Acapulco was Mexico's main beach resort destination from the 1950s until it was surpassed by Cancun in the 1980s. It remains one of Mexico's most popular resort areas and a favorite destination of spring breakers. At just three and a half hours drive from Mexico City, it's also a favorite among Mexico City residents for weekend beach getaways.
Acapulco was founded in 1566, though the area was inhabited since ancient times. During the colonial period Acapulco was the main port for trade with Asia, receiving shipments from the Philippines and China. The city was attacked repeatedly by pirates, which spurred the building of the Fort of San Diego in the 17th Century (later rebuilt in 1776). The free highway connecting Acapulco to Mexico City was completed in the 1920s, and the super highway, known as the "Autopista del Sol" was completed in 1955, ushering in Acapulco's heyday.
Acapulco City Layout:
The city is divided into three main areas surrounding the Bay of Acapulco. On the west side is the old city, with its Zocalo and market. Acapulco Dorado (Golden Acapulco) occupies the central and east sides of the bay. This is the main tourist area where hotels and nightclubs abound. More upscale resorts are located in the newer Acapulco Diamante (Diamond Acapulco) area to the south of Acapulco's main bay. The Costera Miguel Aleman is the main drag and runs all the way around the bay.
What to do in Acapulco:
- Watch the spectacular cliff divers at La Quebrada
- Try the seafood and see the sunset from Pie de la Cuesta
- Party hard in one of Acapulco's famous discos
- Take a sunset cruise
- Buy handicrafts at Artesanias Finas de Acapulco (AFA-ACA) on La Costera and Ave Horatio Nelson
Day Trips from Acapulco:
Taxco, Mexico's silver mining town is located a two hours drive from Acapulco. It's a lovely colonial town with whitewashed buildings and narrow cobblestone streets. It's the best place in Mexico to buy silver, with great prices and huge selection.
Read more about Taxco: Mexico's Silver Capital
Acapulco is renowned for its nightlife! Many discos charge up to $25 or $35 USD cover, but this generally includes open bar. Nightlife in Acapulco starts late - there's not much action before 11 pm.
- Mandara nightclub is an elegant club, a great place to see and be seen, with a great view of the bay. Carretera Escénica s/n Phone:52-74-847154
- Disco Beach is located on Playa Condesa. It's got a more casual atmosphere, great for drinking and dancing with friends. They have "foam parties" on Fridays! Costera Miguel Aleman #111 Phone: 52-74-848230
Accommodations in Acapulco:
Budget travelers will be pleased with Acapulco's Kingdom Youth Hostel. It's pleasant and clean, and the price can't be beat.
The Hotel Villa Vera is a popular choice, and more upscale, though you can still find some great rates. It's a hotel with history: Elizabeth Taylor got married here (once) and the Elvis Presley movie Fun in Acapulco was shot here. Recent renovations have made it into a modern boutique hotel with spa facilities. (Get rates).
Las Brisas Resort is a modern resort with cabanas, some with private pools. The hotel's location on a hillside offers spectacular views of the bay. (Get rates)
Getting There and Getting Around:
Take the bus from Mexico City's Terminal del Sur or fly into Acapulco's General Juan N. Álvarez International Airport. Compare airfares to Acapulco.
Taxis are plentiful in Acapulco. Negotiate a rate before you get in to the taxi.