Acapulco, Mexico, by reading Acapulco is the Real Mexico!
by Sandy Zimmerman, Travel Writer and fellow WTA member. It
features a mini, but thorough tour of the destination, plus all
you'll need to know to plan your trip including getting there,
objective information on places to stay and eat, and things to do.
At the end of the article, we've provided a summary of the contact
information for your easy reference. Enjoy!
Acapulco is the Real Mexico!
by Sandy Zimmerman, Travel Writer and WTA Member
brave cliff diver faces the dangerous currents of La Quebrada.
Known as the
“Queen of the Mexican Riviera,” people enjoy the unique flavor of
Acapulco. Its wild tropical wilderness suddenly appears and disappears
at every turn of the road. Once a sleepy fishing village, Acapulco was
discovered by Hollywood during WWII. In what is now called the
traditional historic area, Acapulco became Hollywood’s favorite vacation
destination. Studio’s shot Johnny Weissmuller’s Tarzan films, Humphrey
Bogart and Katharine Hepburn’s African Queen, Rita Hayworth’s
Lady from Shanghai, Elvis Presley’s Fun in Acapulco,
Sylvester Stallone’s Rambo II, and many others here.
Nature designed Acapulco
with stunning, natural beauty reminiscent of Hong Kong and the French
Riviera. The Pacific Ocean on one side and the Sierra Madre Mountains on
the other frame its crescent shaped bay. Acapulco’s community grew along
the bay from the traditional old town to the exciting Golden Section and
later added a Beverly Hills-style Diamond Section. The Golden Section
holds most of Acapulco’s resort row, restaurants, discos, and stores.
The exclusive Diamond Section transports you away from the crowds to a
secluded tropical setting dotted with luxury hotels, fine restaurants,
and homes of the rich and famous.
Acapulco is such
an exciting city; you will have difficulty choosing from the wide
variety of attractions, tours, and entertainment.
beginning, as Acapulco blossomed into a jetsetter’s resort (1930s), the
brave cliff divers faced the dangerous currents of La Quebrada. They
must watch carefully and jump at the exact moment the waters reach a
certain level. The jump coincides with the incoming waves that cushion
their impact and protect the divers from landing in shallow areas.
Jumping a little earlier or later could mean broken bones or worse. They
jump from 120 foot cliffs into a narrow inlet with 18 feet of water
daily at 1:00, 7:30, 8:30, 9:30, and 10:30 P. M. During the evening
shows the divers carry flaming torches. The famous Raul Garcia made his
last dive at the age of 69 and holds several records for around 37,000
dives. At first, the all male Acapulco Cliff Diving Union argued that
cliff diving is very dangerous for women because of their breasts.
Finally they relented to allow the first woman to compete.
A great spot to
watch the cliff divers is from the El Mirador hotel. The first hotel to
be built in Acapulco (1933), El Mirador is nestled on top of La Quebrada
cliffs with great terrace and restaurant vantage points. Stroll around
their walls of celebrity photos, handprints, and other memorabilia.
C.I.C.I. Acapulco Magico you don’t just watch dolphins, you can swim in
the tank with them!
Don’t just watch
dolphins, swim in the tank with them! C.I.C.I. Acapulco Magico allows
you to have a close-up experience of actually touching their skin,
feeding them, letting them kiss you, and enjoying the dolphins as few
people can. Their aquatic park has several different water slides, a
wave pool, rides, and restaurant. They say the Sky Coaster simulates the
feeling of being a cliff diver-jumping 100 feet down at 80 MPH. C.I.C.I
also features a live seal and dolphin show daily.
One of the
biggest thrills is taking the Shotover Jet Boat Adventure inside the
jungle! Just don a life preserver, step into the jet boat, and in a few
moments you are inside the eerie world of the Puerto Marques Lagoon. As
the boat zooms through the swamp at 75 MPH, it moves in and out of the
dense underbrush and around giant Mangrove Trees. Suddenly the driver
motions and everyone holds on for a 365-degree spin! A few minutes later
he yells, “Watch your heads!” maneuvering through such narrow
passageways that there is hardly enough room for the boat. This is the
home of alligators, boa constrictors, parrots, flamingos, tarantulas,
and other wildlife. Several Tarzan films were shot here. The company has
been in business since 1970, with Shotover locations in New Zealand,
Fiji, and Acapulco. Their skilled drivers are required to undergo a
rigorous 120 hours of intense training.
