If you’re looking for a safe, affordable, and family-friendly beach vacation destination, Jaltemba Bay in the Riviera Nayarit is a great option. It is located in a good place single 60 kilometers north of the Puerto Vallarta airport, this vacation retreat is a tropical oasis that offers tourists plenty of sea, sun and sand and some of the best swimming beaches in the Pacific of Mexico.
Jaltemba Bay is made up of four delightfully authentic Mexican beach towns, Los Ayala, Rincón de Guayabitos, La Peñita de Jaltemba, and La Colonia, offering plenty to do. Here are some of the favorites:
Top six things to do
1. Experience Tiangus
Tianguis, is the famous authentic weekly Mexican outdoor market that takes place in the (main square) of La Penita de Jaltemba every Thursday. The market operates all year round, opens its doors at 8:00 am and lasts until 2:00 pm Tourists and residents flock here every week to buy handicrafts, hand-embroidered clothing, blankets and rugs; silver, turquoise and leather jewelry, colorful Mexican ceramic plates; copper cookware, extraordinary multi-colored hand-woven slippers; and the fine artisan beadwork of the native Huichols, all at prices that will make your heart sing!
However, to truly experience Tiangus, you must walk along the market that stretches for several blocks beyond the main square. Here you will find the authentic experience of the Mexican market that includes the purchase of herbal medicines; fruits and vegetables, fresh from the truck of local farmers; Tupperware, pirated CDs and movies; generously padded colored arm; socks and underwear; second-hand clothes; dyed chicks; puppies and spare parts for absolutely anything you could possibly need.
Are you hungry? In the main square in front of the church, you will find an extravaganza of tasty sandwiches including: hot sugary churros, freshly baked bread, croissants, donuts, muffins, a variety of Mexican flans and cakes; delicious dried tropical fruits including mangoes, papaya, and pineapple; and a plethora of roasted nuts: cashews, walnuts, almonds, pistachios, and peanuts. If you’re just indulging in one treat, check out everyone’s favorite: toasted sweet pecans. Simply to die for!
Finish your shopping experience by visiting the local art exhibit at Xaltemba Restaurant and Galeria and stopping by Hamaca Maya to purchase an authentic hand-woven Mayan hammock. Meeting the kind Hala Hazzi in person is an absolute must, even if you don’t intend to buy anything.
When you’re tired of shopping, stop for a cappuccino or a hearty breakfast at Soley’s Restaurant and Cafe, located on the main square, the perfect place to meet local people and watch the market go back and forth.
Walk the local trails that lead to Playa del Beso, Playa del Torres, Punta Raza, El Monteon, and Lo de Marcos. The start of the hiking trails is at the southern end of Los Ayala beach, and it will take you on a journey through a lush tropical jungle where you will experience some of the incredible flora and fauna of the Riviera Nayarit and discover a beach to call. your own. A must for bird watchers!
Rent a car or hop on a bike and explore the vast open farm and ranch that sits at the base of the Sierra Vallejo Mountains and is easily accessed via La Penita on the south side of Highway 200. Your Journey It will take you through some pretty open fields, farms, ranches, and rivers, and along the way there are many treasures to be found, including the joys of swimming in freshwater rivers and pools.
Take a horseback ride through the interior of Los Ayala and the surroundings of Villas del Tropico, where you will be rewarded with some of the most beautiful landscapes in the Riviera Nayarit. Tune up your tennis game on the public outdoor court in Guayabitos or try bodyboarding at the north end of Guayabitos beach. Rent a jet ski or take a banana boat ride just for the thrill. Rent a kayak and paddle the entire shoreline of Jaltemba Bay stopping at one of the many hidden beaches along the way for a picnic and a dip in the warm ocean waters.
