Frequently Asked Questions
How do I get there?
There are no roads to Yelapa from Puerto Vallarta. Visitors typically arrive by boat. We have a couple of pages that describe how to get here. Please see: Getting to Yelapa
Water Taxi Information
You will want to disembark the water taxi at Playa Isabel. Casas Santa Cruz is located on “The Point,” approximately 100 yards down the path from Playa Isabel.
Is there electricity and phone service?
Yes. Our palapas are equipped with electricity — standard 120 volts, like the USA; no adapter plugs are necessary.
There is a public phone booth in town. There is also a phone at Casas Santa Cruz, for emergencies. Phone cards can be purchased in Vallarta.
Is it safe in Yelapa?
Yelapa is a small village with very little crime. Seldom is there a problem with theft, but sometimes it happens. As a precaution, we recommend that you leave valuables such as expensive jewelry at home so you do not have to worry about them. (For example, a disposable waterproof camera is a wise alternative to that expensive Nikon, and allows you to take underwater photos when snorkeling.) Leave the priceless necklace that your great grandmother gave you at home and instead buy a beautiful shell necklace from one of the local beach vendors. We have small safes for wallets and passports and a larger locking closet.
Is the path safe to walk on?
The path is rocky and a bit uneven, but is passable by most able bodied people. The paths are not wheel chair accessible and we do not recommend if walking is a challenge.
What about wildlife and insects?
It is always good to remember that while in Yelapa you are on the edge of the jungle. Jaliscan wildlife includes a number of impressive creatures, including ocelots, armadillos, land turtles, foxes, deer and raccoons among others.
Most of these animals are nocturnal and have no desire to come into contact with humans. It is important, however, to put away all food in a sealed container at night, because the Coati Mundi (Mexican raccoons) are very intelligent when it come to opening containers.
Some of the many common birds you may see include grouse, sparrow hawks, royal eagles, scissor-tail frigates and doves. exotic birds which have been reported include: Bare-throated Tiger Heron, Orange-breasted Bunting, Black-headed Siskin, Berylline Hummingbird, Bright-rumped Attila, Gray-crowned Woodpecker, Laughing Falcon, Trogon, Solitaire, Becard, Oriole, Lilac-crowned Parrot, Scarlet Macaw, Black-bellied Whistling Duck, many wading birds.
Lizards of many kinds, including the rather spectacular Iguana are regularly seen. There are over 100 varieties of butterflies in this region.
The summer rains bring more insects than the drier months. All beds have nets.
Should I bring my laptop?
You may, but considering the damage salt air can do to sensitive electronics, it might be best to use the local Internet. However, WiFi is available at Casas Santa Cruz for those who need to keep a foot in the “other world.”
Do I need to bring my own towels and linens?
You are supplied with towels and linens, you will need to bring your own shampoo and other toiletries.
Can I eat the food and drink the water?
It is generally not safe to drink the water in Mexico. We are fortunate in that our palapas receive water piped directly from a mountain spring just above us. We use filtered bottled water for drinking. We also suggest that any food to be eaten raw that isn’t pealed be soaked for a few minutes in Microdyne. (available in all of the casas) Food served at the restaurants that cater to tourists is safe. It is always a good idea to ask, but the policy in such restaurants usually is to use purified water for ice, and for washing and preparing food.
Food at the local restaurants is delicious and fairly inexpensive by US standards.
Do I need Mexican money?
You should exchange some American dollars for pesos. Most local stores and restaurants will take American dollars, and the merchants are fair, but the exchange rate is often rounded off for convenience — and not always to your favor.
Are there banks and ATMs in Yelapa?
NO! You will need to go to Puerto Vallarta for your banking. The best rate of exchange is usually from an ATM.
I don’t speak Spanish. Will this be a problem?
Most places of business including restaurants speak enough English so that you will have no trouble, but would be nice to practice up on some Spanish phrases.
What if I get sick?
Yelapa is blessed with a free Medical Clinic, open every day. The clinic , however, can only provide basic first aid and treat minor illnesses. For more serious injuries and illness there are excellent hospitals in Puerto Vallarta. There are no pharmacies in Yelapa, so be sure not to forget to bring your own medications. Casas Santa Cruz are equipped with a good first aid kit and if you are lucky enough to have Annie managing while you are there, she is a nurse.
How do I get into the village and are there grocery stores?
The path leading back to the village is about a 5 to 10 minute walk. The first grocery store is 10 minutes. You will be able to get all of your basics and lots more. There are fresh fruits and veggies, meat, dairy, canned goods and many different beverage choices. If you have something VERY SPECIFIC, like you HAVE to have Capt. Crunch cereal, you might want to bring it with you. The stores will have several different kinds of cereal, but maybe not the exact kind you want.