Acapulco’s beautiful bay and see the sights from Yates Fiesta and
Bonanza fun cruises. Their 11 A. M. cruise includes a live band, dance
party, swimming, tour, and all-you-can-drink open bar. The romantic 4:30
P. M. sunset cruise includes a live band on one deck and recorded music
on the other, dance party, a complete tour around the bay featuring
homes of the rich and famous, and an open bar. The 10:30 P. M. moonlight
party cruise offers a disco, dance party, international show, and open
bar. Seeing Acapulco sparkling with lights at night is breathtaking.
One of the biggest thrills is taking the Shotover Jet Boat Adventure
inside the jungle!
Just being in
Acapulco is not enough without a tour! As you walk around the old
section, hear the stories of the pirates, the Aztec Indians, the people
who fought to settle in Acapulco. Maritur has expert guides to take you
to the bullfights, deep-sea fishing, sailing, horseback riding, scuba
diving, snorkeling, boat excursions, nightclub tours, and an all day
tour to Taxco or Mexico City. Their city tour brings you close to the
divers at La Quebrada, and to some of the most breathtaking views of the
city. Maritur offers convention /meeting services, audiovisual/sound
equipment rentals, destination management services, event decoration and
One of the most
fascinating tours transports you away from Acapulco, off the beaten path
to the Coyuca Lagoon. It is a wonderful day with nature, surrounded by a
tropical wilderness. You ride a long flat gondola-style boat with
palapa roof into the lagoon with stops for mudpack facials and an
all-you-can-eat lunch. Constellation Services offers tours to Coyuca
Lagoon, deep sea fishing, shopping, sailing on a 55-foot yacht, and day
trips to Taxco. They are a destination management company arranging
convention and meeting services, theme parties, event planning, private
yachts, and much more!
Take a kayaking
or snorkeling tour on the Island of Roqueta with SDA, the Swiss Divers
Association. SDA supplies snorkeling gear, drinks, lunch, zoo entry fee,
professional guide, and transportation. They have diving courses and
snorkeling trips by boat.
Acapulco schedules rafting and camping excursions along the Papaya
River’s class 2 and 3 rapids. They also offer kayaking, rappelling, and
a climbing wall. No experience is required. Bravo supplies all of the
gear. Children 7 years and older are allowed.
A view of Acapulco from a casita at the Las Brisas
Acapulco is known as a jetsetter’s resort, you can find hotels in all
price ranges. Sitting on one of Acapulco’s most beautiful beaches, you
can’t miss the 5-star Avalon Excalibur Resort - the tallest, largest and
first resort in the beginning of the Golden Section of Acapulco’s hotel
row. Acapulco and the Avalon Excalibur are an unbeatable combination.
Acapulco offers everything you are seeking in a vacation while the
Excalibur has everything you could want in a resort! They care about
guests and want them to feel welcome.
Excalibur is located on Acapulco’s main street, across from the La Gran
Plaza shopping mall, and walking distance to discos, restaurants,
movies, and attractions. Excalibur offers Mexican and International
shows along with dance music. Their activities director is ready (9
A.M.-5 P.M.) with stretching, exercises, water aerobics, beach walks,
handcrafts, contests, volleyball, and games for adults and children. Let
the Wild Things Club keep your kids happy while you relax and unwind (9
A.M.-4:30 P.M.). Kids (4-10 years old) learn to write their names in
ancient Mayan script, watch videos, collect seashells, play at the
jungle pool, and participate in games.
All of the
Avalon Excalibur’s 405 large modern rooms, 1-2 bedroom suites have
balconies with either ocean or mountain views. With 20 stories and
plenty of public space, they are ready for meetings, weddings, and
divorce celebrations. The Excalibur can handle everything from Hawaiian,
casino, Caribbean, or special themes, to convention services for 400
persons. Avalon’s motto “Paradise Found” is the perfect description for
this hotel chain. Once you have stayed at an Avalon resort, you will
want to return or try their other locations.
A number of
Acapulco’s 160 restaurants are designed with romance in mind! