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Palma Sola: Acapulco’s hidden treasure

Leslee Haralson

Acapulco, Mexico. Tropical, warm sun, azure waters, rows of cruise ships docked in port, bustling city, long, white sandy beach, daring cliffs divers- these are some of the images that come to mind. But there is much more to be found in this fantastic city situated in the state of Guerrero in a curved bay on the Pacific coast.

Unknown to many, Acapulco is home to Palma Sola Archeological Site, one of many of its kind in the area, but the only site accessible to visitors. Palma Sola contains 18 petroglyphs dated from 200 - 600 AD believed to have been carved by the Yopes people. The site is tranquilly set in tropical forest high above Acapulco with stunning views of the bay far below. Almost as it were, out of sight and so out of mind.

Beginning in the Visitors Center there are displays and interpretive signs in both English and Spanish detailing the history of the area and the findings of this particular site. Heading out back behind the center is the trail leading up the mountain, winding around to the locations of the various petroglyphs. Climbing the many stone steps can be difficult to navigate at times and the trail is steep, but there are resting places, if not much shade on the path. TIP: Be sure to bring a water bottle.

Finally at the top of the trail visitors are rewarded with centuries-old petroglyphs. Some are pictures of single figures while others are of elaborate scenes depicting life of the ancient inhabitants. Certain places on the trail at an elevation of more than 1,000 feet above sea level open up to breathtaking vistas of the city and bay below. Even though Palma Sola is only about 20 minutes by taxi from downtown Acapulco, the commotion and noise of the city seem far removed compared to the peace and stillness of the mountain.

Palma Sola is open daily except Monday from 9am-5pm. A minimum of one hour is needed at the site for a quick visit, two hours is better for perusing the Visitors Center and examining all the petroglyphs.

Palma Sola is a delightful, off-the-beaten-track experience that brings life to the culture and history of the area. It is not well known even for the locals, so it is crowd free. TIP: Be sure to have the address with you just in case the driver is unfamiliar with Palma Sola.

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