Category Archives: Yelapa

Winter Vacation!!

There comes a day in the lives of many Canadians where they either yearn for or discover the WINTER VACATION.  I was in my late teens when I first started going on trips to Florida and Mexico.  For a period of time when I was raising my children and involved in other aspects of life this activity was curtailed.  When my girls were in their teens this blessed (I use the term loosely) activity was resurrected.  Since then we have managed to sneak off to Florida, Mexico (numerous times), Cuba, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, British Virgin Islands, St. Martin (twice), Saba and Costa Rica.  Mexico is definitely my ‘go to’ place when looking for a quick get away.  I love Mexico and still haven’t found another country that presents the vitality and beauty this country has to offer.

Pictured below – the reason I travel.  Today is the last day of a 3 day POLAR VORTEX.  A Polar Vortex freezes your nose hairs, hurts your lungs when you breath and the moment you walk outside it makes you feel like you’ve been popped into one of those freeze dry machines.  Over this past weekend our ‘low’ was around -28 c with wind chills between -38 to -40c.  Click here for the real definition of Polar Vortex.

This is the reason Canadians go on Winter Vacation.  This is the reason that Canadians can live happily through daily temps ranging from zero c to -20 c for months at a time because one 3 day weekend of Polar Vortex weather makes ya strong, builds character and generally numbs you into the realization that we shall survive whatever Mother Nature has to offer.

Saturday (Feb 20th, we head off for 17 days in Mexico & Belize.  Heeee Hawwwww!  Let the warmth begin!

weatherfeb1516

Yelapa Videos

I finally just found the Yelapa videos and they do work on my other computer!  On my laptop they were sound only, I guess I didn’t have a video viewer.  So, here we go, 1st video of the panga into Yelapa main beach, and then from main beach to the town dock!  Fun 🙂

Back to the Land of Ice & Snow!

My apologies for simply dropping out of sight.  Unfortunately, I haven’t been feeling great.  Johnny is fine, no issues at all, however I can’t seem to shake the bug I picked up while away.   Most of my trips end this way, it totally sucks to have this type of tummy!  Oh well, what doesn’t kill you makes ya’ strong!  So….overall, what did I feel about my week in Yelapa?

I loved the remoteness of Yelapa and the opportunity to stay in an authentic Mexican village and the more you wander the more you feel the magic.  Of course, there are tourists and expats, however there are far more locals and the expats seem to be a fairly quiet group, enjoying nature, hiking & a bit of socialization in the restaurants. Yelapa has my ideal setting, hills behind me, ocean in front.  There are lots of places to walk, lots of great places to eat for great prices.  The restaurants at the main/larger beach tend to be pricier than the village or upriver options.  That said, a meal for two with one or two drinks each was running us about 300 pesos (approximately $27).  The weather was terrific, although I believe the weather we experienced may have been atypical for this time of year, a bit cooler.  There was hardly any humidity – a real plus for me.  It got down to 17c at night and highs around 27 to 30 during the day, however mostly there was a nice breeze.  There is a hang gliding school and apparentally the winds are best in January, February, March.

The only negative things from my perspective is the sand is coarser and the water is colder than I prefer (still quite swimmable).  The water is also not the clear sparkling water you find in the Mayan Riviera.

Overall, I think Yelapa is absolutely worth a visit, as long as you go there understanding that it is not a high end resort style town (although there are some very nice places to stay), and that you are there for the beauty, nature & experience of being off the beaten path!

Sopa de Pollo!

We made it to the restaurant down the beach (next doorish), I told the server I wasn’t feeling great and he suggested sopa!  I chose chicken soup, a lovely home made soup with lots of tasty vegetables and big pieces of chicken.  When the server came back and asked me how it was, I thanked him and told him it was the perfect choice!  He then told me that if he didn’t feel well when he was young his mother always told him he needed to eat soup with lots of vegetables to make him feel better.  His mother’s advice seems to have worked, although I’m not 100%, I’m feeling better this evening, still thinking I will be taking it easy tomorrow on our last day (we flight out at 8:45 p.m. Friday night)!

Delicate Constitution

Perhaps you’ve noticed I’ve been slightly less animated the the last day or so.  Even at the best of times I possess a delicate constitution.  Somewhere along the line my tummy has decided to rebel against that which I ingest, always exacerbated by trips out of Canada/US.  At home I have managed to cut out the things that cause me the most pain, which includes peppers, onions, nuts, seeds, anything that has thick skin (i.e. apples) gluten, lactose.  I’ve never been diagnosed with a specific allergy or disease, I just know I feel better when avoiding these things.  I follow a quasi low FODMAP diet.  Suffice it to say, that when I travel, given my penchant for over-indulgence, I tend to throw all caution to the wind and eat whatever I see.  Consequently, I have spent most of the day today, with a hurty tummy wishing I could learn a little restraint when it comes to food!  The good news is (there is always a positive side), if a girl isn’t feeling well, there is no place nicer to be than lounging on a bed overlooking the ocean, watching the para-sailers go by, listening the waves and having Senor Juanny waiting on me hand and foot (hope he doesn’t read this)!

Adios for now Amigos, soon we will attempt to head up the beach for some sustenance!

*sigh*

That was a huge sigh of happiness!  Hoo Haa!  Johnny and I are loving it here in Yelapa.  Honestly, in the beginning I thought, ok, nice place, a little special, but not sure if I will be back.  Today, day 4 we’ve got the hang of it and we’re feeling the magic and have already made inquiries about a longer stay later in the year.  It’s a shame that one can’t translate ‘magic’ into a photo (or at least I can’t)…it’s the every day village life, the diverse terrain, the sounds of the ocean, birds, roosters & children along with the aroma of Mexico that make it all work!

This morning we went on horseback with a guide to the larger water fall and truly glad we went by horse and took the guide – the routing is rough and he knows the paths of least resistance!

The ride is about one hour upriver, up and down hills with a little rocky terrain and the need to cross the river twice.  The river valley is gorgeous, the weather was perfect, warm, sunny with a nice breeze.  The saddles were SOOOO comfortable, they are wooden saddles and the horses are smaller than you would get if in Canada trail riding. Very comfortable!  Johnny, who had never been on a horse (one donkey 8 years ago), was terrified, he put a bit of rum in his coffee this morning to calm the nerves before the ride.  He did well and thoroughly enjoyed the day.  You can only go so far by horse, then you have to park them  🙂  climb through a hole in a gate and then walk about 15 minutes up and down some hills and scramble over some rocks until you get to the glistening waterfall!  We had our bathing suits on under our riding clothes and refreshed ourselves in the cold, clear water.  The river bottom is all sandy, no rocks, it was amazing!  Then the hike back to the horses, the ride back to the outskirts of the village and we had the guide leave us at a great little restaurant (near the blue bridge), el Manguito is the name of the restaurant.  Johnny had a shrimp quesadilla with spicy pico de gallo and I had the best coconut shrimp I’ve ever had with a thick coconut cream sauce, YUM!

Our afternoon was spent at the beach at Casa Garcia, now it’s cocktail time, and the evening is unplanned!

Fit as a Fiddle…

Sound carries up the hill in Garcia rentals.  I was just  wakened by a couple of men chatting away at 6 a.m. ish. Sleeping in the open air with the sound of the crashing waves is so refreshing.  The temp fell to about 17 c last night.  Warm blankets kept us toasty and it was the best sleep yet.  Weather forecast is warm and sunny for today and we are renting a couple of horses (and a guide) for the trip up to the big waterfall.

I started to feel  better last evening so once the rain had tapered to a fine mist with our head lamps ablaze (we carry them so don’t envision welsh coal miners) we went wandering the dampened cobbled streets to seek sustenance.  We were trying to find a couple of the places we saw on our little map, one was closed and the other looked a bit dull.  We heard the sound of Mexican music and saw coloured lights up a hill and liked the children of Hamelin we followed the sound.  The lights and sound lead us to Tacos Y Mas with a great courtyard setting.  We ordered the combination plate of 4 Tacos and and a Quesadilla and they were delicious. Tacos and quesadillas are all served open (not rolled) and are so fresh, good bye Taco Taco Bell!  OK…going to try to upload a few of my upriver photos from yesterday now.

