Well, after receiving emails from fans around the world asking about some of the more "touristy" cities in Mexico, we decided this year to explore Acapulco, Guerrero with our family. Acapulco is a major city in the Mexican state of Guerrero on the Pacific coast. The city has been a major tourist hub for decades, but it seems to have lost some of its former luster.
Acapulco's beauty was celebrated on the big screen in films like Elvis Presley's "Fun in Acapulco" and the more-recent "Destination Wedding" which was released in 2017. However, Acapulco's tourist industry has struggled for various reasons for the last several years, mostly because of issues with public safety (more on this topic later).
It was a short flight from Mexico City to Acapulco. When we arrived at the Acapulco airport (OMA), it was late afternoon, (around 4:20 PM local time). The weather was humid and warm, but not unpleasantly so. We found out when we landed that Uber or any other rideshare is not allowed in Acapulco. Apparently the taxi unions staged a huge protest and threatened to "burn Uber units in Acapulco." Yikes.
This seems to me quite shortsighted, especially for a city that has serious reputation issues, especially with regards to tourist safety (at the time of this post, the US state department has banned U.S. government employees from travelling to Acapulco because of safety concerns). Tourists LIKE Uber and Lyft (and similar rideshare services) because you can pay with a credit card, the payment as well as the ride destination and pick-up location is easily traced. These services also help tourists avoid the "gringo tax" which sadly occurred to us at least twice when we were exploring the city.
We arrived at the Mayan Island Playa Condominiums, which is in the Zona Diamante. Translated literally, this means "Diamond Zone" which is an affluent area between the airport and Acapulco Bay, which is mostly composed of luxury hotels and large condo complexes that are owed by wealthy residents. We noticed as we were being driven through the area that most of the complexes were gated communities with (seemingly) heavy security. When we arrived at the Mayan Island, we were directed to the front desk and forced to go through a rather lengthy check-in process.
We were forced to leave a security deposit of 2,000 pesos, which the owner failed to mention until a few hours before we checked in. We were also forced to put on bracelets identifying ourselves as guests, not owners, which actually led to a slight confrontation at one point, with one of the owners in the building. And yes, the bracelets were required for everyone, even our kids. Which was annoying, especially since our 8-year old has nervous habits and wouldn't stop picking at it the whole time we were there.
When we got up to our rented condo on the 7th floor, we got an eyeful of the beautiful view, the great pool area below, and the choppy waves of the Pacific. My wife immediately sat down and made herself a cup of coffee (the owners of the Airbnb had left 4 coffee pods, which didn't last a day for my coffee-addicted wife). Sorry honey!
The ocean looked rough that first day, and we found that it was not safe to swim because of the powerful undertow. My wife decided to be brave and go down to the surf.
She got hit by a rather large wave and immediately lost her expensive sunglasses, which she had just recently purchased at Costco. They were torn right out of her hand! She returned to the condo with shaky legs and a dejected expression. I couldn't resist saying "I told you so" which earned me a prompt pout.
The image of the rough surf you can in the photos, it doesn't look as bad as it feels. I can understand why Acapulco is a hot spot for surfers, some of the waves were easily above 1.5 meters in the evenings. I did brave the waves a few times myself, but only on the calmer mornings while we were there.
I saw local teens surfing that first evening, there was at least a dozen surfers in the water around sunset. After taking a quick walk on the beach to watch the sunset, we bought some street food and then hit the pillows and went straight to bed, all of us very tired from travel. I continue this post here (Day Two in Acapulco).
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Just a middle-class dad and mom with three young kids, looking to escape the rat race. This is our journey!
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