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The ‘Gentil’: A terrifying legend of Puerto Vallarta

By Danna Sabido

August 14, 2023

An ancient and spine-chilling legend has resurfaced along the shores of Banderas Bay and Puerto Vallarta, captivating the imagination of locals and visitors alike. This age-old tale revolves around the enigmatic creature known as the “Gentil” – a mysterious hybrid of human and fish, whispered about in hushed tones among generations of fishermen and residents.

Standing at an imposing height of approximately 2 meters, adorned with grayish-green scaly skin, razor-sharp teeth, small yet piercingly black eyes, and large webbed feet, the “Gentil” has long been a source of fear and fascination, lurking in the depths of local lore for centuries.


Sightings of the ‘Gentil’ in Puerto Vallarta and Banderas Bay


The origins of the “Gentil” legend date back to the quaint fishing village of Boca de Tomates in the year 1950. At the center of the story was Pancho Jimenez, a man who ardently believed in the chilling tales spun by his fellow fishermen about this cryptic creature. The roots of the “Gentil” phenomenon, however, stretch back even further to 1930, captivating the inhabitants of Manzanillo, Colima.

Gentil legend Puerto Vallarta

Tales of this aquatic beast haunting the sea drove people to fish in rivers instead, avoiding the clutches of a night-stalking sea demon responsible for the disappearance of fishermen and beachgoers alike.

Sabino Rhon and Tiburcio Leyva, close friends of Jimenez, recount a morning of fishing on the beaches of Jarretaderas and Boca de Tomates. Their ordinary day took a horrifying turn when they stumbled upon the “Gentil.” In a courageous yet desperate attempt to capture the elusive creature, Sabino dealt a machete wound to its chest, causing it to retreat in agony. Reports of other locals encountering the same being, with its telltale green scales and towering stature, only added to the chilling narrative.

Perhaps the most spine-tingling encounter occurred when Pancho Jimenez stumbled upon the “Gentil” seated on the rocks near La Cruz de Huanacaxtle. To Jimenez’s shock, the creature still showed the very machete wound it had suffered years prior. Though Jimenez was presumed dead, his family received inexplicable messages through his granddaughter’s dreams, conveying his blissful existence in a world of light and glass.

A month after his baffling disappearance and a subsequent mass ceremony, Jimenez’s lifeless body was discovered on the beach, shrouding the mystery in even greater intrigue.


The Enigma Spreads


Over time, the legend of the “Gentil” expanded its eerie reach, with reported glimpses in various localities, including Quimixto, Bucerías, Mismaloya, and Punta de Mita. Tales from Bucerías fishermen further fueled the curiosity, recounting the creature’s nighttime forays to spirit away unsuspecting beachgoers.

Remarkably, sightings persisted even into the 1990s near Boca de Tomates, as fishermen attested to a creature resembling the infamous “Gentil.” Emerging from the mangroves, the being astounded onlookers by striding along the beach, carrying a lifeless animal. Upon spotting the fishermen, it vanished into the depths of the sea.

Gentil legend Puerto Vallarta

In a curious incident in 2005, a vigilant Navy security officer from La Cruz de Huanacaxtle reported discovering peculiar footprints akin to those of a duck, albeit of monstrous proportions. While on patrol, he bore witness to a strange creature bearing the hallmarks of the infamous “Gentil.”

Despite attempts by scientific explanations to dismiss its existence, the “Gentil” myth endures as a fixture in the minds of Puerto Vallarta’s residents.


Myth or Reality?


The looming question remains: Is the “Gentil” a mere figment of the imagination or a genuine terror of the bay? Uncertainty and trepidation continue to encircle this perplexing entity, perpetuating one of the most riveting legends of the region.

As time presses forward, more individuals may join the quest for answers and tangible evidence of its existence. Until that day arrives, the enigmatic saga of the “Gentil” shall persist as an enthralling enigma, nestled along the breathtaking shores of Puerto Vallarta and Banderas Bay.





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