A palapa in Yelapa

“A palapa in Yelapa beats a condo in Redondo”

adorns T-shirts sold in Playa Yelapa.   Yelapa is a remote Mexican village on the southern tip of Bandaras Bay, accessible via boat or unpaved road, turned tourist-success. Each morning, pangas and tour boats disgorge passengers on to the beautiful beach, who sit under umbrellas, swim, sip a cerveza (Mexican word for beer) enjoy a perfect beach and crystal clear waters, and worship the sun.   Then the pangas return the tourists across the Bay to Puerto Vallarta. By sunset, people, noise, and umbrellas disappear and the beach is left undisturbed to it self… until tomorrow.

There are two Yelapas:   one for the beach lovers and sun worshippers who stay in the confines of their playland (as if pened in by some hidden fense),

and the other is the native town of Yelapa – available to anyone who steps 100 yards or more beyond the beach boundaries.

Anchoring is all but impossible. The 25 foot shelf close to shore rapidly drops off to over 100 feet. Any space that might be suitable for anchoring has been taken over by local palapas on mooring balls. With any swell at all this makes anchoring an an all-night watch experience.   The only realistic option is to purchase a mooring ball from a local.

Rates vary wildly. But I found it a good value at $20,00 because it kept RD safe while I slept well and also visited the shore.

And my swim in the waterfall (no pics of me) was priceless!

Short hike to the Yelapa waterfall and swimming hole




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