When flying was still considered glamorous, Acapulco was one of the original "jet-set" destinations, drawing celebrities from around the world to Mexico to experience the hot spot's beaches, hotels, and nightlife.
A drive along the Costera Miguel Alemán offers both a spectacular view of the bay and a quick study of major Acapulco attractions. These include San Diego Fort, originally built to protect Acapulco from pirates; Papagayo Park; and Casa de la Cultura, which contains an art gallery, crafts exhibition area, and small archaeological museum.
Although Acapulco attracts tourists year-round, many of its beaches remain fairly secluded. These include Pie de la Cuesta and the Coyuca lagoon, whose hidden coves and tiny islands can be reached by a small motorboat.
Puerto Marques is another beautiful, less-crowded beach, sheltered by a small bay. This pristine spot east of Playa Icacos boasts the most tranquil waters in the area, gorgeous sunsets, and charming restaurants.
Acapulco AttractionsUnlike those early jet-setters, we know that too much sun isn't necessarily a good thing. So slathered with SPF, head for the zócalo, Acapulco's bustling central square. At its crafts market and town market, which are open daily, vendors sell everything from produce to love potions.
But don't spend all your money there: The silver mining town of Taxco is a two-hour drive northeast of Acapulco. Collectors of silver jewelry and other objects crafted of the shiny metal tout Taxco as the place to find the country's best selection of silver at the lowest prices.
When the Sun Goes Down in AcapulcoThe most famous athletes in Acapulco are the trained cliff divers at La Quebrada. They plunge 130 feet into a narrow cove that holds only 11 feet of water and is safe only when a wave has come in.
You can watch the divers at 12:30 pm or nightly at 7:30, 8:30, 9:30 and 10:30 pm. Adding to the drama, divers at the evening's last show carry torches.
At some point during your visit, dine at Madeiras Restaurant, an Acapulco institution. It is expensive. As is Tabachin, another time-tested restaurant. It serves French-Asian cuisine in the Fairmont Pierre Marques Hotel.
Discos come and go, but Baby O is an institution, and the later you get there, the wilder the scene. Palladium and Enigma feature electronic and house music. But don't confuse Yucca (salsa and tropical music) with Zucca (60's, 70's, 80's and 90's music) unless your musical tastes are really eclectic.
Prefer something quieter and more romantic? Take a sunset cruise along the bay. Afternoon and evening cruises leave from downtown near the zócalo. Tickets are available at major hotels and shops. Four pm cruises returning at 8:00 pm and 10 pm cruises return to shore at 1 am.
Although Acapulco is known for its nightlife, world-class golf courses and Mexico spas are attracting new devotees.
Where to Stay in AcapulcoAcapulco has a tremendous array of lodging options, from inexpensive posadas to luxury hotels. Many consider Las Brisas resort the most romantic: It features private or semi-private swimming pools and casitas with fantastic views of Acapulco Bay or the Pacific Ocean.
Fairmont Hotels also have two highly regarded Acapulco properties, the 15-story Aztec pyramid-shaped Fairmont Acapulco Princess and the low-rise Fairmont Pierre Marques next door.
Historic Villa Vera consists of exotically designed white houses, suites and villas decorated in contemporary Mexican-Mediterranean style.