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. Now view our Acapulco Travel Guide to help plan your next Mexican Riviera vacation!
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.
Best Time to Travel
Any time of the year is good for a visit, but perhaps 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.
Getting to Acapulco
A passport is required for entry into Mexico. Travelers must also carry a Mexican Tourist Permit, which is usually issued free of charge upon arrival (If there is a fee, it is usually absorbed in your ticket cost). Be sure to hold on to the tourist card throughout the trip, as you will need to present it upon departing the country.
You can certainly get here from wherever you are. Some 700 weekly flights connect Acapulco to principal world cities during the summer season; the number increases sharply during the winter season. Direct and non-stop flights are available from Atlanta, Phoenix, Dallas, Houston, Chicago and Newark. Connecting flights can be made through Mexico City from New York, Miami, Denver, Los Angeles, San Francisco and every major American city. Flights from Europe (Paris, Madrid, Frankfurt, London, and Berlin) also make connections through Mexico City. Canada offers mainly winter charters with Air Transat and other airlines. From South America you can catch seasonal direct flights from Sao Paolo and Buenos Aires.
Getting Around in Acapulco
The best way to get around Acapulco is by bus or taxi, since driving yourself can be a hassle thanks to heavy congestion and poor road conditions. Legions of blue-and-white VW Beetle cabs scurry around Acapulco like cockroaches, maneuvering with an audacity that borders on the comical. Drivers often quote fares higher than the official ones; always agree on a price with the driver before getting in. Other blue-and-white cabs are also available. A short hop should be M$30 to M$40, while a cross-town ride will be M$80 to M$100.
Shared yellow taxis run along set routes and cost M$14 per journey, double if you want to sit on your own in the front and not get squashed. Their destinations are written on the windshield and they can be hailed anywhere – in fact they’ll probably hail you with their horns first. In the hotel district, Cinderella-style sparkling horse carts are a big hit with kids at night.
Must See Places
Acapulco’s most famous tourist attraction, the cliff divers of La Quebrada have been dazzling audiences since 1934, plunging with fearless finesse from heights of 25m to 35m into the narrow ocean cove below. Expect around six divers; the spectacle lasts for about 20 minutes. The last show features divers holding torches. For good road karma, tip the divers on your way out. La Perla restaurant-bar provides a great but pricey view of the divers from above.
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.
Acapulco’s main drag is the Costera Miguel Alemán, simply La Costera. This road follows the coastline around the bay and is where most of Acapulco’s shops, restaurants and nightclubs are located, as well as large shopping malls such as La Gran Plaza and Plaza Bahía. La Costera is the pulsing beat of the city, where all the action is; it’s worth taking some time to explore it.
Acapulco is a real Mexican town. Nowhere is this more obvious than in Old Acapulco, the heart of which is Acapulco’s Zocalo. Officially the “Plaza Juan Alvarez,” this is the main public square. It is a tree-shaded plaza where locals and tourists congregate, particularly in the evenings and on weekends. Acapulco’s cathedral is here, as well as plenty of places to eat and shop.
San Diego Fort
This star-shaped fort was constructed at the beginning of the 17th century to defend galleons carrying merchandise from Asia, from pirates. The fort was reconstructed in 1778 after an earthquake caused some damage. At present, the fort houses the Historic Museum of Acapulco, with 12 exhibition halls where you can learn about the earliest inhabitants of the area, Acapulco’s role in trade with Asia, as well as the building’s history and its role in Mexico’s War of Independence.
SDA – Swiss Divers Association
SDA is a PADI 5 Star IDC Scuba Diving and Snorkeling Resort in Acapulco – Mexico since 1998. They offer scuba diving, snorkeling, kayaking, hiking and PADI dive courses from the entry until the professional level, Dive master, Instructor, MSDT, IDC courses, IDC Staff Instructor. For more information call 52-744-482-1357, or visit them on the web at SDA – Swiss Divers Association.
