Yelapa, Jalisco, Mexico
During the high-season (Nov – April) Yelapa generally has a very temperate climate, being a bit more humid and hot in the fall, getting cooler and dryer in December, and starting to warm up in March. The days are sunny and the nights are mild, and even on the hottest days there is a breeze from the ocean. Being the tropics there is always the chance of rain, be prepared with a light rain coat.
The low-season (May – Oct) is when the rain comes, usually in late June. It is very humid and there are spectacular thunder and lightning storms. The flora and fauna of the jungle are vividly alive with all the heavy rain and hot sun, while the ocean is often crystal clear, calm and warm.
Here is a chart of the average temperature for Puerto Vallarta and Yelapa, Mexico.
Many people pack way too much stuff – carrying much of it home unused. Travel light if you can! Here are some of the musts:
- One good flashlight per person
- Cash (no ATM in Yelapa, all places take USD)
- Sunscreen and sunblock
- Your prescription drugs
- Beach towel
- Pen & paper (or notebook)
- Specialty tea or coffee addictions? Bring ’em!
- Swim goggles/masks and snorkels, if you have them (some available at Los Sueños)
- Wide-brimmed hat for sun protection
- Small, light backpack for hiking, shopping, and buying souvenirs – doubles as your carryon luggage – saves from using excess plastic bags
- A jacket/windbreaker/nylon shell for the water taxis and boating
- A good book or two (Previous guests have left novels and magazines behind. The library is growing.)
- After-bite anti-itch cream or lotion (e.g., Caladryl)
- After-sun lotion (Aloe Vera or equivalent, we also have Aloe Vera growing on the property)
- Anti-inflammatory pain killer (Tylenol, Aspirin, Ibuprofen, etc.)
- Anti-diarrhea (Lomotil, Loperamide, etc.)
- Anti-nausea (Gravol, Dramamine, etc.)
- Some bandaids
- Insect repellent
If coming during our winter (Dec – March)
- A pair of long slacks for the evening cool
- Long-sleeved shirt/blouse for the same reason
- One medium-weight sweater/sweatshirt/hoodie
People often ask about laptops and musical instruments. Los Sueños has WiFi in the common areas. If you can’t imagine a week without your music, bring your instrument along. Often, there are musicians coming and going in Yelapa and music to be made in many venues.
Upon your arrival to Yelapa, we want to meet you and walk you to your Casa!
To do this, we need to know which water taxi you will be on. Allow 40 minutes travel time between the Airport and Los Muertos Pier, in old Puerto Vallarta. (See Arrival to Los Muertos pier later on for information on water taxi schedules.) Please send an email to us (firstname.lastname@example.org) and let us know the date and time of your planned arrival, and which water taxi you intend to catch. Without that information, we won’t be able to meet you.
We can also set up airport pick up and private boats, please let us know if you are interested and we will provide pricing (this is a good option if your plane arrives late or have large group)
You will fly into the Puerto Vallarta Gustavo Diaz Ordaz airport (PVR). Once you deplane at PVR the airport you will line up to receive your Visitors Visa. This could go fast or you could be waiting awhile for your turn. Be prepared to show your Passport and paper work that you completed on the plane. After passing through there are money exchange windows, if you need some pesos you can change there. They do charge a commission and the rates are not the best, but if you won’t have time before catching the boat it is a convenient place to change money. After you pass those you will come to the luggage carousels, there are free carts in the case you need one.
Next, the customs agents will check your paper work again, ask you a few questions, and have you push the button for the stoplight. If you get the green light, you may go on through. If you get the red light, your luggage will be searched. It is a pretty random process, and the search is quick and nothing to worry about.
The gauntlet of smiling faces you run into next are not, in fact, long-lost Mexican relatives, but timeshare representatives and other salesmen looking to sell you many services. Just say “gracias” and walk straight ahead to the terminal exit.
You will get to a metal gate where, if you are using a luggage cart, they will ask you to leave the cart and a porter will help you to your taxi. His service will cost approx. 40 pesos per bag.
At the exit doors to the left, you will see a booth marked TAXI, where you can buy your taxi ticket.
This way you are guaranteed the correct price for the zone you are going to. The cost to Los Muertos is roughly 300 pesos (about $16 USD) or to Boca de Tomatlan approximately 500 pesos (about $26 USD). Price will be raised the more people and luggage you have.
We can also arrange a pick up which costs slightly more (depending on how many people in your party) but can be worth it if time is tight to get to the water taxi or you are with a large group.
Arrival to Los Muertos Pier
Upon Arrival to Los Muertos, you will be instantly greeted by the men in white. They make their living as salesmen. They already know you are going to Yelapa and will pressure you to buy a round trip ticket (320 pesos). If not worried about misplacing the round trip ticket, buy it. An alternate option: pay the boat man 160 pesos cash one way when you get on the boat.
There is also an office (says Lagunitas Hotel office, but they are happy to help out any Yelapa bound people) where you can store your stuff, buy tickets, use the bathroom, etc. It is on the left hand side of the alley that goes down to the pier, just after Archie’s Wok restaurant.
There are guys who will help you with your luggage and getting safely on the boat. Please tip them approximately 25 to 50 pesos (depending on how much stuff you have). In the high-season, Water Taxis leave Los Muertos at 11:00am, 11:45am, 3:00pm, and 5:00pm. Be there 15 minutes early.
