Posted by: Sailing Camelot | March 5, 2012

Feb 26th – First taste of Acapulco

Acapulco has been a touristic Mecca since the 1920’s, a coveted vacation spot for the rich and famous and a movie set for many motion pictures. To name a few: Tarzan (the very first one), Fun in Acapulco (Elvis Presley and Ursula Andress), and Rambo (Sylvester Stallone).

This controversial town has lost most of its exclusivity and shine since then, but still remains a popular destination.

Today we take our first tour, starting with the short dinghy trip from our mooring ball to shore. We park our dinghy on the docks at the Acapulco Marina, where it will be safe and watched by Security Guards for the steep price of 200 Pesos per day. I guess it’s worth it and I’m not complaining, but I can’t help compare this fee with the 300 Pesos per day we paid for the mooring ball.

But that’s just me, the Evil Queen of Numbers. It’s what I do… 

Yes, we're HERE!

The Lighthouse at Marina de Acapulco, dwarfed by the high rises...

We take a long walk toward the town center, maybe a mile and a half from the Marina. There are buses that will take you anywhere for only 6 Pesos per person, but we badly need to move after days sitting on the boat and we welcome the exercise.

First we notice the local taxis on the streets: almost all of them are old white and blue Volkswagen Bugs from the Seventies!

The Crazy Bugs and colorful Buses of Acapulco

Just seeing them zoom about makes me giggle

We walk aimlessly a long way, craning our necks this way and that like real tourists, ending at the Ferry Terminal. From there we see a sign advertising Fuerte de San Diego, a museum of history and anthropology. I guess we need to visit!

Overpass from the Ferry Terminal to Fuerte de San Diego

Tom showing the way to the Fort

View of the Marina across the top of the Ferry Terminal

This fortress, dating back to 1776 and built in the shape of a pentagon, sits atop a hill overlooking Acapulco Bay. The view is breathtaking, and so is the steep climb to get there…

So Mexico has a Pentagon, too!

Entering the Fort: to welcome tourists they point a cannon at them!

The building itself is amazing and the displays inside are so very interesting, covering everything from the early people of Mexico, to the Spanish occupation and the trade with Asia and the Philippines. We spent hours in there! Also, the air conditioning inside encouraged us to stay at leisure…

Postcard Perfect! Bahia de Acapulco

View of the Bay from the Fort

Nicely cooled off, we next decide to scope out the Zona Hotelera, the part of town where tourist is king. We hop on one of the many colorful buses zooming about town.

These buses are privately owned and each one is personalized to the owner’s taste, from graphics and colors outside to music and décor inside. They each have a theme: there’s the Caballero, painted with vivid Mexican scenes inside and out, playing Mariachi music to deafening levels. There’s El Rey Scorpion (The Scorpion King), Santo Nino, Flower Power, and so many more.

The colorful (and loud!) Buses of Acapulco

If traffic is congested, at least is fun to watch!

We hop on Flower Power and take a long, scenic ride, until our ears can’t take it anymore. It also has to be mentioned, the driving style of these guys is incredible… If you’ve seen the Harry Potter movies, well, it’s exactly like that: take-offs at breakneck speed and stops so abrupt that the rear wheels almost come off the road. It’s just another form of entertainment, Mexican style.

The Flower Power Bus is coming to get us!

 

And this is what it looks like inside...

The Hotel Zone is similar to any other found in Mexico. Lots of shops, even more bars and restaurants, lots of banks, ice cream parlors, even a four-storey American style shopping mall. We can’t help noticing the massive Police presence. Officers armed with rifles standing in pairs around the shops, pick-up truck loaded with masked soldiers armed to their teeth, Federal Police, Touristic Police, City Police cars zooming up and down, incessantly patrolling the city. I don’t know if I feel extremely reassured or supremely alarmed…

Ever the manic photographer, I raise my camera to take a picture of the menacing-looking soldiers on the pick-up truck. One of them barely moves his head in a no-no motion, and it’s enough to make me desist. I know there’s a reason for them to wear masks: these guys are trying to hide their identity from the narco trafficants. What was I even thinking, trying to take their picture…

We’ve been playing tourist for more than a few hours and are getting tired, so we make our way back to the boat. There’s still quite a bit to see, but there’s always Manana…

Relaxing view with customary Palm Tree. Camelot is down there somewhere...

 

 

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