Bienvenidos a La Peñita de Jaltemba

Try saying that one five times! Welcome to La Peñita de Jaltemba, a small town on the Pacific coast of Mexico, an hour north of Puerto Vallarta.

We arrived on a rainy day.The clouds hung thick in the sky like sodden laundry and the streets, made from mud and stone, disappeared into giant potholes underneath our tires.

“Uh ooooohhhh…” my internal dialogue began. I mean, they said it was local, but this is really local, I thought as we began the steep climb up the hill to our adopted abode.

“That whole thing cannot all be ours,” I said as we laid eyes on the big ‘yellow house on the hill’ we had been solicited to take care of. Surely it was two or three homes in one complex and we would be residing in one.

La-Penita-rooftopBut no, it was all ours, complete with two resident cats to keep us in line, two iguanas who live on the roof and scare the bejeezus out of me on a regular basis and a gazillion different bugs of every imaginable size and color which we fish out of the pool and examine every day.

Praying-mantisI’m becoming the David Attenborough of bugs and can definitely see why people study them.

Kitty-throne Kitty-floorThe King and Queen of the house are Chica and Matu (who have their own throne). They have stolen my heart and I pour love over them every day, much to their disdain. To them I am the giver of tuna and occasionally strawberry yoghurt (yes) and that is about it. I like to think they are testing how far my love reaches and whether I can make the distance. I tell you, I can and I will MAKE THEM LOVE ME!!!!

mountain-view-la-penitaThe star of the house though is definitely the view. Or, should I say, views. A panoramic, 360 degree beauty-fest of the Pacific ocean and rolling jungle clad mountains. I seriously don’t know where to look. It causes me great anxiety that when I am looking one way, I miss the other way, so I have devised a viewing system of facing the mountains in the morning while I do yoga, then the ocean in the afternoon.

Sunset-La-Penita-de-jaltembaBecause, THIS.

I mean, seriously??!!! My eyeballs cannot handle this much beauty. I get very overwhelmed, hence the obscene amount of facebook updates made lately because I just can’t take it all in and need help to process this display of nature’s glory every evening.

The fact that I get to witness 90 of these makes me giddy with gratitude.

Sunrise-La-Penita-de-JaltembaOh yeah, then there’s the sunrise. If we’re up early enough, we get to catch it rising over the mountains and staining the sky the color of the mangoes hanging from the tree next door.


Which brings me to my next point – the mangoes. And the pineapples and the coconuts and the bananas which are bursting forth from the trees right now. It is seriously hard (and sad) to believe there is a food shortage in the world when you are in the lush ‘Riviera Nayarit’ of Mexico.

Devouring a mango over the sink while it spills down your chin must surely be one of life’s great pleasures.

The town of La Peñita, it turns out, is absolutely wonderful. A small yet busy epicenter of industry and commerce which services the nearby resort town of Guayabitos. We have found our ‘seafood place’, our ‘local eats’ place and our cafe which roasts local coffee beans and does a mean frappacino – perfect for these humid days.

Coffee-la-Penita-de-jaltembaFrom the seafood place we watch local families escape the heat of their homes in exchange for a sea breeze and dripping helados. They gather on the newly built malecon every evening, a pedestrian promenade which was built a little over a year ago after a decade of planning.

Life in La Peñita is lazy and languid. Every day we wave to our neighbour down the road who hangs in his hammock under the shade of a tree, just… chilling. If there is something Mexicans do well (except cook and laugh and eat and drink) it’s relax. The heat here during the summer is enough to slow even the zestiest of folk down to a crawl, but in this little town that no-one has really heard of except the lucky ones who live here, life, just, goes, slow.

Until you get onto the highway leading south to San Pancho, Sayulita and Puerto Vallarta which becomes the stage for a testosterone fueled, four-wheeled machismo fest of overtaking on blind corners at high speeds. Go figure.

Guayabitos-beachA five minute drive from ‘our house’ sits the charming beach resort of Guayabitos. A jumble of colourful buildings, striped umbrellas and beach hawkers selling everything from ceviche to sunglasses.

Ceviche guayabitosA local resort popular with the residents of Guadalajara and Mexico City, Guayabitos is like stepping back in time. Families gather on patches of sand which spill down into the water, enjoying the simple pleasures of sun and sea, set to the soundtrack of a local musical act.


Music-GuayabitosBowls of fresh fruit and skewers of plump prawns are passed between ninos and abuelas while touts tempt tourists onto boats heading across to the island or neighbouring bays.

Guadalupe-GuayabitosWe love it here. Tyrhone has clocked two flights over a long, empty stretch of beach north of town, improving his skills and increasing his confidence.

I have been attempting to be present with all this natural beauty around, and have been feeling very blessed to wake up to such gifts every day. I’m definitely experiencing the beauty of my imperfect journey at the moment and am falling in love with a new part of this rich and varied country which has come to feel like home.

Sarah Somewhere Tyrhone

subscribe to sarah somewhere

We are members of the wonderful website, Trusted Housesitters (US) where we were able to discover this great house sitting opportunity. We also use House Carers who have a good selection of places. If you sign up via the links above, I get a small referral fee, but you don’t pay any extra. Thanks!


