To say that Verana is not for the faint of heart is an understatement. Novice travelers, get ready for a crash course in adventure traveling: reaching this gem of a hotel is an expedition in itself.
Once we flew into Puerto Vallarta, we instructed a cab to take us to a quaint fishing village called Boca de Tomaclan. When we pulled up to the dock, the sun was shining and a crisp ocean breeze blew from the beach. We ordered some margaritas from the palapas and waited for the water taxi to show up. Kids were playing in the water, men were lounging and drinking beers.
From there, the ride to Yelapa was about a half hour and we already had a tequila buzz when we finally reached the Verana dock and had a first look at the steep hill we were about to climb over and over for the next three days. Trust me though, it’s worth the hype.
Verana is in fact carved out of the jungle, and situated at the highest peak of its tropical forested mountain. We made ourselves at home in the V House, a beautiful three-bedroom tree house that can be booked through the Verana Hotel or standalone via Boutique Homes. The ultimate setup for a girlfriends getaway…
On our first night, we took a dip in the pool as the sun was going down and were soon sung to sleep by the sound of the jungle critters beat.
Verana’s V House offers the most phenomenal views I’ve ever had a chance to wake up to. For the first time in what felt like a million years, I drank a full cup of coffee before I hunched over my computer and started working. My skin was adapting to the humid air and my head started to clear. We found out a family of lemurs lives behind the house. We decided to skip breakfast and started exploring…
We walked along the rocky shores of the cove to reach the charming, carless village of Yelapa, a place people say is what coastal Mexico used to be before it was discovered by the tourist throngs.
A quick stop at Cafe Bahia allowed us to enjoy a healthy meal while digging our feet in the white sand. The lovely restaurant owner offered us crayons and blank pages from a coloring book. We mingled with the locals and made friends with the dozens of stray dogs roaming around.
Yelapa means, ‘where two rivers meet the sea.’ The land is known as a ‘comunidad indigena’ meaning that it’s community owned by its indigenous population. We were told that there is no need for police in this part of the world. It’s as close to paradise as it gets.
La Cascada, the village’s 65-feet waterfall is easy to find. Ask any of the locals and they are happy to point the way. A second, much larger waterfall is located a few miles up the long Rio Tuito canyon. It is called “Catedral” and is best reached on a donkey.
On the third day we woke up and took a yoga class before heading out to the Pinterest-famous Marietas islands, some miles off the coast of Punta Mita.
The canopy beds are there for a reason. There are more bugs here than anywhere we had traveled before. Every night before bed, the hotel’s maids made sure our sheets were all tucked in and that there were no scorpions in sight, so that we woke up without a bite… 😉
Whenever I travel, I tend to prefer unique, off-the-beaten-path destinations. If my body craves to indulge in luxurious amenities and relax, my curious mind longs to get out of the secluded environment provided by a resort and connect with the local scene and culture. I get up every morning with the sunrise, looking for an adventure. For all of those reasons and more, staying at Verana’s V-House with the girls during our shoot for Volcom’s #WelcomeToWater campaign was Live FAST’s most magical wandering yet.