Acapulco

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Acapulco
City and municipality
Acapulco de Juárez
Coat of arms of Acapulco
Coat of arms
Acapulco is located in Mexico
Acapulco
Acapulco
Location in Mexico
Coordinates: 16°51′49″N 99°52′57″W / 16.86361°N 99.88250°W / 16.86361; -99.88250Coordinates: 16°51′49″N 99°52′57″W / 16.86361°N 99.88250°W / 16.86361; -99.88250
Country  Mexico
State  Guerrero
Founded 1520s
Government
 • Municipal president Luis Walton (2012–2015)
Area
 • Municipality 1,880.60 km2 (726.10 sq mi)
 • Urban 85 km2 (33 sq mi)
 • Metro 3,538.5 km2 (1,366.2 sq mi)
Elevation (of seat) 30 m (100 ft)
Population (2012)
 • Municipality 687,608
 • Density 370/km2 (950/sq mi)
 • Metro 1,021,000
Demonym Acapulqueño (a)
Porteño (a)
Time zone CST (UTC−6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC−5)
Postal code 39300-39937
Area code(s) 744
Website Official website (Spanish)

Acapulco de Juárez (Spanish: [akaˈpulko de ˈxwaɾes]), commonly called Acapulco, is a city, municipality and major seaport in the state of Guerrero on the Pacific coast of Mexico, 380 kilometres (240 mi) southwest from Mexico City. Acapulco is located on a deep, semi-circular bay and has been a port since the early colonial period of Mexico's history.[1] It is a port of call for shipping and cruising lines running between Panama and San Francisco, California, United States.[2] The city of Acapulco is the largest in the state, far larger than the state capital Chilpancingo. Acapulco is also Mexico's largest beach and balneario resorted city.[3]

The city is best known as one of Mexico's oldest and most well-known beach resorts, which came into prominence in the 1950s as a getaway for Hollywood stars and millionaires.[4][5][6][7] Acapulco is still famous for its nightlife and still attracts many tourists, although most are now from Mexico itself.[8][9] The resort area is divided into two: The north end of the bay is the "traditional" area, where the famous in the mid-20th century vacationed; and the south end is dominated by newer luxury high-rise hotels.[10]

The name "Acapulco" comes from Nahuatl language Aca-pōl-co, and means "where the reeds were destroyed or washed away".[11] The "de Juárez" was added to the official name in 1885 to honor Benito Juárez, former President of Mexico (1806–1872). The seal for the city shows broken reeds or cane.[1]

History[edit]

A 1628 relief atlas of Acapulco bay

By the eighth century in the Acapulco area, there was a small culture which would first be dominated by the Olmecs, then by a number of others during the pre-Hispanic period. In Acapulco bay itself, there were two Olmec sites, one by Playa Larga and the other on a hill known as El Guitarrón. Olmec influence caused the small spread-out villages here to coalesce into larger entities and build ceremonial centers. Later, Teotihuacan influence made its way here via Cuernavaca and Chilpancingo. Then Mayan influence arrived from the Isthmus of Tehuantepec and through what is now Oaxaca. This history is known through the archaeological artifacts that have been found here, especially at Playa Hornos, Pie de la Cuesta and Tambuco.[1] In the 11th century, new waves of migration of Nahuas and Coixas came through here. These people were the antecedents of the Aztecs. After four years of military struggle, Acapulco became part of the Aztec Empire during the reign of Ahuizotl and was annexed to a tributary province called Tepecuacuilco; however, this was only transitory, as the Aztecs could only establish an unorganized military post in the outskirts of the city, which was on territory under control of the Yopes, who continued defending it and living there until the arrival of the Spanish.[1][12]

There are two stories about how Acapulco bay was discovered by Europeans. The first states that two years after the Conquest, Hernán Cortés sent explorers west to find gold. The explorers had subdued this area after 1523, and Captain Saavedra Cerón was authorized by Cortés to found a settlement here. The other states that the bay was discovered on December 13, 1526 by a small ship named the El Tepache Santiago captained by Santiago Guevara.[1] The first encomendero was established in 1525 at Cacahuatepec, which is part of the modern Acapulco municipality. In 1531, a number of Spaniards, most notably Juan Rodriguez de Villafuerte, left the Oaxaca coast and founded the village of Villafuerte where the city of Acapulco now stands. Villafuerte was unable to subdue the local native peoples, and this eventually resulted in the Yopa Rebellion in the region of Cuautepec. Hernán Cortés was obligated to send Vasco Porcayo to negotiate with the indigenous people giving concessions. The province of Acapulco became the encomendero of Rodriguez de Villafuerte who received taxes in the form of cocoa, cotton and corn.[1]

