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Flora and Fauna in Jaltemba Bay, Nayarit, Mexico

The Jaltemba Bay area is rich in flora and fauna. In our newsletter and blog, we often feature information about and photos of the beautiful plants, flowers and trees and the species of birds, fish, animals and other wildlife found in Rincón de Guayabitos, La Peñita, Los Ayala and the surrounding region of Nayarit, Mexico.

We will continuously add to and update the information on this page.

You can also view nature articles on the Jaltemba Bay Life Blog.

Flowering Plants & Trees

Thumbnail image for In Bloom: Amapa TreesAmapa
(mid-April)  Amapa trees are only in full bloom for a few weeks in mid-April. If you are in the Jaltemba Bay area during this time, one of the best places to view these trees is near the tennis courts on Avenida del Sol Nuevo in Rincón de Guayabitos. There are approximately a dozen trees lining the street and tennis courts, and it is well worth the drive. Amapa trees bloom before their foliage appears which shows off their grey woody bark; and their soft flowing blossoms range from the palest of pinks to the color of bubblegum.  Read More


Thumbnail image for In Bloom: Arbol de las Orquideas (Orchid Tree)Arbol de las Orquideas (Orchid Tree)
(February-March)  Orchid Trees have fragrant flowers that come in shades of magenta, lavender and white with five irregular and slightly overlapping petals that bloom abundantly from February-March. While the flowers resemble orchids, the Arbol de las Orquideas (genus Bauhinia) is not actually part of the orchid family but rather from the pea/bean family (Leguminosae). In Mexico, it is commonly referred to as Pata de Vaca, which translates to "cow’s foot," most likely because the leaves are shaped like a cow’s hoof. It is also known as Butterfly Tree and Mountain Ebony. The trees can grow up to 25 feet high, they are deciduous and there are more than 200 varieties.  Read More

Thumbnail image for In Bloom: Flor de Nochebuena (Poinsettia)Flor de Nochebuena (Poinsettia)
(November-December)  Poinsettias, or Flor de Nochebuena, are readily available beginning the first week of December at the Tianguis market in La Peñita and both viveros (nurseries) in town. Earlier this week, I drove by Vivero Las Palmas on the east side of Highway 200 just north of La Colonia and saw hundreds of beautiful red poinsettias packaged in brown paper bags sitting in front of the nursery. It was a gorgeous sea of red and would have been a fabulous photo opportunity, but when I drove back a day later they were gone.  Read More


Thumbnail image for In Bloom: LlamaradaLlamarada (African Tulip Tree)
(January-March)  When in bloom, you can’t miss the large Llamarada trees (also known as a Flame of the Forest or African Tulip Tree) with their bright orange clusters. And if you look closely, you’ll notice that the individual blossoms actually look like tulips. This particular tree was just coming into bloom so I was able to get a shot of the unopened buds as well.  Read More


Thumbnail image for In Bloom: PlumeriaPlumeria
(April-May)  Plumeria, also known as Frangipani and Flor de Mayo, is native to Mexico. In the Jaltemba Bay area, they bloom in the spring and their beautiful fragrant flowers range from white and yellow to pink. Plumeria are deciduous plants so they drop their leaves in the fall and winter months. If you see one during the winter, you might actually think it was dead because when it goes dormant the tree is nothing but a bare stick figure with shiny grey bark. Plumeria is part of the Apocynaceae family and is related to Oleander, Mandevilla, Desert Rose and Star Jasmine, all of which have a poisonous milky sap if ingested. Each of the 7-8 species has different shaped leaves and while their form and growth habits are distinct...  Read Part 1 / Read Part 2

Thumbnail image for In Bloom: Primavera and Amapa TreesPrimavera
(April)  The Primavera tree of the genus Tabebuia is also called Ipe or Trumpet tree and blossoms shortly after the pink Amapa tree. Both are such gorgeous harbingers of spring it’s hard to decide which I like more. This yellow specimen is in front of the Vivero Villanueva beside the La Colonia Pemex gas station.  Read Part 1 / Read Part 2



Thumbnail image for In Bloom: TabachinTabachín
(May-June)  During the past few weeks, I have noticed several Tabachín trees dotted throughout the Jaltemba Bay area. You cannot miss their absolutely gorgeous brilliant reddish-orange flowers. Many of the trees happen to be located along the highway making it nearly impossible for a photo opportunity. After searching high and low for one in full bloom, I finally spotted three at Vista Guayabitos Restaurant in Rincón de Guayabitos. I also found a few trees with nearly half their flowers blooming and most of their seedpods still attached located on the Conalep campus in La Peñita.  Read More

Thumbnail image for In Bloom: Shaving Brush TreeShaving Brush Tree
(February-March)  The Shaving Brush Tree is native to Mexico and a large deciduous tree which is coveted for its unique brush-like flowers which bloom just once a year, usually in February or March. The leaves are also very unique.  Read More



Fruits & Vegetables

Thumbnail image for In Season: CiruelasCiruelas (Mexican Plums)
(May-June)  One of the best things about living in Mexico is that I continue to discover new things. Over the past few weeks, I have been noticing several bare trees with small egg-shaped fruit prolifically protruding from their branches. I started asking around and learned that they are ciruelas, or Mexican plums, and they are indeed abundant this season. I have seen green, yellow, red and purple varieties at markets and roadside stands in La Peñita, Rincón de Guayabitos, Sayulita and San Ignacio.  Read More


