carts and fishermen arriving with their catch of the day. The north end of the beach is fairly secluded, while the south end plays host to a handful of barefoot dining restaurants. All are inexpensive and serve delicious Mexican fare. Hours of operation can be somewhat random though. In the short time that we were there, we couldn’t figure out a pattern to their opening and closing schedules.

A short hike through the jungle on the south end of the beach brings you to Playa del Beso (Beach of the Kiss), and Henry’s Bar, a family run beach bar that epitomizes the term “dropping out of the rat race.” Henry lives and works here with his wife and family, all of whom lend a hand where they can in running the business on this isolated bit of beach. It would be easy to spend the entire day on this pristine beach; plenty of shade or sun, depending on your preference, calm clear water, ridiculously cheap beer, fresh caught fish or prawns on the menu, and Henry’s adorable two year old daughter was delighted to entertain our baby for the duration of our visit.

Los Ayala is an extremely family friendly place, with many of the locals running out of their shops to lift our daughter out of our arms for a cuddle as we walked her through the town or along the beach. The local shops carry most everything you need for care of a young baby should you have forgotten to pack anything, like diaper cream, wipes, formula, or children’s Tylenol. Anything else that you may desire seems to arrive by pick-up truck on a daily basis, with the drivers driving around Los Ayala with a loudspeaker sing-songing about watermelons, fresh bread, camerones (prawns), and tamales. One of my favorite things was picking out mini pineapple pies and fresh banana muffins from the bread truck. However, if there is anything you are unable to find here, a fifteen minute walk brings you to the next town over, Guayabitos, which more than likely will have what you need, not to mention restaurants, discos, beach bars and shopping strips.

It’s pretty quiet in Los Ayala during the week, and even with weekend revelers busing in from other destinations, it still wraps up fairly early in the evenings. If you’re looking for a little more excitement, take a colectivo, or combi into Guayabitos or La Peñita. Cheaper than a taxi (which isn’t all that expensive either), the colectivo, or combi, is a mini-bus that runs the route from town to town and drops you in a central location, along with other locals sharing the ride.

If you’re up for some shopping, don’t miss the market in La Peñita on Thursday (and definitely hit Hinde y Jaime’s Bar while you’re there for some amazing 80 cent prawn or fish tacos!), or in Guayabitos on Mondays. The outdoor market in La Peñita carries everything from dollar store type paraphernalia to gorgeous crafts handmade by the Huichol tribes, native to the region. Guayabitos market carries a similar selection but much less of the dollar store bric-a-brac. If you get the chance to take in a sunset while in Guayabitos, it’s worth the climb up the hill to get a 180 degree view from Vista Guayabitos restaurant, which carries a fairly decent wine selection and freshly caught and prepared seafood dishes, including lobster, if you get there on the right day.

Another destination, a little further out, but a scenic drive all the same, is the surfer town, Sayulita, which seemed downright hectic after a week of watching the waves roll in on the beach in Los Ayala. We took a taxi here from Los Ayala, which ran us about twenty dollars Canadian one way, it’s about a forty minute drive so that sounded reasonable to us. Prices can be slightly higher on the return journey, but still in the twenty to thirty dollar range.

There is no shortage of sights to take in or things to do in Sayulita. Spend the day in a beach bar watching the surfers, or wander around the plaza checking out local arts and crafts and alternative clothing stores. Take surf lessons, go snorkeling, ATV’ing, or horseback riding and then take your pick from one of the limitless award winning restaurants or cough up a few pesos for some street dining at one of the Taquerias. Like I said, no shortage of things to do here. Night life gets pretty lively here, with all the surfers that have taken up residence here mingling with short term holiday-makers.

Back in Los Ayala you’ll feel a sense of peace returning to you after the crowds, the revelers, the hard drinking spring breakers of Sayulita. No, Los Ayala is not your typical Mexican vacation destination by any stretch of the imagination, but perhaps it should be.

Written by Paula Wallis

About the Author: Paula Wallis makes her home in beautiful British Columbia in the Best City in The World, Vancouver. She spends her spare time seeking out the best beaches in the world and is a huge fan of hammocks. Follow her on fanaticnomadic.blogspot.com

This article was originally published on Magical Los Ayala under “Jaltemba Bay Articles of Interest” and on Globetales.com. If you want to join in the fun and share your stories and photos of Jaltemba Bay, Mexico, please email them to Tosia@JaltembaBayLife.com

Ken and Bea’s love affair with Mexico started in 1992 when they won an all-Inclusive vacation at the Holiday Inn in Puerto Vallarta. It was their first visit to Mexico. They liked the people, enjoyed the weather and went home thoroughly hooked.

For the next few years their job and family commitments kept them from travelling, and their only daughter was in university and then got married in 1996. Ken and Bea both retired in 1997. But after retiring, Ken did consulting for National Research Council and Bea took a course in travel consulting. The next few years they visited 17 countries (including an African safari) and 14 Caribbean islands.

They returned to Puerto Vallarta in 1998, and being explorers at heart, one day they got on a local bus which took them to Bucerias and Punta de Mita. Bea says that back then there was only a small fishing village at Punta de Mita. However, the countryside was drop-dead gorgeous as were the beaches, and the people living in the area were incredibly friendly. It was then that they decided to plan a longer-term stay.

In 2003, they both retired (again), and moved from Ottawa, Ontario to Cobourg and built their retirement home on two acres overlooking Lake Ontario.

In 2004, they began an online search for a place which would offer an authentic Mexican experience. At that time there was not that much information available online, but they came across an advertisement on “Jaltemba Bay Folk” and “Jamie’s Board” for a bungalow available for rent in Guayabitos. The proprietor was the late Bob Howell who owned a home in the Residential Zone on the north end of Guayabitos. They rented the bungalow above Bob’s bodega. Bob was ably supported by his partner Vicky Flores (of Vicky-the-nurse-and-registered-tour-guide fame). At that time neither Ken nor Bea spoke any Spanish. The first thing Bea learned to say is, “How much is that per kilo?” Today, Ken loves to start up a conversation with any old guy with time on his hands and who looks patient. Bea knows all the important shopping phrases. Ken and Bea say the area just grew on them. Their first love was La Peñita because it was truly Mexican, and they take great pleasure in mixing with the locals who have always been welcoming.

After that first 10 week visit, they began a series of “2-3 week stays” at the Hotel Decameron Los Cocos in Rincón de Guayabitos which served as a great base from which to explore the area. The hotel provides guests with bicycles of which they took full advantage to explore every nook and cranny of the Jaltemba Bay area. To this day, they maintain friendships with many of the managers and staff of Los Cocos. Since that time Ken and Bea have enjoyed staying and vacationing in Jaltemba Bay every single year. Well almost. They missed 2009, most reluctantly, because of a family vacation in Curaçao.


Ken & Bea’s photo taken during Semana Santa – Playa Los Ayala 2011

Angels visit Jaltemba Bay

Over the years they have been involved in charity work with Nurse Vicky. They have brought school supplies, sports equipment, medical supplies, clothing and toys to distribute where she recognized the greatest need. Whenever they were in the area for Christmas, they enjoyed helping out with the annual Christmas parties hosted in a designated village. Vicky chose the village and would talk to the village chief to determine the needs and number of children and families. The parties were usually held in the schoolyard. The volunteers provided barbequed hamburgers cooked on Rocky’s industrial-sized barbeque, chips, soft drinks and Dawn Blevins’ famous potato salad – a novelty thoroughly enjoyed by all the families in attendance. Clothing was distributed, a care package from Vicky’s Dispensary was given to each family and “Santa Dan Milski” handed out gifts to all the children. They participated in the annual Christmas parties at El Divisidero, Puerto de la Lima, and most recently, Las Lomas.

Ken and Bea have accompanied Vicky on other goodwill missions to El Tonino, El Divisidero, Mesillas, Noriega, San Isidro, Las Piedras, Las Varas and other villages. One of their most memorable journeys was in the back of Brian and Dawn Blevins’ pickup truck to El Cora where Bea provided jackets and warm sweaters for the residents to stand them in good stead for their cool mountainous climate. A special treat was a visit to the waterfall and a swim in the clear waters below.

They enjoy the senior center (El Club de la Tercer Edad) in La Peñita. George Aceves does stellar work coordinating events and activities there. Bea says that it is not uncommon to see over 100 enthusiastic seniors in attendance. The local seniors enjoy participating in dancing, games, singing, feasting on good food and socializing. They are always well represented at local parades. Last year Bea attended an evening with the Mexican ladies as they celebrated International Women’s Day, and she said it was a good chance to practice her Spanish!

In the spring of this year, they volunteered time to help out with a community project initiated by George and Donna Steensma called “Project Angelina,” which involved building a brand new wheelchair-friendly house for a lovely young woman, Angelina, and her family to live in. Angelina has muscular dystrophy, and previously she and her family lived in a one room house with a dirt floor and no running water. Ken and Bea also made a donation through a church organization in Belleville, Ontario called CRUSH in order buy a refrigerator for this family.

You can read the 6 article series about Project Angelina here.

Energy to Spare

When Ken and Bea aren’t volunteering, they are probably bird watching or tramping the surrounding countryside, especially the plantations. They usually explore on foot, bicycle or via colectivo. They are avid bird watchers and nature lovers, and on every trip they take thousands of photos. Their photos are beautiful, and luckily for us, they enjoy sharing them with the community. Their bird photos are simply delightful!


Great Egret in the La Peñita rookery

View more of Ken & Bea’s bird photos and story about “Great Egrets, Boat-billed Herons and Citreoline Trogons” featured in our newsletter on August 21, 2012.

They love to get out and about, and have enjoyed visiting Tepic and the Jamurca hot springs near Las Varas with friends. Most recently they were able to visit the Monarch Butterfly wintering grounds at Chincua staying in the mountain town of Tlalpujahua. A visit to Santa Del Oro remains to be checked off their bucket list. They’ve been invited to visit ranchos by owners who see them on the road, and have written about these on Bea’s personal Blog and local forums.


Local vaqueros (cowboys) near La Piedra Bola

View Ken & Bea’s Mexican Cowboy photos and story featured in our newsletter on October 2, 2012. 

Culinary Explorations

Ken and Bea enjoy dining at small, local restaurants that are owned by Mexicans that serve traditional Mexican cuisine. They delight in buying fish and shrimp on the beach every Saturday morning. Both love homemade ice cream from Pedro and his family’s “Helados Elim” on the Avenida in la Peñita. Bea’s favorite flavor is coconut, but Ken is a chocolate chip or coffee kind of guy.

Bea enjoys cooking, and says “I think I am mastering the art of Mexican cuisine.” One dish she chooses not to tackle is Chiles Rellenos, so that is what she often orders when she dines out. Their favorite restaurants include Restaurant Pineda on the far south end of Guayabitos beach for the seafood, fajitas at Karla’s palapa beachfront restaurant in Guayabitos, Anahis Taqueria on the Avenida Sol Nuevo in Guayabitos, Irma’s in La Peñita, and of course, grabbing a bite at one of the local taco stands.

New and Lasting Friendships

Over the years, Ken and Bea have developed several local friendships, and they say that returning to Jaltemba Bay each year is almost like a “homecoming.” They adore mixing with local people, and have made many wonderful friends. They especially cherish the friendships that they have developed with the locals and NOTB visitors at the church in La Peñita. Bea says “the Mexican sun is eclipsed only by the warmth of the Mexican people.” So far they enjoyed staying in Guayabitos and in several different areas of La Peñita, and have found that each barrio has its own unique character. Perhaps next year they will choose to stay in Los Ayala!

About Ken and Bea

Originally from Winnipeg, they lived in Ottawa from 1980 to 2003, where Ken worked in the research division of Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. Bea worked as a medical technologist for 25 years before becoming a travel agent, a career she enjoyed for 7 years – especially the travel perks.

They now reside in Cobourg, Ontario a small town on Lake Ontario an hour east of Toronto, but they live in the Jaltemba Bay area, typically visiting in November and December, going home for Christmas, and returning for another visit in February or March. Twice a year, most years! A favorite time to visit is Easter, during Semana Santa. Unlike many folks, they find it invigorating!

They love to be in Jaltemba Bay area where they gear down, adjust their lifestyle and “chill.” Bea says life in Mexico is “a slow dance with its own sense of style and pace and they have learned to get in step, relax and go with the flow.” They live in the moment and enjoy the good life.

When Bea is in Ontario she stays busy by volunteering at Horizons of Friendship in Cobourg which, through monies from the Thrift Shop, supports Mexican and Central American initiatives. She also writes a nature column for Cobourg’s local newspaper.

Ken and Bea have been happily married for 42 years. If you’ve met them you would know it is a match made in heaven. They say that retirement is wonderful, but they still don’t have enough time to do everything they want to do! Well, I for one think they are doing a pretty good job of it at the moment.

Saludos Ken and Bea!

To read about other interesting folks, click on the “Meet Local Folks” link under categories.

About the Author: Christina Stobbs is a writer and photographer who lived in Los Ayala year round with her husband Robert. As a photographer, she feels fortunate to have lived in an area so rich in flora and fauna, and abundant in natural beauty. She enjoys landscape and wildlife photography, and has a fondness for pelicans. Most recently, she starting selling her photos with stock companies Dreamstime and Big Stock Photos. As a writer, she states that living in Mexico is perfect because each and every day is full of surprises.

This story was submitted by one of our regular contributors. If you want to join in and share information, stories and photos of Jaltemba Bay, Mexico, please email them to Allyson@JaltembaBayLife.com

Does Mexico really need another church? The people of Los Ayala who attend mass every Friday and Sunday think so. Most families living in Los Ayala do not have vehicles, and being able to walk to church enhances the quality of life in their community.

Some of you may remember that the Bishop, who represents the states of Nayarit, Jalisco and Zacatecas, visited Los Ayala on March 9th to deliver the first brick for the new church. The representative brick was laid, and serves as the foundation for a brand new church in Los Ayala’s Town Plaza.

For over 10 years, Los Ayala’s priest has been collecting donations at every mass to realize the dream of a new church. As of March 2012, almost $2 million pesos had been collected from the townspeople. A date for the construction of the church in Los Ayala has not been announced, but it is expected that the project will commence late 2012 or early 2013.

***

We are seeing the results of the new sewer infrastructure line in Los Ayala. The estuary is clean and there are baby shrimp larvae in the waters… a great sign for the future environment. Thank you to everyone in the community who supported the Los Ayala infrastructure project!

When Romy Mora, was offered the opportunity to serve as “Juez of Los Ayala” (Judge) she decided within three minutes flat that her answer would be yes! She had no hesitation because she knew that she would be able to make a difference to the community of Los Ayala. She knew she could make a difference because she likes to see things get done, enjoys helping others and building community spirit.

And what a difference she has made! Accomplishments she is most proud of include Los Ayala’s Town Plaza, the paving of Coral Avenue with interlocking brick, and Los Ayala’s being awarded the PET (temporary employment program) for the fourth time. Because of the PET program, Los Ayala, has been able to employ 12-17 persons every summer to ensure that the estuary, streets and Los Ayala beach are kept clean.

Romy accepted the position of Juez of Los Ayala, just over two and a half years ago. She has just six months remaining in her term. When her term is finished she intends to run for the position of “Regidor” for a political party whose beliefs fit her perfectly; primarily, respect for humanity and ecology.

The primary role of the “Regidor” is to serve as a voice for the community and the municipality and to come forth with ideas and solutions. The position of Regidor also has a vote! If Romy succeeds in being elected as “Regidor” she will be serving the communities of Los Ayala, Rincón de Guayabitos, a portion of La Peñita de Jaltemba, and La Colonia. She says that one of her first goals will be to have the beaches in Jaltemba Bay certified as “Clean Beaches.” A goal that I am sure is shared, by everyone in the community of Jaltemba Bay!

Los Ayala is often described as “A small town, with a big heart,” but I suspect a more apt description is “Los Ayala is a small town who is blessed, with a Juez with a big heart.”

Fun “Romy” Facts

  • Born and raised in Tepic, the capital of Nayarit
  • She grew up playing on Los Ayala beach, as her family owned a vacation home in Los Ayala, forty-two years ago
  • She has lived in Los Ayala on a full-time basis for twelve years
  • She is married to a charming Canadian man, has two beautiful children and an adorable dog
  • She loves fashion, especially shoes but she will not reveal just how many pairs of shoes she owns
  • She is studying to be a Notario
  • Favorite Food: Mexican & Italian
  • Favorite Activities: Watching movies with the children
  • Favorite Movies: “The Notebook” and “The Last of the Mohicans” the latter which she has seen fifteen times and she still cries at the ending.

In the Fall of 2011, Romy was elected to the position of Regidora for Jaltemba Bay and she graduated with her degree in law in the summer of 2012. Miguel Sillas, is now serving as Juez of Los Ayala.

Congratulations to both!

This article was originally published January 1, 2011 on Magical Los Ayala.

The collections for Los Ayala’s infrastructure project continue… Miguel Sillas, Los Ayala’s Juez, brought the amount raised to date, to just over $150,000 pesos. Miguel has been going door-to-door to collect the infrastructure assessment from property owners in Los Ayala, and will continue to do so until we fulfill our commitment, which was to raise 25% of the cost ($250,000 pesos). The great news is that there has not been one break in the new 800 meter line since it was installed in March 2012.

Romy has submitted a project for the andadors (walkways leading to the beach) in Los Ayala to be redone, hopefully by next February.

The construction of Malecon in La Peñita has been delayed a little because all studies presented to Semarnat have to be sent to Semarnat in Mexico City. Romy advises that they are just waiting for a positive response to start the project, and while she is not sure how much longer the delay will be, she is hopeful that the project will commence in a couple of weeks.

Years ago, three of us started up a soccer program here in Sicamous, British Columbia. I ended up running it for years after my kids grew up and graduated. Since I stopped, the equipment has been sitting here waiting for someone to use it. I got this idea to donate it to Los Ayala a few years ago and finally got in down there.

The Los Ayala soccer (futbol) team is looking for financial help to cover the cost of their jerseys. I had about 20 pinnies in the bins which are good for practices only. The soccer field at this point is just an empty lot at the south end of Los Ayala. Nothing on it yet. For now, they are using all the pylons I brought down. So for those sports-minded snowbirds, this is a neat project to donate to.

Pictured: Myself (left); Miguel, the mayor of Los Ayala (right); and the soccer coaches and team members.

This story was submitted by one of our readers. If you want to join in the fun and share your stories and photos of Jaltemba Bay, Mexico, please email them to Tosia@JaltembaBayLife.com

 

In Chelsea’s Mexican Musings, a Canadian teen reflects on her life experiences in Los Ayala, Nayarit, Mexico.

The social life in Mexico is a lot different then in Canada. In Mexico my friends and I chat “face-to-face” a lot more. In Canada, my friends and I chat mostly by text messaging or over the internet. I have to say that I like chatting “face-to-face” a lot more!

