Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Way to Yelapa

Last Wednesday, which seems like a world away now, our friend Gustavo, who also took us to San Sebastion, agreed to take us from Bucerias to Boca de Tomatlan where we would catch a water taxi to Yelapa. We arrived in plenty of time for the 11 a.m. panga, mainly because there were no backups whatsoever into Puerto Vallarta over the bridge that's out. Once Gustavo dropped us at the dock, we paid the operator of our panga water taxi 150 pesos for us and our bags.

A man and his wife waiting next to us on the dock struck up a conversation. They were staying at the Barcelo on an A.I. plan in Mismaloya. He worried that the vessel didn't look like it was U.S. Coastguard approved. I laughed and told him to vaya con Dios, but he didn't get my droll humor. But seriously, sometimes I think traveling anywhere takes a little leap of faith.

He and his wife were shocked to find out we'd actually be staying in Yelapa. Their first response was -- Where will you eat! I wish I had a $100 peso bill for every time I've heard that reaction from daytrippers on Isla. I guess they've been led to believe that the only safe food in Mexico is the all-inclusive buffet. Later, after we'd arrived, dropped our bags, and walked up to the waterfall, we saw them again. We had just eaten at the little cafe there and I told them how good the food was. They, of course, looked at me like I'd lost my mind. HA!

But back to the ride. While waiting on the dock, five men with automatic weapons and Policia on their shirts passed and boarded a boat with four other people. Mr. A.I. launched into a diatribe about why in the world would a town the size of Boca need more than one policeman, much less five. He went on and on about what a waste of resources that was -- blah blah blah. I finally explained that the policia appeared to be with the group of four people for security purposes, probably because they were politically important people who needed protection in today's Mexico. He thought maybe that seemed plausible.

Finally, our water taxi pulled up and the handlers began to help us load. I hadn't given much thought to loading myself and bags down from the dock into a panga-style water taxi. I'm used to the Isla ferry and a gangplank. The men hoisted the bags down into the boat and suggested I sit on the edge of the dock, then lower myself on down into the boat. It wasn't easy, and getting out was the same ordeal. What goes down doesn't always want to come back up! The sea was rough on Wednesday, so he had everyone scoot into the middle and back of the boat where he said it wouldn't be quite as bad.

I think the trip was supposed to be 25 minutes, but it seemed much longer. By Isla Mujeres ferry standards, it was wild! Kind of like a long water ride at Six Flags, with the people on the outside getting plastered in the face with water. I tasted a little bit of salt myself, but I was laughing all the way. We docked at several small villages to let passengers off. The rocky shoreline was beautiful.

Finally, we rounded the point into Yelapa Bay and the taxi headed to the first dropoff at the main swimming beach by the Lagunita Hotel. Our A.I. friends were supposed to get out there, but the waves were too rough for a beach departure. The taxi operator explained that they would need to get out at the main dock and wade the Yelapa River to get back to the beach. (Yes, you do have to wade the river to get to the beach in Yelapa!)

Once we arrived at the main dock, there was no sign of the guy named Diego who was supposed to meet us. Two guys grabbed our bags. I asked if Diego from Casa Joanie had sent them and the one man responded in a way that led me to believe he was in charge. They didn't speak English and I don't speak Spanish, but Craig and I huffed and puffed to keep up with them as they wound their way quickly uphill through the village. At one point, I heard the guy ask someone else in the village where our house was, so I knew he wasn't our man. Oh well. It's Mexico. We were supposed to pay the house caretaker 100 pesos for the trip from the pier to the house, so not knowing whether these guys had been sent by Diego or not, I just paid them the 100 pesos. The man acted perplexed by the big bill. I realize now he was probably wondering if I wanted cambio and/or whether he was supposed to split it with the other man. One of these days I really should learn Spanish!

But we were in Yelapa! What the heck!

Please excuse the quality of the photos because all of them were taken from either a moving car or boat or a woman who was huffing and puffing up a hill.

Statue along the malecon in Puerto Vallarta. Strangely enough, we never went into Puerto Vallarta to see the sights. We only passed through in Gustavo's Ford Explorer. Next time!

Artwork in P.V.

The sleepy village of Boca de Tomatlan.

A man and his dog. Gustavo said it was an Aztec dog. Not sure exactly what that means, but the dog was handsome.

The Boca dock.

Supply boat to points south of Boca. In other words, fruit and veggies for Yelapa!

Waiting for the water taxi.

On the way! The guy in the orange shirt stood at the helm holding onto the rope the entire way. Craig said he thought it was because the sea was rough and he was the lookout man for the driver at the back of the boat. Another guy said it was to balance the weight, so I'm not sure. But it didn't look easy.

One of the beaches along the way.

The requisite daytripper/pirate boat. Aaaargh.

Too rough for a beach departure in Yelapa!

Headed towards the main Yelapa dock.

The last climb to our stay in Yelapa.

Crate of flowers at the door.

Craig quickly made himself at home in the hammock.


Anonymous said...

What a great way to enjoy by Starbucks Christmas Blend coffee with the snow flying outside...catching up on your trip! Love all the photos, making me homesick for isla! Kinda reminds me of our trip off the beaten path to Mahahual and Xcalak. Great job Bec, looking forward to more!
Karen in OH

Ann said...

Am really enjoying your reports! It looks like an interesting spot...the photos are great as usual!

Anonymous said...

Great report - love the photos! I remember all the statues along the malecon in PV - beautiful and/or very interesting. Am loving your reports!


Life's a Beach! said...

Thanks Karen! I'm hooked on Starbuck's Light Peppermint Mocha Frappes this year. Ann, we learned a lot on this trip, but Isla's still our favorite. Jeanne, I felt bad after getting a glimpse of P.V. that we didn't go in for a day of sightseeing. Another trip!

Scott said...

Made our way to Yelapa last year in Feb. Great to see pics of things we recognize.

Scott & Stanton St. Louis, Mo.