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Wondering how to visit Yelapa from Puerto Vallarta? Let me help you! I’ve been living in Puerto Vallarta for three years, and visiting Yelapa is one of my favorite things to do! I’ve been on many day trips to Yelapa, as well as long weekend stays.
If you’re looking for an escape from the city, Yelapa is the perfect place to go. It’s got beautiful hiking trails that lead to secluded waterfalls, unique accommodation options that immerse you in nature, and a gorgeous beachfront to soak in the Pacific Coast sunsets.
The overall vibe in Yelapa is wonderful; some say it’s Mexico’s last authentic beach town.
This guide has everything you need to know about getting to Yelapa from Puerto Vallarta, places to stay, and what to do in Yelapa once you’re there.
How to get to Yelapa Mexico
Yelapa is commonly mistaken as an island, but it’s actually connected to the mainland.
There aren’t any roads to Yelapa, so the only way to get from Puerto Vallarta to Yelapa is by tour, water taxi, (long) hike, or dirt bike (my friend rode his). But most people opt for a tour or water taxi!
Yelapa Tours from Puerto Vallarta
The easiest way to go on a Yelapa day trip from Puerto Vallarta is on one of these Yelapa tours.
⭐️ RATING: 5/5 Stars (700+ reviews) | ⏳ TOUR LENGTH: 6 hours | ✅ Book it!
This experience was the best part of our trip! The yacht was nice, the drinks kept coming and the service was impeccable – Erika (read more reviews)
You’ll go sailing through the Bay of Banderas, stopping at Playa Las Animas and Yelapa, where you’ll get the chance to swim in the Yelapa waterfalls and snorkeling in the turquoise water. While cruising, you’ll enjoy drinks from a premium open bar!
⭐️ RATING: 4.5/5 Stars (500+ reviews) | ⏳ TOUR LENGTH: 7 hours | ✅ Book it!
The first stop is at Yelapa, where you’ll have time to hike to the waterfall or relax on the beach.
In the afternoon, you’ll relax at Majahuitas Beah Club, where you’ll enjoy lunch and unlimited non-alcoholic beverages.
Surpassed expectations. The service was above and beyond. Everyone came around to make sure you had a drink when you wanted one and they were very punctual with all activities. – Elia (read more reviews)
Yelapa Water Taxi
There are public water taxis if you want to go on a day trip to Yelapa from Puerto Vallarta without a tour.
Bocas Del Tomatlan is a small town outside Puerto Vallarta, which you can reach by bus from Zona Romantica or a taxi/Uber.
The water taxis to Yelapa run more regularly from Boca Del Tomatlan, and the ride is shorter than from Los Muertos. The water taxi from Boca takes about 30 minutes.
There are some Puerto Vallarta to Yelapa water taxis that leave from Los Muertos Pier, but they run less frequently and are longer and more expensive (380 pesos round trip).
If you’re only visiting Yelapa for a day, make sure you get the last public boat back from Yelapa to Puerto Vallarta, which usually leaves around 5 (confirm with the water taxis when you get off). Otherwise, you will have to pay for a private Yelapa water taxi which is much more expensive.
We had to hire a private boat to take us back from Yelapa to Puerto Vallarta as we missed the last public water taxi, which we paid 220 USD for (and that was in 2021). It was a costly mistake, but having a private boat while the sun set over the city was an amazing ride!
It’s a nice boat ride, going along the edges of the southern part of Banderas Bay. It passes small beaches along the way, sometimes stopping to pick up other passengers.
Yelapa Puerto Vallarta hotels
You won’t find any 5-star resorts or big brand names in Yelapa, which is all part of the charm. Here are some suggestions on where to stay in Yelapa!
This one-bedroom holiday home is one of the more luxurious options, with gorgeous floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the sea, a flat-screen TV, a dining area, a fully equipped kitchen, and an outdoor patio.
Casa Visit Magica offers beautiful ocean-view apartments with hammocks to enjoy the breeze, comfortable bedrooms, and fantastic reviews.
We stayed at this Los Naranjos, which was an experience in itself. It’s about a 15-minute uphill walk from the beach, or you can take ATVs up there.
It’s set in a beautiful jungle setting, but the accommodation is rustic. The rooms don’t have walls, so it truly felt like we were living in the jungle. However, they do provide mosquito nets, and there are clean bathrooms with running water.
Things to do in Yelapa
Yelapa is just a small fishing village, so don’t expect the same amount of activities you’ll find in Puerto Vallarta. Instead, immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Yelapa and reconnect with nature.
