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In the 16th century, Spanish explorers came across the Bay of Acapulco and were captivated by its naturally protected shores and beautiful surroundings. Today, Acapulco remains a stunning Mexican hideaway that caters to all the needs of the modern tourist.
 
Acapulco is considered a second home to residents of Guadalajara, Mexico City and other urban centers. Acapulco is the largest, most luxurious of all the resort cities in Mexico. Here you will find a wide variety of dining, entertainment, and sporting options are available. You will never run out of things to do while visiting or places to eat. This city is great for either having a relaxing or an exciting day under the sun. On an average day you will find yourself spending the majority of your time outdoors. Acapulco enjoys some of the finest year-round weather in the world. If you spend the day on a beautiful beach, you can either lie peacefully, soaking in the sun, or enjoy the many daring water sports offered. Some of these water sports include scuba diving, snorkeling, fishing, and water skiing. In addition, you should not miss La Quebrada, where daring cliff divers take a 130 feet plunge into the ocean. Other sites you should see is the beautiful vegetated lagoon of Coyuca, the historical Fuerte de San Diego, built to protect Acapulco from dangerous pirates in 1616, or a glass bottom boat where you can view the submerged Virgin of Guadalupe on the ocean floor off Roqueta Island. Acapulco, has been inhabited for way over 5000 years, and for all but the last 50, was known primarily as a fishing and trading port.
 
The Nahua Indians (predecessors to the Aztecs) arrived about 3000 B.C. For the next two and a half millennia the city served the role as provider and protector of a growing regional fishing and trading industry. This role continued even after the fall of the Aztec Empire in 1521, through centuries of Spanish rule, through Mexican independence in the 19th century, and the industrialization of the 20th century. As evidenced by Acapulco's bustling piers and warehouses, this role continues to this day. In the 16th century, Spanish explorers came across the Bay of Acapulco and were captivated by its naturally protected shores and beautiful surroundings. The seed for Acapulco tourism was first planted in the 1940's. It took root in the 1950s and blossomed with the arrival of jet travel in the early 1960s.
 
Once the playground of the rich, Acapulco's tourism role began to broaden and deepen. Increased development brought in increased pollution, hillside squatters, over-commercialization, and an often "tourist-unfriendly" environment of aggressive beach vendors and corrupt tour vendors. Serious efforts have been underway to change the tarnished image and for the most part, they've been successful. But Acapulco has changed. Thanks mostly to the growth of Mexico's middle class and the completion of a super highway from Mexico City, the average visitor to Acapulco is as likely to hail from Guadalajara as from Grand Rapids. Today, Acapulco remains a stunning Mexican hideaway that caters to all the needs of the modern tourist. Although Cancun has now topped Acapulco as Mexico's top international resort, this beautiful city on the bay continues to hold its own on the short list of the world's favorite resorts. In the center of Acapulco’s coastline is the old city, Acapulco Viejo. The traditional Mexican zocalo, or plaza, is backed by the onion-shaped domes of the downtown church and fronted by a shoreline filled with fishing skiffs and tour boats. No stay is complete without an evening spent in the zocalo, sampling local beer and seafood at a sidewalk cafe and taking in the lively activity in the plaza.
The real city of Acapulco, wit h the bulk of its 1.5 million residents, sprawls inland from the plaza. Few tourists see this congested and poorly maintained community, which suffered heavy damage when hurricanes struck Acapulco in the summer of 1997. In the wake of the destruction, the federal government is attempting to improve conditions in this area. When the government got the vendors off the streets and beaches, it set up several outdoor markets where you can buy trinkets and goods (leather jackets to plastic sandals) from all over Mexico. Bargaining is alive and well, so don’t forget to haggle. Silver is best bought in shops that specialize in it, and some advertise Taxco silver. The prices usually make it a pretty good value—about the same as what you’ll find in Taxco itself.

At the end of a tiring, sun-splashed day, head over to Pie de la Cuesta and watch the beautiful sunset. Once the sun is down, Acapulco turns into a city of the night. There are delicious cafes, shops, boutiques, and lively clubs throughout the charming streets of Acapulco.
 
