A long bus journey took us through the mountains and mescal producing region, before hitting the coastal road to Puerto Escondido. We checked into a hotel close to the beach. The following morning we took a walk by the ocean. The rest of the day was spent decadently drinking mojitos with a view of the Pacific.
The Bumpy Road to Acapulco
The next day we jumped on another bus to Acapulco, a journey which took about seven and a half hours. Shorter than the previous day’s journey from Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido, which had taken around ten hours. If Mexican roads didn’t have so many speed bumps, we would have been there in half the time!
Acapulco is huge – it is simultaneously kitschy, edgy, traffic clogged and beautiful. The drug war has hit the city badly and apparently many people have been staying away. We were staying at ‘Los Flamingos’, the Hollywood hideaway of John Wayne, Johnny Weissmuller, Errol Flynn, Cary Grant and pals.
We felt as if we were in a time warp – full on fifties Acapulco. There was memorabilia and photographs of the Hollywood gang who owned the place back in the day, and a bar complete with plastic flamingos and fiesta flags. The flamboyant hotel was situated on a cliff top overlooking the Pacific Ocean and the views were amazing. For that, we overlooked a toilet that didn’t flush, dodgy electrics and a host of over friendly bugs crawling under the door into our room!
A Glass-Bottomed Boat
In true Acapulco style, we went on a glass-bottomed boat around the bay. It was good to feel the breeze and we also saw some rather lovely fish and a sunken statue of the Virgin of Guadalupe. Meanwhile, pelicans flew overhead.
Back on land, we wandered around the Zocalo, where stalls sold tacky jewellery, shells and souvenirs. We used the ubiquitous VW beetle taxis to get around, which were cheap and nifty. The buses were interesting – each designed differently, often in vibrant colours and featuring everything from the Virgin Mary to the angry birds!
Academy Award Night
We happened to be in Acapulco on Academy Awards night and had an Oscar party in our room. We watched the awards, which were dubbed in Spanish on a fuzzy TV screen and indulged in Oaxacan cheese on crackers and wine. Go Les Mis!
A Birthday to Remember….
On Ku’s birthday, we went up in the hills to the Jardin Botanico de Acapulco, which had an abundance of cool boulders and cacti. We walked through a lush forested area, where we spotted spectacular bright pink dragonflies. It was a peaceful retreat from the downtown area. We then headed to the highest point of Acapulco, La Capilla de la Paz, a chapel which has a gigantic cross overlooking the city. The views were fantastic.
Back at the beach, we went to a bar where Happy Hour goes on 24/7 and lined up the birthday margaritas, accompanied by nachos and guacamole of course.
After an afternoon nap, we headed to the Los Flamingos bar, where Ku sampled the famous Coco Loco – coconut juice, pineapple, tequila and rum, served very flamboyantly in a coconut decorated with flowers and palm leaves.
In the evening, we took a taxi to a restaurant called La Perla, and had dinner and more margaritas while we watched the Clavadistas dive from the cliff tops into the swirling ocean below. It was very breezy and we wondered if they would still dive despite the conditions, but they weren’t deterred, and it was an amazing sight. They jump in on one side, swim over to the cliffs and scramble up to the top like monkeys, before making their dives. A very memorable birthday indeed!