Boat notes: Summer schedule is different and will be communicated to you via e-mail. Also the water taxi schedule has been known to change without warning so check with us close to your departure to get the current one. Watch your bags while waiting. When getting on and off the boat listen to the captain’s instructions.
Once the boat arrives, it will have Yelapa written somewhere on the side of it. It usually has an awning. There are different taxis on different days. If you have anything fragile keep it with you. Sit as far to the back of the boat and on the left side for best views and comfort. Never hold on to the side of the boat as you can smash your hands between the boat and dock. While the boat is moving, if you touch the water, all behind you will be splashed. Don’t be that guy.
In the case of rough seas, to avoid getting your belongings wet, bring jumbo plastic trash bags to put your whole bag in. Also, optional one to use as a makeshift rain poncho. Mostly applicable to summer season.
Sit back and enjoy as you pass natural wonders such as los Arcos, where birds nest and fish come to eat. Keep an eye out for dolphins, tortoises, manta rays, and whales. You will also pass the Pueblos of Boca de Tomatlan, Las Animas, Quimixto, Majuahuitas and Caletas. Yelapa is a beautiful 40 minute ride to the south end of the Bay of Banderas.
Arrival to Boca de Tomatlan
If you get into Vallarta late or at an in-between time (or you would like to spend less time in a boat), Boca is a good option to use as a port. It is approximately a 55 minute taxi ride from the airport. They will let you off at the bottom of the hill and to the right. Water Taxis leave at 9am, 10 am,12 noon, 1, 3, 4, and 6:00pm. Cost of a one way ticket to Yelapa is 90 pesos and is a 20 minute journey.
Arrival to Yelapa
As you come into the Bay of Yelapa there are a number of different stops and choices for where you disembark. If we arranged to meet you: Ask the boat driver to let you off at the Town Pier, the “Pueblo”. No matter what anyone might tell you, this is where you need to get off. If you get off on the beach or at the Lagunita Hotel Pier, we will not be there to meet you!
Your backup plan if we miss connecting is to ask someone for directions to Casa de los Sueños. Note: Ask by the name of the property, Casa de los Sueños, not by your individual casa name.
Upon Arrival: In most cases, Angel (pronounced On-hell) will meet you at the Town Pier to help with luggage and guide you to our property. In general, the tip is 100 pesos per person but more if you have lots of luggage.
In the high-season, when we have a full property, we often have happy hour in the main house, a great time to mingle and share your adventure of the day. Our beautiful event space “casa Principal” can be rented for basic breakfasts, special meals and larger events, please email inquiries.
There are many wonderful restaurants to enjoy in Yelapa. The fare and pricing ranges from affordable, delicious, simple yet expertly made tacos served out of a home kitchen with a dubbed action movie or telanovela to fuel after-dinner conversation, to higher priced more gourmet Mexican fusion restaurants with cocktails and live music. All of the sea food you will find in Yelapa is caught in and around the Bay of Banderas and there are many local seasonal fruits used for agua frescas and cocktails.
Restaurant hours change throughout the year. Here is a list of restaurants currently open in Yelapa, Mexico.
There are about eight little grocery stores scattered around Yelapa. Most of them have about the same thing, everything you will need; milk, eggs, meat, cheese, bread, tortillas (we now have our own factory so they are fresh and hot in the morning), fruit and veggies, wine, beer, liquor, mixers, and snack food. All of our casas have a kitchenette or access to the main kitchen, be sure to stop by the store for a lovely dinner at home or just some late night munchies to have in your casita.
THERE ARE NO ATMS IN YELAPA! A few restaurants are starting to take credit cards, but it is mostly all cash businesses.
Money Exchange/Casas de Cambio
If you have time to exchange money in the airport before you depart for Mexico you should do so. It is very nice to arrive and have the local currency ready for tipping, taxi’s and a margarita.
You can change money in the PVR airport, but keep in mind they charge a commission and the rates are not the best.
There are “Casas de Cambio” all over Puerto Vallarta, we recommend the CI Banco a few blocks up from the Los Muertos pier on Olas Altas just past Rodolfo Gomez. Otherwise any street kiosk will do. To exchange USD you need to present your passport. You can exchange in banks as well, they have a $300 USD maximum limit to change and often require you bring in your own copy of your passport. All businesses take USD everywhere in Mexico, usually with a 10 peso to the dollar exchange rate. It is worth exchanging dollars for pesos as the usual rate of exchange is 17-19 pesos to the dollar.
Also, no one ever has change for big bills. It is ideal to have 200 peso bills and smaller.
You can use an ATM in Puerto Vallarta, although not ideal. The charges between your bank in the US and the Mexican ATM fees can add up to about $10 USD each transaction. Most US banks have a limit of about $500 USD taken out a day. Never use an ATM on the street, always use one connected to a bank.
Cost of Common Items
Dining prices range from 15 peso tacos to 300 peso gourmet plates, 30 peso beers to 80 peso margaritas, one person can eat well on $30-40 day and much less if you eat in occasionally.
Excursions will cost $50-85 per person, depending on choice.
Be ready to tip, the tipping culture is strong in Mexico. People are happily ready to help you with anything you need, a 25-50 peso tip is customary for anything from help with bags, your taxi driver, hotel staff, boat drivers, food and drink service, musicians, street artists, etc. (A cold beer is often an appreciated currency, you can be the judge as to when that seems appropriate).