Acapulco today is a port of call for shipping lines and cruise ships sailing between Panama and San Francisco. Acapulco, located in the State of Guerrero, has a population of about 625,000 inhabitants.
Acapulco's tropical climate is almost always sunny, hot and humid. There are two seasons in Acapulco: the Dry Season, which lasts from November through April, and the Rainy Season, which lasts from May through October. It's hot and humid in the dry season, and hotter and even more humid during the rainy season.
 
Unfortunately, reports of daily drug gang violence have devastated the tourism industry in Acapulco. The cruise lines have responded, and have all but scratched Acapulco off their list of ports. The city has become just too scary a place to visit. Acapulco has lost its luster as a popular port of call, primarily due to drug gang-related violence in the city. Which is unfortunate, mostly for the people who live there.
 
On average, cruise ship passengers can expect to spend around 8 hours in Acapulco. In 2015, Acapulco is slated to host 13,500 passengers sailing on 8 ships, up 287% and 167%, respectively, from 2014.
 
Where You are Docked
Cruise ships dock at the Costera Miguel Aleman Acapulco's cruise terminal, with direct access to the main boulevard in Acapulco. Cruise Terminal at the north end of the bay, nearby the Zocalo and the old downtown area.
 
The terminal offers basic services and a handful of tourist shops. Acapulco's old city is a ten minute walk from the cruise terminal. From the port, taxis and bus services are readily available to take you to your destination on the Bay. http://www.travel-acapulco.com/travel-tips/taxis-buses.htm
 
Taxis are extremely abundant in Acapulco, and very affordable if you use them to travel to the downtown region. If you need transportation for a longer ride, than the local bus service is a more economical option. The minimum taxi fare is $1.50, and be aware that hotel taxis are far more expensive than those hailed from the street. As cruise vacationers will discover, Acapulco is fondly referred to by natives as the finest resort in Mexico.
 
From your ship, Acapulco appears as a very pretty city, with the beaches stretching along the bay five miles from north to south. The bay is dotted with small marinas, hosting yachts of all sizes. The Zona Dorada (Golden Zone)--Acapulco's modern tourist area--is located on the southern half of the bay, comprised of high-rise hotels and condominium projects. The remaining beaches further northward are public and undeveloped.
Acapulco's Cruise Terminal is perhaps one of the ugliest cruise terminal out there. And it's really hot inside the terminal, where you'll check in if you're embarking, or pick up your bags if you're disembarking. If you're taking an excursion, your bus or van will pick you up just outside the terminal.
 
The town is built on a narrow strip of low ground, scarcely a half mile wide, between the shoreline and the lofty mountains that encircle the bay to the north and east. Access from the town to the inland is on a 4-lane road through the mountains via a 1.2 mile (2 km) tunnel constructed in the 1990s.
 
The Zocalo, or main square of the town and the heart of downtown Acapulco, is a 5 minute walk from the Cruise Terminal. The Fort of San Diego, once the most important Spanish fortress along the Pacific Coast, is located directly across from the Cruise Terminal.
 
Attractions
Acapulco welcomes approximately 200 cruise arrivals each year. It is located 300 miles south of Mexico City. Acapulco has since changed as a result of the resorts built along the Pacific Coast. Located on a peninsula, across from the Acapulco bay are the cruise docks. The distance from the pier to town is so far, visitors will need to take a taxi. Be sure to establish where you want to go and agree on the fare before getting into the taxi. When you get downtown, most sights and attractions are within walking distance. However, if you are planning on getting to the cliffs at La Quebrada, be prepared for a one mile, uphill walk from town. Some of the most popular attractions are:
Coyuca Lagoon
 
Coyuca Lagoon in Acapulco
Sailing through the jungle landscape of this lagoon, you will discover several islands that you might have seen in the movies. There is Birds Island, the Island of the Man with Seven Wives, the channel where Rambo II was filmed and La Barra (where the Tarzan TV series was shot), a magical place where the lagoon, the ocean and the river meet.
 
