The Best Acapulco Travel Guide – Few places evoke the glamour quite the way Acapulco does. Fifty years ago, you could board a champagne-filled flight to this crown jewel in the Mexican Riviera and, in a few hours, be mingling with the Hollywood, political, and artistic elite in one of the world’s most fashionable travel destinations .
Things have changed. Today travel to Acapulco, comes with some precautions these days due to the drug-cartel violence that plagues a few neighborhoods of the city. This has brought a drop in tourist numbers in recent years. But with careful planning and awareness, a visit to Acapulco is still safe, and can be just as enjoyable and magical as it was in its heyday.
Thanks to the dropping visitor numbers, Acapulco has now become an affordable place for a Mexican beach vacation. In an effort to lure back travelers, hotels here offer frequent discounts off their already reasonable rates. Acapulco feels much more Mexican these days than its flashier competing beach resorts. The American vibe you get at Cancún or Los Cabos isn’t present here anymore and your fellow vacationers will be primarily Mexican citizens.
It still offers plenty of atmosphere and charm, with romantic cliff-side restaurants, VW Beetle taxis, an impressive 17th-century fort, a world-class botanical garden, cliff divers and the old town’s charming shady zócalo. And when you tire of the crowds, secluded beaches such as Pie de la Cuesta are just a short trip away. According to the U.S. State Department , the violence is not directed toward Americans, but travelers should still remain stay aware of their surroundings. The tourist zones are safe and continually patrolled by tourist police. If you’re at all unsure about your safety, choose a different destination. The destinations along Riviera Maya in the east, including Cancún , Cozumel , and Tulum , currently remain safer alternatives to Mexico’s west coast. To learn more about all the beautiful beaches of the Mexican Riviera, visit here, or visit us on Pinterest. Now view our Acapulco Travel Guide to help plan your next Mexican Riviera vacation!
Acapulco Weather – When to Visit
Acapulco is blessed with year-round nice and warm weather, with only variations in the amount of rain and humidity throughout the season. It has a tropical savanna climate with dry winters. Tropical Storms and Hurricanes are a threat from May through November. The temperature remains fairly steady year-round at Acapulco, with winters averaging daily highs of 87 °F and lows of 74 °F. Summers are just a few degrees hotter, when the days typically heat up to 90 °F and nights cool off to 77 °F.
Any time of the year is good for a visit, but the best is in October or November, right after the rainy season. The crowds are small, the prices reasonable, and the hills green from summer rains. Winter is peak tourist travel season as people from colder destinations seek a reprieve in the warm sun and surf of Acapulco. As mentioned, this is the dry season in Acapulco, and therefore, a great time for all kinds of beach activities, including scuba and snorkeling, fishing, and boating. Average high temperatures range from the high 80s to low 90s between November and March and the temperature hardly ever drops below the 70-degree mark.
Top 5 Acapulco Beaches
Calete & Caletilla
These twin beaches are probably the most traditional ones in Acapulco. The beach is not exclusive or spectacular in any way, yet beach goers go for the experience. There are many restaurants along the beach, so you won’t go hungry.
Isla de la Roqueta
This island offers a popular beach, and snorkeling and diving possibilities. You can rent snorkeling gear, kayaks and more. From Playa Caleta, boats make the eight-minute trip regularly. Glass-bottomed boats also make trips from here or the zócalo, pointing out celebrity dwellings, sea life and the Virgin de los Mares, a submerged bronze Virgin statue. Visibility varies.
OneLa Condesa is one of the most popular beaches in Acapulco. It is a great family beach and you will see lots of children at this beach. There are a variety of water sports available such as windsurfing, snorkeling, jet-skiing, water skiing and even bungee jumping on the beach!
This beach is a popular beach for surfers because of the big waves. There is impressive natural beauty to this beach. Revolcadero can be dangerous with it’s big waves. Not necessarily a swimming beach, but great for enjoying the natural beauty it provides.
This is the largest beach in Acapulco. Playa Icacos is a long stretch of sand right in the heart of Acapulco. Being a long beach, there is something for everyone. In some areas of the beach the surf is strong, in another part of the beach its more tranquil. There are lots of windsurfers at this beach.
