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Lanches on Lake Atitlan Guatemala

In 1991 Billy and Akaisha Kaderli retired at the age of 38. Now, into their 3rd decade of this financially independent lifestyle, they invite you to take advantage of their wisdom and experience.

Yelapa, Mexico

(Pronounced: Yeh-LAH-puh)

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli

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Hanging out on Playa de Los Muertos in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico I was intrigued by hawkers offering trips to a secluded beach named Yelapa.

I was promised that it was the "Hawaii of Mexico" but the only thing Hawaii and this beach had in common was high pricing. Well, that, and Yelapa and Hawaii share the same latitude.

Check out my details below.

Banderas Bay with Puerto Vallarta in the center

Banderas Bay with Puerto Vallarta in the center

Banderas Bay is approximately 500 square miles in area, and about half a mile off shore, the bay dips to 3,000 feet. Because it's a deep water bay, there are plenty of humpback whales, giant manta rays, dolphins, marlin, sailfish, and a myriad of other fine game fish.

So I arranged to take the 10 am water taxi from Puerto Vallarta Dock (located right at Playa de Los Muertos) and the cost was 320 Pesos round trip or currently about $18USD.

I quickly found out that the soonest I could return was at 3 pm.

I prefer having more flexibility than this, but I was curious about this beach so went along with the time constraint.

The water taxi

The water taxi

The trip took close to an hour to cross the bay, so my 320 Pesos water taxi ticket was a good deal.

Yelapa was discovered by hippies years ago and is still drawing crowds. I really wanted to see what this was all about.

About forty people loaded onto the lancha above, and I was set to go.

Billy in a selfie in the full lancha

Billy in a selfie in the full lancha

It is good to be on the water and the scenery along the rugged Mexican coast was awesome!

Morning calm seas

Morning calm seas





The calm morning seas made for a pleasant crossing.

Here's a view of the coastline.


Wild Bill and his dog

Wild Bill and his dog

This is the first sighting of Yelapa from our boat.

I met Wild Bill, a Vietnam Vet, and his dog sitting in front of me. Bill and his dog live in Yelapa and he told me his dog knows this trip very well.

I thanked Bill for his service to our country and I got the sense that Wild Bill was a bit of a hermit, wanting to escape from society as a whole.

 Hotel Lagunita

Hotel Lagunita

My first impression of this location was hopeful. This was going to be a great day.

The sky was blue and so was the water.

I was ready!

This section of the bay looked very charming

This section of the bay looked very charming

The sun was sparkling on the bay, and the sky was a brilliant blue.

I was hungry for breakfast so looked around for a place to eat.

The bay with lots of boats bringing tourists to Yelapa

The bay with lots of boats bringing tourists to Yelapa

I no sooner got my feet onto the crushed coral beach, when the aggressive hawkers started grabbing the attention of everyone on the boat to direct us to one restaurant or another. You see, these touts get a commission if they lead us to a particular business, hotel or restaurant.

That's fine, but the competition was fierce. These were land sharks and there was the smell of money which drove them into a frenzy.

A panoramic view of the inlet at Yelapa

A panoramic view of the inlet at Yelapa

Not many people here at the beach, so it seemed inviting.

Another selfie to show you the crushed coral sand and the blue waters

Another selfie to show you the crushed coral sand and the blue waters

The sand was a crushed coral making it difficult to walk and it felt like sharp glass scrubbing on my feet.

This wasn't anything I was familiar with, and in addition, my feet sunk deeply into the sand making it hard to push off with each step. I wanted to blissfully walk the beach, but even at the water line my feet sank as I tried to walk.

The Yelapa Pie Lady

The Yelapa Pie Lady

I had not yet ordered my breakfast when this Pie Lady came by with wedges of pie for sale.

They looked attractive but the price was 70 Pesos per slice (about $4USD.) This was about 30% higher than what I'd find in Puerto Vallarta.

I bargained her price down to 50 Pesos (about $3USD) but the taste of my cheese cake was bland and mealy.


Besides cheesecake, she had several choices; Pecan pie, apple pie, and pumpkin.

Persistent peddler

Persistent peddler

This hawker wanted to put his iguana on my head so that I could have a photo to send home to friends and family.

I had no interest in having a reptile crawl on my face and neck and politely told him "No, thank you." But this persistent peddler wouldn't take "No" for an answer and kept hounding me.

Oh, c'mon man. Give me some room here...

