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Yelapa, Jalisco, Mexico

Yelapa, where the waters come together

For those that wander south of Puerto Vallarta, you'll find small beautiful beaches and island like locations you can only get to by boat, one of these hidden locations is beckoning you, specially those that need to get away from the city's noise, people and frenzy, a quiet, beautiful place, a small cove surrounded by nature and jungle and bathed by the beautiful Pacific Ocean.

Yelapa views

This perfect spot that we are talking about is none other than Yelapa, a small town just 40 minutes south of Puerto Vallarta (by boat), at the foot of the majestic mountains of the Sierra Madre Occidental.

Yelapa location map

The word Yelapa is of Purepecha origin and means "place where waters become a pond or come together."

Yelapa village

Artists and writers live for places like these, the tranquility and privacy makes it the perfect place for many of them from around the world. The village is quaint, the life is simple, the surrounding beauty irresistible, many have decided to make it their permanent residence, and enjoy the daily inspiration of the sea, nature and mountains.

Yelapa view from the hill

If you want to get from Puerto Vallarta to Yelapa the only way is by sea and it is also best that way, if it were an easy ride by land, you can be sure it wouldn't be the same.

Maps of beaches South zone

It’s a nice trip, you skirt along the edges of the southern part of the Banderas Bay, passing and sometimes stopping at the small beaches along the way, Las Ánimas, Quimixto, Las Caletas and Majahuitas.
Check out the water taxi schedule.

Yelapa panoramas

Some sea taxis leave from Playa Los Muertos and others from Boca de Tomatlan, which is just south of Mismaloya. The trip to beautiful Yelapa is around 40-45 minutes from Puerto Vallarta and 30 minutes from Boca de Tomatlan.

This place has so many things to enjoy that one day is not enough, specially if you want to really enjoy the beach and really relax, the thick and beautiful jungle is the home to all kinds of creatures, parrots, land crabs, frogs, scorpions, iguanas, many different birds, the El Tuito river and two impressive waterfalls.

Yelapa waterfall

Yelapa waterfall

There are many available activities to enjoy while in Yelapa, if you start getting the itch to do something. You can fish, venture out on a kayak, the waters are great for snorkeling, many scuba operators bring their students to dive here too, swim in the warm calm waters, paragliding for that adrenaline hit, horseback riding is popular, stroll over to the village and buy local Mexican crafts and more. If you prefer more adventure still, Yelapa great for camping, explore the jungle and hike in the hills.

Birds of Yelapa

If you prefer, there are rustic restaurants by the beach where you can enjoy the local fish dishes and seafood. A local "secret", are the Yelapa Pies, just delicious, so don't miss the pie lady that comes down the beach selling them in various flavors.

Yelapa Pies

Don’t forget to order a delicious smoky raicilla shot, specially made in Yelapa. During the afternoon and night stay put in the same restaurants, but in a more romantic setting, Yelapa doesn't have much electricity, so candles are the favorite mood makers, plus the moon in the bay will create the perfect and most unforgettable night.

Yelapa on the beach

Yelapa on the beach

For those who love nature, Yelapa has so much to offer, it is at night where you really notice the abundance and diversity of the local wildlife.

You’ll will see a lot of insects, including the flashes of the firefly’s romantic calls, you will see bats flying around eating of the abundant insect population, crabs that come out of their underground caves to find food by the streams and on the beach, birds, crickets, cicadas, toads and frogs that chant incessantly, the sound of the jungle is varied, constant and fascinating.

Spending a night in Yelapa is a prize and an opportunity not to be missed if nature is your thing. Here's a warning, if you are expecting an insect free trip, if you want a natural wasteland free from nature and life, if you are scared of ants, if bugs bug you, Yelapa will not be for you.

You can also buy art from the locals

You can also buy art from the locals

If you are considering staying the night, there are some small rustic hotels like the Hotel Lagunita Yelapa, where you can have a pleasant and romantic stay, under palapa roofs, mosquito netted beds, rustic bathrooms and candlelight. If you want to go dancing during your stay, visit the Yacht Club and enjoy the all night party.

Hotel Lagunita Yelapa

Hotel Lagunita Yelapa

So now you know, if you want a different experience, to be in contact with nature, a place where even cellphones won’t spoil the show, Yelapa is the ideal place. There are trips that include meals and in some cases even diving equipment that start off from Vallarta, so there is really no reason to miss the opportunity to visit this little piece of hidden Mexican Pacific paradise.

Google Earth view of Yelapa


View South Zone Hotel Map in a larger map

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Some videos from Yelapa:


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