The cliff divers at La Quebrada

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Acapulco? Perhaps these crazy cliff divers?

Cliff divers at La Quebrada, Acapulco, Mexico

For nearly 100 years, divers have been flying off the cliffs at La Quebrada – extreme sport performers long before that was a common term. At first, it was boys playing. Then, in 1934, the manager of the nearby El Mirador Hotel turned them into a full-fledged attraction. La Quebrada Cliff Divers have been stars ever since. And several times a day, they dive head first off the dangerously jagged cliffs, into the narrow cove.

Notice the little temple on the platform? That’s a shrine to the Virgin of Guadalupe, an important part of the divers’ ritual. Next comes timing. It’s vital not to land in the shallows, so dives are carefully coordinated with the waves as they crash in. The horizontal distance have to be at least 10 metres away from the cliff face to avoid hitting the rocks below. Lots to keep in mind during the few seconds you’re falling at 130 km/h.

At night, they dive with flaming petrol torches, we’re told. Must be even more hold-your-breath spectacular.

Adventure travel is not merely for boys, neither is adventure sports. I ask whether there are any girl divers. Indeed there are. Iris Selene Alvarez, grand-daughter of one of the original divers, jumped off the cliff for the first time at age 12, the youngest person ever, according to Guinness World Records.

Ready, set, go:

Cliff divers at La Quebrada, Acapulco, Mexico

Cliff divers at La Quebrada, Acapulco, Mexico

Cliff divers at La Quebrada, Acapulco, Mexico

Cliff divers at La Quebrada, Acapulco, Mexico

Cliff divers at La Quebrada, Acapulco, Mexico

Cliff divers at La Quebrada, Acapulco, Mexico

Cliff divers at La Quebrada, Acapulco, Mexico

Waiting to meet the fans and rake in a few pesos after:
Cliff divers at La Quebrada, Acapulco, Mexico

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54 Responses to “The cliff divers at La Quebrada”

  1. Lisa 26 February 2012 2150 #

    Great shots! I think I’d be terrified to even watch – I’d be so worried about something going wrong!

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 26 February 2012 2307 #

      Yes, I know what you mean. It was a very impressive performance, but a little scary as well.

  2. ItalianNotes 27 February 2012 0954 #

    With a son practising deep water soloing, where you climb cliffs like that and fall down, I’m sure I wouldn’t like to watch. When will young people ever learn to collect stamps?

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 27 February 2012 1038 #

      Ouch! I’ve been lucky in that respect. The most extreme my oldest daughter has done is zorbing, a gentle pursuit in comparison. My youngest, however, is showing signs of more adventurous interests. We shall see.

  3. Gregg 27 February 2012 1024 #

    Oh my, I guess that is called really extreme sports. I wouldn’t do that for all the money in the world.

    On another note, great pics! You really were able to emphasize how extreme their dive is.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 27 February 2012 1039 #

      Neither would I, not for love or money.
      And thanks 🙂

  4. Eric @ Trans-Americas Journey 27 February 2012 1429 #

    Hi Sophie, Great post, we loved seeing the cliff divers, actually went a few times while we were in Acapulco. I did something fun with the photos that really shows how amazing these guys (and girls) are. I put together composite photos of some dives compiling 12+ images of a dive in one frame, like a stop action image of both day and night dives – http://trans-americas.com/blog/2011/01/cliff-divers-acapulco/

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 27 February 2012 1859 #

      Eric, I remember your post and those excellent photo composites. Very cool with the night dive composites, too.

  5. InsideJourneys 27 February 2012 1442 #

    They cliff dive here at Rick’s Cafe in Negril. Amazing, is all I can say. All that planning, all that coordinating. As I was reading, I thought of the Birdmen — those extreme sports enthusiasts who fly wearing special suits. Some people are just born for that.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 27 February 2012 1905 #

      Wing suit jumping is very popular here in Norway. I’m torn, horrified and impressed. I think you’re right; some seem to be born with that crazy gene. Just so happy my children aren’t among them 🙂

  6. isabella057 27 February 2012 1459 #

    Oh my God! It’s heart pounding scene here! But hey! I like how you captured the divers. It’s amazing!

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 27 February 2012 1905 #

      Thanks, Isabella.

  7. Vera Marie Badertscher 27 February 2012 1932 #

    Beautifully done, Sophie. And it looks so impossible for them to get the curve to take them out beyond the rock! thanks!

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 28 February 2012 0919 #

      Thanks Vera. Yes, I have no idea how they can plan (and execute) that. But then I’m not much of a diver – even if it’s just into a pool… too scared for my head.

  8. Sabrina 27 February 2012 2123 #

    Great shots! That is an amazing sequence of pictures. And scary! Especially since the rocks actually come out and not go back as you go further down. I’d never do that! Fun to look at though 🙂

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 28 February 2012 0916 #

      I couldn’t either. Not in a million years!

