Yelapa – a hidden(ish) gem near Puerto Vallarta

Yelapa is a small boat access town off the beaten path near Puerto Vallarta.  These two town shares the same bay. Although Yelapa is on the coast, the towering mountains keep roads away, which gives it a remote island-feel.


This town does have a daily influx of tourists on boat trips from Puerto Vallarta that come to eat lunch and lay out on the beach.

To me the real gem of this town is to get away from the beach and touristy areas.

The town


A walk down the beach to the south and a hike up a hidden staircase will put you into the town. The steep streets meander through the village past street venders, houses and restaurants.

Since there are no roads to Yelapa, you will only share the roads with donkeys, horses, ATVs and other people on foot. This is a unique experience. There are no high risers or chain restaurants here, so it still has that “away from it all” feel. There are about 10-15 small hotels in the town if you decide you want to stay longer.

We found the town easy to navigate and enjoyed spending time wandering the streets.

The waterfall


About a 15-minute walk through town and up the mountain will lead you to a beautiful fresh water waterfall. It’s difficult to miss as it basically marks the end of town. Stick to the roads going left and uphill out of town and you’re sure to find it. If not the locals will point you in the right direction.

The water is crisp and fresh, which is a nice break from the heat of the beach.

Another option is to hire a mule or horse on the beach for a ride to the waterfall.


This town has a paragliding club and visitors can enjoy a paragliding launch from the beach. Although we didn’t participate it looked like lots of fun.

How to get there


Yelapa is about a 30-minute boat ride from Puerto Vallarta. There are water taxis and regular day trips to the town. If you prefer to do this cheaply, hire a boat from the marina in Puerto Vallarta or Nuevo Vallarta. We found most were willing to negotiate a rate.

Other things to do in Mexico:


8 thoughts on “Yelapa – a hidden(ish) gem near Puerto Vallarta

  1. One of my favourite expeditions! It’s my #1 recommendation to people visiting Puerto Vallarta. Looks like you guys had a great time there!

Leave a Reply