A Walking Tour of Old Acapulco – Acapulco, Mexico
PART I: Fort San Diego to the Zócalo
If you take a taxi to Fort San Diego, you’ll get out in the parking lot. If you go by bus, ask the driver to let you off at the Fort San Diego stop, and you’ll climb a big stairway to reach the Fort.
The museum, like most in Mexico, is closed on Mondays, but free on Sundays. This museum focuses on the era of the Manila Galleons, which came here yearly for 250 years. There is a very nice little gift shop on your right after you cross the drawbridge over the moat and just before you enter the patio. The exhibit rooms are arranged chronologically, starting on your right with the foundation of the Fort in 1614. The last room is dedicated to the capture of the Fort, during the war of Independence, by General Morelos.
As you leave the Fort, you will see an iron gate directly ahead of you, with a pedestrian walkway beyond. Just a few steps past the gate, on your right, is the Museum of Masks, which is housed in what was, years ago, the home of the military commander of this region. The collection includes masks from all over the world, many other Mexican states, and every region of Guerrero.
Continuing down the walkway, you will see a street, Morelos, merging from the right. Continue straight down the street and, in less than 5 minutes from the Casa de la Máscara, you’ll come to a cross street. On your right, Woolworth and, on your left, the rear wall of Sanborn’s – a good place to stop for a cup or coffee, doughnut, or pie.
Directly across the street, between VideoCentro and Imagen, is another street leading to the Zócalo. This street, after about a block, has been closed to vehicular traffic. Continue a half block and you’ll see the principal fountain of the old town square or Zócalo. To your left is a good little Italian restaurant, Mi Piace and, to the right you’ll see the domed Cathedral, built in 1936 in a vaguely Moorish style. The statue on the left tower is of San Felipe de Jesús, Mexico’s first saint.
PART II: Zócalo to La Quebrada and back
As you stand in the Zócalo facing the front door of the Cathedral, you will see another closed street leading directly to your left toward the grey telephone building with a number of aerials on the roof. Walk along this street, Hidalgo, and you will see any number of little shops dedicated to the sale of religious articles.
A walk of about five minutes will take you to a tiny plaza with a sign “Bienvenidos a la Quebrada.” On your left you’ll see the headquarters of the municipal water works, Capama. From here it’s only about ten minutes walk to la Quebrada, but it’s all uphill. If you’re running late, or feeling tired, hail a little blue taxi and offer him 20 pesos to run you up the hill.
On your uphill walk along Avenida López Mateos you’ll pass any number of little family hotels, many with colorful flower designs stencilled on their walls. When you see an overpass, you’re nearly there. Walk up the ramp on the right, and you’re in the parking lot of la Quebrada. One of Acapulco’s first fine hotels, El Mirador, is on your right, and you’ll see the 1936 monument to the Manila Galleons (‘Nao de China’ in Spanish) directly ahead of you.
Just past the monument, beneath the statue of a diver and between two cannons, you’ll have a spectacular view of the open Pacific. The stairway ahead of you leads down to the viewing platforms where you can watch the cliff divers. After the dives, divers come up and ask for tips. Give the man ten or twenty pesos.
When you climb back up to the monument to the Galleons, you’ll see two streets leading down from the parking lot: the one on the right which you came up on, and another on the left. Walk past the hotel to the street on the left.
Another ten minute walk, but this time all downhill, will take you back to the Cathedral. On the way down, you’ll pass Bajos Electronics and Teatro Domingo Soler. Soon you’ll reach a ‘Y’ with a little street leading away to the right. Go straight and just beyond the Y, on your left, is one of Acapulco’s better, and least-well known seafood restaurants, Paco’s.
When the street starts up again and you see an overpass ahead of you, you are at or near the rear wall of the Cathedral. Take the first available turn to your right, and you’re back in the Zócalo.
If you want more information about this area you can email the author or check out our North America Insiders page.