Making a conscious effort to explore the possibilities for our next adventure included taking a look at life afloat on another boat. When our friend Kevin invited us and a few others to go for lunch in Yelapa we were intrigued. This meant climbing aboard his powerboat complete with canoe stern, and taking a “quick” trip across Banderas Bay. It was our chance to see what the luxurious life aboard a powerboat might be like and explore the sleepy town of Yelapa.
“A Palapa In Yelapa Is Better Than A Condo In Redondo” (unknown)
The village of Yelapa lies in the Southern most cove in Banderas Bay near Cabo Corrientes. While there is a questionable road to access the village, it’s most easily accessible by boat. Boatless visitors to Puerto Vallarta can hire a panga to take them out there or make a boat friend and volunteer to crew your way over.
Crewing on Kevin’s boat required us to lounge peacefully on the bow or inside the cockpit while sipping a beer. Kevin did everything, aside from throwing the fishing line over the side, from the cushy seat inside the cockpit. The rest of us kept our eyes peeled for whales but saw none. Instead we caught a fish but due to its unfortunate size, we returned him to his home.
Arrival In Yelapa
When you arrive with your own boat to Yelapa one of two friendly pangeros will come out to greet you. Anchoring is not allowed but mooring balls have been installed. The pangero will guide you to one of their mooring balls and help secure your boat. The fee to tie up varies based on mooring ball and length of stay. You can even negotiate a transfer to shore if you agree to meet the minimum spend at the specific palapa supported by the pangero.
The water taxi to shore is sure to get your heart racing, but not to fret. These pangeros are pros at surfing the waves and running their boats into the cushy shoreline.
This post from Earth Vagabonds really captures the experience;
I remember my first time coming to Yelapa by boat more than a decade ago and thinking, ‘Wow, this is so cool – it’s so primitive.’ I like to watch expressions of tourists as they arrive. On the faces of people arriving by water taxi, I see a mix of shock at the procedure of getting ashore after a 45 minute boat ride from Puerto Vallarta, and awe at the scenery once they realize where they are.
They look like they could be thinking, I just did something adventurous. And indeed they have, when compared to their sheltered lives back home. The expressions are a little different on tourists whose boats runs ashore. These people cheer and clap and maybe screech at the adventure of being on an accelerating boat heading for what must look like a collision course with land as the captain gambles with when to raise the motor.
These tourists step over the side and onto land with giggles. If they are obese, and several are, they are helped by restaurant staff who’ve come to the shore to assist them. Then the tourists are ushered to the restaurant to stay for awhile. Relax, have some drinks and a bite to eat and enjoy the beach. You’re on vacation, and your time is slipping away, a minute at a time.
Doing Nothing In Yelapa
Is there anything to do in Yelapa? Sure! You can hike to a waterfall, wade through a river, go into town, photo opt with an Iguana, camp on the beach, or simply park yourself under a palapa with a drink in your hand. Yelapa is off the grid. When you visit its like stepping back into time. There are no cars, just donkeys and horses. This is the type of place where you slow down, relax and take it all in. In Yelapa it’s perfectly ok to do nothing at all!
The Life of A Motorboater
Pros – Indoor cushy cockpit seat, full size refrigerator, ice, space, speed, and no heavy lifting
Cons – Noisy motor, must use fuel, fuel is expensive, and less stability in wind and waves