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Acapulco
 Page updated on 03.10.2015
 
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Acapulco bayOnly 40 minutes by plane from Mexico City, Acapulco is like a neighborhood of the capital where the golden youth meets. Nothing is missing. It is the resort the most known in Mexico. During the forties, under the impulse of the President of the Republic Miguel Alemán, this small fishing port was converted into a vacation place for the international jet-set. During the sixties and seventies, the hotels invaded one of the most beautiful bays in the world.
Acapulco became the resort of American and Canadian tourists.

Left picture : Acapulco bay


During the seventies and eighties, the city was on the verge of going bankrupt : with the demographic explosion, the dirtiness, the pollution and the child prostitution forced the government to expand great efforts to give back an attractive aspect to the city. Now, Acapulco is a huge city with one and a half million inhabitants, but it is above all an entertainment place : the night life is really busy. Everything was changed to benefit the city tourist : the fishermen houses were converted in 25 floor hotels, the rowboats were replaced by speedboats. The stores, mainly luxury shops, are inserted between restaurants and pizzerias. The beaches are not recommended to swimmers who instead prefer the clear and non polluted water of the swimming pools. There are about 3 million tourists during the high season – from December to April.

AcapulcoWe wonder what the Marquis Hernán Cortès, who named the Bay, would have thought of this kind of activities organized at the very place where he built boats for his adventurous explorations.

If there is a place in the world where just anybody, disembarking from a plane, can get the illusion of being part of the "jet set", as any celebrity, this place is Acapulco. Here, the bikini or the swimming suit is the day suit of everyone. It helps a lot to erase the social differences. The golden beaches are for everyone, the sun doesn’t have any favorite and the Bay offers its magic water rug to every water skier, wave runner, diver, surfer or sailor.

      Right picture : Acapulco

The many hotels offer rooms for any taste and any budget. From the luxury palaces to the budget hotels, there is a room for everyone wishing a good atmosphere and good company. If you plan on staying more than one week, you might want to rent a villa or a condo. Whatever your choice, you want to enjoy your vacations to the maximum. So you might want to know ahead how to dress, what has to be seen, what not to be missed…

One day in Paradise

Acapulco bay and Condesa beachThe Creator did a good job when he took car of Acapulco. Thanks to a faithful sun and to many beaches and swimming pools, the people in vacation can hang out in beachwear from morning to evening, even for lunch, around 1:30 PM at the earliest and often one hour later. Don’t try to avoid the nap. Whenever you choose to nap, after lunch or after sunset, as most of the tourists do, it is essential to your survival.

Left picture : Acapulco bay and Condesa beach

After your 8 PM nap, you need to select your clothes. When opening your suitcase or armoire, you don’t have to ask yourself about what to wear. You have to think about who you want to be this night. The nights in Acapulco are under the sign of fashion fantasy. You will more disguise than dress yourself. Everything is allowed, everything is wearable as soon as it is not conventional. According to the spur-of-the-moment, the young and less young women will adopt the Indian or Gypsy dress and the men will be able to wear light clothes, light weight pants, nice long sleeve printed, embroidered or pleated shirt made in very thin linen. So, around 9 PM at the earliest, you will lazily go to the restaurant of your choice as if you were a local inhabitant of Acapulco. After diner, you tour the different clubs because you don’t go to bed before dawn. There are not many resorts which can compete with Acapulco for night animation : music, dance, disco and shows. Nothing stops at midnight and there are taxis all night long to take you back to your hotel. If you are looking for a quieter evening, you can go to folkloric dance show or voladores or acrobats shows.Condesa beach

The high season goes from December 15 to Easter Sunday. But the other part of the year is not a close season. It is pleasant and less expensive. The hotels lower their prices at least 20%; you don’t have to fight for a room, the staff is more attentive and the atmosphere is quieter. Outside, the sky is more blue and the hills greener. The flowers open at every possible opportunity, happy to be cooled by this night rain that also reminds the privileged of this Eden that Acapulco is a tropical paradise.

