Acapulco – Travel Guide

Acapulco, also known as the Acapulco de Juárez, is the largest port in Guerrero state, Mexico. Known for its geographically crescent-shaped bays and white-sand beaches, Acapulco has become a traditional, but remarkable tourist spot for vacationers who long for a delightful plunge into the deep Pacific waters.

In a Disney film, “Three Caballeros”, the movie referenced Acapulco Beach as the “Riviera of Mexico,” which refers to the beautiful lagoons and oceanfront sitting in the West of Mexico. 

Also, in the 1950s, even popular stars like Frank Sinatra, Eddie Fisher, and other British royalties lodged in the bays of Acapulco for secret getaways or as wedding venues. That era was the shining glory of Acapulco.

What Is Acapulco Known for?

Moreover, it’s known for its tropical climate, staggering beaches, natural wonders, surrounding tourist attractions, and multitudes of luxurious hotels. But while the high-end accommodations speak wealth, there are also inexpensive options accessible to tourists on a budget.

With the waterside reaching 10 to 45 meters deep, tourists also thoroughly enjoy deep-sea fishing, snorkelling, and diving. 

Acapulco is also rich in Mexican and Spanish heritage, pre-Columbian history, artistry, and outdoor activities. Aside from the spectacular beaches, there are more attractions you can look forward to.

How to Go to Acapulco

With Acapulco’s beaches being a top tourist attraction, there are many flights landing directly at Acapulco’s General Juan N. Álvarez International Airport. From there, you can take a taxi and proceed to your reserved hotel’s location. A few cities that fly directly to Acapulco airport are:

  • Mexico City (MEX)
  • Tijuana (TIJ)
  • Cancún (CUN)
  • Houston (IAH)
  • Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW)
  • Montreal (YUL)

You can check the full list of cities with direct flights to Acapulco here. If your city doesn’t have a direct flight to Acapulco airport, then book a flight to Mexico City first.

Taxis and Transportation

As you drop off at the Acapulco Airport, try not to transact with the catastrophic sales staff and “free ride” offers. A safer way is to find the official transport kiosk and ride either of the two:

  • A bus ride to Zócalo, Acapulco’s central plaza. It’s a cheaper option, ranging from 100-120 pesos, but could take 4-5 travel hours.
  • Taxis from the airport union. It’s the more expensive one, ranging from 400-600 pesos, but is safer and hassle-free.

Unfortunately, you can’t book an Uber taxi in Acapulco. Protests from the local taxi drivers halted the operation of Uber. It is yet to be approved.

Should You Bring a Car to Acapulco?

If you’re not with a local who knows the Acapulco roads by heart, then it’s better to travel by bus or taxi. Roadmaps may be frustrating, some signs are unreadable, and roads are congested. For foreign tourists, signages may be written in Spanish, and getting lost is as easy as falling off a log. Traveling by bus or taxi is safer, easier, and cheaper.

For foreign tourists, signages may be written in Spanish, and getting lost is as easy as falling off a log. Traveling by bus or taxi is safer, easier, and cheaper.

What to Bring in Acapulco

Clothes: Dressy Casual Attire

Acapulco has warm weather all year round. Wear casual beach attire or any normal t-shirts and shorts. However, if you’re entering clubs and bars, check their dress codes. Some clubs don’t allow short pants, t-shirts, or even sneakers. But overall, preparing dressy casual attires is a good go-to outfit.

Bottled Water

Always keep bottled water with you. While Acapulco tap water can be used for hygienic purposes, it isn’t potable.

What Are the Best Months to Travel to Acapulco?

Acapulco brings about a tropical savanna climate. It’s warm all year round, ranging from 70°F to 89°F, and a great choice for tourists who like to escape their winter weather. 

For consistent hot days and sunshine, the best months to visit Acapulco are in April, May, October, and November. The dry season starts from November to May while the rainy days emerge from June to September. 

What Are the Best Beaches in Acapulco?

