About Acapulco, Mexico
Acapulco, a resort city on Mexico's Pacific coast, is set on a large bay backed by high-rises and the Sierra Madre del Sur mountains. Made famous by the jet set in the 1950s and ’60s, it's known for its high-energy nightlife, beaches and golf. From its iconic La Quebrada cliff, performers dive 40m into a small cove every day and night.
Acapulco is the largest and most spectacular tourist resort in the Mexican Pacific. As a result of its stunning beaches, exuberant natural surroundings and wonderful climate, this port has been dubbed the Pearl of the Pacific. It is the most popular holiday resort in Mexico and Latin America, since its functional, modern infrastructure has had very little impact on its original beauty or attractions.
Acapulco offers an enormous range of attractions and activities and has something to suit every taste and budget. The main attraction is its more than twenty beaches, each with a distinct atmosphere, where you can choose your favourite water sport. Enthusiasts will find ample opportunities for sports fishing, diving, water skiing and snorkelling. There are also several ecological areas that are ideal for picnics and horse riding, as well as golf courses and tennis courts.
Acapulco is a wonderful place for shopping in stores that combine luxury with comfort. It also boasts a variety of restaurants offering everything from regional to international cuisine. The port’s nightlife is intense and extremely diverse, offering something for every taste. Finally, its state-of-the-art facilities also make Acapulco an ideal business venue.
Acapulco Bay has a score of delightful beaches. Although the strength of waves vary greatly from one to the next they are all extremely beautiful:
Caleta Perhaps the most popular beach in the bay, its gentle waves and moderate slope make it ideal for water sports enthusiasts. It also boasts spectacular sunsets.
Caletilla This is an extremely popular beach because of its gentle, friendly waves. It is also the site of the New Magical Sea World, a center of marine displays.
Icacos This extensive beach with different types of waves is excellent for swimming, particularly in the morning.
Isla de la Roqueta Its beaches are calm and safe for swimming. You can go snorkeling or visit the zoo with exotic species. Visiting the island is one of the most traditional activities in Acapulco.
La Condesa An internationally renowned beach it has medium slope and medium to strong waves. It is a favorite meeting place for young water sports enthusiasts.
Pie de la Cuesta A beautiful beach that faces the open sea, her powerful waves are ideal for surfing. You can ride along the beach enjoying the magnificent sunsets.
Puerto Marques Small bay nestled in mountains covered with tropical vegetation. It is ideal for all kinds of aquatic activities such as snorkeling, diving and sailing. Pony treks are offered.
Revolcadero One of the most beautiful and exotic beaches in the area it is set on the open sea and the rough waves are ideal for surfers.
Climate The climate is tropical, with warm to hot temperatures year-round. Precipitations are heavily concentrated in the summer time. Temperatures hover between 15 et 20 C.
Geography Set in a privileged area, this is undoubtedly one of the loveliest states in Mexico. It borders on the states of Mexico, Morelos, Puebla, Oaxaca and Michoacan. Acapulco is located on Acapulco Bay, the south western tip of the Mexican Pacific Coast. The town itself was built on a narrow strip of low ground between the shoreline and the mountains that encircle the bay.
History Archaeological evidence shows that Acapulco has been inhabited since before 3000 BCE. 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 Marques are the earliest known ceramics from Mexico. It was later occupied by the Chichimec groups that settled north of the Balsas River and is currently inhabited by Nahua, Mixtec, Tlapanec and Amuzgo, among other groups. Its inhabitants are skilled craftspeople.
The first reference to Acapulco in the history of New Spain was made as early as 1519. Around 1566 it soon became a major port for Spanish ships carrying silks and spices gathered from the Asia-Pacific area. This trade attracted marauding pirates that repeatedly attacked the port. The Fort of San Diego, whose structure can still be seen, was built to repel these attacks.
Many pushes for developments were made in the 1950s. Acapulco has hosted yachting as part of the 1968 Summer Olympics. The city was devastated by Hurricane Pauline in 1997.