I may not see my friends in Mexico as much as I would like to, but I sure have strong friendships with them. One of the things I have noticed is that when I hang out with my friends in Mexico, there is always something to do! We are always busy walking around, playing soccer, shopping, swimming and much more.

One of my favourite things to do with my friends in Mexico, is to go four wheeling on the back roads up in the mountains, and on the the quieter country-like streets in Los Ayala. There is always something to do!

During my first few weeks in our home in Los Ayala, making new friends was hard at first because of the language barrier, but I worked through it. So far I have been doing pretty well with maintaining my Spanish and I am learning the slang, to help me chat with my friends from Mexico over Facebook. One of my closest friends from Mexico is Julio Carrillo, and when ever I am down there we hang out 24/7! I would say that he is one of my closest friends, out of all my friends. It just goes to show that you can make friends anywhere, no matter what country they are from, or what language they speak!

Cheers,
ChElSeA SwAnSoN

About the Author: Hi my name is Chelsea Swanson and I’m thirteen years old. I have one brother named Chase who is eleven years old, who enjoys computers and designing videos. He is very creative with that sort of stuff. My Moms name is Rhonda and my Dads name is Mark, but everyone calls him Tony.

My dad works for Argo Road Maintenance and my Mom operates a daycare at home. We live in a small town called Kamloops which is located in British Columbia and has about 85,000 residents.

My favourite sports are volleyball and swimming. Some day I hope to be competing in the Olympics for swimming and to win a Gold medal! My favourite foods are shrimp tacos from Rosita’s 1 on Los Ayala beach (you can only get these in Mexico!), mango’s and hot sauce. My number one goal in life is to travel the world, and I’m keen on spending lots of time in Australia, the Mediterranean and Asia.

When I’m older I hope to have my own fashion line, or my own surf shop in Sayulita. Some things I love to do in my spare time include drawing, hanging out with friends, listening to music and talking with my Mom. I really have a passion for music. One of my favourite types of music is Mexican music. My dream when I was younger was to be Brittany Spears. I have even wrote my own lyrics and sheet music on the guitar. I don’t think I could live without music!

Some of the things I will be writing about in my column is my experiences in living in Los Ayala, why my family lives there, what the culture is like to me, and much more. When I’m older I hope to be living in Mexico, I think it has been a great experience! LOL

This article was originally published November 1, 2011 on Magical Los Ayala.

If you want to join in the fun and share your stories and photos of Jaltemba Bay, Mexico, please email them to Tosia@JaltembaBayLife.com

Between January and August 2012, Jaltemba Bay Life received more visits and pageviews than all of 2011 combined. So far this year, the number of visits are up a whopping 96% and pageviews are up 73% over last year, and the average number of new visitors is 43%. The majority of our visitors come from Mexico, Canada and the United States, but our website is also viewed in Russia, United Kingdom, Italy, India, Belgium, Germany and 119 other countries around the world.

One of our main goals, in addition to providing the latest news and information, is to promote Rincón de Guayabitos, La Peñita and Los Ayala, as well as the neighboring communities via our website, newsletter, blog and forum. To help draw new visitors to our area, we offer a Hotel & Rental Directory, a Real Estate Directory and a Business Directory which includes a list of restaurants; classes and workshops; home, pool and garden stores; shops and galleries, along with many other businesses.

The good news is that visitors (and locals alike) are using these directories on a daily basis to find and book a place to stay, make dinner reservations and contact businesses about products and services. How do we know? Because compared to last year’s numbers, hotel and rental reservation inquiries are up 66% and business inquiries are up nearly 43% percent (see chart above). In August alone, we received 77 reservation inquiries and 32 business inquiries… and high season hasn’t even begun yet!

Our website is a great resource for anyone who lives in and/or visits the Jaltemba Bay area. It is filled with in-depth information about Rincón de Guayabitos, La Peñita and Los Ayala, nine interactive town maps, directions, an emergency phone directory, a complete travel tips guide with required documents and customs regulations, a list of tours and activities, a community calendar and forum that are free for everyone to use, and we have our own weather station that tracks up-to-the-minute weather conditions as well as archival data. These pages are being viewed thousands of times throughout the year.

We want to take this opportunity to thank you for your continued support and help in making Jaltemba Bay Life so popular and grow so quickly.

If you’d like more information about adding your property or business to our directories, email Allyson@JaltembaBayLife.com. And to read any of the pages mentioned here, visit Jaltemba Bay Life.

In Chelsea’s Mexican Musings, a Canadian teen reflects on her life experiences in Los Ayala, Nayarit, Mexico.

My first trip to Guaybitos was a little scary because I had to take a colectivo to get there. The colectivo is the local shuttle-like bus that transports people between the towns in Jaltemba Bay. It is also called a combi, and sometimes they serve as taxis. I was nervous because I had never been on a colectivo in Mexico.

I waited along the side of the main road in Los Ayala with several other people until a colectivo drove by and picked us up. I handed the driver $7 pesos, which is just $55 cents in Canada! I entered the colectivo along with the crowd of people who were waiting with me, and together we drove up the windy road heading to Rincón de Guyabitos. During the ride, you pass by the most amazing view of the beach in Guayabitos!

When we arrive in Guayabitos and start driving down the bumpy brick road of Avenida de Sol, the colectivo is already full of people, but the driver keeps picking up more more people! So for fun we start counting how many people fit into the colectivo. At one time I think we reached 21 people! People were sitting on other peoples laps, sitting on the floor and half standing bent over. Too close for everyone’s comfort, but everyone was smiling and happy. A somewhat squishy experience!

When you want to get off the colectivo, you yell at the driver ”aqui por favor!” and he stops and everyone spills out of the colectivo just to let one or two people out, and then everyone piles back in once the people have gotten off at their stop. People are still sitting on each others laps!

When you arrive in Guayabitos there are many restaurants and little shops you can go to. My favourite things to do in Guayabitos are walking up and down the main road window shopping and walking down the really long sandy beach.

Rincón de Guayabitos is Los Ayala’s neighbour and the town with the most restaurants and discos. The other towns in Jaltemba Bay are La Peñita and La Colonia. I like Los Ayala because of the beautiful beach, but I like Rincón de Guayabitos because of the night life and how many people are there all the time. So I like Los Ayala best during the day, and Guayabitos best during the night!

Cheers,
ChElSeA SwAnSoN

About the Author: Hi my name is Chelsea Swanson and I’m thirteen years old. I have one brother named Chase who is eleven years old, who enjoys computers and designing videos. He is very creative with that sort of stuff. My Moms name is Rhonda and my Dads name is Mark, but everyone calls him Tony.

My dad works for Argo Road Maintenance and my Mom operates a daycare at home. We live in a small town called Kamloops which is located in British Columbia and has about 85,000 residents.

My favourite sports are volleyball and swimming. Some day I hope to be competing in the Olympics for swimming and to win a Gold medal! My favourite foods are shrimp tacos from Rosita’s 1 on Los Ayala beach (you can only get these in Mexico!), mango’s and hot sauce. My number one goal in life is to travel the world, and I’m keen on spending lots of time in Australia, the Mediterranean and Asia.

When I’m older I hope to have my own fashion line, or my own surf shop in Sayulita. Some things I love to do in my spare time include drawing, hanging out with friends, listening to music and talking with my Mom. I really have a passion for music. One of my favourite types of music is Mexican music. My dream when I was younger was to be Brittany Spears. I have even wrote my own lyrics and sheet music on the guitar. I don’t think I could live without music!

Some of the things I will be writing about in my column is my experiences in living in Los Ayala, why my family lives there, what the culture is like to me, and much more. When I’m older I hope to be living in Mexico, I think it has been a great experience! LOL

This article was originally published October 1, 2011 on Magical Los Ayala.

If you want to join in the fun and share your stories and photos of Jaltemba Bay, Mexico, please email them to Tosia@JaltembaBayLife.com

Check your shoes for scorpions… and while you’re at it, check your hat, too!

Everyone tells you this, and most of us do it at least a couple of times before we become lazy, having not found or seen a scorpion, so we quit looking and stopped banging our footwear.

Well let me tell you that it is good advice that should be religiously followed and expanded to include a couple of other suggestions as well, for example:

One morning, when I was living in Guayabitos I went to the Super Pop-In to pick up a few groceries. I grabbed my sun hat (which I always leave hanging on a hook on the outside patio), and off I went on my bicycle to pick up some milk, bananas, juice and bread. While cycling it felt like it I had something on my head. I thought it might be the string from my hat or perhaps the elastic which held my hair in a ponytail. I rubbed my head irritably a couple of times, and soon forgot about it.

While shopping at the Super Pop-In, I took my hat off, as I still felt like something was in my hair! Nothing! I collected and paid for the groceries, and rode home quickly; thoroughly enjoying the breeze riding a bicycle creates. Upon arriving home I unloaded the groceries and proceeded to the front door of the house. I opened the door, set the groceries on the island in the kitchen, took off my hat and let out an ear splitting squeal. Why? A frog actually jumped off of my head and onto the floor! I could not believe it. The frog must have been in my hat from the time I left the house, and apparently it stayed there, quite comfortable on my head while I cycled and shopped. I wonder if the frog was sitting on my head when I paid for my groceries, and if the grocery clerk noticed it, but decided it was best not to say anything.

By the way my good friend, the frog may still be somewhere in that house in Guayabitos as after it leaped to the floor, even though I searched high and low I could not find it anywhere.

The Land Crab Incident

While staying at the same house in Guayabitos, as I was trying to exit the front door I encountered a bright red and blue land crab trying to get into our house. The feisty crab was almost the size of a dinner plate and his pincers were humongous. I let out a vociferous howl before slamming the door shut and calling Robert, my husband, to handle the situation. I had heard about these critters before. How they burrow under the ground for winter and spring, emerge during the first rain to mate and head down to the sea to lay their eggs on the second rain, repeating the process throughout the season. If your heart is set on a beachfront home in Jaltemba Bay you should know that these land crabs are part of the package during the rainy season.

Robert came running thinking that perhaps I had been bitten by a scorpion and laughed when I told him that there was a giant crab just outside our door. Imagine my glee when he opened the door and spotted the giant crab trying to get into our house and he promptly slammed the door shut again! He ran to get a broom and dustpan, thinking that he would simply sweep up the errant creature and carry it outside to dispose of it in the empty field across the street. He quickly learned that these crabs are extremely hard to catch, because they run fast and sideways. Furthermore they are almost impossible to pick up with your hands, without being the victim of their pincers, and this crabs pincers were humongous! By this time, I was helping him catch the crab, and with much comical effort we managed to get him into the dustpan, hold him with the broom and let him loose in the field. However, in the panicked crab catching process, we had locked ourselves out of the house and had to borrow a ladder from our neighbor who was thoroughly amused by our antics.

Turtles walk the streets of Guayabitos

One morning while walking my dog Tippy along the lateral that parallels the highway, a good sized green turtle, about as big as of a roast pan, crossed my path heading across the road. Fortunately I had Tippy on a leash. This was about seven blocks from any water that I was aware of, so I am not sure what the turtle was doing out so far and I am also happy to say, that no turtles ever showed up at the front door of our house.

La Peñita has ants and crocodiles

Prior to the above encounters, we had spent a month living in enchanting La Peñita… where the extent of my wildlife encounters were limited to small armies of teensy weensy ants, beautiful stray horses and the amiable pelicans that hang out on the beach. I had been warned that there were crocodiles in the estuary there, but I never saw one. It was years later when I came across this big beauty in a neighboring town.

It’s a jungle in Los Ayala

Since then I have moved to Los Ayala, primarily because of that frog that tried to take up permanent residence in my hair, I have had even more wildlife encounters!

We moved into the home we purchased in Los Ayala, smack in the middle of the rainy season. I quickly learned that living in Los Ayala is like living in a jungle! The rainy season brings abundance and a huge variety of insects. Some of the insects are quite beautiful, like the saucer sized white butterflies. Some like the rhinoceros style beetles are downright ugly but interesting, and amazing to see… as long as they do not enter my house.

The Tarantula

That first summer here I found a small tarantula in our swimming pool one morning. It was black, hairy and about two inches wide, and definitely a tarantula. Robert scooped it out of the pool and tossed it over the side of our house. Problem solved? Not! It proceeded to crawl up the outside wall to our house no doubt in an attempt to resume its refreshing dip in our pool. I was having none of this, so I went outside to chase it away. I began by throwing pebbles near it, with the hopes that it would run away as quickly as it could on its long black hairy legs. It refused to budge, so I took a branch, upon to which it cooperatively climbed. Then I tossed the stick adorned by the tarantula, as far away from our house as I could, and I’m happy to say that I have not seen it since then.

At that time, I was quite surprised to see a tarantula here in Jaltemba Bay. I looked up tarantulas on the internet and found the following: Tarantulas are large hairy spiders that live in warm areas around the world and one of their favorite habitats is tropical rain forest. Since we live in a tropical rain forest; I guess I should not have been surprised.

Tarantulas are carnivores and they eat insects, like grasshoppers and beetles, and other arachnids, small reptiles (like lizards and snakes), amphibians (like frogs), and some even eat small birds. All of which abound where we live! Tarantulas kill their prey using venomous fangs; they also inject a chemical into the prey that dissolves the flesh. Tarantulas can crush their prey using powerful mouthparts. Apparently they are nocturnal, and I’m diurnal which would explain why I have never seen one.

Fact: No person has ever died of a tarantula bite and though we have not seen one since, to this day I always look in the pool before jumping in!

The local Iguanas

In Los Ayala, quite a few iguanas hang about the neighborhood. Our neighbor has a large grey iguana, about four feet in length hanging about his house. It hides most of the day, but it comes out every morning to bask in the sun. It looks like a crocodile to me. One day I ventured into our garage to get some paint and had the dickens scared out of me by an iguana which made our garage its new home. I think my shriek scared the iguana, too. One year a rather elusive large, plate sized frog also took up residence in our garage. Now when I need to fetch an item from the garage, I do so with great reluctance. Since moving to Mexico I seem to holler a lot more!

We also have a green iguana which lives in the tree beside our house, and on occasion he likes to hang around on our patio. It is only about a foot and a half long, but full-grown Green Iguanas are typically between four and six feet in length, and they have been known to grow up to seven feet long. This includes the tail, however, which can make up about half the body length and, in addition to its green color, it has black stripes. Green Iguanas, not surprisingly, are green in color, but can be found in many different shades ranging from bright green to a dull grayish-green. Their skin is rough with a set of pointy scales along the iguana’s back. Green Iguanas have long fingers and claws to help them climb and grasp. On occasion, I can see them climbing up the walls of our neighbor’s house or hiding in the treetops. I later learned that Iguanas spend most of their time high in the jungle canopy, about forty to fifty feet above the ground. If you are in the area and do not see any, you just need to go to Sayulita and there you will find a small refuge containing at least thirty Iguanas of various sizes and colors, although you will need to look very carefully, as they are masters of disguise!

The Boa Constrictor

One fine day, some of the kids in the neighborhood who know I love to photograph wildlife called me to grab my camera and come see something. I did not understand what I was going to see and photograph but they were pretty excited and so was I. Since living here I have become a lot less skittish about insects and such, probably because I have come to love capturing their unique beauty in my photography. Imagine my surprise when they led me to a snake, a boa constrictor, just one block from my house. The boa was about twelve feet long and twelve inches around, and casually sauntering up Madre Perla, seemingly oblivious to the commotion it was causing in the neighborhood. At the time I did not know it was a boa and I thought it may be a poisonous snake so I kept my distance while taking photos. The snake took an interest in a goat peering out of a doorway and slithered up to say hello. They sniffed each other and then the snake went its merry way.

Since that time my neighbor has called me out in the middle of the evening to take photos of rattlesnake. This one was in a bad mood as seen by its hissy fits, and my nervousness is seen in the quality of the photo, but hey I have photo of a rattlesnake!

What else is out there?

A friend told me that there are boas and wild boars, and even black panthers, Black widow spiders and badgers in the rain forest around us, too. She tells me that there are lots of wild boars living in the jungle on the south side of the fence that surrounds the mountain in Punta Raza territory, and since these guys can be dangerous, I plan to avoid this area in future.

Since living here I have seen a grey fox, flying squirrels so-called because they hop from tree to tree, rabbits (go figure!), armadillos, crocodiles and coatimundi, and I have been introduced to a rich new world of insects and birds. I’ve also learned to appreciate the spectacular beauty of living in a rain forest. Jaltemba Bay is truly one of nature’s wonders!

P.S. There is no need to visit San Blas for the jungle tour; it’s a jungle out there, right here in Jaltemba Bay!

by Christina Stobbs

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 Allyson@JaltembaBayLife.com

In Chelsea’s Mexican Musings, a Canadian teen reflects on her life experiences in Los Ayala, Nayarit, Mexico.

I was just six years old the first time I came to Mexico. My parents decided that for our first trip to Mexico it would be best for my brother and I if we stayed at an all-inclusive hotel in Puerto Vallarta – just so it was not such a big change for us.

And the experience there was wonderful! We learned how to say our first words in Spanish which were “uno Coca Cola por favor!” We swam in the pool all of the time, saw our first iguana, and I even got my hair braided. Some of the things I like about Puerto Vallarta is that it is busy, and that you can always find something to do. The beaches there are very busy, but the experience was amazing! And that’s where it all started.

The next year my parents decided that we should take another vacation in Mexico, but this time we would try somewhere a little different. My mom started looking at all the small beach towns close to Puerto Vallarta and she found a small town called Los Ayala, and a place for us to stay that was called Bungalows Los Iguanas. She soon found out that the owner of Bungalows Las Iguanas was from Vernon, a small town in British Columbia, Canada. Well, Los Ayala sounded very nice to my brother and I. So in January 2006 our family headed off to Los Ayala. This experience was a complete change from our holiday at the all-inclusive hotel in Puerto Vallarta. We had to buy our own food, plates, cups and do our own laundry. We even had to entertain ourselves! But the experience was great!

Some of the things I love most about Los Ayala is that the town is very small, so everyone knows everyone, and everyone is very welcoming and friendly! The beach is great to swim at and it is quiet, plus everything is within walking distance. Los Ayala is close to two other small beach towns called Guayabitos and La Peñita, and it is real easy to take a taxi between the towns. But for our first time there we did not explore any towns beside Los Ayala. We just had a great vacation!

Cheers,
ChElSeA SwAnSoN

About the Author: Hi my name is Chelsea Swanson and I’m thirteen years old. I have one brother named Chase who is eleven years old, who enjoys computers and designing videos. He is very creative with that sort of stuff. My Moms name is Rhonda and my Dads name is Mark, but everyone calls him Tony.

