Category Archives: Guerrero State


Can I have this view every day?

Well we decided to take advantage of our beachside location and just lounge around all day Friday. That was more Maren and my idea than Mex since he gets bored “just doing nothing” and the boredom made him a little sour by the end of the day. A quick round of Phase 10 cheered him up before bed. But that’s getting ahead of myself… For the first time since getting to Mexico (actually since being notified of his interview) Mex and I stayed in bed until after 10. It must have been Maren’s influence and our exhaustion from the sun or maybe just our complete enjoyment of the air-conditioned room. Whatever the reason it felt fabulous even though we were probably actually awake by 8ish. I guess it’s ok to lounge once every two months or so, right mom and dad? =)

Enjoying himself? Not really…

Anyway, not much to report from the day except swimming in the pool and walking on the beach. We didn’t sit in hammocks because we got up too late and all the good ones were full. If you sit too far down on the beach than the vendors come and try to sell you swim suit wraps, hats, necklaces and horseback rides. Sadly, it doesn’t even work to pretend you are sleeping. For lunch we strolled to the place next door which was always busy and had lunch. It is called the Tres Marias and is a hotel that seems nice and restaurant that is always busy. The food was alright and the view good. In the afternoon we treated ourselves to a strawberry margarita at the swim up bar, sweet and refreshing in the heat. Somehow I managed to avoid any very bad sunburns although my freckles have definitely multiplied and are soon going to turn into one giant mass covering my body. Mex’s forearms are darker than I’ve ever seen them and Maren managed to get some nice color that will hopefully last her until summer.

Did we mention the gorgeous sunsets?

After watching another incredible sunset, Maren and I once again enjoyed pizza but it had a different flavor than the first night and I didn’t really like it. I suppose it serves me right for not ordering seafood or Mexican food. Mex did get some fresh fish and he said it was good. The atmosphere of our hotel restaurant was definitely the most “ideal” of the beach places we saw with the palm frond roofed huts and tiki lights and even hammocks in the dining area. The food wasn’t cheap of course but we are finding that none of the restaurants we are willing to eat at are cheap as we planned. The only “street” food we dare eat is corn or mango on a stick and only if we see how it is prepared ourselves. So we wrapped up the evening with a half card game of Phase 10 and went to sleep hearing the waves crash like thunder on the shore.


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La Perla Restaurant – Acapulco

La Perla Restaurant's design mirrors the surrounding steep cliffs

We opted for dinner at La Perla Restaurant which is part of the Mirador Hotel Acapulco. The restaurant is built on a cliff itself and has a pre-set price for a

View of Clavadistas (cliff divers) from La Perla restaurant

three-course meal. It is pricy (around $35) but the cliff and diver views are awesome, there is live mariachi music in between diving shows and the restaurant itself is multi-leveled and all open air so you can enjoy fresh sea breezes. It seemed to be popular with tour groups. The hotel Mirador was a vacation spot for the rich and famous during the 40’s,  50’s and 60’s and there is a wall near the bathrooms of La Perla where celebrities have left their signatures.

We had great seafood dishes for the most part. My coconut shrimp was doughy and a little disappointing as I almost always find coconut shrimp. The cheesecake looked delicious but was lacking a little bit of sweetness. Dinner is served from 7 – 11 pm every day. Divers perform at 7:30, 8:30, 9:30 and 10:30 is a Torch-lit Grand Finale.

Mmmm... sitting on the sea eating seafood. Delish!

We were tempted by this lovely looking dessert, though it was distinctly less sweet than it appears.

Celebrity signature wall sporting the names of famous visitors from Acapulco's hey days in the 40's - 70's

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Acapulco… for real this time

Now that's the way to take ocean pics!

Ok, so we didn’t spend all of Thursday in Acapulco… We did spend the morning relaxing in hammocks, strolling along the beach (making sure not to touch the foamy, brown water), and taking a dip in the pool. Finally, about noon we hopped on a local bus to go to “Old Acapulco” for the afternoon. There is also the Costera area and Acapulco Diamante which are the areas with nice hotels, fancy shopping and night clubs but we only had a limited amount of time so we skipped those “typical” tourist areas.
We walked down by the docks to see some of the yachts and then had lunch along the water. Afterwards we strolled through the zócalo, bought some ice cream and took photos of Mex in front of the cathedral since the patron saint of Acapulco is his birthday saint. It didn’t really seem like a cathedral since the sanctuary part was completely round, white and had a beach-like feel. None of us really felt like buying souvenirs so we decided to try to take a boat ride and see more of the bay.

