I have to admit, when I first arrived in Yelapa, Mexico, I wasn’t sure I liked it. I’ll be honest, for me, it doesn’t measure up to my favorite place in Mexico, Zipolite. In Zipolite, you can see both the sun rise and the sun set from the beach, but in Yelapa, at the time of year that I went, I could see neither. There were far too many expats, day trippers from Puerto Vallarta, and lackluster food experiences in Yelapa for my taste.
But, then I realized there was a lot of beauty around me, and that to truly enjoy myself, I had to stop comparing it to places I liked better. I then saw the beauty of Yelapa for what it was and found plenty to love about it. Here’s what I enjoyed.
13 Reasons To Love Yelapa, Mexico
1. You Can Only Get There By Boat
Everyone arrives to the beach town of Yelapa by boat. This means that most of the crowds of tourists you see during the day, go back to Puerto Vallarta at night. While, the town of Yelapa still had way too many expats and American music bands playing at night, it was still nice to be in a place without crowds of tourists. It’s a completely different experience (and better) than Puerto Vallarta.
2. Pie On The Beach
Local bakers walk the beach selling some of the most delicious pie, which is an unusual treat to have on the beach. I’ve been to some of the world’s greatest beaches, but I’ve never seen pie being sold on the beach until I went to Yelapa. My favorites were the lemon meringue and the coconut.
3. The Magical Jungle
The area around Yelapa Beach is all jungle, and is definitely what I wound up loving about Yelapa the most. It was possible to walk in areas of the jungle without seeing many people, and I really loved the beautiful trees, wildlife, birds, and nature that I discovered there.
4. Playa Isabel
I was not a big fan of Yelapa’s main beach. Too many boats, tourists, and beach bars for my style. But, I did love finding tiny Playa Isabel. It was great for a solitary swim and much more peaceful than the main beach. Plus, at night, you can often see the luminescent glow of bioluminescence sea critters in the water at this beach.
5. Breathtaking Places To Stay
I have to say, what mainly made Yelapa so special for me were the places that I stayed. Vereda was a complete jungle oasis which made my stay in Yelapa incredibly special. This paradise full of butterflies, iguanas, and beautiful jungle birds is a place you won’t want to leave once you arrive. The grounds are stunning and the pool is something special.
I also enjoyed my stay at Miramar, where I had a private balcony overlooking the beach. I loved falling asleep to the sounds of ocean waves each night and lying in the hammock on my private patio while watching the moon rise each night.
6. The Marietas Islands
In the Bay of Banderas, just off the coast of Yelapa, is a preserved bird sanctuary with so many birds, you won’t believe it. The Marietas Islands is the only nesting ground besides the Galapagos Islands where you will find the blue-footed booby. This is also where you will find, “The Hidden Beach” (which isn’t so hidden, as it’s visited daily by hundreds of tourists.) It’s absolutely stunning, and the amount of wildlife you will see is absolutely incredible. I went with MiraMar Excursions and what a memorable trip it was!
7. Humpback Whales
Seeing the humpback whales on my boat trip with Miramar Excursions was another highlight of my time in Yelapa. They were incredible to watch and surrounded us in all directions during my time on the boat.
8. Luscious Jungle Flowers
I so enjoyed the luscious jungle flowers that covered Yelapa, and I definitely enjoyed strolling among them every day.
9. The Huge Iguanas
The huge iguanas were just mesmerizing to watch. I’ve never seen such big ones, and I often spent my days just watching them. They taught me that sometimes it’s OK to do nothing more than just relax, take it easy, and soak up the sun.
10. The Waterfalls
Yelapa has two beautiful waterfalls you can hike to. One is only a ten minute walk from town. The other one is about a two-hour hike away, which made for a fun adventure.
11. Veronica, The Juice Lady
I’ve had a lot of jugos (juice) from the juice stands of Mexico, and I have to say, Veronica had some of the best. Her beet/ginger/turmeric juice (and, oh, the mornings she had passion fruit!) was a delight to behold. Served with her friendliness and warm smile, it was some of the best juice in all of Mexico. Why America doesn’t have more juice stands, I’ll never know.
12. Micheladas Vicky
On your way back from the town waterfall, make sure to stop and have a drink with Trini. His outdoor bar is just in front of the church, and his specialty is the michelada. This drink, made with beer, lime and tomato juice is made over the top by Trini. He garnishes his with a ton of shrimp and cucumbers. He also has the secret stash of Raicilla, the local moon shine, which tastes like unrefined mezcal.
13. Playita, The Most Adorable Dog In The World
I just wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t say my favorite thing of all about Yelapa was meeting little Playita, the adorable rescue dog at Vereda, where I stayed. She touched my heart so much, that a day hasn’t gone by since I left where I haven’t thought of her. I guess you’ll have to stay at Vereda to meet her, though she loves the beach so much, that she often runs away, to play in the waves, so you might see her there. Hey, I guess her and I have a lot in common. As I sit and dream of the next beach I’ll be running off to myself.