Although it is an undeniably touristy activity, the shows the cliff divers put on at La Quebrada have been going strong for more than eight decades, and have kept the crowds coming back. The iconic image that most people conjure when they think of Acapulco is its cliff divers (clavadistas, in Spanish), who make a living tempting death; fortunately, all have come out victors in that fight. Four times a day (at 12:45 pm, 7:30 pm, 8:30 pm, and 9:30 pm), the men swan dive into La Quebrada (“the gorge”) from a 130-foot perch on the cliffs above on the peninsula of the same name. They have to time their plunges carefully, coordinating jumps with the waves. The water below is only 12 feet deep. The practice of cliff diving began with local fishermen, who were known to dive from high up on the rocky cliffs in order to propel themselves deep enough into the water to free snagged lines. With the advent of tourism in the 1930s, however, the divers soon discovered that their sensational
skills could earn them tips. The winding roads of La Quebrada peninsula make the site difficult to find on your own. A taxi is a good choice for getting here, or, better yet, a tour operator. Admission to the observation area costs $3. You’ll also be “charged” a bit of physical exertion in the form of a 70 step climb to get to the observation deck. Taking in the spectacle from the vantage point of La Perla restaurant at the nearby Hotel Mirador Acapulco (744/483–1260, www.miradoracapulco.com) makes a far more comfortable option. The Mirador offers three packages: one drink ($7); two drinks ($11), or full dinner ($26) while you enjoy the show. Some cruise lines’ shore excursions take in the spectacle from the vantage point of a yacht, as do a few local tour operators. The night shows, where the divers carry torches, are very popular, especially on weekends. No matter where you watch the show, expect to be approached by divers afterward asking for a tip. Most visitors offer $2 to $5; skew toward the higher amount if one of them poses for a photo with you. Beyond the cliff divers, La Quebrada peninsula has remnants of Acapulco's golden era of the early- to mid-20th century. Although now past its prime, this mostly residential area is being revitalized; the reopening of the trendy Boca Chica Hotel has led the way. You’ll also still find inexpensive hotels that are popular with travelers who want good deals and a slower pace than the main resort areas.