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Yelapa Mexico: A Magical Boat-in Fishing Village By Puerto Vallarta


Modified: December 27, 2023

by Reina Capers



Welcome to Yelapa, a hidden gem nestled on Mexico’s Pacific coast. This charming fishing village, located just a short boat ride away from Puerto Vallarta, offers an enchanting escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. With its untouched natural beauty, tranquil beaches, and vibrant local culture, Yelapa is a destination that captivates the hearts of all who visit.


What sets Yelapa apart from other coastal destinations is its remote location and the absence of roads. Accessible only by boat, Yelapa offers a unique experience as visitors are greeted by the beauty of its turquoise waters and lush green foliage. The lack of vehicles and the tranquility that comes with it create an atmosphere of serenity that is hard to find elsewhere.


Despite its remote location, Yelapa is not lacking in amenities. While it may not offer the same level of luxury as some of Mexico’s more popular tourist destinations, it compensates with its rustic charm and warm hospitality. Whether you’re seeking a peaceful retreat or an adventure-filled vacation, Yelapa has something for everyone.


Whether you’re a nature lover, an avid angler, or a food enthusiast, Yelapa will leave you captivated. Its pristine beaches, lush jungles, and bountiful wildlife provide a playground for outdoor enthusiasts seeking to connect with nature. From boat-in fishing trips to exploring hidden waterfalls, there is always an opportunity for adventure in Yelapa.


Prepare to indulge your taste buds in Yelapa’s delightful cuisine. With an abundance of fresh seafood, tropical fruits, and traditional Mexican dishes, the local food scene is a vibrant tapestry of flavors. From beachside seafood shacks to cozy cafes, you’ll find a wide array of dining options to satisfy even the most discerning palates.


As the sun sets, Yelapa comes alive with its vibrant nightlife. Whether you prefer sipping cocktails by the beach, dancing the night away to live music, or simply soaking in the laid-back atmosphere, Yelapa offers a range of entertainment options to suit all tastes.


From rustic beachside bungalows to secluded eco-resorts, Yelapa provides a range of accommodation options to suit every budget and preference. Wake up to the soothing sound of waves crashing against the shore, and fall asleep under a star-filled sky in this idyllic coastal paradise.


So, pack your bags, leave your worries behind, and embark on a journey to Yelapa. Experience the magic of this boat-in fishing village, immerse yourself in its beauty, and create lasting memories. Yelapa awaits, ready to enchant and embrace all who dare to venture off the beaten path.


Getting to Yelapa

Getting to Yelapa is an adventure in itself. As mentioned earlier, there are no roads leading to this secluded village, so the only way to reach Yelapa is by boat. The most common starting point is Puerto Vallarta, which is a popular tourist destination with an international airport.


From the Puerto Vallarta International Airport, you can easily arrange transportation to the nearby Marina Vallarta or Boca de Tomatlan, the departure points for boats heading to Yelapa. If you prefer a more personalized experience, hiring a private water taxi is also an option.


The boat ride from either Marina Vallarta or Boca de Tomatlan to Yelapa takes around 40 minutes to an hour, depending on sea conditions. As you sail along the coast, you’ll be greeted by breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean and the lush landscape that surrounds Yelapa.


Once you arrive in Yelapa, you’ll notice that the village is small and easily navigable on foot. There are no cars or motorcycles, adding to the charm and tranquility of this hidden paradise.


If you’re looking for a more adventurous journey to Yelapa, you can opt for kayaking or paddleboarding from Boca de Tomatlan. This allows you to take in the scenic beauty at your own pace while enjoying a fun-filled water activity.


It’s important to note that boat departures from Puerto Vallarta to Yelapa are scheduled and may vary depending on the season. It’s recommended to check the boat schedules in advance to ensure a smooth journey. Additionally, in the event of inclement weather or rough seas, boat services may be temporarily suspended for safety reasons.


Exploring Yelapa is best done on foot, as the village is relatively small. The main attractions, such as the beaches, waterfalls, and local eateries, are within walking distance of each other. Comfortable walking shoes and a sense of adventure are all you need to navigate the charming streets of Yelapa.