Did you ever wonder what a certain phrase or quote means, well I did as I typed ‘Fit as a Fidddle”, here ya go  below info taken from http://www.phrases.org.uk/index.html,

MEANING

VERY FIT AND WELL.

ORIGIN

Of course the ‘fiddle’ here is the colloquial name for violin. ‘Fit’ didn’t originally mean healthy and energetic, in the sense it is often used nowadays to describe the inhabitants of gyms. When this phrase was coined ‘fit’ was used to mean ‘suitable, seemly’, in the way we now might say ‘fit for purpose’.

Thomas Dekker, in The batchelars banquet, 1603 referred to ‘as fine as a fiddle’:

“Then comes downe mistresse Nurse as fine as a farthing fiddle, in her petticoate and kertle.”

Not long afterwards, in 1616, there’s W. Haughton’s English-men for my Money, which includes:

“This is excellent ynfayth [in faith], as fit as a fiddle.”

There’s always an up side….

Although Johnny and I both take our Dukarol…….need I say more?  Johnny is feeling fine, but I’m having a bit of an off day….quite unusual really, perhaps it was the local moonshine??  I only had one glass, but who knows what the heck is in it!  The up side is this, my day started well and we did go for a 1.5 hour walk up one side of Rio del Tuito and crossed the big blue bridge and wandered back the other side.  We hadn’t realized there was so much more village up there.  This area has a different feel to the pueblo in the vicinity of the dock.   Where that area is hilly and a bit more of an urban feel (for a village), the homes up river are a little bigger with more outdoor space, some probably have acres.  The river runs down from the hills and the homes are on each side of the river.  This is dry season (well)…..so the river is quite low, I imagine during the rainy season it swells immensely.  There are only a couple of bridges for crossing, but you can see the tracks where ATVs cross.  By the way, it seems only locals use ATV’s here.  There are solely for their personal transport, we’ve yet to see a tourista or gringo on an ATV.

This morning it was cool and overcast (cool meaning it was perfect, not hot, not cold)…during our walk it sprinkled a little, once we came home everything changed!  My tummy changed, the sprinkle turned to rain, all good though, a perfect afternoon not to feel 100%!  I’ve rested for a while  and with a bit of thunder in the background I’ve summoned the energy to upload some of my morning photos.  The WIFI here is not fast enough for me to upload more than a smattering, but this will give you a taste of our morning walk!  Alas, the WIFI has failed me, will need to upload

the smattering tonight or tomorrow morning.  Adios for now!

Good Morning! March 9th, 2015

Yelapa is a Mexican fishing village that became host to a bit of hippie culture in the late 60’s/70’s with famous musicians/people spending time here.  There is still evidence of hippie culture which has evolved into the more eco conscious/artistic style of individual.  For the most part Yelapa is a working village which seems to derive a large part of their resources from activities relating to tourists.  The village has a water bottling company and a tortilla factory, one larger style hotel (in my previous photos of the bay you can see it across the beach – a series of palapa’s), Hotel Lagunita.  Tourists mostly stay in rental casas and they are relatively inexpensive and scattered throughout the village.  We are water people and will always choose a beach front location, however there are a myriad of jungle style options.  It is very important to note that this is by no means an all inclusive, it is an authentic Mexican village with locals conducting their daily life around you and the tourists scattered about.  Atlhough, all types of people here both expats and tourists,  the trend seems to be quieter, individuals who enjoy peaceful local style travel.  The perfect setting for Johnny & me!

