Yelapa is a small fishing town located on the southernmost cove of the Bay of Banderas. It is only accessible by boat and you can take a boat-taxi from Los Muertos Beach, Mismaloya or Boca de Tomatlan. There are also day cruise excursions that include Yelapa in their tours. From Los Muertos Beach, it is a 45 minute boat ride. It is a small community of less than 1,000 people and a handful of foreign residents. It attracts artists and bohemian-types who enjoy the amazing scenery and the lack of modern conveniences. There are roads (more like paths) throughout the village but they are for foot or horse or burro (some bicycles) – no cars.
Of course now there is electricity in Yelapa and cell phones work everywhere in the world, so you are never fully away from civilization anymore. But this is as about as close as you can get in Puerto Vallarta. There are a few small inns and rental properties in Yelapa so many tourists stay there for their entire vacation; however, for most it is a fun day trip. It is quite rustic and most of the buildings are open air with palapa roofs. Most of the activities revolve around the beach; however, you can hike in the mountains to a natural waterfall that feeds into a brook where you can swim in the clean, cool water. You can also take a horseback ride around the area.
Of course there is ample access to the freshest fish and seafood so you will love eating a big lunch while you are enjoying a perfect sunny day on the beach in Yelapa. And what to drink? This is the place where you can find Raicilla which comes from the stills in the mountains that surround the town. Also called “Mexican Moonshine”, raicilla is distilled from the agave plant which is also used to make tequila. It is considered to be mildly hallucinogenic so it must be imbibed slowly – which is easy to do as the flavor is very different. And of course, dessert is always a slice of pie from the famous Pie Ladies of Yelapa (coconut is the best!!).
I have been going to Yelapa for 25 years. It has hardly changed at all. It has a communal land ownership system (ejidal) so it is unlikely that any large commercial development will happen any time soon. It is a wonderful day trip and a great way to enjoy the immense beauty of this area.
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