My dad works for Argo Road Maintenance and my Mom operates a daycare at home. We live in a small town called Kamloops which is located in British Columbia and has about 85,000 residents.

My favourite sports are volleyball and swimming. Some day I hope to be competing in the Olympics for swimming and to win a Gold medal! My favourite foods are shrimp tacos from Rosita’s 1 on Los Ayala beach (you can only get these in Mexico!), mango’s and hot sauce. My number one goal in life is to travel the world, and I’m keen on spending lots of time in Australia, the Mediterranean and Asia.

When I’m older I hope to have my own fashion line, or my own surf shop in Sayulita. Some things I love to do in my spare time include drawing, hanging out with friends, listening to music and talking with my Mom. I really have a passion for music. One of my favourite types of music is Mexican music. My dream when I was younger was to be Brittany Spears. I have even wrote my own lyrics and sheet music on the guitar. I don’t think I could live without music!

Some of the things I will be writing about in my column is my experiences in living in Los Ayala, why my family lives there, what the culture is like to me, and much more. When I’m older I hope to be living in Mexico, I think it has been a great experience! LOL

This article was originally published September 1, 2011 on Magical Los Ayala.

If you want to join in the fun and share your stories and photos of Jaltemba Bay, Mexico, please email them to Tosia@JaltembaBayLife.com

Lori Schneider Wood, aka Los Ayala’s Pippi Longstocking, leads an informal group on hikes to Punta Raza during the spring months. The group typically includes myself, Linda Jeannotte and other women enjoying vacation in Los Ayala who are up for a little adventure. We typically bring along a few bags to pick up any litter found on the beach. We also follow Lori’s hiking mantra which is to leave nothing behind but your footprints. After the hike, we stop to enjoy a leisurely breakfast at one of the local restaurants in El Monteón and take the colectivo back to Los Ayala.

Romy Mora, Regidora Jaltemba Bay, joined our group of gals this one spring day for the hike to El Monteón from Los Ayala via Punta Raza. She kept up with our group of diehard hikers just fine, although I do recall her looking for a taxi along the way.

About the Photographer: Christina Stobbs is a writer and photographer who lives in Los Ayala year round with her husband Robert. As a photographer, she feels fortunate to live in an area so rich in flora and fauna, and abundant in natural beauty. She enjoys landscape and wildlife photography, and has a fondness for pelicans. Most recently, she starting selling her photos with stock companies Dreamstime and Big Stock Photos. As a writer, she states that living in Mexico is perfect because each and every day is full of surprises. To view more of Christina’s work, click here.

This story was submitted by one of our readers. If you want to join in the fun and share your stories and photos of Jaltemba Bay, Mexico, please email them to Tosia@JaltembaBayLife.com

The Great Egrets in their La Peñita rookery provided us many hours of entertainment several mornings in April. Photos were not easy to take (sitting on a tree branch is not very comfy).

Getting the right exposure for the white birds is always a challenge. During their courting, breeding, and nesting season, the egrets display beautiful plumes. They can also take on bright, greenish colours around the eyes, known as lores. The females stand on the trees and await the males. As the males begin arriving, they might carry a twig (or pluck one off the tree) which they present to the female (the male does the nest building). There is some dancing and feather display and fending-off of other “suitors”.


Great Egrets (with top photo) in courtship display in the rookery near the La Peñita RV Park

A bonus to our day with the egrets was that we were able to photograph these Boat-billed Herons. The large bill serves as a resonator, and may produce single and multiple bill-pops resembling handclaps. While feeding, the Boat-billed Heron often utters a frog-like croak. During the day, they perch in trees, among dense foliage in the mangroves.


Boat-billed Herons taken near La Peñita RV Park

On several hikes in the hills of Los Ayala, we have photographed the Citreoline Trogon which is endemic to Mexico. The Citreoline Trogon is found in tropical dry forests. Although splendidly colored, they are much easier to hear than to see. Their hollow hoots have a ventriloquial quality, and it can be very hard to locate a perched bird until it moves. Trogons live in pairs or solitarily, scanning the foliage for caterpillars and other largish arthropods, snatching these prey from leaves or limbs by hovering. At other times they fly-catch with short sallies, or visit fruiting trees. The sighting of a Citreoline Trogon is a magical experience.


Citroline Trogan taken in the hills above Los Ayala

We did spot a Mountain Trogon near Kissing Beach in Los Ayala but he proved to be camera shy. So, our next year’s challenge is to capture a photo of the Mountain Trogon.

About the Authors and Photographers: Retirees Ken and Bea Rauch live in Cobourg, Ontario, and spend several months a year in the Fall and again in the Spring in La Peñita. They have been visiting the Jaltemba Bay area since 2004, and enjoy bird watching, exploring the area on foot, taking photographs and writing. They spend time watching sunrises and sunsets, enjoying Mexican cuisine and making footprints in the sand. When back in Canada, they continue to pursue their passion writing, and photographing birds, butterflies and flowers in their gardens.

Often they are asked for the secret to discovering so many of nature’s hidden treasures. While there probably is no pat answer, they like to think it’s because they are in the right place at the right time, are alert to their surroundings, have quick enough reflexes to press the shutter release and then, cross their fingers that the subject is in focus.

The heart of any country is its people and they love to get to know the local people. They have learned to embrace the Mexican culture and enjoy the slow-paced energy of its people. They maintain that the Mexican sun is eclipsed only by the warmth of the Mexican people.

This story was submitted by one of our readers. If you want to join in the fun and share your stories and photos of Jaltemba Bay, Mexico, please email them to Tosia@JaltembaBayLife.com

For me, the rainy season brings both rewards and challenges, some of which I shall recount here… You be the Judge and decide which is which.

Let’s begin with the glorious greening of the surrounding countryside, the cooling off effect of the rains (as temporary as that is), and the re-emergence of a number of unusual critters.

Speaking of critters, I found an interesting bug this morning which resembled some kind of prehistoric beetle who could steal the starring role in the next Jurassic Park feature. When I attempted to pick him up via my usual bug gathering strategy, which involves sweeping the bug up oh so gently with a miniature broom into an equally miniature dust pan, he actually hopped out of the pan and into my hair. Yes, you bet, I hollered! And yes, I caught him and threw him over the roof into the jungle. He blew his one and only chance as a supermodel!

I can hear the music from the celebrations of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the ceremony for the new town church to be built in Los Ayala emanating from the town plaza. I can hear this at my house located seven blocks away. It sounds like quite the celebration! Romy Mora, Regidor of Jaltemba Bay; Miguel Sillas, Juez of Los Ayala; and several local folks told me that everyone in Los Ayala enjoyed the celebration which included free food and drink. Si, the good life in Mexico!

Actually, every day this week Los Ayala has been celebrating something as evidenced by the thunderous booms of fire bombs going off hourly throughout the day and night. These “bombas” as they are called in Spanish don’t make any spectacular fireworks; they just scare the bejeezus out of everyone and create immense smoke clouds. What is the point?

When I first heard the fire bombs going off, I thought that they were perhaps gunshots and I was worried that someone was hunting my Black-bellied Whistling Ducks, who have been flying in flocks all over Los Ayala for the past couple of months. It turns out that what I thought might be gunshots were just the fire bombs!

Speaking of fire, we are treated to a magnificent bonfire almost every single night in Los Ayala. I suspect that the fires are lit only at night because of the existing bylaw against burning in Jaltemba Bay. It looks like when the cops are sleeping, anything goes! That is another thing I wonder about. Everything is so dry before the rainy season hits, yet the almost nightly bonfires are always contained. I’m sure if I set a match to the tree next door, which currently serves as the primary residence for Los Ayala’s entire bat populace, it would go up in flames instantly, likely taking my Palapa along with it!

Los Ayala’s disco “Green Please” which is open about five days a year, if that, seems to have new owners and is newly renovated and expanded. It is now called the “Queen Lizard Beach Bar & More”… It’s three times the size, and the flyer posted on the front door boasts of a swimming pool and upcoming foam parties, and it is still hardly ever open for business. Go figure!

Speaking of lizards, a rather spectacular and exotic-looking young green iguana has taken to visiting me at my house. He typically visits on a weekly basis and he is definitely supermodel material! Also in for the casting call is a rather plain black iguana who has taken to sunbathing on the roof of my garage. I want to send him packing because he does his business all over the roof, an eccentricity I could forgive if he was photogenic, but quite frankly he isn’t.

You wouldn’t know it from their ferocious appearance, but iguanas are herbivores. Their diet is plant based, and consists primarily of flowers, leaves, stems and fruit. Who knew that these fierce looking creatures, are in fact gentle vegetarians? I wonder if I could lure a few more green iguanas to hang about my house by using a vegetarian pizza spiced with a few leaves as bait?

Speaking of pizza, the pizza joint which opened in Los Ayala during Semana Santa is still open for business! Sadly, “Tony Tequila’s” is closed until the winter season, which means I have to head all the way to Restaurant Charly in Guayabitos for a shrimp burger. I have to be pretty famished to gather enough motivation to hop on the colectivo in this heat! A ride this time of year is akin to being stuffed into a small sauna on wheels with at least ten other people.

Speaking of Guayabitos, I am secretly delighted that a Subway has opened on the main Avenida. Never mind that I have only dined at Subway in Canada a total of two times during my lifetime, if that. I simply love the fact that I can get a gringo food fix in town! Yes, of course I love tortas and Mexican cuisine, but until you live here year-round you can’t truly appreciate the pleasure in being able to satisfy those expat cravings. And I bet the Mexican expats in Canada and the USA are just as thrilled when a Taco restaurant opens up in their neighborhood! Plus, the word in town is that it is air-conditioned! If this is true you may find me hanging out at Subway quite a bit this summer! And before you judge me too quickly, know this, a friend who lives in La Penita heard a rumor that a Subway will be opening there too, and she is eagerly looking forward to it.

Recently, there were a few days when the Black-bellied Whistling Ducks, were few and far between in Los Ayala and I suspect that it was because of all fire bomb activity that mimicked gunfire! I suppose that is a good thing because I have not accomplished much since the ducks arrived in town. One morning I ran out of my house in my pjs because I had spotted the ducks in a tree by my house, only to discover upon arrival, that my camera battery was dead. I sprinted (yes, sprinting was excruciating in this heat) back into the house to get a charged battery and ran all the way back, excitedly, thinking that, finally, for sure this will be my winning National Geographic photo only to have the ducks fly away as soon as I arrived. By that time I needed another dunk in the pool.

I actually strained a muscle in my neck from carrying around my camera with the long lens which weighs in at over a kilo. I bought the camera and long lens from Ken and Bea Rauch, Jaltemba Bay’s renowned bird photographers. Thank you, Ken and Bea. Although I have yet to do justice to these birds with your lens, I will eventually! Every single morning, for three weeks now, I carry the camera loaded with the longs lens with me while I tidy the house, dust, and water the plants. This takes about two hours because I run outside on the terraces and up to the rooftop looking for these extremely photogenic ducks every five or ten minutes. Exactly what is the result of my bird photography efforts? I have one good shot of the flying ducks and a very annoying kink in my neck, that’s it.

Green Parrotlets are everywhere in Los Ayala these days however they are flying solo or in pairs, instead of their usual flocks, which means they are even more impossible to photograph, even with a long lens. They are joined by equally small, swallows flying all about town.

I am awakened every morning at precisely 4am by the sweet chirps of the swallows that no doubt are enjoying dining on the assortment of beetles so prevalent in Jaltemba Bay at the beginning of the rainy season. Butterflies, moths and dragonflies are also seen fluttering all over town during the day, and at night fireflies light up the sky!

Two beautiful Black-throated Magpie Jays are back in our neighborhood, and the Mexican Chachalacas have moved in permanently, no doubt thinking Los Ayala is their “Garden of Eden” while they feast on yucca fruit, mangoes, papayas and bananas found on the trees throughout town.

At night, the town bats proliferate in numbers and I’m not sure I am so fond of these big guys because they drop the pods from the neighborhood trees all over my house. The rain bugs holler every night and every morning, otherwise it’s pretty quiet in Los Ayala!

I no longer need to look at Jaltemba Bay Life’s weather report because after living here for a while I know all the signs that the first heavy rains are just around the corner, and they are all here. Yesterday, in the early morning hours I could hear the croaks of the multitudes of frogs who claim the easterly flatlands at the bottom of Villas del Tropico as their habitat. I also hear the incessant drone of insects that I can’t identify. At night, if I turn on the lights on my rooftop palapa I am bombarded by countless flying beetles and moths so prevalent during this time of the year, so I avoid turning on the lights even if it means I may trip over a beetle. I do need to check the forum for hurricane updates because my Mom, who lives in Vancouver, calls me about every single hurricane in Mexico even if it is not on the Pacific Coast. Every morning, I find termite wings floating in our swimming pool and stuck in our window screens, which can only mean that the arrival of the big-bottomed ants which signify the beginning of the rainy season is not far off! A word to the wise… Close your windows when you first see the first termites because they can squeeze through the tiny holes in the screen!

That said, It is not really hot here until the day the big-bottomed flying ants arrive in Jaltemba Bay, and they will soon, by the thousands! On arrival day, these critters are found lining all the streets and beaches of Jaltemba Bay, and on the patios and terraces of homes which is why it is a good idea to have screens on your windows! The flying ants mate on this special day and as is frequently seen in nature, the male ants die shortly after the copulation is complete. The females lose their wings and lay eggs to start a new ant colony. No wonder we have so many ants here!

This annual natural phenomena is commonly associated with the true start of the “hot” season and it occurs more or less in unison with the “rain bird” phenomena which starts sometime in early June, when each evening one hears the unique crooning melody of critters that are sometimes referred to as rain birds. The sounds are actually produced by insects called “chicharras” which lasts until the day the flying ants arrive.

Jaltemba Bay is at its most beautiful during the rainy season, and the storms are truly magnificent. The rolling thunder and lightning shows and the monsoon rains that accompany the storms are something that should be experienced by everyone, before folks in town start charging a rainy season supplement!

Oh yes, I forgot to say that another wonderful and beneficial effect of the rainy season is the fact that I can loll around the pool all day long and no one will think the worse of me. After all, pool lolling is the best preventative measure for heat stroke. A gal has got to do everything necessary to survive!

Yes, it is hot and buggy, but Jaltemba Bay is a photographer’s paradise during the rainy season!

P.S. If I can’t get that photo of those beautiful Black-bellied Whistling Ducks. I can always revert to taking photos of Martin’s herd of goats, seen on their twice daily jogs to and from Villas del Tropico via Calle Pez Vela. They stay low to the ground and I can keep up with these guys!

P.P.S. Just in case you are not familiar with Martin, he is known by everyone in Los Ayala as the guy who could win 1st Place in the TV show Survivor, with ease.

by Christina Stobbs

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 Allyson@JaltembaBayLife.com

(Updated August 25) – To help you plan for the upcoming winter season, we have compiled a list of major fundraising, charity and local events that will take place in La Peñita, Rincón de Guayabitos and Los Ayala during the 2012-13 season. Please keep in mind, it is still early so some events may not be finalized yet.

You can find detailed information about these events and more on the Jaltemba Bay Community Calendar.

If you are an event organizer, please make sure your event is posted on the calendar. If you want to add additional information to what’s already posted, please email us at Allyson@JaltembaBayLife.com

September 2012

Friday, September 14
1st Annual Festival Juventud
Place: Plaza in La Peñita, 4-10pm

November 2012

Wednesday, November 14
Las Tres Amigas Kick-Off the Season Dinner Party
Place: TBD
Info: las3amigas@yahoo.ca

Wednesday-Saturday, November 14-17
Jaltemba Bay Animal Rescue (JBAR) Spay & Neuter Clinic
Place: Avenida del Sol Nuevo #39, Rincón de Guayabitos
Info: Contact Lin Chimes (linchimes@hotmail.com) or visit the Jaltemba Bay Animal Rescue (JBAR) community website.

December 2012

Wednesday, December 5
Las Tres Amigas Christmas Stocking Project
Place: Xaltemba Restaurant & Galeria, La Peñita
Info: las3amigas@yahoo.ca

Friday, December 7
Los Amigos Casino Night
Place: TBD
Info: Email losamigosdejaltemba@gmail.com or visit the Los Amigos de Jaltemba community website.

Monday, December 10
Los Amigos Open House
Place: Palapa de Guty, Circuito Libertad #4, La Penita
Info: Email losamigosdejaltemba@gmail.com or visit the Los Amigos de Jaltemba community website.

January 2013

Wednesday, January 9
Las Tres Amigas Pizza on the Plaza
Place: Near El Gigio’s, La Peñita
Info: las3amigas@yahoo.ca

Saturday, January 19
Los Amigos Jaltemba Hold ‘Em Tournament
Place: TBD
Info: Email losamigosdejaltemba@gmail.com or visit the Los Amigos de Jaltemba community website.

Tuesday, January 29
10th Annual Women to Women-Mujeres a Mujeres Fashion Show
Place: Thomas Bartlett Estate, La Peñita
Info: Contact Linda Gibbs (linda@casitadelapenita.ws) or Val Schrowe (valsway@earthlink.net), or visit www.mujeresamujeres.com

4th Annual Jaltemba Bay Rotary Club Dinner Dance
Date and location to come.
Info: Visit the Rotary Club of Jaltemba Bay community website.

February 2013

Friday-Sunday, February 1-3
5th Annual Cancer de Mama Clinic
Place: La Peñita RV Park
Info: Email cancerdemamaclinic@yahoo.ca or visit the Cancer de Mama community website.

Sunday, February 3
2nd Annual KinderAide Street Dance
Place: Petra’s Restaurant, La Peñita
Info: Contact Jane Fellows (jane.fellows@telus.net) or visit the KinderAide community website.

Wednesday, February 6
10th Annual International Margarita Challenge
Info: Contact Jim Williams (poptop_u@hotmail.com)

Thursday, February 7
Los Amigos Sock Hop
Place: TBD
Info: Email losamigosdejaltemba@gmail.com or visit the Los Amigos de Jaltemba community website.

Wednesday, February 13
Las Tres Amigas Fascinator Hat Tea
Place: TBD
Info: las3amigas@yahoo.ca

Tuesday, February 19
15th Annual / 6th Memorial “El Famoso” Horseshoe Tournament
Place: TBD
Info: Contact Jimmy Howell (barbqueguy1@yahoo.com) or Dave Howell (dhowell@calpinecontainers.com)

Sunday, February 24
Los Amigos Academy Awards Night Party
Place: Xaltemba Restaurant & Galeria, La Peñita
Info: Email losamigosdejaltemba@gmail.com or visit the Los Amigos de Jaltemba community website.

5th Annual La Casa de Los Niños Golf Tournament
Date and location to come.
Info: Contact Dave Martinez (casalodemarcos@yahoo.com) or visit the La Casa de Los Niños community website.