Nature There are several lagoons located just outside Acapulco that are full of mangrove trees and wildlife. The network of canals through the dense forest can be traversed by boats where you can admire a wide variety of birds and listen to the pleasant sounds of their song.
Laguna de Chautengo This laggon lies between the sea and a natural sandbank. Explore by boat the mangrove swamps inhabited by herons, seagulls and other sea birds.
Laguna de Coyuca The landscape contrasts sharply with that of Acapulco. The lagoon is an exotic estuary with lush tropical vegetation, wild fauna and small islands.
Tecomate Here there are dozens of mangrove swamps where hundreds of sea birds come to feed. The area is ideal for swimming and sport fishing.
Tres Palos Is an ideal lagoon for hiring a boat and enjoying its exuberant vegetation and the local fauna.
Unique to Here The artistic imagination of the inhabitants of Acapulco is most evident in the decorative objects made out of shells and sea snails. Inland from Acapulco is the place where tamarind sweets come from.
There is a canyon where the Papagayo River flows down the Southern Sierra Madre mountain range and joins the Omitlán River before it reaches the Pacific Ocean. The walls of the rocky canyon reach up to 60 meters high.
Acapulco International Airport Airport Tax : The departure tax of around US$40 per person is usually included on your plane ticket, please verify. Distance from Airport : 22.5 km Tourist Office : 7-484-2423 Tourist Season : November through May Festivals & Events The parties and festivals in Acapulco are ceremonies that bring together the goodwill and customs of a fun-loving coastal town: in February, the Acapulco carnival is celebrated; on March 19, San Jose day is commemorated; during November, you can visit the state fair.
The biggest party of the year falls on December 12 and it celebrates the Virgin of Guadalupe. On that eventful day, you’ll see long processions and many flowers full of color and tradition.
Transportation Acapulco boasts an excellent international airport, the Alvarez International Airport. From here you can take a taxi, a limousine or for a more reasonable rate use the transfer vans. Many buses go from major cities to Acapulco. Most buses are safe, fast and comfortable and usually not very expensive.
Car rentals are also available and are a great way to travel for day trips. In town taxis are everywhere and have fixed rates depending on your destination. Hotel taxis are more expensive then the street ones. There is also a bus service running along the Costera.
Activities & Sports
The main attraction is of course Acapulco’s 20 plus beaches, each one with its own environment, on which every imaginable water sport can be practised. Water skiing, surfing, swimming, banana boats and seadoos will be at your disposal on the beaches of Puerto Marques, Caleta and Caletilla. Those who enjoy fishing will find the sites quite adequate.
Diving is very popular, as well as snorkeling, particularly around Icacos beach where the transparency of the sea reveals amazing fish and corals sightings. Other sites overflowing with marine animal-life are the islands of Roqueta, Caleta and Caletilla.
Several wonderful golf courses are offered such as the 18-hole golf course at the Acapulco Princess Hotel or the Acapulco Golf Club at the Conventions Center. There are also many ecological areas accommodating picnics tables and walk paths.
Here you can fulfill your dreams of horse riding along the bars of sand such as the ones separating the Pacific from the lagoon of Palos. Other places offer broad enchanting beaches. The black and white beach of Cuesta is another interesting place to ride while admiring the sunsets on the sea.
If you are looking for an adrenaline rush, you will then it on the Condesa beach where you can bungee jump all 50m down. On the Papagayo river you can enjoy boat rides turbo powered Shotover Jet.
Archaeology Cave paintings from 1200 BC and petroglyphs have been discovered on Pie de la Cuesta, located about 6 km north of Acapulco Bay.
Attractions & Sights So numerous are the various attractions that they cannot all be listed but here is a sampling of some of the most popular ones:
Bustling downtown includes a main square, called zocalo, and on it border one find the Nuestra Senora de la Soledad Church of a more russian architecture. Nearby is the newly reconstructed municipal market. Take a look at the 60ft long streetside mural of tiles seashells and stones located on the Casa Dolores Olmedo.
