We spent a week in Yelapa, a small town in Mexico that’s only accessible by boat or mule. We thought we were picking the faster option by taking the water taxi, but our boat ended up breaking down four times (on both motors!) during the 30 minute ride from Puerto Vallarta. There were like 3 guys back there with tools fixing it while we bobbed in the swells. I sat white-knuckled and numb the whole ride and almost said a prayer when we were within swimming distance of shore. Luckily, the motors survived to take us all the way to the pier.
There are no cars in Yelapa. Mules and horses are still very much a way of life, along with ATVs. During our hike to the waterfall, a horse dragging long wooden boards on both sides of its riderless saddle stumbled down the dusty trail and then collapsed in front of us. I was stunned as I watched it heaving in exhaustion with the piles of wood still on top of it. When we finally decided to walk on it stood up immediately as if afraid. Soon the rest of the horse and mule team appeared with riders and three pitbulls. I felt really bad for these animals who because of humans are cursed into a life as a “beast of burden”.
In Yelapa, you can purchase a parasailing trip or weed from the same guy at the beach. You can also get drinks and food delivered to you right on the beach. There is also the world famous Yelapa pie lady, who hawks fresh pies daily. Her pies are custard textured with just the right balance between the sweetness of the filling and the rich, buttery crusts. Our favorite is the lemon lime pie. The coconut is a close second.
I feel like Yelapa is one of those small towns that I can live out the rest of my life in peace. However, “peaceful” isn’t quite the right word for it. At almost any given time day or night, you can always hear corridos blasting from at least two different sources. Add roosters to the mix and you have the perfect Mexican town soundtrack. Not to mention the dance hall parties on the weekends, which can be heard from every house in town and lasts until morning. Yelapa might seem like a sleepy beach town most days but it definitely knows how to party. Viva!