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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 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 the 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 a short 5 minute drive from La Peñita. It 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.
It is worth noting that when you arrive in Puerto Vallarta, you will be on Central Time. Once you head north, you will leave the state of Jalisco and enter the state of Nayarit. The time zone no longer changes at the state lines as it once did. The new time zone includes the towns of Mezcales, Bucerias, Sayulita, San Pancho and Lo de Marcos. So, once you pass Lo de Marcos (and head towards Los Ayala, Guayabitos and La Peñita), be sure to turn your watches back one hour as you will now be on Mountain Time.
Upon your return to the airport in Puerto Vallarta, remember that you will loose an hour as the time zone changes back to Central Time. Be sure to set your watches accordingly so you don't miss your flight.
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. 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.
Click on our full-size interactive Map of La Peñita / La Colonia to view hotels, vacation rentals,
restaurants, businesses, public facilities, beaches and attractions.
|Rincón de Guayabitos||La Peñita / La Colonia|
|Los Ayala||Lo de Marcos||Playa Las Tortugas|
*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.
Thanks to Jasmine Hohenstein (Edmonton, Canada) for the top feature photo; and Fred Meyer (Asheville, North Carolina) for sharing his photo of two boys in the chair.