Acapulco's famous beaches. Golden sands, surf, and overlooked by the city's top hotels. Acapulco is a magnet for romantic getaways and honeymoons.

Acapulco Mexico - Where the Sun Never Sets

Travel Overview

Acapulco is a well-traveled destination on the south mexican coastline. Made famous by the song "Loco in Acapulco" by the Four Tops, it is also known for its long, windy, golden sand beaches, warm weather and sunshine, and vibrant lifetsyle,  the city is a mecca of shops, hotels, and nightspots. Visitors from all over Mexico, the Americas (north and south), and elsewhere in the world, are visiting Acapulco in increasing numbers. Popular among families, couples, singles, and students, acapulco is a great meetings destination too and provides a perfect setting for conferences, seminars, training courses, and exhibitions.

Places of interest include La Quebrada, where tourists can see 136 foot divers by locals. This is a dangerous, but well practised manouvre by skilled, self-trained divers diving into a tide-driven cove. The Costera Miguel Aleman, the city's main strip is used for walking. Pedestrian traffic can view and stop by shops, casfes, restaurants, boutiques, taverns and discotheques.

There is much to see in the surrounding area, the Sierra Madre mountains,  tranquil bays and lagoons, greenery, spectacular sunsets and kilometres and kilometres of beaches. There are plenty of recreational activities to engage in, and dozens of resorts to stay and play in. South of Acapulco Bay (close to the the airport) is the Playa Revolcadero. Once the private property of the Princess and Pierre Marques resorts, this long flat stretch of open ocean beach (backing on to a large tropical lagoon) is now part of the Vidafel resort complex. In the north (located between the airport and Acapulco Bay) is the Puerto Marques area. This quiet bay incorporates a multi-million dollar complex comprising resort hotels, golf courses, condominiums, and marinas.

Acapulco Bay itself is a curved, natural harbor that is often compared to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil and Hong Kong. It has a backdrop of mountains and connects the mountains to the sea. A highway emerges from the cliffs of the bay at the southern end,. This is the coastal Avenida Miguel Aleman, also known as the Costera. This without doubt is the heart of Acapulco's "resort strip" and location for most of Acapulco's high rise hotels, nightspots, dining venues, and boutique shops and malls.  The costera continues north along the bay toward Old Acapulco and the downtown area.

Getting to and around Acapulco

Once in this city of sun and sand, the nicest and healthiest mode of transport is on foot. This is how most locals get around, though there is a bus service, and of course car hire is always an option as well. There is also a very good taxi service.

To travel to the city from overseas, you will invariably go through Acapulco International Airport, which is just 26km outside the city. This one of the largest air faciltiies in Mexico and is extremely well facilitated and services by a number of airlines.

     Airlines that fly to Acapulco International

Aeromar, AeroMexico, AeroMexico Connect, and MexicanaClick are domestic arlines flying to Acapulco from Mexico City.

American Airlines flies seasonally from Chicago's O'Hare and Dallas' Fort Worth airports.

Air Transat, Sunwing Airlines and Canjet fly seasonally from Montreal.

Delta Airlines flies from Detriot and Atlanta.

US Airways flies from Phoenix.

The Main Attractions

  • La Quebrada Cliff Divers - A must for visitors to Acapulco is to see the cliff divers perform their impressive jumps into the shallow stream of water of dangerous tides that forms in the bottom part of La Quebrada. They have been doing it since 1934. You can see the dives from a small platform by the cliff for a small entrance fee, or eat at the La Perla restaurant which offers a good view of the divers. Showtime at 1:00pm, 7:30pm, 8:30pm, and 9:30pm.
  • Zócalo - Zócalo, Acapulco's town square, lies on the western side of La Costera. It's a cool, shady and peaceful during the daytime. There are two fountains and many mature, multi-trunked trees that are a sight in themselves. The Zócalo tends to expose more local culture than other, more tourist-centric, areas. Zócalo contains Acapulco's cathedral, as well as many restaurants ranging in size from sidewalk bistros and tiny street-corner kitchens. Many of the smaller restaurants will provide full dinners for as little as 35 pesos. The Zócalo at night is worth experiencing. Between 8:00 and 11:00 pm the place is flooded with locals & chilangoes. Clowns entertain the crowd for tips. One is dressed as some sort of aztec warrior/statue thing. He is silver from head to toe.
  • Pie de la Cuesta - Pie de la Cuesta is a quiet strip of land roughly 6 miles northwest of Acapulco, bordered on one side by the Pacific Ocean and on the other by a freshwater lake (Laguna de Cuyoca) on the other. The lagoon is extremely tranquil, but tourists are advised not to enter the Pacific Ocean at Pie de la Cuesta, because the surf is very dangerous. One can reach Pie de la Cuesta via bus. If you are on the Bay Side along the Costera, between Escudero and Diego Mendoza, look for the bus that says Pie de la Cuesta PLAYA LUCES. These go up that narrow strip of land. You can also take one that says San Isidro and that will let you off in the Zocalo in Pie de la Cuesta, but you have to walk a couple blocks to the strip and about a half kilometer up to the lagoon.
  • Puerto Marquez - Located at a smaller bay just east of Acapulco, Puerto Marquez sees much less tourist traffic than Acapulco. One side of the bay is completely covered by adjacent beach-side restaurants offering very reasonably priced food and beer. The restaurant owners (as well as most other locals) are very friendly to tourists and some will offer discounts or a free round of beer to groups. Tourists and locals alike munch on shrimp enchiladas, sip negra modelos, wade in the waters, and enjoy the breathtaking sunsets. Fewer locals speak English in Puerto Marquez than in Acapulco, so it is recommended that visitors speak some rudimentary Spanish. One can reach Puerto Marquez via bus.
  • Isla de la Roqueta - Isla de la Roqueta has a beautiful beach with shallow areas for families to play. You can get there by water taxi (around $3.50 USD) or the glass-bottom harbour tour boat (around $7.00 USD) from Caleta Beach. The harbour tour provides many sightseeing opportunities as well as seeing the yachts and homes of the rich and famous. As well, you can experience the cliff-divers’ show at La Quebrada, the submarine Virgin of Guadalupe, and see a diver with the tour swim under the boat with food to attract fish. If you don’t pack food while on your tour, there is a great opportunity to have lunch by way of a boat restaurant that comes alongside the boat and prepares your order. Just be prepared to wait depending on the number of people on the tour with you. Once on Isla de la Roquet there are numerous well-maintained trails, a lighthouse and beautiful snorkeling spots - but they can be rough (if this doesn’t suit you, your best bet would be to go to the Camino Real for snorkeling). And the bonus, you can take as much time as you want as the tour company’s boats dock throughout the day. (Information provided by Wikitravel).

