Whether you are staying in the mountains or at the beach, if you are in the vicinity of Puerto Vallarta, you are in the jungle and… in the mighty jungle, the lion that roars is he who scratches all night with uncomfortable bites.
In Puerto Vallarta we have sand fleas, known as jejénes (Pronounced hey-hey-knee) and mosquitoes, also referred to as zancudos.
Only female mosquitoes suck blood apparently, while the male of the species flies around feeding on flower nectar and sweet juices. That may sound all well and fine for him, until one learns the lifespan of his wives and daughters is twice that of him and his sons and brothers.
It’s highly recommended that visitors spray ankles when venturing to the beach for sunset vistas. It’s a particularly opportunistic time for feasting in the bloodsucking world of insects. There are many brands and varieties for preparation available in the local pharmacies, with and without the poisonous ingredient DEET. We are inclined to use the strongest repellant offered and recommend whatever the locals buy over the counter; local remedies for local quandaries.
Breakfast on the terrace before the sun is at full tilt is also a good time to use added protection, and we insist on long sleeves, full length pants for hiking through the thickets. Bites can be avoided. The pests are a part of daily living, especially during rainy months and have been known to spoil a holiday for those unprepared.
We’re luckier here in Puerto Vallarta than neighbors further up the coast. In San Blas, for example, the jejéne is quite famous. There is a prevailing legend regarding the torture of captured prisoners. In an effort to obtain a confession, suspects were stripped naked and staked on the beach at sunset. It wasn’t long before the begging for mercy began and/or the desired confession was achieved. Nothing like jejénes to get the tongue wagging.
Locals are known in the summer months to lather their bodies in an olive oil/garlic/lemon mixture, which the insects simply drown or suffocate. We’ll go ahead with the DEET and save on the linens.