So, get ready to leave the mainland behind and embark on a scenic boat ride to Yelapa. Allow yourself to be immersed in the beauty of the journey and prepare to be enchanted by the wonders that await you in this hidden fishing village.


Exploring Yelapa’s Charm

Yelapa is a destination that offers a perfect blend of natural beauty and local charm. As you begin to explore this idyllic fishing village, you’ll quickly discover the unique attractions and hidden gems that make Yelapa truly special.


One of the highlights of Yelapa is its pristine beaches. Playa Principal, the main beach, is a picture-perfect stretch of sand with crystal-clear waters. Here, you can relax under the shade of a palm tree, soak up the sun, or take a refreshing dip in the ocean. For those seeking a quieter beach experience, Playa Isabel offers a secluded spot where you can enjoy peace and tranquility.


Exploring the village itself is a delight. Wander through the cobblestone streets lined with colorful houses and artistic murals. The friendly locals welcome you with warm smiles and a laid-back attitude that reflects the essence of Yelapa’s character.


Among the many attractions in Yelapa is the famous Lagunita, a natural saltwater pool nestled amidst lush greenery. Take a refreshing swim in this tranquil oasis while admiring the surrounding tropical paradise. The beauty of Lagunita is truly mesmerizing and makes for a memorable experience.


If you’re a nature lover, don’t miss the opportunity to hike to the nearby Yelapa Waterfall. As you trek through the dense jungle, you’ll be greeted by the sound of cascading water. Once you reach the waterfall, take a dip in the cool, refreshing pool below or simply bask in the beauty of this natural wonder.


Yelapa is also home to an abundance of wildlife. From the vibrant birdlife to the playful dolphins and turtles that frequent the bay, nature enthusiasts will be in awe of the biodiversity that surrounds this village. Explore the waters on a snorkeling or diving adventure to discover the colorful marine life that resides in the Pacific Ocean.


For a glimpse into the local culture, visit the Casa de Cultura, a community center where you can learn about Yelapa’s history and immerse yourself in the art and traditions of the village. Take part in a traditional cooking class, learn to make crafts from local artisans, or simply engage in conversations with the friendly locals to gain insights into their way of life.


As you explore Yelapa’s charm, take the time to slow down, breathe in the fresh ocean air, and appreciate the simplicity of life in this hidden paradise. The beauty and tranquility of Yelapa will capture your heart and leave a lasting impression on your soul.


Relaxing on Yelapa’s Beaches

When it comes to relaxation, Yelapa’s beaches are unparalleled in their beauty and tranquility. With its untouched natural landscapes and crystal-clear waters, Yelapa offers a coastal experience that is truly idyllic.


One of the most popular beaches in Yelapa is Playa Principal, the main beach. This picturesque stretch of golden sand is perfect for sunbathing and enjoying the gentle ocean breeze. Set up a beach towel, soak up the sun, and let the stress melt away as you take in the breathtaking views of the turquoise waters.


For those seeking a quieter beach experience, Playa Isabel is an excellent choice. Located away from the main village, this secluded beach offers a more tranquil setting, surrounded by lush jungle foliage. Take a leisurely stroll along the shoreline, collect seashells, or simply find a shady spot to relax and escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life.


If you’re in the mood for adventure, head to Playa Yelapa, which is known for its pristine waters and vibrant marine life. Dive into the crystal-clear ocean and explore the underwater world through snorkeling or diving. Marvel at the colorful coral reefs, swim alongside tropical fish, and experience the awe-inspiring beauty that lies beneath the surface.


For a truly unique beach experience, visit the enchanting Caleta de El Caballo. This secluded cove is only accessible by hiking or hiring a water taxi. Once you reach this hidden gem, you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views and a serene atmosphere. Enjoy the solitude of this secluded beach, bask in the beauty of the surroundings, and let the sound of the crashing waves lull you into a state of pure relaxation.


No matter which beach you choose to spend your time on, make sure to take advantage of the local seafood options available. Many beachfront restaurants offer freshly caught seafood, grilled to perfection, allowing you to indulge in a delicious meal while enjoying the scenic beauty of the coast.


