In Acapulco, which you might call the capital of afromestizo Mexico, the streets are run by tropical gangsters -- open, hospitable, on top of things, yet watching everything for any sign of trouble. Morenos in shorts and wifebeaters, their urban coastal slang is made almost incomprehensible inside the quick and drawn south Guerrero accent.
Once you get away from Acapulco's over-developed tourist zones, this is a brittle, dense, steamy city, very literally; buildings stew under the acidic strength of the hot salt-water breezes. There are knock-down cantinas on every other corner. In the narco era, the police and military make their presence felt. The hillside barrios, you are told, are absolutely off-limits.
We arrived Saturday night. Needed a break. One of those things. Mexico City was becoming intolerable (again), so in a moment's decision, we headed in silence to Tasqueña and got on the first possible bus to the south. By Sunday afternoon we were relaxing by the pool at Villa Roxana, half-hour north of Acapulco on the beach in Pie de la Cuesta.
A planned two-day retreat turned into three, then four ... then five. I had stayed at this spot once almost four years ago, and was so glad to have stumbled upon it again. For around $400 pesos a night, the rooms and service are unmatched. Roxana, the owner, is a thoughtful, attentive host. Be cool and considerate, and she'll take care of you.