After enjoying a good night's sleep in our rented condominium, it was time to explore. We asked one of the security guards at the Mayan Island if there was a nearby grocery store, and was told that there was none within walking distance. This is one thing that I DIDN'T like about the Zona Diamante. We felt very safe the whole time we were there, but there is nothing within reasonable walking distance that resembled a grocery store or even a small convenience store, like OXXO. This was one of the big differences between Acapulco's tourist zone and Zihuatanejo's, which we visited earlier in 2021. Zihuatanejo (also in the Mexican state of Guerrero) was decidedly "walkable" with lots of street vendors, shops, and stores scattered throughout the city. We were never more than a few blocks away from anything we needed, whether it be tacos, fruit, a pharmacy, whatever.
Acapulco's Zona Diamante is decidedly not like that. Although considered very safe and secure, we had to take a taxi from the Diamante Zone to get to anything. Although the taxi service was prompt and readily available any time we wanted to use it, it was still annoying. The repeated trips ended up being rather costly at 125-150 pesos per trip (one-way, so those costs added up and increased our overall costs for this exploratory trip).
I took a taxi went to the local Chedraui, which was the closest grocery store. For those of you who are unfamiliar, the Chedraui is similar to Wal-mart in the United States. The store carries fresh and packaged foods, as well as a selection of clothing, housewares, etc.
The pool is ENORMOUS, and not very deep. The water temperature was as very pleasant, so after slathering on some waterproof sunscreen, the kids hopped right in and started splashing around and playing water games.
I did go down to the beach to explore, as well. The sand was so hot that you couldn't walk across it without sandals or flip-flops (chanclas, as the locals call them). The little cabanas were first-come, first serve, and I plopped down in one to watch the waves and enjoy the sun for a bit.
I checked older photos of the beach on Travelocity and these canvas pop-up tents replaced palapa-style ones several years ago, probably because of hurricanes. This is what happened when we visited Baja California, as well.
The waves were rough throughout the day and into the afternoon. I saw a few surfers and boogie boarders as well as a snorkeler or two. Four-wheel ATVs sped up and down the beach at very fast speeds. They can be rented as well.
There was a lifeguard posted in the tower all day (as you can see from the photo below). I went into the surf up to my waist but not further than that. The water temperature was pleasant but the waves were rough and the undertow was strong, even for me. I didn't feel comfortable having my kids at the water's edge for that reason, although my younger two came down to play in the sand for a while and enjoy some lime ice cream from one of the many vendors that trolled the beach.
I admittedly enjoyed a few beers on the beach, then made my way to the bathroom near the pool in order to relieve my bladder. The marble floor had been recently mopped and I was barefoot, so I slipped backwards and cracked my head pretty badly. My vision went grey for a minute, but I didn't pass out. I picked myself up slowly and touched the back of my head, and was dismayed to see my fingers come away covered with blood.
I sat down in a shady area outside the bathroom and was immediately approached by one of the security guards who called for a first aid kid. I was only wearing my swim trucks. Blood was streaming down my neck and chest now, and workers started to gather around me. Once called out to my wife, who came running, slightly panicked. The security guard handed me a clean towel, which I pressed to the back of my head. My wife had arrived by my side, and gingerly pulled back the towel and gasped.
"Does it look really bad?" I asked her.
She nodded, "You're going to need stitches."
My stomach sank. So here we are, just three days into our trip, in a foreign city that we've never been to, and I need to go to a hospital. I'm feeling awful and my wife was on the verge of tears. Then one of the security guards mentioned that the neighboring hotel, the Mayan Palace Acapulco, also called the "Hotel Vidanta Mayan Acapulco" had a 24 hour medical clinic called the Centro Medico Diamante, (link is to the main hospital's Facebook page) which is basically a small satellite office of a larger hospital in Acapulco.
We took the kids back to the condo and left our 15 year old in charge, telling him to keep his cellphone on, just in case. Then we walked quickly to the neighboring Mayan Palace, whose front desk directed us to the clinic, which was on one of the upper floors in the main tower.
The main hospital seems to have poor reviews on Facebook, but we were given excellent service at the Mayan Palace clinic. Suffice it to say, the female doctor who attended to me was professional and gentle, and I was seen and treated within 10 minutes of our arrival (which would put any American big-city emergency room to shame).
The doctor used a few shots of local anesthetic to numb the area, which I honestly did not feel at all, probably because of the adrenaline and the residual beer still in my system. Putting in the stitches took about 15-20 minutes.
My wife had calmed down by the end of it. She asked the doctor for a towel so her damp bathing suit wouldn't leave a water stain on the fabric couches.
I felt okay to sit up after the doctor was finished stitching me up, although I did feel a bit dizzy. The doctor wrapped my head with a bandage and gave me a prescription for antibiotics and a box of generic NSAID painkillers. My wife and I trudged back to our condo. Our kids were all worried but calmed down as soon as they saw me.
The remainder of the evening was a bust. We ordered take-out pizza from a local Dominos and called it a night. Hopefully the rest of the week in Acapulco will be less eventful (post continued here...)
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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