Eating Out in Acapulco

Here's a run-down on the best eating establishments and other drink n'dine options from travel.info:

As the sun sets and darkness descends over the bay of Acapulco, the sky becomes illuminated by the thousands of neon lights that light the way to the multitude of restaurants, bars, cantinas and clubs, which the city has been famous for since the Hollywood jet set first discovered this hedonistic resort town in the 1950's.

Many people visit Acapulco for the sole reason of partying the hot, sultry nights away in the amazing clubs and bars. The main strip, Miguel Aleman Avenue, is called "La Costera" and is home to most of the modern nightclubs that feature spectacular shows, the hottest music and parties that go on until the sun is, once again, high in the sky. Probably the most famous of all Acapulco nightclubs is the infamous Baby 'O'. Frequented by wealthy locals, stylish Mexicans and fashionable tourists, Baby 'O' is the place to be "seen" in and a landmark in Acapulco. The music ranges from 80's classics to the top tunes of today. It can get crowded, but if you are lucky enough to get a table, then expect V.I.P treatment and the night of your life!

Another Acapulco icon is El Alebrije, one of the largest clubs in Latin America, with a capacity of over 2,500 people and possibly one of the wildest as well. The dance floor is huge, there are over 5 bars and the seating is designed like half of a stadium. If you are looking for a crazy night out with contests, wild parties and great D.J's then look no further than El Alebrije.

Located on the side of a hill with a stunning view of Acapulo Bay, is the Palladium. This is another of the top Acapulco Nightclubs and a favorite with locals and tourists alike. Extravagantly decorated and home to an incredible laser show, the Palladium has an atmosphere like no other. Top D.J's from around the world come to play here, mixing music from Techno to Trance and House to Hip Hop. The Palladium should definitely be on the list of clubs to visit, for any discerning Clubber.

Acapulco also has many of the chain bars and restaurants like Hooters, Carlos n' Charlie's, Baby Lobster Bar and many small independent and locally owned bars, where you can enjoy great music, quality service and excellent food.  

When to Go

All-year-round sunshine is the theme in Acapulco, so anytime is the best time to travel to this coastal landmark. It is hot, and the humidity is high, with temperatures averaging 80 degrees the day (30 degrees Centigrade). The wet or rainy season which generally occurs over the five months of June through to October,  sees showers of rain in the afternoon or early evening. With the weather so hot these showers often bring welcome relief. In fact some say the best time to visit Acapulco is in the October/November period as the wet season is coming to an end, so yo get the best of both worlds. Visitors numbers tend to tail off in the wet season and build back up in the Summer months. This means hotel rates can bel less expensive, and costs generally, including vacationpackages, flights, local restaurant prices, and nightspot drink charges can all be a shade lower. Peak periods are Christmas and Easter, and the national holiday season July through August.

After Dark in the City

A more-detailed guide, and listing to the most frequented nightspots and clubs, courtesy of bestday.com:

Baby'O

Baby'O Acapulco is one of the best places to mingle with socialites as well as national and international stars. With that said, it's a club that can't ever go wrong because when you go into Baby'O, you will always be guaranteed fun and great service. When you visit Acapulco, don't forget to visit Baby'O. You won't regret it!

El Alebrije

Located on the costal avenue, Miguel Aleman, and with the capacity of accommodating more than 5,000 people, El Alebrije is one of the most important nightclubs in Acapulco. It is where the clientele is a very select group of socialites and artists from Mexico and afar. Have a good time and listen to different types of music (pop, rock, disco, ballads, nortenas, etc...). If you've got style, come to El Alebrije.

