Puerto Vallarta – Day 7

In my opinion, today (Wednesday December 31st) was the best day yet.

We started our day having breakfast at LaPalapa … a famous restaurant right on the beach. They have been in business since the 1950’s, and it is especially fun to look at the many then-and-now pictures that they have posted on the walls of the restaurant. The pictures of PV from the 50’s and 60’s show a little tiny village on the beach, several straw hut and cinder block buildings bunched together. I expect you could have had an exquisite meal back then for 10-25 U.S. pennies, but now that dinner at LaPalapa is the most expensive in town — approximately $100 bucks (which is why we opted for breakfast at LaPalapa instead, which was about $30 bucks).

Then we boarded a “water taxi” for a 40 minute ride to Yelapa, a small little village South of VP which is only accessible by boat. The road that travels South out of PV is about 10 miles long, and then it turns Eastward (toward I don’t know where), but Yelapa is West and out on the Southern most tip of the Banderas Bay. Between Yelapa and the point where the road turns Eastward, there is nothing but mountainous jungle (thus there are no roads leading to Yelapa). Speaking of the jungle, the realtor who gave us the tour told us about going on a hike one time in the jungle and seeing a large cat — panther, cougar, or something like that.

Our day in Yelapa was fabulous. We first stopped at the Vortex Cafe for a yogurt smoothie (but also to use the banos), and then we strolled through the network of cobblestone walks that wind up and down through the village. Many residents have stands set up on their doorstep, just hoping that tourists will buy something, anything. Most of the dwellings are ramshackle, with open air windows … the kids run around barefoot, or ride donkeys through the village. Several times we followed paths thinking we might find another vendor around the corner, only to discover that we just walked through someones back porch area, or open air kitchen, or yard. The residents don’t mind, for tourism is probably the livelihood of most everyone in the village.

Then we hiked about 10 minutes to the village waterfall, and our swim in the pool at the base of the waterfall was one of the most glorious moments of my life. I could have stayed there all day, enjoying the cool waters of the pool, sun shining brightly overhead, the water from the falls glistening in the sunlight. My bride and I hugged and shivered as the water from the fall splashed on our heads. I finally had to force myself to get out of the water (long after Sheri got out), more tourists had made their way up the path to the falls, and they too would want to enjoy the pool.

An opportunistic restauranteur was serving Mexican food out of a cinder block shell next to the waterfall, so we enjoyed nachos and quesadillas for lunch on a patio overlooking the pool, and laughed with delight as one tourist after another waded gingerly into the cold waters of the pool before finally taking the plunge. There was even a banos nearby but away from the pool, which was comparable to some of the toilets we experienced in the poor village of Yurievets Russia. After lunch I was somewhat sad as we headed back to the village on the path, not knowing when (God willing) I will be able to return to this special waterfall.

Don’t feel sorry for me, however, for the rest of the day we spent laying on the beach and swimming in the lagoon as we awaited our water taxi ride back to PV.