Jaltemba News


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Silent Killer in Paradise                     

Tara A. Spears

Just as every rose has its thorns, every paradise has its undesirables. Especially if you live in a cold climate you’re not used to be thinking about the presence of snakes, let alone that these silent creatures can be dangerous. It won’t spoil your vacation to be alert to the possibility as you take that sunset stroll.

As a serious gardener I have long known that snakes are an important part of the ecosystem. While I respect these silent neighbors, I always treat all snakes as if it is venomous: keeping out of striking range. Snakes are masters of disguise and tend to be reclusive so it’s fairly easy to avoid a confrontation. 

Although there are only four families of poisonous snakes in Nayarit, this nearly a hundred species in our paradise! The venomous snakes are: the rattlesnake (36 types); the red coral snake (18 types); the nauyacas (20 types and includes the boa constrictor); and the coastal viper cantil (8 types).  To those readers that are thinking, “That’s no problem for me! I just go from my hotel to the beach and back.” There are venomous serpents in the the ocean and sometimes on the beach.

The warm tropic climate and vast areas of native jungle are conducive to large populations of snakes, especially because there are so few predators to control their numbers. Any domestic cat or dog will come away the loser if their curiosity gets them too close. I had a puppy die from a coral snake bite.

 Although there are thousands of snake bites reported each year in Mexico, the mortality rate from bites is less than 1%.  The venomous type of snake has a diamond shaped head and elliptical eye shape, but who wants to be close enough to check that out?


The bite of a snake is usually painless and except for the fang punctures, could go unnoticed.  Other indicators of a snake bite are bruising, bleeding and local swelling. After one hour, possible symptoms include headache, irritability, light sensitivity, nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, confusion and coagulation abnormalities.  If left untreated, a snake bite can lead to limb and respiratory muscle paralysis, respiratory failure, peripheral circulatory failure and even death-within 8 to 72 hours. If you are bitten, try to notice the snake’s color and immediately seek medical attention.

 I always make noise when going out to garden, such as slamming the screen door twice or clapping my hands before kneeling in the bushes. If you give these critters warning and are looking before you step or stick your hand in bushes, it gives the snake an opportunity to avoid you. The key is to be aware that the tropics are very conducive to a healthy snake population.     

 While it isn’t necessary to kill any snake you encounter; just be aware of the possibility of our skinny neighbors coexisting here. Heads up and let them go on their silent way.

Vipers I have seen in my yard in Guayabitos:




Red coral









Early Detection of Dangerous Tick Disease Important

by Nayarit Editor Tara A. Spears
It’s amazing to see so many travelers bringing their beloved fur-baby with them for their Mexican vacation. Even if the animal is only here a week, that’s enough time to come into contact with the insidious brown tick that has been spreading north from the tropics. Tick-transmitted infections are an increasing problem in dogs. In addition to causing serious disease in traditional tropical and semi-tropical regions, they are now increasingly recognized as a cause of disease in dogs in temperate climates. Spring and summer are peak infection time so it’s a good time to become aware of this disease and take precautions.
According to Janice Gonzalez, with the Puerto Vallarta SPCA , as early as in 2016, “over 80% of street or homeless dogs have contracted ehrlichia via the bite of the brown tick.” Anyone living in a warm climate, such as along coastal Mexico, should take their dog to the vet to be treated for parasites. The standard vet administered tests are for moquillo (Canine distemper) and parvo (Canine parvovirus, a highly contagious viral disease). But, due to the prevalence of ticks you should request a test for the presence of ehrlichia.
Please beware! “Ehrlichia is insidious and, unfortunately, it is not always apparent that a dog has been infected. As a result, some dogs are living with an internal time bomb. Undiagnosed and untreated, this disease can ultimately kill your companion animal as internal organs shut down accompanied with internal hemorrhaging,” explained Ms. Gonzales. “The good news is that when the disease is treated, there is a high probability the dog will recover without any further health issues.”
The key here is early detection and treatment. This is a cautionary tale warning everyone to also have the vet administer a SNAP test to screen for heartworm disease, Lyme disease, and ehrlichiosis. (Note: SNAP tests are a group of quick, convenient, blood tests that can be performed at your veterinarian’s office.) Having your pet receive periodic testing is a good way to identify dogs that have been infected. Even dogs that receive year-round tick control products and don’t spend a lot of time outside are at risk for exposure to tick-borne diseases. Testing helps identify dogs that need treatment. Since dogs can be re-infected, ALL canines should be tested on a regular basis. Dogs get ehrlichiosis from the brown dog tick, which passes an ehrlichia organism into the bloodstream when it bites.