  9. jade 27 February 2012 2244 #

    Ah, they had some cliff divers in Cinque Terre too and as much as I loved watching them, it made my stomach turn as if something were going to happen! It is so impressive though and I know I could never psych myself up to do it!

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 28 February 2012 0916 #

      Ooh, didn’t know they cliff dived in Italy. Something to look out for next time.

  10. Luttchie 29 February 2012 0128 #

    Great photos you have posted here! Mexico is definitely a great place to have a vacation together with the whole family…

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 2 March 2012 1604 #

      Thanks. My children enjoyed Mexico 🙂

  11. Nichole 29 February 2012 0207 #

    Great photos! This cliff dive looks a little risky to me. I don’t think I’d even be able to watch.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 2 March 2012 1605 #

      Thanks, Nichole.

  12. Robert 29 February 2012 0925 #

    This is a really cool series of photos of those dare-devils against that deep blue sea.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 2 March 2012 1605 #

      Robert – long time… Thanks 🙂

  13. Jade - OurOyster.com 29 February 2012 1253 #

    Ack! That gives me shivers just looking at it!

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 2 March 2012 1608 #

      I know! I was tempted to close my eyes several times. Then I decided to take photos instead. Gives a certain distance to it all seeing it through a camera lens…

  14. Andrea 29 February 2012 1522 #

    Wow. That’s unbelievably brave. Love the way you’ve captured it!

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 2 March 2012 1608 #

      Thanks, Andrea 🙂

  15. Abby 29 February 2012 1944 #

    I think I’d be too scared to even watch!

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 2 March 2012 1609 #

      A sight not easily forgotten…

  16. Cherina 1 March 2012 0407 #

    I like to think of myself as pretty adventurous, but I would never try that! Gives me goosebumps just thinking about it let alone looking at the photos! They are great photos though, Sophie – you’ve captured it really well.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 2 March 2012 1610 #

      Thanks, Cherina 🙂

  17. Christy @ Technosyncratic 1 March 2012 0604 #

    This looks TERRIFYING. I would be so worried about breaking my neck, but clearly these teens (and kids!) who do it have become quite skilled. Still… wow.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 2 March 2012 1610 #

      Wow, indeed!

  18. Laurel 2 March 2012 1029 #

    This is insane, but I’d love to watch. It sounds especially incredible at night with the falming torches.

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 2 March 2012 1611 #

      A bit like a scary film, where you don’t know whether to look – or look away.

  19. Lisa Wielgosz 2 March 2012 1216 #

    What great series of photos, such bravado! I love the vibrancy of the colour as well!

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 2 March 2012 1612 #

      Thanks, I got lucky. Think the ocean must have been especially gorgeous that day.

  20. Preparing for Takeoff 2 March 2012 1509 #

    Holy Cow!! Do they have little, itsy, bitsy ones to just jump off of?

  21. Anne-Sophie Redisch 2 March 2012 1613 #

    Crazy, aren’t they?

  22. Jessica 2 March 2012 2129 #

    Wow! He’s got some style! Kinda scary though.

  23. Sonja 2 March 2012 2359 #

    Oh no no no, that would not be the sport for me. Way too scary. I don’t even think I could watch.

  24. Anwar 4 March 2012 0727 #

    Wow, great photos. Interesting tradition. I’m just a bit nervous how young all the divers are! I dont know if I would be brave enough to do it, but maybe if i started when i was really young and had no fear I might…

  25. dtravelsround 5 March 2012 0553 #

    WOW. I don’t think I could EVER do this.

  26. Theriz26 5 March 2012 1349 #

    Hi Sophie! Mexico is really a great place to visit. I like how you captured the divers. Thanks for sharing this to us.

  27. I started typing and then realized Diana said EXACTLY what I was going to say!

  28. Anne-Sophie Redisch 6 March 2012 1310 #

    Jessica, Sonja, Anwar, Diana, Theriz and Stephanie – thanks for stopping by 🙂

  29. Deb 8 March 2012 0226 #

    Wicked, We’re going there at the end of the month I’m definitely going to check this out. Great photos.

  30. Siddhartha Joshi 30 March 2012 0414 #

    These are some really cool pics!

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 1 April 2012 0056 #

      Thanks 🙂

  31. Alexa Meisler 23 April 2012 2324 #

    This is so intense! I love it so much and I wish I could see them in action some day. And the clearness of the water is just mesmerizing. If I can’t jump off the cliff into the water I at least want to swim in it!

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 23 April 2012 2352 #

      It really was the most intensely blue sea.

  32. Paul 14 March 2013 2309 #

    Do you have to be apart of the group too jump? I want to jump , would I be able to?

    • Anne-Sophie Redisch 14 March 2013 2349 #

      I think the area belongs to a nearby hotel, and if so, I imagine they might stop you from diving. But I don’t really know. I suggest you contact Hotel Mirador and ask.

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