March 2013

Sunday, March 3
Los Amigos Community Fiesta 2013
Place: Salon de Eventos – Real de Peñas, La Peñita
Info: Email losamigosdejaltemba@gmail.com or visit the Los Amigos de Jaltemba community website.

Friday, March 8
Las Tres Amigas International Women’s Day Luncheon
Place: TBD
Info: las3amigas@yahoo.ca

14th Annual Guayafest – Annual Reunion de Amigos del Volkswagen
Date to come.
Place: Plaza in Rincón de Guayabitos

May 2013

May 10-20
Patron Saint’s Festivities of Our Lady of the Rosary in La Peñita
Place: Different locations throughout La Peñita

June 2013

7th Annual Moto Fiesta Guayabitos
Date to come (around the first weekend in June)
Place: Around the Plaza in Rincón de Guayabitos

We will update this list as we learn more.

The official Jaltemba Bay Weather Station celebrated its one-year anniversary in June, which means you can now compare temperature, wind, rainfall and other weather data for 2011 and 2012.

Here are a few weather comparisons for the month of July:

Of particular interest, is that the temperature highs and lows are the same for both 2011 and 2012: High = 89ºF (32ºC) and Low = 72ºF (22ºC). Keep in mind that the temperatures vary considerably throughout the bay area depending on where you are. Since the official Jaltemba Bay Weather Station is located near the beach in Rincón de Guayabitos, it gets cool breezes off the ocean during the day and from the mountains at night, but it does not experience the extreme heat fluctuations that are often experienced further inland.

July rainfall totals for the two years were close, but not exact. There were 26 days of measurable rainfall in 2011 and only 22 in 2012, and a total rainfall of 10.2″ (259mm) in 2011 and 11.1″ (281mm) in 2012. Remember that rainfall amounts also vary widely throughout the bay. For example, there were reports of up to 8? (200mm) of rain falling in one night this past month in La Peñita when, on the same night, less than ½” (12mm) was reported in Los Ayala.

As the rainy season continues, it is fun to watch the rainfall amounts accumulate especially when Lyle Brown, an avid sunset photographer from Rincón de Guayabitos, shows us what the weather looks like at sundown. You can check out his photos nearly every night on Jaltemba Bay Folk.

Visit the Jaltemba Bay Weather Station to view current weather conditions and archival data.

This is one of my most favourite ways to use up stale, good quality bread.

We’re blessed here in Jaltemba Bay with fine bakers who work from their kitchens and sell amazing bread at the markets or on the corners of any one of our villages. When we buy the bread I do my best to use it all while it’s still fresh, or to make croutons as it becomes stale… but sometime I just have to have this salad. Try it! You won’t be disappointed.

Italian Bread Salad

Ingredients
1 clove garlic (to rub around bowl)
1 (1 pound) loaf Italian bread or whatever you have left over
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1 cup cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 cup chopped red onion
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cups chopped fresh basil
1/8 cup chopped fresh thyme
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Directions
Rub a peeled clove of garlic around a wooden salad bowl. Pull apart or chop the bread into bite-size pieces. In the prepared salad bowl, combine the bread, tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, garlic, basil and thyme. Add enough olive oil and vinegar to lightly coat, toss and serve. And the most important step is EAT AND ENJOY!

Photo from cookingchanneltv.com

This recipe was submitted by one of our readers. If you want to join in the fun and share your stories, favorite recipes and photos of Jaltemba Bay, Mexico, please email them to Tosia@JaltembaBayLife.com

It’s hot and dusty in Los Ayala. Just how dusty you ask? Well, I dust our home every single morning and by mid-afternoon it looks like I have not dusted for at least a week. What’s the point?

During the few weeks before the torrential downpours of the rainy season arrive, my husband, Robert, has to vacuum our swimming pool daily, sometimes twice a day. You see, gusts of wind, passing vehicles and large flying insects create humongous dust clouds that land in our swimming pool. This fine dust does not settle to the bottom of the pool like respectful detritus, rather its tiny particles are so teensy-weensy that they remain suspended in the water, causing the dreaded “cloudy water effect.”

My husband tells me that this condition can only be remedied with a scientific approach which involves the addition of a clarifying liquid, recirculating the pool water for several hours and waiting patiently for the particles to join forces to form grander, denser particles that have been forced together into units large enough to sink to the bottom; at which time he can vacuum them out of the pool. If he slacks off from his pool vacuuming duties, the water in our pool quickly turns a murky green color which acts as a pheromone for a myriad of insects. And because it is so humid at this time of year and unless you live seconds away from the beach, several daily dunks in the pool are essential to surviving the summer heat. So there is no slacking off allowed when it comes to keeping up with vacuuming our swimming pool.

It is only the beginning of summer and I am already using the air conditioning from 9pm-2am every evening even though I know it will cost us dearly, literally. Each and every day, I’m dripping sweat by 6am. I repeat the experience throughout the day until the final straw, which occurs precisely at 8pm when I can usually be found winding down by watching the news or reading a book. I have the ceiling fans running at high speed and a portable fan, also running at maximum velocity, directed at my face. I also have an ice pack wrapped around my neck or draped across my sweaty forehead. All to no avail! (Sometimes I don’t even last until 8pm!) Robert oftentimes calls me to dinner (yes, my husband is a true sweetheart) and I come to the dinner table even though I am not the least bit hungry. In fact it’s way too hot to eat anything but mangoes and ice cream. I seat myself at the table, start dripping and I ask, “Do you mind if I hop into the pool for just a minute before we eat?”

Just FYI, the times I find myself drenched in sweat coincide with the humidity level reaching the high 90s. I jumped into the pool at 7am this morning seeking some relief from the heat and I expect that I will be jumping into the pool again at 8pm tonight. I repeat the process on a daily basis throughout the hot summer months.

Yes, I realize that I am indeed very fortunate to have a swimming pool, and you might ask why I don’t just loll about in the pool all day. Well, I have to work… yes, even while living in paradise. And as much as I love the idea, I would not get anything done and my house would resemble one large dust bunny.

By the way it is also way too hot to cook, however if you can believe it, my husband still wants to eat! I think I will start sending him to “Ellaine’s Kitchen.” Ellaine is my neighbor from Alabama who lives around the corner. She loves to cook and continues to do so even in this weather! (Ellaine if you are reading this I’m willing to pay for the service. And if for some reason you can’t fit him in at the dinner table on a nightly basis throughout the summer, let me know!) If she declines his company, I’ll offer to send him to one of the beachfront restaurants on Los Ayala beach which thankfully are open all year round most every day. Otherwise, I will be serving my mate his usual blender breakfast for his morning meal and a fruit smoothie or fresh sliced mangoes topped with vanilla ice cream for dinner. A gal has to do everything she can to survive!

Now before you start feeling sorry for Robert, you should know that I do cook a decent meal for him at least once a week during the hot rainy season. How is this possible? I arise at 5-6am to beat the heat and start slicing and dicing! I typically make spaghetti sauce or several pots of soup, stew or what not and leave it to simmer while I cool off in the pool at 7am. By 9am the stove is shut off for the day.

It has not rained in Los Ayala yet except for a few measly drops, but the surrounding mountainsides are becoming greener every day and flowers of every color are in full bloom. The hillsides are spotted with red, yellow, lime green and purple, yet for some reason I need to water my plants every single day… go figure!

Of course just because I stated that it has not rained very much, it decided to pour buckets last night. I was awakened by this season’s first spectacular thunder and lightning storm. The sound of the air conditioning going out intermittently was perfectly timed with several power surges and deafening booms. Thankfully, the power outages lasted all of a few seconds. I abhor power outages, and although they do not happen too frequently, they inevitably occur in the summer when it is unbearably hot. And it is hotter earlier than usual this year. It is only June as I write this piece and the day time temperatures are 30-35 C (86-95 F) which feels like 40-42 C (104-108 F) according to the humidity index. The evening temperatures are averaging a low of 24 C (75 F) which feels like 30 C (86 F), and you wonder why I think air conditioning is essential?

An acquaintance of mine who lives in Guayabitos year round and who does not have air conditioning, told me he beats the heat by having a cold shower two or three times a night. Shortly after telling me this, he complained that the water is not cold enough to cool off. Yes indeed, air conditioning is crucial at this time of year!

by Christina Stobbs Updated June 18, 2013

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 Allyson@JaltembaBayLife.com

She came to me as a little ball of fur. Celia, from our JBAR rescue facility, had a family that dropped her off. They didn’t want her anymore because she was “broken.” This precious little ball of fur could barely move. She could pull herself around a little with her front paws. Her back legs were stiff. The knees and ankles did not bend.

“Broken?” I said. “Well, we will see about that.” The previous family called her “Foco” which means seal. Because when she moved, using only her front legs, she looked like a seal. My friend Bob was with me, we looked at each other and I asked him what should we call her? Bob looked at me and said, “she looks like a little muffin.” Muffin would be her new name from that moment on. We took the puppy with two other dogs that needed treatment to Dr. Francisco Aguilar in Puerto Vallarta. He explained that it was a congenital problem and that her back legs would always be stiff.

So I combined my educational background and a suggestion from my friend Jeanie to look up “handicapped dogs” on Google. I got PVC pipe, some velcro and strapping, bought a little toy truck for its wheels, and created Muffin’s chariot. It was built so her hind quarters could be held up in the air allowing her toes to touch the ground. The harness around her chest and shoulders allowed for the pull action. I even made it adjustable for her growth.

Once Muffin learned not to fight the chariot and learned that she could pull herself around much easier to where she wanted to go, she started to make improvements.

Short sessions of learning started. She soon learned to push with her hind legs. Then even bigger improvements started to happen. She learned that she could poop and pee easily from her chariot and she stayed very clean. It was fun to watch her as up would come her stiff legs and business was done. She would look at me with great success shining from her eyes, and get so much love and encouragement from me. Hooray! She was house broken!

My next goal was that she would one day make it the full length of the sidewalk; 40 meters. I would carry her out the door and put her in her chariot. I then built a ramp so she could go out of the house and down onto the grass. It took her about 1 minute to figure out how to go down… up came soon after.

Muffin had many other doggies around to encourage her and she wanted to play with them too. So down the sidewalk we went. In a matter of minutes she was galloping. Soon she was pushing with her hind legs. Going real fast! Before I knew it a wheel went flying off and Muffin was galloping along with the chariot swinging behind. I was thrilled. I put her chariot back together… but she didn’t need it anymore! She had learned how to lift her back legs up into position and away she would gallop. Now she had a whole new world of grass and bushes to explore. And she did! Soon she could run as fast as all the other doggies. She was so happy, but even from the start she had never known anything was wrong with her.

At this point Bob and Peter, who had been very active in her rehabilitation, decided to adopt her. How wonderful for Muffin to get a forever home. But, where they lived had stairs. Next lesson… steps. Muffin was bigger and stronger now and with help, she mastered up. The going down part was really frightening for her and for very obvious reasons. So she was carried down the stairs for a long time.

One day while Bob and Peter were on vacation I was again looking after “Muffin the Miracle.” I thought we would once again work on going down the stairs. We literally took it one step at a time. She was very brave as I sat at each step below her ready to catch her if needed as she began. Being super intelligent, she gained her balance in no time. Now, going down stairs was no longer a problem. When Bob and Peter came home she gladly came down the stairs to greet them.

Peter takes Muffin and their adopted kitty, “Ms. Kitty,” for a walk every morning. Peter and Bob absolutely adore Muffin. And she adores them.

If you enjoyed reading this rescue story, please consider making a donation to Jaltemba Bay Animal Rescue (JBAR) to help pay for food, medication and vet care for the animals they rescue and care for throughout the year.

July 2014 Author’s Note: The article below outlines the detailed transition to the new Mexican pet travel and aviation requirements back in 2012. Please view our Pet Travel Tips for up-to-date regulations and required documents for Mexico, the United States and Canada. Have questions? Feel free to leave a comment or question below.


Taco-in-Suitcase

Many foreigners bring their beloved pets with them to Mexico each winter. Unfortunately, the new “no pets in cabin” policy recently put into place by several airlines could drastically change the way we all travel to and from Mexico.

Taco the Dog (shown above) always hangs out in our suitcase
so we don’t forget to bring him with us when we go “home”
to Rincón de Guayabitos, Mexico!

The airline agents we spoke with say that they are obeying an old Mexican government regulation that is based on laws dating back to 1950, 2004 and 2007. The SAGARPA and SENASICA offices in Mexico City informed us that it was a new international aviation regulation. There is also plenty of speculation by online sources that say that the airlines want to cash in by requiring pets to travel in cargo, which costs more than in-cabin pets. Either way, it seems the blame game is going in circles here.

After searching the net for hours, speaking to several airlines including the International Airport in Mexico City, SAGARPA and SENASICA, our local Mexican consulate, the Humane Society International, as well as emailing back and forth with three Mexican rescue organizations, we could still not find anyone who had (or had seen) a copy of this new policy in writing. Even the SENASICA (Mexico’s National Health Service for Food Safety and Food Quality) website, which was updated in April, states that pets are allowed to travel to Mexico from the US and Canada. This raises the question, who really did decide to implement this rule and why?

Regardless, people need to be aware that the majority of airlines now prohibit pets from flying in-cabin. Here is the breakdown:

Airlines that no longer allow in-cabin pets:

  • Air Canada** (see June 15, 2012 Update below)
  • Alaska
  • American
  • Delta
  • Frontier* (as of June 9, 2012)
  • United
  • US Airways

Airlines that still allow in-cabin pets:
(as of the publication date of this article)

  • WestJet** (see June 15, 2012 Update below)

Airlines that allow pets in cargo:
Keep in mind that many of these airlines enforce embargo dates due to hot weather and have special restrictions based on breed, kennel size, weight, etc., so be sure to check with your airline for specific requirements.

  • Air Canada – $270 CAD/USD per direction
  • Alaska – $100 USD each way
  • American – $175 USD per kennel
  • Delta – $200 USD one-way
  • Frontier – $150 USD each way
  • United – $189-679 USD each way, prices are based on weight
  • US Airways – Not allowed as of March 1, 2012
  • WestJet – $50 CAD/USD each way

So if you are planning to travel to or from Mexico, be sure to contact your airline before you head to the airport. You might also want to consider driving instead of flying so you don’t have to leave Fido, Taco and Panchito behind.

Feel free to share or republish this story, but please give credit to JaltembaBayLife.com and/or add a link to this page.
JaltembaBayLife.com © 2012


Article Updates:

Because information is changing so quickly, we are adding updates as information becomes available. Please scroll down to view the latest post…

June 8, 2012 Editor’s Note – We have posted a copy of the AICM’s pet policy below in the comments.

June 8, 2012 Update – We called the FAA, US State Department, US Department of Transportation, the TSA and the Aviation Consumer Protection Division, and none of these government agencies know anything about the policy change. However, they have all basically said that each airline can implement their own policies. I will post as we learn more.

*June 9, 2012 Update (1:30pm) – Frontier no longer allows pets to fly in the cabin. My husband was suppose to fly from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico to the US today on Frontier. Even though he had all the proper paperwork for Taco the Dog and we called yesterday to confirm that he could fly with him, he was turned away at the airport. The agent booked him on next week’s flight and told him that the only way he could fly then is if he presents a) a letter from his doctor saying that Taco is an “emotional support animal” and b) a copy of the Frontier “Therapeutic / Emotional Support Animal Medical Authorization Form” (to view the form, scroll down to “Traveling with a Service Animal”). Two counter agents, a desk clerk and a Frontier supervisor at the PV airport all informed him that there was a new US law that was implemented on Monday. I spoke with a Frontier agent in the US to confirm this, and he told me that the policy change is due to a Mexican embargo.

June 9, 2012 (4:40pm) – I just received a call back from a Frontier supervisor in the US. She informed me that this new policy was put into place by the DGAC and is effective as of June 7, 2012. The DGAC offices are closed until Monday, but I will call back then and post an update as I learn more.

June 12, 2012 Update – I have been corresponding with MVZ. Joel Antonio Arrioja Pérez, Jefe de Departamento de Operación de Inspección Fitozoosanitaria (Head of the Department of Plant and Animal Health Inspection Operations). Here is his response to my emails…

Dear Allyson Williams,
In relation to your questions I can tell the following:

Q: Who actually put this new policy into place? The DGAC or the individual airlines?  A: Is the DGAC which performs the indication to the airlines by the airlines of the Obligatory Circular knowledge.

Q: Do you know why it was put into place?  A: Is for the improvement of the conditions of safety for users.

Q: Do you have a copy of the new policy? And if so, can you email it to me?  A: The Obligatory Circular CO AV-07.8/07 may consult her on the link: http://www.sct.gob.mx/informacion-general/normatividad-en-la-sct/transporte-aereo/disposiciones-relevantes/

Q: Do you know if the Canadian airlines will implement this policy as well?  A: Could not confirm if airlines implemented the Obligatory Circular will have to check with them.

Again confirm you that: from the health point of view, there are no restrictions for the trip, for the entry or exit of dogs and cats and they can enter the country complying with the relevant requirements.

Then I give the SENASICA website http://www.senasica.gob.mx, as well as the direct link http://www.senasica.gob.mx/default.asp?id=602 detailing information for travelers, with the purpose of informing users about our activities.

Atentamente,
MVZ. Joel Antonio Arrioja Pérez

Jefe de Departamento de Operación
de Inspección Fitozoosanitaria

Subdirección de Inspección en Puertos y Aeropuertos
Dirección General de Inspección Fitozoosanitaria
Municipio Libre 377 piso 8-A, Col. Sta. Cruz Atoyac,
Delegación Benito Juárez, México, D. F. C.P. 03310
Tel. 01 (55) 59051000 ext. 51126
joel.arrioja@senasica.gob.mx

Email #2:
Q: I just want to clarify one more thing… is the DGAC enforcing the regulation now after 5 years and the airlines are now required to implement it? Or are the airlines implementing it on their own?  A: Is correct is the DGAC which gave the instruction and did knowledge to the airlines that they give it to inform its customers and implement such disposal. An apology don’t know because so far it is applying this policy and not when it was established. I am referring to the fact that pets can not travel in the cabin or baggage, is not a health by the SENASICA disposition as they have publicized it airlines.

The DGAC Circular Obligatoria mentioned above dates back to June 1, 2007. Policy 2.1.2 is outlined on page 3. It states:

2.1.2. La combinación de pasajeros y animales vivos en la cabina de pasajeros no se debe permitir, excepto en el caso de perros lazarillos y otros “animales de servicio” que acompañen a una persona discapacitada, quien deberá respetar los lineamientos del numeral 4.3 de la presente Circular.

This translates to: The combination of passengers and live animals in the cabin should not be allowed, except guide dogs and other “service animals” accompanying a disabled person, who must comply with the guidelines of section 4.3 of this Circular.