Thumbnail image for In Season: GuamuchilGuamúchil
(May)  A few days ago while I was walking through town, I noticed vendors pushing wheelbarrows filled to the brim with Guamúchil (gwa-moo-cheel). These green and pink twisted-looking pods contain a pulpy white fruit and grow on trees with the same name. Guamúchil Trees grow throughout Mexico and are only harvested during a few short weeks in May. When ripe, the pods begin to burst open. To eat them, you remove the sweet tasting fruit from the pod, chew it, and spit out the large black seed inside.  Read More


Thumbnail image for In Season: MameyMamey
(March)  Mamey, oval objects looking more like little footballs than fruit, can weigh from a quarter to a half pound, and have a very large, lustrous, black pit or hueso that accounts for about 10% of its weight. When choosing a mamey, press on the fruit with one of your fingers. If the skin gives a little, it is ripe. They sell for 30 pesos a kilo. A sturdy hard, brown skin protects a meat that is pink to orange in colour, creamy in texture – like an avocado, and pleasantly sweet. I would describe the distinctive flavour as a subtle combination of peachy pumpkin and sweet potato with a hint of chocolate. If you do not like papaya or avocado, chances are you won’t like mamey as they have the same texture. You really have to develop a taste for these.  Read More

Thumbnail image for In Season: Mango MadnessMangoes
(February-September, but peak season is May-July)  Just drive down the street and you can’t help but notice that the mango tree limbs are literally weighted to the ground with hundreds, if not thousands, of this incredibly sweet and delectable fruit. You will find many different varieties at every mercado, fruteria and minisuper around town. Even the roadside stands have bins upon bins filled to the brim. While on a hike from Los Ayala to El Monteon a few months back, I spotted some gorgeous purple-colored mangoes. I have never seen this variety before. Luckily, as we drove back from Chacala on Dia de la Marina, we saw a group of guys packing mangoes along the side of the road. They confirmed that these purple...  Read More

Thumbnail image for In Season: Passionflower and FruitPassionflower and Fruit 
(January)  Passionflowers are amazing to look at, and they are accompanied by a green immature fruit and a “it’s ripe when wrinkled” fruit when in season. The loveliness of the flowers with their heady perfume is one reason to have these climbing plants in your yard, but when you open up a fruit, the delectably scented interior helps you understand why people enjoy having it around for the fruit as well.  Read More


Thumbnail image for In Season: PitayaPitaya
(May)  While driving through La Peñita the other day, we noticed a woman sitting on the corner of main street with a medium blue plastic bowl filled with a few small semi-round and very odd looking things. Quite honestly, I wasn’t sure if it was a type of food or an insect. She and her client explained that they are called Pitaya (pronunced pee-tie-yah). Pitaya fruit comes from the Pitayo cactus (Stenocereus queretaroensis). The Pitayos are columnar in shape, and are very common in the arid zones of central and northern Mexico. The fruit has attractively colored pulp that ranges from bright red to yellow and orange. To eat it, you peel back the skin and eat the fruit as well as the numerous soft black seeds.  Read More

Thumbnail image for Now That’s a Lime!Limes
(Year Round)  The limones (limes) that I see for sale in the Jaltemba Bay area are available all year round and generally come in two sizes. The smaller one is called a Mexican or Key lime and it has a thin skin and seeds. It tends to be the most popular among the locals. The larger one is probably a Persian lime. It has a thicker skin and doesn’t have seeds. I prefer the larger ones myself. A Mexican friend told me to buy the ones with more yellow in their skin as at this stage of ripeness they tend to be juicier… and it’s all about the juice!  Read Part 1 / Read Part 2


Thumbnail image for Pineapples – A Major Crop in MexicoPineapple
(Year Round)  One of our favourite hikes is to the pineapple plantations in the valley east of Highway 200. Depending on the season, we have seen the planting of the pineapple, irrigation, flowering and harvesting – many times we’ve been given gifts of pineapples – luckily we carry a back pack. Once they flower, the individual fruits of the flowers join together to create what we know as pineapples. After the first fruit is produced, side shoots (called ‘suckers’) are produced in the leaf axils of the main stem. These may be removed for propagation. Mexico stands at the seventh place in the pineapple world production.  Read More

Animals, Birds, Reptiles and Fish

Thumbnail image for Oh to be in Jaltemba Bay… now that spring is here!Springtime in Jaltemba Bay
With the arrival of spring, nature is coming to life. Birds are starting to mate, and we have noted changes in the usual song patterns of some species. They are also vying for “squatters’ rights,” and we are hearing some pretty lively “discussions.” We see rivals laying claim to their territory – but not without a fight. There are two Great Egrets (also known as Great White Herons) that are really getting physical, and the latest duel saw the less-dominant male lose his grip resulting in a pretty rough tumble from an Acacia tree.  Read More


La Peñita Egret Rookery in Mating Season
In early spring, we look forward to being entertained by the Great Egret during mating season. No need to reserve tickets – we just show up and wait. The rookery is located at the edge of the mangrove swamp beyond the La Peñita RV Park. At sunrise, we walked to the egret colony, about a two-kilometer hike, and staked out the area closest to the nesting site. We are never disappointed by the spectacular display, and we have front-row seats. Mind you, the first time we go there, we have to blaze a trail through five foot high grass, and untangle ourselves from the acacia branches and prickly vines that poke and scratch. Once the path has been established, it’s smooth sailing. As we neared the water’s edge...  Read More

To learn more about bird watching, fishing, whale watching and releasing sea turtles, view our "Tours and Activities" page. But be sure to check back, as we hope to update this section soon.