The story behind Yelapa: a lovely day trip from Puerto Vallarta

What is Yelapa? Well, Yelapa is a tranquil fishing village where you can enjoy the quiet beach, visit an impressive waterfall, go horseback riding and sample the famous Yelapa pies. When you visit lovely Puerto Vallarta, you are likely to see vendors selling tickets and tours for Yelapa.  Although Yelapa is not an island, it is most easily accessible by boat. You cannot get there by car because there are no roads that lead to it. You could choose to arrive by mule if you can find one willing to take you through the mountains but most people find that a boat is a better option.

The boat ride is only 40 minutes so you could easily make a day trip. However, an overnight stay will give you the chance to fall asleep to and awake to the sound of the tranquil waves. It is a very relaxing and rejuvenating experience. The gentle ocean breezes are just strong enough that you won’t even need a fan. Accommodation options tend to be a lot less expensive than those in Puerto Vallarta. A visit to Yelapa is the perfect addition to a visit to Puerto Vallarta.

Yelapa is not only a lovely place to visit, it is also a journey back in time. Yelapa’s recorded history dates back to the early 1500s. It is believed that civilization began in Yelapa when five families came down from the village of Chacala. Centuries later, those original families are still there creating a sense of family and closeness. Yelapa’s story is a happy one. The first records of military conflict are of Francisco Cortes (cousin of Hernan Cortes) leading an army down the coast to the Bay of Bandaras. The army climbed into the mountains behind Yelapa where they encountered a pack of friendly natives. The natives explained to Cortes that their people were peaceful and only wanted friendly relations. They pleaded with Cortes to remove his army and he was so impressed with their demonstrations of friendship and goodwill that he then laid down his arms and accepted their hospitality. Historical accounts indicate feasting and dancing in honor of Cortes and in celebration of his decision not to invade the land. He then left the land untouched, much unlike what happened in many parts of Mexico.

The land that comprises Yelapa is legally protected for its indigenous people. Outsiders are not allowed to buy the land but they may lease it. This has protected Yelapa from the mega-developments that have happened in nearby Puerto Vallarta and many other parts of Mexico. As a result, the land has remained relatively untouched. It is also one of the few places in the world where the original inhabitants still own, control and reside on their own land. In today’s crazy world, it can be hard to find a place that is still preserved and relatively untouched. Although Yelapa has become a popular place to visit, there is respect between the old and new creating a peaceful haven and a great way to escape from the modern world.

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