Yelapa Falls is one of the most treasured sites in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Located uphill in a dense jungle environment, it is not the easiest location to get to. It’s not very difficult either if you have the right information. All-in-all, the experience should cost you around $13.50 (250 pesos). You should also be fairly fit (basically be able to walk an incline on two feet).
First stop: Boca de Tomatlan
Most of the resorts are situated on the main road between central Puerto Vallarta and Mismaloya. This makes the bus ride extremely easy. The fare is about 8 pesos (approximately fifty cents in US currency). You could also take a taxi if you want to splurge the extra 140 pesos ($8 USD). Either way, it’s a fun and beautiful ride to Boca de Tomatlan. The bus stops right near the coast, and a cab will bring you even closer. As soon as you get out, salespeople will try to sell you a water taxi. Some may cost upwards to 2000 pesos ($100), which is way over-priced. A fair price for a group water taxi should be 220 pesos per person roundtrip ($12 USD).
From Boca de Tomatlan to Yelapa Beach
The boat ride is about 25 minutes to Yelapa beach. This beach is fairly remote and exclusive. The service is extraordinary, and beach chairs are included with the boat ride. Make sure you hydrate before making the trek up to the falls. And by hydrate, I mean 3 cervezas and a coconut water.
From the Beach to the Falls
From the dropoff point, the start of the walkway to the falls is about a 5 minute walk Southward on the beach. You pass by a lagoon toward houses on a hill. Signs point to a stairway labelled “Waterfall” (easy enough).
You climb steps that seem to be hundreds of years old. Watch out for horse shit.
From there, its a pretty straightforward path. If youre ever unsure, plenty of locals can help you in English. Just be sure to sample their raicilla, a powerful and smoky Mexican moonshine.
Also be sure to sample delicious pie from either the beach or one of the corner stores on the way.
After you fill up on pie and raicilla, it’s time for more raicilla. Upon approaching the falls, there is a restaurant with great food and drink. You will be well-taken care of when you make it up there. The falls may or not be running, depending on season and rainfall. Regardless, it’s worth the trip.
Essentials to Bring:
You will need sunglasses, and a great source is Sunglass Warehouse. You can great deals, as most shades are under $15 dollars. I’ve had my aviators for over 2 years now, and have been really happy with their product design.
You’ll also need sunscreen of at least 40 SPF.
A water resistant bag is a must-have for the boat ride and potential rains. It’s almost a guarantee you will get wet.
Avoid bringing sneakers, as you will have to jump out of the boat and into the ocean when you get to Yelapa beach. Instead, get yourself a pair of sandals good for hiking in. A highly recommended brand is Keen, and can be found on Amazon for $80.
Finally, be sure to have a decent water-proof camera. The GoPro Hero5 is a solid and affordable choice.
Have fun and stay adventurous!