According to the Veterinary Information Network, Ehrlichiosis has three phases of illness: acute, subclinical, and chronic. The Acute Phase: This is generally a mild phase and occurs one to three weeks after the host is bitten by the tick. The dog may have some or all of the following symptoms or may exhibit no noticeable symptoms. The dog may be listless, off food, and may have enlarged lymph nodes. There may be fever as well but rarely does this phase kill a dog. Most dogs clear the organism if they are treated in this stage but those that do not receive adequate treatment will go on to the next phase.
SUBCLINICAL PHASE: In this phase, the dog appears normal. The organism has sequestered in the spleen and is essentially hiding out there. During this phase you may be able to feel the enlarged spleen. Dogs can stay in this phase for months or even years.
CHRONIC PHASE: In this phase the dog gets sick again. Up to 60% of dogs infected will have abnormal bleeding. There may be deep inflammation in the eyes. Neurologic effects may also be seen as well as urinary problems. It can also lead to arthritis. Untreated it can lead to death.

Once diagnosed, the vet will put the dog or cat on antibiotics. Doxycycline, an antibiotic effective in the treatment against ehrlichia, has a convenient dosing schedule. Expect at least a month of treatment to be needed. Response is initially rapid (improvement is notable in the first few days). Based on the progression of the disease additional treatment with corticosteroids may also be used to palliate the situation while the antibiotics are starting to work.
After infection, it is possible to become re-infected; immunity is not lasting after a previous infection. Add giving SNAP tests periodically to all dogs that come to an infected area in order that proactive treatment for the infection can begin immediately. The earlier the detection, the more successful the animal’s chance of recovery will be.


1st Riviera Nayarit Rock Festival Set for June 9, 2018

Popular bands like top-billed Panteón Rococó, Sal de Mar, Renglón, and The Black Hardies, will take over the Hard Rock Hotel Vallarta stage showcasing the best of Spanish rock for an unforgettable night.

Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico – Spanish rock fans can now put the 1st Riviera Nayarit Rock Festival on their calendar for June 9, 2018. The event will be held at the Hard Rock Hotel Vallarta concert venue with the participation of Mexican band Panteón Rococó as the headliner, plus 3 local bands.
During the press conference held this past Monday at the host hotel, the event’s general manager, Israel Guerrero, said they’re expecting an adrenaline-charged evening in an extraordinary setting: the Riviera Nayarit.
Although Panteón Rococó is the headliner, he added they had also invited local bands Sal de Mar, Renglón and The Black Hardies to the stage; these bands have done very well in the area and they will be opening the show.
He added they are expecting approximately 6,000 visitors – about 2,000 from other areas and 4,000 locals from the Puerto Vallarta and Bahía de Banderas area, all fans of this iconic national ska and rock fusion band that recently celebrated its twentieth anniversary.
“We have every intention of continuing to do this kind of event to benefit the destination but, more importantly, to benefit society, which has been looking for more entertainment and show space and, of course tourism,” he said.
Marc Murphy, director of the Riviera Nayarit Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) and the Bahía de Banderas Hotel and Motel Association (AHMBB), calculated a revenue of between 6 and 8 million pesos, taking into consideration that each outside visitor spends approximately $2,000 pesos.
“The intention of the AHMBB and the CVB is to promote the Riviera Nayarit and gain recognition for Mexico’s Pacific Treasure, and what better way to do that but through music and the talent of these musicians here at the Hard Rock Hotel, right across from the water and enjoying the natural beauty of this tourism destination,” he said.
Claudia Guzmán, Director of Municipal Tourism and Development, was there representing the X Municipality of Bahía de Banderas and added that this kind of event can be an excellent platform to showcase the destination both on a national and international level.
For her part, Gina Méndez, Sales Director at HRHV, invited everyone to “completely enjoy this experience” at a hotel that is 100% inspired by music.
Among the surprises prepared for the press conference was the presence of Paco Barajas, the trombone player for the band, who spoke with the media representatives and reiterated they are ready to play their top hits and get everybody “lit” with their high-energy music.
For more information, visit the Facebook event page.
Original article


May Holidays: 3 Cheers for Mexican History

                                         Tara A. Spears Nayarit Editor

The sacrifice and battles of the Mexican workers more than one hundred years ago are commemorated during the month of May. The first week of May is packed with three Mexican holidays: Worker’s Day, May 1; Day of the Cross, May 3; and Cinco de Mayo, May 5.  Only May 1st is a Mexican national holiday in which schools, banks and some businesses are closed; the other two days are social observances that vary by region. Here in the Riviera Nayarit, these designated days are very understated as there are no parades or large community celebrations, just family fiestas and individuals enjoying an extra day off work.


