Snorkelling in Yelapa Mexico with Mosquito Jellyfish
July 4, 2014/
When the mosquito jellyfish bit me I stopped short a moment, treading water, breathing and wondering what just happened. Am I hurt? Did I imagine that? Should I bail?
I am far from an adventuresome swimmer. In fact, truth be told, I almost drowned once in a wave pool. Michael Phelps, I am not. But my kids swim beautifully and are well on their way to summers filled with pool parties and maybe even jobs as lifeguards. Today I am snorkelling in Yelapa, Mexico with my daughter and some travel bloggers. Living the life, admiring the view until this happens….
In a cove in Banderas Bay, I look for my daughter, Payton. From the boat that dropped us off I hear: “Paula, she’s over there.” And in fact she is 100, maybe 200 feet away. Should I swim to her, or paddle back to the boat. While I am sitting there bicycling my legs in the water to stay afloat, I feel another bite on my leg.
I start to swim to her and change my mind. I hear others saying: “Ouch, something bit me.”
Payton is safe across the bay swimming and snorkelling and she scarcely looks up to see where I am. She is embracing the experience, the water and the beautiful sliver of time in paradise. This day has barely started. We are in a bay in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. She has already zip lined and rappelled at Canopy River Tours Puerto Vallarta. One afternoon she rode a donkey and another day she swam with dolphins at Dolphin Discovery.
Did I really expect her to be phased by some tiny jellyfish nips? Still, I am concerned. I know nothing about this. Back to the boat it is. I find a tour guide and tell him. “I got some jellyfish bites. Are they dangerous?” Two little letters – No. I pause at the foot of the boat thinking I will get out and sit and wait for the others. It is the cautious choice, perhaps it’s best.
Around me, others are quitting and one or two other bloggers are also weighing their options. Out of the corner of my eye I see the brave Deanna Tousignant of Maple Leaf Mommy. We were both a bit nervous about this to start. Our first time snorkeling. But there are many still in the water.
One more chance, I think and I make my breath slow down enough to negotiate the snorkeling mask and the goggles. After all how many chances in life might I have to go snorkeling in Yelapa Mexico? I can do this, I think and I look down, face immersed, breathing through this tube and I spy a school of clownfish.
[tweetthis]Yelapa is a gem and a must see when you visit Puerto Vallarta. #travel[/tweetthis]
It is magic. Pure perfection, unlike anything I have done and I instantly find my brave side. Swimming out away from the boat into the blue bay that is a warm embrace in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. When I stop looking I find my daughter swimming near another group and together we take turns telling each other what kinds of fish we see.
Someone here comments to me on how good this child is at snorkelling. For a few weeks two years ago I took her and her sister to a kid’s scuba diving class. I have all but forgotten. Wrapped inside a Canadian winter, they swam and pretended to find schools of treasure like these. It was a diversion from regular swimming lessons inside an old brick YMCA downtown in London, Ontario. This experience couldn’t be less like that, but somehow her brain remembers and she reminds me.
We squeal together when she sees something she swears looks like an eel, then a pufferfish. Sky, waves, caves, boat, perfect water, my daughter, and me trying brave on. I think to myself, like I always do now: somewhere my Mom is watching. In the last 14 months, I have learned that hearts heal a little bit more each day. Puerto Vallarta, Yelapa, snorkelling, swimming, travel, sun, sky wide open. All the feels.
This is the best thing I have done since we got here on this Puerto Vallarta media trip. This is the memory that will be balm for the winter months inside a snow belt area of southern Ontario. And this is the activity I will want to do again, safely with my entire family. I know we will all go snorkelling in Mexico.
It is so brilliant, I instantly wish to transport everyone with here. As I swim around getting more comfortable each passing moment, I get another mosquito jellyfish bite. And another. And again. Suddenly, they like me again. It feels not unlike a mosquito in the water, but with a tiny shocking jolt. It is the realization that you cannot see what it is biting you that freaks you out most. But we are safe, I tell myself and we keep swimming. Love is a little like this. And adoption is like this too. A leap into something bigger.
