The land where Yelapa sits is controlled by the Huichol Indians, who live far back in the jungle. They can literally vote troublemakers "off the island" (even though it's not an island!). They produce beautiful beadwork items - jewelry, beaded animals and other beaded items. Everyone knows everyone and lives peacefully and tries to get along with each other. Yelapa is a fairly isolated fishing village, which isn't the easiest to get to. There are no cars or roads in the village. Mules and horses are still used to transport items. The local people are very friendly and respectful towards visitors. We were invited to several parties in the village by both locals and ex-pats. They were incredibly warm and gracious. Some knowledge of Spanish will get you a long way, although many people speak English.
Augustina - The Pie Lady
Every day, you will see one or two of the local women from the village walking down the main beach carrying pies on their heads. I had been told about the "pie ladies" and Augustina was reputed to have the best pies in Yelapa. I have to admit I tried a few slices (purely for research, of course!) The lemon meringue was amazing, possibly the best I have ever had, with meringue about a foot high on top. There was also coconut and chocolate and......and......stop me !!!! They serve you up a slice right on the beach and I think it was a dollar or two per slice. A little slice of heaven !! Don't miss out !
Travel Light !
Take as little as possible, perhaps only a small duffel or backpack. You will be carrying it to various locations, and on and off the water taxi and maybe even wading through water to get to shore. Flip flops, sturdy lightweight shoes, such as Keens, bathing suits, tank tops, sarongs, t-shirts, shorts or sundress. Keep it very simple. You do not need much !! A good hat is essential - the sun can be intense. Sunblock, bug repellent ("Don't Bug Me" patches work great !! All natural, waterproof, long lasting, available online). Earplugs and sleep masks can come in handy if you are a light sleeper. Cameras, film, underwater disposable camera, dry bag for equipment if going out on kayaks or a boat. Beach towel. Flashlight or headlamp for negotiating uneven terrain at night - the paths can be very uneven.
If you're staying in Yelapa...
A backpack will suit you well. The cobblestone streets and tree-root lined paths aren't great for rolling suitcases. Sandals, sunscreen, sunglasses. If you're going to be hiking, please bring a first-aid kit. There is a doctor in Yelapa, but he's likely going to be far away from wherever you're hurt. If you need to go to the hospital, it's quite a trek to Puerto Vallarta. Pack a flashlight if you're going to be staying in Yelapa overnight. Most paths are unlit, and there are many things to stumble over or step in. A headlamp, although dorky looking, is the best solution I've found.
Basics for a day by the water under the sun
Pack light - Don't be bringing your suitcase to Yelapa. Remember you're going there on a boat and the taxi driver will want to be able to fit as many people on the boat as possible. Hat / Bandana / Sunglasses - self-explanatory.
Sandals - when you get out of the boat you have to walk through the water Sunscreen For sure - bring it! But... make sure you have its in something waterproof cuz being in a speedboat you can get splashed and then also you'll be climbing in and out of the boat in water. Enough money for the return ticket and for something to eat and drink at Yelapa.
Keep hydrated - bring your own water bottle(s).