Community culture event “Jolgorio”


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

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


Story and photos by David Thompson

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


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


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


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



We are getting there folks. Progress abounds.


Hurricane Willa

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

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


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



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

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






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



Thank you all!




“La Peñita de Jaltemba Is with you”



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

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

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

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

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







With a new terminal that will cover an area of 19,400 square meters, and more international connections to be launched at the end of the year and the beginning of the next, Grupo Aeroportuario del Pacífico (GAP) announced big plans for the next year at the Puerto Vallarta International Airport (PVR).

The company indicated that the airport extension work is part of its Master Development Plan for the 2015-2019 five-year period, which is being completed with an investment of more than $360 million pesos only in at the Puerto Vallarta Airport.

“We are planning a completely new terminal building, with more space, excellent services and commercial areas so that passengers enjoy their travel experience,” said Raúl Revuelta, general director of GAP, in a statement.

Although they did not indicate when the work will be completed, among the improvements mentioned, the installation of five new airscrews and six lines of passenger review to expedite the entry of users to their flights.

Additionally, some other user service initiatives have already been implemented, such as the free Wi-Fi network throughout the terminal and the recently inaugurated International VIP Room.

Airport administrator, Saul Sanabria, announced that before the end of the year the connection with Panama could be inaugurated, and for next January, new routes to Hamilton and Ontario.

Currently, PVR deals with 51 destinations, including Helsinki, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Chicago. And GAP forecasts that by the end of 2018 it will mobilize five million passengers, a sustained growth of half a million passengers per year.

“Through the International Airport of Puerto Vallarta we seek to contribute to the economic and tourist development of the States of Jalisco and Nayarit, giving a better service and image to Mexicans and foreigners who visit them,” concluded Revuelta.

Thank you to Puerto Vallarta Daily News for this article.

Chef Betty Vázquez knows the value of a good meal. As gastronomic ambassador for the Mexican state of Riviera Nayarit, her job is to spread the word about the western coastal region’s cuisine so that visitors will fall in love with the land through food and drink. Here, the MasterChef Mexico judge tells us about her world.

How would you define the cuisine of Nayarit?

Before the Spanish, people ate very simply. They would eat what we call quelites—wild edible herbs—they would hunt a little bit, but they were not accustomed to eating much fat, because that came with the Spaniards. With the Spaniards came more variety, because this area was so important for trade with China. The last port of the Spanish crown was San Blas, which is about [100 miles] north of Puerto Vallarta, so all the spices that the Spanish wanted from the “Orient” came through this area. Besides that, there were later Muslim and French influences as well. Now we have what we call the new Mexican cuisine, a mixture of all of those influences.

“We have to be very proud of what we produce, of the soil that is giving us these products.”

What are the typical beverages you’d drink with meals in Nayarit?

We have a lot of sugarcane plantations, so sugarcane juice is popular. We also have tejuino and tepache, which are made with fermented corn and pineapple, respectively. It’s typical to have tejuino in summertime with lemon ice sherbet. And we have all kinds of tropical fruit drinks made with water and sugar, called aguas frescas.

As for wine, I like Casa Madero, which is the oldest winery in [North] America, at 492 years old. They are one of my favorites because they have a good selection of wines. They have won many medals in competitions around the world, and it’s very easy to pair with them. I also just believe in supporting Mexican wines. I believe we have to be very proud of what we produce, and of the soil that is giving us these products.

Which dish best illustrates the diversity of Nayarit cuisine?

My scallop ceviche with curry, which I like to pair with Casa Madero’s V Rosado. When you think of ceviche in a Mexican context, you think peppery, full of chiles, but not curry. I used the spice to pay respect to the Chinese traders who came here. They left their hometowns, bringing not only the spices, but their dreams. Think about it: If you left home 300 years ago, you didn’t know if you were ever going to be able to return. So they brought their flavors along with their mementos. When I put the curry in my ceviche and mix in Mediterranean herbs, I want to mix those two worlds on my plate in the same way. The people who came from Asia and Europe—some to live, some to conquer and some to work for a new life—have all illustrated our food through the centuries.

This article is courtesy of the Wine Enthusiast.

Nayarit plans to construct an industrial mango handling plant by 2021 and will process about 2 million tons per season.

The intention of the project is that it will initially collect and market the fruit to be packaged and exported to countries in Europe and Asia, with the safety specifications that are required, thus improving the price for local producers.

A few days ago they started the anchor project, which consists of a pulp processor, but in the coming months it is expected to install other areas to process the different mango presentations required by the industry, such as dehydrated, frozen and packaged.

The secretary of work, productivity, and economic development (Setraprode) Ernesto Navarro said that this plant is located in the Agroparque 5 de Mayo de Tepic -which has an area of ​​50 hectares and could house 18 companies of the fruit branch, -among mango , avocado and other local products-.

“This plant will be able to process 1,500 tons of product per day between the months of March and October every year, around 2 million tons per season; the interest is to have the most important industrial plant in the world in handling mango, “said the secretary.

Navarro González mentioned that for the mango area there is still the possibility that more companies of platforms, depleted, drums and other vocations, are installed in the place, so he called on investors in the field to meet the demand.

Finally, he said that the establishment of scientific and technological industries that can offer the improvement of plants and cultivation techniques so that in the same harvest area, increase production is also expected.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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





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




The other end of the tunnel.






More of the beauty.






From inside the new tunnel.






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





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

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


Just about every Christmas, for the past dozen years or so, my family and I have spent a fortnight in Barra de Navidad, a small town on the Pacific coast of Mexico, four or five hours south of Puerto Vallarta. Two weeks in the sun when Vancouver Island was getting wind and rain, maybe even snow, was just what the doctor ordered. We’d stay in a small family-run hotel two blocks from the beach, spend most days playing in the waves, go out for supper most nights and partake of potentially lethal margaritas concocted by our good friend Wayne (aka Dr Death). In other words we did what tens of thousands of Canadians do in Mexico every winter: overindulge and have a blast.

I don’t need to spend a lot of money to have a good time, but every year I would leave Mexico with just one tiny regret: I never got to play golf. Just across the bay from Barra was a five star hotel called Grand Bay. It was the sort of place where, if you had to ask how much it cost to stay there, you clearly couldn’t afford it. It had its own five star golf course, Isla de Navidad, that was absolutely gorgeous. It also happened to cost $220 U.S. for eighteen holes. Admittedly this included a cart and a caddie, but I just couldn’t bring myself to fork out that much cash for a single round of golf. Hey, I’ve played St Andrew’s and it cost barely half that! So every year I would pay 10 pesos to take the panga (a little passenger boat) across the lagoon and over to the golf course, where I would have breakfast and then wander around like a lovesick teenager, gazing at the beautful fairways and greens, glaring at the lucky bastards who were playing the course (all six of them – I said it was exclusive), and pick up the odd brand new Titleist Pro V lying in the rough. And every year I would promise myself that next year I would suck it up and pay the King’s ransom. And I never did.

This year Scottish Wife and I are in Mexico again, still on the Pacific coast, but this time in a small town called Guayabitos, an hour or so north of Puerto Vallarta. It’s similar to Barra in many ways, family oriented with a great beach and lots of lovely restaurants. We have a couple of good friends staying with us in the same hotel and two more couples staying in hotels just down the road. Last week, over a mid-morning beer (very important to avoid dehydration in hot climates) one of the guys, Dan, asked if we were interested in playing golf in El Monteon, about a ten minute drive away. I declined, telling them my story of unrequited love at Isla de Navidad, and said I really couldn’t afford it. Then Dan explained that 18 holes of golf there, club rental and pull cart included, would cost less than $30. Throw in my share of the taxi fare and a bit more for lunch and a couple of beers and it would still be less than $40. Now that’s the sort of deal to get a retired teacher really excited! To be fair, Dan did explain that this was not the sort of golf course that they’d be playing the Abierta de Mexico (Mexican Open) on any time soon.

I would have to say that Dan’s assessment was fair. On first glimpsing the course from the highway, the phrases ‘cow pasture’ and ‘donkey paddock’ sprang to mind. The rental clubs were whatever you chose from a long table lined with some of the rustiest putters, 2 irons, 7 woods and left handed drivers that have ever been assembled in one place at the same time, outside of a 1902 garage sale of outmoded golfing paraphernalia. Bags came free with the clubs, but it was a little disconcerting when the rental lady insisted on checking my bright yellow golf bag before I picked it up ‘en caso de escorpiones’ (‘in case of scorpions’!) Not surprisingly, my first tee shot was not my finest… My playing partners were Dan (a semi retired meteorologist whose job clearly hadn’t left him enough time to find the perfect golf swing), Dave S. (who hit the ball Babe Ruthian distances but unfortunately often along the third base line) and Stu (who putted like Tiger Woods for nine holes, but made up for it on the back nine by wielding his other clubs like Elin Woods in a domestic argument). Birdies were made, along with quadruple bogies; six balls were lost on a single hole (the horrendous 325 yard island green 6th hole, which had iguanas sunning themselves on the banks of the pond, fish and turtles splooshing through the murky green water and – I swear it – vultures circling overhead); and a good time was had by all. If I had to enter my score on the computer back home I’d probably be a 24 handicap by now, but the post round cervezas induced the sort of warm glow that renders keeping scorecards unnecessary.

And the name of the course? ‘El campo de ensueños’ – the field of dreams! The story of how our taxi driver took a detour on the way home, including a stop at a village corner store where he bought a flat of two dozen ‘chicas’ (small beers) and said we weren’t going home until they’d all been drunk, and then took us on a tour of an absentee American billionaire’s property right on the cliffs above the Pacific coastline…well, that story will have to wait for another day. For the moment, I’m just happy that I’ve had the chance to enjoy one of my little dreams – experiencing el golf de Mexico!

