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This winter getaway in Acapulco is a must-see classic thrill

By Karen Catchpole, Dec 2019

Site of La Quebrada cliff divers in Acapulco

From the late 1940s through the '60s, Hollywood A-listers like Elizabeth Taylor, Frank Sinatra, John Wayne, Brigitte Bardot, Eartha Kitt and Rock Hudson made a winter getaway to fun, sunny Acapulco famous.

The La Quebrada Cliff divers were there to entertain them, and after the divers were featured in the 1963 Elvis Presley movie "Fun in Acapulco," they rose to even greater fame. Since then, they've been one of Acapulco's top tourist attractions and have become famous around the world, appearing in commercials for General Electric and in the opening montage for ABC's "Wide World of Sports."

Today, these must-see daredevils are as ready as ever to add a thrill to your winter getaway as you watch them gracefully dive into the narrow, rocky gulches (quebradas, in Spanish) along Acapulco's Pacific coastline.

What to watch when watching the La Quebrada Cliff Divers

The weather in Acapulco is warm and sunny year-round, and the La Quebrada Cliff Divers perform 365 days a year. There are five 30-minute cliff divers shows per day: one at 1 p.m., and one every hour between 7:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. Performances can be viewed from a special platform above the gulches or from the Hotel Mirador. Watch the 1 p.m. show to see the spectacle in daylight, then return for the 10:30 p.m. finale, during which the divers hold flaming torches for extra dazzle.

Some divers hit the water at more than 40 miles per hour, so travelers who want to capture action shots should use a tripod and a fast shutter speed to ensure sharp focus. For a more intimate angle on the action, watch the show from the observation platform, which gives you more space to set up photography equipment.

Acapulco winter getaway travel tips

The Hotel Mirador was built on the cliffs in 1933, and many of the celebrity visitors to Acapulco stayed at the 133-room hotel. A top-to-bottom renovation of the historic property, scheduled for completion in 2020, is restoring some of that past glory. Splurge and reserve the 670-square-foot Frank Sinatra suite. Even if you're not a guest, the Hotel Mirador offers dinner-and-drinks packages in the hotel's La Perla restaurant, providing fantastic views of cliff diver performances.

If you're more of an Elvis fan, stop by Hotel Boca Chica, which opened in 1950 and was featured in the King's "Fun in Acapulco." It was completely renovated and re-opened in 2010 with plenty of hip, retro charm.

Most of the bars and clubs favored by the Rat Pack and other star visitors have closed. However, Baby'O Acapulco still attracts famous nightlife lovers, including Naomi Campbell, Madonna and Bono.

Eduardo Wichtendahl Palazuelos, an Acapulco native and the son of Mexican chef Susana Palazuelos, opened Zibu restaurant over Bahía de Puerto Marques to celebrate the area's culinary history as a port city where spices from Asia came ashore. Dishes such as fish cooked in banana leaves, pad thai and Mextai sweet and sour shrimp are as memorable as the ocean views.

The La Quebrada Cliff Divers are a spectacle to remember. And when you pair them with Hollywood-heyday hotels and delicious coastal dishes, you'll understand why Acapulco is the quintessential cold-weather escape.

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