Getting Oriented in Acapulco

The city of Acapulco is on the Pacific coast 433 km (268 miles) south of Mexico City. Warm water, nearly constant sunshine, and balmy year-round temperatures let you plan your day around the beach—whether you want to lounge in a hammock or go snorkeling, parasailing, fishing, or waterskiing. Fine dining, cultural institutions, and the amazing cliff divers at La Quebrada will lure you away from the sands.

  • Old Acapulco. A catch-all, unofficial term, “Old Acapulco” encompasses the city's downtown, the cruise port, and La Quebrada peninsula. Downtown Acapulco has, quite frankly, seen better days and should be bypassed. The magnificent Fuerte de San Diego stands guard nearby and shouldn't be skipped; it’s one of the few remnants of colonial history in this unabashedly modern city. Don’t miss La Quebrada either, where otherwise sane men dive more than 30 meters (100 feet) into the surging and rocky Pacific. The peninsula gave birth to modern Acapulco tourism, and is still the province of a few small hotels.
  • Acapulco Bay. Acapulco is basically the world's largest U-shape outdoor amphitheater, and the Bahía de Acapulco takes center stage, with the Sierra Madre Mountains as a stunning backdrop. Visitors of the surrounding beach resorts can admire the action of watercraft and people in the harbor. Although this daytime performance is one of fun in the sun, the late-night show features twinkling lights reflected in the water and salsa music drifting on the breeze.
  • Costera. The heartbeat of tourist Acapulco, the Costera pulses with activity. There is nothing old-fashioned or serene about this busy 8 km (5 mile) stretch of commercial bay-front property along Avenida Costera Miguel Alemán. The thoroughfare is lined with resorts, shops, markets, banks, and discos—even a park and a golf course. And within walking distance are the bay's golden beaches. You can land here and never find the need to leave, unless you crave peace and quiet.
  • Acapulco Diamante. As you head east from Acapulco Bay you enter the more stylish Acapulco Diamante, which includes the smaller bay of Puerto Marques and the long wide beaches of Revolcadero. This is where developments—mostly large resorts—crop up. If you like a little breathing room from the feverish Costera and its miles of breezy beach walking, you've found your place.

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