Dave loves his visits to Mexico, but he usually blogs about golf – as a rules official, former caddie or member of Glacier Greens Golf Club in the Comox Valley. You can check out his blog here.

Investments in the installation of solar systems in homes and small businesses have been slowed by the shelter filed by the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) a year ago, generating uncertainty in the sector, says the National Association of Solar Energy.

“What could not be done is that small users can offer or sell energy to the CFE Basic Supply. That is the point that has not been achieved, and we believe that it is holding back investment, “said the secretary general of this organization, Héctor Hernández.

The national electricity company filed an injunction against the regulations issued by the Energy Regulatory Commission (CRE) on the methodology for calculating the rates that the CFE would pay when a user generated its own electricity with solar panels, and sold the surplus to CFE, or when the entire generation was sold directly. The first method is known as net billing and the second as a total sale.

“There has been a bureaucratic halt in the two segments that have to do with the issues of protection, net billing and total sale,” said Hernández.

These modalities have not taken off due to the legal conflict with the CFE, and although the industry has grown at rates of 110% for years, it can actually reach 200% if investors were certain about the payment they can receive from the Commission, he added. . “He is no longer just a domestic user, but investors who want to do business, and do not feel comfortable seeing the existence of the amparo.”

The Association hopes that it can advance in the resolution of the amparo that for now is in one of the courts specialized in economic competition.

The installation of this type of solar technologies -known as distributed generation, because electricity is consumed in the same place where it is produced- went from 130 MW to 270 MW between 2016 and 2017, but these producers were interconnected to the CFE network. through the scheme known as net metering .

In this system, households or companies consume as much electricity as they generate in their panels, such as the CFE, and only a subtraction is made to discount the generation of the final invoice, without generating payments in favor as in net billing.

Thank you to EXPANSION for this article.


This past Friday night, an electrical fire completely destroyed all the belongings of Maria de los Angeles Sanchez Cortez and her daughter, along with sever damage to her casa in La Colonia.

Her and her 14 year old daughter are completely devastated by the fire that started in a switch box.  Fortunately, there were no injuries.

If anyone can find it in their hearts to assist in any way possible, they would be very grateful.

They have no furniture, no clothes, no appliances and no food. The casa is in need of a lot of repairs from all the heat and smoke. Even the vigas(steel I-beams) in the ceiling are sagging from the intense heat.

Please donate what ever you can afford in cash or in household goods. It will all be appreciated. Many of the neighbors chipped in to purchase some cement for repairs to the walls and ceilings.

You may call Maria at this cellular number: 327 110 5817 to donate or you can contact me and I will pass on whatever money I collect. I immediately donated $500 pesos to her so she could have some food.

Here are a few photos. I apologize for their quality, but there was almost no light.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In addition, we had our Mexican veterinarian team:

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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





Chris and Val won this butterfly creation for $5000.

Thanks to all for the great photos.

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.

Get ready for the 5th Annual Taste of Lo De Marcos

Each year this annual Fundraising Events gets more and more popular and its time to get the party started!

The Taste of Lo De Marcos will be held Sunday, February 18, 2018 from 3:00 until 8:00 pm at Luis Echeverria #9, Lo de Marcos, Bahia de Banderas, (just east of the town plaza).

The event will feature LIVE music from 3.30 pm until closing.   The Music of course is at no charge but in response to past requests, chairs will be available this year for those that wish them, and can be can reserved In advance for just $100.00 pesos each.

In addition to the music, the event features food from restaurants located in the Pueblo of Lo De Marcos. The meals and tastes will range from casual to Five Star Dining. There will also be several Artisanal Booths with unique handcrafted items and jewelry for purchase scattered throughout the event for the shopper in all of us.

The proceeds of the event are donated equally to The Amigos de Lo de Marcos, A.C. who provide service and funding for many of the projects undertaken in this coastal town and to Citizens Actions Committee of Lo De Marcos who is responsible for organizing the traditional and cultural events of the year.

We encourage you all to come on out to support this worthy Fundraising event and have a whole lot of fun at the same time.

Reservations for seating can be made in advance by emailing or by calling 327 275 0233.

The event, organized by Galvan Real Estate and Services each year is done to help facilitate the donations that continue to keep Lo De Marcos as the jewel that it is.

Luis Armando Contreras Galván, Broker of Galván Real Estate and Services is pleased to support the fine work of the Amigos Group, with whom he currently serves as the group’s President, and The Citizens Action Committee.

Both of these organizations work diligently to promote and preserve the unparalleled and unspoiled beauty of Lo De Marcos.

The Event Sponsors include NovaMar Insurance, Galvan Real Estate and Services and Riviera Nayarit who will each be present at the event and look forward to welcoming you!

See you all on Sunday, February 18th from 3.00 to 8.00.

Let’s get this Party Started!

JBAR’s November Free  Spay and Neuter Clinic had a record breaking 365 cats and dogs plus two rabbits arrive at the clinic site in La Colonia.  In total 336 animals were sterilized including 138 cats and 198  along with 17 consultations, 4 surgeries and  19 adoptions.  It was a very successful clinic due to our wonderful volunteers and our medical team of Dr. Malcolm Macartney, Dr. Laura Graveling, Dr. Donna Spracklin, all from Canada and the ‘Pets for Live’ Mexican medical team of Dr. Anthony Garcia Carrillo, Dr. Poly Lopez Dr. Jesus Pacheco Ponce and tech Leslie Caratachea.

Many thanks to Fredy and Chely from Popin and Coca Cola for donating their canopies to keep the sweltering sun off both our volunteers and our patients.

Special thanks to Marielena Lozano and Salvador Aguilar van Dyck for opening their hearts as well as  their lovely home and inviting in 365 cats, dogs, and rabbits along with 75 volunteers.

Already, we are tentatively planning our next clinic for March 21st to 24th.  We always need donations!  Animal food, old towels, sheets, collars, leashes and $$$ are always welcome.

Check out our FB page:  Jaltemba Bay Animal Rescue or our website:

A big thanks to Melanie and Lin for these photos.






Tuna (Prickly Pear)

By sight, you would think the tuna is a vegetable, or if you only heard the name you would assume it was the fish. (Language note: the fruit is called tuna; tuna fish is called atun.)

Tunas come in green or purple, both the skin and flesh, and they have different flavors — purple is a little stronger and sweeter, though green is good as well.

These grow atop the nopal cactus. You can eat the leaves of the cactus too — they must be cooked, either fried or grilled. Both the leaves and the fruit are common year round in Mexico, and eating them is a truly Mexican experience. Did you know that cactus was edible?

Tunas are easy to peel. Just cut into the skin and pull it back. The fruit is soft with short fibers, and like the guayaba it has hard seeds that can’t be chewed. Don’t let them put you off — you’ll get used to swallowing them.


Small and colorful, Xoconostle may look like a cross between the tuna and the guayaba, but it has a distinctly powerful, bitter flavor. That’s why it’s usually included in juice mixtures rather than eaten straight.

Buy some to munch on if you are curious, but you are better off ordering them in a juice mixture.


Noni is a funny-looking fruit: green, lumpy, and about the size of your fist. It originally comes from Southeast Asia.

Noni apologists say that it tastes like funky blue cheese. Others, like me, simply say that it tastes nasty.

But Noni purportedly has great health benefits. If you want to eat Noni but can’t get past the taste, blend it up with sugar and other fruits and drink it.

Granada China (Sweet Granadilla)

Egg-shaped outside, with crunchy black seeds and a mucus-like texture inside, granada china is weird no matter how you look at it. In fact, an alternate name for it in Mexico is granada de moco — mucus granada.

It is native to the mountains of South America but is also produced in Mexico, and along with the fruit, a psychedelic flower grows on the plant.

They are available year round, easy to eat, and quite good.

Capulines (Chokecherry)

It looks like a miniature cherry, minus the curvy stem. But it has a flatter flavor, less sweet but not sour. Eat them like a cherry — don’t bite into the pit.

Apparently capuline trees only grow in a few, high-altitude parts of Mexico and also Canada. They come into season in late summer and can be bought from indigenous Otomi ladies on the streets of Temoaya, about an hour from Toluca, the capital of the State of Mexico.

They are also commonly made into jams, although your jam may still contain the rock-hard pits.

Watch your Spanish pronunciation: capulines are chokecherries, while chapulines are fried crickets.


Finally, regarding mangos — never buy a hard one. A ripe mango is soft to the touch, and don’t be afraid of black spots. A unripe mango is bland or bitter, while a good, ripe one in season is one of the sweetest and tastiest fruits around.

So-so mangos are available year round, but the good ones are seasonal, and mango seasons seem to happen all the time.

The mango can be cut in many messy and wasteful ways, but I find the easiest is to make two long cuts along the pit and then spoon out the fruit.

This list of exotic fruits and the short description of each fruit, along with photos so that you will know what you are looking at while shopping in the markets, will get you started.  I will add to this list during subsequent issues, with the latest fruits highlighted at the top of the list.

Note:  When asking for these fruits at one of our many fruiterias, keep in mind that each of these have numerous names which can cause some confusion.


Yaca / Jackfruit  

Do not let the sometimes repugnant smell deter you from at least trying some. Eating this fruit is best when very ripe and fresh.





The Yaca, breadfruit, jackfruit and many other names, is rich in potassium, calcium, and iron.