Acapulco offers 148 sunny days among the 150 winter days (December 1st, April 30th). At this time the temperature is about 26°C and the breeze refreshes the atmosphere. During the rainy season (June to September) it rains generally at night.

     

     Right picture : Condesa beach

 





divers of la QuebradaWater skiing was invented in Acapulco. The diving spots are around Roqueta Island. In Acapulco, deep sea fishing is excellent to catch whiting and tuna but angling is also good all year long to catch barracudas, mackerel and perch. You can rent a boat to go deep sea fishing. You have a huge choice for activities : golf, tennis, parasailing and horse riding.

Left picture : divers of la Quebrada




divers of the QuebradaAnother worldwide known curiosity of Acapulco is the show of the divers of La Quebrada, every evening. You don’t need to go to the top floor of the El Mirador Plaza hotel to have a nice view. You can see the show from well laid platforms facing the cliff of the divers. The bay of Acapulco rounds off the curb between two oblong peninsulas. The western one faces the impressing cliffs of la Quebrada. There, 40m (131 feet) above the ocean, intrepid divers practice defying death. The word death is not too strong ! Not only do they have to dive into the narrow gorge down the rocks but they have to do it when the wave arrives : the slightest mistake of path or timing could be fatal. This show has an admission fee now (37 pesos). You can see it at 12:45 noon, 7:30 PM, 8:30 PM, 9:30 PM and 10:30 PM (with lighted torches during this last show). You can also watch the show from the restaurant La Perla; you won’t have to buy a ticket but you’ll have to have dinner there !

If you go along the Avenue Lopez Mateos, you will go up a hill where are located some old hotels, then you’ll reach the two most famous beaches in Acapulco, Caleta and Caletilla, with the Mágico Mundo Marino (open 9AM-6PM) on one of them. It is a theme park with toboggans, kayaks, restaurants, swimming pools, museum and a sea-lion show. Caleta and Caletilla are also the “morning beaches”, because they are bathed in sunlight in the morning.

      Right picture : divers of the Quebrada

They are busy with Mexicans and Americans who don’t belong to the "jet society". The ocean is quiet but not especially clean.

divers of la Quebrada
Facing these beaches, Roqueta Island and its nice beach are easily accessible by boats from Caletilla Beach. Many restaurants make the tourists happy. You will sure be entertained since you can snorkel or visit the small zoo open from 9 AM to 5 PM.

Between Roqueta and Caletilla, the bronze statue of the Virgin of Guadalupe, set in 1959, is on the program of most of the organized tours. You can sail to the Island in a transparent-floor boat which lets you appreciate the marine fauna and flora as well as the statue of the Virgin under the waters. You board in front of the Zócalo ( Playa Tlacopanecha); the ride costs 85 pesos and lasts over one hour if you don’t stop on the Island (you can come back with any other boat; the last one leaves the island at 5 PM). You have a little speech from the guide and a diver. Without being exceptional, it is refreshing. Reservations at (744) 482 24 68 / 62 09. Departures at 11AM and 0130PM (1h30 time for visit).

Left picture : divers of la Quebrada

Going back to Acapulco along the coast, via the Gran Via Tropical, you’ll reach the Costa Alemán, by the Yacht Club, that services the remaining part of the bay. So, you reach downtown and the Zócalo via the Costera. The Zócalo, a little bit back from the water front, is the barrier between the east and west of the city.
On one side of the Zócalo, the cathedral Nuestra Señora de la Soledad, edifice dating from the thirties was built on the site of an older church, in a hybrid style that dared to have two byzantine towers with a dome like in a mosque and bright blue-white-gold colors.
A few blocks east of the Zócalo (15 min walking), is Fort San Diego, the only historic relic of Acapulco. It sits on a hill overlooking the Costera. There is a very nice view of the Bay from the Fort. The original building, built in 1616, didn’t resist the earthquake of 1776. It was rebuilt and was the setting of a Spanish defeat during the war of Independence of Mexico. Now, it houses the Museum of History of Acapulco, consecrated to the history of the area (open 9:30 AM-6 PM, Tue-Sun, $41).
The old city is also where the municipal market is held daily. It is an important craft market open daily from 9 AM to 6 PM: sarapes (blankets), huaraches, silver jewels....etc.. This neighborhood is swarming with small excellent seafood restaurants. Be aware that the day the cruise boats land the market is packed with tourists !

