Acapulco Cruise Ships Arrive, But Will the City Find Its Rhythm?

Acapulco's a city of contrasts: cruise ships arrive, dengue fever sways, hotels groove, fire flickers, and violence lurks. A tale of two cities, sparkling with tourism yet shadowed by fear. Will 2024 find its rhythm?

Acapulco Cruise Ships Arrive, But Will the City Find Its Rhythm?
Sunsets and salsa steps: Acapulco welcomes back cruise ships.

Acapulco, the once-glittering siren of the Pacific, is bringing headlines in 2024. On one hand, cruise ships like the Norwegian Bliss, a behemoth carrying over 4,000 sun-kissed souls, are preparing to waltz into port on January 17th. This, thanks to the tireless collaboration between the Acapulco government and federal authorities, all eager to resurrect the city's tourism mojo after Hurricane Otis's not-so-graceful pirouette.

But even as the champagne corks pop on the decks, a different story simmers beneath the surface. Dengue, a mosquito-borne mambo, has Acapulco in its feverish grip. Over 1,600 positive cases have sashayed in, with kids under 15 leading the conga line. Health officials are launching mega-operations to swat the pesky pests and lower the infection peaks, especially in neighborhoods like Progreso where the dengue fever is particularly hot.

Meanwhile, hotel occupancy is doing the cha-cha-cha, reaching a respectable 77.6% in the city. The Golden Zone is practically a disco inferno with 88% occupancy, while the Traditional and Diamond zones are doing the merengue at 66.8% and 48.6% respectively. Ixtapa and Zihuatanejo are also grooving to the touristy rhythm, with occupancy rates hovering around 79% and 64%. Even Taxco, the colonial charmer, is getting its groove on with a respectable 31.7% occupancy.

But just as you think Acapulco is ready for a full-blown Zumba party, a dark bolero cuts in. A fire at the Emporio Hotel, recently resurrected from Hurricane Otis's waters, casts an eerie shadow. Thankfully, the flames stayed on the upper floors, confined to an unoccupied area and prompting a swift evacuation. No casualties there, thankfully.

However, the city's macabre continues. A man's head, found unceremoniously tucked away in a bucket on the Mexico-Acapulco highway, is a grim reminder that Acapulco's underbelly still pulsates with a violent events. 2023 saw 465 murders, a grim 12-person increase over 2022's already unsettling number.

So, Acapulco in 2024 is a city doing the splits – one leg kicking up in a celebratory can-can of tourism and economic revival, the other rooted in the harsh realities of dengue and violence. It's a city where cruise ships shimmy in and heads bop out of buckets, a city where the future remains as unpredictable as a mambo on roller skates. But hey, at least it's not boring.