As the day draws to a close, grab a beach chair, sit back, and witness the mesmerizing sight of the sun setting over the ocean. The vibrant colors painting the sky will leave you in awe, and the peaceful ambiance will create a sense of calm that only Yelapa can provide.


So, whether you’re seeking relaxation, adventure, or a combination of both, Yelapa’s beaches provide the perfect backdrop for an unforgettable beach getaway. Allow yourself to unwind, recharge, and connect with the natural beauty that surrounds you.


Boat-in Fishing in Yelapa

Yelapa not only offers stunning beaches and natural beauty, but it is also a haven for fishing enthusiasts. With its coastal location and abundance of marine life, Yelapa provides the perfect setting for an unforgettable boat-in fishing experience.


Embark on an exciting fishing expedition as you set sail from Yelapa’s shores. Whether you’re an experienced angler or a beginner, there are fishing opportunities for everyone. Charter a boat with a local guide who knows the best fishing spots, or simply rent your own fishing gear and cast your line from the shore.


The waters surrounding Yelapa are teeming with a variety of fish, including snapper, grouper, mahi-mahi, and tuna. Feel the thrill as you reel in your catch, knowing that it will soon be transformed into a delicious meal. Fishing in Yelapa offers not only an exciting adventure but also a chance to connect with nature and experience the joys of the ocean.


A popular fishing technique in Yelapa is known as “panga fishing.” Panga boats, traditional Mexican fishing boats, are a common sight in the bay. Join a local guide on a panga boat excursion and venture further out into the sea, where you’ll have the opportunity to catch larger game fish.


While fishing in Yelapa, take the time to appreciate the breathtaking scenery. The coastline is lined with lush green mountains and rugged cliffs, creating a stunning backdrop for your fishing adventure. Keep an eye out for dolphins, sea turtles, and even whales, as these majestic creatures often make appearances in the bay.


After a successful day of fishing, you can choose to have your catch cooked at a local restaurant. Many establishments in Yelapa offer the option for their chefs to prepare your freshly caught fish, ensuring a delicious and satisfying meal. Alternatively, if you’re staying in a vacation rental with kitchen facilities, you can try your hand at cooking your own seafood feast.


Whether you prefer a peaceful day of shore fishing or an exhilarating boat-in fishing expedition, Yelapa provides the perfect backdrop for an unforgettable angling experience. Embrace the thrill of the hunt, soak in the natural beauty, and create memories that will last a lifetime.


Enjoying the Local Cuisine

One of the true delights of visiting Yelapa is indulging in the local cuisine. With its coastal location, the village offers a bounty of fresh seafood, tropical fruits, and traditional Mexican dishes that will tantalize your taste buds and leave you craving for more.


Start your culinary adventure by exploring the beachside seafood shacks that line the shores. Here, you can feast on mouthwatering ceviche, a zesty dish consisting of fresh fish or shrimp marinated in lime juice and mixed with onions, tomatoes, and cilantro. Enjoy the refreshing flavors and the tangy kick of spice that will awaken your senses.


For a traditional Mexican breakfast, try the popular dish of chilaquiles. This delicious concoction features crispy tortilla chips smothered in a flavorful sauce, topped with cheese, and served with eggs, beans, and salsa. It’s a hearty and satisfying way to start your day.


As you wander through the village, you’ll come across charming cafes offering a range of options, from Mexican classics to international favorites with a local twist. Indulge in delicious tacos filled with freshly grilled fish or shrimp, accompanied by a variety of salsas and toppings. Be sure to try the locally-made tortillas, which are soft, warm, and bursting with flavor.


If you’re seeking a unique dining experience, head to the nearby village of Chacala and visit La Pescadora, a renowned spot known for its exquisite seafood. Feast on dishes such as grilled octopus, whole roasted fish, or shrimp al ajillo, cooked to perfection and bursting with flavor. The charming ambiance and attentive service make dining at La Pescadora a memorable experience.


Don’t forget to sample the tropical fruits that thrive in the region. Enjoy the sweetness of fresh mangoes, papayas, and pineapples, which make for a refreshing snack on a hot day. You can also try agua frescas, refreshing fruit-infused beverages that are made with a variety of fruits and are a popular choice to quench your thirst.