Labor Day, Día del Trabajo, May 1: Mexico’s Labor Day being observed on May 1st does have history behind it. In 1906, the fledgling labor unions were struggling to get better working conditions and better pay for many occupations. This movement met with government and big business repression that boiled over into confrontations in the cities of Cananea, Sonora and Rio Blanco, Veracruz. It was in 1913 that Labor Day was celebrated for the first time in Mexico, when 20 thousand workers marched and demanded the government to implement the eight-hour working day. But it wasn’t until 1925 when President Plutarco Elías Calles established the celebration officially. Labor Day in Mexico means no government office works. There are no banks, postal services, and many restaurants close as well.

Labor Day isn’t all rest and relaxation, however. In some areas this day is used as a time to peacefully protest against the issues that might arise between a company and its employees. There are several labor unions that unite together to protest specifically on this day to get better health benefits, better treatment, etc. In larger cities you can see different companies protesting on main streets and in front of city halls on Labor Day. Labor Day 2015 shocked the country when a cartel staged a multi-state violent protest against a federal law enforcement initiative.

Holy Cross Day, May 3, Día de la Santa Cruz:  I have seen this occasion celebrated locally when construction workers decorate and mount crosses on unfinished buildings. As the Mexican construction industry has flourished in this country for the last 20 years and with a strong construction industry the celebration of the feast day of the construction workers has gained importance.

Religious Origins: This celebration originally was a Catholic Church feast day but over time, the construction workers adopted as their own. The Church services May 3 provide a blessing of the colorfully decorated crosses which are carried in procession by the bricklayers and masons. This special mass asks for the protection of the workers on the job, gives thanks for their safety and success during previous year, and asks for continued good projects, good work conditions, and good salary in the coming year. Many crews fasten a cross that is brightly decorated with crepe paper flowers and streamers onto the uppermost section of the building, continuing the tradition that began with the building of churches by the Spanish in the 1500’s.

In some areas, the workers burn copal, a pungent incense, have music and fireworks to frighten any loitering evil spirits from the building site. In the 21st Century, puffs of smoke often dot the sky marking the construction sites. The crews of joyful and thankful workers release sky rockets, though the workers might no longer remember that originally the fireworks were to clear the area of dangerous spirits. Over the centuries, masons came to make this their own celebration, and they and their families now have a special feast on this day.  In some areas May 3rd is called Mason day, rather than Dia de la Santa Cruz. As one local worker explained, “That day, the architects or owners of the construction invite us for lunch and a few beers… that’s how they honor us on our day.”

As part of the traditional Day of the Holy Cross celebration on May 3, after mounting the decorated cross work ends at noon. The patron, the owner of the project, begins the next phase of the festival with tequila toasts, known as copitas. The owner toasts the success of the project and the health and happiness of the crew. He also sponsors a comida (midday meal). This reflects the pre-Columbian custom of placing food and drink on specially constructed altars to dedicate new buildings, and to please the gods. Carne Asada, thinly sliced beef, is prepared onsite on a grill by one of the workers. The grilled meat will be served with beans, guacamole, salsa Mexicana, (very, hot chile sauce,) and mounds of tortillas and plenty of cold beer.


Cinco de Mayo:  This special day In May is probably best known to the international visitor as it is celebrated in many countries. The fifth of May commemorates the Mexican army’s 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War (1861-1867). A relatively minor holiday in Mexico, in the United States Cinco de Mayo has evolved into a celebration of Mexican culture and heritage. Who doesn’t want an excuse to drink tequila? Cinco de Mayo traditions include town parades, mariachi music performances, and street festivals in cities and towns across Mexico and the United States. In Nayarit, Labor Day is the most celebrated and not much happens on the 5th.

As summer gets underway, the first week of May is a well deserved tribute to the talented and industrious Mexican workers.

Easy Orchid for Tropical Home Garden  

                           by Tara A. Spears, Editor Nayarit edition

Part of the fun of visiting coastal Mexico is living in a jungle with its fantastic array of plants and wild life. Did you know that you can easily grow and enjoy lots of these native species at home? One of my favs is the diminutive Tiny Dancer Onc Ramosum orchid, left. The actual flower is smaller than the photo.

In most places north of the 20th latitude the orchid is a non-native exotic, treasured for its showy flowers but with the reputation of being delicate. Many garden enthusiasts are hesitant to cultivate orchids but this tiny gem is perfect for beginners. The pictured blossom, Onc.Ramosum, is a widespread perennial species of the large neo-tropical genus of the orchid family.

