Back to the lush exotic land of Mexico, we now head to the heart of Acapulco to explore its vibrant cityscapes, relaxing shores, busy marketplaces, and delectable cuisine. Part 2 led us to Acapulco de Juárez’ city center as we wander around its streets to uncover the exciting secrets it has to offer.
DAY 6 – Last Vestiges of Mexican Grandeur
Despite its history as being set in what once was the Miami of old, witnessing the Crowne Plaza’s current state makes you understand why the place had to be renovated. Much of the facilities and the interiors were ancient, needed improvement, and wasn’t really worthy of the 5-star rating. It was evident that the decline of tourists really took a toll on Acapulco’s travel industry. However, the views were still as arresting as it once was at the height of the Mexican mafia in the 60s and 70s, with kingpins choosing it as their place of leisure and luxurious relaxation.
Knowing that the beach view and the ocean breeze is best experienced with good food and drinks, we then headed to an Acapulco staple. Beto’s Condesa serves the freshest seafood like lobsters, sea snails, and giant clams. I recommend trying their amazing house tortillas!
Among Acapulco’s top city attractions is the Chapel of Peace. What’s interesting about the holy structure is its history. As told by locals, the place was erected as a memorial to the death of the developer’s children, brothers who died in an Acapulco plane crash in 1967. As a religious oath, the owner promised to erect a chapel if and when the bodies of his children were found. What’s sad is that after the church was built, the rest of his line perished year after year because of sickness.
Despite this, the beauty of the place was not lost on every tourist who comes to see it. The Chapel of Peace is accessible when you head to the luxury resort of Las Brisas Diamante. The journey there treated us a breathtaking panorama of the whole city with an exquisite view of the ocean on the horizon.
Check out these snapshots taken as I took a peaceful and relaxing stroll across the quaint Old Town neighborhood of Acapulco de Juárez by day. It was apparent that I was going over the last few vestiges of Acapulco’s past grandeur as the playground of Old Hollywood celebrities, back in the time when personalities like Sylvester Stallone, Grace Jones, and the like, used to frequent it. By the late 1970s, Acapulco had been viewed as the elite’s Studio 54-by-the-beach. Still, passing through what’s left of Acapulco’s charm is a unique experience on its own.
Meanwhile, over at Hotel Mirador are two distinct establishments that offer fine cuisine for food lovers visiting Acapulco, one of which is Restaurante La Perla, which has its charming Old Hollywood accents and an international menu of dishes set to satisfy all tastes. La Perla was also a well-known Old Hollywood hangout, with remnants of its fame decorated on its walls. The autographs and singed photos were a testament to how prestigious it was when it opened back in the day.
An Acapulco tour is not complete without visiting La Quebrada and seeing professional cliff divers drop headfirst to the sea below. This involves diving 35 metres (115 ft) from the cliffs and into the water whose depth is at 12 feet on average.
Of course, our crew had to visit the beach to frolic under the sun, enjoy the waves, and stroll along the shoreline. Acapulco truly is a beach paradise, with beaches nestled in the city center accessible thru short walks from nearby hotels and some located even far in the outskirts.
DAY 7 – Discovering Acapulco’s Culture & Cuisine
The next day we headed to Mercado Municipal to get a firsthand experience of a large Mexican market. It’s where I got to learn how to make my very own Mexican piñata, fashioned after the colorful ones being sold in the market.
I’ll never forget how fascinating the sight of the stalls were. Mercado Municipal offered so much with vendors peddling all sorts of wares. Apart from dry goods, they also sold flowers, candy, produce, even live roosters.
Over at Restaurante El Jaguar, we got to delight ourselves with a hearty meal and experience what it’s like behind the scenes preparing the authentic Mexican delicacies. A place steeped in tradition in downtown Acapulco, Restaurante “El Jaguar” offer gastronomic indulgence inspired by the seven regions that comprise the State of Guerrero.
Some stalls in Acapulco sell herbal remedies and Santeria-type spells and prayers to saints, one of which I found fascinating—Santa Muerte. The cult of Santa Muerte is present throughout the strata of Mexican society. And although majority of devotees are from the urban working class, most of them are either teens, or in their twenties, and are mostly female.
Santa Muerte is seen as a protector of homosexual, bisexual, and transgender communities in Mexico, since many are considered to be outcast from society. Many LGBT people ask her for protection from violence, hatred, disease, and to help them in search of love.
Our last stop before leaving Mexico is Si Señor, where we dined while setting our sights on the magnificent view of the city beside the Acapulco bay at night. The delectable meal served as a fitting end to cap off our Acapulco expedition.
And that ends our journey to Mexico, where I found myself leaving with a full belly and a happy heart. Hasta la vista Mexico! ‘Til our next visit.
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