Acapulco is one of the first resort towns in Mexico and has quickly become popular with locals and tourists from around the world. The city has many hotels, restaurants, nightclubs, casinos and stores. Tourists can engage in a variety of sports such as surfing, windsurfing, and diving, as well as try more extreme activities such as bungee jumping and skydiving.
History of the city
According to the traditional version, the name Acapulco comes from three Aztec words: acatl (reed), roloa (break, destroy), so (place), which can mean “the place where the reed is broken. The town’s coat of arms still depicts a broken reed in the form of two hands reaching out to each other surrounded by green leaves. The Indians lived here 100 years before the arrival of the Spanish colonizers, who had a less lyrical attitude toward this place, ideal for becoming a stronghold for further conquests. The legendary conquistador Hernan Cortés immediately appreciated the bay’s enviable location, and in 1530 a seaport was founded here, which facilitated connections with the Peruvian capital Lima and Valparaiso in Chile. Soon Acapulco began to play a prominent role in the economy of New Spain, especially after André Urdanet opened a route between Mexico and the Philippines in 1565. Acapulco began a lively trade with China and South Asia. Large ships brought silks and spices, porcelain and ivory, and sailed here laden with Mexican silver. The luxury goods transported by the Manila galleons, which for 250 years cruised between Acapulco and the Philippines, could not escape the attention of British and Dutch pirates. Francis Drake, Thomas Cavendish, and Henry Morgan began plundering ships and port. As a result, ships began to choose safer routes, and trade in Acapulco began to decline, almost ceasing in the 19th century after Mexican independence.
For a long time the city of Acapulco was one of the largest Spanish ports in the Pacific. Later it lost its importance and stopped developing until 1934. The city revived after the opening of the Hotel El Mirador, which rushed tourists.
Resort Extreme – clavadistas
The Bay of Acapulco is a natural harbor that has provided the city with a strategic position since the time of the Spanish conquistadors. Over time, other advantages of this beautiful bay – a dozen miles of coastline with beautiful beaches became obvious.
Bungee jumping – nothing compared to what the divers doing, jumping into a narrow gorge from a 35-meter cliff of La Quebrada in Acapulco.
Acapulco, Mexico’s most popular seaside resort, owes its worldwide fame, among other things, to the so-called clavadistas – desperate professional divers who make their “flights” from La Quebrada Cliff.
The jumpers’ attraction is held several times a day, at a strictly scheduled time. The width of the gap between the rocks in this place is only 6 meters and the jumper must wait for the moment when the wave briefly fills the narrow passage of foaming water. If you don’t jump in time you can hit the bottom and crash to death. Before each jump, the clavadistas pray in front of the icon of the Mother of God installed in the chapel at the top of the mountain. A special spectacle are the night shows by the light of the moon and the torches that the divers hold in their hands. In the darkness they are guided almost only by the noise of the approaching wave. A moment’s leap and the sea foam with a hiss extinguishes the flaming torches. There are teenagers among the clavadistas. Those under the age of 16 are allowed to jump only from the lower, 20-meter, platform.
On the cliff opposite there are terraces for spectators. The best place to watch the feats of a madman is from the restaurant La Perla or the windows of the El Mirador hotel.
Of course, jumping clavadistas are not the only entertainment in Acapulco. With 365 days of sunshine a year and as many reckless nights of tequila and discos, the hotels in Acapulco are not empty even out of season. True, things aren’t going perfectly for the resort. In 1997 it was destroyed by Hurricane Paulina, which killed hundreds of people. And in 2000, there were problems with drug cartels. In the summer of 2009, there was a shootout between soldiers and guerrillas in Old Town. In addition, because of the swine flu epidemic in Mexico, hotel occupancy in Acapulco decreased by five percent.
- The city is located in the Mexican state of Guerrero.
- Language: Spanish.
- Religion: Catholic.
- Currency: Mexican peso.
- International airport: General Juan N. Alvarez, 26 km from Acapulco.
- Population: 616,394 (2005), 717,766 agglomerated.
- Area: 1880.6 km2.
- One of the main Mexican ports.
Climate and weather
- Humid subequatorial.
- The average annual temperature, with slight seasonal variations: +26ºС.
- Winters are dry and the rainy season lasts from June through September.
- The central square of SoCalo in the old city.
- Fort San Diego (XVII-XVIII centuries).
- Cultural Center (collection of Mexican folk art).
- The Rock and Gorge of La Quebrada.
- Cathedral (Moorish style).
- Papagayo Park.
- Museum of Archaeology.
- The Condesa Beach.
- Clavadistas who dive off the cliff of La Quebrada have their own union, earn from $100 to $300 per jump, and the secret of performing life-threatening somersaults is passed from teacher to student.
- Acapulco was where the Kennedys, Reagans and Clintons honeymooned.
- Fort San Diego was built in 1616 to protect the port from pirates. In 1776 it was destroyed by an earthquake, but rebuilt in 1783.
- In the 1940s, several Tarzan movies with Johnny Weismuller were filmed here.
- Until 1968 the International Film Festival was held in Acapulco, which was closed due to the scandal of Alejandro Chodorovsky’s film Fando and the Fox.
- The crevice of La Quebrada was artificially created between the cliffs for the natural ventilation of the city, and the first diver Rigoberto Arak jumped off the cliff in 1932. People who saw the jump thought it was a suicide.