Diego Rivera Mural
This mural is located in the Traditional area of Acapulco, in the home of the late Dolores Olmedo, art collector who possessed the largest collection of Diego Rivera paintings in the world and was a long-time friend of Rivera's. She was also the woman that Diego Rivera asked to marry after the death of his wife, the controversial painter Frida Kahlo. Between 1956 and 1957, Rivera lived in Acapulco while recovering from cancer and it was then that he created the works found here. This house represents Mexican cultural heritage and is a living witness to the art of Diego Rivera in Acapulco. If you have time, stop by this house to appreciate the mural located on the outside wall titled ''Exekatlkalli'', a sculpture-painting where the gods Quetzalcoatl and Tlaloc, of the Aztec culture, can be appreciated.
 
Fort San Diego:
Built in 1697 as protection from invading pirates, Fort San Diego was reduced to ruins in 1776. It was an earthquake - not pirates - that besieged the fort. A replacement was quickly erected on the original's foundations to protect Acapulco's vital harbor and town. Today, the ex-fort offers up The Historical Museum of Acapulco, a popular visitor attraction. Ready to have some fun, visit CICIs, if it's wet, it's here. The water park features water slides, a wave pool, water toboggans, a dolphin encounter, and a seal show. The park is great fun for the kids, but one look at the adults and their wet clothes proves the universal appeal of water!

Papagayo Park
Another park, especially fun for the kids, sits across the bay on the Costera. Go-karts, roller rinks, carnival rides, and video arcades fill the bill here.

Bullfights
Perhaps not on your "A" list of activities, but popular here, nonetheless. The closest ring is the Caletilla Bullring. The season runs from January through March and the action takes place each Sunday at 5:30 PM.

The Zocalo
The town square is lined with ice cream stands and sidewalk cafes shaded by giant rubber and mango trees. Music plays from a gazebo most Sunday afternoons. Any day of the week the mood is festive. As in any town square, the "balloon man" is a special hit with the kids. At one end of the square stands a cathedral, erected in 1930 as a movie set. When the filming was finished, the set builders left the building, which was soon modified - thank you very much - to its present appearance.

Cathedral on the Plaza
For centuries the Moors occupied parts of present day Spain. That occupation influenced Spanish architecture and, in turn, influenced the architecture of Spanish Colonial Mexico. The sky-blue domes of this Moorish-style church dominate the plaza.
 
La Quebrada
Acapulco Cliff Divers: Timing is everything. Divers must keenly anticipate the movement of the onrushing sea so that it precisely matches their arrival into the water. An error of one second can result in serious injury or death. The best views of this spectacle are from the terraces of the Mirador Hotel, high above the inlet. The evening divers carry torches as they plummet the 130 feet into the sea, creating a special show for nighttime viewers. This is Acapulco's premiere, if somewhat overworked, tourist attraction.

The Fuerte de San Diego is an early 17th century fort built to protect the Bay of Acapulco from pirate invaders during the time in which Acapulco functioned as a major trade partner of the Philippine Islands. Inside the fort, be sure to pay a visit to the Museo Historico de Acapulco, which highlights the city's history throughout the days of the Spanish Empire and beyond.
Acapulco Bay
By day or night, the views from the cliffs surrounding the bay are spectacular. Measuring four miles across, this natural harbor ranks as one Mexico's most scenic. For centuries, Spanish galleons sailed from this bay, heading to the exotic Asian ports that provided a vital (and enormously profitable) trade link between Spain and its far-flung colonies.
 
Avenida Costera Miguel Aleman(the "Costera" to locals): This is the main artery through town. To the east the avenue passes the fashionable shops and beaches that have made Acapulco famous. Weekend traffic jams at 5 AM are not uncommon along the busiest stretches. This avenue has probably found its way onto more postcards than any other sight in Acapulco, save for the cliff divers. Playa Condesa on the Zona Dorado ("Golden Zone") with its beachfront restaurants, bungee jumping, and "see and be seen scene" is located off the avenue.

