Friday, December 14, 2007

Amazing Acapulco

Panoramic view of beach at Pie de la Cuesta

Acapulco, once the gem of Mexican crown, has now been tragically overshadowed by Cancun and Los Cabos. Located in the state of Guerrero (read Gerrero) in south-western Mexico, Acapulco has still preserved it's Mexican chastity unlike the aforementioned cities, which are plagued by "Americanization". The magnificent Acapulco bay, spine-chilling La Quebrada divers, splendid sunsets of Pacific and warm hearted Mexicans are main attractions of Acapulco.
Getting there
Getting to Acapulco does not require too much cerebral powers to be spent. Most of Mexican airlines like Aviacsa, AeroMexico, Vivaaerobus have flights to Acapulco and there are many buses plying from Mexico city which is just a few hours away. Airport is located much farther from the city, don't forget to start early when returning. The gigantic airport taxis, almost as big as Indian hearse vans, charge 80-100 pesos for downtown Acapulco.

Acapulco satiates people of all kinds, hostels for backpackers, medium priced hotel for the middle class and exorbitantly priced resorts for rich and the famous. Prices of the hostel is around 150 pesos with breakfast included. K3 hostel Acapulco, located opposite to Condesa beach has proximity to many places and an ideal place for people of my type.

Getting around
Among Cancun, Los Cabos and Acapulco, the last one wins hands-down when it comes to public transportation. The buses are frequent, cheap, jazzy and kick-ass. You realize that you've boarded into a moving discotheque, especially during night. They are equipped with sundries ranging from stuffed dolls, bikinis, flashy neon lights, loudest speakers pumping out reggaetone and funky looking drivers. Trust me buses give an out of the world experience in Acapulco given the fact you pay 4.5 pesos fixed. There are taxis (mostly good old beatles) which costs as much as bus if in group of 4 or 5, though fares needs to be haggled. Pie de la Cuesta has a cheaper, smaller and faster means of travel, the ultra-mini buses which costs 4 pesos and have an option of standing on the rear fender if you feel too hot inside. It reminded me of "matadors" in India, which were pretty much similar to what I'm speaking here.

Places around
Pie de la Cuesta, located about an hour away from Acapulco downtown has some beautiful but very rough beaches. The spinal road of the town separates the beach from the lagoon. "Playa Luces", the beach of lights, is one of the nicer and more isolated beach but mind you, it's very open (unlike a bay) and rough. There are no lifguards, waves are gigantic and pummels the coast hard, hence heed the advice, "Don't Enter". There are many beach side restaurants on the way, get down at any of them for a byte or two and in that area, you can find a lifeguard and beaches are "slightly" friendly.

Acapulco bay, has ample touristy beaches, Caleta, Icacos, Condesa, Hornos to name a few. None of them are as fierce as the ones in Pie de la Cuesta. Caleta beach has boat services to Isla Roqueta, an island wearing verdant green forests. Hornos is closer to downtown Acapulco, stones throw away from the main road "Costera".

Puerto Marques is worth visiting, atleast for the vantage points enroute, if not for the beach. It's located much farther from the downtown and have to change buses to reach the beach, where you cannot even witness the sunset. However it has many water sports, many vendors sell some nice and cheap food and stuff. The route to this beach encircles a mountain, don't forget to be in one of those tall vantage points for sunset, perfect for photographers. The magnificent panorama has an island in the Pacific with sail boats decorating the waves...very poetic, very romantic.

, is the town square with huge green banyan trees forming canopy as well as home to innumerable pigeons. It's house to retired grannies and grandpas, romancing couples, crying kids and peddlers. It has many restaurants and juice houses around making it a perfect place for lunch or dinner though a bit noisy, crowded place. It also has a cathedral if in case you get religious.

La Quebrada
, renowned diving cliff is a must visit, 10 min walk from
Zócalo. Though I missed the show due to wrong information in the internet, it's a place which would make you go numb in your mind. The brave cliff divers toss themselves into the sea from a treacherous rock, 45 meters high. The interesting point about this place is that the rocks are not of vertical fall, they are greatly projected which makes the diving extremely challenging, it also requires the divers to calculate the waves, for they jump into the bay which ain't that deep!!! The show timings are 12:45PM, 7:30PM, 8:30PM, 9:30PM and 10:30PM, costs 35 pesos.

Again here Acapulco has a blatant victory in comparison to its other cousins. There are too many cheap street food places which serves quick and tasty Mexican food. The city is awake always, the day starts late and hence you get breakfast even at 12 in the noon. Don't forget to taste Pollo poi-poi at Orientalex, it's chopped chicken seasoned with onions, tomatoes and spices, eaten with tortillas and salsa. Vegetariano is a vegetarian alternative. "El Nopal" restaurant at Zocalo serves delicious enchiladas, chicken tacos and fish for ground low prices. Slightly expensive but choice of many vegetarians is "100% Natural" chains of restaurants, which are plenty. Veggies start mouthwatering at the sight of menu containing many agricultural products, a rare thing in Mexico. I've heard, but didn't get a chance to visit, that a restaurant called "Amigo Miguel" is good one too, especially for sea food.

Acapulco people are friendly and warm, I asked one of the road sweepers where to take bus to Pie de la Cuesta. She guided me to board at the corner, which I couldn't comprehend and I started crossing the road. She noticed that, she put her broom stick down, followed me, cried out for me and guided me to exact location of the bus. I was indeed touched by her warmth which lacked in those Americanized places. To experience beach with a touch of Mexico, Acapulco is where gotta go.

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