Acapulco, Mexico and its recent problems are beginning to calm down and its famous nightlife is beginning to pick up where it left off. Despite its flaws, remember that Acapulco was Mexico’s original oasis for a reason - its incredible natural beauty and intense tropic feel. We consider Acapulco perhaps our favorite vacation spot precisely because it remains a challenging third-world city where other destinations have become so Americanized they hardly feel like Mexico. Acapulco can be the best vacation you’ve even had if you do it right. Read our guide to Acapulco for insider tips on how to do just that.
In many respects, the world came to know Mexico through Acapulco – a destination that is still referred to today as the Queen of Mexican Resorts. It was here were it all started.
Acapulco began as a fishing village with one of nature's most spectacular natural harbors, ringed by the Sierra Madre Mountains and a lush surrounding jungle. The natural harbor made the location an ideal place to build a port during the days of Spanish conquest and Acapulco was became the center of the Spanish trade routs with the Asia, especially Spanish Manila. Attractions like Acapulco’s Fuerte de San Diego (San Diego Fort) are testaments to the days of Spanish colonialism – and pirates.
During the 1950's and 1960's, Acapulco was one of the favorite vacation spots for the “jet set” – the rich and famous who had the time, money, and inclination to jet around the world to indulge themselves at the world's premier resorts and party hot spots.
It was a golden era and numerous stars made the city their getaway of choice. Such stars as Elizabeth Taylor, John Wayne, Rita Hayworth, Cary Grant, Frank Sinatra, Brigitte Bardot and… the list goes on and on were frequent visitors. President Kennedy honeymooned here. Howard Hughes once took over the top floor of the Hotel Princess and painted all the windows black.
During its heyday, Acapulco, Mexico was such a hot place to be that even Elvis got in on the fun with Fun in Acapulco.
During the 1970's and 1980's Acapulco developed a reputation for its world-renowned nightlife as well as its world-class beaches.
While the city has since lost some of its luster, Acapulco remains one of the most beautiful spots on earth. From its magnificent bay to its beautiful beaches, not even it’s out-of-control urbanization can taint its stunning natural beauty.
Today, Acapulco has become the favorite holiday getaway for Mexican nationals and especially folks from Mexico City, given its close proximity (4 to 6 hours via auto down the very well-groomed Highway del Sol).
The city itself is divided into several distinct sections, each with a distinct personality.
If you're looking for a completely rustic beach experience, head northwest to Pie de la Cuesta. It's everything the rest of Acapulco is not - primitive, undeveloped, and decidedly non-touristy. With its miles of beach, the Barra de Coyoca and its exotic lagoon, this is one part of Acapulco visitors shouldn’t ignore. The Hotel Bahia Ancha is a personal favorite for a relaxing afternoon on the beach.
The original and most famous area of town is Traditional Acapulco. Here you’ll find the Cliff Divers of La Quebrada, Playas Caleta and Caletilla, Isla de la Roqueta, the old fisherman's wharfs, the Malecón, Fort San Diego, the Zocalo (with its decidedly un-Mexican looking cathedral), and the downtown with its Tepito Market selling all manner of handcrafts and pirated goods and just about anything else. You’ll even find one of Diego Rivera’s last murals hidden away in the hills.
Wrapping around the bay is Acapulco's picturesque Golden Zone (La Zona Dorada). Starting at Parque Papagayo and ending at the Grand Hotel, the Zona Dorada is where you’ll find many of Acapulco’s landmark beach hotels and its most popular nightclubs, especially around Acapulco's party central, La Condesa. Heading up Acapulco's main drag, known locally as La Costera, you'll make your way to the Scenic Highway where the Golden Zone ends and Las Brisas begins. Las Brisas is where many of the world's rich and famous have their private villas and where some of Acapulco’s most exclusive restaurants and nightclubs are located.
As you wind down the Scenic Highway and just as you lose sight of Acapulco Bay, you'll witness the natural splendor of Puerto Marques, Acapulco's (as yet unspoiled) other bay which is the site of two of Acapulco’s newest (and best) hotels, The Banyan Tree and Hotel Encanto.
Last, but certainly not least, as you start to exit the Scenic Highway, the open ocean, Playa Revolcadero and the Hotel Princess mark the beginning of Acapulco’s sparkling new addition, Acapulco Diamante. Acapulco Diamante is Acapulco's answer to Southern California living complete with all the American shopping and restaurant chains, a BMW dealership, a large new auditorium, luxury golf courses, miles and miles of newly constructed condos, beautiful beaches on the open ocean, and the mega-open air shopping plaza, La Isla Shopping Village before again returning to nature out at Barra Vieja.
If you’re looking for a gigantic splash of natural beauty, a bit of nostalgia, some great beaches and nightlife, and a truly exotic experience complete with all the goodness (an and the chaos) of life in tropical city, you should give Acapulco a try. Even if you're not, you can enclose yourself in one of the city’s many private luxury rentals and just admire the stunning views.
Looking for more information? Real Acapulco is the best travel guide about Acapulco online.
Acapulco Real Estate & Villa Rentals
For those travelers that fall in love with Acapulco and are looking to extend there stay - let's say FOREVER, or for those that would like to live the lifestyle of the rich and famous, even if just for a week or two, you can check out the Acapulco villas to get an idea of prices. No place does luxury villas with spectacular views quite like Acapulco. There are some really great discounts availble right now and Acapulco1.com is the place to get them.