Published: November 17th 2010November 7th 2010
We had been having a really great relaxed time in Puerto Escondido after spending so many hours on the bus over the past week, but we were keen to continue travelling. We had not been very impressed with the standard of the beaches at Puerto as they had a lot of black sand and the currents were too strong to swim in the sea on the main beach at Zicatela. It was also far too dangerous for beginners to surf, so we were unable to rent a board. We had originally planned to stay in Puerto Escondido for five more days to take some Spanish lessons, but we had not found a school to enrol in time. We decided to move on to Acapulco, as it was kind of on the way to Mexico City, our final destination in Mexico.
We caught a taxi up to the bus station to book our tickets. Puerto Escondido, like a lot of Mexico is extremely steep and a lot of the resort is built into the hills. The roads are crazy and pot-holed beyond repair, making taxi rides very bumpy and scary- you are clinging onto the frayed seats hoping that your car
has been serviced in the last 10 years. It is a miracle that some of the clattering vehicles even manage to cling onto the steep-sided hills as they rev up them. We saw one Beetle parked up by a pot-hole missing it's rear wheels. Seeing the condition of the cars over here, and also now being aware of their capabilities, we are surprised that back in the UK servicing and MOT requirements are so strict. Some of the cars that we send off to the car graveyard would still be running over here 60 years from now.
The bus to Acapulco took around 9 hours, and we arrived in the dark again without a reservation. We realised that this was quickly becoming a pattern, although this time we had written down the address of the only listed hostel in Acapulco. We had read bad reviews about K3 Youth Hostel and desperately did not want to stay there, however at 11.30pm we really didn't have much choice. We caught the most ridiculous taxi to our hostel (Volswagen Beetle) that we quickly learned are used everywhere in Acapulco. We could not even imagine a more impractical car to have as a
taxi- these things don't even have boots. So we crammed into the car with two doors- Katie crushed in the back under the backpacks as we whizzed towards La Condesa, the main beach in Acapulco Bay.
Our first impressions of Acapulco bay were that it seemed to be very Americanised with lots of shops like the Nike Store, Quiksilver and other surfing shops, and Hard Rock Cafe etc. It was clearly designed for mass tourism. We drove up the main street which must have had about 4 lanes on each side, and pulled up outside a complete hovel. The buildings along the Condesa were all high-rise hotels on the beach side and shops to serve the tourists on the other side. Our hostel was on the other side. There seemed to be nothing Mexican about the place other than the odd taco place, balloon covered horse and carriages, and of course the people. Anyway, our hostel occupied the upper roofspace above an Oxxo supermarket- the whole hostel was kind of outdoors as it was on the third floor under some corregated sheeting like a shelter, acting as a roof. We paid 460 pesos for a double room- if you
could call it that (most expensive hostel so far in Mexico at around £23 a night) and by far the worst. After climbing to the top floor from the ground floor reception area we found everything was in pitch black darkness, and the light controls were in locked cupboards. The place was really eerie, and felt a hundred times worse when we found out we were the only people staying there. Half of the dorms and and dingy corridors were still in complete darkness even after we asked the guy from reception to come and switch the lights on- we were lucky that we were so tired that we were able to sleep.
The following day decided to leave K3 as we didn't like being the only travellers in the hostel- they didn't even bother to open the bar for us or anything. We researched a few hotels online before stepping out into the fiery sun with our backpacks. After a few no-gos we eventually found Club del Sol; a 4* hotel willing to let us stay in a room for 400 pesos a night as it was low season. This was cheaper than the dumpy hostel, and although
we were really pleased that we had found such a great deal, we were really annoyed that we had been so ripped off at K3. It had been more expensive there for a room smaller than a standard pool table, and hostels are meant to help travellers, not rip them off. Club del Sol was a complete dream for us though. The hotel had four pools, two of which were rooftop overlooking the main strip in the Condesa, and one with a waterslide, and the other with a waterfall. We had a double deluxe room with two double beds, kitchen with fridge freezer, and en-suite. All for £20 a night on the main strip in Acapulco. The usual rate for this room was around 1200 pesos a night, but we had managed to get it for a third of the price- they must have been desperate for custom as they came and found us in the street and even fell for our haggling. We spent the remainder of our first day on the roof of the hotel sunbathing by the pools and watching the crazy traffic along the road outside. In the evening we walked along La Condesa but we
didn't make it all the way as it was huge. We didn't seem to see many tourists about, and noticed straight away that Acapulco was a very expensive resort.
The following day we wanted to see the famous cliff divers at La Quebrada. We were told to take the bus there from outside our hotel, so we went and waited outside. We waited literally five seconds before about 3 buses were battling for our custom. They were all beeping like crazy at us and trying to get us on their buses. The buses all seem to have been specially designed by their drivers with really intricately spray-painted designs inside them, posters and film stickers, and hanging decorations etc. They all seemed to have different themes, but the one we caught was all about skeletons and death, presumably designed for the recent Day of the Dead celebrations. These buses have amazing sound systems in them- the type that would be illegal in the UK, and some even have flashing disco lights. Throughout the whole journey they blast out the tunes and the whole bus vibrates from the bass. These are the local every day buses, and are completely the most
fun transport you could imagine. The passengers ranged from school kids to workers, to the elderly- no one was able to escape the disco experience, and these buses could not fail to cheer anyone up, despite where they were heading. We were not sure but we guessed that the drivers got more money if they picked up more passengers, as they were all very keen to get people on the bus, slowing down every time we drove past anyone on the street (i.e. all the time) and trying to get their attention by beeping constantly.
We got off the bus near the central zocalo. We walked along the inside of the marina and saw one cruise liner was docked. There were a few more little fishing and tour boats, and a little beach where people were sunbathing and dogs were running in and out of the sea. We caught a taxi around the headland to La Caleta (after deciding to watch an evening showing of cliff diving) which is reportedly the most beautiful beach in Acapulco. The sea was nice because it was clear, but it was so much colder than the Caribbean sea that we had been in
just a few weeks back. The beach itself was an extremely narrow strip of a sand that was completely covered with deck chairs and tables from the nearby restaurants. Because of the beach furniture, we had to lay our towels so close to the sea that the water actually came up and stole our flip flops. After the beach we walked across the road to a very Mexican food market to get something to eat. We had not seen any non-Mexicans in this area, so we were hoping to be able to find some good food at good prices. We ended up sitting in an eaterie for about 3 hours, chatting to the man who owned it. He could speak a little English, and we used our Spanish that we had picked up so far, and with the aid of a children's school textbook we were able to have a pretty good conversation. It was so nice to be able to talk to the locals, and he introduced us to his three sons who we were all really cute and played hi-5s with Luke. The stall owner was a big football fan and loved Chelsea and was really impressed that
we were from England. We have noticed that in Acapulco when we tell people we are from England they smile. We were often confused for Americans and given change in US dollars, which was a bit annoying as there seemed to be a bit of hostility towards US citizens in the area. We experienced this when people were quite rude and shouted to us in the street 'Americano'. This was a bit weird seeing as the area relies quite heavily on its American tourism. When we went to see the cliff divers there was a sign up advertising prices in USD. When we went to pay we told the guide that we were English he said we could pay the local price which worked out about a quarter of the price that they were charging the Americans. We got talking to a local guide and he told us that it is extremely rare that he comes across British people in the area, so we guess this is why we were warmly welcomed.
From La Caleta we returned to La Quebrada to watch the cliff divers. We were told that some of the divers in the past had died taking
part in the show, which gave us a real respect for the young boys who were bravely diving off the cliffs in the pitch black of night, into the Pacific sea which was dark and quite rough even in the day. We were surprised that the admission cost to see the diving was around £1.75 each- surely the boys do not earn enough from the shows to make it worth risking their lives like 5 times a day. Most of the show consisted of watching the boys climbing up the rocks barefoot in their speedos, and then those at the top point of the cliff would pray to the various shrines at the top before the show really began. In total we saw about 7 dives as each boy dived once. The dives were really good but we think it would have been scarier to watch in daylight.
The following day we were going to go rollerblading at the local park but instead ended up sunbathing on the roof as it was so hot. We decided to make use of our kitchen facilities and cooked up some creamy tomato pasta which was really nice. We spent our final evening
having some beers on the balcony and playing cards, as we were hoping to get up early to catch a bus to Mexico City.
There are more photos below