San Diego Fort This fortification in a pentagonal shape includes bastions in its corners. A fortification which was rebuilt in the 18th century awaits the curious tourist, who can walk on its old walls which were used for defence against the attacks of the pirates who coveted the richness that the galleons of Manila transported.
History Museum Located in the San Diego Fort, you can admire the old maps of the port, religious objects and cloths that came over on the Nao de China (the ship from China) that are on display. This museum shows the importance of the port of Acapulco for international trade.
Magico Mundo Marino This new aquarium, accessible by a rope bridge, exhibits indoor and outdoor aquariums.
La Quebrada Cliff Divers No visit to Acapulco is complete without watching 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.
Puerto Marquez Located at a smaller bay just east of Acapulco, Puerto Marquez sees much less tourists than Acapulco. One side of the bay is completely covered by adjacent beach-side restaurants offering very reasonably priced food and beer.
Nightlife Many hotel bars have Happy Hours with live music such as the Costa Club or the Bar La Bamba. Even dining in restaurants can become an event with parties breaking out.
Acapulco’s non-stop nightlife has something for everyone and its illuminated glass porches and neon signs are now legendary. The discotheques, dance halls and bars are designed for all sorts of people wishing to have a good time. Many of these establishments have a panoramic view of the bay, fireworks and laser shows. Some popular places are:
Baby 'O Built to resemble a huge cavern, Acapulco's quintessential disco has been around for nearly a quarter of a century and is still one of the most popular in town. The dance music and a laser light show make this spot popular with all age groups. Other features include a sunken dance floor, tiered seating, and a breakfast room.
Enigma/Siboney Two venues enclosed in a posh, glass-walled setting, each with a view of the bay. Enigma, which is larger, offers disco music and some Latin rhythms. Siboney features a great band that plays salsa, cumbia, mambo, and other tropical tunes, and a romantic trio that serenades during the band's breaks
Salón Q Lovers of Latin rhythm flock to this huge dance hall, which bills itself as "the cathedral of salsa," to salsa, mambo and rumba the night away.
Side Trips Several theme parks are nearby such as the Papagayo Park or the smaller CiCi aimed at children.
Taxco Time permitting, this colonial gem is located 2-1/2 hours north of Acapulco. It has remained loyal to its silver mining past and managed to satisfy the most demanding tastes while preserving its village atmosphere. Visitors can admire the Parish Church of Santa Prisca, one of the most important in Mexican baroque, designed by the leading artists and architects of the times, tour De la Borda’s mansion, now converted into the House of Culture, or Humboldt’s residence, which now houses the Museum of Viceregal Art or explore the workshops and shops of the silver craftsmen. Make sure to identify the .925 stamp to verify the jewellery's authenticity.
There are over 300 hotels, condos and villas located in this resort Mecca. The three main hotels areas are: Revolcadero Beach, the Costera stretch and the downtown area.
Once arrived in Acapulco, Punta Diamante and of Puerto Marqués are where you want to head up if you are looking for spas offering massages and relaxation therapies. Wonderful nearby hotels are the "Hotel Camino Real" and the "Acapulco Diamante". You will be able to find similar services at Icacos beach in the hotel zone along Avenida Costera.
Camping is available on the beautiful coast of Acapulco at the Playa Suave Trailer Park.
Eating Out It also boasts a variety of restaurants and their settings are often extraordinary from sumptous bay views to quaint bistro. Many can be found in hotels and on the Costera.
Acapulco is, of course, known for its seafood specialties or fish and shellfish combination dishes. Local dishes include shrimp medallions in tamarind sauce, molcajetes de filete and pescado a la talla. However, being an important international tourist resort, there are also Mexican and international restaurants.
Shopping Acapulco is a wonderful place for shopping in stores that combine luxury with comfort. Acapulco has state-of-the-art malls with all kinds of shops and boutiques. The port offers superb summer clothing. The numerous shops all along the Costera carry craft jewelery, silverwork, leather accessories, perfume and unusual souvenirs made from and with marine shells.