The Acapulco trip is never without the numerous fine beaches. Together with the ocean and peeking mountains, resounding waves, food stalls, and high-spirited nightlife, a day or two in Acapulco will replenish you from the draining city life.

Here are the most popular beaches you can check out in Acapulco:

  • Playa de Barra Vieja
  • Playa Pie de la Cuesta
  • Playa Revolcadero
  • Playas Caleta y Caletilla
  • Playa Condesa
  • Playa Majahua
  • Playa Pichilingue
  • Barra de Coyuca
  • Playa Icacos
  • Playa Hornos
  • Playa Puerto Marqués

For consistent hot days and sunshine, the best months to visit Acapulco are in April, May, October, and November.

Acapulco is also well-known for its nightlife, food, and drinks. If you prefer a boisterous experience on the beach, you will find lively parties in Playa Caleta y Catetilla, where bars, boisterous locals, and enjoying tourists gather together. Meanwhile, Playa Puerto Marqués is a calmer choice if you’re looking for a more relaxed and peaceful shore.

Riding a Boat to La Roqueta

Just across the shore of Acapulco is the green isle of La Roqueta. It takes a boat to get to its small beach called Playa Roqueta. This secluded beach is rich in aquatic wildlife, which calls for amazing snorkeling and diving experience.

Dive and see the Capilla Submarina and the Statue of the Virgin of Guadalupe under the waters of Playa Roqueta.

The Secluded Punta Diamante

Acapulco is finally regaining its glory after years of setbacks that made the international news. The revival becomes more evident as the traditional Acapulco turns into a newly built Mexican city, mostly starting on the secluded shores in the South, the Punta Diamante.

If you wish to move away from the usually jam-packed beaches of Acapulco, then escape to Punta Diamante where you’re left only with appreciating how the bright and autumn sky meets the sea.

Punta Diamante has restaurants and luxurious hotels to provide vacationers a lavish experience. The price here may be higher compared to Acapulco’s most popular beaches, but the calmness and undisturbed shore is surely worth every peso.

7 Popular Tourist Spots in Acapulco

  1. La Quebrada Cliff Divers

Contending with the risk of shallow waters and strong winds, the La Quebrada Cliff Divers garnered global recognition and became a famous local attraction in Acapulco.

Before divers in La Quebrada Cliff leap off, it has been an ongoing tradition where they pray to the Virgin of Guadalupe altar for safety and guidance. Despite the dangerous show of skills, the divers claim to never have fatal accidents that make them a jaw-dropping attraction. 

La Quebrada Cliff divers jump off in different locations. The best seat is on Observation Deck while sipping your favorite drink. You can tip the divers, too, as a form of appreciation and encouragement. You can also watch these professional cliff divers as you dine at Hotel Mirador.

With clean-cut hair, speedos, and bronzed bodies, the La Quebrada Cliff Divers perform for 30 minutes several times a day. The first demonstration starts at 1 PM and runs for 30 minutes every hour. The show closes at 10:30 PM with a more remarkable finish as the divers carry a lit torch during the jump-off.

  1. Visit Fort of San Diego

Take a 40-minute drive from Barra Vieja and you will reach one of the historic tourist spots in Acapulco – the Fort of San Diego. 

Acapulco is one of the major ports for Galleon trade in the Spanish Colonial rule. To protect the trade from naval and pirate raids, the historical fortress, Fort of San Diego, was built in 1617.

The fort’s architectural structure displays the Spanish period’s remains. But what makes it more stunning is the star-shaped layout that overlooks the Bays of Acapulco. A drone will surely take a remarkable aerial shot of the fort, along with the beach.

Now operating as a museum and souvenir shop, it still thrives on the history of Acapulco and has become one of the best attractions in the region. 

The Fort of San Diego is open from Tuesday to Sunday, 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM.

  1. Elcano Acapulco – Experiencing the Luxurious Hotels

Want the best mid-shore seat for a breath-taking ocean view? If you’re looking for a luxurious beach getaway for couples or friends, then why not try the whole Elcano Acapulco experience?