There are stories floating around that the flesh has some aphrodisiac properties. Let me know how that goes for you.





Mangostán  / Mangosteen

The Mangosteen fruit reaches a size of about 4 cm in diameter. The actual edible portion is the white orange like sections found on the inside. Many people say that this is their favorite fruit. Use it on salads or eat it alone.

A powerful antioxidant found almost exclusively in mangosteen – has properties that alleviate pain, allergies, infections, skin problems and fatigue at the same time it supports intestinal health.



Chico Zapote / Zapote Negro / Sapodilla

Chef Betty Vazquez, Culinary Ambassador for the Riviera Nayarit, has called the Chico Zapote, the “Flavor King,”—and that’s not far from the truth! Its juicy pulp tastes very much like a pear and is truly delicious. In pre-Hispanic times, the Aztecs—who believed in its healing properties—called this fruit tzapotl. Its name stems from the Nahuatl word chictli, which means chicle, or gum.



The zapote negro, one of its many names, is very prolific in Nayarit, although it’s native to the coastal areas of Chiapas, Veracruz and Yucatan and can even be found in the woodlands of Central America. When it’s ripe it turns green on the outside and brown on the inside and tastes sort of like chocolate. This fruit is harvested from August through January.




Mamey / Mammee Apple

It is common to see vendors along the sides of the road selling this fruit. It has a very bright salmon-colored interior pulp that tastes like honey and almonds. This pulp is creamy, soft and sweet. The mamey is part of the zapote family





The Mammee Apple is actually an evergreen tree fruit. It has many different colors both inside and out.

Apart from their sweet and tangy, taste the Mammee apple is a good source of nutrients, vitamins and minerals. Enjoy on your ice cream or in smoothies.

Starting November 14th

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

La Peñita Seniors’ Center

Calle Bahia de Guaymas #18 (near CFE)

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

community. Cash prizes and a special “Progressive Blackout Bingo

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

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

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

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

Internet speeds are showing improvement

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

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

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

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

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

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

Totalplay and Telmex Infinitum both moved up from 2.81 Mpbs.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 This is one that most of us know about. It gets used more than we would like to admit. It is used to describe someone that is cheap in their bargaining tactics, spending habits and / or tipping tendencies. Yes, we all know someone that probably deserves and receives this gesture, but doesn’t get the message.

Just rub your elbow with the palm of your hand.




Did you ever walk into a bar or restaurant with a Mexican and have them turn around and show this signal. It means the place is crowded or full of people. The grouping of the fingers kind of gives this one away.

And if they show you both hands this way, it is full!




This gesture is not overly common, and that is probably because our hosts love to eat. If you see this one, it means that someone is hungry.  Let’s eat!





 Now don’t get ahead of me on this one guys. When you see this one, the forefinger and thumb are typically closer together and can mean a variety of things.

Not the first one that came to your mind though.
It can mean your drink or food will show up sometime soon.
It can mean ‘its almost your turn’.
I have found it to usually mean… I’ll be back in anywhere from 2 minutes to 2 hours. It is always accompanied by a big smile, so just smile back and nod your head. This is the home of mañana.



These two are pretty self evident and we can all identify with them.

This one simply means ‘no’.



And this one means ‘yes’. Just a simple wagging up and down of the index finger tells it all.

Okay, now the tough ones…
How tall is your child?
How big is your dog?
And how high is the fence?
You probably get my drift now. How many hands tall is your horse?
(A hand measures 4″.)


Thanks to Susannah Rigg from the BBC for this interesting and creative article.

When I first stepped foot on Mexican soil, I spoke relatively good Spanish. I was by no means fluent, but I could hold a conversation. So when I asked a local ice-cream seller in downtown Guadalajara when he expected a new delivery of chocolate ice cream, and he said ‘ahorita’, which directly translates to ‘right now’, I took him at his word, believing that its arrival was imminent.

I sat near his shop and waited, my Englishness making me feel it would be rude to leave. Half an hour passed and still no ice cream arrived, so I timidly wandered back to the shop and asked again about the chocolate ice cream. “Ahorita,” he told me again, dragging out the ‘i’ ? “Ahoriiiiita”. His face was a mix of confusion and maybe even embarrassment.

The author learned that ‘ahorita’ shouldn’t be taken literally while waiting for ice cream to arrive (Credit: Madeleine Jettre/Alamy)

I was torn. Waiting longer wasn’t appealing, but I felt it was impolite to walk away, especially if the ice cream was now being delivered especially for me. But finally, after waiting so long that I’d built up an appetite for dinner, dark clouds appeared overhead and I made a rush for the nearest bus to take me home. As I left, I signalled up at the sky to the ice cream seller to let him know that I obviously couldn’t wait any longer and it really wasn’t my fault. His face was, once again, one of total confusion.

As I sat on the bus, rain pattering on the windows, I replayed the conversation in my head and decided indignantly that the ice cream seller was a liar.

This incident faded from my memory until years later when I came back to live in Mexico. I discovered that cracking what I came to call the ‘ahorita code’ took not a fluency in the language, but rather a fluency in the culture.

Cracking the ‘ahorita code’ took not a fluency in the language, but rather a fluency in the culture

When someone from Mexico says ‘ahorita’, they should almost never be taken literally; its definition changes dramatically with context. As Dr Concepción Company, linguist and emeritus researcher at the Autonomous University of Mexico in Mexico City, told me, “When a Mexican says ‘ahorita’, it could mean tomorrow, in an hour, within five years or never.”

Ahorita llego, which directly translates to ‘I am arriving right now’, in fact means ‘I will be there in an indeterminate amount of time’, while ahorita regreso (‘I will be right back’) means ‘I will be back at some point but who knows exactly when’. ‘Ahorita’ is even used as a polite way of saying ‘no, thank you’ when refusing an offer. Even after almost seven years in Mexico, this response can still catch me off guard when I’m hosting friends; I find myself hovering, unsure if I should get my guest what I offered them or not.

While most Spanish-speaking countries use the diminutive ‘ita’ to add immediacy, in Mexico it lessens formality (Credit: EDU Vision/Alamy)

Mexicans are famous in the Spanish-speaking world for their extensive use of the diminutive. While in most Spanish-speaking countries the addition of the diminutive ‘ita’ to an adverb like ahora (meaning ‘now’) would strengthen it to indicate immediacy (i.e. ‘right now’), this is not the case in Mexico. Dr Company explained that Mexicans instead use the diminutive form to break down the space between the speaker and the listener and lessen formality. In this case of ‘ahorita’, the addition of the diminutive reduces urgency rather than increasing it – a difference that can be extremely confusing for foreigners.

Subtle adjustments to the pronunciation of the word also affect the way ‘ahorita’ is interpreted. “The stretch in the ‘i’ sound in the word ‘ahorita’ is a demonstration of the stretching of time,” Dr Company informed me, implying that the longer the sound, the longer one can expect to wait. Equally, “if you want to imply that you really mean right now, you would say ‘ahorititita’,” she explained, noting the short, sharp sounds represent the idea that something needs to happen at once.

The difficulty of interpreting ‘Ahorita Time’ is a reflection of differing cultural understandings of time (Credit: Jeremy Woodhouse/ Getty Images)

Difficulty interpreting what I have come to call ‘Ahorita Time’ is a reflection of different cultural understandings of time. Dr Company explained that if she is giving a talk in Mexico and goes over her allotted time, Mexicans “feel like I am giving them a gift”. In the UK or the US, however, “The audience starts to leave, feeling like I am wasting their time.” My Mexican friends plan parties for 7pm knowing that no one will show up until at least 8:30pm. Foreigners who are new to Mexico organise events for 8:30pm not knowing that means that most people will arrive at 10pm.

You never know what might happen between now and ‘ahorita’

I have heard foreigners complaining about Mexicans’ tardiness, viewing lateness as a lack of manners and respect. This stems from the notion that ‘time is money’ – a finite, valuable resource that should not be squandered. Mexicans on the other hand have a much less loaded attitude, viewing time as something flexible and malleable; something that cannot be controlled. Ahorita Time makes little commitment and allows for spontaneity, because you never know what might happen between now and ‘ahorita’.

The author’s Mexican friends plan parties for 7pm knowing no one will show up until at least 8:30pm (Credit: Thomas Barwick/Getty Images)

However, some expats living in Mexico just cannot get used to this more fluid way of measuring time. After moving to Mexico from the US, Elizabeth Wattson found a unique way of working with Ahorita Time. “Whenever my boss said ‘ahorita’, I would respond by asking ‘ahorita when?’. I just couldn’t work with this vague concept of something getting done at some indeterminate point in the future,” she said.

For me, cracking the ‘ahorita code’ ? and understanding why my ice cream never arrived ? came when I relaxed into the flow of Mexican life, which felt far less hurried than my life in London had been.

Cracking the ‘ahorita code’ has allowed the author to live far more in the ‘right now’ than before (Credit: Craig Lovell/Alamy)

Since moving to Mexico, my attitude towards time has changed dramatically. I don’t worry so much about being late; I am generally still on time to appointments (old habits die hard), but when I’m not, I don’t panic. And while I still get frustrated when waiting for a plumber who may arrive in the next five minutes or the next five hours, I know that the payoff is feeling far less controlled by time and I enjoy the spontaneity that this adds to life.

Ironically, it would seem that Ahorita Time has actually allowed me to live far more in the ‘right now’ than I ever did before.


