I wish I could say the wind was gently blowing away from my face, giving my hair a tousled look of a model in front of the camera. This was not the case. As we sped through the bay heading toward our destination, I had a death grip on Shanti, eager to feel the waves, leaning over the edge, laughing and splashing. My other hand braced the solid seat below me as every bump reminded me that my “cushion” wasn’t as protective as it used to be. My hair? If I wasn’t choking on the strands that so gracefully made their way into my mouth, I was blinded by the mask of hair covering my eyes with every change in the wind. It was a wonderful ride to Yelapa.
This entire post is also in video form on our YouTube channel, you can see it here!
The journey to Yelapa started with a cab ride from Puerto Vallarta, taking us north along the coast. We stopped at Parque Nacional Marino Los Arcos De Mismaloya so Matt could fly his drone and the girls could grab a snack: Fava beans, pumpkin seeds, and trail mix.
The cab finally dropped us in a charming little town called Boca De Tomatlán. It was hard to pass all the small vendors and restaurants in the sand, but we only had half the day to explore.
We made it to the beach and hopped on a group boat to the famous point called Yelapa!
If you’re heading there, please note that the boat makes two stops upon arrival. The first (to the right of the image) is for the beach, and the second is directly into town. We chose the second as the goal was to go to the top and see the waterfall we had heard about!
The walk to the waterfall was short, but it was narrow and steep(ish). In the town of Yelapa, there are no proper roads or vehicles. You’ll find dirt and rock paths with horses, mules, and the occasional quad. How cool is that?!
Once reaching the top, there was a gorgeous cascading waterfall with a small pool of water below. Mimi, Matt’s mom, had flown in to visit us, and we took full advantage as she watched Shanti so we could hop into the waterfall bath. It. Was. So. Cold. But we did it, and Shanti even wanted to join!
On the trek down the mountain, we followed Matt’s lead and saw some beautiful graffiti, fun construction, and… and… I think we’re going the wrong way. “Hey babe, this doesn’t feel right,” I say. With gentle confidence, he responds with a comment that he knows where we’re going. El wrong-o buddy! A mile into the opposite direction, the time is ticking, and there’s only one way off this beach and only one time they depart. I honestly couldn’t tell you if I was mad or totally selfishly pleased that I was right. Either way, a slight panic took to the air as I commented, “Well, we could always stay the night here?!”.
With the help from some locals and my undeniable sense of direction (that’s a joke if you’ve ever been lost with me), we made it back to the pier and with time to have dinner!
Cafe Bahia is a beachfront restaurant that did not disappoint! There were vegan options, homemade dishes, and creative adult beverages. The bonus was that we could see the dock where they picked us up, so we were guaranteed not to miss the only boat home.
Again with the windy-haired chaos of the boat ride, except this time, Shanti was curled up and attempting to sleep in my lap. Once we returned to the mainland, we quietly walked toward the local bus to get home.
We were just about to exit the neighborhood when Shanti scared the motherly words out of me! She pops up and shouts, “I want one of those!”
What was it? A whole fish on a stick roasting over an open fire.
This was when Mimi realized what she had done. Not only did she devour it, but she also ate it ALL, even the eyeball! Priceless.
We finally caught the bus back to Puerto Vallarta and ended up tired, sun-kissed, and ready for bed.
Friendly reminder that we have a YouTube channel called Their Happy Trails. It has our past bus life experiences, some family adventures, and international travels, including this very trip to Yelapa!