Codex Tudela: "Acapulco's Yope Indian, at the South Sea"
Painting of a sandy beach, sun setting behind it, seen from the water. People sit by a hut with two longboats. A woman carries a basket on her head up the beach toward a tile-roof house. Lush forest is silhouetted against the late sunset.
View of Acapulco, 1879, oil painting by Carl Saltzmann

Cortés established Acapulco as a major port by the early 1530s, with the first major road between Mexico City and the port constructed by 1531. The wharf, named Marqués, was constructed by 1533 between Bruja Point and Diamond Point. Soon after, the area was made an "alcadia" (major province or town).[1]

Spanish trade in the Far East would give Acapulco a prominent position in the economy of New Spain. Galleons started arriving here from Asia by 1550, and in that year thirty Spanish families were sent to live here from Mexico City to have a permanent base of European residents.[1] Acapulco would become the second most important port, after Veracruz, due to its direct trade with the Philippines. This trade would focus on the yearly Manila-Acapulco Galleon trade, which was the nexus of all kinds of communications between New Spain, Europe and Asia. In 1573, the port was granted the monopoly of the Manila trade.[2]

The galleon trade would make its yearly run from the mid-16th century until the early 19th. The luxury items it brought to New Spain attracted the attention of English and Dutch pirates, such as Francis Drake, Henry Morgan and Thomas Cavendish, who called it "The Black Ship."[7][10] To protect the port and the cargo of arriving ships, the San Diego Fort was built. Despite the fort's existence, a Dutch fleet invaded Acapulco in 1615, destroying much of the town and fort before being driven off. The fort was destroyed by an earthquake in 1776 and was rebuilt in 1783.[7][10] At the beginning of the 19th century, King Charles IV declared Acapulco a Ciudad Official and it became an essential part of the Spanish Crown. However, not long after, the Mexican War of Independence began. In 1810, José María Morelos y Pavón attacked and burnt down the city,[7] after he defeated royalist commander Francisco Parés at the Battle of Tres Palos.[1] The independence of Mexico in 1821 ended the run of the Manila Galleon.[10] Acapulco's importance as a port recovered during the California Gold Rush in the mid-19th century, with ships going to and coming from Panama stopping here.[7]

In 1911, revolutionary forces took over the main plaza of Acapulco.[1] In 1920, the Prince of Wales (the future King Edward VIII) visited the area. Impressed by what he saw, he recommended the place to his compatriots in Europe, making it popular with the elite there. Much of the original hotel and trading infrastructure was built by an East Texas businessman named Albert B. Pullen from Corrigan, Texas, in the area now known as Old Acapulco.[7] But some of Acapulco's best known hotels were built by others. In 1933 Carlos Barnard started the first section of Hotel El Mirador,[13] with 12 rooms on the cliffs of La Quebrada. Wolf Schoenborn purchased large amounts of undeveloped land and Albert Pullen built the Las Americas Hotel.[10]

In the mid-1940s, the first commercial wharf and warehouses were built.[2] In the early 1950s, President Miguel Alemán Valdés upgraded the port's infrastructure, installing electrical lines, drainage systems, roads and the first highway to connect the port with Mexico City.[7]

The Bay of Acapulco from the top of Palma Sola

The economy grew and foreign investment increased with it. During the 1950s, Acapulco became the fashionable place for millionaire Hollywood stars such as Elizabeth Taylor, Frank Sinatra, Eddie Fisher and Brigitte Bardot.[7] Former Swing Musician Teddy Stauffer, so called "Mister Acapulco", was a hotel manager ("Villa Vera", "Casablanca"), who attracted a lot of celebrities to Acapulco.[14]

Three 21-story blue-and-white-clad triplet condominiums loom over a white 9-story, next to an older brown-tone 20-story
High rise apartments and condominiums were constructed en masse throughout the 1980s–1990s
High view of the beachfront condos and hotels on the left, the long curved beach, Pacific ocean on the right
Beach at Acapulco

From a population of only 4,000 or 5,000 in the 1940s,[10] by the early 1960s, Acapulco had a population of about 50,000.[15] In 1958, The Diocese of Acapulco was created by Pope Pius XII. It would become an archdiocese in 1983.[16]

During the 1960s and 1970s, new hotel resorts were built, and accommodation and transport were made cheaper. It was no longer necessary to be a millionaire to spend a holiday in Acapulco; the foreign and Mexican middle class could now afford to travel here.[7] However, as more hotels were built in the south part of the bay, the old hotels of the 1950s lost their grandeur.[17]

In the 1970s, there was a significant expansion of the port.[2] The Miss Universe 1978 pageant took place in that city later that decade. In 1983, singer-songwriter Juan Gabriel wrote the song Amor eterno, which pays homage to Acapulco. The song was first and most famously recorded by Rocio Durcal. Additionally, Acapulco is the hometown of actress, singer and comedienne Aída Pierce, who found fame during the 1980s, 1990s and the first decade of the 21st century.

