There wasn’t a Riviera Maya until a marketing genius came up with the name. It stuck — the Riviera Maya is now synonymous with Mexican beach holidays of the highest standard. Mexico may be hoping to catch lightning in the bottle once again with the creation of the marketing destination tag, Sun Triangle.
The Sun Triangle saw its first appearance in 2012 as a tourism initiative launched by Angel Aguirre Rivero, Governor of the State of Guerrero. It’s an effort to position and promote the top tourism destinations in the state — Acapulco, Taxco and Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo — as popular international destinations. These three destinations flourish as vacation choices for Mexico’s domestic market, and Acapulco recently posted impressive occupancy numbers. Their appeal for international travelers has waned over the years, and negative reports of cartel drug violence have done additional damage. It’s a shame, really, because all three of these destinations have their own charm. Travelers who include all three in one vacation enjoy a diverse and immersive experience of what Mexico has to offer.
Acapulco is one of Mexico’s most venerable seaside tourist destinations. This is part of its problem, since it has to fight against the perception that it’s time has come and gone. It’s done this by opening impressive new resorts in its Diamante District, such as Hotel Encanto and the Banyan Tree Cabo Marques. The view of Acapulco Bay at night is still one of the most stirring vistas in the world. Acapulco is struggling and sometimes can’t seem to catch a break in the media, but it’s still a great choice for travelers in search of a bargain beach holiday, especially those seeking exciting nightlife in the city’s discos and nightclubs.
On the other hand, the dual destination of Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo has dodged the negative press from which Acapulco suffers. Vacationers choosing Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo have the choice of moving back and forth between Ixtapa’s world-class beach resorts and Zihuatanejo’s small town charm, where it’s still possible to feel like you’re in Old Mexico.
The colonial city of Taxco is synonymous with the silver trade. It’s an inland city and presents a markedly different side of Mexico from its beach destinations. Taxco is soaked in history, with many 18th-century buildings, especially around the city’s picturesque zocalo. Taxco is also a magnet for shoppers in search of silver jewelry at favorable prices.
Special events will be a prominent feature in marketing the Sun Triangle. Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo is currently hosting an annual Cultural Festival, taking place through March 22. The festival includes special exhibits, workshops and events highlighting the dual destination’s cuisine, music, art and traditions. From March 29-31, Ixtapa will host its annual Seafood Festival, where visitors can sample a variety of fresh dishes prepared with local ingredients. Throughout the year, visitors to Taxco can dip into the local culture by catching a callejoneada performance, a folkloric musical event performed in the streets by local student bands, taking place every Friday and Saturday evening at 8 p.m. in different locations throughout the city.
One of the major efforts put forth by the State of Guerrero as part of the Sun Triangle campaign is the sponsorship of the Mexican NASCAR driver, Daniel Suarez. His car and uniform made their debut with the official Acapulco and Sun Triangle logos at the New Hampshire NASCAR Pro Series race last September.
“By sponsoring Daniel Suarez, the Sun Triangle campaign has the opportunity to reach the over 75 million NASCAR fans in the U.S., which is one of our most important international markets,” said Javier Aluni Montes, the Secretary of Tourism of the State of Guerrero. “The races will be broadcast in 150 countries, further extending the potential reach of the campaign, and each race expects to have an average of 200,000 people in attendance.”