Puerto Vallarta, Mexico – According to the North Coast Regional Director of Tourism, José Ludwig Estrada Virgen, the Secretary of Communication and Transport (SCT) has announced that the first stretch of the Jala-Compostela highway, in the state of Nayarit, will open in time for the Semana Santa holidays.streaming Despicable Me 3 film

Budget cuts and environmental issues have delayed the construction of the new Guadalajara-Puerto Vallarta highway, but the SCT asserts that the first stage, a 67.9 kilometer stretch between Jala and phentermine Compostela, will provide travelers, especially those coming from Guadalajara, with shorter drive times and easier access to the entire Banderas Bay region during the two-week Easter vacation period.

The trip from Guadalajara to Puerto Vallarta usually takes a total of four hours, and sometimes more, but the opening of this section will reduce travel time, in addition to improving coastal road traffic.

“This road from Jala was to be completed last year, in fact the year before… in December 2015. They are now working on the junctions, so let’s hope they are completed before the holidays,” he said.

Thanks to Banderas News for the above photo and article.


sayulita pueblo magico

The announcement came this past Friday, September 25, 2015 in Puebla during the 2nd Ferial Nacional Pueblos Mágicos, setting the stage for the tourism potential of this town to take off.

The designation of Pueblo Mágico, awarded by Enrique de la Madrid, head of the Mexico Tourism Board, and received by the head of Nayarit Tourism, Catalina Ruiz, will set off a five-year project for the government and the citizens to work on in order for Sayulita to receive its official certification.

The Nayarit Secretary of Tourism thanked the state and municipal authorities as well as the people of the town of Sayulita for their work on this great step forward in the development of the region’s “Hippie Chic” microdestination. “Congratulations, Nayarit, land of bronze, culture, history and nature. A sustainable tourism destination… Nayarit: the Paradise of the Pacific!” exclaimed Catalina Ruiz on her social media accounts.

This project began with the creation of the Executive Committee Pro Pueblo Mágico Sayulita, presided by Marcos Scott, which integrates elements from the Nayarit and Banderas Bay tourism offices. Together they will structure a plan with input from civil associations and the people.

Grupo Pro Sayulita’s Oswaldo Vallejo – also on the committee – explained that the amount of money this designation brought in would be earmarked to improve the services of the town while maintaining the unique essence that attracted people to it from around the world.

With the naming of 28 new Pueblos Mágicos Mexico now has 111, among which will be divided the 400 million pesos set aside for these communities in 2016.

Originally published by Riviera Nayarit CVB

US TV network ABC announced the launch of the second season of the top reality show in the nation, Bachelor in Paradise, which will kick off in a two-night event the nights of August 2nd and 3rd.

The new location, Playa Escondida (Hidden Beach), is described as “one of the secret gems of the Riviera Nayarit coast and home to the exquisite, nature-inspired organic wonderland that is the Playa Escondida resort. It is a hotel without signage, without a map, one that has grown intuitively on its lush, beachfront site.” This is barefoot luxury at its finest, steeped in the warmth and color of Mexico.

The show was taped in the Riviera Nayarit and Puerto Vallarta as a result of the efforts of the Riviera Nayarit Convention and Visitors Bureau, and will be hosted at the aforementioned Hotel Playa Escondida in Sayulita.

The cast for this season of love in Mexico’s Pacific Treasure is made up of the audience’s favorite participants from previous seasons.

“They all left The Bachelor or The Bachelorette with broken hearts, but now they know what it really takes to find love, and in Bachelor in Paradise they will have a second chance to find their soul mates,” according to the release.

ABC is one of the top four largest networks in the United States. has over 77 million unique monthly visits with 2.4 billion page views per month.

For more details visit:

Originally published by Riviera Nayarit CVB

While driving through the residential zone in Rincón de Guayabitos on May 13th, I was surprised to see a Shaving Brush Tree tree prominently displaying these large cotton-like puffs. The bright pink flowers had already bloomed and fallen off, and the puffs seemed to have taken their place.


Upon closer inspection, the cotton fiber appears to start out tightly packed before opening into the fluffy cotton-like puffs.

I had never seen a Shaving Brush Tree do this before; and because I couldn’t find any information or photos online, I reached out to a few local plant specialists. Oddly enough, no one else had seen this tree produce these puffs either.

And so my research began…

I remembered that while on the hike from Los Ayala to El Monteón two years ago, our group walked by the Shaving Brush Tree with bright pink plumes shown below. I had never seen one of these trees up close before and was fascinated with its structure. At the time, the tree was completely leafless (the leaves come in after the flowers bloom), allowing passers-by to view the numerous maroon-colored buds and incredible wispy flowers.

I decided to drive back to El Monteón, and I was thrilled to discover that this tree not only had several cotton puffs, but it was also still in bloom, as shown below.

The restaurant owner (who’s name I forgot) told me that the flowers are edible. People with cancer, diabetes and other ailments eat them in hopes that it will cure them.

He pointed out that the new leaves start out red, but they quickly turn green (as shown below).

Since I was so enthusiastic, he walked around the tree and picked up what was left of a seedpod. He explained that after the flowers die, the tree starts to produce large hard pods. The cotton fibers grow inside, and the seedpods break open and fall to the ground. Once the cotton-like puffs open, the seeds are carried away by the natural breezes and produce new trees.

There is an unopened seedpod shown near the top center in the photo above.

Pseudobombax ellipticum, commonly known as “Shaving Brush Tree,” is a species of plant in the Malvaceae family, subfamily Bombacoideae. They are native to southern Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, and they typically bloom late winter or early spring. These deciduous trees can reach 18 meters (60 feet) in height.

For anyone interested, you can view this tree in front of the restaurant on the north side of the street near the entrance to El Monteón.panduan android

by Allyson Williams

This story was submitted by one of our regular contributors. Join in and share your stories and photos about how you explore Nayarit, Mexico. We can’t wait to see what you’ve been up to lately!

Nurse Vicky Flores Ramirez, her assistant Erica Santiago Joachin and I drove to the small town of Las Lomas, near San Pancho, to deliver donated items to the poor children there.

Nurse Vicky Las Lomas 1

Our first stop was the preschool, Prescolar Comunitario Niños Heroes.

Nurse Vicky Las Lomas 3
Nurse Vicky Las Lomas 4

There were 15 students and their maestro (teacher), Anselma Judith Espinoza, who is originally from Cuastecomate, Nayarit. Each student received a toy, pencils and toothbrush and toothpaste, and the maestra got two packages of colored chalk to make her job a little more enjoyable.

Nurse Vicky Las Lomas 8
Nurse Vicky Las Lomas 2

Vicky reminds the students to brush their teeth “four times a day!” To make sure they are listening, she makes them repeat it!

Nurse Vicky Las Lomas 7

Many of the children in Las Lomas know Erica, because she used to be a teacher here. She is now working at Protección Civil in Rincon de Guayabitos.

Nurse Vicky Las Lomas 9

Will someone please go back and rescue this poor pup!

Nurse Vicky Las Lomas 10

We then headed to Primaria Benito Juarez, where we were greeted by 35 smiling faces (in two classrooms) and Maestro Hector Manuel Perez.

Nurse Vicky Las Lomas 12

We gave one item to every student – from clothing and shoes, to Barbies, water bottles and backpacks, and of course, Vicky’s signature offering, toothbrushes and toothpaste. Vicky is very firm about the importance of dental hygiene and being a good student, which is why the students who were most dedicated to their studies (chosen by their classmates and teacher), received items before the rest of the class.

As you can see above, the stainless-steel water bottles were a big hit!

Nurse Vicky Las Lomas 11

As we left this classroom, Vicky asked me if I noticed how pale the children’s faces were. She informed me that this is because of their diet and lack of good nutrition, which is why Vicky continues to ask for donations of children’s vitamins.

Nurse Vicky Las Lomas 13 Nurse Vicky Las Lomas 14 Nurse Vicky Las Lomas 15

This group of boys were obviously grateful for our visit, and they loved shouting “whiskey” for the camera!

Nurse Vicky Las Lomas 16

Our last stop was Telesecundaria Juan Escutia. There were 17 students currently attending this school. We handed out two notebooks, pens and a calculator to each student, plus portfolios, pens, paperclips and other teaching aides to Maestros Manuel Isiordia Rubio and Jesùs Angel Aguirre.

Surprisingly, Vicky took the time to teach the students about sexually transmitted diseases – and even though it’s an uncomfortable topic, they really listened! She agreed to return with materials to share with the teachers and students.

Nurse Vicky Las Lomas 17

Vicky delivers donated items to 32 communities throughout Nayarit. She often asks for volunteers to drive her, and she is in constant need of donations to continue her good work.

Please consider making a donation so the McKibben Foundation (Nurse Vicky’s Dispensary) can continue helping schools, seniors and needy families in the Jaltemba Bay area. Donations can be dropped off at:

McKibben Foundation (Nurse Vicky’s Dispensary)
Mar de Cortez #55
La Peñita de Jaltemba
Nayarit, Col. Miramar
C.P. 63726
(Municipio de Compostela)

Vicky would like to thank the following for their donations given during today’s outing:

  • Geri de Moss – Barbies
  • Cinnamon Dagsvik – Clothing and shoes
  • Emma Schofield & Lyla – Toothbrushes and toothpaste
  • Cindy Wan – Shoes
  • Nancy Wilson – Water bottles
  • Karen Trudell – Backpacks
  • Debra & Grant Cooke – Toys

by Allyson Williams

This story was written by one of our regular contributors. To learn more about the author, 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

Each year on November 2nd, we have the most important celebration for the dead in Mexico. On this day, people visit the tombs of their beloved deceased ones and they mount altars to help them have a good walk during the afterlife.