Bienvenidos a La Peñita de Jaltemba — 42 Comments

  1. Wow, Sarah, wow! You’ve just put La Penita on the map for me as a place to visit in my lifetime! Ha, I want to visit now! I hadn’t even heard of this town before. So happy for you guys to have this opportunity to take in the surrounding beauty, enjoy the food bounty, and experience the art of Mexican relaxing! And I’ll say that for me at least, watching sunsets over the ocean never gets old, no matter where you are in the world.
    Sam recently posted..Backpacking Point ReyesMy Profile

    • Me neither Sam! I forget that having grown up on the west coast of Australia means it feels kinda natural to me. I hope you do get down to this area, it’s gorgeous. So different yet again from the Yucatan, with it’s own unique charm.

    • Hey Rika! Yes we feel really lucky to be able to have this experience. I’d recommend it for sure. Oh, I have a HUGE mango ripening on the kitchen bench which I am devouring for breakfast tomorrow :-)

  2. HI Sarah! I have been wondering where you are- I felt sure you would be somewhere warm and semi tropical- I was thinking South America, but mexico is a good likeness. Lovely to read your blog and see you looking so happy. Dance class still going well, friday class is great. We are preparing for the Chaplaincy concert, which is in late September. We have also started a wednesday class which was in danger of going under, but which struggles on. Winter is here, it is a lovely wet blowy day today, and it is a lovely change from being too dry here in Perth.
    Enjoy those mangoes- my youngest son and I are mango lovers so we are very jealous!
    Stay safe and well, hope to see you again one day. Love Julie

    • Hi Julie!!! So lovely to hear from you! I miss our classes so much and wish I could teleport all the lovely dance ladies to Mexico to dance on our rooftop. Actually, this place is so big, I had a bit of a dance around in the living area last night! I went to my first contemporary class in two years a few weeks ago, it was intense! But great. Was good to know I can still move. Much love to you, Phillipa, Jackie, Barbara and the other girls xxx keep dancing (I know you will) xxx

  3. OMG!!!!!!!!! Can I please housesit when you are done housesitting??? That looks stunning. Sarah, what housesitting site did you use?
    Kim recently posted..Life is fluidMy Profile

    • Hi Kim! We’re here for the duration!!! The owners were like, “if you need go leave early…” I was like, “no, that won’t be happening.” The links to the two sites we use are at the bottom of the post! X

  4. It’s just so wonderful that you got that amazing spot for the WHOLE SUMMER!! We truly want to get into house sitting as we work our way south, being able to take advantage of having a favorite local this and that. Gorgeous gorgeous! enjoy your time.
    Rhonda recently posted..Sunrise over AfricaMy Profile

  5. Well, I am ridiculously envious of you and coveting your life right now. How would you like to add 2 recently returned world travelers and 2 loveable pups to your coterie of cared ones at your palatial estate? I’ll fight the cats for that strawberry yogurt, but you already know that you don’t need to work for my love! 😀
    Steph (@ 20 Years Hence) recently posted..24 Hours to AmbalangodaMy Profile

  6. This looks lovely, Sarah, and I love the photo of the two of you, so cute! I’m with on ya everything except the study of the creepy crawlies, they freak me out! We lived in Hawaii for a year and I nearly died of fright many times. 😉
    Patti recently posted..The Great Southern Oregon Give-a-Way ~My Profile

    • Ha! I know, the flying ones do creep me out, but the ones which stay still are rather fascinating! That praying mantis was so cool, I haven’t seen one of them since I was a kid!
      Sarahsomewhere recently posted..Allow joyMy Profile

  7. It sounds like you are soaking it all in! very happy for you…

    I was puzzled with the name of the town La Penita because it means small pain and thought that was a weird name… then I saw the coffee bag said la Peñita and I went ahh… I know it might not be important to other people but it is for us spanish speakers ñ is a different letter. Using English international as a language in your computer will allow you to type it. Perhaps is something I need to let go… forgive me my friend!
    Amyris recently posted..Skill in actionMy Profile

    • Gracias amiga!!! I have had trouble with that and can’t seem to access the international keyboard… So I copied and pasted from Google!! Should have done that in the first place but I was being lazy, lucky my Spanish speaking friend put me straight! xxxx

    • Hey Suki, this area is pretty a popular vacation spot, as it’s just north of Puerto Vallarta, but we are in one of the local rather than touristy towns :-)

  8. Pingback: Adios San Miguel! So what's next? | Hungry EscapadesHungry Escapades

  9. Hi Sarah. Great article, which was just posted in the Jaltemba Bay Life Newsletter. I love to read impressions of people who love the area as much as we do. We have a house about an hour north of La Peñita, and it is our “big city” for supplies and some action. I’ve also stayed at El Panorama, and I agree that those views are nothing short of spectacular. Must be great to have the whole place to yourselves and to enjoy that view day after day. And thanks, too, for your blog. You’ve got yourself a new follower. Maria

    • Hi Maria! Lovely to hear from you, it is certainly a beautiful part of the world and we are enjoying getting to know it. Thanks so much for reading and following! :-)

  10. Pingback: The day Kim Kardashian stood me up - Sarah Somewhere

  11. We are fortunate enough to spend the winters in Guayabitos and have for many years. It is a lovely area and have made it our home away from home. Enjoy your time there and thanks for your post.

    • Hi Anne! Yes it is such a lovely place. I am so glad we got to experience it. We went to the little island yesterday and it was absolutely beautiful!! If you have any recommendations on where to eat, please let me know! :-)