Hard Rock Cafe

The emblematic neon guitar of the Hard Rock Cafe is easy to find on La Costera, in the Gold Zone of Acapulco. Enjoy the unusual decor, consisting mainly of musical instruments and personal items of internationally renowned singers. It doesn't matter if you came for the fishing, playing a round of golf, sunbathing or partying; the Hard Rock is a must for your Acapulco visit.

Mandara

Mandara Acapulco, previously known as Enigma, has a new concept with a fresh, new take on the club scene. It offers room for 2,000 people and a wide variety of music ranging from pop, rock and house, among others. The Mandara features minimalistic decor and the best in music, lighting, drinks and service. The best day to go is Friday.

Mangos

Mangos is a famous bar located in the Gold Zone of Acapulco, located on Condesa Beach, the heart of the nightlife of Acapulco. Mangos offers rock, pop and Latin music. The bar is packed on the weekends and the ambiance is exceptional. Margos is the perfect place to get a drink before hitting the clubs.

Ninas Club Tropical

Ninas Club Tropical is a space filled with surprises so that you can enjoy and spend a night listening and dancing to all sorts of music. You can find Latin music, salsa, mernegue, bachta, reggeaton, pop, house and classic hits, as well as live music, so there is no reason why you can't dance the night away. There is also a show of professional dancers and imitators of famous people. Located in the Gold Zone of Acapulco.

Palladium

Palladium is located on Las Brisas Scenic Route, high up in Acapulco. The nightlife of this city reigns in this nightclub. Those who visit it experience the optical illusion of being suspended in the air while enjoying the view of the bay of Acapulco through a 164 foot wide stained glass window. Lasers and air cascades are only some of the many attractions of this incredible club.

Pure

With the capacity to hold 2,000 people, the latest in audio and sound technology, and features steel and glass bar, about 20 feet tall, a marble floor and luxurious finishings. Simply the best. The only thing missing is you.

The Very Early Years - Acapulco in ancient times

Archeological evidence shows that Acapulco has been inhabited since before 3000 BC. The first vestiges of human presence consist of figures and pottery made of clay, stone, and ceramic. The pieces found in the coastal region of Puerto Marqués are the earliest known ceramics from Mexico, and they could be the oldest in Mesoamerica.

Cave paintings from 1200 BC and petroglyphs have been discovered on Pie de la Cuesta. They indicate the early presence of fishing settlements, with agriculture and hunting as secondary activities. In a mountainside near Palma Sola, situated in the Veladero National Park, calendaric beads and 18 giant granite stones engraved with anthropomorphic, zoomorphic and geometrical details have been found. They were created between 200 BC and AD 600. During this period, nomadic tribes from the northeast of Mexico entered what is now the state of Guerrero. Evidence of their presence has been found near the city.

Spanish colonial period

A 1628 Spanish relief map of Acapulco Bay.
The first reference to Acapulco in the history of the Viceroyalty of New Spain was made as early as 1519, by Bernal Diaz del Castillo in his "Historia Verdadera de la Conquista de Nueva España" (True history of the conquest of new Spain). Spanish captain Hernan Cortes sent several expeditionary groups to the Mexican Pacific coasts in order to find a new commercial route towards Asia. The expedition led by Francisco Chico discovered Acapulco on December 13, 1521, Santa Lucia's day, after whom he named the new found bay. Later, in 1523, Juan Rodríguez Villafuerte led Zacatula's expedition, arriving first at Zihuatanejo, where he built the first shipyard of the New Spain. Then, after producing several caravels and brigantines, he sailed to Acapulco, where he formally took possession of the port in the name of the Kings of Spain, driving in the sand the cross and the staff with the banner of Catille and Aragon.

In 1532, by royal order, Acapulco became a direct dependency of the Spanish Crown, receiving the name of Ciudad de los Reyes (City of the Kings). Later, in 1550, Carlos V, King of Spain and Emperor of Germany and the Indias Occidentales (Western Indies), promoted it to historical city by royal decree.

It soon became a major port for Spanish ships carrying spices gathered from the Asian Pacific region.

For more than 256 years, a trading movement, known as the Manila-McGalleon, set sail from Acapulco to the Philippines. Its trade started an annual merchant fair in Acapulco where traders bargained for the galleon's cargo of spices, silks, porcelain, ivory, and lacquerware.

Acapulco's yearly treasure soon attracted pirates from both England and the Netherlands, who had sailed from the Caribbean. In 1579, Francis Drake attacked the coast of Acapulco, but failed to capture the Spanish Galleons; but in 1587, off the coast of Cabo San Lucas, Thomas Cavendish seized the Santa Anna, taking most of the treasure.

After a Dutch fleet invaded Acapulco in 1615, the Spaniards rebuilt their fort, which they christened Fort San Diego in 1617. The fort was destroyed by an earthquake in 1776 and was rebuilt by 1783. The Mexican War of Independence, between 1810 to 1821, put a permanent stop to the Manila-Acapulco galleon trade. (Source: Wikipedia).

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