Cliff Diving
Acapulco's infamous cliff divers perform off La Quebrada. Performance times vary (check with your ship's shore excursion desk). You can watch from the public area on the beach or, more comfortably, head for Plaza Las Glorias/El Mirado (Quebrada 74) which overlooks the cove, and enjoy it with a margarita in hand.

Beaches
There are simply so many beaches to choose from in Acapulco that it would be impossible to visit them all in one trip. However, several are very famous and are worth paying a visit to. Caleta and Caletilla beaches are located south of the downtown area on the Peninsula de las Playas. While there, you can visit the Magico Mundo Marino water park, or take a ferry to the beautiful Roqueta Island. The best beach for swimming is the Playa Marques, located at Puerto Marques Bay. Another fine beach is the Playa Manzanillo, a wide, white sandy beach with convenient access to the charter fishing boats that will make your dream catch come true!

Water Sports Galore
For an introductory lesson in the world of scuba diving, take a trip to the Caleta Beach. There, you can arrange for personalized diving instruction as well as charter trips to surrounding reefs. Or, if you prefer to enjoy a day skimming the waves on a pair of water skis, then contact the Club de Esquis (tel. 7/482-2034) to arrange for a boat and guide.

If you are a true adventure seeker, than head on over to Condesa Beach and try your hand at Parasailing. Enjoy unparalleled views of the Bay from hundreds of feet in the air as you are towed behind a powerful motorboat.
 
Eating Out
Diners in Acapulco enjoy stunning views and fresh seafood. The quintessential setting is a candlelit table with the glittering bay spread out before you. If you're looking for a romantic spot, Acapulco brims with such inviting places; most sit along the southern coast, with views of the bay. If you're looking for simple food or an authentic local dining experience, you're best off in Old Acapulco. Cheap, fresh seafood can also be found at any of the simple restaurants in the Barra Vieja neighborhood near Diamante. Many of Acapulco's fine-dining establishments automatically add a small "cover" charge to your bill (which is ostensibly for the bread served when you sit down), which usually amounts to between $2 and $3 per person.
 
Downtown: The Zocalo Area -- The old downtown abounds with simple, inexpensive restaurants serving tasty eats. It's easy to pay more elsewhere for food that's not as consistently good as in this part of town. To explore, start at the zócalo and stroll west along Juárez. After about 3 blocks, you'll come to Azueta, lined with small seafood cafes and street-side stands.
 
If There's Pozole, It Must Be Thursday -- If you're visiting Acapulco on a Thursday, indulge in the local custom of pozole, a bowl of white hominy and meat in broth, garnished with sliced radishes, shredded lettuce, onions, oregano, and lime, served with crispy tostadas. The traditional version includes pork, but a chicken version has also become a standard. You can also find green pozole, which is made by adding a paste of roasted pumpkin seeds to the traditional pozole base. Green pozole is also traditionally served with a side of sardines. For a singular Acapulco experience, enjoy your Thursday pozole at the cliffside restaurant of the Hotel Los Flamingo . (Some restaurants serve the dish, which takes considerable prep time, the other 6 days of the week.)
 
Dining with a View -- Restaurants with unparalleled views of Acapulco include Baikal, Becco, and Zibu, in Acapulco Diamante; El Olvido along the Costera; Su Casa on a hill above the convention center; and the appropriately named Bella Vista Restaurant at the Las Brisas hotel, which many consider to have the best view of them all.
 
Senor Frogs, the ubiquitous bar that populates virtually every Mexican resort, has a slogan that is spot on: "Sorry. We're open." One thing Acapulco is big on is chains, especially American outposts, which include Burger King, McDonald's, KFC, Hard Rock Cafe, Planet Hollywood, Starbucks and Hooters.
 
On the plaza in Old Acapulco, La Flor de Acapulco has been offering basic fare since 1939. A local's favorite, the second-story, open-air restaurant is a terrific spot to people-watch while sampling the catch of the day or other popular items like tacos or enchiladas. Lunch costs about $10. No credit cards are accepted -- cash only.
 
