Acapulco and the hotel Acapulco Princess

Acapulco Travel Blog

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I will start this off with a brief preface: I enjoyed Acapulco, the trip was great, the company amazing, and the swim up bar was a yummy treat.  Americans in Acapulco have to be careful a little more careful than you would be in most other places in Mexico.  It is rated high on the list of kidnappings and people going missing in the night.  With that being said, Chaves was hired by the hotel to be my shadow and I was not detoured from going out and exploring every inch of ground.

My trip to Acapulco took place in early September with a group of colleagues for a conference regarding Cisco and Networking.

  Yeah I know rough job huh!  I arrived at the airport and was met by my week long taxi driver and Chaves, Cheech as I called him is the size of the twin towers and spoke very little.  He did have a machine gun so when he spoke I listened.  Obviously most people going to Acapulco didn't have armed guards but the company and the hotel didn't want to chance it.  Whatever!

We went straight to Acapulco Princess located along Playa Revolcadero, the Fairmont Acapulco Princess is a very well-known resort.  Its rather secluded location also makes it one of the most relaxing and private places to stay.  Transportation to and from most attractions and discos are fairly expensive.  The resort is impressive from the huge open atrium, the swans swimming along streams around the open dining, the 4 story water slide, Laguna with free swinging bridge about 50' up(we will get to the bridge later), three pools, and ah yes the swim up bar with Pablo the bartender.

  It is extremely humid that time of year so don't plan on leaving something on the patio or in the room to dry, it won't.  The room and the food are fairly expensive but, it was a business trip so screw it.  The drinks and souvenirs on the other hand were cheap and if you like Cuban cigars you came to the right place.  At around $3.50 for premium stuff I am told it is a good deal.  Once again the security at this hotel is extreme.  security around the entire complex, at the front 12' wrought iron gates, and on the beach access.  There is a ton to-do around the hotel from golf, swimming, movies, tennis, water slides, eating, drinking, spa and games.  If you travel out onto the beach the sand is warm and inviting and the water is invigorating.  You will also find locals selling their items, horse rides, ATV's, snorkeling and Para sailing.  I opted to go Para-sailing up and down the beach front.  The Para-sailing was one of the more expensive activities at $80 for a single ride.  The next adventure was horseback riding on the beach; I chose the half-day ride which took you into town to the cliffs on horse-back where you could have lunch and refreshments while watching the cliff-divers.

Back at the resort it is time for dinner, there are two restaurants on the property which are both really expensive.  There are snacks and finger foods at the lounges and bars and the swim up bar has spicy nuts to eat, which the swans will beg for or take away if they get the chance.

The rooms are spacious, elegant and well kept; the resort makes sure you know it is a resort.  With the lack-luster choices for dinner, a few people and I decided it was time to go into town.

  There are restaurants, discos, shopping, and anything your little heart could desire.  We opted for the El Sombrero Cantina which is geared more towards eating and less dancing.  They have Mexican and seafood dishes from around $40 to $100 per person.  They are said to have the best margaritas in Acapulco.  I don't know if this is true however, after two hours there it lowered our inhabitations and assisted with are decisions to climb up on the mechanical bull.  Here is a warning for all who want to try the mechanical bull if you last 8-seconds you are rewarded with the house special drink, be afraid very afraid.  It comes in a fish bowl with a single straw and most of the wait staff and bartenders laugh and nod their heads when they hand it to you.  One told me it would change how I see things and that is because if you finish it you are too drunk to see anything.  However, fear didn't sit on my shoulder that night because I had my human tree Cheech to ensure my virtues stayed intact.

Then off to the discos two of the more noted places to go: Mandara nightclub is an elegant club with a great view of the bay and really pricey and Disco Beach which is located on playa Condesa it is a more casual atmosphere, great for drinking and dancing with friends.

  As a side note Friday night is foam party night so, we opted for Disco Beach and some foam.  Now to get into the discos you are going to drop $25-35 bucks, don't fear in most discos that includes open bar.  Don't spend too much time at the bars early, Acapulco has a late night life so the partying starts about 11:00pm and if you do it right you will see a spectacular sun rise and get a taco from one of the many vendors before bed.  The discos and the nightlife are amazing and will leave you with lasting memories.