Don’t let the weird looking names intimidate you, the exquisite orchid deserves an extra-ordinary name! Oncidium, (abbreviated as Onc), is a genus that contains about 600 species of orchids from the subfamily Epidendroideae of the orchid family (Orchidaceae). The flowers are much smaller than traditional orchids and grow directly from thin stalks that reach up to three feet long. Like other orchid varieties, oncidiums are air plants that do not require soil to live.

The most successful way to raise Ramosum orchids is with plants mounted on slabs of sphagnum moss, rocks, or wood in bright but not direct sunlight. I have mine attached to the shady side of a palm tree. Onc Ramosum orchid’s native habitat has distinct wet/dry seasons. These orchids have adapted to the dry winter by going dormant when the cooler winter night temperatures occur; orchids’ active growth is when the humidity and the minimum night temperatures are higher.

Our region, with its high levels of humidity especially during the period of active growth, makes it easy to grow Ramosum and many other types of orchids. A healthy, growing Epiphytic orchid is indicated by an extensive mass of active roots.      

Onc Ramosum should be allowed to dry off for several months after the growing season. This means that you only need to apply water once a month to prevent severe shriveling. The plants will look bad after a few months, but it bounces back 100% when growth commences, usually May through September. This type of orchid will grow poorly and die when potted in topsoil or placed in weak light, but it grows like crazy when given lots of light and good air circulation for its roots. The plant will benefit from heavy fertilizing during the growing season. I drop a couple of pellets of timed release fertilizer once a month during the dormant period (October thru March).

The heat and hot winds can be very stressful for Oncidiums so keep them in the shade during summer. The warmer the weather becomes the more the plants need to be watered and fertilized. In the Jaltemba Bay area, sometime in April the flower will spike. Since this is still the dry season, it is a good idea to start watering but don’t water in the evening to avoid standing water at the base of the flower spike. The oncidium orchid needs a long dry rest after a well-watered growing season.

I consider them to be a secret treasure- you need to take time to study the tiny flowers to see the beauty. The once-a-year blooms of the Onc Ramosum orchid are displayed on an individual wiry branch with many small, intricate flowers. The individual flowers vary in size from one inch (2.5 cm) to 2” (5 cm) long.

The flower petal color is primarily green with rust markings at the base of each segment and a band of vivid golden-yellow; the center petal is a pure white with yellow center. All of these diminutive petals have a lovely ruffled edge. The blooms last for almost a month if a strong wind doesn’t whip them off the stem; this flower also last a long time as a cut flower in a vase.

For those who are wondering what to give for Mothers’ Day, Tiny Dancer is a winner. But don’t wait for a holiday to treat yourself to an orchid. For me, the Tiny Dancer orchid is a delightful part of my tropical garden: when it blooms I know that it isn’t long until the rainy season and summer arrives.

Locally you can see a wonderful jungle garden just minutes south of Jaltemba Bay at the Lo de Perla Jungle Garden in San Pacho. You can take a guided walking tour by appointment: 322 181 1909



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RHA Electronic Music Fest Returns to Riviera Nayarit

La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, Nayarit – This Memorial Day Weekend, join us for the RHA Festival, returning to the famed Mexican Resort Riviera Nayarit for its second year. In Wixárika, the indigenous language of the Nayarit region, RHA means “water flowing.” The theme of the festival is “Flow,” a reference about the journey of life. Let the water flow, let it evaporate, let it rain and return.

The festival debuted in 2017 in the Riviera Nayarit on Mexico’s tropical coastline. With outstanding production, famed DJs, and a blend of international and regional attendees, it had it all. Their location sits on 200 miles of pristine beachfront and made this a stunning success for the year.


2018’s line-up will showcase the best of global house and techno talent. Luciano returns to Mexico for the first time in three years. DIRTYBIRD captain Justin Martin and Mexican underground star Harvard Bass will bring the underground sound to the beach, while Charlotte de Witte brings the techno. A live showcase from Rodriguez Jr., Lee Foss & Anabel Englund, Marques Wyatt and many more shall supply endless house music vibes.Just outside the enclosed resort of Punta Mita, the festival makes its mark again. The addition of a unique, natural amphitheater perched next to the ocean will provide amazing sunset views, the perfect backdrop for any performance. The main stage will be situated on the La Cruz Marina waterfront once again, where attendees can dance under the warm night skies for hours with the coastal breeze keeping them cool.

The festival programming will run Friday May 25th through Saturday May 26th, starting in the late afternoon each day. Take advantage of the warmer weather, dance through sunset and into the late night, and indulge in the wonders of one of Mexico’s most beautiful areas.

