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Acapulco Cliff Divers

Updated on September 10, 2012

Extreme Sports Cliff Diving

La quebrada
La quebrada | Source

Acapulco Bay

Acapulco | Source

Acapulco Cliff Diving

Acapulco is a sea port situated on the Pacific coast of Mexico, where the Sun shines all year long and the temperatures remain warm, as well. Acapulco is situated on a bay, divided in two sections; the old section is the traditional one, and the new section is where mot of the modern buildings and luxury hotels are situated. Acapulco became world famous and heavily visited by wealthy people and Hollywood stars during the 1950s. It was during those years that Acapulco started to grow from a small sea port to a world tourist destination, attracting visitors from all parts of the world. In Acapulco, there are all kinds of tourist attractions from water sports to extreme sports and night life entertainment.

For all this, Acapulco is known as captivating and fascinating city , where one can find all kinds of entertainment all day long. One of the most interesting and impressive tourist attractions is the diving at La Quebrada. La Quebrada is a coastal spot located at a cliff where divers throw themselves off the cliff from heights of over 30 meters (99 ft.). This type of dive requires careful calculations, as it can be dangerous if a diver jumps into the water when the sea wave is too low.

La Quebrada Cliff Divers

L a Quebrada
L a Quebrada | Source

Cliff Dive from 35 meters (115 ft.)

Cliff Dive from 35 meters (115 ft.)
Cliff Dive from 35 meters (115 ft.) | Source


Cliff diving has not always been part of the attraction at Acapulco. In the 1930, native young men from Acapulco started this pass time as a kind of entertainment for them. They usually challenged one another as to who could dive from a higher point at the cliff. This spectacle became noticed by tourists who began giving tips to the young men to observe their dives.

Over time, and as a way of living, the divers acquired more experience and upgraded their diving skills, achieving sea dives from higher heights at the cliff. Within a few years, seeing this spectacle at la Quebrada became very popular, and the divers began giving daily diving performances. This led to the establishment of la Quebrada Cliff Divers in 1934. Today, the divers at la Quebrada are professionals with lots of knowledge about the profession they perform.

Cliff Divers

Cliff Divers
Cliff Divers | Source

Jumping from the Diving Platform at la quebrada

Cliff diving involves jumps from more than 30 meters (99 ft.). The sea water creek below is 7 meters (22 ft.) wide and between 2-4 meters (6.5-13 ft.) deep.

Cliff divers usually wait for the incoming sea wave before each jump.

Acapulco Cliff Diving Technique

Each sea dive at la Quebrada must be carefully calculated. The spot down the cliff where the divers fall into is a creek of about seven meters (22 ft.) wide by four meters (13 ft.) deep or less depending on the incoming sea wave. The cliff which is not completely vertical, but has a steep slope must also be carefully calculated in each dive. A diver usually lets his body fall while bending his knees at the same time, and at a 45 degrees angle, he impulses his whole body towards the front. This allows him to avoid crashing with the rocks of the cliff. Before a dive, a diver usually waits for a sea wave to enter the creek below. This signals the diver that enough water has entered the creek filling its four meter deep capacity, thus, preventing a serious accident.

As the sea waves enter and exit the creek, they fill or empty the creek with water, varying its depth each time. The typical depth at which a diver can safely dive into the water is four meters (13 ft.). Each time a sea wave exits the creek, it usually leaves it with a depth of between three or two meters (6.5-10 ft.), which can be fatal for a diver.

The Cliff dives, which are performed daily, involve diving heights of up to 30 meters (99 ft.). The depth of the water below may vary in between 2-4 meters (6-16 ft.), depending on the water waves, and which the diver must be able to predict in order to avoid injury, or even more a fatal accident.

The sport, which was dominated by men, has now accepted the first woman as part of the diving team.

Observing Cliff Dives at la Quebrada

Observing Cliff Dives at la Quebrada
Observing Cliff Dives at la Quebrada | Source

Daily Cliff Dives at la Quebrada

Cliff dives are performed throughout the day usually at specific scheduled periods of time, and people can observe the dives from the El Mirador bar´s terrace or from a public stair walk way at the opposite side of the main cliff. The divers typically show their acrobacy skills, performing simple and complicated dives, which they may culminate when the spectacle ends with a circle lit fire on the water which the diver must go dive through during his dive.

In the following video, you´ll be able to watch several dives performed by a number of divers from different angles at la Quebrada. The narration of this video is in Spanish, and I have added the transcription in English.

Girl: I´m the first cliff diver woman here at la Quebrada.

Narrator: According to tradition, the first divers were not professionals, but only fishermen who began challenging one another to see who could dive from the highest point.

Girl: Before every dive, I get a little bit scared, but when I´m in the air, I feel like if I´m flying, like a seagull that is flying. It feels nice.

Narrator: When you are up there just before diving, you´re watching, waiting for the right wave, as there is not sufficient depth, but only 4 meters (13 ft.), and if you don´t choose the right moment, you can touch the bottom and hurt your neck, your back or even lose your own life.

Narrator: When you jump is like a dream, you feel free like a bird. When you touch the water, you wake up and your dream vanishes off.

Cliff Divers Video at la Quebrada


The Cliff dives at la Quebrada were regarded as one of the early extreme sports in the 1970s by ABC´s Wide World of Sports.

The Guinness Book of World Records has listed Cliff Diving as "the highest regularly performed headfirst dives" in the world.


Submit a Comment

  • unvrso profile image

    Jose Juan Gutierrez 5 years ago from Mexico City

    Yes, It must be scary to jump from those heights. Cliff divers have trained almost all their entire life, and the sport has been inherited from other generations.

    They have acquired the habit of performing those scary jumps; however, almost every cliff diver says that they get nervous before every single dive.

    Thanks for commenting on this hub, Robin.

  • Robin profile image

    Robin Edmondson 5 years ago from San Francisco

    I can't imagine diving off a cliff that high, let alone doing a flip. It makes my stomach drop just thinking about it! It would be fun to watch though. Next time we're in Acapulco, we'll have to check it out.