Yelapa Waterfall Puerto Vallarta
Yelapa is home to some of the best waterfalls near Puerto Vallarta.
There are a couple of Yelapa waterfalls that you can hike to. One is just 20 minutes from the pier, and you can easily walk to it by following the signs from Yelapa town.
If you get confused, ask any locals in town “cascada” which means waterfall, and they will point you in the right direction.
I visited this waterfall at the end of May during the dry season, and it was pretty underwhelming as there wasn’t really any water, but I still enjoyed walking through the town and checking out the gorgeous street art.
There is a larger waterfall that takes about an hour to reach, which I recently had the chance to visit. It’s a beautiful spot to go swimming!
On my first trip to Yelapa, our group decided to go to an even further waterfall which was quite the adventure. It took us about 4 hours to get there with over nine river crossings, so I wouldn’t do this without a guide (we hired one from Los Naranjos).
While the hike was long, the falls were so wonderful to swim in once we got there. There was no one else around, and we were surrounded by a pristine jungle with macaws flying above.
We climbed up even further to the top of the waterfall, where there were beautiful small pools to swim in.
It took us even longer to get back due to a few wrong turns, so this was a 12-hour adventure!
Yelapa beach Puerto Vallarta
Yelapa feels like a secluded island, so one of the best things to do here is simply enjoying the Yelapa beach and unforgettable sunsets over the ocean.
There’s also a man who walks around with a giant iguana you can take photos with.
Massages are also available on the beach, which is the perfect way to relax.
Yelapa Water activities
During the whale watching season (December to March), you can go whale watching from Yelapa, with great chances of spotting magnificent humpback whales.
The ocean is right there, so it’s a great place to go for a swim or kayak/paddleboard.
If you’re feeling like more adventure, you can also go paragliding in Yelapa for a birds-eye view over the ocean.
With such beautiful water around the beach, Yelapa is also one of the best places to go snorkeling around Puerto Vallarta.
There are a few restaurants on the beach where you can order food to enjoy. One unique thing about Yelapa is that the only businesses in town are locally run – you won’t find any chain restaurants here!
The seafood quality is fantastic as the restaurants buy it directly from the fisherman.
We ate at Yelapa Yacht Club after our hike, and the food was terrific. They also had some great live music.
Yelapa is famous for its beach pies, which local vendors sell along the beach for just a couple of dollars in the afternoon.
Yelapa is home to charming winding streets decorated with colorful flags and graffiti.
Take time to wander around, pet the friendly dogs, talk to the locals, and support the local shops.
There’s a cultural museum in Yelapa you can visit for only 50 pesos to learn more about the history of this town.
FAQ: Puerto Vallarta to Yelapa
How long is the boat ride from Puerto Vallarta to Yelapa?
The boat from Puerto Vallarta to Yelapa takes about 45 minutes to an hour if you leave from Los Muertos Pier or 20 to 30 minutes from Boca de Tomatlan. It varies depending on weather conditions.
How far is Yelapa from Puerto Vallarta?
Yelapa is located approximately 12 nautical miles (22 kilometers) southwest of Puerto Vallarta.
How to get from Puerto Vallarta to Yelapa?
To get from Puerto Vallarta to Yelapa, you can take a water taxi from Los Muertos Pier or go on a guided tour.
Where is Yelapa Mexico?
Yelapa is a charming fishing village on the southern coast of Banderas Bay in Mexico, accessible only by boat.
Is Yelapa worth visiting?
Yelapa is definitely worth visiting for its natural beauty, secluded beaches, waterfalls, and laid-back atmosphere. It offers a unique escape from the bustling city life of Puerto Vallarta.
How much is the water taxi from Puerto Vallarta to Yelapa?
The cost of a water taxi from Puerto Vallarta to Yelapa can vary, but it is typically around 400 pesos (20 USD) from Los Muertos Pier for a round-trip ticket.
Can you drive to Yelapa from Puerto Vallarta?
No, there are no roads for regular cars that connect Puerto Vallarta to Yelapa. The village is only accessible by boat, making water taxi or private boat charter the preferred mode of transportation.
Final thoughts: Yelapa Puerto Vallarta Jalisco
Yelapa, Mexico is a hidden gem that is well worth a visit for travelers in Puerto Vallarta.
With its picturesque beaches, stunning waterfalls, and serene atmosphere, Yelapa offers a perfect escape from bustling city life.
While you can visit Yelapa as a day trip from Puerto Vallarta, I recommend staying at least a night.
This secluded beach town is the perfect place to travel to unwind and enjoy Mexico’s pristine nature.
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