Many of these altars are considered true works of art, as they reflect the hard work, dedication and creativity of the people. According to tradition, the place where the altar is made has to consist of seven levels or steps that represent the seven levels that a soul must pass in order to rest.

These altars are usually constructed in places where abundant space is available, which has to be swept with aromatic herbs towards the four cardinal points one day before the Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead).

Originally these altars were made over the tomb, where the relatives of the deceased would spend the night awaiting for the spirit to come down and enjoy their offerings.

Dia de los Muerto 2014 Jesus Carranza 10   Dia de los Muerto 2014 Jesus Carranza 2

Ornaments in Steps

  1. First step you put a picture of the preferred Saint or Virgin.
  2. The second step is reserved for the souls in purgatory. Through this step, the soul of the deceased obtains permission to leave in the event its spirit is in purgatory.
  3. In the third, the salt is placed for the children in purgatory.
  4. In the fourth, you add a type of bread deemed “Pan de Muerto” (the bread of the dead), that is adorned with red sugar that represents blood. It is recommended that the bread is made by the relatives of the deceased, due to the fact that it is a consecration.
  5. Fifth, food and fruit that were preferred by the deceased is placed.
  6. Sixth, photo is placed of the deceased to whom the altar is dedicated.
  7. Lastly, a rosary cross made ??of “tejocote” (hawthorn) and “limas” (a regional citrus fruit).

Offerings Placed Inside the Altar

  • Four candles that are lit, mainly forming a cross, oriented to the four cardinal points.
  • To the side of the altar, a clay pot is placed over clay oven with aromatic herbs such as basil, bay leaf, rosemary, chamomile and many more.

The Main Elements that an Altar Must Have

  • Chains of purple and yellow paper that signify the union between life and death.
  • Confetti that adds colors and a joy of living.
  • Flowers that are a welcoming for the soul: white flowers that represent heaven, yellow flowers that represents earth, and purple flowers which represents mourning.
  • Candles that represent the ascension of the spirit. They also signify light and a guide for the way.
  • A new, white canvas representing purity, the sky.
  • A large candle that represents the soul alone.
  • Copal incense whose smoke symbolizes the passage from life to death.
  • Corn that represents the harvest.
  • Fruits are the gift that nature gives us. These are generally sugarcane, oranges, hawthorn and jicama.
  • Sugar skulls that are an indigenous custom.
  • Water that gives life and energy for the road.
  • The favorite dishes of the deceased person, to share food this person liked.
  • A photograph of the person to whom the tribute is dedicated.
  • A Christ so there are blessings.
  • A lime cross symbolizing the four cardinal points.
  • Salt so the body is not corrupted.
  • A path from the front door to the altar formed with marigold flowers.
  • A rod to release the dead from the devil and evil spirits.
  • Personal belongings of the deceased.

Dia de los Muerto 2014 Jesus Carranza 3
The Instituto de Estudios del Rey Nayar in the city of Tepic, Nayarit won second place in the competition for dead altars convened by the National Institute of Anthropology and Museum Historia regional Nayarit.

Dia de los Muerto 2014 Jesus Carranza 8

by Lic. Jesus Carranza Diaz
Translated by Edgar Castellon for Jaltemba Bay Life

About The Author: Lic. Jesus Carranza Diaz is a native of Los Ayala in the municipality of Compostela. He 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, including one referring to the muse (Albina Moon) that inspired “The Sound of the Black Woman”, a popular song which identifies our country in the world and that was created by Nayaritas musicians, it began as a journalistic report. His books include “Tepic Through its Ejido,” “Tepic Through its History” and “Playa Los Ayala: Memorias de mi Pueblo” which is in its fourth release. Jesus has completed a series of investigations that will more than likely be issued soon to continue his prolific writing career.

Undoubtedly Jesus is a lover of his land and its customs and traditions, and he shares his knowledge about the State of Nayarit in his new column entitled “Viva Nayarit” on Jaltemba Bay Life.

Significado del Día de los Muertos Altares

El 2 de noviembre se celebra la máxima festividad de los muertos en México, día en que las personas visitan las tumbas de sus fieles difuntos y montan altares para ayudar a que éstos tengan un buen camino durante la muerte.

Muchos de estos altares son considerados verdaderas obras de artes, ya que reflejan el trabajo, dedicación y creatividad de la gente.

Según la tradición, el lugar donde se establece un altar debe de constar de 7 niveles o escalones que representan los 7 niveles que tiene que pasar el alma de un muerto para poder descansar.

Estos altares se realizan generalmente en lugares donde exista un espacio grande, el cual debe ser barrido con hierbas aromáticas hacia los cuatro vientos un día antes del Día de Muertos.

En un principio estos altares eran hechos en las tumbas, donde los familiares del difunto pasaban la noche en espera de que el espíritu bajara y disfrutara su ofrenda.

Dia de los Muerto 2014 Jesus Carranza 5 Dia de los Muerto 2014 Jesus Carranza 4
President of Mexico, Benito Juarez Garcia

Adornos en Escalones

  1. Primer escalón se pone la foto del santo o virgen de la devoción.
  2. Segundo escalón es se destina a las ánimas del purgatorio; es útil porque por medio de él el alma del difunto obtiene el permiso para salir de ese lugar en caso de encontrarse ahí.
  3. En el tercero se pone la sal para los niños del purgatorio.
  4. En el cuarto se pone pan llamado “pan de muerto”, que es adornado con azúcar roja que simula la sangre; se recomienda que el pan sea hecho por los parientes del difunto, ya que es una consagración.
  5. Quinto, se pone la comida y la fruta que fueron los preferidos por el difunto.
  6. Sexto, se coloca la foto del difunto a quien se dedica el altar.
  7. Último, la cruz de un rosario hecho de tejocote y limas.

Las Ofrendas que se Ponen Dentro del Altar son las Siguientes

  • Se prenden cuatro velas principales formando una cruz orientada a los cuatro puntos cardinales.
  • Al lado del altar se pone una olla de barro sobre un anafre con hierbas aromáticas como albahaca, laurel, romero, manzanilla y otras más.

Los elementos que debe tener un altar son:

  • Cadenas de papel morado y amarillo que significan la unión entre la vida y la muerte.
  • Papel picado que da colorido y alegría de vivir.
  • Las flores que son la bienvenida para el alma, la flor blanca representa el cielo; flor amarilla la tierra y la morada el luto.
  • Velas que representan la ascensión del espíritu. También significan luz y guía del camino.
  • Lienzo blanco y nuevo que representa la pureza, el cielo.
  • El cirio que representa el alma sola.
  • Incienso de copal cuyo humo simboliza el paso de la vida a la muerte.
  • El maíz que representa la cosecha.
  • Las frutas son la ofrenda que nos brinda la naturaleza; generalmente son cañas de azúcar, naranjas, tejocotes y jícamas.
  • Las calaveras de azúcar que son una costumbre indígena.
  • El agua que da vida y energía para el camino.
  • Los platillos con las que se trata de agradar el difunto compartiendo los alimentos que le gustaban.
  • Fotografía de la persona a quien se dedica el tributo.
  • Un Cristo para que haya bendiciones.
  • Una cruz de cal que simboliza los 4 puntos cardinales.
  • Sal para que el cuerpo no se corrompa.
  • Un camino desde la puerta de la entrada hasta el altar formado con flor de cempasúchil.
  • Una vara para liberar al muerto del demonio y los malos espíritus.
  • Objetos personales del difunto.

Dia de los Muerto 2014 Jesus Carranza 1
Dead altar honoring the writer Nayarita Amado Nervo made towards the Instituto de Estudios del Rey Nayar.

Los Altares

AMADO NERVO, seudónimo de Juan Crisóstomo Ruiz de Nervo y Ordaz (Tepic, a continuación, en Jalisco, Nayarit hoy, 27 de agosto 1870 – Montevideo, Uruguay 24 de mayo de 1919) fue un poeta mexicano y prosista, perteneciente al movimiento modernista. Fue miembro correspondiente de la Academia Mexicana de la Lengua, pero podría no ser miembro de número a residir en exterior.

Poeta, autor también de novelas y ensayos, que por lo general se encasillan como modernista de estilo y su época, clasificación frecuentemente matizada incompatible con el misticismo y tristeza del poeta, sobre todo en sus últimas obras, a continuación, las combinaciones más complejas de acudiéndose que terminan en “-ismo “es decir, que tiene como objetivo reflejar sentimiento religioso y melancolía abandono y progresivo de los dispositivos técnicos, incluyendo la rima y los ritmos y cadencias elegancia y estilo atribuye, Nervo.

El sonoro nombre de Amado Nervo, frecuentemente tomado por seudónimo, en realidad le fue dado al nacer, tras la decisión de simplificar su verdadero nombre, Ruiz de Nervo. Él mismo una vez bromeó sobre la in fluencia en su éxito como un nombre propio poeta.