Spend any time on Costera Miguel Aleman, and you can't help but notice 100% Natural, a good-looking eatery that features light, healthy foods. It's popular with residents and tourists alike, and there's a beach location on the strip, just east of the cruise ship pier. Credit cards are accepted.
 
As for the Diamante, many of the hotels have fine restaurants, but it's hard to beat the Fairmont Acapulco Princess for its gorgeous scenery. There's a handsome, open-air bar near the reception desk, where you can enjoy the view and grab a quick lunch. Later, take a walk over the bridge, and enjoy the ponds, waterfalls and the magnificent beach beyond.

Many cruises begin or end here in Acapulco, allowing passengers to extend their stay in this 24-hour city. Be patient, Americans - "nightlife" here is just that. The action begins after 11 PM and often continues until well after sunup. All areas of the city offer nighttime fun, but the Condesa Beach area along the Costera is the busiest.
Shopping
Acapulco is not among the best places to buy Mexican crafts, but it does have a few interesting shops, and the Costera is lined with places to buy tourist souvenirs, including silver jewelry, Mexico knickknacks, and the ubiquitous T-shirt.
 
The shopkeepers aren't pushy, but they'll test your bargaining mettle. The starting price will be steep, and dragging it down may take some time. Before buying silver, examine it carefully and look for ."925" stamped on the back. This supposedly signifies that the silver is 92.5% pure, but the less expensive silver metal called "alpaca" may also bear this stamp. (Alpaca is generally stamped MEXICO or MEX, often in letters so tiny that they are hard to read and look similar to the three-digit ."925.")
 
Linda de Taxco, located at the Quebrada where the cliff divers perform (tel. 744/483-3340), is a large store selling silver and gold pieces, including quality silver from Taxco. It's open Monday through Saturday from 10am to 10pm.

Sanborn's (www.sanborns.com.mx), an excellent department store and drugstore chain, offers an array of staples, including cosmetics, music, clothing, books, and magazines. It also carries high-quality folk art from around Mexico. Its bakery and candy counters are irresistible, and the restaurants serve excellent breakfasts (and other meals). Locations in Acapulco include downtown at Costera Miguel Alemán 209, across from the boat docks (tel. 744/482-6167), and one with an outdoor patio by the beach at Costera Miguel Alemán 1226, at the Condo Estrella Tower, close to the convention center (tel. 744/484-2035). All are open daily from 7:30am to midnight.
 
Boutiques selling resort wear crowd the Costera Alemán. These stores carry attractive summer clothing at prices lower than you generally pay in the United States. If there's a sale, you can find incredible bargains. One of the nicest air-conditioned shopping centers on the Costera is Plaza Bahía, Costera Alemán 125 (tel. 744/485-6939, -6992), which has four stories of shops, movie theaters, a bowling alley, and small fast-food restaurants. The center is just west of the Crowne Plaza Hotel. The bowling alley, Aca Bol in Plaza Bahía (tel. 744/485-0970, -7464), is open daily from noon to midnight (1am on weekends). Another popular shopping strip is the Plaza Condesa, adjacent to the Fiesta Americana Condesa; shops include Guess, Izod, and Bronce Swimwear. Olvido Plaza, near the restaurant of the same name, has Tommy Hilfiger and Aca Joe. The enormous glass Gran Plaza, Costera Alemán 1632 (tel. 744/486-6479), is the Costera's largest, with department stores, 135 shops, Internet cafes, a Starbucks, and a large food court. It's a great place to escape the heat.
 
The top shopping center in Acapulco is La Isla, Blvd. de los Naciones 1813, off the Carretera Escénica close to the airport (tel. 744/462-1962). Opened in late 2008, the open-air mall with streams and lush landscaping houses the Mexican department stores Liverpool and Casa Palacio, as well as name-brand stores including Coach, Calvin Klein, DKNY, and Hugo Boss. There's also a cinema and Carlos 'n Charlie's located here, along with other restaurants and entertainment options, and there's free Wi-Fi throughout the property. It's one of the most popular places for locals on weekends, when families stroll about during the day and couples take over the pedestrian pathways and park benches at night.






 
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