Thursday, 3 March 2016

A seaside village only accessible by boat

Yelapa, Jalisco Mexico

Yelapa beach

Yelapa is a little seaside village about an hour's boat trip from Puerto Vallarta, there is no road access from the rest of the country. We had checked the day before and were told that we didn't need reservations, just turn up at least 10 minutes before 11am at the Los Muertos Pier. Not wanting to miss out we organised to meet up with Bill and Michele at the ticket booth at 10:30. There are numerous people selling these tickets so it makes you wonder how often they overbook. At the dock our ticket was torn in two and on the back of the return portion he wrote Jack. It turned out we were on Jack's taxi and therefore had to return on Jack's taxi at 4pm. Most of the people get a seat but if you are one of the last four on, three of you will have to sit on the bow and one at the stern, no cushions, with water splashing included! Being early, we got a seat on the right hand side and with the canopy this meant we were out of the sun; the tradeoff being that we weren't on the side of the shoreline as we were going south. For some entertainment along the way we came across the pirate ship and a few dolphins. It was really nice to be out on the water. I can get seasick, so I was a little worried as this boat was really just a little fishing boat. As we sped through the waves, a few people got wet but no-one got sick.

Water taxi - ours was full

As you get closer to the village, you come into an aquamarine bay with a sweeping beach. It reminded me of Gilligan's Island. People who didn't want to go to the waterfall were transferred to another boat which took them straight to the beach and restaurants. Jack pointed out the best restaurant, not just because it happens to be owned by his brother in law, but because he has been coming here for years and he knows it is. really? We all decided that we would go anywhere but to the big blue canopy. 

go to the one with the blue roof Jack kept saying, it's the best

Those of us that were left on the boat went to the other pier and walked about ten minutes to the waterfall with Jack leading and letting us know that while he didn't charge to take us there, a tip would be appreciated. 

There are no cars here. A few 4-wheelers and a few donkeys and horses are the only means of transport. Along the way we came across a bar and a flea market and I wondered how on earth they make a living just from the people who walk up here to see or swim at the waterfall. 

Flea market on the way to the falls

There is another bar right at the waterfall where the four of us had a drink, so this one probably does make money. The banos as they are called here are pretty basic. There is a sign asking you to put the toilet paper in the basket and put a bucket of water from the big barrel in the pan to flush. The door of the cubicle was a shower curtain which is so close to you that your knees push it out - at least other people can see that that cubicle is occupied!

Jane & Michele

We had brought our good camera and tripod to try and get some long exposure shots. As the shoulder strap was attached to the camera, the tripod base plate had been taken off, and was still at home! There wasn't a lot of room around the waterfall, so not only did I really need the tripod to use a slow shutter speed and to use my neutral density filter to make the water silky, but I also needed it to take 2-3 shots to cover from top to bottom. To do this you need to overlap the two photos precisely to be able to stitch the photos together later on. I took a few sharp ones just in case I ended up with nothing, then I lowered my shutter speed and took a number of 2 and 3 group shots. I didn't push my luck trying to use the ND filter, so some of the foliage is blown out a bit. The best picture ended up being two shots at a quarter of a second. It's extremely difficult to take a hand held photo at less than 20 seconds without it blurring slightly, so with all things considered I am pretty happy with the result.

the waterfall, there is a pool at the bottom where people were swimming

When Jack told us we were leaving, we decided to stay and finish our drinks. We made our way back to the beach following the signs nailed to trees, passing a man who had a donkey all dressed up for tourist shots, another with three tethered horses carrying goods to wherever, and an expat lady who was riding her 4 wheeler selling baked goods.

I don't think he gets to carry the heavy stuff

Jack was waiting for us as we reached the beach to steer us to the restaurant where the rest of our boat group were but we ignored him. There were numerous places to eat on the beach and we chose one at random. There were roosters and chickens running around just a few metres from our table and beach lounge chairs with umbrellas if you could snare one.

the rooster and a couple of his girls

At 4pm forty people boarded our water taxi, which were two more than on our trip over. We all had to show the backs of our tickets to make sure they said "Jack" but for some reason they never did work out who shouldn't have been there. They ended up putting four people on the bow but this made the boat ride too low in the water so they had to stop and move people around. The poor people at the front got even wetter than on the trip over as the water was a bit choppy according to us non-sailors, but according to Lindsay it was just a slight swell as there weren't any white caps. 

We were on the right hand side of the boat this time and had some lovely coastal views along the way.

Wonderful vistas from the sea

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