Only a two hour flight from Los Angeles, Riviera Nayarit is a land filled with Wixárikas culture, and is also one of the country’s safest regions. Surround yourself by the Pacific Sea and the spectacular Sierra Madre Mountains.

Tickets are available now via the RHA Festival website, so make sure to grab yours before it’s too late!

Original article


March News from the Entreamigos Community Center
All Entreamigos projects and programs, including the library, scholarships, community events and construction projects, are supported by private donations. Entreamigos is a 501(c)3 non profit organization.San Pancho, Nayarit, Mexico – Entreamigos began in 2006 on a kitchen table in the middle of a San Pancho street. Today, housed in a giant warehouse recognized as a model sustainable facility, it is an active community center with classes and workshops, a scholarship program, a bilingual library for children and adults, a computer center, an extensive recycling program, a gift store and the Recicla thrift shop.
Here’s the latest news from Entreamigos:
Environmental Fair “ECOnexión” 2018

The Entreamigos 2018 “Econexión” Environmental Fair took place in San Pancho earlier this month. Between games, EA workshops and local sustainable products in the Plaza del Sol, the event provided a mix of fun and learning to raise awareness about caring for the environment and a better quality of life for all.
School groups from all over the region participated during the day and then the fair opened up for our own San Pancho community in the afternoon. Hundreds of kids and adults had fun and learned a little bit more about taking care of our community and our planet. A great big THANK YOU to all of our participants and volunteers!
Our fundraising event was also a Children’s Art Festival. This year, we connected artists and children interested in art to co-create unique pieces of artwork that were showcased in the evening.
Thank you so much to Candice, Craig, Frieda, Tania, Carol, Deb, Shirley and Tom for sharing their art and heart with the children! And congratulation to our little artist: Jimena Topete, Carlos Muñoz Rodriguez, Diego Arias Ramos, Diego Chávez, Jenny Mendoza Ferrer, Marcello Montaño Castro, Ashley Montaño Castro and Adesha Abarca López, you did a great job! If you missed the event, be sure to check out the photo gallery on Facebook.
Volunteers Make All the Difference!
Some of the projects in which our volunteers participated this year embellished and improved the Entreamigos facilities. They also made many direct hours of volunteering with our children and in key places of our project such as the Library, the Recycling Center and La Galería. From December to January we had 173 volunteers who donated 21,979 hours of work. In addition, 37 people participated in our fundraising event and 38 volunteers helped us at the Environmental Fair. Thank you to all of our volunteers for sharing their time, their skills and love! It is lovely to connect with such beautiful people!
Caring for our Environment
We do our best to promote responsible actions in public waste but we must all work together to continue this work. Please join us on Saturday, March 24 at 8:00 am for a San Pancho Beach Clean-Up. We’ll meet at the entrance of the murals on Cuba Street.
Entreamigos is committed to our care for the environment and has been recognized regionally and internationally for our facility, recycling program and innovative education programs. Please click on the links below to learn more:
• Environmental Education
• Eco – Design Workshops
• Recicla San Pancho
• Recycled Playgrounds
You can support the important work of Entreamigos in many ways. We need volunteers and teachers, we need goods for our Recicla Shop and we always need real pesos and dollars to support our staff, our scholarships and to buy materials for our library. To make a donation, click HERE. Entreamigos is a 501(c)3 non profit organization. Your donations are tax deductible in the United States.
Entreamigos is a 501(c)3 non-profit community education center that operates out of an impressive sustainably designed 16,000 sq foot facility in San Francisco, Nayarit (aka San Pancho), a beautiful beach community located about an hour north of Puerto Vallarta and just past the popular surf town of Sayulita. The organization works to build bridges between cultures and community by creating educational opportunities for children and families. The center operates a library and sports complex, supports 70 children in a scholarship program, and is known for the variety and diversity of their free educational programs. For more information, click HERE, call (311) 258-4377 or visit entreamigos.org.mx


Magnificent Frigatebird: Ocean Thief
Tara Spears Editor Nayarit

Next to the chunky pelican, the streamlined Frigatebird looks aristocratic. Thousands of these sleek seabirds live along the Riviera Nayrit coast. When newly settled here I was walking the beach with my little dog and enjoying the flight of the seabirds until one of the large birds flying overhead lost its grip on dinner and it landed right in my path: a gigantic, live sea snake! I trotted home to identify this greedy bird that would grab a two meter long lunch. Sure enough, the Frigatebird is nicknamed ‘pirate bird’ for its propensity to steal food from other birds by snatching food dropped by other birds before it hits the water.
As the photos illustrate, the Frigatebird has an incredible flying ability, owing to their wingspan of over 2 m/6.5 feet with less than 2 kg/4 pounds of bodyweight to support. The distinctive hooked grey beak and long split tail make them easy to recognize.

