Acapulco gained fame as the classic Mexico beach resort of the 1950s and 1960s, attracting Hollywood stars and American political royalty — from Elizabeth Taylor and Mike Todd to John and Jackie Kennedy — with its posh hotels and sprawling villas overlooking Acapulco Bay. Although that A-list glamour has faded, the city’s retro charm and scenic beauty endure, making it one of the most idealistic ports on Mexico’s Pacific coast.
What We Love
The Divers of La Quebrada: Drawing tourists since 1934, this troupe of daredevils plunges from a height of 136 feet into a swirling inlet about 11 feet deep — and they do it five times a day.
The Nightlife: The city’s biggest bars and dance clubs, many set on hills with floor-to-ceiling windows displaying sweeping views of the crescent-shaped bay, are a draw for the young — and the young at heart.
Best Known For
Intimate Restaurants: Tucked high in Acapulco's hills, candlelit eateries are the perfect spot for a proposal, a honeymoon dinner, or an anniversary celebration.
Zócalo: Acapulco’s traditional town square, Zócalo is home to Our Lady of Solitude Cathedral, government buildings, and a revolving cast of roving street entertainers.
Beaches: The city’s most famous beaches include the wide, popular stretch at La Condesa; the upscale, secluded sands of Diamante; and the small, swimmable strand at Caleta near the “Traditional Zone.”
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Who It's Best For
All Ages: Spring breakers flock here in March and April, honeymooners and couples celebrating special milestones opt for the indulgences of Diamante’s spa resorts, and retirees rent hillside villas to escape winters up north.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
The Crime Rate Is High: Mexico’s drug cartels have wreaked havoc on Acapulco in recent years, but most serous crimes are not committed against visitors. Still, safeguarding valuables and not venturing outside the main tourist areas are advised.
Donna Heiderstadt is a New York-based contributor to ShermansCruise who has also written for Coastal Living and Islands.