View of Acapulco Bay from the boat cruise

After some negotiating by Mex we ended up on a somewhat party boat with live music and free drinks that cruised the harbor from 4:30 to 7 pm. We spent a few ear-splitting minutes in front of the live bands speakers before Maren found some seats in the front of the boat where the music was background noise and we could enjoy full views of Acapulco Bay. Mex and I are both total suckers for any kind of boat ride and I think we won Maren over. Especially by the end when we started to enjoy some Victoria beer. Don’t order a Corona or Modelo when you come to Mexico, order a Victoria, a light beer with smooth flavor and no bitterness. Mexicans value it so much, you can’t get it in the States (that’s coming from a girl who doesn’t like beer at all). In fact, Maren went to the boat bar and asked for some and she was given Corona instead. only when Mex went up and ordered Victoria were we finally given the golden goodness.

When we got done with our boat cruise we decided to make our way over to La Quebrada where the world famous Clavadistas (cliff divers) have been jumping off cliffs from 25 – 35 meters high since 1934. They dive at 1 pm, 7:30, 8:30, 9:30 and 10:30 pm daily. There is a free viewing area that you must get to very early to get a spot or a place closer to the dives where you need to pay $5 to see (I’m sure the price goes up frequently).

One of many houses built on a cliff. This one was the filming location for one of Mexico's telenovelas (soap operas)

We opted for dinner at La Perla Restaurant which is built on a cliff and has a pre-set price during dive shows of around $35 US for a three-course meal (see review here). Maren and I both took some videos of the Clavadistas diving. I believe you can also just have drinks at the bar.
Since we are a little old and boring (or maybe older and wiser) we opted for taking a taxi back to the hotel instead of spending a night on the town drinking and dancing. One interesting fact about Acapulco is that over 80% of the tourists are actually Mexicans. Probably because there is a nice toll road linking it to Mexico City making it a quick five hour trip for at least ¼ of the countries population. We actually didn’t see very many US spring breakers around town at all. I suppose they would all be lounging around their all-inclusive hotels not strolling in the slightly grungy old downtown area.

The road in between Pie de la Cuesta and Acapulco was littered with garbage. People stood on piles of garbage waiting for the bus to stop and didn’t even seem to notice. I read that the

In downtown "Old" Acapulco

government has spent millions and millions of dollars trying to clean up the bay to keep tourism strong but it seems like there is a long way to go. When we were on our boat ride there was a kid who was holding a Styrofoam plate and he asked his mom if he should put it in the water. Thankfully she said no and he set it on a chair instead. I was honestly surprised she said no because after seeing the trash lined roads I felt like no one in the country must be conscious of the environment. As you go around a curve you look back and see the trash spilling down the cliff into the ocean. It is terrible but just a sign of poverty and lack of education I suppose. People who can’t afford to pay for garbage service either burn their trash or dump it wherever they have a chance. Seeing things like that makes me feel that there is little hope to “save the environment” without education and financial help to poor places. Tsk, tsk…Enough from my political soapbox for now.

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Getting to Acapulco

Ok… I say we went to Acapulco but our hotel was actually in Pie de la Cuesta which is about 12 km or so west of Old Acapulco. I can’t do the math to tell you what that is in miles because even my brain cells are sweating in this heat. All I know is there are 1.6 km in a mile… I think…

Sunset in front of our hotel in Pie de la Cuesta

So after Taxco we hopped in the car for the 3 ½ hour journey to Acapulco. Since Mex and I have learned that avoiding big city driving is essential to how well we get along, Maren and I searched the map for a way to avoid the city of Acapulco. We navigated Mex to a “free” road, which means no guarantees on the road’s condition, about 45 minutes north of the city. We have been on some toll roads that made us want to turn around and ask for a refund so I was apprehensive about a free one. The road was in surprisingly good condition, winding through the mountains and many little villages which thankfully didn’t have a ridiculous number of topes (speed bumps for those of you that don’t remember the dozen other times I’ve complained about them). As we got closer we started to see lots of palm trees everywhere. Initially, we thought they were natural and then we noticed they were growing in suspiciously straight lines like at an apple orchard or Christmas tree farm. It made sense when we started to see dozens of roadside stands selling fresh coconuts. If only those coconuts were filled with a nice, cold piña colada.

Moonlit view from our oceanside room. The sound of waves crashing (and the AC) made the upgrade worth it.

