This Surprising Beach Town in Mexico Makes the World's Best Pies

Yelapa | © Dan Nevill/Flickr
Stephen Woodman

One of Mexico’s sleepiest and most authentic beach communities, the charming village of Yelapa, boasts a gorgeous, secluded bay and is still barely touched by tourism. Thirty minutes by water taxi from Puerto Vallarta, the village is renowned for producing delicious homemade pies. Sure, you might expect the local specialty of a fishing village to involve seafood, but you won’t complain if you make the journey to Yelapa to sample the local delicacy.

The Pie Lady of Yelapa

The town of Yelapa has several “pie-ladies,” who walk the beach with plastic boxes filled with their baked produce. According to local lore, the original and best pies are made by Chelly Rodríguez, who has been baking them for nearly three decades. The business was originally started by her mother, and Rodríguez has continued the family tradition, rising every day at 5 a.m. in order to start baking for the day ahead.

Rodríguez makes seven to twelve pies a day, and sells them all from her Tupperware container on the beach. She charges MXN$30 pesos (about US$2.50) per slice, or MXN$150 (about US$8) for a full pie.

All her pies are made with fresh, natural ingredients and each slice has the unmistakable taste of home cooking.

Different types of pie

Currently, Rodríguez offers 10 different varieties of pie: lime, apple, pumpkin, cheesecake, chocolate, coconut, chocolate and coconut, pineapple and nut and banana cream.

The last of these is a big favorite with foreign visitors to the town. The delicious dessert contains sliced bananas perched on a thick layer of cream. The pie is made from condensed milk, cow’s milk, bananas, butter, flour, eggs and vegetable oil. Rodríguez refuses to use any preservatives that would compromise the taste.

Served on a paper plate with a plastic fork, the slice of pie is mouthwateringly delicious.

Far from the hustle and bustle of nearby Puerto Vallarta, most visitors to the laid-back town of Yelapa are day-trippers, anxious to try the legendary local delicacy. Our advice is to get there quick, because the famous pie lady often sells out fast. When the pies are gone, Rodríguez dons her waitress outfit to serve tables at The Marlin, her brother’s seafood eatery.

How to get to Yelapa

To reach this sleepy, remote town you need to take a boat from Los Muertos beach in comparatively bustling Puerto Vallarta. Yelapa’s sleepy, untouched vibe is the product of its local infrastructure. There are no paved roads leading to the village, so it is only accessible by boat.

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