Around us a few people are kayaking. Still enchanted from the clown fish, I make my awkward mermaid-like fins work. Tour operators eventually call us all back to the boat, for lunch, lemonade and a tour of a secluded fishing village called Yelapa.
Together we dry off and hike through town. Stray cats and dogs wind around our feet as we snap photos every couple of steps. There are so many things to see. Merchants selling scarves, plates, ceramic skulls and jewelry.
We wind our way uphill through women selling things, babies crying inside houses and the sound of water trickling through outdoor pipes above our heads. It’s too much money for a scarf but I pay not anyways. Together we reach a waterfall, an outdoor bar and the oddest bathroom I have yet to see, shower curtain for a door. Here the water is cold but we each pose for pictures before moving on to the next spot.
Another hike, a few more pictures, we travel past a makeshift shrine, some homes and a bar here in the mountains that makes us all chuckle. On the sign, is a QR code and a notice that free WIFI is available. On the cobblestone street, a tourist giggles as she trots along on a donkey, and finally just past a school and across a stretch of beach, we reach the most picturesque beach I’ve ever seen.
This is Yelapa. The vendors are a bit aggressive. There are half a dozen fishing boats lining the shore and a man splits open a coconut to bring my daughter a lemonade made with coconut water for about $2 Canadian. The effort of splitting the coconut open alone is worth that much.
It’s a bit more of a walk from here.
[tweetthis]In Yelapa you can buy coconut water lemonade and potentially swim the afternoon away. #travel[/tweetthis]
On the boat ride back past the Sierra Madre mountains I sip a Margarita and sit in the shade hugging my daughter. We watch the silly crew perform their Mexican Kiss routine. My daughter tapes it on her iPhone and I strike up a conversation with the American couple beside us. This is the memory I wish everyone could have when they are sick, or sad, or struggling through an endless January. This is a perfect Mexico day etched in my memory. When I am old and frail and unable to visit magical places like this I hope I can summon these memories, hold them close like pearls and remember how brave we once were, and how much we loved.
On Snorkelling in Yelapa and Our Visit To Puerto Vallarta
This was the Snorkeling and Hiking tour in Yelapa. You know those tours you go on sometimes when you travel and you actually wait and wait and then see none of the things promised. This is not that tour. I saw more than I imagined and recommend it highly. It was hosted by Puerto Vallarta Adventures.
You can read the rest of my posts about Puerto Vallarta here:
We were guests of the Puerto Vallarta tourism board which means we received flights, accommodations and food in exchange for honest coverage here. My opinion is all my own and it is also truthful. This post also contains affiliate links as a service to readers. If you make a purchase I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.
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Wow, such a wonderful adventure to experience with your daughter by your side. Paula, you and Payton will talk about this for years to come and I can just hear the giggles about the jellyfish bites. 🙂 I love your photos; each one tells it’s own story. Payton looks so happy and the photo of you two holding hands is just precious. I have been lucky to have two mother/daughter trips with my Emily and I still get vaklemp at the memories. Thank you for sharing yours <3
Thanks Suzanne! It was a great trip for sure. The snorkelling was a real highlight for me.
Sounds to me like you had an AMAZING time in Mexico 🙂 My wife and I were lucky enough to do plenty of travelling prior to having our son, but for whatever reason, Mexico never made the list.
Perhaps we’ll need to change that 🙂
Thanks for this — I look forward to having some family adventures of my own!
Casey: Mexico is really affordable. Also I love going there with family. It’s worth it. My kids always learn something new in Mexico. Nothing beats seeing the. Make new friends in a different country.
I have to say, I am green with envy (in a good way). This whole PVPressTrip is just amazing. I am happily reading all of your posts. So very informative and the pictures are beautiful. So much fun!