The Magnificent Frigatebird’s long, swallow-like tail enables it to make sharp turns, and its long, broad wings lift the bird with little effort. The Magnificent Frigatebird is most at home in the air because its short legs cannot walk, and its feathers absorb water, so it rarely rests on the ocean.
It’s interesting that the same species has coloration differences according to age and sex. Females can be as much as 23% larger than males. Adult males are black with greenish shading over the back and a bright red throat sac that is usually deflated. Females are black overall with a whitish bar in the upper wings and a white vest across the chest. Young Magnificent Frigatebirds are also black, but with a white head, chest, and belly.
Magnificent frigatebirds are usually seen flying high on the air currents or gliding down to the water to snap up fish and squid. Because its feathers soak up water, the birds dive only briefly in pursuit of prey or a drink. Although this seabird primarily eats fish, their diet is supplemented by fishery waste, immature seabirds, young turtles, and small crabs. That’s why so many congregate near the local fish markets: to feast on the entrails the fishermen toss out.

This sleek seabird doesn’t reproduce until at least nine years old and Frigatebirds live for about 30 years. Females do not breed every year because it takes a year and a half to raise a chick. It has been observed that males are believed to breed every year (with a second female). Unlike some other seabird species, the magnificent Frigatebird does not stay loyal to

nest sites or its mate.
The Frigatebird’s rough nest is constructed in low trees or on the ground on remote islands, such as those in Jaltemba Bay. A single egg is laid each breeding season with both parents covering it for about four months until the hatchling grows feathers. The mother Frigatebird stays with her young for another six months. The duration of parental care in Frigatebirds is the longest of any bird species.
What better way to savor the beautiful Mexican coastal weather than by sipping a Margarita and watching these graceful thieves. You can’t miss the male struttin’ his stuff when in courtship mode!ad consdos careybell2 lot

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Record Cancer Walk Crowd Donates Big

Tara A. Spears

Nayarit Editor ….Story Tip? Email Tara @  [email protected]

Even though it was the hottest day of the year with full tropical sun the enthusiastic supporters of the annual Jaltemba Walk against Cancer marched and partied for the cause!  700 lucky individuals purchased admission bracelets prior to the sold out event that had standing room only. The sweat poured off the dancers, but hey, another beer and they were ready to go again. The money might have been soggy, but more than $111,600 pesos were donated for Patty’s haircut. It was also the largest 50/50 raffle with the winner receiving a whopping $8,140 pesos! The 2018 event final count is $244,290 which will go a long way providing free mammogram, ultrasound and cervical testing for low income Mexican women. These early detection measures are a step towards a healthier community.


The Cancer Walk event is the sole source of income for this service. Accolades go to Dorothy Bell for the original idea; Dr. Lidiana Flores for donating hundreds of professional hours to assist the women with the proper medical treatment; Hinde and Patty Hueso for financially sponsoring this initiative for eight years; Tecate distributors for their continued donations; Adan for keeping the party happy; the many volunteers that set up and serve at the event; the wonderful donations for the silent auction;  and most importantly, all of you that join together to celebrate life.

The way the program operates is that the area medical offices- from San Pancho to Las Varas- are given contact information and our liaison makes the appointment for the indicated test. Our women are given a ride to and from the laboratory plus a complementary lunch while she waits for a cancer specialist to do the analysis of the test.  Should the mammogram indicate a problem, the patient is immediately given an additional ultrasound evaluation that day. Pending that result, Dr. Lidiana arranges a biopsy and further treatment. Each year the Cancer Walk program has detected several pre-cancer or cancerous conditions for women who did not have negative symptoms and that she was unaware of the problem. Thankfully, this early diagnosis and prompt medical attention makes it easier to treat.

The Cancer Walk committee originally began by wanting to address the rampant breast cancer that occurs in Nayarit after seeing the hundreds of women that attend our sister group, Cancer de Mama Clinic; we know that for each breast cancer survivor all of her female relatives are high risk and should have regular screening. This wasn’t easily available through the Mexican health services so our grass root group of volunteers set out to raise money to provide what the system did not provide. In addition, just by advertising the Cancer Walk has had an ancillary role in educating the public concerning early detection. After a few years we expanded our initiative to include all types of female cancer.

This year’s very exciting live auction for cutting Patty’s hair certainly will go down in La Penita history. When Patty said, “I’ll cut one centimeter for every 1,000 pesos” of course it was motivating for all to pool funds to get a buzz cut!  Patty handled it with pizzazz and grace. The auctioneers fired up the crowd while the guys with the hats collected donations.

