Acapulco, Mexico

These carvings are on a hill high above Acapulco.

Arriving early in the morning, we took our coffee out on the deck and watched as we sailed into Acapulco Bay.  There is development nearly all the way around this harbor, with even some highrise hotels in the tourist district.  This is not the same Acapulco visited by the winners of The Dating Game in the 1960’s.  Nearly a million people are crowded into the city and up the sides of the surrounding mountains.  We chose a tour that took us up into the hills for a chance to see the ancient petroglyphs at Palma Sola and capture the panoramic views that climb would afford.  We boarded a large van at the pier and headed out.

At first, we stuttered through the morning rush hour traffic along the bay and the nearby streets.  Once we began climbing the hills, there was less traffic but the road began narrowing at an alarming rate.  As the city grew in the last century, residents staked out their own plots of land on the mountainside in a crazy-quilt fashion.  When the city administration annexed this land and brought services such as water, electricity and paved roads to these neighborhoods (known as colonias), no one wanted to give up one single centimeter of space.  Houses extended all the way to the edges of the individual properties.  The layout become a nearly impossible maze of unbelievably tight roads.  Added to this was the steepness of the hillside.  None of the roads is marked and we faced many byways blocked by parked vehicles.  When asked how he knew which way to go to reach our destination, the driver responded, “I just keep heading UP.”

The Pearl sits in the Bay.

After some thirty minutes of this tortuous climb, we reached the Palma Sola Archaeological Site.  Arrayed up the hill from the Welcome Center here are more than a dozen petroglyphs produced the Yopes peoples, from 800 B.C. to 200 A.D.  A set of 500 rough stone stairs is set into the hillside, requiring a good bit of stamina to climb.  Along the way we stopped to view the carvings, finally arriving at a plateau at the top where we rewarded with a simply astounding view of Acapulco Bay.  It was worth the effort to see this panorama.