Map of Yelapa We are staying at Garcia’s rentals a terrific mid-point location in Yelapa.  Yesterday, we explored the small waterfalls, up to the cemetery and around the main pueblo.  Last night we ventured the other direction from Garcia’s along the river and found an authentic Mexican restaurant.  The kitchen in the restaurant is in fact the kitchen in a small casa (house/home), I could see through the door that there was a bed off to the side and a another bedroom out back.  There were tiny ninas (children) wandering around enjoying themselves and there seemed to be extended family assisting in all phases of the preparation.  I didn’t take many photos last night because I felt a bit uncomfortable and didn’t want to come off too much as a tourista.  The one thing I’m realizing is that my camera absolutely sucks and I need to look for another compact camera that takes a better quality.  This one is a Nikon Coolpix selected mainly because we like to take photos when snorkelling and it can be taken underwater.  If you have any suggestions for a good quality travel camera let me know!

This mornings photo gallery is the walk to the left of Garcia’s on the map, up the river, we ate at a place that was just before the bridge near the far left.  We had actually intended to go to another restaurant a little further, but decided to stop at this one.  The food was lovely and we topped it off with a bit of local moonshine!  The good news is my head and tummy both feel fine this morning!  I’m wondering if the moonshine might have some rejuvenation qualities, as I seem to be alert very early in the a.m. 🙂

Unfortunately, as I’m hesitant to take photos of people or directly of their homes, my photos aren’t capturing the reality.  Walking along this pathway there are homes set just off to the side with bustling families all around.  You can always tell the expat/tourista homes as they tend to be a bit more artistic in design.  Only indigenous people can own land in Yelapa.  It’s my understanding that gringo’s can actually build on leased land and do maintain homes on this land.  As we were strolling along the path back from dinner in the pitch dark little boys were riding their bicycles like crazy men in the dark and yelling beep beeeep to get us to move aside.  When visiting Yelapa you should be certain to bring a headlamp or flashlight not as much to light your way as to make certain the little speed demons know you are there!  The paths have speed bumps and can be quite uneven, I would recommend closed toe sandals.  We favour Keens sandals with rubber toes and ok to walk in water with, that way we have all angles covered.

Yelapa March 8, 2015

As is the story of my life, once again technology failed me!  I shot video with my blackberry as we entered Yelapa Bay, no clue what happened but all I have is the audio *sigh*.  Getting to Yelapa in the water taxi was an interesting trip.  It takes about 45 minutes and the boat is totally loaded with people, bags, groceries & even some household things like chairs.  Yelapa is on the mainland but only accessible by boat or by ATV if you come in through the hills.  No roads, only wider old style stone pathways where you will find people, lots of dogs, burros, horses & ATV’s.  Upon arrival at the dock a local offered to help us with our luggage and we set off in the heat of the day through winding streets up hills across bridges, our luggage is a bit heavy as I have yet to learn to bring just enough.  At one point there was a wheel barrow and the fellow stopped and loaded our bags into the wheel barrow and took us the rest of the way to Casa Garcia where we had rented one of their little apartments for the week.

Once settled we threw on our suits and went out to sit in the sun for a while, however we are explorers and decided to go down to the other end of the beach for a bite to eat.  In order to get there we had to cross Tuito River which creates this lagoon in the beach that let’s out clear cold water into the ocean.  Luckily we had our suits on because it was flowing quite fast and about waist deep.  Today it’s shallow again and you can walk through it.  The locals use the area as a safe harbour for their pangas (a style of boat pronounced pongas).  It seems that they have to dig it out every once in a while to get the water deep enough to get boats in and out.  Interesting.  Dinner was at a beach side restaurant called Domingos and it was just ok.   Johnny had lobster, I had shrimp both meals were prepared with garlic butter and  had rice, frijoles and salad, 2 Pina Coladas for me and 2 Corona’s for Johnny and we headed back to change our clothing to make a quick trip down the path to La Tienda (the shop) so we could pick up a few grocery items for the week.

This morning we languished in our open air bedroom and made our selves breakfast of fresh eggs on a tortilla!  After breakfast we went for a walk to the small waterfalls and then wound our way through the town, up the hill to the cemetary and back down again.  Some of the pathways are so steep I almost felt I needed a guide rope, unfortunately the fence beside was barbed wire, so not recommended to grab onto 🙂

It’s beach time now, but I wanted to finally post this blog with some Yelapa scenes!  Also, I finally figured out the gallery option…so just click on the first image and you can click your way through with larger images!

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