During the 1990s, the road known as the Ruta del Sol was built, crossing the mountains between Mexico City and Acapulco. The journey takes only about three and a half hours, making Acapulco a favorite weekend destination for Mexico City inhabitants.[7] It was in that time period that the economic impact of Acapulco as a tourist destination increased positively and as a result a new type of services emerged like the Colegio Nautilus; This educational project backed by the state government, was created for the families of local and foreign investors and businessmen living in Acapulco who where in need of a bilingual and international education for their children.

The port continued to grow and in 1996, a new private company, API Acapulco, was created to manage operations. This consolidated operations and now Acapulco is the major port for car exports to the Pacific.[2]

Acapulco skyline

The city was devastated by Hurricane Pauline in 1997. The storm stranded tourists and left more than 100 dead in the city. Most of the victims were from the shantytowns built on steep hillsides that surround the city. Other victims were swept away by thirty-foot waves and 150 mph (241 km/h) winds. The main road, Avenida Costera, became a fast-moving three-foot-deep river of sludge.[18]

In the 2000s, the drug war in Mexico has had a negative effect on tourism in Acapulco as rival drug traffickers fight each other for the Guerrero coast route that brings drugs from South America as well as soldiers that have been fighting the cartels since 2006. A major gun battle between 18 gunmen and soldiers took place in the summer of 2009 in the Old Acapulco seaside area, lasting hours and killing 16 of the gunmen and two soldiers.[17][19] This came after the swine flu outbreak earlier in the year nearly paralyzed the Mexican economy, forcing hotels to give discounts to bring tourists back.[19] However, hotel occupancy for 2009 was down five percent from the year before.[20] The death of Arturo Beltran Leyva in December 2009 resulted in infighting among different groups within the Beltran Leyva cartel.[21]

Gang violence continued to plague Acapulco through 2010 and into 2011, most notably with at least 15 dying in drug-related violence on March 13, 2010, and another 15 deaths on January 8, 2011. Among the first incident's dead were six members of the city police and the brother of an ex-mayor.[22] In the second incident, the headless bodies of 15 young men were found dumped near the Plaza Senderos shopping center.[23] On August 20, 2011, Mexican authorities reported that five headless bodies were found in Acapulco, three of which were placed in the city's main tourist area and two of which were cut into multiple pieces.[21] On February 4, 2013, six Spanish men were tied up and robbed and the six Spanish women with them were gang-raped by five masked gunmen who stormed a beach house on the outskirts of Acapulco.[24] On 28 September 2014, A Mexican politician called Braulio Zaragoza was gunned down at the El Mirador hotel in the city, He was the leader of the conservative opposition National Action Party (PAN) in southern Guerrero state, Several politicians have been targeted by drug cartels operating in the area, investigations are under way but no arrests have yet been made.[25]

Geography and climate[edit]

The city, located on the Pacific coast of Mexico in the state of Guerrero, is classified as one of the state's seven regions, dividing the rest of the Guerrero coast into the Costa Grande and the Costa Chica.[26] Forty percent of the municipality is mountainous terrain. Another forty percent is semi-flat, and the other twenty percent is flat. Altitude varies from sea level to 1,699 metres (5,574 feet). The highest peaks are Potrero, San Nicolas and Alto Camarón. There is one major river, the Papagayo, which runs through the municipality, along with a number of arroyos. There are also two small lagoons, Tres Palos and Coyuca. along with a number of thermal springs.

Acapulco features a tropical wet and dry climate (Köppen: Aw): hot with distinct wet and dry seasons, with more even temperatures between seasons than resorts farther north in Mexico, but this varies depending on altitude. The warmest areas are next to the sea where the city is. Tropical Storms and Hurricanes are threat from May through November. The forested area tends to lose leaves during the winter dry season, with evergreen pines in the highest elevations. Fauna consists mostly of deer, small mammals, a wide variety of both land and sea birds, as well as marine animals such as turtles.[1]


