Jun 1, 2011

Acapulco, Mexico

Scenes from the View-Master packet Acapulco (B003).


View-Master Acapulco (B003), Packet Cover

Packet cover


View-Master Acapulco (B003), Booklet Cover

Booklet cover


From the 16-page booklet:

BIENVENIDO, AMIGO! Welcome to Acapulco—spectacular, exciting—the world’s playground on Mexico’s west coast.

Although now a household word among the international set, Acapulco (pronounced ah-cah-POOL-ko) only recently achieved its fame as a resort. The city was founded in 1530 by the conqueror of Mexico, Hernan Cortes, principally as a port in which to build ships for exploring expeditions. Acapulco sent ships southward to Peru and northward to the mouth of the Colorado River, searching for the fabled, golden city of Cibola. (Needless to say, it was never found.) After Magellan discovered the China coast, and the seafaring monk, Fray Andres de Urdaneta, sailed from China and the Philippines to Acapulco in 1565, the city became a trading port, a way station on the China trade route. Ships from Spain, China, and Japan dropped anchor, laden with riches from the Orient. The cargoes were transported overland by mules to Veracruz on the east coast, then shipped to Spain. As commerce grew in importance, a fair was held to celebrate the arrival of the China ships. Of course, the lavish riches carried in the vessels and stored in the city attracted pirates; and Dutch and English brigands roamed the coast, looting and burning.

For almost 300 years, Acapulco prospered as a shipping port. Then, after Mexico won its independence from Spain in 1822, the China trade practically ceased. The mule trail to Mexico City fell into disuse and soon was overgrown. Acapulco became a sleepy fishing village, one of many dotting the southwest coast.

It slept for almost 100 years, then roused briefly in 1927 when a road was completed from Mexico City. A resort hotel was built in 1938, but the hoped-for influx of tourists didn’t take place. World War II stopped the city’s tourist development; and not until 1955, when a super highway was opened, did Acapulco come alive.  With the advent of air transportation, allowing easy access from any place on the globe, the city’s growth became spectacular. Probably more than any one person, Miguel Aleman, former Mexican president, pushed development as a resort, until today Acapulco is called, “America’s Riviera.”


Scene 1

From the Hotel del Monte

View-Master Acapulco (B003), Scene 1: From the Hotel del Monte

Acapulco and Bay from Hotel del Monte terrace


From the 16-page booklet:


Despite 400 years of colorful history, almost nothing remains as a memento of the past in Acapulco. There are no picturesque colonial streets, no great architectural monuments. Today’s city seems as new as the resort hotels, strung like beads on a necklace around the bay. Here, 265 miles southwest of Mexico City, is one of the finest and most beautiful natural harbors in the world. As seen in the picture, it crowds against the foothills of the Sierra Madre del Sur, the rugged, 3000-foot-high mountain range ringing the city. The sheer drop of the mountains accounts for the harbor’s depth—90 to almost 400 feet.

Cortes chose horseshoe-shaped Puerto Marques cove in which to establish his shipyards; and here, too, lurked the pirates who waited for the galleons that sailed, heavy with treasure, from the Orient. Today, Puerto Marques Bay is one of Acapulco’s several beaches.


Scene 4

Hotel Presedente Beach

View-Master Acapulco (B003), Scene 4: Hotel Presedente Beach

El Presidente Hotel Beach


From the 16-page booklet:


Winter is the best time to visit Acapulco, when the average temperature is 78 degrees. But the city always is enjoyable, even during the hotter season, when rain helps to enrich the tropical vegetation. And, of course, the beaches, such as that in front of El Presidente Hotel, are popular year-round.


Scene 16

Hotel Caleta and Beach

View-Master Acapulco (B003), Scene 16: Hotel Caleta and Beach

Hotel Caleta’s swimming pool and beach


From the 16-page booklet:


Las Playas Peninsula is covered with fine hotels, among them, the Caleta. Situated on the west side of Las Playas, it overlooks Roqueta Island and the Pacific beyond. Playa Caleta, seen in the background, as all other beaches in Acapulco, usually is well populated with tourists.

The city is a favorite resort with Mexicans. They account for 55% of all visitors, with Americans making up 80% of the rest. The Americans usually visit from January to Easter, and in the summer. Mexicans visit the year-round, but especially the week after Christmas or Easter. It is the fashionable thing to do. Some Mexicans unable to make the trip, will disconnect their telephones so that callers will assume they are in Acapulco.


Scene 21

Night Lights

View-Master Acapulco (B003), Scene 21: Acapulco at Night

Glowing night lights invite tourists to dine & dance


From the 16-page booklet:


A sun worshipper’s paradise by day, Acapulco glows with man-made suns—thousands of lights—at night. They festoon the yachts in the harbor and hang like a heavy necklace along the boulevard that winds along the bay. In the hotels, the city’s gaiety continues, for the city’s night life is as famous as its beaches. Each hotel boasts of its night clubs and tries to outdo its competitors in entertainment and décor. (One club was decorated by the painter, Salvador Dali.) All offer unique atmosphere, good floor shows and, perhaps most important of all, a romantic setting. there is nothing to compare with dancing on a tropical night, with the Pacific breaking against the beach below. But visitors should be forewarned; most of the night spots charge a cover or minimum that ranges from modest to sky high. At nightfall our tour ends and reluctantly we say “Adios” to Acapulco, Mexico’s international playground.

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