From studio to presidential suite, Elcano Acapulco welcomes you in their soothing, Columbian-themed rooms. With comfortable beach chairs on the balcony, you will enjoy the romantic seating that overlooks the sunset and Pacific waters.

Business centers, bars and lounges, first-rate restaurants, pools, and Jacuzzis, Elcano makes a paradise for all travelers seeking a comfortable stay. Air-conditioners, free Wi-Fi, and a flat-screen TV add to the comfort of your vacation.

Get a buzz out of the tourist attractions surrounding Elcano. It’s a 19-min drive to Laguna de Tres Palos and 11 mins walk to El Rollo Waterpark if you want to watch dolphin shows. Nightlife? Of course, Acapulco has it, too.

  1. Try the XTASEA Zipline and Xmonkey Rope Park

Within the Diamante district sits Xtasea Zipline and Xmonkey Rope Park. The Xtasea Zipline is a breath-taking adventure above the picturesque view of Puerto Marquez Bay. See the trees and ocean as you slide across at 87 mph in a 5,938-ft. long zipline at a height of 328 feet above the sea.

Do you seek more thrill in Acapulco? If yes, then have a go with XTASEA’s new modification – the Xmonkey Rope Park. Bring your family as you traverse from suspended bridges to more challenging posts raised at 10 to 82 ft. high while overseeing the beautiful shores.

Xmonkey games include 9 rope games for teens (10 to 11-year-olds must have a guardian), 18 games for teens (12-year-olds can do the circuit alone), and 26 overall circuit games for adults.

Here are some of the rope circuits you can enjoy: 

  • Alphabet bridge
  • enchanted climbing wall
  • Wave
  • Barrel
  • Rocking bridge
  • U string
  • Giant’s Pass
  • Suspended bolus
  • Upright trunk
  • Tibetan bridge
  • The dominoes
  • Suspended cross
  • Suspended plate
  • 50m zip line
  1. Banyan Tree Cabo Marques, A Hotel by the Cliff

Want to stay in a hotel on a cliff with a stunning sunset view by the beach? Then try Banyan Tree Cabo Marques. It is an Asian-themed luxurious and private resort committed to tourists’ comfort and relaxation.

Far from the usual tourist-heavy resorts, vacationers have 45 elegant tranquil villas with pools, and picturesque views to choose from.

With Banyan Tree Cabo Marques, you can explore Acapulco’s natural wonders, cliffs, and wildlife. 

You can set your dining at any time of the day, or even have it delivered to your room. Also, with Al Fresco restaurant, you can request your food at a different location, too, even in rock formations.

It has a gym, bar and lounge, free Wi-Fi, and business centers. A flat-screen TV and a minibar are other sources of entertainment, too. You’ll also get a private balcony and air conditioning to beat the heat.

  1. Chapel of Peace

Sitting in Las Brisas and accessible through La Costera is the highest point of Acapulco, the Chapel of Peace. While the chapel’s cross has become the symbol of peace for Acapulco, it also references and commemorates two brothers who died in a plane crash.

Chapel of Peace doesn’t operate with electricity, so tourists can only visit in the morning until sunset (10:00 AM to 6:00 PM). Try to see the Chapel of Peace at sunset for a more melancholic experience. Also, there are no admission fees.

  1. Our Lady of Solitude Cathedral

The Our Lady of Solitude Cathedral lies in the heart of Acapulco. It’s renowned for its artistic arch and two towers where the cathedral bells situate. The history of the Cathedral dates back to the 1930s. The first materials used to build it were scraps from a movie theatre. The exterior and interior design resounds with vibrant blue, yellow, and white paint and tiles.

Aside from the Church, the Plaza Alvarez Square sits right in front of the Cathedral where you can hang around.

Entry and Exit

Mexico requires a passport upon entry. For tourists, they also issue a Mexican tourist permit that you must keep. It’s issued upon your arrival and is usually free of charge or included in your airfare costs. Keep the tourist permit all throughout your vacation since you’ll have to present it as you depart the place.

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