Climate data for Acapulco (1951–2010)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 39.5
(103.1)
35.5
(95.9)
35.5
(95.9)
37.0
(98.6)
38.0
(100.4)
36.0
(96.8)
37.5
(99.5)
37.5
(99.5)
36.0
(96.8)
36.0
(96.8)
35.5
(95.9)
36.5
(97.7)
39.5
(103.1)
Average high °C (°F) 30.4
(86.7)
30.5
(86.9)
30.4
(86.7)
30.8
(87.4)
31.6
(88.9)
31.9
(89.4)
32.3
(90.1)
32.3
(90.1)
31.6
(88.9)
31.7
(89.1)
31.5
(88.7)
31.0
(87.8)
31.3
(88.3)
Daily mean °C (°F) 26.8
(80.2)
27.0
(80.6)
26.9
(80.4)
27.4
(81.3)
28.4
(83.1)
28.5
(83.3)
28.7
(83.7)
28.7
(83.7)
28.2
(82.8)
28.4
(83.1)
28.2
(82.8)
27.5
(81.5)
27.89
(82.21)
Average low °C (°F) 23.3
(73.9)
23.5
(74.3)
23.5
(74.3)
24.0
(75.2)
25.1
(77.2)
25.2
(77.4)
25.1
(77.2)
25.1
(77.2)
24.7
(76.5)
25.1
(77.2)
24.8
(76.6)
24.1
(75.4)
24.5
(76.1)
Record low °C (°F) 18.5
(65.3)
20.0
(68)
17.0
(62.6)
16.0
(60.8)
19.0
(66.2)
18.0
(64.4)
19.0
(66.2)
19.0
(66.2)
20.5
(68.9)
16.0
(60.8)
20.0
(68)
20.0
(68)
16
(60.8)
Precipitation mm (inches) 15.2
(0.598)
3.3
(0.13)
2.3
(0.091)
3.3
(0.13)
26.8
(1.055)
265.9
(10.469)
244.6
(9.63)
286.8
(11.291)
304.0
(11.969)
139.5
(5.492)
21.0
(0.827)
11.4
(0.449)
1,324.1
(52.13)
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.1 mm) 1.1 0.4 0.3 0.2 2.6 12.5 12.3 13.3 14.3 7.9 1.8 0.9 67.6
Mean monthly sunshine hours 272.8 251.4 288.3 273.0 251.1 207.0 223.2 229.4 195.0 244.9 258.0 254.2 2,948.3
Source #1: Servicio Meteorologico Nacional[27]
Source #2: Hong Kong Observatory (sun only).[28]
Average sea temperature
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
77 °F

25 °C

77 °F

25 °C

77 °F

25 °C

79 °F

26 °C

81 °F

27 °C

82 °F

28 °C

82 °F

28 °C

84 °F

29 °C

82 °F

28 °C

82 °F

28 °C

81 °F

27 °C

79 °F

26 °C

The temperature of the sea is quite stable, with lows of 77 °F (25 °C) between January – March, and a high of 84 °F (29 °C) in August.[29]

Government[edit]

A view of Acapulco's beach with a Bandera monumental in the background

As the seat of a municipality, the city of Acapulco is the government authority for over 700 other communities,[3] which together have a territory of 1,880.60 km2.[1] This municipality borders the municipalities of Chilpancingo, Juan R Escudero (Tierra Colorada), San Marcos, Coyuca de Benítez with the Pacific Ocean to the south.

The metropolitan area is made up of the municipalities of Acapulco de Juárez and Coyuca de Benitez. The area has a population (as of 2005) of 786,830.[30]

Economy[edit]

Tourism is the main economic activity of the municipality and most of this is centered on Acapulco Bay. About seventy-three percent of the municipality's population is involved in commerce, most of it related to tourism and the port. Mining and manufacturing employ less than twenty percent and only about five percent is dedicated to agriculture. Industrial production is limited mostly to bottling, milk products, cement products, and ice and energy production. Agricultural products include tomatoes, corn, watermelon, beans, green chili peppers and melons.[1]

Tourism[edit]

La Quebrada
Marqués Port
Manzanillo Beach, a beach in the tourist area of Acapulco

Acapulco is one of Mexico's oldest coastal tourist destinations, reaching prominence in the 1950s as the place where Hollywood stars and millionaires vacationed on the beach in an exotic locale.[31] But in modern times, tourists in Acapulco have been facing problems with local corrupt police who steal money by extortion and intimidate visitors with threats of jail.[32][33][34] The "original" Acapulco, where hotels owned by personalities such as Johnny Weismuller and John Wayne are located, is on the northern end of the bay. This is where the boardwalk and main square are and today the area is filled with modern, Mexican-style hotels, with discothèques and restaurants within walking distance.[10] This side of the bay is also known as "Tradicional" or "Nautica."

