One of the best day trips from Puerto Vallarta is to visit the secluded beach town of Yelapa. Located on the southern portion of Banderas Bay at the foot of the Sierra Madre Mountains, in a secluded cove that can only be reached by boat ride - Yelapa is a must do when visiting the Puerto Vallarta area. What makes this area unique is the fact that major tourism has not taken over the quaint little town - yes tour boats do frequent the area and there can be large groups exploring the area but the town itself has remained authentic. No cars, no chain restaurants or hotels, no OXXO convenience stores- only small local businesses offer a reprieve from the hustle and bustle of close by Puerto Vallarta. Yelapa offers a wonderful way to sit back and take in the beauty of Banderas Bay as it was before major development and that is exactly why we LOVE visiting Yelapa.
HOW TO REACH YELAPA
Yelapa is only accessible by boat, making the journey to reach Yelapa part of the fun! Water taxis can be either accessed in Boca de Tomatlan for a 30 minute ride or you can grab a water taxi from the Los Muertos Pier in Puerto Vallarta's Romantic Zone. From the Los Muertos Pier, the ride is about 50 minutes and will cost about $380 pesos roundtrip. Tickets can be purchased at the end of the street near the Los Muertos Pier - look for a sign that says ' Water Taxi'. The water taxis operate Mon-Sat at the following times: 10, 11, 11:45, 3, & 5.
Upon arriving to Yelapa you will step into a true tropical paradise complete with crystal clear calm waters, golden sands, palapas to lounge under, palm trees swaying in the wind and a wonderful maze of streets to explore and wander. Spend some time just wandering the beach and enjoying the views before deciding where to grab a lounge chair. Numerous restaurants line the beach and offer access to a beach lounge chair for the day as long as you order food or drinks - definitely well worth it to sit back and enjoy the views! Order a margarita or a fresh coconut and let the relaxing begin! As we were visiting with our three year old son, we spent a large amount of time swimming and splashing along the water's edge - life doesn't get much better than that!
HIKE TO A WATERFALL
For those wanting to get our and explore a bit more around Yelapa, there is a wonderful waterfall that you can hike to! The word 'hike' may actually be stretching it a bit, as it really is only a 15-20 minute walk to reach the waterfall. If you are coming from the beach, you must first walk thru the town and past the church, then over a small bridge that crosses the river. Numerous signs in town will point you in the direction to the falls making it an easy activity for almost anyone. For those wanting a more intense hike, there is also a waterfall that is further out of town on a 2.5 mile hike. We chose to just stick with the closer waterfall as our time was limited on a one day visit.
EAT A PIECE OF PIE
Another must do when visiting Yelapa is to eat pie! Yes, you read that right, pie! Yelapa has become known for it's local bakers that walk up and down the beach selling slices of their delicious homemade pie. According to locals, the tradition of selling pie slices has been going on now for 30+ years and has become one of the top things to do when visiting Yelapa. Flavors offered include chocolate, banana creme, chocolate-coconut, coconut, apple, nut as well as other delicious flavors. For us, we grabbed a couple pieces of coconut pie and it was absolutely delicious! What a treat!
Interested in planning your own trip to Yelapa? Below is our summarized itinerary for you to follow or adjust to your own preferences. ENJOY!
One Day in Yelapa: Grab a water taxi from Los Muertos Pier in Puerto Vallarta. Try for the 10am boat. Once arriving to Yelapa, pick a beachside restaurant and rent a lounge chair for the day. Relax! Keep an eye out for the local pie being sold along the beach. Take a quick 10 minute hike out to the local waterfall.