If you’ve ever traveled to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, you may have seen brochures hawking day trips to Yelapa, a remote fishing village about 30 miles south. This village is nestled against rugged, jungle-covered mountains making it accessible only by boat. Typically, tourists board a triple-decker, 400 passenger boat and stay at the cove for about two hours.
During these two hours, Yelapa is happening! Sunbathers flock to the shoreline, snorkelers don their gear and swim around the crystal clear waters, boats pull tourists behind them on parasails, and villagers tempt the guests with their wares and services. Children lead tourists up to the waterfall by foot or horseback. The palapa bars, snack stands, and restaurants are open for business.
Soon, the fun is over and the boat departs, taking with it the bulk of the tourists. The more adventurous tourists stay behind and plan on spending a night or two at one of the village’s rustic bungalows. While the village boasts more luxurious accommodations, the beachside bungalows let you experience the real Yelapa.
Power and water service may or may not be available during your entire stay. Windows are “open air” with louvers rather than glass. Beds feature mosquito netting to protect you from getting bitten while you sleep. But best of all, it’s quiet. The gentle lap of the water and the sounds of nature are your constant companions.
When the boat leaves, the town changes from a bustling tourist center to the sleepy village that it is. Gone are the sales pitches and in their place just the friendly smiles of the people who call Yelapa home. They’re off duty now and it’s time to relax. If you’re lucky, the bartender might even offer you a taste of his homemade tequila.
When vacationing in Puerto Vallarta, plan a trip to Yelapa and go back to a simpler time by spending at least one night in the humble beachfront bungalows. You’ll experience the serenity that only a slower pace brings. The busy season is from November to May with reservations highly recommended.