June 13, 2012 Update – In response to the new comments below… yes, both WestJet and Air Canada are still allowing pets to fly in cabin and neither have heard about the new policy. In speaking with the FAA again today, they reminded me that individual airlines “can decide what type of passengers they are carrying”.

June 15, 2012 Update (7am) – Finally Some Answers – Okay folks, we finally have some answers. I corresponded with MVZ. Joel Antonio Arrioja Pérez again yesterday and he confirmed that the DGAC did indeed implemented this policy, not the airlines.

I also received an email from an airline passenger (who wishes to remain anonymous) who provided me with a copy of the “unofficial translated version” of the circular which I quote below. Thanks to a little internet sleuthing, I was able to get my hands on the original DGAC Circular dated May 10, 2012 (in Spanish). The sections that pertain to pets are outlined here in English…

2.1.2. The combination of passengers and live animals in the passenger cabin must not be permitted except in the case of guide dogs or other “service animals” accompanying disabled persons, who must abide by the guidelines of sub-item 4.3 of this Circular.
?4. Transport of animals in passenger aircraft.?
4.1. Animals must be transported in cages or appropriate containers, which, in turn, must be placed in pressurized and air-conditioned compartments. The pilot in command must be informed when live animals are transported and of the cargo hold in which they are located.
4.2. If the aircraft is not equipped with pressurized and air-conditioned cargo holds, animals may be transported in a cabin next to the passenger cabin but separated therefrom by a bulkhead, provided the other guidelines of this Circular are followed.
4.3. Guide dogs and service animals.?
Notwithstanding the provisions of this Mandatory Circular, a guide dog or seeing eye dog and other service animals may be transported in the passenger cabin accompanied by a disabled person provided that the following requirements are complied with:
4.3.1. The guide dog or seeing eye dog must have been trained and the disabled person must have been instructed in dog handling and care. According to such considerations, the dog must remain at the side of its owner during the flight. The disabled person must be seated in the front row, preferably in a window seat in a section next to the cabin dividing wall. If assistance is necessary, the personnel of the licensee or permit holder must provide such assistance in a calm manner. The cabin crew must request any passenger they find trying to stroke the dog to refrain from doing so, so as to prevent the animal from becoming distracted.
4.3.2. Service animals may be allowed in the passenger cabin in accordance with the policies and procedures approved by the Aviation Authority, stipulated for such purpose for permit holders and licensees, provided that such animals do not represent a risk to the health and safety of passengers or crew, such as snakes or other reptiles, rodents, spiders, ferrets, among others, or animals such as ponies, pigs and monkeys which, given their size, dimensions or health restrictions of the competent Mexican authorities or the authorities of the States where permit holders and licensees operate, are not allowed in the passenger cabin.
4.3.3. The same requirements set forth in sub-item 4.3.1. of this Mandatory Circular apply to service animals.
4.3.4. During the boarding of disabled persons assisted by a guide dog or seeing eye dog, the cabin crew must direct the passenger to his/her seat in order for such person to provide instructions to the animal.
Appendix “A” states these definitions:
4. Service Animal: Any animal individually trained or capable of assisting a disabled person or any animal where it is demonstrated by documentation that such animal is necessary for the emotional well-being of a passenger.
14. Permit holder: Corporate entity or individual, in the case of the national or foreign, private commercial air service to whom the Ministry of Communications and Transport grants a permit to carry out its activities, including the provision of scheduled international air carrier services, and national and international non-scheduled and private commercial air carrier services.

**June 15, 2012 Update (9am) – I just called both WestJet and Air Canada. The Air Canada agent said that pets are no longer allowed in the cabin effective as of June 13, 2012. The WestJet agent I spoke with said they are aware of the new law, and while they have not implemented it yet, he expected that they would be soon.

June 16, 2012 Update – Before I go any further, I just want people to understand that I am just one gal who adores her Mexican rescue pups who wanted to share information about this new policy with neighbors and friends who live in Rincon de Guayabitos, La Penita and Los Ayala (Jaltemba Bay), Nayarit, Mexico and who happens to own a community website with a means to do just that. At no point could I have ever imagined that this article would be read by so many people. With every passing day it becomes more and more apparent how much this new policy is impacting those of us who travel to/from Mexico.

I am willing to continue to work on this effort, but I’d like to ask for your help. If any of you have made contact with Mexican government officials who seem willing to listen and to help, please email their contact information to me at Allyson@JaltembaBayLife.com.

My plan is to contact the US and Canadian corporate airline offices on Monday to see if the airlines would be willing to allow pets back in the cabin “if” we can get this law changed. If not, there is no reason to pursue this any further.

In the meantime, for anyone who is scheduled to travel out of Mexico in the next few weeks, I highly recommend that you post on your local community forums to see if you can find someone who might be willing to drive your pet across the border. For anyone traveling to Mexico, I suggest that you research pet boarding facilities near you and/or find someone who can care for your pets while you travel. Here are the requirements for traveling with pets to Mexico if you plan on driving… Pet Travel Tips

June 19, 2012 Update (11am) – I finally got through to the Mexico Tourism Board. The gentleman I spoke with said that they have not yet received an official statement, and as far as they are concerned, the bulletin only affects pets flying within Mexico. They are very concerned and hope to resolve this as quickly as possible. He suggested that everyone contact the following offices:

Mexico Tourism Board
Call Center: 1-800-44-MEXICO (1-800-446-3942)*
E-mail: contact@visitmexico.com
*You can call this number direct from the US. Their office is collecting names, phone numbers and email addresses.

SCT (Secretaria de Comunicaciones y Transportes)
Contact Form: http://www.sct.gob.mx/index.php?id=16

I am also in communication with the Deputy Director General at the DGAC. I have emailed the SCT, SECTUR and Sra. Gloria Guevara, the Secretary of Tourism. I will post as soon as I have more information.

June 19, 2012 Update (1:30pm)  For anyone traveling with pets in the next few months, Charlene Angelo has kindly taken the time to put together a chart with options and restrictions for pets in baggage vs. cargo, as well as handy airline links. You can access it here… Traveling with Pets by Air.

June 21, 2012 Update – Policy Change – I am absolutely thrilled to share an email I just received from Lic. José Armando Garcia Nuño, Dirección de Política Intersectorial, Dirección General de Planeación Estratégica y Política Sectorial, Secretaria de Turismo (SECTUR). It reads…

Mrs Allyson,

I send an apology for to answer your call and email a little late, however, I am here for talking with you about the animals in the aircraft passenger cabins.

Yesterday, we had a meeting with the Aeronautic Authority on this case for talking about the concern of you visitors by the prohibition of get pets on airplanes.

At the meeting we were able to obtain good news, which I inform you:

• They going to change of the article one hundred seven (107) of the regulations of the law, where the regulation is established on the transportation of animals allowed in the passenger cabins. Today, the Aeronautic Authority has already a proposal for a reform to the article of the rules of which shared and will be analysed.

The Aeronautic Authority published an official circular where inform about of the current authority decision and where they report the possibility that in the month of September is already counted with this reform allowing, in some way, raise animals to the passenger cabins.

In this moments The law should be applied without exception. But we hope that the reform to law going to ready on September.

Finally, I say today I tried to talk to you by phone but it was not possible.
Best regards.

After receiving this email, I called and spoke with Sr. Garcia directly. He informed me that the document is currently be reviewed and that it should be finalized by next week. He confirmed that the revised policy will allow pets to fly in the cabin on both national and international flights, and that it should be in place by September 2012. He agreed to email a copy to me, which I will post at soon as I receive it.

This is really good news Folks!

June 22, 2012 Update – No more news as of today, but I just want to remind everyone to please continue to register your complaints with the Mexican Tourism Board, SCT and SECTUR (listed below) just to make sure we continue to be heard. I will keep you posted as more information comes to light.

June 25, 2012 Update (11:30am) – Revised Circular – I received an update from Lic. José Armando Garcia Nuño this morning. The new Circular, CO AV-07.8/07 R2, is dated June 21, 2012 and has been posted on the SCT website. In his email, Sr. Garcia stated that “the Aeronautical Authority has published document (Circular compulsory) that allows airlines to transport pets in the passenger cabins. Airlines must meet the mandatory circular immediately as soon as they are notified. The airlines must allow pets climb into the passenger cabins, immediately.” He also wanted to remind me that “this new document is NOT a new regulation, simply is a document that clarifies the doubts with regard to the Law on Civil Aviation.” He clarified this statement in another email by saying “The document that now lets upload pets to the airlines is a temporary measure. He is currently working on reforming article 107 of the law of Civil Aviation.”

I have been informed by a group in Cozumel who is working closely with the airlines that “this circular was sent to all airlines on Friday.” Obviously, the airlines will need a little time to re-implement this policy, update their websites, etc. I will post as I learn more.

June 26, 2012 Update – Since yesterday, I have been inundated by emails and comments from people who say that the airlines are not aware of this new revised circular. I will do my very best to compile a list of airline contacts in the next few days. In the meantime, please be patient.

In addition, I just learned earlier today that there are new document requirements for pet travel to Mexico. Ironically these changes were implemented in the past few weeks, but have absolutely nothing to do with the DGAC circular. I am in contact with the proper authorities and will post this information as soon as possible.

June 27, 2012 Update (9:20am) – Airline Contacts – Below, you will find an airline contact list for the customer relations/care departments courtesy of Andrea Sekula, Cozumel and Karen Warne, Zihuatanejo. We all ask you to please keep in mind that it is going to take some time for the airlines to translate the new document, run it by their legal departments, re-implement the new policy, inform and retrain their staff and get the information back up on their websites. This is not going to happen over night folks.


Latest Updates:

June 27, 2012 Update (12pm) – NEW Pet Travel Requirements – Please be aware that there are new requirements and documentation needed to travel with pets to Mexico (and no, this had nothing to do with the DGAC Circular). I have contacted SAGARPA and my local USDA-APHIS Veterinary Services offices for clarification, and I have compiled the information here:

Airlines that Now Allow Pets in Cabin!
The re-implementation of this policy has happened very quickly, so please keep in mind that some airline employees may not be aware of this change.

  • WestJet – never changed policy
  • US Airways – announced June 26, 2012, effective immediately
  • American – announced June 27, effective July 1, 2012
  • Frontier – announced June 28, 2012, effective immediately
  • Alaska – announced June 28, 2012, effective July 2, 2012
  • Air Canada – announced June 28, 2012, effective immediately
  • Delta – announced June 29, 2012, effective immediately (only in Economy cabin)
  • United – announced July 3, 2012, effective immediately

Fees for In-Cabin Pets (added June 29, 2012)

*These fees are for one way. Keep in mind that in most cases, your in-cabin pet carrier counts toward your carry-on baggage allowance. Please contact your airline for specific information about how to book your pet, maximum kennel dimensions, kennel weight and other restrictions.

July 3, 2012 Update – United is Now Flying Pets – United Airlines has indeed re-implemented their pets in cabin policy as of today. I called to confirm, and the cost is $125 USD each way.

Thank YOU! – I want to personally thank each and every one of you who called and emailed your complaints and concerns about the policy change. In basically one month, not only did the Mexican government revise their pet policy, but all the airlines re-implemented their policies to allow pets to fly in the cabin to/from Mexico as well. In the scheme of things, this was a really fast turnaround. Together, we made a difference!

For anyone who isn’t aware, there is a slight change in documentation (and verbiage) needed to travel with pets to Mexico. You can find all the details on our Pets Travel Tips (Requirements) page.

I have received hundreds of emails, many of which are simply thank you notes. As I said above, I did not do this alone. There were many others involved as well. For anyone who wants to do a little something to say thank you to all those who worked so hard on this effort, may I suggest that you make a donation to a local pet rescue organization, of which there are hundreds in Mexico. If you are so inclined, you may make a donation to my local group, Jaltemba Bay Animal Rescue. You can also learn about my connection with this amazing organization by reading “From a Volunteer’s Perspective“, an article I wrote about my volunteer experience last year.

July 5, 2012 Update – Pet Travel Tips Answered – I have been on the phone all day with three USDA-APHIS offices and emailing back and forth with my contact at SAGARPA to find out more about the new documents needed to travel with pets and about the rabies requirement in order to answer all your questions. Here is what I found out…

VS 7001 Form: The USDA offices have all confirmed that the VS 7001 Form is no longer required to enter Mexico or to leave the US. However, they did mention that some airlines may require it, so you need to call to find out. (Note: An International Health Certificate is required for many countries, so you may want to check with your local USDA-APHIS office for details.)

Letterhead Certificate: I have attached a copy of the Letterhead Certificate I received from the USDA on our Pet Travel Tips page (link below). Based on my correspondence with the Head of the Department of Plant and Animal Health Inspection Operations at SAGARPA, I have added a few very important additions (see my notes on the form). He said that with these additions, the form met Mexico’s import requirements and more, so it should get you into and out of the US, Canada and Mexico, no matter where you are going to or coming from.

Rabies: I have heard that Mexico now accepts and offers a 3-year rabies vaccine, but I cannot get confirmation in writing from anyone I spoke with. While the USDA Letterhead Certificate states that “The animal/s has/have been vaccinated against rabies within 12 months prior to exportation,” the SENASICA website no longer requires that rabies is given in that time frame.

Please visit our Pets Travel Tips page for more information and a complete overview of the new requirements and links to these documents.


Who to Contact:

Here is a list of people, organizations and websites to contact. If you prefer to contact an airline in writing, you can find their mailing address on the links below. Simply explain that you are referring to the revised Circular CO AV-07.8/07 R2 from the Mexican Aviation Authority (DGAC) dated June 21, 2012 in which Article 4.3 now permits pets to travel in cabin to and from Mexico.

Helpful Links:

Helpful and informative links submitted by readers of this blog…

Note: I have broken the comments into several pages because we have received so many of them. Please scroll back so you don’t miss what people are saying.

June marks the beginning of the dizzyingly hot weather with temperatures often rising above 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32°C) in the shade. However, the heat of June is not that uncomfortable, as the humidity is nowhere near the levels experienced in August and September. The days are for the most part hot and dry, and because the increase in the humidity is gradual, you become somewhat accustomed to it. The small amount of discomfort experienced due to the higher humidity levels is felt most keenly during the early morning and evening hours, and easily mitigated by a whirring ceiling fan, which is all that is required to provide a welcome respite from the heat. The rest of the day, the weather is ideal; warm and sunny, and not too hot, especially if you center your daily activities on one of the many local beaches. In fact, the weather is near perfect for folks enjoying a week’s vacation.

A Dusty Paradise Full of Hidden Treasures and Tropical Delights
Begins to Expose its Beauty

Beginning in June, Jaltemba Bay life is transformed back to its original true self. The entire Bay relaxes, having survived the onslaught of all those gringos and their many fiestas and associated activities. Finally the native communities return to their natural and” “uniquely Mexican” way of life. The pace is slower, the heartbeat drops a few beats, and you can almost feel the joy of life return to the people.

Those restaurants that remain open in June are the traditional Mexican or at the very least, run by expats full of Mexican spirit, and isn’t that why most of us came here in the first place? Sure “north of the border” treats are increasingly challenging to find, and you will discover that many of the local stores have restocked their ice cream coolers with beer, and that the few remaining available cartons of ice cream have been delegated to some remote hiding spot in the store. But hey, this is Mexico, and if you have always wanted to experience true, small town Mexico, this is it! The market in La Penita is totally geared to serving the Mexican locals and you will find there is ample space to stroll about and peruse the unique wares available for sale. Visit the market in June to enjoy a truly Mexican shopping experience.

Yet another great reason to visit Jaltemba Bay during June… The local beaches are quiet on weekdays, and the opportunity to experience beaches like Playa del Beso and nearby treasures like Playa Boca de Narajano and Playas Las Cuevas in total seclusion, are good. If you choose to explore other hidden gems found in the backcountry of the Jaltemba Bay area, you will find the route less-traveled and the experience serene.

But wait; there are more exciting things to experience in Jaltemba Bay at this time of year! For instance, with June comes the striking beauty of the rich new life that began emerging in April and May.

Spring has sprung and the newly emerging green, in all its myriad of shades, finally returns to the countryside beginning with the beautiful new growth seen on the Huanacaxtle trees in full bloom throughout Jaltemba Bay. Their brilliant green foliage provides a welcoming shady respite from the hot, tropical sun. The vistas in June are indeed lovely and filled with brilliant shades of pink, yellow, gold, red, green and innumerable shades of brown (plants and shrubs which appear as though they are in their final throes of death, but in reality are simply biding their time and preparing to spring to life after the first rainfall.) Despite the fact that seemingly everything is coated in a thick layer of dust, and even though the first heavy, tropical rains are probably a month away, the surrounding hillsides begin to take on a decidedly lush appearance. The vista is of a hundred shades of green, accented with the brilliant reds, yellows and pinks of the blossoming flower trees, and the colorful fruits of the mango, papaya, guanabana, banana and yucca trees.

The ripening fruits are the main attraction to the many tropical birds and the more exotic species of birds commonly seen in June including the magnificent black-throated magpie jay, green parrotlets, kingfishers, vermillion flycatchers and the notably charming and affable pale-billed woodpeckers. Flocks of flying black-bellied whistling ducks will no doubt enchant you as they soar through the soft morning sky and flit about the tops of the tall palms in Jaltemba Bay. These nocturnal, gregarious but monogamous birds have black bellies, orange bills and long legs that end in splendid pink feet. Experience the unique and raucous cry of the brown Mexican chachalacas heard every morning and afternoon throughout Jaltemba Bay. These unique, clumsy birds are found in abundance, but hard to spot because they sit perched in the tops of the tallest trees, well hidden behind the foliage.

You are likely to spot a few exotic green iguanas and the less handsome but equally exotic grey iguana lazing about on the rooftops of the local homes while taking in the afternoon sun. If it rains heavily, you may experience being awakened by the sound of a thousand tree frogs singing. Okay, frogs, even tree frogs really ribbet but the melody of their voices is uniquely beautiful. In June, you will also experience the pleasure of listening to the screech of the multitudes of cicadas; the local rain bugs whose song is created by rubbing their legs together just to let the world know that the first heavy rains are soon to arrive. Butterflies of every imaginable color and color combination flit through the skies and amongst the profusion of flowers now in full bloom. The skies come alive with a multitude of dragonflies, which have a unique beauty of their own, and come in fashionable black, red and blue.

The tropical blue skies of June seem richer than Mother Nature’s finest work, and the sunsets take on a vivid, pink, blue and red coloring that begs to be painted, photographed or simply enjoyed with a cool drink at the end of the day!

June in Jaltemba Bay… Sizzling hot, tropical and sultry… Warm ocean waters and glorious sunsets… Rich exotic flora and fauna… peace and solitude… A genuine and true small town Mexico experience… Countless deserted beaches… Some might say that June is indeed the perfect time to visit Jaltemba Bay.

