I first heard of La Peñita de Jaltemba in 1980 while living in Mexico City through an artist friend and her husband, who was also a painter. Whenever we would get together, the conversation would somehow end up with stories of their friend Efrain who lived in this beach town on the Pacific coast. The stories were fantastic, exotic and definitely alluring to both Eddie and myself. I loved the stories, but I had no plans to ever visiting this place.

One day on my birthday, my friend gave me an oil painting of a woman on a beach. She said, “this is a fragment of a painting I did of La Peñita. I didn’t like the painting so I tore it and kept only this part which I liked, you are going to love this place.”

One day we were visiting our friends, and Efrain Melendez happened to be there. More stories of La Peñita were shared. He said “if you ever in the area come and visit me.” When we asked him for the address, he said “oh, everybody knows me there, just ask for me.” Well, Eddie and I drove from the airport, and just as we were getting tired from the ride in a rented Jeep, there we were on the Avenida. We started asking people for Efrain, and no, no one seemed to know him. Finally a young man said he knew him, and that he lived on the last street on the south side of town, by the cemetery. We drove there and found him on the roof of his house. He took us swimming, we ate ceviche tostadas for lunch, and we were hooked. We only stayed one night, but on the way back to Puerto Vallarta, Eddie and I agreed we have to come back.

I remember this day… it was July 14, 1987. Alcira Medleg and Efrain Melendez announced that morning that they were going to have a lunch to celebrate my birthday. I said “great, who is invited?” and they said “nobody.” I said, “no, we must have guests.” I invited my compadre Santos Rodriguez, and his then girlfriend, my comadre Reyna. She was with Lorena, Santos’ youngest sister (she has the restaurant in Guayabitos with Roque). We ate enchiladas and had a great time.

I returned to La Peñita the summer of 1989 and rented the casita Efrain had next door to him. A year later they had their first son, Genaro, and two years later, Victor was born.

My friendship with Santos and Reyna became a lifesaver for me, they became my family and we see each other as brothers. Then the kids were born and I became their padrino (godfather). As the padrino, I helped with their education. Vic just graduated from the UDG University with a degree in business administration and Genaro graduated with a degree in systems engineer. Both Eddie and I take an active part in their lives. I never thought I was going to parent, but I see what a huge responsibility it is. They have been a blessing in our lives and have made my life full.

The rest is history, Genaro and Victor are now 25 and 23. Victor lives with us and is the manager of our restaurant, Xaltemba Restaurant & Galeria. Oscar, is my third godson from Reyna and Santos. He is 17 and works as the bartender at El Rodeo.

Victor and Genero enjoying the beach in Los Ayala

Oscar, Victor and Eddie at Vista Guayabitos Restaurant

This story is the first in a 6-part series. Click here to read “Enchanting Little House in La Peñita: The Intro” to learn how this story came to fruition, along with other stories in this series.

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