17 April, 2011

Enjoying Yelapa

Several years ago my motorcycling buddies and I had tried to find a back way into Yelapa, a remote Pacific coast village an hour's boat ride south of Puerto Vallarta. It is famous for being a laid back village in a deep cove where mountain sides come down steeply to a beautiful sand beach. After having visited this place a couple years ago, I yearned to return. On hearing about good hiking in the area, my hiking buddy Duncan Poole was anxious to join me in further exploration.

Ready to board, but the pier at Puerto Vallarta has been washed away.

While waiting for the water taxi, Gerry surfs the web for accommodations on his iPad. It seems the winter tourist rush is over and we'll have no problem. We wade out to the taxi and zoom off, crashing through the waves. Duncan centre.

We reach Yelapa 45 minutes later and start asking for accommodation. On one end of the beach The Lagunita Resort holds onto their high season prices and we move on along the arc of beach

Finally we find the perfect place at the southern end of the beach, high up the cliff. That is our Garcia apartment in the photo center, about 50 steps up from the beach. To reach the village uptown we have to go down to the beach and then over and up about 80 steps. That's where the stores and restaurants are. Such good exercise!

But the view out the huge no-glass windows is exquisite. We watch the topless girls sunbathe just below us.

The beach is becoming deserted as the last water taxi of the day arrives to take tourists back to Puerto Vallarta. We're staying!

We have separate bedrooms with mosquito netting due to the open air nature of our apartment. We never did need them.

This is our fancy kitchen. Is that Duncan doing dishes? After a four hour hike, that hammock will be great.

Half way up the narrow river valley on our hike to the waterfall, we discovered a lovely little place that served fresh chocolate mouse pie and tea. Sitting by the riverside, listening to the birds and rushing water, was heavenly. It is easy to see why the lady proprietor has lived alone in her tiny place for fourteen years, replenishing the energy of hikers.

Finally, we arrived at the waterfall and it was a sight to behold, a sandy bottom pool under a torrent of clear water. I whipped off my sweaty clothes and was in the Jacuzzi moments before this gang arrived to set up for a picnic.

Recovering from the long hike, Gerry reflects on the good life and the pressing need to move on down the coast and back to our casas at Lakeside.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

31 March, 2011

Exploring from Cancun to Tulum

For years various members of the Company of Gentlemen have explored together on self-guided adventure tours. This year our destination was the east coast of the Yucatan. Tim Altman and myself, Gerry Green, flew out a few days earlier than Al Borchardt and Don Sime who had delaying commitments. (Click on image to enlarge. Back arrow to return.)

In keeping with our bare bones trip concept, our flight costs with Volaris were incredibly low ($37 each way), we stayed in private dormitory hostels throughout the trip, and used inexpensive buses between towns as well as motorbikes and bicyclesj to explore locally. However, we splurged on meals and drinks!

Tim and Gerry used Ciudad Cancun as a base and discovered many interesting destinations including laidback Isla Mujeres with it's striking turquoise waters of North Beach, Playa del Carmen with its upscale stores, restaurants and beautiful beaches covered with superfit Europeans, the fishing village of Puerto Morelos with its botanical gardens and jungle hiking trails including observation towers, swinging bridge and archeological ruins, as well as the high rise beach resorts of Cancun.

We picked up Al and Don at the Cancun airport, slept overnight at a comfortable hostel before catching the first class bus south to Tulum. Our first impression of the Posada Los Mapaches was not good, however once inside the gate of this bike, bed and breakfast hostel, we were at peace. The breakfasts were gourmet. Surprisingly we all took to the bicycles like ducks to water and used them for four days to explore everywhere. There were no hills!

One highlight was the impressively located Tulum archeological site on cliffs high above the turquoise surf of the Caribbean.

Another was swimming in the crystal clear waters of the Gran Cenote and into caves leading to another cenote (sink hole). The flow stone, stalactites and bats on wing added to the awesome experience.

We also peddled our bikes for tens of kilometers along a coastal road with dozens of resorts, restaurants and tourist services. The white sand beaches were awesome.

Besides that, we bicycled along dirt jungle trails to a wilderness beach. After a considerable walk along the beach we came across two bankrupt beach resorts that were abandoned, intriging places to discover and explore.

Eventually it was time to check out, return to the airport and fly home.

It had been days of high adventure for us senior Gentlemen, getting out of our comfort zones and sharing a bonding experience together. Totally different from a canned tour, we did it ourselves and savored the freedom of doing it our way!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad