Tag Archives: Mexico

July 27th 2012 – Goin’ Loco Down in Acapulco

It was a long journey here, not so much because of the distance, but like all of Mexico the roads are really slow going. The road into Acapulco from the south brings you in high above the bay, and it looks spectacular – a huge horseshoe curve with all the buildings and hotels nestled in the green hills right down to the sandy beach.

Acapulco bay

Acapulco bay – click to enlarge

Balloon horse

Acapulco = Balloons and Beetles

Our hotel isn’t great. We had a bad start with them as they overcharged us – We got it sorted but its still too much money for a post-war crappy “POW-camp-style” bungalow – but, to be fair, it’s a really quiet spot considering we are close to the main parade and beach, and to be able to sleep without any noise is bloody fantastic. On our first night we found a second floor restaurant that served good food and 50 pence beers (Coronas) where we watched the Acapulco world go by – balloon horses and beetle taxis are the norm here. Our best find though, (and now the only place we eat) is a natural food restaurant with fresh juice blends and, I can’t believe I’m saying this, salads. I know, if someone had told me a year ago that I would be ordering a burger with alfalfa sprouts willingly, from a restaurant with a ‘food combining’ chart to help you with good nutritional choices, I would have said “f*** off”. Jane, as always, took it a step too far and had a cactus salad 🙂

Me eating proper

Mmmmmm luuuursh…

One day we were approached by “Carlos” – a tour guide – on the street who asked us if we had done any sightseeing, namely the Cliff Divers of La Quebrada, Acapulco. This was one of the reasons I was here…but admittedly I totally forgot until he mentioned it. My family will be familiar with this, as it was the place Elvis Presley made his debut as a cliff diver in the the film “Fun in Acapulco”. He really did the dives!!! (yeah right!).

Cliff divers

View on the way to the cliff divers

On the way to the cliff dive Carlos took us to a hotel called “The Flamingo”. This was a home from home for the hollywood jet-set in the 50’s and 60’s. The most famous was Johnny Weismuller (or Tarzan) who lived here most of the time when he wasn’t tarzan-ing. Other famous actors who stayed here include John Wayne and Cary Grant.

Flamingo hotel Acapulco

Flamingo Hotel, Acapulco – you can just see Tarzan on the wall

The dive show started at 1pm so we arrived in good time to get a decent view of the cliffs. There were about 5 divers who swam to the base of the 50 foot + cliff then scaled the cliff face to the top, where there were a couple of small altars where they did their prayers before leaping off the top. The locals call them “the crazy divers” (but in Spanish 🙂 There was no music or drum rolls before each dive. The guys just lift up their arms, whistle to get the crowd going then hoy themselves off the top…mental…into a small channel of wild water. It’s a miracle that they don’t get smashed off the rocks! The last diver, the Head Honcho, has real balls – he not only dives off the highest point (after a lot of prayers) he also does a somersault before hitting the water. Its really immpressive stuff…and here’s some footage of the man himself….

Tomorrow we leave for Mexico City, our last destination here before boarding the plane to Miami in a few days. We are hoping that it’s going to be cooler there, as the temperature in Acapulco has hit 38 degrees centigrade, and we are melting 🙂 It feels very strange to be winding down our stay here in Central America and Mexico… but it had to happen!


July 24th 2012 – Puerto Escondido, the Pacific Coast, Mexico

The only way to get to the Oaxaca Coast was by yet another night bus. We did try to find a day bus that would take us direct through the mountains in about 5 to 6 hours, but after a browse around the ‘second class’ bus station, I dug my heels in, as no way was I getting on any of those ‘accidents waiting to happen’. So, the expensive, 10 hour, long way around, night bus it was.

Puerto Escondido is not really on the main international tourist route, but its definately a favourite with Mexican families – the place has a real buzz ‘Mexican style’. There is one long white sand beach, with massive breakers pushing in off the Pacific – a surfers dream – and three smaller sandy coves.

Rocks in Escondido

Playa Zicatela at Twilight

The main beach is called Playa Zicatela which you access through a rocky outcrop, and its pretty cool. Easily a mile long, it has become our favourite place to walk bearfoot at night. You can grab a beer and a meal and watch the sunset as huge waves come crashing in. You just can’t get bored with it.

Sunset in Escondido

Sunset in Escondido

You can spot turtles in the water in the cove right outside our hotel, in fact this whole coastline has a really good turtle population. You can hire a boat to go out and see them, but the local boatmen have the habit of hauling them out of the water onto the boat so that tourists can get a good photo – and though the turtles aren’t harmed, we chose not to be part of this and leave them in peace, just watching them from the shoreline is good enough for us.

The main street is a Mexican ‘Scarbrough’ 🙂 all noisy families and tourist crap for sale, cheap restaurants and bars with thumping music, but apart from the late night boom of the night clubs (it can go on until 3 or 4 in the morning – just not funny), we are really enjoying the activity and general mayhem. We had a close shave on the beach the other day – they bring the small boats in from the bay at full engine throttle and they come up onto the sand at some speed, pretty unexpectedly. Jane screamed, well, like a girl:) as a boat shot past her with inches to spare – it was hilarious. Even in the pitch black the Mexicans are in the sea and the dogs come down to play on the sand in the cooler air, and then there’s the bands….trumpets are the background noise to everything here.

We walked out to the small bay of Puerto Angelito, where we found that among the crowds we were the only non Mexicans on the whole beach. This was Mexican family holiday on full throttle – happy kids and content adults swimming, eating, drinking and doing what the Mexicans do best, making lots of noise! It was the same vibe on the Playa Carrizafillo, an even smaller bay, but with some incredible waves that you can sit and watch all day. We are really enjoying the contagious buzz of the family holiday here, but we are back to the intense heat during the day and so make regular trips back to our cooler hotel room. At night though the temperature is perfect as long as you stay by the sea and catch the breeze.

Playa Carrizafillo

Playa Carrizafillo – great waves here.

We move on tommorrow, to the seaside resort everyone has heard of – Acapulco. Don’t quite know what to expect!

July 7th 2012 – A Grand Day Out

The main reason to be here in Palenque is the archeological ruins (for Jane of course), about 10km outside of the town. The locals organise a day trip that takes in the ruins and two waterfalls, so we booked this trip and it turned out to be a really good day. The ruins are set in a tree covered mountain landscape and are actually spread over 20 square miles, but we explored only the main palace area (about five per cent of all the buildings) that were once ruled by the ‘Lord Pacal’ – the enigmatic rockstar of his age.

Palenque Ruins

Palenque Ruins

This place is amazing. It has a really good feel, the kind of place that you are happy to just sit and look at and enjoy being in. It is impossible not to compare it to Tikal in Guatemala – and it wins hands down. All the buildings seem to be the same style and shape, and though they are not as big as the stepped pyramids of Tikal, the setting is much more beautiful, and it just has a nicer vibe.

Palace Complex at Palenque Ruins

Palace Complex at Palenque Ruins

Palenque Ruins

More Palenque Ruins

A crystal clear river runs through the centre of the complex, with waterfalls and still pools, and its surrounded by thick green forest, but the complex sits in a lawned garden with massive trees for shade, and it doesn’t take much imagination to see it as it used to be when it was in its heyday over fifteen hundred years ago.


River through the Palenque ruins

Our next stop was a waterfall, called Misol-Ha, which crashes into a deep pool from a height of about (I’m guessing here) 160 feet. You are able to walk out onto a ledge behind the waterfall, via some limestone steps, and look out through the water – but its impossible not to get wet! In fact in some places you have to dodge having a natural shower as water is forced out of the rock face. On the far side another smaller fall erupts from a cave system, not unlike those we experienced in the limestone mountains of Laos, back in Asia.

Misol-Ha Waterfall

Misol-Ha Waterfall

Our next stop was a place called Aqua Azul (Blue Water) where a river has laid down massive limestone deposits over a huge area – we walked for about a mile up river and the waterfalls and cascades continued all the way and beyond! This is one of those places that nature has created that pretty much takes your breath away. Multiple falls crash into stepped pools, some are even safe enough to swim in, and we even found a bridge across a stretch that led to an island, which we had totally to ourselves.

Agua Azul

Agua Azul “Blue Water”

As I got to the far side of the island a snake dropped from a tree right in front of me – I nearly sh*t myself, but then again so did the snake! He headed straight for another tree, but I managed to get the camera out quick enough to get this picture…

A Snake

A snake at Agua Azul

This was a satisfying day – there’s some pretty cool stuff to see in the Chiapas region, and we are really enjoying being in Mexico.