Where's my breakfast, anyway?

Junky jeweler

Junky jeweler





By this time it was getting on to noon, and I ordered myself a beer.

In an expensive restaurant in Chapala, that beer would have been 30 Pesos (less than $2USD). At my regular cantina, it would have been 20 Pesos or just over $1USD.

Here, I was charged 45 Pesos a beer, coming in at a whopping $2.50USD.

Now I realize you may be saying to yourselves, "Look, Bud, beers cost at least $5 bucks each in the States"... but this isn't the States, and pricing is relative.


If you are from NYC, New Jersey, Miami, San Francisco or Dallas, this beer would appear to be a bargain at $2.50. But having lived in Mexico off and on since 1993, this was over the top.

Once, Akaisha and I went to a Four Seasons Restaurant in Thailand and paid $10USD for a beer. Does a beer taste better if I pay more for it?

Anyway, then this jewelry guy comes around trying to sell me overpriced costume stuff twice the price of what's sold in PV, the beach I just left.

He, too, started to berate me for "not supporting his people."

Guilt and shame are not good sales techniques, man.

I don't like this stuff, I don't wear this stuff, I don't want this stuff, ok?

Where is my breakfast?

The breakfast shack

The breakfast shack

I ordered my breakfast from this hut.

I'm sitting on the beach with my feet in the crushed coral, glass-like-sand drinking an overpriced beer. I just had a man insist that I put a reptile on my head, and another man shove his beach jewelry at me, insinuating that if I don't buy from him I'm a bad human being.

I'm feeling like if I could just get some food in me, some tasty bacon and eggs... I'd get a handle on what's going on here in this "Hawaii of Mexico."

When we travel, we have a saying, "Order what you want, eat what you get."

I never thought bacon and eggs could be screwed up.

When my order appeared on the table, my eggs were scrambled with bits of what looked like ham mixed in. Tortillas on the side were cold.

So I didn't get my easy over eggs, didn't get my bacon and I got ice cold tortillas. Everyone in Mexico knows tortillas are served piping hot - so hot you can't handle them because they just came off the fire.

These tortillas were stone cold... and so was my attitude.

Not good.

Paddle board Babe

Paddle board Babe

This young lady was new to this sport and kept falling off her paddle board. She had a dog on it earlier, and they both fell off.

She struggled to stand, and struggled with her dog as a board companion, but finally found a position that suited her.

I was really happy for that.

Meanwhile, I'm gumming my tasteless breakfast.

Massage beds for sunning or for enjoying a massage

Massage beds for sunning or for enjoying a massage

People were lying on these beds, getting their Vitamin Sea and D. Massages were available also.

I had just finished my breakfast and was wondering what I was going to do for the next 2 hours...

Tropical paradise

Tropical paradise

I have to admit that the scenery was really pretty.

But so far, it seemed that the promise of paradise hadn't been delivered.

I wandered around kicking my toes in the sand wishing for my return boat to arrive.

Concrete block on the dock

Concrete block on the dock

As it neared 3pm, I wandered over to the dock. Seeing this concrete block declaring "Make Dreams Come True" I knew mine would soon arrive when the lancha returned to take me back to Puerto Vallarta.

The winds kick up in the afternoon, so my boat ride to PV was a bit choppy. But I was happy to leave this little beach.

My first encounter didn't go well, and I doubt that I'll return.


Good things - Beautiful scenery. Gorgeous bay. Great weather. Round trip to and from Puerto Vallarta was a good deal.

Not-so-good-things - persistent vendors who would not take "No" for an answer and somehow thought berating me was a great sales technique. Terrible tasting food, they definitely needed some training in this. Over priced on every count. Crushed coral "sand" was really tough on my feet.

Hey, you might find things to be different for you, and God speed if you do.

But I left Yelapa with a cold impression. Cold as the tortillas I was served.

For more stories and photos of Mexico, click here

For more stories and photos of Puerto Vallarta, click here

About the Authors

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli are recognized retirement experts and internationally published authors on topics of finance, medical tourism and world travel. With the wealth of information they share on their award winning website, they have been helping people achieve their own retirement dreams since 1991. They wrote the popular books, The Adventurer’s Guide to Early Retirement and Your Retirement Dream IS Possible available on their website bookstore or on

Retire Early Lifestyle appeals to a different kind of person – the person who prizes their independence, values their time, and who doesn’t want to mindlessly follow the crowd.

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