The south end of the bay holds the newer constructions, including high-rise hotels. This area includes Punta Diamante, Puerto Marqués, and stretches from the airport to the Papagayo River which separates it from the older section of town. In this area, no one walks, as almost all transportation is by car, limousine or golf cart.[8][10] The older section of town now caters to mostly middle class, almost exclusively Mexican clientele, while the glitzier newer section caters to international visitors and the Mexican upper classes, many of whom never venture into the older, traditional part of town.[10][31] This area also has the higher hotel occupancy rates.[8][31]

Acapulco's reputation is that of a high-energy party town, where one can "have dinner at midnight, dance until dawn then relax in the daytime on the beach. The nightlife has long been a major tourist draw of the city.[9] From November to April, luxury liners stop here daily and include ships such as the MS Queen Victoria, the MS Rotterdam, Crystal Harmony as well as all the Princess line ships.[10] Despite Acapulco's international fame, most of its visitors are from central Mexico, especially the affluent from Mexico City.[8][9] Acapulco is one of the embarkation ports for the Mexican cruise line Ocean Star Cruises.[35]

For the Christmas season of 2009, Acapulco received 470,000 visitors, most of whom are Mexican nationals, adding 785 million pesos to the economy. Eighty percent arrive by land and 18 percent by air.[36] The area has over 25,000 condominiums, most of which function as second homes for their Mexican owners.[8] Acapulco is still popular with Mexican celebrities and the wealthy, such as Luis Miguel, Plácido Domingo and Dolores Olmedo, who maintain homes here.[10]

Marqués Port

While much of the glitz and glamour that made Acapulco famous still remains, from the latter 20th century on, the city has also taken on other less-positive reputations. Some consider it a "passé" resort, eclipsed by the newer Cancún and Cabo San Lucas.[9] Over the years, a number of problems have developed here, especially in the bay and the older sections of the city. The large number of wandering vendors on the beaches such as Tamarindos, who offer everything from newspapers to massages, are a recognized problem. It is a bother to tourists who simply want to relax on the beach, but the government says it is difficult to eradicate, as there is a lot of unemployment and poverty here.[37] Around the city are many small shantytowns that cling to the mountainsides, populated by migrants who have come here looking for work. In the last decade, drug-related violence has caused problems for the local tourism trade.[9]

Another problem is garbage that has accumulated in the bay. Although 60.65 tons have recently been extracted from the bays of Acapulco and nearby Zihuatanejo, more needs to be done. Most of trash removal during the off seasons is done on the beaches and in the waters closest to them. However, the center of the bay is not touched. The reason trash winds up in the bay is that it is common here to throw it in streets, rivers and the bay itself. The most common items cleaned out of the bay are beer bottles and car tires.[38]

Attractions[edit]

Papagayo Park

Acapulco's main attraction is its nightlife, as it has been for many decades.[9][39] Nightclubs change names and owners frequently. Informal lobby or poolside cocktail bars often offer free live entertainment. In addition, there is the beach bar zone, where younger crowds go. These are located along the Costera road, face the ocean and feature techno or alternative rock. Most are concentrated between the Fiesta Americana and Continental Plaza hotels. These places tend to open earlier and have more informal dress. There is a bungee jump in this area as well.[citation needed]

Another enigmatic attraction at Acapulco are the La Quebrada Cliff Divers.[40] The tradition started in the 1930s when young men casually competed against each other to see who could dive from the highest point into the sea below. Eventually, locals began to ask for tips for those coming to see the men dive.[41] Today the divers are professionals,[41] diving from heights of forty meters into an inlet that is only seven meters wide and four meters deep, after praying first at a shrine to the Virgin of Guadalupe.[40] On December 12, the feast day of this Virgin, freestyle cliff divers jump into the sea to honor her. Dives ranges from the simple to the complicated and end with the "Ocean of Fire" when the sea is lit with gasoline, making a circle of flames which the diver aims for.[41] The spectacle can be seen from a public area which charges a small fee or from the Hotel Plaza Las Glorias/El Mirador from its bar or restaurant terrace.[40]

There are a number of beaches in the Acapulco Bay and the immediate coastline. In the bay proper there are the La Angosta (in the Quebrada), Caleta, Caletilla, Dominguillo, Tlacopanocha, Hornos, Hornitos, Honda, Tamarindo, Condesa, Guitarrón, Icacos, Playuela, Playuelilla and Playa del Secreto. In the adjoining, smaller Bay of Puerto Marqués there is Pichilingue, Las Brisas, and Playa Roqueta. Facing open ocean just northwest of the bays is Pie de la Cuesta and southeast are Playa Revolcadero, Playa Aeromar, Playa Encantada and Barra Vieja. Two lagoons are in the area, Coyuca to the northwest of Acapulco Bay and Tres Palos to the southeast. Both lagoons have mangroves and offer boat tours. Tres Palos also has sea turtle nesting areas which are protected.[42]