Acapulco Scuba Center
Along with our experience, they are a certified PADI and SSI diving center with 30 years experience. Their experience has given them a position as reference center in México. They have the best equipment. Unbeatable infrastructure, very comfortable boats and the best brands of equipment for you. For more information call 52-744-482-9474, or visit them on the web at Acapulco Scuba Center.
Their team of accomplished coaches has created an impeccable, comprehensive environment that offers novice and intermediate skiers first hand experience with the finer points of water skiing. They have helped many national and world champions fine tune their talents and further their training knowledge by offering diverse coaching styles over the years. For more information call 407-754-4111, or visit them on the web at Ski Paradise.
Paddle Surf, Snorkel & Kayaks EcoTours. They also have a Restaurant-Bar at the beach. They are a local Tour Operator located at Acapulco’s Bay. For more information call 52-744-175-8196, or visit them on the web at Sup Aca.
Blue Water Sportfishing
They have a selection of 2 boats and can offer a fishing experience tailored to your desires and budget. Both are controlled from flying bridges, powered by twin diesel engines and equipped with the latest navigational and safety equipment. For more information call 52-744-428-2279, or visit them on the web at Blue Water Sportfishing.
Best Rated Restaurants
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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. For more information call 52-744-433-3069, or visit them on the web at Zibu.
$$ – $$$ Tabasco Beach
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. For more information call 52-744-484-1070, or visit them on TripAdvisor at Tabasco Beach.
$$ – $$$ 100% Natural
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. For more information call 52-744-480-1450, or visit them on the web at 100% Natural.
$$ – $$$ Pesca’O
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. For more information call 52-744-481-3104, or visit them on the web at Pesca’O.
$$$$ Becco al Mare
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. For more information call 52-744-446-7402, or visit them on the web at Becco al Mare.
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. For more information call 52-744-446-5490, or visit them on the web at 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. For more information call 52-55-4615-9378, or visit them on the web at 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. For more information call 52-744-484-6848, or visit them on the web at 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. For more information call 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. For more information call 52-744-462-2104, or visit them on the web at Carlos ‘n’ Charlies.
Top Acapulco Hotels
Located in the Puerto Marquez neighborhood in Acapulco, 9 miles from Pie de la Cuesta, Encanto Acapulco features a restaurant and free WiFi. Guests can enjoy the on-site bar. Free private parking is available on site. The hotel also provides car rental. For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room, visit Encanto Acapulco.
Condominio Mayan Island Playa Diamente
Condominio Mayan Island Playa Diamante offers accommodations in Acapulco. Condominio Mayan Island features views of the sea and is 14 miles from Pie de la Cuesta. Free WiFi is featured throughout the property and free private parking is available on site. There is a sitting area and a kitchen. A flat-screen TV is available. There is a private bathroom with a hot tub. For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room, visit Condominio Mayan Island Playa Diamente.
Fiesta Americana Villas Acapulco
This property is a 8-minute walk from the beach. Showcasing a playground and terrace, Fiesta Americana Villas Acapulco is located in the Costera Acapulco neighborhood in Acapulco. Guests can enjoy the on-site restaurant.
A TVwith cable channels, as well as a CD player are provided. Some accommodations include a sitting area to relax in after a busy day. For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room, visit Fiesta Americana villas Acapulco.
Princess Mundo Imperial Riviera Diamante Acapulco
This property is 3 minutes walk from the beach. Showcasing a year-round outdoor visit Princess Mundo Imperial Riviera Diamante Acapulco.and playground, Princess Mundo Imperial Riviera Diamante Acapulco is located in Acapulco in the region of Guerrero, just 13 miles from Pie de la Cuesta. Guests can enjoy the on-site bar. Free WiFi is provided and free private parking is available on site. For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room,
Mayan Playa Departamento Copan 801
Mayan Playa Departamento Copan 801 offers accommodations in Acapulco. The property is 14 miles from Pie de la Cuesta and free private parking is featured. There is a sitting area, a dining area and a kitchen. A flat-screen TV is available. Other facilities at Mayan Playa Departamento Copan 801 include an outdoor pool. For more information, pricing, or to reserve you room, visit Mayan Playa Departamento Copan 801.