“A Palapa in Yelapa...”
25 February 2019
"...is better than a Condo in Redondo"!
A day trip to Yelapa was worth the bouncy, 45-minute water taxi ride from Playa Los Muertos in Puerto Vallarta. There are no roads to Yelapa, everyone and everything must arrive/leave by boat, or by horseback via a trail. Telephone poles and electricity did not exist here until around 2001.
Yelapa was once a thriving fishing village, deeded in the late 1500's to the indigenous people who had lived there for centuries. Yelapa today still has a small village charm; families who live here have long, extensive histories. The narrow cobblestone streets are terraced into the hillside, with rough steps that form sharp turns to the next terrace. Along the path, more stairs lead to brightly painted modest homes, with entrances and doors decorated with colorful tiles or mosaic. Tropical flowers and bougainvillea cascade down stucco walls adorned with artistic murals.
Today, transportation in the town is by foot, bicycle, horseback or ATV. Food and supplies are brought in on pangas. The heavy payload is manually unloaded and carried up the wide stretch of sand, then loaded onto to burros and ATVs. A lot of physical labor goes into getting a case of cervesa or a crate of tomatoes to the little tienda. It really gives one a sense of appreciation for the people that live here. Life here seems peaceful, quiet, and simple, but comes with the price of hard work.
Children as young as 2 years old play in the streets barefoot and carefree as their parents work at the cafes and small businesses. We enjoyed a tasty lunch of pescado vera cruz at Cafe Eclipse. School had just let out. It was fun watching the children walk home for lunch as they made their way up the winding cobblestone paths carrying backpacks. Some were pushing their bicycles as the path was too steep to ride up. They all wore great big smiles!
A teenage boy lead a pack of burros back and forth through the village, as they carried their loads. We laughed as we watched him on the lead burro, head down absorbed in his smartphone, as the other burros obediently followed behind. As small and quaint as Yelapa is, there's no escape from the internet and the teenagers here are just as plugged into the web as teenagers who live in urban cities.
Later we walked back to the Playa and relaxed at one of the palapas. At the entrance to the cove, we spotted a mama humpback with her baby. After seeing the boats at anchor and on moorings, roll from rail to rail, we were thankful we did not take Pinocchio here for an overnight. The swell and surge would have made for a uncomfortable, sleepless night.
We caught the last water taxi back to Puerto Vallarta. By that time, both the wind and swell had picked up and Banderas Bay was full of white caps. It was a wet and wild ride back. David picked the worst spot to sit in the panga and got drenched with green water coming over the port side. All eight passengers were happy to see the silhouette of Muelle Los Muertos in Puerto Vallarta...almost back!