I promised a series of posts about Yelapa, Jalisco, Mexico and then promptly got distracted by our trip to Belize and some holiday baking.
This Yelapa post is about the “lay of the land,” and the Yelapa beach. Of course, all of this is my opinion! I know there is much about Yelapa that I don’t know and haven’t experi
enced (yet). Also, I have not been to Yelapa in the off season. I have been there at various times between October and March.
The first area that you will draw your attention when you round the point into the bay on your water taxi is the beach. Yelapa’s beach is small, clean, relaxing, and has some fun restaurants and bars to visit. We are partial to Rogelio’s, as the couple running it are people we have known for decades and are super-nice. Martina is also a great cook and you will enjoy your lunch selection. I recommend the fish tacos, avocado stuffed with tuna salad or ceviche. (I can share her ceviche recipe another time.) You can find great snacks and lunches at other restaurants and bars too. Find one with comfortable chairs, settle in, have a few Pacificos, and relax. The next day, try a different one. Repeat until you find the bar you like best.
The beach is busiest from about 11 to 4, when the day-trip folks from Puerto Vallarta are visiting. Watching them get out of and into boats is a good source of entertainment. It is also fun to watch the supply boats come in and unload. You may see anything from cases of beer, boxes of produce, bags of cement, refrigerators, armoirs, you name it. All will be loaded into wheelbarrows, onto donkeys or onto ATVs to be taken to final destinations. Early morning and late afternoon, the beach is generally very quiet and calm, although fewer restaurants are open during these times. Experience the beach at different times to see what you like best.
While on the beach, keep your eye out for the “pie lady.” I believe there are two ladies who ply this trade, and you will easily spot them carrying tupperware containers of pie on their heads. I can personally recommend the following pies: chocolate, cheese, pecan, and coconut. My husband likes the lemon meringue as well. You can eat your pie there, or have it wrapped in a piece of foil for later enjoyment. You will discover that pie and Pacifico are a pretty good pairing.
If you walk behind the beach restaurants you will find paths that lead several ways. With your back to the beach, a right hand turn will lead you to the river crossing. Once on the other side of the river, you can visit Oasis, Passionflower Gardens, and walk either to town or downriver to the bridge or (eventually) the big waterfall. Veering left will take you to some houses and rentals (and eventually link up with the straight path) and going straight will take you along the opposite side of the river past soccer fields, a school, to Restaurant Manguito and to the bridge.
Swimming on the beach? The water is clean and refreshing. I will caution you to be aware of boat traffic as some boat captains are not so aware of swimmers.
At one end of the beach is Hotel Lagunita. They have a large restaurant/bar that you can visit even if you are not a guest. If you are a guest, you can also use their swimming pool that fronts the ocean.
On the other end of the beach, you will cross the Tuito river and find yourself at the Casa Garcia vacation rentals and the strairs that lead up to the town. The beach between the last restaurant the Garcia rentals is quiet. If you are not wanting to purchase beer and just want to spread out your towel and read a book, this is a nice spot. Then, when you get thirsty, just head over to the restaurants. This is also where the paragliders land. From this part of the beach you can see a lot of bird life in the river/lagoon too.
The interaction between the river and the ocean is endlessly fascinating to me. Sometimes, the ocean pushes the sand and completely closes the river to form a deep lagoon that is difficult (or impossible) to cross without a boat (cross upriver instead). Sometimes, the river is flowing quickly out of the mouth, and there is no lagoon. And kids bodysurf on the river/ocean interaction. Often, it is somewhere in between with a channel open to the ocean and some level of lagoon. Be prepared to wade and watch out for the current.
More to come: my thoughts on the pueblo (town), upriver, restaurants, places to stay…