In addition to sunbathing, the beaches around the bay offer a number of services, such as boat rentals, boat tours, horseback riding, scuba diving and other aquatic sports. One popular cruise is from Caletilla Beach to Roqueta Island, which has places to snorkel, have lunch, visit a small zoo and a lighthouse. There is also an underwater statue of the Virgin of Guadalupe here, created in 1958 by Armando Quesado in memory of a group of divers who died here. Many of the scuba-diving tours come to this area as well, where there are sunken ships, sea mountains, and cave rock formations.[43] Another popular activity is deep-sea fishing. The major attraction is sail fishing. Fish caught here have weighed between 89 and 200 pounds. Sailfish are so plentiful that boat captains have been known to bet with a potential customer that if he does not catch anything, the trip is free.[10][43]

In the old part of the city, there is a traditional main square called the Zócalo, lined with shade trees, cafés and shops. At the north end of the square is Nuestra Señora de la Soledad cathedral, with blue onion-shaped domes and Byzantine towers. The building was originally constructed as a movie set, but was later adapted into a church.[43] Acapulco's most historic building is the San Diego Fort, located east of the main square and originally built in 1616 to protect the city from pirate attacks.[40] The fort was partially destroyed by the Dutch in the mid-17th century, rebuilt, then destroyed again in 1776 by an earthquake. It was rebuilt again by 1783 and this is the building that can be seen today, unchanged except for renovations done to it in 2000. Parts of the moats remain as well as the five bulwarks and the battlements.[44][45] Today the fort serves as the Museo Histórico de Acapulco (Acapulco Historical Museum), which shows the port's history from the pre-Hispanic period until independence. There are temporary exhibits as well.[40]

Tlacopanocha, or Tlaco de Panocha, is one of the city's main beaches

The Centro Internacional de Convivencia Infantil or CICI is a sea-life and aquatic park located on Costera Miguel Aleman. It offers wave pools, water slides and water toboggans. There are also dolphin shows daily and a swim with dolphins program. The center mostly caters to children.[40][42] Another place that is popular with children is the Parque Papagayo: a large family park which has life-sized replicas of a Spanish galleon and the space shuttle Columbia, three artificial lakes, an aviary, a skating rink, rides, go-karts and more.[42]

The Dolores Olmedo House is located in the traditional downtown of Acapulco and is noted for the murals by Diego Rivera that adorn it. Olmedo and Rivera had been friend since Olmedo was a child and Rivera spent the last two years of his life here. During that time, he painted nearly nonstop and created the outside walls with tile mosaics, featuring Aztec deities such as Quetzalcoatl. The interior of the home is covered in murals. The home is not a museum, so only the outside murals are able to be seen by the public.[45]

There is a small museum called Casa de la Máscara (House of Masks) which is dedicated to masks, most of them from Mexico, but there are examples from many parts of the world. The collection contains about one thousand examples and is divided into seven rooms called Masks of the World, Mexico across History, The Huichols and the Jaguar, Alebrijes and Dances of Guerrero, Devils and Death, Identity and Fantasy, and Afro-Indian masks.[42] The Botanical Garden of Acapulco is a tropical garden located on lands owned by the Universidad Loyola del Pacífico. Most of the plants here are native to the region, and many, such as the Peltogyne mexicana or purple stick tree, are in danger of extinction.[42]

The annual French Festival takes place throughout Acapulco city and offers a multitude of events that cement cultural links between Mexico and France. The main features are a fashion show and a gourmet food fair. The Cinépolis Galerías Diana and the Teatro Juan Ruíz de Alarcón present French and French literary figures who give talks on their specialised subjects. Even some of the local nightclubs feature French DJs.[46] Other festivals celebrated here include Carnival, the feast of San Isidro Labrador on 15 May, and in November, a crafts and livestock fair called the Nao de China.[1]

There are a number of golf courses in Acapulco including the Acapulco Princess and the Pierre Marqués course, the latter designed by Robert Trent Jones in 1972 for the World Cup Golf Tournament. The Mayan Palace course was designed by Pedro Guericia and an economical course called the Club de Golf Acapulco is near the convention center. The most exclusive course is that of the Tres Vidas Golf Club, designed by Robert von Hagge. It is located next to the ocean and is home to flocks of ducks and other birds.[43]

Acapulco also has a bullring, called the Plaza de Toros, near Caletilla Beach. The season runs during the winter and is called the Fiesta Brava.[43]

