I had planned a trip to Acapulco before I even met her. I was in need of a tropical vacation and Acapulco was a perfect choice. Soon after I made my travel plans, I had met my “match” on an Internet dating website and from that point on, all the pieces seem to just fit in place.
After one great month of knowing Melissa, I asked her if she would join me on my trip to the Spanish Rivera. She accepted and that gave us one month to prepare before our departure.
Before traveling to a place I’ve never been before, I always try to find a friend or acquaintance with local knowledge of my destination and ask them for advice. They have already seen the good, the bad and the ugly sides of things and it’s great to learn from their experiences. If you can’t find anyone that has been there, you can find information easily via the Internet. People love to share their experiences and all you have to do is Google your location and spend about a half an hour, reading up on the do’s and don’ts.
Relax – it’s only Travel
When we were talking to people about our upcoming trip, one great secret came from Melissa’s parents who are seasoned world travelers as well. They told us about the Hacienda Hotel near LAX. If you pay for one night of accommodations, before or after your trip, you can get up to 14 days of free parking. They have their own fleet of shuttles and have you to the airport within minutes. Check around your local departure point and you may be amazed at the offsite deals you can find. It’s great when you fly in or out on those red eye flights to have a place to relax.
We boarded our plane at LAX and time was passing rather slowly on the flight, so I offered to message Melissa’s legs and instantly, time was of no consequence. We traded off and on messages and there would be no jetlag on this trip. I’m sure more than a few giggles escaped us as we kept our circulation going. Before we knew it, we made it to Acapulco rejuvenated and refreshed, via a slight layover in Mexico City.
Hire a taxi – it costs less
We took a taxi from the airport to the hotel and enjoyed talking with our driver, absorbing his knowledge of the area and his eagerness to assist us. We got his business card and phone number and used his services again later that night when we went to dinner and to get supplies at the local Wal-Mart.
We tried to contact this same driver the next day, however he was busy, so we ended up with Carlos, the rest of our trip. We negotiated a rate with Carlos, per day, and it always ended up to our advantage. By hiring a local taxi driver, we never had to drive, never got lost, always had someone to watch out for our valuables when we went sightseeing, had local knowledge of every tourist attraction we went to, gas was included, we had someone to take our picture without having to impose on others, we helped the local economy and he got us deeper discounts when shopping.
The Hotel – always be gracious to the staff – it comes back twofold
You can always tell a great resort by its staff. We were welcomed in every capacity at The Grand Mayan Acapulco. After the bell staff took our bags, you pass through an enormous simulated Mayan ruin chamber. Hidden speakers pump out tribal drums, chants and eerie music that places you instantly in ancient Maya. Just this room, in of itself, ensures you are truly in Mexico. Once inside the grounds, beautiful cabanas and a reflection pool grace your view.
We checked in with the wonderful and friendly front desk staff and they placed us in a beautiful room in the new tower, overlooking the resort. The tenth floor, ocean view room was magnificent. The sea breeze flowed through the room gently and the sounds of the crashing surf allowed me to take in to reality, that we truly were on vacation.
The first two days we basked in the sun, swam in the numerous pools and just downloaded our minds and bodies from the stresses of work.
After a realizing that we had to wait for the elevator to get to the tenth floor each time we came and went to the room, we decided to ask the front desk if we could be upgraded. Our logic is, “it never hurts to ask.”
Melissa and I approached the front desk, completely enveloped in each other, showing off as the “cute” couple. The staff assumed we were on our honeymoon and once we asked for a corner room, closer to the ground floor, they happily agreed. Since this was a Tuesday, most of the hotel guests were already settled into their rooms and any available rooms were most likely going to stay empty the rest of the week.
By showing that we were a thankful and a fun couple, the front desk staff wanted to help us. It showed, by the room they gave us. We ended up in the Grand Master Suite on the third floor for no additional charge. This room is spectacular, with a King Bed, a marble Jacuzzi bath with a separate shower, a dining room with a full kitchen, a gigantic deck with outdoor mini-pool and so much more. We were in awe. Needless to say, we called down directly to thank the team that gave us the room. It actually made their day to make us happy.
