As it does every year, the Easter long weekend brought thousands of tourists to the resort city of Acapulco, a favorite destination among Mexican families despite increasing levels of violence.
And as many of the visitors do every year, they set up camp on the city’s beaches, to the chagrin of local authorities.
A lot of visitors favor this impromptu form of lodging — it’s much cheaper than any hotel.
But the municipal government has tried to dissuade tourists from the practice, even setting up a campground in a municipal sports facility, but few, if any, make use of it.
This year, to avoid being disturbed by municipal police officers, many families opted to spend the night in makeshift auto-hotels.
Reporters from the newspaper Milenio witnessed families park their vehicles at the roadside near the beach. After settling in on car seats — and even in the trunk — and covering themselves with blankets or towels, they were ready to spend the night.
Other families risked the beach instead, spreading blankets on the sands of the Hornos, Tamarindo or Papagayo beaches, spending the night in what could be called the most coveted waterfront locations with the best views available in the port city.
Despite local regulations, campers and auto-hotel occupants were neither reprimanded nor relocated by authorities.
Come morning, pop-up food stands appeared, ready to cater to the breakfast needs of the vacationers, selling coffee, traditional San Marcos bread, quesadillas and fresh fruit water. Those who had imbibed the previous night were also able to obtain the hair of the dog that bit them, and carry on with the party.
It is a tourist sector that travels on a budget, avoiding paying hotel tariffs, but hotel occupancy was strong regardless.
Estimates by the hotels association indicate that occupancy was 97% during Easter Week, and 100% in the city’s Zona Dorada.
It was the best Easter vacation period in recent years, said Jorge Laurel González, president of the Association of Hotels and Tourism Businesses of Acapulco.
But in terms of violence, it was a week like any other. Forty-six people were murdered in Guerrero in the nine days beginning April 8, 24 of them in Acapulco.