Many possibilities of day or night cruises around the bay are available in front of the Zócalo.

 

If you stay on the Costera, you’ll reach Hornos, the third big beach. It is the “afternoon beach” because it is bathed in sunlight during the afternoon like the Caleta-Caletilla beach in the morning.

There is another smaller craft market, El Pueblito (Playa Bahia), by the Papagayo Park.

Beyond there, starts a set of many restaurants, boutiques, rental offices, huge unsightly waterfront palaces, along the beaches Francia, Icacos and the Beach “in” of la Condesa – meeting place of conventional people as well as gay people at the western end. The International Center of Acapulco, by playa Icacos, organizes, several times a week, a Mexican fiesta mexicana with folkloric dance and "voladores" or acrobats shows. Next door, the CICI (International Center Convivencia Infantil) is a huge water park with many amusements for children. It is open daily from 10 AM to 6 PM, www.cici.com.mx, (744) 484 1970 / 01 800 701 41 86.
Here is the beginning of the peninsula closing the eastern part of Acapulco Bay. The Carretera Escénica crosses the naval base and goes up to the luxurious private palaces and hotels of Las Brisas and the residential neighborhood.

view of the bay from Las Brisas neighborhood From here, there is a fantastic view of the bay, especially by night with the lights all over the bay.

     Right picture : view of the bay from Las Brisas neighborhood


East of Acapulco, the Tres Palos lagoon refers to an even more primitive world than the one of Coyuca. Follow the Costera beyond the naval base and Las Brisas. It is the road leading to the airport. Before the airport, after 15 kilometers (9 miles) along the sea, you’ll see the lagoon on your left. Drive to the few cabins by the sea : here are set the fishing tours and the boat rides. The setting is so perfectly tropical that it is used as an African set for some movies. It is also the perfect spot for bird-watching.

Another entertainment place is the village and the Bay of Puerto Marqués. This bay is smaller and more sheltered than the Acapulco bay and offers a beach as safe as la Caleta but a lot cleaner.
Completely built for the tourists, this village of Puerto Marqués consists only of a line of stalls offering beer, fruit juice, fruits and seafood to the bathers of the bay. Possibility of renting wave runners, pedal boats, canoes, sail boats and water skis.
view of Puerto Marquès

Quiet as a placid lake, Puerto Marqués Bay is located less than 2km (1.2 mile) from Revolcadero, another paradise for surfers as are the beaches Punta Diamante and Condesa. On playa Barra Vieja, a little further, you can ride horses, ATV’s or bikes.

Left picture : view of Puerto Marquès

 

 



flower of Acapulco Huge hotel complexes were built in this area closer to the airport than to downtown Acapulco. We can mention Acapulco Princess, Pierre Marquès, Vidafel Mayan Palace, Camino Real, all with nice sporting equipment, golf courses, tennis courts and sumptuous swimming pools.

sunset next to Acapulco bay

Left picture : sunset next to Acapulco bay

Right picture : flower of Acapulco

 

 

Like Cancun, Acapulco is one of those ugly sea resorts, with too many unstylish buildings, that we prefer to avoid.

 

 





Acapulco map :

State of Guerrero map :

 

Locate Acapulco and its points of interest on our interactive map 

Nice views of Acapulco  

See the pages about the sea resorts on the Pacific coast :

Puerto Vallarta & Costalegre

Manzanillo

Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo

Puerto Escondido-Huatulco-Puerto Angel


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