Acapulco

Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra and John F Kennedy are just some of the rich and famous that the Pacific port of Acapulco attracted with its party-town atmosphere in the 50s and 60s. Behind the beaches Acapulco is a bustling modern Mexican city, but it still reflects the romantic glow left behind by its famous visitors. Acapulco remains one of Mexico’s premier holiday destinations, with its magnificent beaches and nightlife, and it is easily accessed from anywhere in the country. Acapulco boasts a number of stunning beaches, all offering something different. Taxis are plentiful and you can beach-hop on a whim. From sunset, and often well into the morning, the vast array of nightclubs and restaurants complement the daytime sun-worshipping. Every day Acapulco demonstrates one of the earliest extreme sports when the famous cliff divers test their courage and their sense of timing at La Quebrada, by diving thirty-five metres into a surging tidal channel. The Zocalo or town square in the northern part of the city can be visited day or night and offers a slice of Mexican culture.
Acapulco location

Beaches and Activities

Acapulco's pristine beaches are irresistable. The two magnificient bays of Acapulco Bay and Puerto Marques are surrounded by incredible natural beauty, cliffs, golden sandy beaches and exotic tropical vegetation with the Sierra Madre del Sur Mountain Range to the east. There are also a couple of lagoons in the area which have mangroves and offer boat tours. With all of these magnificient beaches come lots of sunbathing opportunities, boat tours, horse riding, scuba diving and fishing. There is a popular cruise from Caletilla Beach to Roqueta island for snorkelling, lunch and a visit to a small zoo and lighthouse. For scuba divers there are sunken ships to explore, sea mountains and cave rock formations. For the keen angler the major attraction is sail fishing. They are plentiful and often weigh between 40kg and 90kg. 

 

Acapulco Beach
Shutterstock

Attractions

Stroll the seaside promenade in Old Acapulco and shop for souvenirs in the colourful Municipal Market. The main square, Zacalo, is lined with shady trees, cafes and shops and is also where you'll find Nuestra Senora de la Saoledad Cathedral, originally constructed as a movie set then adapted into a church. The Fort of San Diego, built in 1616 and which now houses the Acapulco Historical Museum, the Dolores Olmedo House and Casa de la Mascara (House of Masks) are also worth a visit. For families the CICI is a sea-life and aquatic park located on Costera Miguel Aleman that offers wave pools, waterslides, water toboggans and dolphin shows, and the Parque Papagayo is a large family park with life-size replicas of a Spanish galleon and space shuttle Columbia, lakes, an aviary, skating rink, go-carts and more.

Acapulco City Cathedral
Shutterstock

Nightlife

Acapulco is a party town from way back and it is one of the major drawcards for tourists. You can have dinner at midnight, dance until dawn and then relax and recover on the beach all day. Then repeat. There are informal lobby and poolside cocktails bars, often with free live entertainment, and there is also a beach bar zone which draws a younger crowd. These are located along the Costera Road, face the ocean and techno or alternative rock is the music of choice. Dining is varied in cuisine and setting with many al-fresco restaurants offering breathtaking views of Acapulco Bay.

Acapulco Restaurant
Shutterstock

Cliff Divers

Watch the famous clavadistas (cliff divers) leap into the sea from the 45-metre-high La Quebrada Precipice, into the narrow cove below. The divers often dive at night with torches. Quite a spectacle, and a tradition that started in the 1930s with young men casually competing against each other to see who could dive from the highest point into the sea below. Today the divers are professionals who, before attempting the dive, first pray at a shrine to the Virgin of Guadalupe. Dives range from simple to complicated with a finale called Ocean of Fire, where divers aim for the centre of a circle of fire which is lit in the sea with gasoline.

 

Acapulco Cliff Divers
Shutterstock

The Infinity Experience

Acapulco Gold
Although film crews filmed exterior shots and "stunt doubles" on the set of Elvis Presley's 1963 film "Fun in Acapulco", the famous singer filmed all his scenes at a studio in Hollywood due to him being declared a "persona non grata" by the Mexican authorities after an incident at a previous film premiere.