Yelapa is located in Jalisco, Mexico and is approx. 85 km from Puerto Vallarta. The small fishing village can only be reached reliably by boat. There is a road leading to the outskirts of town but it is mainly used to transport building materials, there are no cars in Yelapa. The locals recommend taking a water taxi from Boca de Tomatlan to reach the village, but you can also arrange private travel from Mismaloya or Puerto Vallarta. Although well known to Mexicans, Yelapa is still a hidden gem for travelers in search of tranquility and relaxation.
Mexican law states that you have to have been born in Yelapa in order to own property there. This makes for a nice escape from commercialized Mexican travel and provides an opportunity to contribute to the local economy vs foreign investors.
Yelapa can only be reached by boat and has only had electricity for around 10 years. Its isolated location and rural integrity offer a tranquil relaxing setting hard to find in this heavily traveled country.
While Yelapa is well known to locals from the neighboring regions, it has not yet been discovered by many international travelers. You wont find huge tour groups or backpackers partying all hours of the night in this beautiful refuge.
Like many other parts of Mexico, the locals rely heavily on tourism to generate revenue. Since it is not plagued by huge foreign tourist crowds, mainly the spring breakers that Mexicans have come to loathe, the locals are very friendly and helpful. There is no stigma about tourist in this part of the world, they whole heartedly welcome you. One of these friendly locals is Chelly Rodriguez, the famous “Pie Lady”, who you can find walking the beaches selling slices for as low as 30 pesos. She has been a mainstay of Yelapa for the last 20 years.
The geography of Yelapa is made up of mountainous jungle areas, beautiful clean beaches and a breathtaking 150-foot waterfall. “Cascada y Bosque Restaurant” is located at the base of the waterfall and is the best place to eat with a view. Whether you are looking to soak in the ocean or strike out on a trek through the wilderness, It’s perfect for exploring on foot.
Yelapa is a unique Mexican travel experience worth exploring. It’s proximity to Puerto Vallarta provides the perfect opportunity if you find yourself in the region. Keep in mind that this is a small village and some grocery stores and restaurants can close early on Sundays, plan accordingly. If you find yourself visiting during a full moon, there is a huge bonfire on the beach that visitors and locals alike come to enjoy.