I hope you agree, and decide to linger a while!

by Christina Stobbs • Updated June 2, 2013

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 Allyson@JaltembaBayLife.com

This “Toro” was caught by Blaine and Jeff from Blaine’s Hobie 16 near the big island in Jaltemba Bay back in April while Jeff was visiting from Vancouver, WA.

The Toro, also known as Pacific Jack Crevalle or Torito, is one of the most common species in Mexican waters, and is known for its strength. Blaine included this link for anyone wanting to learn more about the Toro.

Photo by Blaine Meewes

I took this photo of this beautiful horse, ten minutes south of Los Ayala while on a horseback riding excursion to a nearby waterfall for a swim.

Photo by Christopher Morse, an avid photographer from Fairbanks, Alaska who enjoys vacationing in Jaltemba Bay.

This photo represents a “Magical Moment” in Los Ayala, Nayarit, Mexico.

For anyone who has palm trees on your property, you need to know that they are all in danger of infestation from the Picudo Prieto or Mayate Prieto (Black Palm Weevil).

For the past few weeks, Sarah Walker and I have been been researching information about this destructive beetle which recently killed two large Bismark Palms on Thomas Bartlett’s property in La Penita. In the past 7 days, Sarah has caught 72 of these beetles using only one trap! This is proof that the issue is even more serious than we previously thought.

Note: If you want to read how we discovered this issue or are interested in learning more about these palm beetles, you can read our original story here… All Palms Are in Danger

Yesterday afternoon, Sarah, David and I met with Renaldo from the Comité Estatal de Sanidad Vegetal in Tepic. Renaldo is going to take the information we provided (as well as several specimens Sarah collected for him) back to his office and discuss the situation with his team. If we continue to document the number of insects in our area, the Comité can determine whether or not they are willing to do more to help us.

After our very lengthy conversation and in-depth question-and-answer session, we have come up with a plan of attack… literally… but we need your help:

1) Distribute Traps in Our Area

Renaldo generously gave us 10 traps to distribute throughout our area and enough fermona to last for 3 months (plus the 2 Sarah had and 3 more traps we found this morning in Guayabitos and got permission to move; bringing the total to 15 traps). We have designated 4 traps for La Penita, 5 for Guayabitos, 3 for Los Ayala and 3 for La Colonia. These traps need to be placed approximately 1 per hectare and no less than 100 meters from every Bismark Palm in the area because they are the most susceptible. We need your help to determine where the traps should be placed, and we need to do it soon before the rainy season begins.

Note: Sarah already hung the 4 traps in La Penita this morning in the locations shown on the map above. Click here to view the full-size map. Now, we need your help to learn where other Bismark Palms are located in order to place traps in the other towns (see below)

2) Maintain the Traps

The traps need to be restocked with 1/4 fresh pineapple every 15 days. We will need volunteers to check the traps for beetles, to document how many beetles are caught and to replenish the fruit.

3) How You Can Help!

If you have or know of a Bismark Palm in our area or are willing to volunteer to help distribute and maintain these traps, please contact us immediately:

  • La Penita: Email Sarah Walker at walker-sarah@hotmail.com
  • Guayabitos, Los Ayala or La Colonia: Email Allyson at Allyson@JaltembaBayLife.com

And please pass this story on to every homeowner and/or renter you know in our area via email, Facebook or other means. We need everyone’s participation so we don’t loose any more palm trees!

* * * * *

Other Things You Can Do

Proper Nutrition: Make sure your palm trees are getting enough of the right kind of nutrients. Undernourished trees are more susceptible to disease and pests. Palms should be fertilized twice a year with “fertilizante para las palmas”. This product can be purchased from the Vivero Las Palmas for $25 pesos/kilo.

Apply Pesticide: Spray a liquid pesticide, called Permatrina, into the top of your palm trees (without getting it on the fronds). This should be applied once a month. If you clean your palms on a regular basis, you should do this immediately afterwards because the smell of the freshly cut fronds can attract these beetles (also be sure to dispose of the palm cuttings as soon as possible for the same reason). Permatrina can be purchased at Agroservicios in Las Varas for $145 peso/litro.

Exit Holes: Check your palm trees frequently for exit holes. They will be near the top of the trunk and will be about 1/2-inch in diameter. Renaldo says the most susceptible palms are the Bismark, Coco de Agua and Coco Aceite; the Phoenix Rubelina, fan palms and Royal Cubana are rarely affected except if they are malnourished.

Watch for Flying Insects: Please pay attention to any beetles you see flying around your yard. Especially be on the lookout for any Picudo Rojo (Red Palm Weevil) as there is a study currently being done about these pests. These are red in color and slightly smaller than the Picudo Prieto. If you see or catch one, please notify Allyson or Sarah as soon as possible so we can inform the Comité in Tepic.

Picudo Prieto (Black Palm Weevil) and Picudo Rojo (Red Palm Weevil)

I was fortunate enough to go flying with Paul Mutch on Saturday afternoon to take aerial photos of the Semana Santa festivities. Paul and I loaded up a couple of cameras and drove to a little private airstrip where he keeps his experimental aircraft tied down.

After the usual untying, uncovering and a complete walk-around to make sure everything was in order, we flew into the gorgeous blue sky. We checked out the beaches of Lo de Marcos, El Monteon, Los Ayala, Guayabitos and La Penita. It was pretty apparent that the crowds of revelers were enjoying their Semana Santa vacation on our sun-drenched beaches.

My only regret was that we didn’t remove my door to eliminate the window reflections in my shots.

Playa Freideras, also commonly known as “Kissing Beach”, to the south of Los Ayala (show above).

The beach in Los Ayala.

The south end of the beach in Guayabitos.

The beach in La Penita.

By Patty Schemenauer & Susanne Richter – Returning Canadians to Los Ayala, Susanne & Bernie along with their two sons, Gabriel & Felix like to become involved with the local families, especially the children. This year Susanne bought 12 white t-shirts and tye-dye kits and proceeded to round up the locals kids for an afternoon of fun. After the event, Bernie fed the kids with hot dogs, soda, chips and of course, ic ecream. It is wonderful to see the local Mexicans enjoying visits from far-away friends they have made over the years.

First we painted (shown above)…

Then we dried…

Then they posed…

Until the ice cream man came by!

Earlier this week, David and I went on a group hike with 17 others. Lori, the hike organizer, had taken this trek several times. In an effort to make the hike more accessible to others, she arranged for a clean up crew to clear the trails and mark them with red and yellow plastic tree markers earlier in the season.

We met at the south end of the Los Ayala beach at 7:30am. We hiked up the hill at the south end of Los Ayala and then down towards the small restaurant at Playa Freideras (also known as “Kissing Beach”), where we had to maneuver our way around a chain link fence to access the trail.

Twenty minutes into the hike, we came to a large clearing and a “Y” in the path. Lori directed us to the right following the sign marked “Punta Raza I”. (I was familiar with the trail up to this point, however I normally follow the path to the left which brings you to the south end of Punta Raza).

Shortly thereafter, we came to another “Y”. Lori directed us to the left following the “Playa Coral” sign, and explained that we would circle back to this very point from the path on the right.

Five of us decided to walk at a faster pace ahead of the rest of the group. We made our way over the jungle and through the woods. Much to my surprise, we ended up at the north end of the Punta Raza beach. I must say, this place is stunningly gorgeous with the waves crashing on the volcanic rock jetting out from under the sand.

We proceeded to walk north, but I couldn’t resist taking a photo of the view to the south. For those of you who are not aware, this beach is slated to become a tourist development. The south end is guarded and the majority of the beach is secured by chain link fence. It’s sad, but true.

The path back into the woods was not easily visible; in fact, we walked right past the yellow marker. Luckily, Lori and the rest of the group caught up to us and helped us find our way.

From here, the path changes from jungle with heavy palm tree canopy to wooded forest.

About 1½ hours into the hike, the five of us had made our way back to the “Playa Coral” sign just as Lori said we would.

We then came to the final “Y” on the hike. One direction was clearly marked with two signs that read “Mirador” and “Playa del Toro”; the other was unmarked. We collectively decided to follow the signs even though we had no idea where we would end up.

(Note: You can see the red marker on the tree above the “Playa del Toro” sign.)

The trail was covered with a heavy layer of leaves and palm fronds which made it challenging and a bit slippery at times.

The mirador (view) at the end of this trail was spectacular as you can see from the above photo. We took a few minutes to enjoy it, sipped some water, and then turned around and headed back the same way. We did not follow the trail to “Playa del Toro”, but I will definitely take the time to explore it the next time.

When we got back to the “Y” we headed left and returned to the starting point in Los Ayala.

The entire hike took us 2 hours 45 minutes, but we walked briskly. The others took a leisurely 4½ hours to finish. I would not consider this an easy hike because of the several rocky, slippery and steep spots encountered along the way. If anyone wants to attempt this hike, I recommend that you go with a small group and stay together. A GPS would be helpful, and comfortable walking shoes, water and bug spray are a must.

I have added the starting point to the Los Ayala map and also mapped out the approximate route below for anyone interested.

Here is an outline of the timing of the hike:

  • Starting point
  • “Punta Raza 1” sign  (20 minutes)
  • “Playa Coral” sign  (45 minutes)
  • Punta Raza Beach  (55 minutes)
  • Return to “Playa Coral” sign  (1 hour 20 minutes)
  • “Playa del Toro and Mirador” signs  (1 hour 35 minutes)
  • The point at Mirador  (1 hours 45 minutes)
  • Return to “Playa del Toro and Mirador” signs  (2 hours)
  • Return to “Punta Raza I” sign  (2 hours 25 minutes)
  • Return to the starting point  (2 hours 45 minutes)

Brown Pelican landing on Los Ayala Beach, with panache! I love trying to capture the grace, beauty, and often comical antics, of pelicans in action!

Originally published in “Magical Moments” on Magical Los Ayala.

At the time of publication, Teresa Garcia was 83 years of age. Teresa attributes her good health to a healthy diet consisting primarily of fish, fresh fruits and vegetables; daily walks and regular vacations in Los Ayala.

Teresa is from Guadaljara, Jalisco and has enjoyed the luxury of owning a vacation home in Los Ayala, Nayarit for the past twenty two years. She is quick to confirm that the slow paced leisurely lifestyle here is probably major factor in her good health and youthful looks!

Teresa Garcia purchased a vacation home in Los Ayala primarily because of the beach. She loves Los Ayala beach because the ocean waters are shallow, tranquil and safe for non-swimmers and children, and the fact that the waves are rarely large. She also enjoys Los Ayala because it is quiet and not too, crowded. Teresa has nine children, 30 to 58 years of age at the time of writing; four girls and five boys. Her children also enjoy regular vacations in Los Ayala but they prefer to stay at one of the beachfront hotels.

While enjoying vacation in Los Ayala, Teresa enjoys shopping in La Penita and she especially likes to visit Guayabitos to shop and to spend some time at the beach. She loves Jaltemba Bay area primarily because of all the beautiful beaches, and she especially likes to spend the day at the Punta Raza and Boca de Narjanja Beaches.

Teresa Garcia loves to cook and enjoys making dishes with the abundance of fresh fruit, vegies and fish so plentiful in Jaltemba Bay. Her favourite restaurant in Los Ayala is ” Boca del Rio” on Los Ayala beach. Her favourite dish at Boca del Rio, is Pescado Zarandeado, a traditional grilled fish dish found in this area of Pacific Mexico.

Teresa was married for fifty years to the love of her life “Roberto Lopez” who passed away. Tersea and Roberto celebrated both their silver (25 years) and golden (50 years) anniversary by getting renewing their vows on both occasions. Teresa advised me that renewing your wedding vows at both 25 and 50 year milestone, with a special ceremony is a special Mexican tradition. Roberto Lopez is sadly missed by Teresa and family, but they enjoy many special, memories which they are fond of sharing when they visit Los Ayala on vacation.

Teresa owns and operates the vacation home “Casa La Palapa,” a charming, three bedroom vacation home located just two short blocks from Los Ayala beach.

Senora Guadalupe Teresa Pena Garcia
Los Ayala, Nayarit, Mexico

This story was originally published in “Local Folks” on Magical Los Ayala.

Lone Palm Set Off by a Simply Stunning Los Ayala Sky.

Photo by Heidi Banks, an avid photographer and fan of Los Ayala. Heidi and her family enjoy vacation and spending some time in Los Ayala every winter. Originally published in “Magical Moments” on Magical Los Ayala.

On Wednesday, January 11, 2011 a community meeting was held in Los Ayala’s Town Plaza to discuss the the plan, to raise the funds needed to replace the existing sewage piping, for the transfer of waste from Los Ayala to the pumping station located in the area of Vista Guayabitos.

The meeting was called by Romy Mora, Regidor of Jaltemba Bay and Miguel Sillas, Juez of Los Ayala to express the importance and the urgent need for the piping to be replaced before Semana Santa 2012. In attendance to explain the details were Julio Gonzales, Head of Siapa, Julio Gonzales, Gabriel Meza, Boss of Siapa Jaltemba Bay, and several members of the Siapa team who drove here from the city of Compostela.

Gabriel Meza explained that existing eight inch sewer pipe of R26 thickness installed in Los Ayala in 2000 needs to be replaced with a 12 inch pipe of R32 thickness. Los Ayala has been growing at a rate of ~ 30% a year versus an ~ average of 6% in the neighbouring towns of Jaltemba Bay. The existing piping is in poor condition, and can no longer accommodate the needs of our small, but growing town, especially during busy holiday periods. In addition, the tree roots running down the center median of Bahia de Banderas are penetrating the existing too, thin piping, resulting in leaks and breaks in the pipes are occurring more and more, frequently. Julio Gonzelas explained that because of the current state of the piping the repairs rendered by Siapa are about as effective as treating the pipes with aspirin. Frankly, the piping need to be replaced, at an estimated cost of ~ 1,200,000 pesos. (versus the $1,000,000 pesos reported in the February Los Ayala News)

In summary, the community of Los Ayala needs to raise ~ $250,000 pesos which is approximately 25% of the projected cost. The monies we raise will be matched from the Mexican Governments “3 for 1 Program.” The federal government will cover 25% of the cost; the state (Nayarit) government will cover 25% of the cost; the municipal government will cover 25% of the cost. As with the “3 for 1 Program,” that resulted in Los Ayala’s Town Plaza, if we raise $250,000 pesos the “3 for 1 Program” will match the funds we raise, translating into $1,000,000 pesos for the community of Los Ayala!

Property owners in Los Ayala will be assessed with a one time tax (expected to be around $2,300 pesos); and hotels and bungalows will likely be serviced with an additional tax based on the number of rooms. The assessment amount will be announced this Friday, in the Town Plaza at the Three Kings Day Celebration which starts at 6 p.m.

A few attendees expressed concerns about the roads not being done first, and Romy Mora explained that replacing the existing piping has taken priority over the road improvement project in Los Ayala. She also explained that it does not make fiscal sense to pave the roads in Los Ayala with interlocking brick, only to have to tear them up again to install new piping. A couple of bungalow owners expressed their concern with being assessed, primarily because they do not the means to pay an assessment.

As I know that Los Ayala will be asking the community of Jaltemba Bay to support the Mexican Fiesta we will be hosting to raise funds for the project, I asked what the future plans were to improve and repair the aging infrastructure in the neighbouring towns of Jaltemba Bay, and was advised by members of the Siappa team that at $10,000,000 peso project is in the works, for which a request will be put forth to the Federal Government for funding. Gabriel Meza, also advised (See Los Ayala News 2012) that all twelve pumping stations in Jaltemba Bay will be replaced.

Towards the end of the meeting, Romy Mora explained to attendees that replacing the existing infrastructure, is not a matter of choice; the monies needed to be raised; and that this project is essential. She asked everyone for their full support and advised attendees that, nothing will be done, until we raise our share of the monies needed.

The proposed tax assessments on Property Owners in Los Ayala will be not sufficient to raise $250,000 pesos, and for that reason, Romy (our Regidor) and Miguel (our new Juez) will be hosting a Mexican Fiesta on January 27th at 6 p.m. at El Delfines Bungalows and RV Park, in a quest to raise sufficient funds for the infrastructure project. The cost for the event will $350 pesos, including dinner and one drink. The entertainment line-up includes Marachi, Folkloric Dancers and a Traditional Charro – Mexican Horseman Show.

Romy reminded everyone, that the 3 for 1 program was how the Town Plaza in Los Ayala was financed, and resulted in the beautiful Town Plaza we enjoy today. I would like to add, that property taxes for home owners in Mexico are negligible, and clearly insufficient to fund street and infrastructure improvements, and on that basis ask everyone to support Romy and Miguel, and the community of Los Ayala by contributing what ever they can afford; and by attending the Mexican Fiesta on January 27th. You can make a difference, and contribute to enhancing the quality of life in Los Ayala.


Images of the overflow at the pumping station by the estuary in Los Ayala, Christmas 2011. Photos courtesy of Harry Brown.

Update from Romy Mora, Regidor Jaltemba Bay

February 15, 2012

The Infrastructure Assessment for Property Owners/Business in Los Ayala will be 2300 pesos per home or property.

Hotels and Bungalows will be assessed an additional 50-70 pesos per room (some bungalows have as many as 50 rooms); and hotels and bungalows who have the financial means to contribute more, will be asked to do so.

Work on the replacing the Infrastructure is expected to start the week of February 20th.


Copy of the $65,000 peso deposit made to the designated “3 for 1 Account”

This article was originally published on Magical Los Ayala.

Manuel and Maria first visited Los Ayala on vacation, twenty years ago. They were immediately smitten with the abundance of nature, the tranquility, the very pretty beach and welcoming small town feel. Shortly thereafter they moved to Los Ayala from Guadalajara. They have live here for twenty years now, and have one child and three grandchildren.

Manuel is 79 years of age, and Maria advises that her age is a secret. They have been happily married for 53 years, and looking forward to many more years. Manuel is retired but Maria still works. During the day Maria sells “Corn on the Cob” on Los Ayala beach and in the evenings she serves up her “Corn on the Cob” from a kiosk on the southeast corner of Madre Perla and Bahia de Banderas. The corn is grilled Mexican style and spiced up with ground chilies and lime juice.

Manuel and Maria enjoy walking and swimming at Los Ayala beach, and their favourite restaurant is Erikas on the beach. Fave dishes at Erika’s are the fish and shrimp entrees.

Manuel Cardenas Sr. & Maria de Jesus Soyz Cardnias
Los Ayala, Nayarit, Mexico

This story was originally published in “Local Folks” on Magical Los Ayala.

Robin and Henry Fremont purchased their Los Ayala vacation home in 2006, and have been enjoying their winters here ever since, along with their seventeen year old faithful dog, Bear. Summers are spent at McPhee Lake in north-central Saskatchewan where they enjoy visiting with friends and family, including four children, and two grandchildren.

