Acapulco Travel Guide

Acapulco Overview

Everybody has heard of Acapulco, whether it be from the Elvis movie Fun in Acapulco, the Four Tops song Loco in Acapulco or as Mexico’s original party town. Sat on the shores of the Pacific Ocean with a backdrop of the rugged SierraMadreMountains, Acapulco, put on the map by the starlets of the 1950s Hollywood golden age, is a resort where the sun always shines, the beaches are pristine, water sports are boundless and the nightlife is never ending. The heyday may have been and gone and the gauntlet passed on to Cancun but the town continues to pull in the punters who come in search of sun, sea, sand and salsa.

 
Let’s face it, if you arrive in Acapulco it is for two main reasons, to hang around on the beach by day and cruise the bars and discos at night. The beaches are a delight and the sweeping bays of both Bahia de Acapulco and Bahia de Puerto Marquez are the places to be as there is no a shortage of space to lay back and bask in the glorious sunshine or cool off in the calm waters. Lining the bays visitors to Acapulco will find everything required of a beach vacation; budget and luxury hotels, beach front cafés, seafood restaurants, bars, shops and masses of tour operators.
 
For those that fell they can afford a day away from the beach, they will discover that Acapulco is actually also a town of colonial charm and rich in history. Battling past the traffic filled streets, the keen adventurer will find a city whose roots date back 2000 years and, since Spanish discovery, streets lined with colonial cathedrals and ancient forts. A wander around the old town of Zocalo is a must at night, when the area lights up with the colours and sounds of street performers, mariachi bands and festivals. Furthermore, beyond the town is a region of immense natural beauty stretching into the sierra. And let’s not forget the fine cliff diving spectacle taking place at La Quebrada.
 
There is no shortage of ways into Acapulco with flights, the majority package tours, coming in from all across the USA and locally from Guadalajara, Mexico City and Tijuana. The town itself splits into two unofficial zones, Zocalo (the old town) to the west of the bay and the Playa Caleta, the resort area to the east. Taxis and buses are on hand day and night or you could always go by foot and wander along Costera. Whatever the motive, with so much sun and beautiful beaches at the turn of every corner it is difficult no to leave Acapulco with a smile.

Things to do in Acapulco

La Quebrada Cliff Divers - Since 1934 the clavadistas (cliff divers) have been astounding audiences with their elegant swan diving exploits from the cliff top to the narrow pool that lies 35m below. Divers tend to leap off the cliff in groups of 3 and can be seen praying at a small shrine beforehand. There are also good views from below but you’ll need to climb down some steps. Don’t try it yourself even if you have seen Elvis do so with ease.

 
Pie de la Cuesta - Roughly 8 miles north of Acapulco is a serene stretch of sand enclosed by the Pacific Ocean and peaceful Laguna de Coyuca. Unfortunately due to changing tides and the odd shark this is not a place for swimming, however the sunsets are undeniably beautiful and the beach is a nice place for an evening stroll. At the southern end are some tradition beach shacks serving snacks and drinks.
 
Laguna de Coyuca - Vast freshwater lake behind Pie de la Cuesta, lined with swaying palms and home to wealth of birdlife. This is a popular recreation spot where jet skis, kayaks and boat trips can be seen enjoying the water and stopping off at the lake’s islands for lunch.
 
Isla de la Roqueta - A short 20-minute boat ride from AcapulcoBay, this island is popular with families for its shallow waters and abundance of boating activities. Glass-bottom boats make their way from the bay, dropping off at the island for swimming, snorkelling and diving. Furthermore, this is a good spot to watch the La Quebrada cliff divers.
 
Casa de la Mascara - Small museum with a huge collection of Mexican masks of all shapes and sizes. This is a good place to learn about masks, more so if you are tempted by buying one.
 
Museo de Acapulco - Housed inside the 1616 Fuerte de San Diego - a stunning restored fort used to protect Spanish trade routes - the museum takes your attention away from the beach and nightlife and takes you back in time, showcasing the significant history of Acapulco. Sound and light shows are regular but check listings beforehand. Open 9.30am - 6pm, Tuesday to Sunday.
 
Acapulco Water sports - Typical of a sunny beach resort there are endless opportunities to have fun and adventure in the warm Pacific waters. Plying the beaches are operators running banana boat rides, jet skis, parasailing, windsurfing sailing, cruises and more. Down at the marina you’ll find hoards of touts offering ocean cruises ranging from glass-bottom boats to romantic sunset cruises to an all-inclusive booze cruise. Bonanzo and Hawaiano are popular cruise operators. Scuba divers should drop in at Acapulco Scuba Centre. If you fancy some fishing then Fish-R-Us run a wide range of trips. Away from the beach CICI is a family friendly water park with dolphin shows, wave pools and slides.
 
Acapulco Nightlife
Acapulco is swarming with nightlife and you won’t have to look far to find a bar, nightclub of live music venue. You’ll find hoards of locations scattered around the bay and big clubs set into the cliffs with stunning views.
Bars
Carlos n Charlies - Popular spot at Playa Diamante, good for ribs, a few beers and casual dancing.
Nina’s - Tropical beats and sensuous salsa take top billing and it’s popular with locals.
Barbarroja - Pirate themed beachfront bar with plenty of table dancing and clientele of all ages.
 
Clubs
Baby’O - Long-established favourite set in a mock cave and attracting the upmarket crowd. Pricey cover charge.
Disco Beach - Casual dress codes and young hooking-up revellers right on CondesaBeach.
Mandara - Stylish cliff top club with a chic dress code and after-hours lounge.
Palladium - Cliff side club with huge glass windows overlooking the bay. Attracts big name Djs and goes on until the early hours.

Hotels in Acapulco

Budget Hotels Acapulco

K3 Acapulco - Popular hostel on CondesaBeach close to restaurants and nightlife. Tel (52) 744 481 3111.
Kingdom Hostel - Cheap hostel on the outskirts of town but close to a pleasant beach. Tel (52) 744 466 3736.
 
Midrange Hotels Acapulco
El Tropicano - Relaxing hotel with 2 restaurants and 2 pools. Tel (52) 744 435 2350.
Pacific Paradise - Mediterranean styled hotel and resort in a quiet location. Tel (52) 744 481 1413.
La Villa Nirvana - Excellent bungalows at Pie de la Cuesta, about 10km from Acapulco central. Tel (52) 744 460 1631.
 
Luxury Hotels Acapulco
El Mirador - Villa styled rooms overlooking La Quebrada Cliffs. Tel (52) 744 483 1155.
Hotel Elcano - Superb hotel and inviting pool. The best rooms have terraces with ocean views. Tel (52) 744 435 1500.
Park Royal Acapulco - Luxury all-inclusive resort with so many facilities you may never leave. Tel (888) 744 0040.

Acapulco Weather

Acapulco Travel Resources

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This page was last modified on 6 Feb 2011 by TravelGurl