Walk along the spectacular beaches from Los Ayala to La Penita. Take the local Colectivo and enjoy the journey back to your hotel or bungalow and practice your Spanish chatting with the friendly and warm locals. Head to La Colonia and visit the turtle sanctuary on the beach, and take the time to wander at least part of this beautiful unspoiled and yet to be developed beach.
3. Take the Party Boat Tour
Get on the Gran Fiesta de Los Ayala or the Fiesta de Guayabitos and enjoy a three-hour party full of lively music, dances, songs, lots of laughter and the impressive scenery of Jaltemba Bay. The party cruise is one of the most profitable and efficient ways to enjoy all the beaches in the Jaltemba Bay area, including Playa del Beso, Playa Frideritas, Los Ayala, Rincón de Guayabitos, La Penita and La Colonia.
The party boat tour takes you around Isla Islote and Isla Cangrejo (Isla Cangrejo) and during the months of November to March you are likely to see humpback whales, dolphins and sea turtles that are abundant in this area. Be warned that the Party Boat tour is loud, but it’s also a great way to see how Mexicans have mastered the art of having fun.
4. Spend a whole day at Los Ayala beach
Arrive around 8 am to watch the fishermen unload their boats and shop like the locals for fresh fish or prawns in a variety of sizes. Bring your camera to get some shots of Heermaan’s friendly brown pelicans, frigates, and gulls vying for scraps. Enjoy breakfast on the beach! Enjoy a large pineapple stuffed with fresh fruit, a succulent carved mango served on a stick, or a freshly baked corn muffin.
Take the short walk to Playa del Beso and enjoy a swim in the clear green waters at this beautiful secluded beach. Return to Los Ayala and park under the shade of a palapa at one of the cozy beachfront palapa-style restaurants and savor the many popular local dishes in this area, including; ceviche, quesadillas, shrimp tacos, grilled fish and prawns cooked to perfection.
Walk along the kilometer-long beach and enjoy swimming in the calm ocean waters of Mexico’s best Pacific swimming beach. Return to your designated beach restaurant and park there for the rest of the day. Sit back and sip a refreshing margarita or piña colada, or a local beer that still sells for just $ 1.20 a bottle as you watch the many Mexican families on vacation enjoy a day at the beach. If you’re still hungry, try some traditional beach dishes including cheeses dipped in chili sauce, giant coconut crackers, blackened fish on a stick, and homemade flan.
5. Inspire your taste buds
Explore the many local culinary delights available in Jaltemba Bay. Take a look at one of the many local taco stands that serve a variety of tasty tacos filled with beef, pork, and fish garnished with a variety of exotic sauces. The most popular food cart vendors serve delicious shrimp burritos and tasty burgers that come topped with ham and pineapple, and even pork chops. Try the local ceviche, which consists of fish marinated in lime and is reputed to be a powerful aphrodisiac. Gold Fish Sarendado, one of the most popular dishes in the Jaltemba Bay area – Whole marinated fish grilled over real wood embers garnished with specialty sauces often derived from old family compilations.
For a good dinner and a bit of romance, the Xaltemba Restaurant and Gallery in La Peñita de Jaltemba and Vista Guayabitos in Los Ayala are both highly recommended. Vista Guayabitos offers the most impressive view of the entire Jaltemba Bay.
6. Wait for a community event
Attend one of the many community fundraisers in Jaltemba Bay, including many traditional Mexican parties, folk dance performances, the annual Jaltemba Bay Margarita Challenge, a fun Margarita Mix Contest; the Jaltemba Bay Fashion Show, a fundraiser to help local women; a horseshoe tournament; and perhaps the best event in the Riviera Nayarit – the Fiesta de Los Amigos de La Penita that takes place at Thomas Bartlett’s award-winning estate in La Penita de Jaltemba.
If you really want to experience what it’s like to be involved in the Jaltemba Bay community, set aside a couple of hours of your vacation to help out with one of the many fundraising events or volunteer with one of the local committees to help organize an event. Truly a great way to meet the local people and have an unforgettable vacation!