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Lo de Marcos • El Monteón • Punta Raza • Los Ayala • Rincón de Guayabitos • La Peñita • Boca de Naranjo • Chacala • Playa Las Tortugas • Platanitos
La Peñita de Jaltemba
La Peñita de Jaltemba is the largest of the three towns and provides the commercial and public services for the Jaltemba Bay and surrounding area. There is a bank, ATMs, money exchange, internet cafes, grocery and liquor stores, hardware and appliance stores, doctors and clinics, a hospital, a library, post office, bus stations, as well as business and legal services like a Ministero Publico (District Attorney), Notario (Notary) and accountants. Also dotted through town are small hotels and bungalows, a couple of trailer parks, and a few lovely Bed & Breakfasts, rental homes, condos and apartments.
Locals congregate along La Avenida (main street) and in the plaza, which sits at the center of town. Its paved walkways and concrete benches are shaded by large ficus and palm trees. The church is just across the street, and has recently been renovated. The bullring, located a few blocks away, is used mainly for rodeos, roping and riding practice, and musical events. On the north end of town is a new park with a soccer field, basketball court, volleyball courts, a children's playground and walking trail.
La Peñita, as it is commonly called, means "little rock". The people who live here are kind, hard working, generous and proud. The majority are fisherman, farmers, waiters, maids, bakers and construction workers. Their lives are filled with long-standing traditions and strong family values. This charming fishing village is quiet, friendly and the epitome of "real" Mexico.
La Colonia Paraiso Escondido, known as La Colonia, is a northern suburb of La Peñita. The two are separated by a small hill and are only accessible via highway. La Colonia is mostly residential with rows of colorful cement block houses in various states of completion. There are also several small businesses including tacos stands, minisupers, papelerias, tortillerias and a few mechanics.
One of the main attractions of La Peñita is the Tianguis (open-air market) which is held every Thursday in the plaza. For those who really like to shop – and even for those who don’t – the Tianguis is a must. People come from miles around to attend. From pickup trucks overflowing with poblano peppers and watermelons; homemakers displaying fresh pastries and jumbo shrimp; vendors selling table linens and beautiful Oaxacan wool rugs; to local artists displaying handmade accessories, silver jewelry, pottery, glassware, and the famous Huichol Indian art – you name it, they’ve got it here. You can read more about the Tianguis in La Peñita here.
Playa La Peñita, the main beach in La Peñita, is quiet and fairly calm for swimming and water sports. Often times, you won't see a sole in the water... except for the pelicans. Near the main beach entrance you'll find fisherman mending their nets and cleaning their boats. Playa La Peñita is .93 miles (1.5 km) long.
The beach at La Colonia, called El Playón, is perfect for long quiet walks as it is mostly uninhabited and continues north for over 5 glorious miles (5.13 miles/8.25 km) with La Peñita at the south end and Lima de Abajo/Playa Boca del Naranjo on the north. There are a handful of small homes near the main entrance, but nothing else in sight. Currently, the beach is surrounded by a chain-link fence and the main entrance is secured by guards as it is apparently slated to become a new government tourist development. Much like the beach in La Peñita, the waves at El Playón are not good for water play due to the strong undertow, so pack a lunch, your beach chairs and umbrella, a good book and enjoy it while you still can.
There are two small islands off the coast which undeniably provide an anchor for the entire bay. The name of the larger island is either Isla La Peña or Isla Coral (Rock or Coral Island), depending on who you ask. The smaller island is called Isla Cangrejo (Crab Island).
The population of La Peñita is 9,102 permanent residents* and the population of La Colonia is 2,463.
Location & Map
La Peñita is situated in the Bay of Jaltemba in the state of Nayarit on the Pacific coast of Mexico. La Peñita is a 15-20 minute walk from Guayabitos and a 10-minute drive from Los Ayala (read more about Getting Around Town). The nearest major cities are Puerto Vallarta (40 miles/72 km or 1.5 hours south) and Guadalajara (185 miles/299 km or 4.5 hours east), both of which are located in the state of Jalisco.
Our interactive Maps of La Peñita and La Colonia includes hotels, rental homes, restaurants, businesses, public facilities, beaches and attractions.
Most people come to La Peñita via Puerto Vallarta or Guadalajara. For detailed directions on how to get here by air or by land, read Getting Here: Directions and Transportation to Guayabitos, La Peñita and Los Ayala. This section includes detailed directions from Puerto Vallarta Airport (PVR), plus a complete list of airlines, taxis, car rentals and bus lines that serve our area.
If you are driving, you may also want to read our Travel Tips Guide to Jaltemba Bay, which includes: what to do before you go, what to bring, what to wear, required entry and exit documents, custom regulations, medical and travel insurance, bringing a vehicle into Mexico and auto insurance.
Weather & Rainfall
La Peñita enjoys over 320 days of sunshine per year, with temperatures averaging 28°C (82°F). To view up-to-the-minute temperature, humidity, heat index, wind speed, rainfall and monthly averages, visit the Official Jaltemba Bay Weather Station.
Rincón de Guayabitos, La Peñita and Los Ayala are on Mountain Time. Keep in mind that the towns just south of us (Lo de Marcos, San Pancho, Sayulita, Bucerias, and Puerto Vallarta) are on Central Time. (Note: As of April 2010, the time zone changed and no longer occurs at the state line. See our Pactific Coast Map for the exact location.)
Where to Stay
No matter whether you’re looking for an upscale resort, all-inclusive hotel, beachfront rental home, quaint Bed & Breakfast or RV park for your rig – there’s something for everyone and every budget. To view the accommodation options in La Peñita, click the "Where to Stay" tab above or view our Hotel & Vacation Rental Directory.
What to Do
There is so much to do while vacationing in La Peñita... fishing, kayaking, golfing, tennis, yoga, horseback riding, whale and bird watching, tequila tours, shopping trips, a jungle boat ride or even a relaxing massage by the beach. And for the adventurous, several local tour companies offer swimming with dolphins, surfing, snorkeling, mountain biking, off-road jeep safaris and even an exciting zipline tour. You can learn more about tours and activities, exploring the neighboring towns and beaches, shopping and sports and fitness by clicking these links... and don't miss our Top 10 Things To Do.
And while you're here, you'll want to set aside Thursdays so you can attend the Tianguis (open-air market) in La Peñita, which we mentioned near the top of this page. You can find additional information, hours and the location for the Tianguis in La Peñita here.
Where to Eat
If you're hungry, don't fret. You don't have to look far to find wonderful restaurants serving everything from authentic Mexican food, Italian, Chinese and even German – or if you prefer, you can eat at one of the many taco, torta (sandwich), and ceviche stands along main street which serve up some of the most popular Mexican fare. And if during your stay, you're lucky enough to come across a vendor selling fried plantains (large green cooking bananas) drizzled with jam and lechera (sweetened condensed milk) or camote (Mexican sweet potatoes, pronounced "kah-MOH-teh") roasted in a cart with a wood-fired oven, try them... they are wonderful treats. Click here to view the Jaltemba Bay Dining Guide.
To view a complete list of holidays, festivals, cultural events, fundraising events, music, classes and activities for Rincón de Guayabitos, La Peñita and Los Ayala, view our Community Event Calendar.
If you have questions or need additional information, please feel free to ask questions, provide answers and share information on Jaltemba Bay Folk, our community forum.
*Note: The population numbers listed are from a May 31, 2010 census. At that time, there were 13,860 full-time residents in the Jaltemba Bay area. These numbers do not reflect the influx of part-time residents or visitors to the area during the winter months.