Another milestone was the auctioning of the butterfly bra made by Donnett Hodges who succumbed to cancer shortly before the event. Her friends gave a short tribute, and this one item raised $9,180. Thank you, Donnett and family.

Our wild, sweaty, fun street party will have a major impact all year long. We hope to see you next year, Monday, February 11, 2019.  We’ll have more chairs! More shade! More kind hearts dressed in pink and celebrating life- thank you all!

All Shook Up: Earthquake Preparedness

Tara A. Spears

Nayarit Editor

It was a huge shock to me when I moved to Mexico to experience an earthquake my first year. Before selecting my retirement home SOTB, I researched various characteristics, such number of sunny days, shopping, housing, culture and average winter temperature. I did not bother to check out what natural disasters might occur in coastal Mexico.

To compound my ignorance, I did not know Spanish or the Spanish terms used in an emergency! After the fact, I now have key words at my command: Sismo! Terremoto! Are Spanish for earthquake; salir del edificio means to exit the building. With the recent tremor in Jaltemba Bay gathering attention, it’s a good time to learn how remain safe in an earthquake.


According to the Unison Jalisco author Roberto Larios, Jalisco state has a high degree of seismic activity due to this area lying in the subduction zone where two adjoining continental plates can collide and where 99 percent of the country’s earthquakes are generated.  Jalisco and Nayarit authorities must remain alert and their citizens aware that a tremor may occur at any time. As visitors to this region, it is good to be aware of the possible occurrence and to have a plan of action if an earthquake occurs.

“The Mexican National Seismological Service (SSN) states that the recent events with epicenters very close to the metropolitan area of ​​Guadalajara (ZMG) were due to pre-existing faults such as Tesistán or the Santiago River. It is significant to note that within the last hundred years, all major earthquakes in the region had the epicenter along the western Pacific coast,” reported the University of Guadalajara (UdeG).  The scientists stated that so far science cannot predict the date, magnitude, or location of earthquakes because quakes are sudden movements.

What really surprised me was learning that ground movement during an earthquake is seldom the direct cause of death or injury. Most earthquake-related injuries result from collapsing walls, flying glass, and falling objects as a result of the ground shaking, or people trying to move more than a few feet during the shaking. Much of the damage in earthquakes is predictable and preventable.  By being aware and having an emergency plan one can safely protect yourself during an earthquake.

Tips for Being Prepared for an Earthquake:  Plan and stay calm

In the event of an earthquake while you are staying in Mexico, you should be prepared to fend for yourself for at least three days. This emergency supply list can also be applied to other disasters, such as hurricanes, floods or wildfires.

You’ll need food and bottled water (a gallon a day per person); a first aid kit; a fire extinguisher suitable for all types of fires; flashlights; a portable radio; extra batteries, blankets, clothes, shoes and money (ATMs may not work); medication; an adjustable or pipe wrench to turn off gas or water, if necessary; pet food; and an alternate cooking source (barbecue or camp stove).

A lot of these tips are common sense but didn’t occur to me. The following tactics are useful before an earthquake occurs.

Become familiar with surroundings at all times and know how to get out of the building. This is more important if you are in a strange place like a hotel in another city;  Select a safe place in your home for everyone to wait out the earthquake; Practice earthquake drills with your family; Keep flashlights and sturdy shoes available; Bolt gas appliances to walls (water heater, oven, dryers); Know how to shut off the gas in your house and have the proper tools on hand if you need to do this; Keep emergency supplies in a safe location.

During an earthquake:  If you’re indoors, stay there. Get under — and hold onto –a desk or table, or stand against an interior wall. Stay clear of exterior walls, glass, heavy furniture, fireplaces and appliances. The kitchen is a particularly dangerous spot. If you’re in an office building, stay away from windows and outside walls and do not use the elevator.

If you’re outside, get into the open. Stay clear of buildings, power lines or anything else that could fall on you.

If you’re driving, move the car out of traffic and stop. Avoid parking under or on bridges or overpasses. Try to get clear of trees, light posts, signs and power lines. When you resume driving, watch out for road hazards such as cracked roads, etc.   If you’re in a mountainous area, beware of the potential for landslides. Likewise, if you’re near the ocean, be aware that tsunamis are associated with large earthquakes. Get to high ground.

If you’re in a crowded public place, avoid panicking and do not rush for the exit. Stay low and cover your head and neck with your hands and arms.

