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Cliff Divers, Acapulco
Concierge.com's insider take:
The daring clavadistas of Acapulco have been diving for audiences since the 1930s. They even have a union and a training regimen that quickly weed out reckless wannabes who have no business diving from 130 feet up. The cliff-diving action takes place at La Quebrada, a gorge in the cliffs above Old Acapulco. The divers first pray, then fly headfirst, arms spread in swan dives that last just a few thrilling seconds before they splash into the water in a narrow channel filled with rocks. The dives must be exactly timed to match the incoming swells of churning water. (No wonder Timex used the divers in a 1962 TV ad.) Afterward, they climb back up the gorge to mingle with their applauding fans.
Taxis and tour buses climb the steep winding road from Old Acapulco's neighborhood zócalo to the top of La Quebrada, where a few small shops sell souvenirs and cold drinks. Platforms with railings edge the gorge for spot-on views of the performance. The divers ask for donations from the audience at the viewing area (about $2 for the show), and additional tips are much appreciated. The most comfortable seats are at the La Perla restaurant in the El Mirador Hotel, which charges a cover of $5 or so (La Quebrada; 52-744-488-1155). Try to come at night, when the divers carry flaming torches on their descent.—Maribeth Mellin