What a great storyteller you are! You had me mesmerized after the first sentence. Love it! The mosquito jellyfish scares me though.
Looks like an amazing trip with wonderful memories.
We’ve been to Yelapa before but took the crazy fast speedboats. We had such a great time! It looks like you did too. Mexico is the best!
Everything seemed so beautiful! I would be sitting on the edge of the boat too scared to dive in. You did good.
Oh my what a fun time and such a beautiful place to visit.
Looks like fun, I never heard of Yelapa before.
Great pics! Looks like you had a great time. I went snorkeling once, off a small private island in the Bahamas near Exuma. We snorkeled above a school of nurse sharks that were feeding some 50 feet below us. It was exhilarating!
You’re braver than I but loved yours story. I may have gotten out and stayed out after getting bit, how scary that would have been but what an amazing time it sounds you had.
That sounds so cool. I went snorkeling once, but I can’t swim, so I didn’t go out very far.
that looks like so much fun! I would love to be there enjoying nature and sharing with my family.
It looks and sounds like a great tour. I’d love to visit Mexico some day.
It sounds like you had a great time and an awesome experience. I love seeing all the wonderful pics and the waterfall one is beautiful.
WOW!!! This looks like so much fun! Thank you for sharing this, I want to one day visit mexico and go snorkeling!
Looks like such a relaxing place to visit
Celebrity VIP Lounge
That looks like such a great time. Love your photos! Amber N
Looks Beautiful! Heather Durkee
I’m so jealous, that seemed like such an awesome and beautiful trip. I love all the pretty pictures too.
WOW….this looks like a dream vacation! I am so jealous–except for the jellyfish sting!
My mom and dad went to Puerto Vallarta many many years ago and they loved it. It sounds like you really had a lot of fun too. I would really love to swim with the dolphins someday.
I’ve never been there before, looks like I’ll need to take a trip there.
I’ve been snorkeling in the Bahamas and in Hawaii. They were both amazing times. Your photos are beautiful and remind me a lot of our adventures in Hawaii! (I’ve never visited Mexico. I need to do that one day!)
This looks like a lot a lot a lot of fun. I have been snorkeling by myself, but I’d love to do it with the family!
My in-laws went there, they raved about it for weeks!
I’ve never been snorkeling and I live in Florida! This looks like an awesome trip.
Looks like a beautiful place to have an awesome time!
Wow I want to go. This looks so fun, thank you for sharing your trip with us.
Casa Vilora Interiors
How amazing is this! Looks like such a fun vacation! Thanks for sharing these great pictures
Such a beautiful place, I would absolutely love to go there one day.
So Fun!! If you like snorkeling you should try Scuba Diving! I am not one of those people that does “crazy” things… but one day I decided to get my Dive License! I have been on a bunch of wreck dives and it is FANTASTIC!! A whole different world, and so amazing!
Just jaw dropping. You must have had a blast. Definitely on my bucket list now.
What a beautiful destination! I would love to visit sometime.
I won’t get in any open bodies of water so y’all are much braver than me! I’ve heard the vendors are agressive…that would bother me. I don’t handle aggressive salespeople anywhere.
Wow what a beautiful place to visit! The scenery looks amazing and the activities you chose look so fun!
Nice place i have never been any where like this
What a wonderful trip! I would love to visit there. I would take in the sun an go snorkeling for sure.
I loved reading about the snorkeling. What a fun adventure. It looks and sounds like a wonderful place to tour and discover. Thanks for sharing.
This looks like so much fun. Just found something to put on the bucket list of things to experience with my kids.
It looks positively idyllic! I want to do everything you did. How extraordinary!
Beautiful photos! We have snorkeled in Florida and in the Grand Cayman. Beautiful memories!
Heather @ Girl Gone Mom
This looks like a magical place to visit. Must add to my travel bucket list!
It sure looks like a lot of fun. I’ve never heard of the place before. Thanks for sharing!