The next morning it was up early to rush to La Quebrada at sunrise (who am I kidding we hadn't been to bed yet) to watch the spectacular cliff divers.  The morning show and the afternoon show they really turn it on and will have two to four people jumping at the same time and on different levels.

  There are flea market type areas set-up throughout the town where you can pick up local items, souvenirs, and trinkets.  There are many higher end-stores for jewelry, clothing, purses and shoes; they also have some realistic replicas if you are looking for a Gucci, Coach or Louis Vuitton cheap.  Are taxi driver took us to his cousins jewelry store, as we pulled we noticed the man outside in a three piece suit and machine gun for his accessory.  It is a little disconcerting at first but then you realize he is there to protect the business and the customers.  The jewelry available at the higher end stores is breath-taking, shiny pretties as far as the eyes could see.  The supplied us with margaritas and offered food while we browsed, you got the understanding that you are expected to buy something that browsing is not exactly why they are there.  So, if you want to window-shop you should probably stay on the boulevard.  If you go off the beaten path to the remote stores exercise a little caution with what you eat and drink.
  At the cousins jewelry shop I got a spiked drink that sent me into loopy land for a while, not complaining I had a smile on my face for hours and everything was shiny and pretty with little stars around it.  Which helped with a photo that night, it inspired me to use a star filter and got a great shot.

The sunset in Acapulco is a time for decisions between a sunset cruise or the seafood dinner at Pie de la Cuesta, if you choose the seafood dinner bring your wallet or a credit card because it will set you back minimum $200.  It seems expensive and there are the typical American restaurants such as Hooters, Hard Rock and Planet Hollywood, even these places are more expensive than in the states.  There are the smaller and less expensive places along the main strip, they don't look like much but the food is good.

  However, at Pie de la Cuesta the food is superb and the service is second to none.  Although there is no mechanical bull!

Before I start the evening’s activities and an amusing story I must say that no matter how it sounds the sole purpose for traveling and the sole activity is not drinking.  With that being said after dinner it was back to the hotel, just for a note about taxi costs, for the 15 mile ride to the hotel it costs $65 so keep that in mind if you stay outside the city.  The resort was packed with tourists and other convention participants (yes at this point I am still pretending to work).  This particular night Cisco provided a customer appreciation evening.  This included aerial performers, rope acts, and dancers, oh and open bar, imagine 10,000 drunk Information Technology geeks in one location.

  Ah the tape on the glasses and pocket protectors as far as the eyes can see, well actually most of the people there looked nothing like the standard description associated with IT geeks.  I met people from New York, France, Mexico, Scotland and more.  After hours of customer appreciation activities a large group of us decided it wasn't quite time for bed so off to the swim up bar and lounge.  My French friends and I decided to push each other in the pool, to my surprise he drops his pants right down to his almost see thru Speedos and in we go.  The French definitely do not share the modesty engrained into most of the American population. 

The food and rooms at the Fairmont are on the expensive side, the drinks on the other hand lean more towards that of a nice club or bar.

   For a mixed drink you will be out about $12, beer $7, and a shot $6 and they do have specials of the day for $5.  The lounge provides the spicy nuts at no cost for obvious reasons, if you order appetizers which let’s be honest large groups of people drinking you will be ordering something.  The appetizers range from $18 up to $40 per appetizer, so if you think about it stock up at the hotel store before it closes and the party starts.  Now for the funny story, there were about 18 of us left end of the night which is actually about 3:00am at this point.  One or more of us decided it would be a good idea to go to the water slide and perhaps jump off the free standing bridge.  I love jumping off things so the fact that this portion of the resort is closed was not a deterrence.  One of the girls ran ahead to the slide, as the rest of us approached we heard a chaffing noise and Bonnie yelling.  It would appear they shut the water off at night and the slide is so steep it is hard to stop even without water.
  So our attention shifts to the bridge, the first group jumps and here comes the security with flash lights too kick us out.  They got bored and went back to their evening activities so the rest of us took the opportunity to get into position for our jumps.  I was second to last and it was a blast when I went off the bridge, I hit that warm sea water it felt like velvet wrapping around me.  I started swimming over to the rocks as the last person jumped, his name is Mike and he is from New York.  On the way down Mike starts screaming bloody murder, he hits the water splashing and squealing and I asked him what your problem is.  It would appear Mike can't swim, jumped off a bridge way above the Laguna and was yelling to get my attention so I would get him to the side.  It turned out okay for Mike after laughing at him and calling him a dummy I helped him out of the water.  At that point I asked him if you can't swim why did you jump and the response, I assumed you would pull me out. The drunk and naive are so cute.