Best Acapulco Restaurants
Zibu $31 – 60
A nod to the days when Spanish ships plied the trade routes between Acapulco and the West Indies, bearing foreign spices and other exotic ingredients, Zibu serves creative fusion cuisine with Mexican and Thai influences. Standout dishes include octopus carpaccio with coriander and green apple, and prawns in a mango, ginger, tamarind and chipotle sauce. You can enjoy these dishes on their modern patio terrace, shaded by the palm-thatched roofs of the restaurant with a view of the shoreline and forested slopes of Puerto Marqués Bay. It’s the perfect place to watch the sun go down. Telephone: 52-744-433-3069 Web: Zibu.
Tabasco Beach $11 – 30
An Acapulco institution, Tabasco Beach comes into its own each morning with a devoted breakfast clientele. The morning menu runs from the American (think omelets and eggs Benedict) to the Mexican, with salpicón, a mix of flank steak, eggs, and ranchero sauce. The buffet lunch makes it a popular lunch stop for cruise passengers. Evening gives way to a two-for-one happy hour, enjoyed alongside dinner options like red snapper, garlic shrimp, and mustard chicken. The whole production sits a few feet above the beach, creating a quintessential seaside restaurant. Telephone: 52-744-484-1070 Web: Tabasco Beach.
100% Natural $11 – 30
Mexican cuisine may be flavorful and delicious, but it isn’t always healthy. 100% Natural, a small chain with several branches across Acapulco, aims to match great Mexican flavors to nutritious, wholesome ingredients. From breakfasts of fresh fruit and muesli to wholegrain and gluten-free versions of Mexican lunchtime classics, you’ll find an extensive menu here with plenty of vegetarian options. While their pastas and noodle dishes are quite tasty, the salad options are particularly strong, enriched by nuts, seeds and sprouted grains to fuel you up without weighing you down. The Café Del Mar location is especially appealing thanks to its proximity to La Caleta beach, though the Magallanes branch is also a contender with its pontoon seating and lovely views of the bay. Telephone: 52-744-480-1450 Web: 100% Natural.
Pesca’O $11 – 30
A seafood shack decked out with nautical bric-à-brac and old movie posters, Pesca’O serves outstanding fish tacos, punchy shrimp cocktails, and lime-laced ceviche, along with margaritas and cold beers. Their most popular, highly rated specialties include the seafood-stuffed chilies and the yellow fin tuna carpaccio. Desserts of flambéed bananas and chocolate brownies à la mode are simple but satisfying, and the price is right. Just a short walk from the beach, Pesca’O is popular with both locals and visitors. Its dining room is a good bit smaller than its widespread reputation, so get there early if you want to beat the line. Telephone: 52-744-481-3104 Web: Pesca’O.
Becco al Mare $31 – 60
Another of Acapulco’s fashionable, recent arrivals, Becco al Mare is an Italian restaurant with a minimalist white interior and floor-to-ceiling glass windows. Like Zibu and many of Acapulco’s more upmarket restaurants, it’s set back off the Avenida Escenica, which follows the coast out of town; to make the most of the views, look for a seat on the terrace. On their expansive menu, you’ll find exquisite seafood dishes like grilled lobster with rosemary butter, fresh pasta with mussels and saffron, and risotto with melted taleggio cheese. Becco al Mare also boasts one of Acapulco’s most comprehensive wine cellars, stocked with over 4,000 bottles. Telephone: 52-744-446-7402 Web: Becco al Mare.
Best Acapulco Bars Nightlife
This cliff-side club generally welcomes a younger, rowdier crowd that enjoys the equally fabulous views and the dancing platforms set in the glass windows overlooking the bay. Around 3am, Silver Man, complete with an Aztec headdress, performs, followed by a spray of fireworks outside the windows. Telephone: 52-744-446-5490 Web: Palladium.
This longtime favorite is a throwback to the town’s heady disco days, but the music is contemporary. The mid-to-late 20s crow dances to everything from house to hip-hop, techno to dance. Baby’O has a dance floor surrounded by several tiers of tables, serviced by 5 bars. This is a great club for those who enjoy a more intimate setting. Telephone: 52-55-4615-9378 Web: Baby’O.