For those with a sweet tooth, Yelapa has a treat in store. Watch out for street vendors selling coconut candy, a delectable treat made with freshly grated coconut, sugar, and condensed milk. The caramelized flavor and chewy texture of the candy will leave you wanting more.


Complete your culinary journey with a sip of raicilla, a traditional Mexican spirit that is produced in the region. Often referred to as “Mexican moonshine,” raicilla is made from the agave plant and boasts unique flavors that tell the story of the land.


Whether you’re savoring the flavors of freshly caught seafood, indulging in traditional Mexican dishes, or experiencing the vibrant tropical fruits, exploring the local cuisine in Yelapa is a feast for the senses. Immerse yourself in the rich culinary heritage of the village and allow your taste buds to be delighted by the diverse and delicious flavors of this coastal paradise.


Discovering Yelapa’s Waterfalls

Yelapa is not just known for its pristine beaches; it is also home to breathtaking waterfalls that lie hidden within the lush jungles surrounding the village. Exploring these cascading wonders is a must-do when visiting Yelapa.


One of the most famous waterfalls in Yelapa is the Yelapa Waterfall, also known as Cascada Cola de Caballo. Located just a short hike from the village, this waterfall offers a mesmerizing sight as water tumbles down into a beautiful pool below. Take in the natural beauty and cool off in the refreshing waters as you swim beneath the cascading falls.


For a more adventurous trek, venture further into the jungle to discover the Pueblo Waterfall. This hidden gem is a bit more challenging to reach but rewards you with its secluded beauty. Follow the winding trails, and feel the sense of tranquility as you immerse yourself in nature. Dive into the pristine waters of the pool beneath the waterfall and embrace the refreshing energy of the natural surroundings.


Another waterfall worth visiting is the Quimixto Waterfall, located in the neighboring village of Quimixto. To reach this waterfall, take a scenic boat ride from Yelapa to Quimixto and then embark on a leisurely hike through the tropical jungle. Reward yourself with a dip in the cool waters of the waterfall and revel in the natural splendor.


As you explore these waterfalls, take the time to appreciate the vibrant flora and fauna that surround them. The jungle is home to a variety of tropical plants, colorful butterflies, and exotic birds. Keep an eye out for orchids, bromeliads, and towering palm trees that add to the beauty of the landscape.


While visiting the waterfalls, it’s recommended to wear sturdy footwear and bring insect repellent. The trails can be uneven and slippery, so taking precautions will ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.


Whether you’re seeking a serene escape or a thrilling adventure, Yelapa’s waterfalls offer a perfect retreat. Immerse yourself in the beauty of nature, let the soothing sounds of the water guide you, and create memories that will last a lifetime.


Experiencing the Nightlife in Yelapa

While Yelapa may be known for its tranquil and laid-back atmosphere, that doesn’t mean the village lacks in nighttime entertainment. As the sun sets over the Pacific Ocean, Yelapa comes alive with its vibrant nightlife, offering a variety of options for visitors to enjoy.


Start your evening by sipping cocktails at one of the beachfront bars. Feel the warm sand beneath your feet as you relax with a refreshing drink in hand, watching the waves gently roll onto the shore. The beach bars in Yelapa often have live music performances, creating a lively and festive atmosphere to set the mood for the evening.


If you’re in the mood for dancing, head to one of the local nightclubs or discotheques. These venues offer a mix of Mexican and international music, ensuring a fun-filled night of dancing and laughter. Let loose on the dance floor and immerse yourself in the energetic beats and infectious rhythms that keep the party going until the early hours of the morning.


For a more intimate and low-key experience, visit one of the cozy cafes or lounges tucked away in the village. These establishments often host acoustic music nights or open mic sessions, providing a platform for local musicians and artists to showcase their talent. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the soothing melodies as you sip on a cup of coffee or indulge in a delicious dessert.


Another unique aspect of Yelapa’s nightlife is the opportunity to partake in a traditional temazcal ceremony. A temazcal is a traditional Mexican sweat lodge where participants gather to cleanse and purify their bodies and minds. Led by a knowledgeable guide, this ancient ritual involves entering a steam-filled structure and engaging in healing chants and prayers. It’s an immersive experience that allows you to connect with the spiritual side of Yelapa’s culture.