360° panoramic view of the bay of Acapulco, the seaport and the Fort of San Diego

Spring break[edit]

Over 100,000 American teenagers and young adults travel to resort areas and balnearios throughout Mexico over spring break each year.[47] The main reason students head to Mexico is the 18-year-old drinking age (versus 21 for the United States), something that has been marketed by tour operators along with the sun and ocean. This has become attractive since the 1990s, especially since more traditional spring-break places such as Daytona Beach, Florida, have enacted restrictions on drinking and other behaviors. This legislation has pushed spring-break visitation to various parts of Mexico, with Acapulco as one of the top destinations.[48]

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Cancún had been favored as the spring-break destination of choice. However, Cancún has taken some steps to control the reckless behavior associated with the event, and students have been looking for someplace new. This has led many more to choose Acapulco, in spite of the fact that for many travelers, the flight is longer and more expensive than to Cancún. Many are attracted by the glitzy hotels on the south side and Acapulco's famous nightlife.[49] In 2008, 22,500 students came to Acapulco for spring break. Hotels did not get that many in 2009, due mostly to the economic situation in the United States,[50] and partially because of scares of drug-related violence.[51]

In February 2009, the US State Department issued a travel alert directed at college students planning spring-break trips to Acapulco.[52] The warning—a result of violent activity springing from Mexico's drug cartel débâcle—took college campuses by storm, with some schools going so far as to warn their students about the risks of travel to Mexico over spring break. The New York Times tracked the travels of a Penn student on spring break in Acapulco just a week after the dissemination of the email, while Bill O'Reilly devoted a segment of his show, The O'Reilly Factor, to urge students to stay away from Acapulco.[53] In June 2009, a number of incidents occurred between the drug cartel and the government. These included coordinated attacks on police headquarters and open battles in the streets, involving large-caliber weapons and grenades.[54] However, no incidents of violence against spring breakers were reported.

Transportation[edit]

Acapulco's Miguel Alemán Coastal Avenue

From the U.S., many airlines now fly to Juan N. Álvarez International Airport year-round. In the city, there are many buses and taxi services one can take to get from place to place, but most of the locals choose to walk to their destinations. However, an important mode of transportation is the government subsidized 'Colectivo' cab system. These cabs cost 13 pesos per person to ride, but they are not private. The driver will pick up more passengers as long as seats are available, and will transport them to their destination based on first-come first-served rules. The colectivos each travel a designated area of the city, the three main ones being Costera, Colosio, Coloso, or a mixture of the three. Coloso cabs travel mainly to old Acapulco. Colosio cabs travel through most of the tourist area of Acapulco. Costera cabs drive up and down the coast of Acapulco, where most of the hotels for visitors are located, but which includes some of old Acapulco. Where a driver will take you is partly his choice. Some are willing to travel to the other designated areas, especially during slow periods of the day.

The bus system is highly complex and can be rather confusing to an outsider. As far as transportation goes, it is the cheapest form, other than walking, in Acapulco. The most expensive buses have air conditioning, while the cheaper buses do not. For tourists, the Acapulco city government has established a system of yellow buses with Acapulco painted on the side of them. These buses are not for tourists only, but are certainly the nicest and most uniform of the bus systems. These buses travel the tourist section of Acapulco, driving up and down the coast. There are buses with specific routes and destinations, generally written on their windshields or shouted out by a barker riding in the front seat. Perhaps the most unusual thing about the privately operated buses is the fact that they are all highly decorated and personalized, with decals and home-made interior designs that range from comic book scenes, to adult themes, and even to "Hello Kitty" themes.

International relations[edit]

Consulates[edit]

Country Type Ref.
 Canada Consular agency [55]
 United States Consular agency [56]
 Spain Honorary consul [57]
 Finland Honorary consul [58]
 France Honorary consul [59]
 Philippines Honorary consul [60]
 Poland Honorary consul [61]
 Russia Honorary consul [62]
 United Kingdom Honorary consul [63]

Sister cities[edit]

