Don’t miss a chance to visit one of Mexico’s best coastal destinations, Acapulco de Juarez! Acapulco reached the first pinnacle of its popularity in the 1950s and 1960s when it was a playground for Hollywood stars and millionaires. Now, Acapulco is back and its style is enhanced by its chic tradition as the playground of the rich and famous. Acapulco is the perfect place to enjoy the spirit of Mexico surrounded by glorious beaches and beautiful residents.
Acapulco has a rich history dating back into Pre-Columbian times. Before the arrival of Europeans, Acapulco was home to a number of flourishing tribes, with evidence suggesting people lived in the area as far back as 2000 BCE. Successive cultures in the area included; the Olmecs, the Mayans, the Nahaus and later the Aztecs. The first Europeans arrived from Spain in 1521 and Hernan Cortes established a permanent settlement in 1531.
My friends Rocky and Cliff love Acapulco!
Most visitors fly into General Juan N. Álvarez International Airport which is located 24.2 km (about 15 miles) from the city. Many international airlines fly into the city and there are more connections via Mexico City. There is even a non-stop from Cancun. To reach the city you can either take the shuttle bus, private taxi or rent a car. My preferred mode of transport is by taxi as they are so widely available but make sure that you hire one from the official booths inside the Airport terminal.
Here’s a pro-tip: There are several different types of taxis available. The old Volkswagen Beetle cabs are the cheapest available, and are the most iconic, but perhaps not a safe option. My recommendation is to pre-book a hotel car or hire from an established provider.
There are so many different things to see and do in this beautiful resort. Here are my top picks:
- La Quebrada – If you are afraid of heights, then look no further than the amazing cliff diving! You won’t be diving, however, you’ll have to leave that to the acrobatic professionals and watch from a safe distance. See them twist and flip in the air as they jump off the two ledges that make up the diving platforms that are 30m (90ft) and 41m high (almost 135ft). One by one into the sea they go, a tradition that dates back to the 1930s. This awe-inspiring demonstration lasts about 30 minutes and occurs several times throughout the day.
This takes ‘Dive Bar’ to a whole new level!
- Fort San Diego – Acapulco’s top historical monument. Its unique design was first built in 1617 to ward off pirates. It protected the Manila galleons, a fleet of ships that sailed through the trade route between Acapulco and Manila in the Philippines.
- Diego Rivera’s murals – If like me, you enjoy art and culture then enjoy viewing these masterpieces. When Rivera stayed at Casa de Los Vientos, then a private residence and now an art museum, he created a series of murals and other artwork. My favourite is ‘The Feathered Serpent’ – a colourful mosaic at the entrance to the house.
There’s no reason to fix this Cathedral, it’s not Baroque!
- The Lady of Solitude Cathedral – As far as Mexican cathedrals go, it’s probably one of the most unique. The architect Federico Mariscal mixed Art Deco, Moorish and Byzantine styles to create this beautiful house of worship.
- Water sports – Acapulco has two large lagoons making it a prime location for diving, swimming, snorkelling, boating and much more.
- Beaches – You shouldn’t visit Acapulco and not have a lazy beach day. Here are my top picks for the best beaches in the area:
- Punta Diamante is in a modern area of the city. The beautiful shoreline stretches for several kilometres and the area is perfect for swimming.
- Barra Vieja is close to Punta Diamante, but less crowded, so it’s the perfect spot for local food and swimming. During peak season you can have your pick of dozens of street food vendors offering up freshly caught fish and seafood.
- Playa Pie de la Cuesta is another beautiful spot for sunbathing. You’ll find this laid-back beach along a picturesque, winding road.
- Isla la Roqueta – A natural oasis, this undeveloped island has stunning beaches and amazing snorkelling. One of the main underwater sites is the Virgen de Los Mares, a submerged two-ton bronze statue of the Virgin of Guadalupe.
Here’s another pro-tip: You can catch either the ferry or a tourist boat to reach Isla la Roqueta. I recommend hopping aboard the ferry so you can be flexible with time and have the freedom to explore as you wish.
Mexican cuisine is recognized and loved worldwide for being spicy, colourful, and full of flavour. Check out my favourite places to eat in Acapulco:
- Beto Godoy – Seafood is a staple dish along this coastline and this is where I recommend you taste it. Located on Barra Vieja beach, you’ll find people queuing to eat at this small, unassuming shack. Don’t let its looks fool you – this is some of the best seafood in the city.
- Zibu – With Acapulco’s strategic trade position between Asia and America, its cuisine has adapted some incredibly diverse and interesting combinations. This upscale restaurant offers up a fine example of this tradition with the Asian-Mexican inspired dishes. Their tuna tataki is delicious!
Taco bout delicious!
Tacos Tumbras – For a truly local experience, try several varieties of this tasty treat. Tacos Tumbras is one of the best places to enjoy this staple.
Acapulco nightlife offers something for everyone; whether you want quiet cocktails, a wild spring break style experience or live music. Here are my top picks for a night on the town:
- Palladium is my top recommendation for a nightclub. It has the most incredible views of the bay as well as amazing music. Enjoy the beats of international DJs as you dance the night away.
- Kassandra Beach House is literally located right on the beach. With unbeatable views of the colourful sunsets, DJs will keep you dancing well into the night with a wide selection of electronic music.
- Mojito is a great option for live music, salsa dancing and a fun atmosphere. Dance to the sounds of an authentic Cuban band while drinking the club’s eponymous cocktail.
Acapulco has some excellent accommodation options at affordable prices. These are my favourite places to stay:
- Fiesta Americana Acapulco Villas – A great choice for families to enjoy good facilities, incredible views and nearby amenities. Located in the Condesa district and right on the water, this resort has two swimming pools, three restaurants and three bars. You can even enjoy water sports just a few steps away.
Another beautiful pair of brothers!
- Encanto Acapulco – This beautiful hotel is at the top end of the luxury scale. Modern and beautifully designed, this hotel offers 270° views of the Pacific Ocean and all of Acapulco´s bay. The minimalist-designed rooms are spacious, offer high-end technology and some even have their own pool.
- Las Brisas Acapulco – Another excellent resort-style hotel that features bungalows. Nestled on a hill and surrounded by beautiful hibiscus gardens, the hotel overlooks the bay and offers memorable views
Acapulco has all of the style of the 1950s, with the wild allure of the 1960s and the laidback cool of the 1970s but with the technology and convenience of the 21st Century. I recommend that you dive right into a visit!