In my humble opinion, Acapulco is a tourist trap! After falling out of favor with the international jet set decades ago, this not-so-hot spot is heating up again. We decided to visit Acapulco as part of a respite from the pyramids and more urban grittiness of Central Mexico – and boy did we live to regret it! Don’t get me wrong, this is a beautiful place with gorgeous beaches, high-rise hotels and sunny weather. But beware of the over priced taxi cabs, the expensive restaurants, and most of all…the time share sales scum! You have been warned!
Archaelogical evidence indicates that people first inhabited Acapulco around 3000 BC, growing crops and fishing. Around 1500 BC the area was settled by the Nahuas, a tribe related to the Nahuatl, who populated much of southern Mexico. The Nahuatl language provided the name Acapulco, meaning “place of canes” or “reeds.” Although it is generally accepted that the first non-natives to reach Acapulco were Spaniards led by Hernán Cortés, some local historians claim that a Chinese monk named Fa Hsein predated Cortés by 100 years.
From 1565 to 1815 the Spanish maintained a thriving port and trading center in Acapulco. Acapulco became a town in 1799, but started to decline with the War of Independence, when locals sided with the Spanish royalists. The town remained in relative obscurity until 1927, when a road was built connecting the port to Mexico City and bringing the first tourists. It wasn’t long before Hollywood celebrities and other wealthy world travelers started to arrive, and Acapulco began its transformation. By the 1960s it seemed everyone in Hollywood was vacationing in Acapulco: Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope, Leslie Caron, Cary Grant, Lana Turner, John Wayne, Errol Flynn, Bridgitte Bardot, Elvis Presley, Elizabeth Taylor, etc. Acapulco today, although not the Hollywood hangout of times past, is still a major tourist destination, especially with Mexican nationals, who comprise about 80% of its visitors.
La Quebrada Cliff Divers
The La Quebrada Cliff Divers of Acapulco are definitely worth checking out. In fact, they almost makes up for all of the tourist traps in town (*almost*).
The divers are a group of professional high divers who perform daily shows for the public, which involve diving 45 metres (~147′ 8″) from the cliffs of La Quebrada into the sea below.
Although cliff diving at La Quebrada had taken place for many years, it was not until 1934 that the La Quebrada Cliff Divers was formed. One of the most interesting aspects regarding the divers are their ages. They couldn’t be older than 18 years old! Below is some video I took of the diving.
Coyuca Lagoon is one of the picturesque and colorful parts of Acapulco. We took a boat around the lagoon and observed lots of intriguing wildlife such as pelicans and crocodiles.
This area is famous for its tropical vegetation, which has been the location for many Hollywood movies such as that great American classic: First Blood II: Rambo! Just beware as there are lots of mosquitoes and flies!