Now onto a new day and a little history, let me introduce the Fuerte de San Diego located near the Zocalo, the fort was originally built to protect the city from pirate attacks.  At the time, Acapulco was making some good money importing goods by sea and was considered a lucrative target for the peg legged, one eyed bandits... Now the fort is a museum which relays the history of Acapulco and some breathtaking photography opportunities.

Now it is hot and time to indulge in some of the many water sports offered in Acapulco.  There are tons of boogie boards, and surf boards for rent, catamaran rentals, scuba diving, snorkeling, deep sea fishing, glass bottom boats and beaches as far as the eyes can see.  A popular day trip is the boat ride to Roqueta Island to snorkel, glass bottom boats and fishing.  If you bring your kids a popular place is the CICI water park which is a favorite for most children.

My choice is a little known tourist activity that you will find near La Quebrada where the cliff divers jump.  There is a small tiny hut that says caves on it.  You pay them $100 and they give you the gear you will need, put you in a beat up tiny boat and take you to the entrance of a cave located on the rocky shorelines.  You swim into the cave and you will swim for what seems like a mile and then it starts to shallow.  As you climb out you are met with multiple passages that you can explore and navigate.  Now first response is to take off and explore but you have to stay with a guide the entire time and stay with the group.  The $100 buys you three bottles of water and about four hours in the caves.  Deep in the cave there is a pool of crystal blue water that is purely inspiring.  Now when the guide says we got to go now he means it, you don't want to get stuck in the caves as high tide moves in.  The swim out during high tide would be extremely difficult.

Now we are out of the tower what kind of beach get-away would be complete without a little bungee jumping from the tower.  Once again you will be dropping about $75 to jump off a perfectly good tower to your impending death if the cable breaks.  As I mentioned before I love jumping off things so I was up to the challenge.

Now time for food, a lot of the restaurants in town do not appreciate wet smelly tourists taking up their space and making messes in the dining room.  One place that will accept you how you are is Bar Bar Roja and it happens to be right next to the bungee tower as you go in look for the pirate and skeletons in cages next to the bungee tower.  Bar Bar Roja specializes in shrimp, steak and lobster; they have mouth watering appetizers and really big portions.  The food is savory goodness which will run from $100-$220 per person.

Ah now back for one more round of cliff diving, the highest of the dives performed is from 130' and must be perfectly timed to hit the sliver of water with incoming surge of surf.  Mind you the water they are diving into is only 12' deep so there is a good reason for them to pray at the shrine on the top before jumping.

That sums up the portions of this trip that I shall share now for the history and tourist stuff:

Acapulco was Mexico’s main beach resort destination from the 1950's until it was surpassed by Cancun in the 1980s.  It remains one of Mexico’s most popular resort areas and a favorite destination of spring breakers.  At just three and a half hours drive from Mexico City, it's also a favorite among the Mexico City residents for weekend beach getaways.

Acapulco was founded in 1566, though the area was inhabited since ancient times.  During the colonial period Acapulco was the main port for trade with Asia, receiving shipments from the Philippines and China.  The city was attacked repeatedly by pirates, which spurred the building of Fort of San Diego in the 17th century.  The free highway connecting Acapulco to Mexico City was completed in the 1920's and the super highway, known as the Autopista del Sol was completed in 1955.

The city is divided into three main areas surrounding the Bay of Acapulco.  On the west side is the old city, with its Zocalo and market.  Acapulco Dorado occupies the central and east sides of the bay.  This is the main tourist area where hotels and nightclubs abound.  More upscale resorts are located in the newer Acapulco Diamante area to the south of Acapulco's main bay.  The Costera Miguel Aleman is the main drag and runs all the way around the bay.


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photo by: vulindlela