City Jurisdiction Country Year Ref.
Ph seal ncr manila.png Manila Flag of Manila.png Metro Manila Philippines Philippines 1969 [64]
Symbol of Sendai, Miyagi.svg Sendai Flag of Miyagi Prefecture Miyagi Japan Japan 1973 [64]
Onjuku Chiba chapter Onjuku Flag of Chiba Prefecture Chiba Japan Japan 1978 [64]
Netanya COA Netanya Netanya flag Central District Israel Israel 1980 [64]
Emblem of Qingdao City.svg Qingdao Emblem of Qingdao City.svg Shandong China China 1985 [64]
Blason ville ca Quebec (Quebec).svg Quebec City Quebec Quebec Canada Canada 1986 [64]
CoA Città di Napoli.svg Naples Regione-Campania-Stemma.svg Campania Italy Italy 1986 [64]
BeverlyHills logo.jpg Beverly Hills California California United States United States 1988 [64]
Blason ville fr Cannes (Alpes-Maritimes).svg Cannes Flag of Provence-Alpes-Cote dAzur Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur France France 1998 [64]
Escudo teocaltiche.jpg Teocaltiche Jalisco Jalisco Mexico Mexico 2005 [65]
Flag of Santa Marta.svg Santa Marta Flag of Magdalena.svg Magdalena Colombia Colombia 2005 [65]
Bandera de Manta.png Manta Bandera Província Manabí.svg Manabí Ecuador Ecuador 2005 [65]
Escudo del Pais Vasco.svg Ordizia Basque Country (autonomous community) País Vasco Spain Spain 2008 [64]
Coat of Arms of Sochi (Krasnodar krai).png Sochi Flag of Krasnodar Krai.svg Krasnodar Krai Russia Russia 2008 [66]
Flag of Yalta.png Yalta Emblem of Crimea.svg Crimea Ukraine Ukraine 2009 [66]
Panaji Goa India India 2009 [66]
Seal of Texas.svg McAllen Texas Texas United States United States 2009 [67]
Escudo Oficial Cuernavaca.gif Cuernavaca Morelos Morelos Mexico Mexico 2010 [68]
Coat of arms of Guanajuato.svg Guanajuato Guanajuato Guanajuato Mexico Mexico 2010 [69]
Flag of St. Paul, Minnesota.svg Ha Long Flag of St. Paul, Minnesota.svg Quảng Ninh Vietnam Vietnam 2011 [70]
Larnaca-Municipality.jpg Larnaca Larnaca-Municipality.jpg Distrito de Lárnaca Cyprus Cyprus 2011 [71]
Baku seal.PNG Baku Baku seal.PNG Baku Azerbaijan Azerbaijan 2011 [72]
EscudodeHuamantla.jpg Huamantla Tlaxcala Tlaxcala Mexico Mexico 2011 [73]
Escudo de armas de Boca del Río.svg Boca del Río Veracruz Veracruz Mexico Mexico 2012 [74]
Coat of arms of Escuintla.png Puerto Quetzal ..Escuintla Flag(GUATEMALA).png Escuintla Guatemala Guatemala 2012 [75]
Escudo Ayuntamiento de Sosua.svg Sosúa Puerto Plata Dominican Republic Dominican Republic 2012
Coat of arms of Eilat.png Eilat Coat of arms of Eilat.png Southern District Israel Israel 2012 [76]
Emblem of Iran.svg Bandar Torkaman Emblem of Iran.svg Golestan Iran Iran 2012 [77]
Coat of arms of the Bahamas.svg Nassau Badge of New Providence.png New Providence The Bahamas The Bahamas 2012 [78]
Escudo del Callao.svg Callao Bandera del Callao.svg Callao Peru Peru 2013 [79]
Flag of Morelia.png Morelia Michoacán Michoacán Mexico Mexico 2013 [80]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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  55. ^ Canadá
  56. ^ Estados Unidos
  57. ^ España
  58. ^ Finlandia
  59. ^ Francia
  60. ^ Filipinas
  61. ^ Polonia
  62. ^ Federación de Rusia
  63. ^ Reino Unido
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  71. ^ "Se llevan a cabo gestiones para realizar hermanamiento entre Lárnaca y Acapulco" (in Spanish). Retrieved 2013. 
  72. ^ "Azerbaiyán, en vías de hermanamiento con Acapulco" (in Spanish). Retrieved 2013. 
  73. ^ "Huamantla respalda lucha de Acapulco por el Tianguis Turístico" (in Spanish). Retrieved 2013. 
  74. ^ "Acapulco y Boca del Rio, Veracruz, Ciudades Hermanas" (in Spanish). Retrieved 2013. 
  75. ^ "VISITA ACAPULCO BUQUE ESCUELA DE GUATEMALA" (in Spanish). Retrieved 2013. 
  76. ^ "Eilat y Acapulco serán ciudades hermanas" (in Spanish). Retrieved 2013. 
  77. ^ "Aprueba Cabildo reestructuración de comisiones al interior del cuerpo edilicio" (in Spanish). Retrieved 2013. 
  78. ^ "Sister cities of Nassau, Bahamas". Retrieved 2013. 
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  80. ^ "Acapulco y Morelia se hermanan" (in Spanish). Retrieved 2013. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]