So much to see – so much to do
We asked Carlos to take us for a tour of the local surroundings and we packed our day bags for any occasion. Our first stop started off rather mild. We drove through a beautiful residential community and visited the Las Brisas (the Acapulco Cross) or Capilla de la Paz, which means the Chapel of Peace. The Chapel sits high on a mountaintop with wonderful views of the city and bay of Acapulco. It is truly a very serene place, with barely a whisper of noise and with the mix of graceful architecture and beautiful landscaping, you leave very relaxed and energized.
We continued our tour through the city and then asked Carlos about the famous Acapulco Cliff Divers. He said we were in luck, that we still had time to watch them dive. I was so excited because I had been a Varsity diver all through high school and always dreamed of seeing and diving with this group of sportsmen.
We arrived about ten minutes before they started the show. As I watched the waves, cliffs and the divers, I found myself wanting to be a part of the action. Ever since I was a kid, I have dreamed of diving these cliffs. We watched the show in awe, as the divers did flips from more than 80 feet into the tropical blue waters. Once the show was over, I stripped down to my bathing suit and climbed down the observation deck and dove into the waters to get to the diving platforms on the other side of the narrow channel. I had to time the waves right to get a grip on the cliffs and start my approach up. I made it about twenty five feet up the very vertical cliffs and decided to do a practice dive, since I’ve never been here before. My practice dive was flawless and my comfort level increased substantially. The swell came in about at about three or four feet and it took me a while to find my grip on the rocks and get back up on the cliffs. I guess the divers saw that I was trying to give a free show, so they whistled me off the cliffs, to keep me safe. I understand their concern. They have never met me before, didn’t know my skill level, and I’m sure they were worried that this newcomer was going to get hurt and give the sport a bad name. Even though I only got one dive in, I came back up to the observation deck with a huge smile. I got to check off another box my, Life’s - To Do list.
Our next stop was body surfing, then on to the Club Náutico Cadena X Ski (460-22-83;cadenax.yahoo.com) for some wonderful lunch with one of the best prepared fish we’ve ever had and to do some wakeboarding. As the Ski Natique boat motored out, Melissa admitted that she had never been wakeboarding before, but she surprised me to no end, by getting up on her second attempt. Quite a fun and exciting day.
Our adventures continued the next day with a trip to Shotover Jet Mexico, for an exhilarating ride on a jet boat through a tropical lagoon and mangrove jungle, where some of the original Tarzan movies were filmed. Our jet boat pilot had our boat skimming along the top of the placid water, narrowly missing branches, with the wind rushing through our hair and then he’d make a fast turn and the boat would do an amazing 360 degree turn, with whitewater flying everywhere. A great adrenaline fun filled time.
Over the next few days, we toned it down a bit by taking in some of the activities at the hotel. The beach was filled with fun things to do. We rented ATV’s on the beach, went surfing on rented boards directly across from our room, and even enjoyed a romantic sunset horseback ride on the beach.
The day before we departed, we went into Acapulco and enjoyed a day at Cici waterpark and dolphin experience. Here we were able to interact and swim with dolphins within the waterpark. It was another experience I wanted to do, since I was a child watching Jacques Cousteau on the television. Being able to swim, touch and play with these wonderful cetaceans, was another experience of a lifetime. The trainers had us feed the dolphins, hold on to their dorsal fins for a ride and even get pushed around the pool by our feet, resting on their bottlenoses. Amazing.
After playing with the dolphins, we explored the parks water slides, inner tubes, wave pool and so much more. As always, we always felt at ease and comfortable in our surroundings. The people of Mexico showed us the most wonderful hospitality.
Acapulco and its surrounding areas are filled with exciting and new experiences. We had such a great time, that when we got back to California, I contacted the hotel and asked them to make a duplicate room 3102 plaque (the wonderful upgraded room we received). I was happy to pay any charge, because, how do you put a price tag on a trip of a lifetime?
I’m happy to report, that I am now married to Melissa and the room plaque hangs on the entrance to the master bedroom of our house, and we are always reminded of the fun, adventure and wonderful hospitality of our Acapulco adventure. Acapulco, a great place to fall in love.