A few weekends ago, Julian, eleven of our closest friends, and I went to Acapulco to celebrate Julian’s 26th birthday. If you don’t know, Acapulco is an iconic resort town on Mexico’s Pacific Coast. In the 50s and 60s, Acapulco was the vacation destination for the rich and famous. Today it’s no longer an international hotspot but it’s still absolute paradise. I’ve been to Acapulco several times now and I am absolutely in love with its dramatic scenery and retro vibes.
Acapulco’s Golden Years
During the 50s, big Hollywood stars such as Elizabeth Taylor, Frank Sinatra, John Wayne and Brigitte Bardot were often found partying and relaxing in Acapulco’s sprawling seaside mansions. The Kennedy’s honeymooned there, Liv Taylor was married there, and President Eisenhower vacationed there. Elvis’s 1963 movie “Fun in Acapulco,” featuring him chasing around Ursula Andress, made the city all the more enticing.
Then, in 1989, the hit James Bond film “Licence to Kill” was shot in one of Acapulco’s luxury villas. Built by a flamboyant Italian baron, Villa Arabesque is an enormous 28-room, fairytale-esque villa. In the 80s, the villa was famous for throwing extravagant parties in its Poseidon-themed nightclub with guests including Roger Moore, Sylvester Stallone, and Henry and Nancy Kissinger.
In the 1990s, a highway was built crossing the mountains between Mexico City and Acapulco. As a result, Acapulco became much more accessible and the city became a popular destination for chilangos (people from Mexico City).
Returning to its Former Glory
Unfortunately, the city began to go downhill in the 2000s as it became caught up in violent drug wars. Unsurprisingly, this had a detrimental effect on Acapulco, greatly damaging its tourism industry and chic reputation. For several years, many were scared away by reports of violence and crime and stopped visiting the sunny resort city.
In recent years, however, Acapulco has been on the up-and-up. 2013 saw the first annual Trópico, a major beachside musical festival with the aim of returning Acapulco to its former glory. Since then, the festival has brought in major musical acts and has attracted thousands of concert-goers. We went last year and we can’t wait to go again this December!
Lots to Love about Aca
Although Acapulco has its fair share of troubles, there’s much to love about it. For one, the weather is always perfect. The sea is also always deliciously warm with an average of about 82 degrees (~28 degrees Celsius) throughout the year. Acapulco is located on a deep, semicircular bay, making the water incredibly calm and perfect for swimming. The cliffs surrounding the bay create a dramatic setting and the houses on these cliffs offer unbeatable views. The other great thing about Aca is that it’s one of the closest beaches to Mexico City. From the city it’s about a four hour drive (depending on traffic) or less than an hour flight, making it a feasible destination for the weekend.
Weekend in Las Brisas
Las Brisas is an iconic neighborhood in Acapulco. It offers the best view of Acapulco Bay and, back in the day, its luxurious villas hosted all of the most notorious parties. Julian and I are lucky enough to have several friends who have houses in Las Brisas. This weekend, we stayed at Villa Los Nardos, a sprawling white villa built in the 50s and known for its huge, crazy parties. The who’s who of the era partied there and Tom Jones and Frank Sinatra even used to sing there! I so wish I could go back in time for that! When you’re at Los Nardos, sitting by the pool, playing cards under the gazebo, or chatting on the wicker couches, you really feel like you’ve stepped back into another era.
We spent the weekend relaxing at the house, swimming in the sea, and celebrating Julian’s birthday Acapulco-style.
Las Brisas has its own beach for residents and guests and we had the beach virtually to ourselves. To get to the beach, you walk through a path in the jungle with a cool freshwater waterfall leading directly into the sea. It’s a rocky beach without much sand but it’s ideal for swimming.
The sun was so hot that I jumped right in and spent much of the morning blissfully swimming in the sea.
Julian took his drone out and from above you can really see what a gorgeous place it is. The water is a vibrant blue green and the trees lining the cliffs are lush and verdant. It truly is a tropical paradise. Selfishly, I’m a bit glad Acapulco has faded in popularity as it allows us to enjoy it free of hordes of people.
In Acapulco, we always eat chilled avocado soup, ceviche made from fresh fish, and the local version of key lime pie. It’s all delicious and is made even better in the company of good friends and drinks. After lunch, we lounge by the pool. For me, there’s nothing better than laying in the sun and then cooling off in the pool after a good meal, surrounded by friends and fantastic views. Needless to say, I was perfectly content 🙂
Saturday night we were treated to a beautiful sunset before we began the birthday festivities. In Acapulco, there are some famous clubs (such as the legendary Baby O) but we preferred to stay in. We spent the night enjoying each other’s company and partying in this incredible house overlooking the sea.
When Sunday afternoon rolled around I was so sad to leave this tropical paradise. But I consoled myself knowing that we had enjoyed every moment to the fullest and that we will back in just a couple of months. Until next time Acapulco!