This high-tech club boasts an exterior of reflection pools, gardens, and flaming torches. Inside, stadium seating, booths, and round tables surround the vast dance floor. The disco doubles as a venue for concerts and live performances. The dress code forbids shorts, t-shirts, tennis shoes, sandals, and jeans. Average age here is late teens to early 20s. Telephone: 52-744-484-6848 Web: El Alebrije.
This club offers a fantastic bay view. It caters to a more mature crowd, and admits only those over 25. The club periodically projects a laser show across the bay. The dress code prohibits shorts, jeans, t-shirts, or sandals. Reservations are recommended. Telephone: 52-744-446-5691.
Carlos ‘n’ Charlies
For fun, danceable music and good food, you can’t go wrong with the place. It’s always packed. So get there early and get a seat on the terrace overlooking the Costera. This is a great place to go for late dinner and a few drinks before moving on to a club. Telephone: 52-744-462-2104 Web: Carlos ‘n’ Charlies.
Best Acapulco Hotels
I know Acapulco is very famous and it is a great place to have a vacation. I love it too, and I live in Mazatlan, Sinaloa and we also have beautiful beaches and places to go. You did a great job with all the information and beautiful pictures!
Thanks for visiting Ruben! Yes, I know that Mazatlán is beautiful and I do plan on providing an article with information on this great destination as well! Thanks for visiting BeachTravelDestinations.com!
Thank you for this great guide about Acapulco. I did not know that Acapulco had precautions because of the drug cartel. Also, that the costs for vacationing in Acapulco are great! I am really excited now to start planning. Just need to stay in the tourist areas and we will be fine, right? You have all the information in your post that I could need, thanks!
Hi Slim! Thank you for taking the time to leave comments on the Acapulco Travel Guide. You will love it there. Yes, just stay in the tourist areas and you will have no concerns.
Leahrae – WOW is all I can say to start. Mexico has always been my “dream vacation” since I was a kid, and you have awakened my desires to go there someday. Acapulco sounds like paradise for sure. It is one place that I plan on visiting in the very near future, so thanks for the amazing Acapulco Travel Guide and pictures.
You are very welcome Pamela! I am glad you enjoyed reading about Acapulco, and that you now are ready to take the plunge and start planning. If you need any additional information or help planning, please don’t hesitate to ask. Thanks for taking the time to comment and visiting BeachTravelDestinations.com
Wow, I am really surprised that Acapulco could be dangerous (well a few neighborhood cities by there). Do you happen to know which cities around there are dangerous, though? It’s good that the violence isn’t directed towards travelers. I do know that they charge for turning on the AC in a taxi though. I made the mistake of saying I wanted the AC on and the cab driver did hold out his hand for pesos. My wife and I are planning a trip and Acapulco is in our top 5 list. Are there any other cities in Mexico that you recommend?
Hi Garen and thanks for reading my Acapulco Travel Guide! If you stay in the tourist areas, then you will be fine. So, not really a specific neighborhood, per se, is bad. Wow, I did not know they charge for turning on the AC in taxis. I had not had that experience. So I am wondering it was one particular taxi driver? A lot of people are going to say the best and safest place right now is Cabo San Lucas. And don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love the place. I think I have been there over 10 times easy. The thing with Cabo is that it has gotten expensive. I would head to San Jose Del Cabo which is close to Cabo. The difference is the hotels, and everything is going to be a bit more reasonable, but it is really fantastic and you can drive, take a bus, or a taxi to Cabo if you really want to. And some hotels have a shuttle that goes there. I would really consider San Jose Del Cabo. If you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to shoot me a message.
I would love to visit Acapulco. I have visited the east coast of Mexico a couple of times but would love to visit the west coast of Mexico. I would like to do a “Love Boat” cruise and visit the different ports along the west coast.
It’s disappointing to hear that the cartel business is impacting the area and the tourist business in Acapulco.