For those seeking a more relaxed evening, enjoy a leisurely stroll along the moonlit shoreline. Allow the tranquility of the night to envelop you as you listen to the sounds of the waves and feel the cool ocean breeze on your skin. Take a moment to gaze at the star-filled sky and appreciate the natural beauty that surrounds you.


Whatever your preference, Yelapa’s nightlife offers something for everyone. From beachside bars and nightclubs to intimate cafes and cultural experiences, there are ample opportunities to socialize, unwind, and create unforgettable memories under the night sky.


Accommodation Options in Yelapa

When it comes to accommodation in Yelapa, visitors have a range of options to choose from, each offering its own unique charm and amenities. Whether you’re seeking a rustic beachside bungalow or a secluded eco-resort, Yelapa has something to suit every preference and budget.


For those looking for an authentic Yelapa experience, staying in a beachfront bungalow is a popular choice. These simple, yet charming accommodations offer direct access to the sand and sea, allowing you to wake up to the sound of waves and enjoy stunning ocean views. Many of these bungalows are equipped with basic facilities, including comfortable beds, private bathrooms, and outdoor seating areas, providing a cozy and authentic stay.


If you prefer a more luxurious experience, there are eco-resorts and boutique hotels scattered throughout the village. These accommodations blend seamlessly with the natural surroundings, offering stunning views, lush gardens, and unique amenities. From private villas with infinity pools to eco-friendly retreats with sustainable practices, these options cater to travelers seeking a more high-end and environmentally-conscious stay.


For a rustic and immersive experience, consider staying in a traditional palapa. These open-air thatched-roof huts provide a truly authentic and eco-friendly stay, allowing you to sleep under the stars and listen to the sounds of nature. While these accommodations may lack some modern amenities, they make up for it with a unique and unforgettable experience.


Another option is to rent a vacation home or apartment, which provides a more spacious and private setting. Many locals offer their homes for short-term rentals, allowing you to live like a true Yelapa resident. With fully equipped kitchens, comfortable living areas, and often breathtaking views, these rentals offer a home-away-from-home experience.


Regardless of the type of accommodation you choose, one thing is for certain – you’ll be surrounded by natural beauty and tranquility. Yelapa’s remote location and absence of cars create a serene and peaceful atmosphere that ensures a restful and rejuvenating stay.


It’s important to note that Yelapa’s accommodation options can fill up quickly, especially during peak travel seasons. It’s advisable to book your stay in advance to secure your preferred choice. Whether you’re seeking a barefoot beach retreat or a luxurious eco-haven, Yelapa offers a range of accommodation options that ensure a memorable and comfortable stay in this enchanting fishing village.



Yelapa, Mexico, is a hidden gem that captivates the hearts of all who visit. This boat-in fishing village offers a perfect blend of natural beauty, vibrant culture, and tranquil charm. As you embark on a journey to Yelapa, you’ll discover a world untouched by the chaos of the modern world, where simplicity and serenity reign supreme.


Whether you’re relaxing on the pristine beaches, exploring the hidden waterfalls, indulging in the local cuisine, or experiencing the lively nightlife, Yelapa’s offerings are diverse and captivating. The village’s remote location and lack of roads create a sense of tranquility that is hard to find elsewhere.


Immerse yourself in the beauty of Yelapa’s coastal landscapes, explore the depths of the Pacific Ocean on a fishing expedition, or simply unwind on the shores of its enchanting beaches. The options are endless, ensuring an experience catered to every taste and preference.


As you traverse the cobblestone streets, interact with the friendly locals, and take in the vibrant colors and flavors of Yelapa, you’ll feel a sense of connection to this magical place. The memories you make and the experiences you have in Yelapa will stay with you long after you leave, reminding you of the natural wonders and warm hospitality that define this coastal paradise.


So pack your bags, leave your worries behind, and set sail to Yelapa. Allow yourself to be captivated by its beauty, embrace the laid-back lifestyle, and see what adventures await you in this picturesque fishing village. Yelapa beckons, ready to provide an escape from the ordinary and a journey into the extraordinary.