A su regreso a México era un poeta de renombre. Asistió brevemente posiciones educativas y burocráticas: ganó una lengua española en la enseñanza de la Escuela Nacional Preparatoria, equivalente al nivel de la escuela secundaria superior en otros países. En 1905 ingresó en el servicio diplomático como secretario de la Embajada de México en Madrid, donde se convirtió en amigos con el director de la revista Ateneo, Mariano Miguel de Val, y escribió artículos para este y muchos otros periódicos y revistas, españolas y latinas. Más de cumplir honorablemente su misión diplomática, el aumento de su literatura, entre otros libros, con el estudio Juana Asbaje (1910); Poesía: Suavemente (1909), Serenidad (1915), Elevación (1917) y El todavía amaba era a título póstumo; Ellos prosa (1912), Mis filosofías y Plenty (1918). En 1914 estalló la Revolución de servicio diplomático y ganó la cesación, lo que lo acercó de nuevo a la pobreza; Él volvió a casa en 1918 y de nuevo fue reconocido como diplomático, por lo que poco después fue enviado como ministro plenipotenciario de la Argentina y Uruguay. Llegó a Buenos Aires en marzo. Se dice que una situación fortuita impidió una reunión en esta ciudad entre él y el compositor argentino Ernesto Drangosch (1882-1925), quien agradeció de antemano desconocido. El hecho es que Drangosch musicalizó cuatro poemas de Nervo: En paz, amémonos, Ofertorio y un signo. Nervo murió en Montevideo el 24 de mayo de 1919, a los 48 años.

Su cuerpo fue traído a México por la corbeta uruguaya, escoltado por barcos argentinos, cubanos, venezolanos y brasileños. En México se ha pagado registro homenaje. Fue enterrado en la Rotonda de las Personas Ilustres (antes la Rotonda de los Hombres Ilustres), en 14 de noviembre 1919.

JUANA INÉS DE ASBAJE y Ramírez de Santillana, más conocida como Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz (San Miguel Nepantla, 12 de noviembre 1651 – Ciudad de México, 17 de abril 1695) fue un exponente Edad de oro religiosa y escritora novohispana en la literatura española. Cultivó la lírica, el sacramental y el teatro y la prosa. Debido a la importancia de su obra, recibió el apodo de “el Fénix de América”, “La Décima Musa” o “mexicano Décima Musa”.

A muy temprana edad aprendió a leer y escribir. Perteneció a la corte de Antonio Salazar y Toledo, marqués de Mancera y 25 virrey de la Nueva España. En 1667, para la vocación religiosa y el deseo de conocimiento, entró en la vida monástica. Sus clientes más importantes fueron los virreyes de Mancera, virrey Arzobispo Payo Enríquez de Rivera y el marqués de la Laguna, también virreyes de la Nueva España, que publicaron los dos primeros volúmenes de sus obras en la España peninsular. Ella murió de una epidemia en 17 de abril de 1695.

Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz sirvió junto a Juan Ruiz de Alarcón y Carlos de Sigüenza y Góngora, un lugar destacado en la literatura novohispana. En el campo de la ópera, su obra se adhiere a los lineamientos del barroco español en su etapa tardía. La producción lírica de Sor Juana, que es la mitad de su obra, es un crisol de la cultura convergen en la Nueva España apogeo culteranismo de Góngora y Quevedo y obra conceptista de Calderón.

Las obras dramáticas de Sor Juana van de lo religioso a lo profano. Sus obras más notables de este género son Amor es un laberinto, Los empeños de una casa y una serie de obras de teatro de moralidad diseñado para representarse a sí misma ante el tribunal.

Profesor Severiano Ocegueda Peña, educador y poeta. Mazatlán, Nayarit, México; 11 de agosto 1913 – Tepic, Nayarit; 14 de agosto de 1990.

Su pasión por la enseñanza le acompañó hasta su muerte fue el director de la escuela de una aldea infectada, Concepción González Burke. En 1930 tuve el placer de nuevas aulas de marca Escuela Normal Rural de Xalisco, inaugurado el mismo año por Luis Castillo Ledón. Tres años más tarde, comenzó su larga carrera como profesor en Santiago Pochotitán, Calera Cofrados, Atonalisco, San Pedro Lagunillas, Tuxpan y Tepic. En 1948, mientras se desempeñaba como inspector de la escuela en el Séptimo Distrito que comprende Acaponeta Tecuala y Huajicori, se pone a escribir dos libros que le ganaron su estado, el reconocimiento nacional y, por supuesto, América por su valor educativo innegable: Lectura y Escritura. A partir de 1956-1960 se ejecuta una prueba piloto de educación básica, patrocinado por la UNESCO en Santiago Ixcuintla. Participar en el naciente movimiento obrero maestro y la fundación de la Sección 18 y 20 del Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores de la Educación. El intervalo 1958-1959 es probablemente el más desagradable de su vida, porque él es encarcelado por compartir la ideología del movimiento nacional de ferrocarril. Más tarde, XXVI es concejal de la ciudad de Tepic, durante la alcaldía de Alejandro Gascón Mercado desde 1972 hasta 1975. Fue un hombre polifacético que también incursiona en la literatura como el autor de los libros Groove I, II y III, Asesoramiento a mi hijo, Lecturas para niños y adultos, Aztecas topónimos, Patrones de Nayarit y México. Como si eso no fuera suficiente, obtiene una verdadera proeza literaria cuando escribe de Nayarit y Geografía Enseñanza ortografía, totalmente verso! Su obra poética le valió varios premios en San Blas, Santiago Ixcuintla y Tepic, además de colaborar en periódicos como El Demócrata, Diario de la Vida del Pacífico y Nueva.

by Lic. Jesus Carranza Diaz

In Part 1, we departed from Rincón de Guayabitos with four of us in the jeep. We stopped at Zacualpán to help some poor Huicholes and then toured the outdoor museum. We then went to Turtle Beach and had a look around.

Reboarding the jeep, we leave Turtle Beach and return in the direction we had come. Noting a hand written sign that said “Crocodile 5 pesos,” we turn toward the estuary and finally come to a palapa and a few small pens containing crocodiles; or at least I thought they were. A man came out from the palapa and explained that they were caimans. For the life of me I cannot tell the difference. Although the difference between alligators, crocodiles and caimans has been explained to me many times I do not know the difference. I only know that where they swim I refuse.

Editor’s Note: “Back Roads of Nayarit” is a series of essays written by Bob Howell, a long-time resident of Jaltemba Bay. We are sharing his stories in an effort to preserve Bob’s memory – and to help Bob’s partner and traveling companion, Vicky Flores Ramirez, who still lives in La Peñita and quietly carries on the work that she and Bob so loved. You can learn more below. 

25 - Looking for a friend in the pond
A crocodile or caiman: This and others were held in caged areas with small ponds. They were captured in the estuary. A small handwritten sign that said “Crocodiles, 5 pesos” was nailed to a palm and there was an arrow pointing toward the estuary. The roads were not good and the place was hard to find. There was a palapa and a few pens on the edge of the estuary. The caretaker said they were hungry and had no food. I think few visitors come here.

24 - More crocs or caiman
More crocs or caiman: There is a large crocodile farm not far from San Blas where they are raising hundreds for release back into the estuaries. The species was endangered in these parts and it is illegal to kill them.

He further explained that there was a shortage of food for them and they were very hungry. I noticed that no one in our group volunteered to go in and comfort them. There was a pile of coconuts on the ground and he cut the end off of one for each of us. The cool coconut juice hit the spot because it was getting hot and we were thirsty. I am afraid that if he is depending on pesos from the odd tourist that happens on this spot to feed these creatures, the crocs are in for a hard time.

26 - Opened coconuts
Opened coconuts: He cut off the ends of the coconuts and we each drank the sweet cool juice. Then, you can see what we did with the inside in the next photo.

27 - Suprise!!
Surprise!! I snapped this of Vicky as she was enjoying the creamy sauce that lined the enterior of each coconut. Delicious.

We hop aboard again. We make another stop on this long beautiful beach. No one lives here for miles and it ends at the mouth of Boca de Chila, the old pirate cove (another story). Here is the only road that I know of that will bring you to the beach. We get out and snap a few photos. There are also miles of coconut groves and, according to a couple of hard to get maps that we have, more estuaries, sand bars and other interesting things. If only I had balloon tires on my jeep I would like to check out this long isolated stretch, just to see what is there. Our next stop will be the beach at Platanitos. We return on the rough road to the highway and turn left. Soon we arrive at an intersection where a side road joins and where you can see a beautiful little cove with palapas. This is Platanitos. At that intersection on the right can be seen a few buildings and a defensive position that is manned by Mexican Marines, from time to time to provide cover for a check point on the road below. What are they checking for? Going left and down, we pass the beach and palapas. Note: Last October this whole stretch of beach was wiped clean by Hurricane Kenna. It is nice to see that is has been largely rebuilt. A few fishing pangas are scattered here and there. You can always eat fresh catch here.

29 - My kind of beach
My kind of beach: A light surf and shallow beach. Good swimming here. Looking back toward Turtle Beach and Punta Custudio. It goes for miles and nobody lives there. You could play Robinson Crusoe here.

30 - A palm lined beach
A palm lined beach: Miles of coconuts and a long wide beach. There are worse places to spend your time. This is ejido land. They and buyers are waiting for government approval to develop this end of the beach, even though that still leaves miles of natural beach, I can’t help but wish that it doesn’t happen.

Leaving the beach we go left around the small mountain and soon come to the estuary. We can see Turtle Beach right across the way. There is a clearing below and I see cars parked. We could easily swim across or maybe wade. Who is afraid of the caiman. Me?? Continuing on we come to another small home development at Punta Custodio. We pass a short distance, find a shady spot and have lunch. The usual, turkey ham and cheese sandwiches, potato chips, bread and butter pickles, pickled beets, small snacks, beer, soda and coffee.

32 - The mouth of the estuary
The mouth of the estuary: Between Punta Custodio and Platanitos. The developers want a bridge across here.

33 - More beautiful beach
More beautiful beach: Turtle Beach as seen from across the estuary at Punta Custodio.

After filling ourselves we drive on down the hill to Platanitos, park the jeep and have a look around.