Oh yes Steve, a “Love Boat” type cruise would be so awesome for sure! I agree that it is too bad the cartel business does affect the tourist business in Acapulco. Acapulco is a fabulous Mexican Riviera destination, and so rich with culture and such an authentic Mexican experience. It is still okay to travel there, as they keep it safe for the tourists. Just advisable to stay in the tourist areas, which is what we are there for anyway, right? 😀
wow this was a very detailed article and definitely answered every question i had about Acapulco before visiting. you really covered everything which from my experience with travel bloggers so far online seems to be very rare. i love travelling and after reading this article it definitely seems as though Acapulco is next on my list. i also now know how to get the most out of the destination when i do go there and for that i am very thankful.
Great Jacob and thank you for visiting our Acapulco Travel Guide. I am glad you enjoyed it! Acapulco is definitely worth putting on your bucket list and vacationing to. Shoot, anywhere in the Mexican Riviera is wonderful!
Great article! I have always been interested in South America. I was actually looking on the internet for more information on South America, and I find your beautiful and informative site! Now I have so many options, I really just didn’t know that there were that many beautiful beach destinations out there! Acapulco looks like an amazing destination, and I will definitely bookmark your site so that I can use it to plan my vacation. Thank you so much!
Hi Matt and thank you for reading the Acapulco Travel Guide, and I am glad you enjoyed visiting. I know that South America is beautiful for sure, and yes there are so many more destinations that are just as beautiful, like Acapulco. Please let me know if you need anything else 🙂
Great article Leahrae,
You definitely have me thinking of visiting with my wife. I appreciate the amazing detail and variety of activities you cover, so I’ll have to come back to dig in, before we go.
Meanwhile I do have a few questions. In past travels I’ve noticed a rising concern about kidnapping in the past few years, and I wonder if any precautions are needed in Acapulco. I’m also curious about whether local police or others will expect “gratuities” and how best to handle such situations, if they arise.
Also, is parasailing available in the area?
Thanks again for a dynamite post…
Hi Steve and thank you for taking the time to leave me comments. Ok, no kidnappings to worry about here. Also, you are not expected to pay the police gratuities. So that is definitely not a worry as well. Yes, there is lots of parasailing there 🙂 What a gorgeous place to do this water sport! Thank you so much for visiting BeachTravelDestinations.com and reading the Acapulco Travel Guide.
I love to travel and I love to read your posts. They are filled with comprehensive coverage on everything you need to know such as places to visit, things to do, resturants to dine, hotels to go, and what transportations are available. If I ever go to this place, I will definitely print the information out. I feel with your guidance, I never have to worry about getting lost. Thank you for sharing. And I have already bookmarked your website. Keep up with the great work.
Thank you so much Hong and for visiting BeachTravelDestinations.com. I am glad you enjoyed reading the Acapulco Travel Guide. I you need any additional information, please don’t hesitate to ask. Thanks!
Wow, looks amazing. I have never been to Acapulco and I need to go! I have been to Mexico once around 8 years ago and we went to Peurto Vallarta. I need a new trip and Acapulco sounds beautiful, fun, and relaxing. I think I would enjoy the diver show the most. I am a little cautious about the drug cartel but of course if I take precautionary measures everything would be fine. I love the variety of restaurants and bars. Personally, I would venture off to these bars every night. I have bookmarked this page for when I book my next vaca and Acapulco sounds like it will be the selection!!
Great Rob, you will enjoy Acapulco for sure! A bit more of an authentic Mexican vacation than Puerto Vallarta for sure. Thanks for visiting BeachTravelDestinations.com!
Beautiful looking place, I haven’t been to Mexico and would love to visit. I had not thought about Acapulco before, only Cancun or Cabo. I am ready to plan my vacation to Acapulco now that I have read you article. In general is it more cheap like central Mexico, or does it have that resort feel?
Hello and thank you for visiting BeachTravelDestinations.com. Acapulco is definitely a resort type destination. It is less expensive than a lot of other Mexican destinations, making it a bargain. But they have all-inclusive resorts, and some ranked in the Top 100 Hotels in the world. So definitely has glamour and the resort feel if that is what you are looking for.
Awesome review! It looks like a beautiful place which is also very affordable, could be my next destination!