WOW what an amazing adventure – I haven’t been snorkelling in years – I really fancy going now, all the beautiful things you can see under the water 🙂 x
What a beautiful place to go! I would love to go snorkel there.
Growing Up Madison
I have never been snorkeling before and I’m so jealous. That’s definitely something I would love to do. Seems like you had a great time.
Tough Cookie Mommy
This looks like an amazing experience that the whole family will never forget. The photos are simply breathtaking.
I love the color of those fish. Looks like a great time
Looks and sounds like an amazing trip to Mexico for you and your family! I would love one day to see it. The scenery looks beautiful!
I always wanted to try snorkeling. It looks and sounds fun. Just don’t when I can find time to go!
I’ve never heard of Yelapa. It’s very pretty there so sorry though you were bitten by a jellyfish.
It looks like a fun vacation for both of you. I have never gone snorkeling before and would love to try it. I think my girls would enjoy it more than me.
Wow, that like an awesome experience. I don’t think I would have been able to talk myself into staying in the water, it’s wonderful that you did and gained so much more for it.
What an awesome experience. I swam with turtles in Hawaii once and it was the most amazing thing ever!
What a fun adventure for you and your daughter! I had never heard of Yelapa, looks so beautiful, with lots to do too!! 🙂
Wow you seemed like you had a wonderful time, I wish I could get to Puerto Vallarta appears the swimming, snorkeling and area to see was wonderful, I have never heard of a mosquito jellyfish, hope there was not a ton of them Thank you for sharing this trip with your readers and thanks Puerto Vallarta Adventures for making this possible
This is a beautifully written piece. I enjoyed not only the perfect pictures but the touching narrative as well. Kudos for knowing exactly what is so precious in life.
never heard of this place,but looks like a pretty neat place tp go–glad yall had fun there..
What a vacation. This looks like a trip of a lifetime.
Wow! What an awesome adventure.
My encounter with jellyfish was not quite so harmless. I am playing in the water just off a Florida beach with my 4 year old daughter just in front of me learning to float on a boogie board. My 2 young sons, 7 & 10 are with their father learning to surf the waves when all of a sudden I felt this stinging sensation running up and down my legs. I scream and grab up my daughter in front of me holding her out of the water the best I could. I began running and screamming the pain was so intense. I look down and there is nothing there in the water but a mass of cloudy jelly and they were so thick, that there was no space between them. I ran with thousands of them stinging me as i ran. The tide was coming in faster than I could run and the jellyfish was comming in with that tide. Other people hearing my screams began pulling their children out of the water screaming too, although they were not sure what all the scare was about. Once I got close enough to shore a life guard came to my aid, My legs were one massive red whelp. The life guard began treating me. Later I was told that I saved many people from being seriously stung. The beach was closed for 4 days due to the enourmous amount of stinging jellyfish in the water. Only 2 other people were stung at all, cause they got to shore much faster than the jellyfish. I was treated over night in the hospital due to the huge amount of stings I encountered. My daughter, whose feet would occassionally dip into the water as I ran holding her in front of me, escaped without a single sting. I still have several huge white scars running down my legs from stings that went so deep that I am still scarred 40 years later. I am now very weary of getting too far from shore when we go to the beach. I will never forget that ocean of jellyfish so thick that I could not see between one jellyfish from another. I had not known that jellyfish stings could be dangerous when encountered in thick mass. Needless to say, I was not able to enter the water for the next several months while my burns healed.
thats amazing. such a great time for you ladies to spend togthr. it looks like a beautiful place
Never heard of this place before but it looks like you all had such a great time! 🙂
We really did amy! I highly recommend it.
Sounds like a great experience, and I would so love to do this tour. I’m always cautious when it comes to these tours… but it sounds like you had a wonderful time, and even with the Jellyfish thing, you were taken care of really well! (I posted something similar a few minutes ago, but don’t see it, so forgive me if this comes up twice) 🙂
Amazing, what an experience for your daughter. I am sure this trip will forever be a precious memory for her. Good for you for providing these moments for her
great pics but couldn’t imagine being stung by a jelly fish
it looks absolutely amazing here! perfect for the whole family, would love to go!