I have heard that this place is scheduled for development as soon as the ecologists are dealt with. Hotels, a golf course, homes and of course a bridge across the estuary. Farewell to the little fishing village of Platanitos.

It is 2:04 in the afternoon and the kilometers are 361. Now we head home. Reaching Zacualpán, we stop at the old, semi roofless packing shed where the children of the workers are that we helped this morning and pass out all of the clothing we have aboard. The children tell us that the adults well be returning at about 6 p.m.

After exhausting our supply of candy and clothing (we handed out all of the food earlier) we tell them we will return in a couple of days with a little more help. Back to the jeep and we return home.

Note: We did a bit of shopping and returned when the adults were there with food and more clothes. It was after dark, so it was difficult to take photos. My digital does not do well unless the light is good.

by Bob Howell
Originally published April 2003 on La Peñita Folk

Back Roads of Nayarit” is a series of essays written by Bob Howell, a long-time resident of Jaltemba Bay. The series details his day trips and adventures between 2001-2007. We are sharing these stories in an effort to preserve Bob’s memory – and to help Bob’s partner and traveling companion, Vicky Flores Ramirez, who still lives in La Peñita and quietly carries on the work that she and Bob so loved. Sometimes her bodega is packed full of donated clothing, school supplies, toys and medicine; sometimes it is bare. If you enjoy reading these articles, please consider making a donation so the McKibben Foundation (Nurse Vicky’s Dispensary) can continue helping schools, seniors and needy families in the Jaltemba Bay area. And if you have copies of any of Bob’s old stories or photos, please contact us.

Click here to read Tom Plattenberger’s personal dedication entitled “In Memory of Bob Howell” which serves as an introduction to this series.

We were sitting around the front room having happy hour with our Bed and Breakfast guests, Dave and Lenore Boroughs, and talking about having an adventure. It was decided that we would drop over and see Turtle Beach, since neither of us had been there for a few years. Turned out we found a couple of new things, like a very needy group of Huicholes and a crocodile farm we didn’t know about. Here it is.

Editor’s Note: “Back Roads of Nayarit” is a series of essays written by Bob Howell, a long-time resident of Jaltemba Bay. We are sharing his stories in an effort to preserve Bob’s memory – and to help Bob’s partner and traveling companion, Vicky Flores Ramirez, who still lives in La Peñita and quietly carries on the work that she and Bob so loved. You can learn more below. 

It is another beautiful day in paradise. It is 8:45 a.m. The jeep is loaded with the four of us, lunches and food and clothing for the poor. We head out through La Peñita, where they are still working on the road; it has been two years now. This is supposed to go through to Tepic and I fully expect it to be finished during my grand children’s or maybe my great grandchildren’s life.

01 - The explorers in paradise
The explorers in paradise: Bob, Vicky, Lenore and Dave the adventurers on this trip. They encounter a remote beach community, a destroyed turtle hatchery, crocodiles, a needy group of Huichol Indians and more.

The countryside is green, the mangoes are getting larger, they should be starting to ripen in late May or early June. We see smoke back in the mountains. This means more rain forests going down the tube. If they keep this up, the day will be seen when there are no more in Nayarit. I read somewhere that at the current rate all will be gone in México within 50 years. During my 6 years here in Rincón de Guayabitos I keep seeing them going and going. Oh, well, civilization, I guess that is progress.

We pass Puerto de la Lima and I note the kilometers to read 295. The tobacco is starting to ripen and all the fields look good even though it is getting toward the dry season. We pass the cut off to Chacala and the many fruit stands. They sell so many nice things. A shame that few gringos stop. Mostly they don’t know what the little packages contain. Many types of fruit and coconut candies. Banana pastries. Honey, fruits and melons.

Arriving in Las Varas, we turn left at the traffic light and go in the direction of Zacualpán, our first stop where we will gas up and visit the outdoor museum. Kilometers are 306. We pass through many more pretty fields of sorgum, tobacco, beans, squash, watermelons, mangoes and other fruits.

We enter Zacualpán at 9:16 and the kilometers are 314.

As we enter we see a lot of very poor looking children under a shed so we pull over. There are about 18 young children, including several babies. There is one woman looking after them. There is a small wood fire and one small pot with some beans cooking. They are Huichol Indians. The older children and parents are out gathering chiles for a packing shed. They will not return until about dark. There is no food in sight except for the small pot of beans. The shed roof was partially blown off by the hurricane and they have tried to make small shelters with pieces of plastic. There is no water and they look hungry and dirty. It is obvious that this is day to day living for them. Vicky brings out the store of rice, beans and sugar that we have aboard. We pass out candy and promise to stop by on our return trip. We snap a few photos and we are on our way.

02 - A needy group of Huichol Indians
A needy group of Huichol Indians: We notice a group of young Huicholes with one woman in charge. They are living under an abandoned shed that had part of the roof missing.

03 - Vicky and her friends
Vicky and her friends: Little food was in sight and times are hard for these little one. Those nine and older were out picking chiles with the adults.

04 - This is home for 58 people
This is home for 58 people: 40 adults (all after age nine were considered adults and work in the field) and 18 children, including babies live here.

05 - Vicky gives a helping hand
Vicky gives a helping hand: Vicky packs something for everyone when we make these trips. Clothing, food, such as rice, beans and sugar, a few toys and candy. 

06 - Look at these smiling faces
Look at these smiling faces: The Huicholes are a proud people that live in remote mountain village, far from modern civilizations. They only come down now and then to sell their handicrafts and earn a little money before returning. These folks are contracted for 3 months to pick chiles.

07 - What is it, when she receives a piece of candy
What is it, when she receives a piece of candy: Basic needs are in short supply and luxuries, such as this, are rare.

Zacualpán is a busy little farm town and we pit stop for gas and make our way to the museum, passing by the large plaza and surrounding church and government buildings, which look neat and colonial. There are found a number of rocks and stones with symbols and carvings. Some elaborate some simple. Some date back over 4000 years ago. Dinosaurs were found in these parts and evidence of hunters. The Aztecs were fairly newcomers here. After looking through the little outdoor museum, made colorful by the many flowers and roses, we reboard the jeep and get on the road again.

08 - An outdoor petroglyph museum
An outdoor petroglyph museum: This museum is located in Zacualpán, Nayarit, México. A little hard to find. There are a number of writings and symbols. What do all of these symbols or drawings mean? Up to 4000 years old, many historians differ as to the use or meanings. We will never know.

10 - This looks similar to Aztec and Mayan work
This looks similar to Aztec and Mayan work: Yet the Mayans were far to the South and the Aztecs never did settle this part of the country. The nearest serious outpost being Aztlán del Río, a couple of hour’s drive from here.

11 - What were these used for.
What were these used for? There used to be a number of these here but people have hauled them off. They look like a round ball cut in half. They had no metal tools, only obsidian. How did they do this?

Entering in San Ysidro, we stop at a small fruit stand on the right. They have maps of the coast near Turtle Beach and the development which has been slowly going in during the past few years. On we go, passing through Ixtapa. It is kilometer 323. We see the high mountains off to our right, which is Le Cumbre and El Malinal. Places where our coffee comes from. As most of our readers know, we get a lot of our coffee directly from the plantations in the mountains. We roast the green beans and grind them fresh daily. Each of these little villages have topes (speed bumps) so watch out! The country is changing and it is dry scrub trees. Not very hospitable looking and the ground does not look fertile. This used to be beautiful rain forest.

Reaching the turnoff to Turtle Beach, we turn left. It is 10:18 and the kilometers are 329. There is a large sign here so you can’t miss this one.

We pass through many newly planted mango groves and planted fields. The road curves and there is a sign that says 6.5 kilometers to Playa Las Tortugas. It is kilometer 333 and the planted fields give way to scrub brush and coconut palms can be seen in the distance. We soon arrive in a coconut grove that stretches as far as the eye can see to the south and the point of Punta Custodio to the north.

12 - A long deserted beach
A long deserted beach: The beach runs for many miles between Punta Custodio and Boca de Chila, the old pirate lair.

13 - Coconut trees line much of the beach
Coconut trees line much of the beach: The beach is deserted for many miles. If I had balloon tires on my jeep I could drive all the way to the treasure cove at Boca de Chila. This is an area we hope to explore soon.

15 - An estuary behind the beach
An estuary behind the beach: This estuary separates the old turtle hatchery from Punta Custodio and the nearby highway. Ecologists have not permitted a bridge and easy access. Good for them.

We soon arrive at the development. About a half dozen very nice homes. Nicely landscaped, a couple very elaborate. Passing through the home area we come to the end of the road and park. The beach is in front of us and there is a large estuary on the right. The beach is long and beautiful. If I only had balloon tires on the jeep I think I could drive all of the way to Boca de Chila (I have a story about this place and the pirate treasure). There are a couple of wrecked buildings, downed power poles and much evidence of damage by Hurricane Kenna back in October of 2002. A turtle hatchery was here. Because the green turtle is, or was on the endangered list, eggs were gathered and brought here to escape poachers, who would gather and sell them, although illegal. Thousands were here and they, along with the buildings that housed them, were destroyed. Hopefully the program will be restarted before the summer season starts again.

16 - Beautiful homes at Turtle Beach
Beautiful homes at Turtle Beach: Six homes have been built during the last several years. The nearby turtle hatchery containing thousands of turtle eggs was destroyed by hurricane Kenna. It is a long hard drive over a rough road or a short boat ride from the fishing village at Platanitos, to get to Turtle Beach. This still leaves you a long way to the nearest town. Like solitud? This is it.