It’s a little worrying with the drug trades and criminal activity going on but I guess as long as you take precautions you will be okay.
Thankyou, will definitely recommend this site to friends!
Thank you Jeremy for visiting! And yes, I think if you take precautions and stay in the tourist areas, you will have no problems at all. And the tourists are a huge part of their economy, so they are definitely not targeting the tourists thank goodness.
Wow! This is amazing, I do not think you left one thing out! I love how you have suggestions for everyone. We have been to Mexico but only as far south as Puerto Vallarta. Acapulco looks amazing. I especially like your honesty about what has been happening in Mexico lately. I also had no idea that water skiing was so popular. Great information!
Thank you for visiting BeachTravelDestinations.com Colleen! I am glad you enjoyed reading the Acapulco Travel Guide. I think that Acapulco is definitely a beautiful Mexican Riviera destination that can be vacationed to now. I just want to make sure that anybody going knows to just stay in the tourist areas. But, I think this goes for any vacation destination. You should always be careful 🙂
What a great read, Leahrae! I have never been south of Houston (amazing, huh?!) but someday plan to go. Definitely bookmarking this site – very comprehensive!
Hi Terri! Thanks for visiting BeachTravelDestinations.com and reading the Acapulco Travel Guide. Wow, yes Terri you need to get out of Texas 🙂 I lived in Texas for 10 years (Dallas) and I sure do miss it! I do know that Texas beaches are pretty awesome, but nothing in comparison to other beaches, even here in Florida 🙂 Come back soon and let me know when you are ready to start planning!
What a great article Leahrae. So much information and very concise. My wife and I have been wanting to go on a vacation and this is going to be on our short list of destinations. Sounds like it will be an affordable one for us. Thank you. And I will be sure to check out some of your other post for more information on other possible places to visit.
Thank you Juan for visiting BeachTravelDestinations.com and the Acapulco Travel Guide. The Mexican Riviera is a wonderful area, and if you want an authentic Mexican vacation, then Acapulco is definitely the place. Please let me know if you need any more information.
This a great article about Acapulco, I’m lucky to say I’ve been there a few times and I wish I could go there again soon. I will never get tired of Acapulco. Weather, the place, the food, the people, everything is great there.
I just need to point something here, Acapulco is not in the Caribbean or in the Mexican Riviera! Acapulco is on the other side of Mexico, on the Pacific, but it’s just what you said it is and much more.
Thanks for making this great review of a great Mexican destination.
Hi Alejandra, So lucky you are to have been there a few times! I agree that you can’t get tired of Acapulco. I know that it is on the Pacific side 🙂 , but still considered part of the Mexican Riviera. Here is my post on the Mexican Riviera and all the wonderful beaches. I am glad you enjoyed reading, and yes it is a great Mexican destination for sure!
Wow. This is a great and comprehensive post. Acapulco sounds amazing, and you’ve got everything I need right here!
My wife and I are total beach bums (we met while in school in Wilmington, NC) and can never get enough beautiful tropical and beachy destinations.
While I understand there are some feared dangers in parts of Mexico, that can be easily avoided if you stick to the tourist areas. Acapulco has a rich history and sounds like a must-see for anyone who loves the beach!
So true Steve, Acapulco is an authentic Mexican destination, and staying in the tourist areas is that that is needed. I am glad you enjoyed reading the Acapulco Travel Guide. Come back soon to play your next vacation !
It’s been a while since I’ve been to Acapulco. I actually love it there. I was a little worried about the safety, but after doing some research, looks like I will go ahead with my plans to visit again. It’s definitely visiting again, especially with good planning like you said. It’s a good option for people who want to get a more “authentic” Mexican experience. I agree that this is what makes it such a great Caribbean destination. Thanks for the great information and nudging me to go ahead and start planning my next vacation there!
Thanks Jose for reading the Acapulco Travel Guide, and I am glad I could provide you with all the information you needed to decide to go back to this wonderful Caribbean Island. Yes, I like the authentic Mexican experience myself, over the commercialized vacation destinations. You will enjoy it all over again! Thanks for visiting BeachTravelDestinations.com!