This looks and sounds like so much fun. What an incredible adventure!
WHAT A WONDERFUL TRIP FOR U 2 TO SHARE. MY COUSIN GOES DOWN TO SNORKEL & RELAX ALONG THE COAST EVERY YEAR & ALWAYS SAYS I WISH U WERE THERE AS SHE KNOW I WOULD LOVE IT BUT HAVE NEVER BEEN. WHAT A WONDERFUL DAY TO REMEMBER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
What a wonderful time it looks like you had. What a beautiful place. I would love to go there some day.
I’ve never had even heard of Yelapa before! It looks absolutely beautiful and sounds like a lot of fun and a great place to visit! thank you for sharing!
That sounds like a great trip, even with the tiny biting jellyfish. I’m so jealous!
I never wanted to travel to Mexico much. But this is a beautiful post and I want to add it to my places to visit bucket list now.
That looks like so much fun. I wish my family was able to travel and do fun things like that. Hopefully someday we will get to have a fun vacation.
lovely place to visit and fun
I have never heard of Yelapa! It looks amazing”)
The snorkeling looks amazing – would love to do this with my family some day.
I would love some coconut water lemonade!! That looks delicious. It looks like a beautiful place to take a family vacation.
What an amazing trip this must have been! Your daughter has done more adventures in her young life than I will probably ever dream of doing. How wonderful for both of you to get to experience such wonders.
What a great adventure, thanks for sharing it with us!
Wow what an awesome adventure!!! Looks like you guys made such beautiful memories there!
It looks like you had a great adventure, thank you for sharing these photos. I miss the beach…
This looks like a wonderful place to vacation with kids! – Tina
Looks like fun, I never heard of Yelapa before. The Coconut water lemonade looks yummy and refreshing.
Oh boy I cannot wait ’til our trip to Puerto Vallarta. My husband’s parents were there and had been telling us great sights to see. You had a great one. I love your photos.
this sounds like an amazing adventure. I would love to share a trip like this with my daughter. I love the pictures.
seriously good for you
This looks like so much fun. Very jealous! I would love to try this
I’m Mexican!!! and LOVE all our beaches! and we have beautiful cities. Sound like you enjoy your trip.
Looks like a great place to visit! Nice and relaxing 🙂
Jill Myrick (jsc123)
This is so pretty and looks like so much fun.
I love the waterfall !.
You all had such a beautiful experience even with the jelly fish fiasco. Keep meat tenderizer in your bag when ya go to the beach . It will take the sting out quick. We lived in Fla for 16 years and that is what the locals taught me. Your pics are beautiful!
What a wonderful way to build memories. I would love to take my family to Mexico for a vacation like that some day. Also, coconut water lemonade sounds so refreshing!
Wow! Look how big that lemonade is! Looks like a fun trip!
What a wonderful way to bond and make lasting memories with your daughter!
That looks like a beautiful spot and it sounds like you had a wonderful vacation with your daughter. Hopefully, all the good times made you forget about the jellyfish stings.
Great experience with your daughter, sounds like a great trip
It sounds like you had a wonderful trip! I have never been there and enjoyed reading about your experiences.
Such a beautiful story and setting!! You were very brave for snorkeling with those jelly fish!
sounds like you had an amazing time!! what a great story and beautiful pictures! thanks for sharing!
Looks like a beautiful place to get bit by jelly fish.
slehan at juno dot com
SO glad you had the chance to go snorkeling. Seems like you had a great time with the exception of those pesky jellies
Looks like quite a fun adventure. Thanks so much for sharing your wonderful pictures and experience. Yelapas looks like a great picturesque location to visit.
I was there once a long time ago. Great place.