18 - Driving through the coconut groves
Driving through the coconut groves: Thousands of coconuts. Many lying on the ground. There is a popular drink called tuba. We used to make it out in the islands. Put a little fruit down the eyes and plug it. When the plug blows off instant booze.

19 - A nice pool almost on the beach
A nice pool almost on the beach: The home owners association pool. Complete with palapa and facilities. Watch the sunset while relaxing in the warm waters of this pool. Maybe have a margarita too.

We talk briefly with a home owner who tells us that a new phase of the development has started and more homes will be built. A nice place to get away from it all. It looks like something you would find in the south seas. An unspoiled paradise. Although just across the channel from Platanitos, and the highway, you must go all the way around because the ecologists will not permit the mouth of the estuary to be bridged. Hooray for them.

Stay tuned for Part 2 in the next issue of our newsletter.

by Bob Howell
Originally published April 2003 on La Peñita Folk

Back Roads of Nayarit” is a series of essays written by Bob Howell, a long-time resident of Jaltemba Bay. The series details his day trips and adventures between 2001-2007. We are sharing these stories in an effort to preserve Bob’s memory – and to help Bob’s partner and traveling companion, Vicky Flores Ramirez, who still lives in La Peñita and quietly carries on the work that she and Bob so loved. Sometimes her bodega is packed full of donated clothing, school supplies, toys and medicine; sometimes it is bare. If you enjoy reading these articles, please consider making a donation so the McKibben Foundation (Nurse Vicky’s Dispensary) can continue helping schools, seniors and needy families in the Jaltemba Bay area. And if you have copies of any of Bob’s old stories or photos, please contact us.

Click here to read Tom Plattenberger’s personal dedication entitled “In Memory of Bob Howell” which serves as an introduction to this series.

Earlier this season, a group of us set out on a day trip to the secret beach at the Marieta Islands. We hired Salvador in Rincón de Guayabitos to take us. While en route to the islands, we did some whale watching until the captain spotted some splashing going on. We headed that way to explore and got a chance to see these manta rays jumping. I had only once seen this before in Punta Raza in 2013 when I led a hiking group down at the beach. Those were little ones – nothing like these mantas. Prior to that I didn’t realized they liked to jump and play.

Flying Manta Ray Lori Schneider Wood 1

by Lori Schneider-Wood

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Now it’s your turn! Email your photos (at least 500 pixels wide) to Please include a photo title, a detailed description of what the photo is and/or where it was taken (the more information, the better), the photographer’s name, as well as the city and state/province where the photographer lives if not from the Jaltemba Bay area. We can’t wait to see what you’ve been up to lately.

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

Dr. Martin Hearing Aid Clinic 1676

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

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

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

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

Dr. Martin Hearing Aid Clinic 1665

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

Dr. Martin Hearing Aid Clinic 1678

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

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

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

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

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

by David Thompson
photos by David Thompson and Deborah Scott

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

We were thrilled when we finally got the opportunity to watch the Valdivia-Muñiz family make tamales at their home in La Colonia a few weeks ago. My husband David discovered “Tamalería La Autentica” last season, and quite honestly, they make the best tamales we’ve ever tasted.

We quickly learned that the family’s goal is to produce a product that people enjoy so they come back again and again – and that tamale-making is a serious business.

Tamales in La Penita DSC06629

Mercedes, her husband Felipe and their daughter Nelly make tamales every Wednesday and Thursday, and then sell them in front of the church in Rincón de Guayabitos every weekend. They typically make 560 tamales each week and specialize in four different flavors: tamales de pollo (chicken) made with a flavorful and slightly spicy mole rojo (red mole sauce), tamales de carne de puerco (pork) with a different red sauce, tamales de rajas con queso with sliced poblano chiles and cheese, and tamales dulces de piña (sweet tamales made with pineapple). Each batch is prepared by hand by the entire family, and the recipes have been handed down by Mercedes’ mother.

They have built a regular clientele over the last 9-10 years. Some clients prefer to eat at their stand so they can smother their tamales with salsa and enjoy a cup of atole, while others take dozens of tamales home to share with friends and family. They also take special orders; in fact, just last year they made 700 tamales for a holiday party at a local school.

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Mercedes began by heating a special type of manteca (pork lard) in a large pot over high heat. When it was hot and started to smoke, she added manteca vegetal (similar to vegetable shortening) to the pot.

Mercedes and her family lived in Oregon, USA from 1994-2007. During this time, she made tamales between jobs to supplement their income. This is when she realized that she could make a living cooking and no longer needed to work for someone else.

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While the manteca was heating, Felipe sliced the poblano chiles for the chile and cheese tamales while Nelly washed, chopped and cooked the potatoes and carrots for the chicken tamales (shown below).

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You may recognize Nelly, who works as a waitress at Los Compadres Restaurant & Bar in La Peñita.

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The corn husks, called hojas de maiz, soaked in water for approximately 45 minutes so they were pliable enough to flatten, stuff and fold.

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When we arrived, the waft of homemade consomé de pollo (chicken stock) filled the entire house. It was cooking out back in an enormous covered pot and was now being used to flavor the masa de maíz (corn flour dough).

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In their large industrial mixer, Mercedes combined baking powder, baking soda, salt, fresh masa and dry masa. Little by little, she added the hot manteca mixture along with some of the homemade chicken consomé. She continued to slowly mix the dough until the texture was just right.

Several years ago when the family was working in the US, Felipe’s former boss decided to purchase a new mixer. When he learned that Felipe was interested in the old mixer, he agreed to sell it to him for just five dozen tamales. That’s how good their tamales are!

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Felipe then transferred the masa mixture from the mixer to a large stainless bowl.

Each family member moved into their designated position around the table and the tamale making process began… just like a well oiled machine.

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Mercedes effortlessly weighed the masa dough in her hands to ensure that each tamale was the same size. She then spread the dough onto the corn husks with her fingers and passed them to Nelly.

Nelly started to chuckle and said “Te agarre con las manos en la masa,” which is a common phrase that translates to “I found you with your hands in the masa.”

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Nelly carefully filled each husk with the proper ingredients and folded them a certain way, depending on the variety they were making at the time.

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Felipe then tied and trimmed each variety with a different tie detail so they can tell which variety is which. These finishing details are Mercedes’ tradition. It was the way her mother did it, and every tamale maker adds their own details.

Mercedes remembers her mother making tamales for special occasions, not every day. Her mother lived in a small town by the name of Cerro Pelon on a ranch outside of Compostela. There are about 30 homes there, and it continues to be the perfect place for the family to go relax and get away from everything.

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Each variety takes 50 minutes to 1½ hours to make depending on the number of ingredients and labor intensity. All of the stuffing ingredients, including the shredded chicken and pork, two mole sauces, shredded cheese and cooked potatoes and carrots, are all prepared ahead of time to expedite the tamale making process.

They prepare the tamales a day in advance so they can chill overnight. The following day, they awake between 2:30-4am to steam the tamales. Nelly jokingly says “so they can get to the church on time,” and proceeds to tell a story from a few weeks ago when they were so excited to get to the church that they they forgot the pot of tamales. They had to turn their truck around and go all the way back home to get them.

While we did not witness the cooking process, the tamales are vertically stacked inside a large double boiler and steamed over low heat for exactly 1 hour 40 minutes.

Mercedes, Felipe and Nelly were such gracious hosts and we want to thank them for inviting us into their home to share how they make their delicious homemade tamales.

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Tamalería La Autentica

Address: The Valdivia-Muñiz family sets up their table in front of the church in Rincón de Guayabitos. There are other vendors, so be sure to look for the “Tamalería La Autentica” sign. During high season and holidays, they set up another table just west of Oasis Disco, near the secondary entrance to town.

Hours: Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 6-10am or until they run out.
They work more often during the holidays.

Price: A mere $12 pesos each

Here are a few random shots I took during the afternoon:

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The first batch of chicken tamales. You can tell the difference because the ties are left long on the chicken tamales, compared to the chile and cheese tamales which have short ties (shown in top photo) and the pork tamales which are folded and have no ties.

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The flavorful and slightly spicy red mole used in the chicken tamales.

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They have an enormous and immaculate kitchen dedicated to making their tamales. The walls are lined with restaurant-quality cookware and utensils purchased in the US and Mexico.

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One of Felipe’s caballos (horses) who was tied up outside their property. This photo was taken through a small hole in the exterior cement wall.

by Allyson Williams

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

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New Years Eve

Whether you plan to ring in the New Year with fireworks, a big neighborhood party or a quiet dinner with family or friends, here are a few common and curious New Year’s traditions in Mexico that you may want to try:

1) Eat 12 Grapes

As the clock strikes midnight, eat 12 grapes to welcome the new year, making a wish while eating each one. Each grape represents good luck for each month of the new year.

2) What You Wear on New Year’s Eve Matters

Wearing red underwear is suppose to bring you good luck in love, and yellow is thought to bring good fortune. Some believe that wearing black will bring bad luck.

3) Out with the Old

Cleaning your house or sweeping with a broom towards the outside is recommended to get rid of everything bad from the previous year and to attract better things in the new year. Some people take a bath on New Year’s Eve and some even wash their pets and cars.

4) Take a Walk with Your Suitcase

Plan to travel in the new year? Walking with your suitcase around your home or the block at midnight will bring you jet-setting opportunities in the new year… and the farther you walk, the farther your trip will be.

We realize that there are many other rituals and traditions. Feel free to share your favorites with us below!

No matter where you are, what you wear or how you decide to celebrate, we at Explore Nayarit want to wish you a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.

¡Feliz Año Nuevo!

Updated December 2014


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