Lastly, what to do after an earthquake. Check for fire or fire hazards. If you smell gas, shut off the main gas valve. If there’s evidence of damage to electrical wiring, shut off the power at the control box. If the phone is working, only use it in case of emergency. Likewise, avoid driving if possible to keep the streets clear for emergency vehicles.

Be aware that items may fall out of cupboards or closets when the door is opened, and also that chimneys can be weakened and fall with a touch. Check for cracks and damage to the roof and foundation of your home.

It’s always a good idea to listen to the radio or local television for important information and instructions. This is where it gets tricky for international visitors who speak another language!

Remember that aftershocks are sometimes large enough to cause damage in their own right.  The aftershock generally follows large quakes.

Now that I’m prepared and I’ve got my safety plan and stashed emergency supplies I can go about my normal happy life. Realistically, our section of the Pacific coast in not in a prime earthquake area therefore there isn’t great cause for alarm in the Riviera Nayarit. The glorious weather, lovely scenery and charm of living in a Mexican village far outweigh the maybe of an earthquake.ad Hinde and Jaimes



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When Dorothy and I with our children landed in La Penita in 2001, Jaime Horton was already a legend. Him and his wonderful wife Hinde had run a bar in Boca Najango and had just opened a bar in the small town of La Penita de Jaltemba Nayarit. throughout those years we became close friends with the entire Meza and Horton clan. BUT as everyone knows I like to take photographs and it was rare indeed that I could capture a good photo of Jaimes because he always made funny faces whenever I pulled out my camera. Today I was fortunate to capture what I consider a few good photos of my dear friend and at least one showing his great smile.….Bill Bell
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Lo de Marcos Playa…Photograph by Bill Bell

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Mexico Auto Insurance

What you need to know
The following is taken from Mexperience.com

You need Mexico car insurance because it’s required and US /Canadian insurance coverage stops at the Mexican border. Every year Mexico implements stricter laws for uninsured motorists, meaning not having it can cost you money due to damage/loss to your vehicle, fines and more
When you drive your car to Mexico, travel with complete peace of mind, by being properly insured. Your U.S. or Canadian insurance policy, however comprehensive, won’t cover you in Mexico, but affordable insurance is available…


Mexican Auto insurance You Can Trust if you ever get into an accident in Mexico

Insuring Your Car in Mexico
Although your U.S./Canadian car insurance policy may be comprehensive, and might also extend some limited damage coverage in Mexico, you will still need to purchase policy that is legally valid in Mexico.
U.S. and Canadian auto insurance policies, however comprehensive, hold no legal jurisdiction in Mexico. This means that you must buy separate insurance cover for your car while you’re driving in Mexico if you want to travel with complete peace of mind.

If you are driving your car improperly insured in Mexico and you become involved in an accident it will, at best, cost you a lot of money and, at worst, leave you imprisoned in a Mexican jail house. Presenting a U.S. or Canadian auto insurance policy will be of no use because these documents have no legal or actual force in Mexico, and the companies backing them will not settle any claim arising when you or your car are situated south of the border.
Drivers who are involved in serious accidents in Mexico are usually arrested pending investigation. If you are not properly insured in Mexico and become involved in a serious accident—even if it’s not your fault—these procedures will likely place a great deal of stress and financial burden upon you.
This guide explains how insurance works in Mexico and how to go about buying the additional insurance protection you need to ensure that you, your passengers, and your vehicle are properly insured when driving on Mexican soil and that, in the event of a serious accident, you are properly covered by a legally-valid and adequate insurance policy.
Mexican Auto Insurance
Mexican Law stipulates that only insurance companies which are licensed in Mexico can provide the type of auto insurance coverage that is recognized and accepted by Mexico’s legal system.
A few U.S.-based insurance companies will extend physical damage coverage on cars and RVs while they are situated in Mexico, but they cannot and do not provide Mexican liability insurance. So, although these policies may cover your damage, they will not cover your liability to others in Mexico. This is why a special insurance policy is absolutely necessary to be properly insured in Mexico.
Mexican Insurance Companies
Mexican Law also stipulates that liability insurance must be purchased from a licensed Mexican company, so your auto insurance policy necessarily needs to be issued by one of Mexico’s insurance companies, or through a broker in the U.S./Canada working in conjuction with a Mexican insurance company.
Who’s Insuring You?
Buyers purchasing insurance for their car in Mexico are often times misled by believing that they can rely on the broker, rather than the Mexican Insurance Company, to properly handle any claim that may arise during their stay in Mexico.
The insurance company underwriting your policy is much more important than the Broker that sells you the policy.
As all insurance policies are sold through brokers, it’s important to know which insurance company (or companies) are underwriting the policies being sold to you by the broker. Click here to read more