Hola! My name is Tiara Kam and welcome to my travel guide on Yelapa – a magical beach town in Mexico. I’m 23 years old and just graduated from the University of Central Florida this past spring. I have been saving money for quite a while so that I would be able to go on a trip to Mexico.
I grew up in southern Florida but have lived in central Florida for the past five years. I have traveled within the US frequently, but this is my first big international trip (and solo trip). My biggest inspiration for traveling right now is finally having the time. I have completed my education and now I am ready to get out there and experience everything the world has to offer.
Coming across Yelapa was a pleasant surprise. I hadn’t heard of Yelapa until about four weeks ago when some of my friends recommended I visit this small village before I leave the coast. I was in Yelapa for two days/one night and I think that is all the time you really need.
While in Yelapa, I explored the paths near the town, ate a delicious vegan sandwich from Gloria’s and hiked to the top of a nearby waterfall. I had an amazing shrimp ceviche for dinner and watched the rain roll in over the mountain. Yelapa is this awesome old fishing village/beach town tucked into a small cove located about an hour away from Puerto Vallarta.
The only way to get to the town is by water taxi – there are no cars or roads once you get there. Yelapa should be on everyone’s bucket list because of how quick and easy it is to escape to. Although it’s a short boat ride from Vallarta, Yelapa truly gives the feeling of being on a secluded island.
My Favorite Aspects about Yelapa
One of my favorite places that I visited in Yelapa was at the top of a waterfall. The hike to get there wasn’t too difficult and the view was breathtaking. The pool of water was cold but very refreshing. Shade from the trees even allowed my friends and I to comfortably nap on the rocks overlooking the top of the waterfall. That really was an amazing experience.
Other epic experiences in Yelapa included: when I was laying on the rocks watching the boats come and go from the ever-changing blue cove, watching the parasailers floating in the sky, and listening to the rush and feeling the power of the waterfall beside me. All special moments.
5 Best Things To Do in Yelapa
- Relax on the Beach, Eat Ceviche and Drink Beer: This one is best if you are looking for a more laid back day at the beach. The views, beach and food don’t get any better than this – so make a whole day out of it!
- Explore the Awesome “Streets” of Yelapa: Look at the colorful artwork, plants and buildings. If you are looking for more food options than just the beach restaurants, this is where you will find them all.
- Visit the Bottom of the Waterfall in Town: Do this or if you are feeling a little bit more adventurous, hike to the top! The bottom waterfall will more than likely have a larger crowd than the top. The view from the top is also stunning and makes the hike well worth the effort.
- Hike to the Lesser Known Waterfall: Again, this is an activity suited for more adventurous travelers. Unfortunately, I didn’t do this hike on this trip but if I return to Yelapa in the future this will be on my to-do list.
- Go on a Donkey Ride: I also didn’t partake in this but I have heard it’s a popular attraction. I saw a stable with horses and donkeys for rides.
Staying in a Cute & Tropical Airbnb
When visiting Yelapa, an Airbnb is the best option. I wasn’t aware of any hostels nearby and hotels seemed to be very few and far between. I did check Airbnb before going and there were a lot of options that all seemed affordable and beautiful. One of my friends booked our Airbnb there which was a cute and tropical private cabana on the north side of town.
The only real issue with our cabana was that we did have to cross the river when we wanted to visit the south side of town and to do this you had to either go by foot or pay for a water taxi. Although the cabana was beautiful, I think it would have been better to stay on the right (south) side of town.
Need to Know Before you Go
Bring bug spray – and lots of it. Mentally prepare yourself to see some of the biggest bugs you may ever see in your entire life. I encountered quite a few tailless whip scorpions (also pictured on my Instagram) and although they are harmless to humans, they still look like something from a horror movie. Do not let this deter you, it’s all part of the true Yelapa experience!
Costs in Yelapa so you have a rough idea of what to budget for your stay:
- 200 pesos for the water taxi (per person, each way)
- 1000 pesos for the Airbnb for 2 days, 1 night
- 30 pesos for one beer (from the beach bar with house music and sushi)
- 130 pesos for a vegan sandwich (from Gloria’s, which has vegetarian and non-vegetarian options for breakfast and lunch)
- 130 pesos for beachside shrimp ceviche
- Free to visit the bottom and top of the waterfall in town.
Bonus: I didn’t encounter her but I was told that there is an older woman who walks along the beach selling the most incredible coconut cream cakes. Looks like I will have to make another trip to Yelapa again soon!