Robin and Henry chose Los Ayala as their winter vacation escape for many reasons. They say that they were captivated by the friendly people, the relaxed lifestyle; the warm, sunny climate and the consistently idyllic temperatures of the winter and spring season; the beautiful swimming beach, with its’ quaint palapa restaurants; the surrounding ridiculously luxuriant scenery in Los Ayala, framed by the foothills of the majestic Sierra Vallejo Mountains.

One of their favourite restaurants in Los Ayala is Pikiko’s and one of their favorite times in Los Ayala are (believe it or not) Christmas and Easter! They love the crowds of people strolling about, the big family gatherings on the beach, and the roaming musicians.

The Fremont’s can be seen during the early morning hours walking their dog, Bear, in and around Los Ayala. Henry enjoys golfing twice a week, while Robin enjoys taking classes in stained glass and Spanish lessons. Both Robin and Henry, appreciate how close Los Ayala is to both Guayabitos and La Penita, saying it is very handy, especially since they try to shop locally as much as possible.

Having visited many different areas in Mexico, Robin and Henry are thrilled to be able to call Los Ayala, home!

How Robin & Henry ended up owning a Vacation Home in Los Ayala…

For twenty some some years Robin and Henry, declared a strong desire to retire to Mexico. Friends of theirs from Saskatchewan, Bob and Linda Gibbs, own a vacation rental property called “Casita de la Penita” where Henry & Robin were married seven years ago!

During their stay in La Penita they fell in love with the area, and returned the following year and stayed in Rincon de Guaybitos. During their stay they started seriously looking for property in the Jaltemba Bay area. Their main criteria for their place in the sun, was that their vacation home needed to have at least 2 bedrooms and 1 1/2 bathrooms, with a basic price point in mind.

When Robin and Henry came across their Los Ayala home, they liked its location, the price was right, and since it had 2 bedrooms and 2 1/2 bathrooms, they considered it a bonus!

The fact that their home had never been lived in gave them the opportunity to choose colors and furnishings, to their taste. Since then, they have added on a carport, an upper deck and bodega, and lots of flora and fauna in their yard, which they enjoy immensely.

Robin and Henry Fremont
Los Ayala, Nayarit, Mexico

Their dog Bear enjoys the good life, too!

This story was originally published in “Local Folks” on Magical Los Ayala.

If you haven’t already made plans for the upcoming holidays, here’s a list of what’s going on. Be sure to make your reservations soon!

Christmas Eve (Dec. 24):

Beso del Sol Steakhouse
Dinner (choice of Filet Mignon, Roasted Pork Loin or Roasted Turkey) served with mashed potatoes, fresh veggies with basil, entree salad and glass of wine. Great service and soft music. 5-10pm. $179 pesos.  Reservations

El Rincon del Arabe
Traditional Christmas Dinner with turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, salad, 1 glass of wine, 1 cocktail or beer, and dessert. 7pm. $250 pesos. Please reserve by December 19th by coming into the restaurant (behind Hamaca Maya in La Penita).

Salvador’s
Dinner & Dance on the Highway. Dinner (all you can eat BBQ Ribs, Fish Filet and Garlic Shrimp), dessert and drinks. Mariachi music, Mexican piano, dancers, bingo and more. Free transportation with advanced reservation. Starts at 5pm. $340 pesos ($380 pesos after Dec 20).  Reservations

Christmas Day (Dec. 25):

Breakfast at Tiffany’s
Closed.  More Info

Salvador’s
Christmas Dinner on the Beach. Turkey dinner with vegetables, mashed potatoes, 2 drinks and dessert. Live music. Starts at 6pm. $250 pesos.  Reservations

Teriyaki Time
Closed.  More Info

Tonita III
Traditional Christmas Dinner with turkey, homemade cranberry sauce, free drink, DJ music. 6-10pm. $200 pesos.  Reservations

Boxing Day (Dec. 26):

Breakfast at Tiffany’s
Celebrate Boxing Day with breakfast at El Panorama. Choice of cheese, pepper and mushroom quiche or poached eggs with mushroom dijon sauce. 8:30am-1pm. $120 pesos.  Reservations

El Gigio Italian Pizzeria
Closed.  More Info

New Year’s Eve (Dec. 31):

El Gigio Italian Pizzeria
Open Noon-10pm with regular menu.  Reservations

El Rodeo Mexican Bar & Grill
New Year’s Eve Dance & Dinner. Dinner specials and Willie Cuban Caribbean Music. 10pm-1am. $200 pesos. RSVP at El Rodeo.

Las Brisas
Open 9am-8pm with regular menu.  Reservations

Latitude 21
New Year’s Eve Dinner & Party. Entree (choice of Filet Mignon, Double Ribs, Shrimp Scampi or Chicken Picatta), salad or shrimp cocktail, glass of wine or drink, dessert, and champagne toast. 5:30pm-Midnight.  Reservations

Los Compadres
Open 4-9pm with regular menu.  Reservations

Paradise Sports Bar & Grill
(Formerly Crazy Nelly’s)  New Year’s Eve Party featuring the “LA Connection” Dance Band. Dinner and 3 drinks for $400 pesos. Advanced tickets available.  Reservations

Salvador’s
New Year’s Eve Party on the Highway. All you can eat & drink: BBQ ribs, fish fillet, and garlic and coconut shrimp. Mariachi music, Mexican piano and dancers. Free transportation with advanced reservation. Starts at 5pm. $340 pesos ($380 pesos after Dec. 25).  Reservations

Tonita I & II
Open 8am-6:30pm with regular Menu.  Reservations: Tonita I / Tonita II

Tonita III
New Year’s Eve Dinner & Party. Pork Loin with Plum Sauce or Stuffed Chicken with Feta Cheese and Peppers and free drink. Live music. 7pm-Midnight. $300 pesos.  Reservations

Vista Guayabitos
Open 1-9pm with regular menu.  Reservations

Xaltemba Restaurant
New Year’s Eve Early Supper. Dinner specials served from 5-9pm. $250 pesos. Afterwards, head to the New Year’s Eve Party at El Rodeo (see above).  Reservations

New Year’s Day (Jan. 1):

Las Brisas
Open 9am-8pm with regular menu.  Reservations

Los Compadres
Closed.  More Info

Teriyaki Time
Closed.  More Info

Tonita I, II & III
Open 10am-7pm with regular menu.  Tonita I / Tonita II / Tonita III

Vista Guayabitos
Open 1-9pm with regular menu.  Reservations

Xaltemba Restaurant
New Year’s Day Brunch & Dinner. Brunch: 10am-2pm with special brunch menu. Dinner: 5-9pm.  Reservations

This crazy beautiful photo of the Bahia de Los Ayala now graces the Los Ayala town page on Jaltemba Bay Life (click here to view). We want to thank Christina Stobbs for allowing us to use this photo.

Christina Stobbs is a writer and photographer and lives in Los Ayala, full time, with her husband Robert. As a photographer she feels fortunate to live in an area so rich in flora and fauna, and abundant in natural beauty. She enjoys landscape and wildlife photography, and has a thing for pelicans. Most recently she starting selling her photos with the stock companies Dreamstime and Big Stock Photos. As a writer, she states that living in Mexico is perfect, because each and every day is full of surprises. To view more of Christina’s work, click here.

Gorgeous grandiose view of Los Ayala.

Photo by Doug Spivak. Originally published in “Magical Moments” on Magical Los Ayala.

Garry and I started vacationing in Puerto Vallarta about ten years ago. We fell in love with Mexico, and especially the people that we have met over the years. We have thoroughly enjoyed every moment spent exploring the coastline of Pacific Mexico, especially the Riviera Nayarit which is truly a paradise for beach lovers!

In December of 2009, Garry’s cousin, Mick, graciously invited Garry to spend a week with him at his beachfront condo at Villas Marena in Los Ayala. It did not take much time for Mick to persuade Garry to join him! During his stay Garry was impressed with what he saw. The staff was helpful, friendly and professional, and the condominium complex with its beach front locale was truly exceptional!

Frankly, at that time we had no intention of buying property, but a unit was for sale. The unit was not one of the newly built or renovated condo suites, but an area that used to serve as a hotel kitchen, before it was converted to a condominium complex. The location of the unit was ideal, because it was located on the first floor, mere steps from the pool and the beach. However, it required a complete overhaul!

When Garry returned home, he was smitten with Los Ayala and the idea of owning a beachfront condo at Villas Marena! Arrangements were made so that I could come for a visit in February with Garry, and we would make a decision then. Unfortunately, due to family issues we were unable to go, so we had to make a quick decision. We did not want to leave the sellers hanging, and since I have always trusted Garry’s instincts we decided to go for it. We bought the unit!

Garry and I went to Los Ayala in April of 2010 to arrange for a contractor, and for me to see our condo for the first time. On first sight, I decided that it truly was a piece of paradise. The scenic views and the beautiful beach were truly impressive. The Villas Marena condominium complex was striking, and the beachfront locale won my heart. However, when I walked into our condo, all I saw were concrete walls and floors; tiny rooms and windows; very little natural light; and absolutely no potential. I actually cried! I just could not envision the finished product.

We had a week to find a contractor in order to meet our December deadline. We were very fortunate in that we found Indalecio Munoz, a Civil Engineer and Contractor who came highly recommended to us as a builder. Indalecio met with us at the condo, and walked us through absolutely everything. I left Los Ayala, feeling very comfortable that Garry and I had made the right choices.

Throughout the entire renovation process, Indalecio and his right hand man, “Junior” were there for us, providing help and guidance. Indalecio, walked us through every step of the renovation process. He determined our needs and preferences, and shared his ideas and vision with us. His vision and excellent craftsmanship made our condo what it is today. Gorgeous!

Indalecio makes you feel totally at ease in his company. His entire crew were polite and hardworking. Indalecio and Junior went above and beyond the call of duty. They even drove us into Puerto Vallarta to purchase furniture, and stored it for us until our condo was finished. I think we have made lasting friendships with both of these men.

Garry and I are still working so we can’t spend all winter in Los Ayala, yet, but we are working towards it! In the meantime we are happy to spend 3 or 4 weeks in our little piece of paradise; “El Sueno de Los Ayala” which means “The Dream of Los Ayala.” When we are here, we revel in the amazing views, the warm sunny weather, and especially the warm hearts of the people who call Los Ayala home and make this such a wonderful community to be a part of. Garry and I, feel very fortunate that we followed our dream to Los Ayala! We truly appreciate how very lucky we are!

We love to take walks on the tranquil beach, collecting seashells and talking to the local fishermen. We take grea pleasure in buying the local catch of the day, which always makes for a scrumptious supper. We adore relaxing on our poolside patio and listening to the roar of the ocean. We especially like sitting at Las Ranas, one of the local beachfront restaurants, taking the time to relax, chat and people watch. Other restaurants that we are particularily fond of are Vista Guayabitos for the incredible view and dining; Piña Loca in Guayabitos for the great service and excellent Mexican food; and Soley’s in La Penita to satisfy our cravings for a taste of Italy.

I am so glad that we took this leap of faith! We have met many, wonderful, sincere people in the community of Los Ayala that we are proud to call friends. Many of these folks helped us along the way, and we are very grateful. I have always dreamed of an island paradise and I still can’t believe that a prairie couple like us, own a vacation home, just steps from the ocean. Mi casa es su casa!

This story was originally published in “Local Folks” on Magical Los Ayala.

Photo: Terri & Garry Kurchirka on vacation in Venice. They had a marvelous time and advise that the intrigue and romance of Venice is a lot like Los Ayala. A mystical place to enjoy life!

Beautiful vista of Los Ayala and Jaltemba Bay as seen from Villas del Tropico.

Photo by Beatriz Noguez. Originally published in “Magical Moments” on Magical Los Ayala. To view more of Beatriz’s beautiful photos, visit Beatriz Noguez Fotographia.

Life’s Special Moments in Los Ayala.

Christina Stobbs is a writer and photographer and lives in Los Ayala, full time, with her husband Robert. As a photographer she feels fortunate to live in an area so rich in flora and fauna, and abundant in natural beauty. She enjoys landscape and wildlife photography, and has a thing for pelicans. Most recently she starting selling her photos with the stock companies Dreamstime and Big Stock Photos. As a writer, she states that living in Mexico is perfect, because each and every day is full of surprises. To view more of Christina’s work, click here.

Two little girls chatting in La Peñita de Jaltemba, before getting ready for the Independence Day Parade. Mexico’s Independence Day is a National Holiday and a colourful and festive day!

While planning a dinner for our friend and contractor Norman and his wife Romy, Martin, and his wife Christina, all dear friends, I wanted something different to serve as a dessert. It’s hot here as we’re in the summer/rainy season. So, what to make? I got a letter from a cousin of mine in Alabama and she had been entertaining, and it’s hot there too… and she made a Margarita Pie. She assured me it was easy, and cold and wonderful. I begged for the recipe and got it. And I will share it with all of you.

I add sliced strawberries on mine instead of more whipping cream. And I used our local wonderful lemons that “look” like limes but aren’t cause they have seeds and true limes don’t.

Hope you try it and it’s as yummy as I’ve sold it as being. It certainly is easy… no cooking, make ahead… and I’m serving mine in our local beautiful Margarita Glasses!!

Margarita Pie with Pretzel Crust

Ingredients
1/2 cup margarine
1/4 cup sugar
2-3 cups pretzels (to equal about 1 1/4 cups crushed)
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1/3 cup lime juice
1 tablespoon tequila
1 tablespoon triple sec
4 drops food coloring, green (optional)
1 cup whipped cream
Topping: additional whipped cream

Directions
Pie Crust: Melt margarine and combine with sugar and pretzel pieces. Press into buttered 9 inch pie pan.

Filling: Combine condensed milk, lime juice, alcohol and food coloring. Fold in whipped cream. Cool whip can be substituted. Pour into pie crust and freeze for 4 hours.

If you have a favorite recipe you’d like to share, email it to us.

Local Los Ayala Girl & the Family Pig.

Christina Stobbs is a photographer and writer from Los Ayala. To view more of her work, click here.

Many people have the dream of owning a home on the beach in a tropical paradise. That dream began for Elaine and I in the early 1970s when we flew down to Tepic, Mexico with a business associate who shared our love of Mexico.

At that time the road system in this part of Mexico was quite primitive. There was no road from Puerto Vallarta to Los Ayala, so we flew into Tepic and hired a taxi to come to Los Ayala via San Blas and Las Varas. Taxis were very cheap then.

Jack Wortendyke, my friend from Boise, Idaho, told me that he knew of two houses on a beautiful beach near Puerto Vallarta that were for sale. They were indeed beachfront homes situated on an idyllic beach in a very small place named Los Ayala which resembled the tropical paradise we had been dreaming of for years. However, it was very primitive; the only road in town followed the mountain around what is now Villas del Tropico into the area where our property is located. There were no streets, electricity, potable water, or telephones.

Even worse, both homes were located on Ejido land and at that time it was against the law for foreigners to own property within 50 kilometers of the coast. Elaine and I went home completely dejected, although my friend Jack Wortendyke eventually bought one of the homes using a “Presto Nombre;” in which a Mexican friend held the legal title to the property he purchased. (Ejido land and the use of a Presto Nombre to purchase a home in Mexico is fraught with risks which include the loss of your property.)

Over the next twenty years we occasionally came down to the Wortendykes for vacations and would watch our place, hoping it would be for sale. Many years later, in 1994, we received a call from the Wortendykes letting us know that the house we had looked at in the 70s had just been remodeled and the owner needed to sell it! The property had also been regularized which meant we could get title to it.

Elaine and I were scheduled to retire in early 1995. So the timing was right for us to consider making our earlier dream come true. We purchased the property in April of 1995. Of course, the house was not finished and the property had been vacant for years, so we put a lot of money and time into it. We retired shortly thereafter and began living in Los Ayala, Mexico for six months each year. We have been living our dream for the past seventeen years.

After we began living in Los Ayala we quickly became involved in helping poor families and with the primary school there. Early on my wife Elaine, began something which we hope has enriched the lives of young people in this area, as much as it has enriched our lives. She started a “Learning Center” on our kitchen table, with children who were running on the beach and not in school. It started with one little guy who came to our door on three different days, asking for a tooth brush and paste just like the ones she gave out in school to the other children. She asked why he was not in school, and also his brother, and he said his mother would not let him go. Elaine took the boy home and talked to his mother and she said they would not let him in school and they did not have money for uniforms and school supplies. Elaine went and spoke to the teacher and she said she could not let them into the school because they could not read and she did not have the time. She also advised the teacher that she would give her one of her paintings if she would let them in school, even if they just sat in school all morning. The teacher agreed with the stipulation that Elaine had to commit to tutoring the children in the afternoons; to which she happily said, “Yes!”

Elaine and I began tutoring the boys in the afternoon, and soon after all kinds of children came and joined in. The Learning Center soon moved from our kitchen table to the big tables we had outside. Every single one of these children became good readers!

Elaine also established a relationship with several schools in the area with the dream of making a difference to the children in our community and since that time has provided them with supplemental books and materials on a regular basis over the years. One interesting sidelight is that the primary school in Los Ayala, at the time of our first visit in the 1970s, was just a small square cleared in the jungle with a chicken wire fence enclosing a few desks for the students.

Since that time, Elaine has established a very successful Learning Center and Library in Los Ayala. Both programs are free to children in the Jaltemba Bay area. Over the years participation in the program increased to the point that they could not accommodate all the kids in their house, even with the use of the outside area.

So Elaine and her daughter bought a new building and park for the children. The new Learning Center is impressive! It includes a craft room which is stocked with a large supply of crafts and games, a delightful playground with swings; a basketball court and a spacious grass play area for the children to enjoy. Approximately 45 children were enrolled in the Learning Center for 2010/2011 season. They come in the afternoons to study for an hour and after the study period they are allowed to play in the Park area. Today the Learning Center also has a dedicated staff of 7 teachers, some of whom have been teaching the children for 15 or more years, and the library contains more than 5,000 books mostly in Spanish.

Italia Winters started helping Elaine with the program fifteen years ago. She speaks several languages and has taught school for thirty two years. Many of the the volunteers at the Learning Center are retired teachers who provide one-on-one tutoring where it is needed, and that is alot! However not all of the volunteers are former teachers. Mary Alice Snyder one of our most dedicated volunteers worked for the airlines for 28 years and she is an invaluable part of the team because of her fluency in Spanish.

Elaine’s goal is to make everyone in our community recognize the importance of reading and writing and getting an education these days, so they can compete in this rapidly changing world. She says that it is the only way they can raise above the poverty and they are doing a great job, compared to years ago! When the parents want to pay her or give her a gift, she tells them to just study and learn all you can, that is her pay and after eighteen years she sure has been rewarded!

