Our human moments always unfold at a confluence of geography and history, a stage continually created by intersecting spirals of space and time. Some geographies are more favored than others. When enough of the finest features converge, our spirits soar and we call it paradise.
Welcome to Yelapa, where green rocky hillsides meet the warm blue Pacific; a small town with no cars where the sun usually shines.
Who in these times has not despaired the ecologically unsound and tasteless developments overtaking the best of our heavily-peopled planet? Yikes! Yelapa offers regeneration, a breather, hope. Developments here are mostly still improvements, thanks to the absence of automobiles and contented townsfolk still in their power due to a land-owning system blessedly restrictive to non-indigenous capitalists.
Mexico’s long Pacific shoreline is defined by the Sierra Madre, Mother of All Mountains. On the north half of the coast the mountains lie distant from the ocean, and seaside lands are flat and arid. Through the mysterious grace of our Greatest Organizing Devisor, the central coastal area around Puerto Vallarta and the Bay of Banderas is different.
Here, the Sierra Madre rise directly out of the sea. Tropical sun heats the land and creates humid onshore breezes that rise over the mountains and condense as clouds, dropping between one and two meters of rainfall from June through October. Green, green, green. All that sun and rain produce a vibrant jungle, a tropical semi-deciduous forest where the trees average over 20 meters tall, that harbors some of the greatest plant and animal diversity on the planet.
All this bounty borders on Banderas Bay, famous for its productivity, biodiversity and stable populations of many species of marine mammals.
Between transients and residents, the bay is used by more than 14 species of whales and dolphins, and sightings are frequent. Several species of sea turtles are present. Manta rays and smaller common rays slap the water through the seasons. Huge schools of fish boil up in feeding frenzies.
Hmm. Sunshine, warm water, beaches, creatures, lush jungle…. and the good luck continues. South of Puerto Vallarta, the highway swerves inland, leaving the much less developed southern bayshore with little road access.
The water taxi ride from PV to Yelapa is a delight on its own, an hour’s journey to another kind of world.
Most visitors remember well their first view of Yelapa Bay: the tall town waterfall; the sandy main beach with its palapa-roofed hotel; the Tuito River valley unfolding itself inland. For many, it feels like coming home. Because about half of the townsfolk live upriver, the town looks too tiny to house its three thousand souls. The roads are pathways much smaller than the houses. The scale here is correct. There is something primal and satisfying to have to walk wherever you go. Many of our guests have been well past the stage of youthful agility, but still enjoyed this special spot using a walking stick and patience.
Yelapa is tropical paradise, half-wild style. You will surely know what to do. We have many good restaurants, and disco dancing or live music several nights a week.