Pie de la Cuesta is basically the name of a beach community that is one tar road lined with little hotels and restaurants. The ocean is on one side and Lake Coyuca is on the other. Once we got to Hacienda Vayma we were offered an upgrade to an Oceanside suite. After comparing both rooms we all decided the extra $80 US was worth the splurge to have  an ocean view, AC and hot water. Pie de la Cuesta is famous for huge rolling waves and sunsets, both of which were worth the visit. Apparently, you can’t view the sunset from most of Acapulco Bay because of the horseshoe shape, so Pie de la Cuesta is the best spot to see the sun hit the ocean. However, the guide books don’t tell you about the strong fishy odor or the brown foam washing up on the beach. That was an unpleasant surprise. The smell wasn’t overpowering most of the time and we were able to enjoy some outdoor meals with the tiki light atmosphere. Because the waves are so huge all the time, it isn’t really safe to swim which is why every hotel has a pool (and a swim up bar). Since we didn’t get there until fairly late on Wednesday we just enjoyed the air-conditioning, watched the sunset, sat at the tiki bar and had some drinks, a delicious pizza and onion rings while watching the waves roll on to the beach… I know… Every time I mention pizza I feel guilty but I’ve decided that as long as we are eating it in Mexico it should be considered Mexican food!

Constant big waves make for a great soundtrack but bad swimming.

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Taxco – Mexico’s silver mecca

Cathedral in Taxco

How could I forget to mention Taxco? (Especially when it is on the “list”) I have wanted to go there since I saw a picture of the rose-colored baroque cathedral perched dramatically on a hillside. In person it wasn’t sitting as dramatically as I remember, but it was still beautiful. Taxco was a slight detour from our Cuernavaca to Acapulco route and, unfortunately, we didn’t have enough time to enjoy much of the city. Luckily, as we approached the city there was a nice pull off with gorgeous views where we snapped a few pictures. Most of the buildings are white with red tile roofs, a style I once thought of as Mexican but now realize it really a Spanish influence. The cathedral, Templo de Santa Prisca, was completed in 1758. The Churrigueresque facade towers above the stores along Plaza Borda and homes and has elaborate paintings and gold leaf sculptures inside. It is difficult to capture it all without the use of a flash or tripod. Very dramatic and intricate compared to what we have seen so far and very European. Most of the gold leaf has thick layers of dust. They are in the middle of a multi-million dollar restoration process for the entire cathedral but, from my interpretation of the signs, they have run out of money so efforts are currently on hold.

Set on a hillside with white-washed buildings and red tiled roofs, Taxco is beautiful from first glance.

The city is famous for silver production and you can’t walk more than a dozen steps without stumbling upon a silver shop. More accurately, you can’t walk more than a dozen steps without somebody coming up to you and trying to “guide” you into certain shops. I don’t know if it was the combination of two gringas walking around with Mex (whom they assumed spoke some Spanish) that drew the guides to him like bears to honey, but they relentlessly followed us everywhere. We would walk out of one store and they would immediately try to guide us to another. It got to be so oppressive that we started looking out the door first and then darting to the next store when the “guide” wasn’t looking.

Looking out over the rooftops of Taxco

The city seems to be entirely uphill with cobblestone streets that are so narrow in some places I felt like the three of us couldn’t even walk side by side. Somehow, little green and white slug bug taxis relentlessly zip up and down like mice in a maze. However, if you drive, I definitely recommend stopping at the very first parking lot you see and taking a taxi in to town. There are many one way streets and it is a very old city with very old roads and limited parking! If you are in Acapulco, Cuernavaca or Mexico City, you could easily do Taxco as a day trip on the bus. Just make sure to take the air-conditioned first class bus if you’re here during the hot months!

We gave up after about 20 silver shops which either had nothing we liked or what we liked was too out of our price range. At one store there was an intricate silver bracelet with small sapphires and matching earrings. The woman let me put it on and I had Mex talked in to it, assuming the set would be about $200. Nope! $6000! That bracelet flew off my wrist so fast I’m lucky that it didn’t break!

We ascended five flights of stairs to eat on a rooftop café with a view of the cathedral and plaza. Even

Dust-covered inside of the cathedral

though we were walking towards the staircase on our own, a guide still managed to come up to Mex and had us follow him up the stairs to the restaurant. I’m not sure what the point is in all that but I’m guessing there is some kind of commission involved. The stunning view of the cathedral and surrounding hills from the restaurant was almost worth the price for the not-so-tasty food. People had laundry hanging on rooftop clothes lines just like I remember in Jerusalem. I guess when you have no yard and no dryers you find the only space available. On the taxi ride to the car we saw a street a block from the zócalo that had some very nice non-silver crafts. We’ll save those for next time… and maybe some silver, too.

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