Morris Smith
Los Ayala, Nayarit, Mexico

About Elaine & Morris Smith, Founders of Los Ayala’s Learning Center…

Elaine and Morris return faithfully every year from November through April. Elaine says, “The most rewarding part of the Learning Center has been the relationships she has developed with the families and children.” Some of the relationships are with families who lived here 20 or 30 years ago.

Especially gratifying is when one of the children who have participated in the Learning Center program returns for a visit; and it is very apparent that the Learning Center made a difference. They have many success stories! One of their first students was one of the top students at the Tepic University, graduated valedictorian and two years later received his degree in Law. He now lives in La Penita de Jaltemba. Most recently she was paid a visit by another of her first students who is now a lawyer.

Elaine is especially proud of the fact that the children who attend the Learning Center are excelling at school, achieving the highest grades in their class!

Elaine and Morris love this area and especially the families in the three communities, along with those in La Joya, all of whom have made them part of their lives and who made them so welcome and truly appreciated their attempts to help them change the future and the lives of their children.

Elaine and Morris are working on the third generation now. They feel that it has been a truly gratifying experience to be a part of the change!

These are Local Folks, who have really made a huge difference and truly deserve our respect and recognition. Exceptionally well done by two unbelievably special people. Many thanks Elaine and Morris!

This story was originally published in “Local Folks” on Magical Los Ayala.

Lori lives in the small town of Sicamous, which is known as the “Houseboat Capital of Canada.” Sicamous is located in British Columbia, Canada and sits on two stunningly beautiful and pristine lakes; Mara Lake and Shuswap Lake.

Sicamous, like Los Ayala is a tourist town and from the end of June to early September the population triples. Winter months bring the sledders, heli skiing, cross country skiers and snow shoeing aficionados to the area. The town, like Los Ayala is surrounded by mountains and during the winter the snow falls are non stop. Lori says her love for Los Ayala is because it reminds her of what she thought of Sicamous thirty-one years ago – a play ground.

In Sicamous one is just minutes away from creeks, rivers, lakes, trail heads – any kind of outdoor sport you want. The same can be said of Los Ayala. Lori calls Los Ayala ” A little jewel.” She is enamoured of Los Ayala because of the people she has met, the community’s heart, the slow pace of life (qualified by the statement that each year she visits her goal is to slow down but that she has truly and sincerely failed to achieve this goal, each and every year) and of course the sun, beach and ocean.

Lori advises that her real attraction to Los Ayala is because it has not lost its’ roots to foreign tourism, and she hopes it never does. She feels that Los Ayala offers a “True Mexico Feel” that makes for a unique experience each and every time she visits and for anyone that has the honour of finding this beautiful little community – tucked away from the world. Mind you, this year Lori was horrified to receive French fries on her plate at a local restaurant rather than the customary beans she received last year, and every year before. She says that her heart sank as she thought to herself, “Here it starts… the switch over.”

Los Ayala is extra special to Lori because of the abundant hiking trails allowing her to explore to her hearts content. Next year, Lori plans to get a trail blitz going and open up some very overgrown trails leading to Punta Raza and to provide many more loop trails to accommodate all levels of hikers. She advises that they do this in Sicamous – Shuswap area and that it is simply amazing what a few people can do in a few hours.

Los Ayala came into her life in 2007 when a friend from her teens called up with his wife (Tony and Rhonda Swanson – Local Folks) after reading an article in the Kamloops newspaper about Bungalows Las Iguanas. Lori had vacationed in Hawaii with her husband the previous year together with Tony and Rhonda, and they had made a pack to try to travel south each year. Tony and Rhonda, had vacationed in Rincon de Guayabitos years prior and loved it. It did not take much to convince Lori and her husband to join them.

During vacation Lori and her husband fell in love with the Jaltemba Bay area, in particular Los Ayala and before they returned to Canada – they left a deposit on a small lot in Los Ayala, along with part of their hearts.

Lori says that it has been a grand adventure ever since their first trip here. She has made seven trips to Los Ayala since that first trip. Each time she visits she arrives with all her summer attire, hiking gear and a binder full of things to do, in preparation to build their dream home on the lot they purchased in Los Ayala. This year she collected the finalized compatibility and environmental study; the architect plans; and she is happy to say that she is finally ready for building permits. A huge accomplishment, that she feels she would not have been able to do; given the challenges one comes across as a woman doing business in Mexico; with extremely limited Spanish – if it had not been for the help of Los Ayala’s Jewel Romy Mora – Juez.

Lori loves all the restaurants in Los Ayala but says, “One Meal that Shines”, each and every time she visits, is the Shrimp Tacos at Rosita 1 on Los Ayala beach. She has never been disappointed in her seven trips. Most recently she has stayed at both Las Iguanas and Charlies Bungalows in Los Ayala, and advises that both are wonderful, affordable options for accommodations in Los Ayala.

Lori Schneider Wood, Los Ayala’s Pippi Longstocking
Los Ayala, Nayarit, Mexico

Lori on a snack break on Punta Raza beach (left). Lori during a hike in Sicamous, BC, Canada (right).

About Lori Schneider Wood…

Lori is an avid hiker and shares her passion for the outdoors with others by hosting numerous hikes; both day trips and back country over night hikes, as a hobby. Her longest back country hikes have been up to eight days.

In May of each year, Lori volunteers to host a hike up the Enderby Cliffs with the Shuswap Trail Alliance – a fundraiser for Shuswap Hospice in Salmon Arm. She also leads four of these hikes in the Fall of each year. Today these hikes serve as the hospice’s second largest annual revenue generators. (This May 1st was a success with 39 hikers hiking 14.24 km.)

Lori also sits on the Columbia Shuswap Regional District – Area E parks commission. She is the Shuswap Trail Alliance Area E Rep; sits on the Board of Directors; and acts as a trail steward for Area E with British Columbia Parks.

Lori operates her own own business doing small business tax, consulting, management and bookkeeping and accounting. She has twenty-two clients that keep her very busy all year round.

Lori was born in Kelowna, B.C. and raised in Kamloops prior to discovering Sicamous. She is the proud mother of two amazing and wonderful children, Brianne 28 and Rylan 24. She is yet to become a granny… but looking forward to the day!

Lori is a strong supporter of community events in Los Ayala, and the absolute BEST 50/50 Raffle ticket sales person! Her hobbies include canoeing, kayaking and getting on a trail, any trail, any season, anywhere!

One of Pippi’s Many Adventures

“Los Ayala’s Pippi Longstocking” is an apt description for Lori, since adventure always seems to find her wherever she goes – whether she seeks it or not! The last adventure story I heard about Lori was the day she ended up stuck in a bull pen. How in the world?

Chelsea (Tony and Rhonda’s 13 year old daughter) wanted to have a closer look at a young bull (that appeared to be stuck in a room of an old casita), to feed it a carrot through the door which had a make shift gate. So Lori took a jug of water over for it. The trough was on the other side of the doorway just under a boarded up window. So she went around the building had climbed up to stand on the window sill to reach the trough and as she was leaning over to pick up the water jug which was at the time nicely balanced on the window sill between her feet, as she had needed both hands to balance her own body while climbing onto the ledge.

Here is where the tale really gets interesting. What Lori affectionately calls her four keys for King Kong’s wall of defense (Charlie’s Economical Bungalows) where she was staying, which she kept on a lanyard around her neck were dangling and swaying. Toby, (that is the name the tourists gave this young bull) had eaten the carrot Chelsea gave him and without anyone noticing, the hungry beast turned around and came over to where Lori was still precariously perched and mistaking her keys for another treat, grabbed onto them pulling, and toppling Laurie and all the boards into it’s poop filled pen. Laurie jumped up quickly as she felt bad about all the boards getting ripped down and quickly put them back back in place as best she could, not stopping to see why she was bleeding.

Lori tried to get Chelsea to help open the make shift gate at the door as she could not open it from inside; as she tried to get out, Toby thought her cute little buttocks might be tasty and took a nip there, before going for her shirt. At this final indignation, Laurie gave up trying to get out that way, twisted around and struck the bull on the nose causing it to let go of her clothes. Racing to the other end of the pen, she yanked the recently replaced boards down once again and escaped through the window, as fast as she could.

Once safe outside she could not help but notice that her companion, Chelsea was laughing so hard that she could not speak. Needless to say, that ended the feeding and watering as far as Lori was concerned. One suspects that in the future it may be best to confine the act of offering sustenance to penned animals to those found in such places as Petting Zoos? However, somehow I think that this advice will fall on deaf ears, and that we have not heard the last of the” Adventures of “Pippy Long Stockings”!

I first met Lori on Punta Raza beach where she was enjoying a picnic with some friends and this year I joined Lori for a hike to El Monteon. We spotted a wild boar that quickly ran off into the jungle; and she actually asked me if I wanted to go after the boar with her, presuming that I would want to seize the photo opportunity. No doubt but on that particular day I was not up to risks of cornering a wild boar. Perhaps next year.

This story was originally published in “Local Folks” on Magical Los Ayala.

Heerman’s Gull on Los Ayala Beach.

Originally published in “Magical Moments” on Magical Los Ayala.

We want to thank everyone who helped to make this years Dessert Buffet/Elementary School 2011 fundraiser a great success. Thank you to all who brought all the fabulous desserts, and all who tirelessly served the desserts, and all who came to eat all the delicious desserts.

Thank you to Christina Stobbs for all the advertising. Thank you’s to Elaine, Martin Torres, Nt and Wayne Ramage who took the money at the door. Thank you Kevin and Myrna Field for donating all the coffee, tea and fixings, and for making the coffee and serving. Thanks to Joanne Gadd for selling all the 50/50 tickets. Thanks you to those who helped set up and take down the tables and chairs. Without all your help we couldn’t have done this fundraiser for the children in Los Ayala, never mind making it a great success.

Thanks you once again to our anonymous donor who so kindly donated another air conditioner this year for the fourth classroom, now giving all of the children relief doing the hot and humid summer months. This very generous donation is so appreciated.

Thank you to everyone who supported the 50/50 Draw and also those who gave further donations.

The Work


Los Ayala’s Elementary School Lunchroom, about to be transformed (with photo above). Work commenced on Monday March 7th.

We so appreciate those who helped in any way to make our Annual Dessert Buffet/Elementary School Fundraiser 2011 a success. With each year’s fundraiser we are helping to make the Los Ayala Elementary School a better place for the children to learn and for the whole community to have pride in their school and community.

The Fundraiser Net Profit of $23,110.35 pesos will be used to continue with construction of the lunchroom. Plumbing and electricity will be installed. The existing counter will be altered, allowing for the placement of a sink, stove and a refrigerator. Permanent tables and chairs will be built out of cement, allowing for enough seating for the current enrollment of 78 children and 3 teachers. We will install ceiling fans and an enclosure around the lunchroom for security measures.

As many of you already know, the government does not provide funding for improvements or maintenance beyond the initial construction of the buildings themselves. With your help we have been assisting the community and the school in these matters. We thank you!

Linda, Orlando, Romy and Mario

This article was originally published on Magical Los Ayala.

Mexico has been our favourite winter holiday destination for many years. Three years ago Walter and I came to visit friends who were vacationing in Rincon de Guayabitos. As we had been considering building a home in Bucerias or near there, during our visit we casually looked at several homes in Jaltemba Bay to get some ideas and during this time we fell in love with Los Ayala.

We fell in love with Los Ayala because it was quieter and friendlier than some of the other locations we had looked at, and EVERYONE, including the children, said good morning, or good afternoon, or good evening if they passed you on the street.

Los Ayala’s beautiful beach was a another attraction, as were the several small restaurants offering tasty meals and snacks. We also met several other Canadians that called Los Ayala home for at least part of the year, and even some that live here year-round. During our casual look-see we found a charming Mexican style house that was partially constructed and decided we could work with it and make it our own. This is our second winter in our own home and we love it!

Chiquita our most adorable Mexican dog joined us in January 2011 at just four weeks old and she has been a wonderful addition to our household. She loves meeting new people, and she especially loves children.

It is always a little sad when we have to say goodbye to friends here and return to Canada when the season is over, but we do have family there and the grandchildren want to see us. Luckily, because we own a home in Los Ayala, we are able to share our little piece of paradise with our family and grandchildren who will be visiting us here for many years to come! Truly we are fortunate to be able to enjoy life in Canada and Mexico!

Judy Jean, Walter Schroeder and Chiquita
Los Ayala, Nayarit, Mexico

The Story of Chiquita

I was on my way to Tianguis; the market in La Penita, on a beautiful sunny day in January 2011 with my friend Daphne who spotted a tiny white puppy in the arms of a young woman. Of course, we had to stop to see the puppy. It was the cutest little thing, really just a ball of white fluff; and only four weeks old!

Daphne speaks broken Spanish a little better than I do, and during her conversation with the young woman she learned that the dog, really just a puppy was being taken to the market to be sold! I did not want to let that happen, and even though I knew it would be a life changing decision, I asked the young lady to accompany the veterinarian in La Penita. The veterinarian assured me that the little puppy was was healthy and would be okay, once we eliminated a parasite infection. Yup, I bought the puppy even though I have never been a pet-owner type.

After several trips back to the vet to clean up all the parasites, Chiquita took over our household.

This story was originally published in “Local Folks” on Magical Los Ayala.

The “Shaving Brush Tree” is native to Mexico and a large deciduous tree which is coveted for its unique brush-like flowers which bloom just once a year, usually in February or March. The leaves are also very unique.

by Christina Stobbs (originally published in “Magical Moments” on Magical Los Ayala)

View more plants in bloom under the Flora & Fauna category.

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 Allyson@JaltembaBayLife.com

A short story about our love for Los Ayala…

Our first trip to Mexico was on Valentines Day in February 2006. We were on our way to Lake Chapala which we heard was ” A little piece of heaven on earth.” However, we first searched for Los Ayala, to visit our friend Pierre L’Allier who had just bought a house there.

We loved the place… and stayed for three weeks at Villas Coronas on Los Ayala beach, instead of our intended three days!

We came back the following year, twice… We were lucky enough to find Villas Marena… we were caught! We bought a condominium and now we are true snowbirds. We live our winters in Los Ayala, Nayarit and love the warm climate, seemingly endless sunny days, and of course, the wonderful beach.

We truly enjoy the peaceful lifestyle and the genuine happiness of the local people, as well as the spirit of vacation and fiesta exploding from the tourists at each and every fund-raising event!

We have met many new friends… We are learning the language and a different way of living… We are now known in Los Ayala as “Papa Palomo” & “Mama Panchita”, and we just love it!

Palomo is from the bird Pigeon in Spanish. Some people say it is a Palomo. Panchita comes from Pancho: Francisco

We hope to be spending our winters in Los Ayala, for many more years and see our small village grow the way it has started; keeping its’ heart wide open to visitors…

FranCine Turcot Pigeon
Los Ayala, Nayarit, Mexico

About FranCine Turcot Pigeon & Claude Pigeon…

They come from Lake Labelle, located in the Laurentians, close to Mont Tremblant, in the province of Quebec. Claude is a retired fireman from Montreal, and FranCine worked in the jewelery and gardening businesses.

They have two sons, and are grandparents to five children. They hope to share their dream of living in Los Ayala with their sons and grandchildren; and eventually all their nieces and nephews!

This story was originally published in “Local Folks” on Magical Los Ayala.

My alarm went off at 6am this past Friday morning. It was very foggy, drizzling, and cool, and I was perfectly content snuggled in my bed. But David and I had made plans to join our friend Helmut on a walk from Los Ayala to El Monteon via Punta Raza, and I was really looking forward to it.

We met (there were ten of us in all) in front of Bungalows El Delfin in Los Ayala promptly at 7:30am. We walked south along the beach and up the steep hill toward Playa del Beso, commonly known as the Kissing Beach. Once we neared the base of the hill, we came upon a rickety makeshift barbed wire gate. Helmut unhooked it, motioned for us to go through and then yelled “close the gate behind you” to those following us (several of these guys meet up and take this walk every week so they have their routine down to a “T”).

Here are a few photos taken early on our walk before my camera battery decided to quit on me.

We walked through the jungle for quite some time before coming to a large clearing. It turned out to be one of the roads within the new Punta Raza development. Someone decided we should veer left (I personally would have chosen to go right as I knew the ocean was in that direction). The terrain went from being a hilly, thick jungle to grassy and flat. We came upon two more small gates, which we had to climb over and/or through. I spotted what looked like an Oriole, a few other birds I couldn’t identify and a Magpie Jay flying gracefully from one tree top to another. There were also several healthy and very large cows along this part of the trail (I must admit, I was not overly comfortable being that close to those big boys without a fence in between us).

A little over an hour into the hike, we came upon an official-looking chain link fence with large double doors that were padlocked shut. Four of us opted to climb over it being careful not to get our clothes caught on the rusty edges. On the other side, and much to my surprise, we discovered a beautifully paved concrete and rock roadway lined with grass, palm trees, tropical plants, and native grasses. About 15 minutes later, the paving and planting abruptly came to a stop and we were once again walking on a dirt road. By this time, the others had caught up with us (earlier on, those six had decided not to climb over the large gate. The alternate gate was also locked, and unfortunately, the barbed wire got the best of a few of them).

After walking along the excavated dirt road for another 15 minutes or so, we arrived at the south end of the development. The guards graciously opened the final gate and let us pass through. Oddly enough, they didn’t seem to mind that we had trespassed onto the property in the first place, and almost acted as if this was a common occurrence. We continued up the hill past the restaurant at Punta Raza (which is now closed) and then up to the peak where you can see the entire agricultural valley of El Monteon below. The view from there is spectacular. According to my watch, it took us exactly 2 hours to get to this point. By now, the sun was out, the fog had completely cleared, and it was starting to warm up. During the next half hour, we made our way down the hill into El Monteon. We stopped for breakfast at a charming little restaurant in the middle of town. When we were finished, the restaurant kindly hailed us a cab, and were back in Los Ayala at 11am.

Somewhere along the way, as I carefully traversed the rocks under my feet, I thought to myself… it’s amazing where your feet can take you if you are willing to go. So, get out there and start exploring this wonderful area… you never know what you might find!

If you are interested in taking this hike, there are two semi-organized groups (which I highly recommend since one could easily get lost along this trail). Meet in front of Bungalows El Delfin, Avenida del Estero #228, Los Ayala on Tuesday and/or Friday just before 7:30am. Wear good hiking/walking shoes, use bug spray, and bring a bottle of water, your camera and some pesos for breakfast.

2012 Update: The new meeting point is at the end of Avenida Manglar in Los Ayala. You will see the gates and guard shack up the hill on the private road. It is fenced with a guard, but walkers are allowed in. View the Los Ayala Map to see the new meeting location.

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