Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Adventuring in Yelapa

On Wednesday, July 19th, we had planned an adventure by boat with the owner of the hotel, Fernando. We met at the pier at 8:30am to get on his boat and head out for the day. His brother was also there and they took turns coming out with us in the water and driving the boat. Our first stop was at the Marietas Islands, which I had read quite a bit about and was excited to see. They were kind of like a little baby Galapagos Islands. The same deserty type of look with plenty of bird life flying all over. In more recent years the islands have become a national park so entry is regulated, which is good, but it has also increased the number of people going to see them. There are a couple big tour companies that bring out groups from Puerto Vallarta so we didn't end up spending too much time here. We did make it into the Hidden Cave Beach was an adventurous swim for sure. You swim through a tunnel that brings you into a little beach in the center of an old volcano, and with the currents of the water it was a workout! Luckily we had the place to ourselves for a couple minutes before another group swam in and Fernando was able to take some cool pictures that showed off the effect of being in the center well. Once we made it back to our boat we continued around the islands but when we got to where the snorkeling is we saw tons of other people and the water was pretty choppy. When Fernando told us he could take us to a bay with good snorkeling where the water would be calmer and we could snorkel on our own (the Islands make you wear lifejackets, etc) we were sold and just continued on. They did drive us around the islands a bit more before we headed towards the town of Chimo. If we make it back with the kids we will skip the islands all together and just go straight to Chimo for more time snorkeling!
On our way towards the bay we saw a couple dolphins, some sea turtles mating and Mike got to reel in a hammerjack fish. The snorkeling was amazing! I still get a little nervous about being too close to sea creatures, so it was perfect for me because the water was deep so we could just swim along the top and observe the underwater world below us. Mike dove down a few times to look at things closer but I just swam around. There were so many different kinds of beautiful fish in such a small area! The GoPro did not do justice at all to what we really experienced. I did get on video though the moment when a school of hammerjack fish surrounded us and it was the coolest! There were hundreds of them swimming by on both sides of us! It was crazy. There was also a little scare for me right at the beginning. Fernando's brother was trying to show me an eel he found in one of the taller coral structures and the water started pushing right into it. I got scared I was going to crash into the sharp rocks...and be on top of the eel...and started kicking away as fast as I could. All while filming of course haha. Mike has done more snorkeling than me and said it was the best he has seen!
From there we headed to the teeny town of Chimo. The population is only about 300 people and they are known for their seafood. While we sat in the one little restaurant in town we watched boat after boat come in and unloaded buckets of octopus they had just caught. There is one big building in town and it is the seafood market, where trucks from other towns come in to buy the fresh seafoood. We were given three types of ceviche to start...fish, shrimp and conch. The conch was actually not bad at all (I was nervous) and the shrimp was my absolute favorite! So, so good! Then they brought us 3 huge lobsters. Yum! We headed back to Yelapa full and happy!
Once we got back to our hotel we decided to go back down to the main beach to relax a bit more. Plus, it was our last day and I really wanted to try the nachos at Domingo's :-)! We read, got some sun and ate more Mexican food, trying to soak in the last of our quick vacation.
We also ended up parasailing for the first time. I wasn't super enthusiastic about it...it just didn't look like it would be THAT fun...so Mike used that to get the price down so low that we couldn't resist trying it. It was surprisingly exciting to see the bay from above. We spotted the waterfall back in the jungle and the water is so clear you could see some of the big fish, etc. I still would never pay very much to do it, and depending on the location the ride itself may not even be that pretty, but I'm glad we tried it for sure. (when it was my turn to take off I didn't understand what they were telling me to do. they just kept telling me to sit but they wanted me to sit on a strap that was up around my waist more and I almost was airborne before they got the boat to stop and fix it. it made me a little nervous for my ride)
When we were feeling bored of the beach we headed back to our hotel to get ready for dinner. I was really excited to go back to the teeny little restaurant we ate at the first night but then they decided not to open :-(. We ended up back at Los Abuelos, which was good too, but just not as authentic as the other little place. That was definitely a frustration for us on the trip was never knowing when places would be open, or if they would open at all. I am assuming they are more consistent during the high season when there are always enough people around to justify opening. And then before we knew it, another day was done and it was time to think about going home.
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tons of tadpoles on our walk to the pier
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our hotel is the white one on the right up on the hillside
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leaving Yelapa and it's bay
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lots of blue-footed boobies
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looking at where we came in from
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we joked we were being tendered in to chimo from our boat by this canoe

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This is coming back into Yelapa and I was struck by how beautiful it was! You forget while sitting on the beach looking at the water that all that gorgeous jungle is behind you.
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I love that Mike caught the moment they hurried to stop me before I completely lifted off :-)!
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some frigate birds in the tree outside our balcony
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