Just south of Puerto Vallarta some of Mexico’s most beautiful beaches, many of which are only reached by boat, delight travelers in search of quiet, authentic, unspoiled coastlines. Situated at the foot of the Sierra Madre mountains, Yelapa is one of those idyllic locales just 45 minutes from Puerto Vallarta (by boat). The word Yelapa means “place where waters become a pond or come together.”
The crescent shape beach, nestled between jungle and sea, is largely unpopulated. An ideal beach to relax and soak up the sun, get an adrenaline rush from activities like paragliding and parasailing, or experience the azure waters while fishing or snorkeling, Yelapa is a true seaside sanctuary. Yet, Yelapa is more than a beautiful beach destination; the tranquil town is home to a lush jungle with tons of wildlife, including frogs, iguanas, crabs and many species of birds, along with the El Tuito river and two magnificent waterfalls. Meanwhile, the village offers several independent, family-owned restaurants where fresh seafood is the go-to, as well as markets for shopping local crafts.
In addition to being a known hideaway for stars like Bob Dylan, Yelapa is revered for fresh-baked pieces, cooked up by two local bakers who sell their confections to beach-goers for $2 a slice. Talk about slice of heaven! Another specialty not to be missed is raicilla, a distilled Mexican agave spirit much more potent than tequila or mezcal.
Yelapa can only be reached by sea from Puerto Vallarta. Boats float along the southern part of the Banderas Bay, passing many tranquil beaches along the way, including Quimixto, Las Ánimas, Las Caletas and Majahuitas. Check the water taxi schedule for departure times or ask Casa Kimberly’s concierge about chartering a boat.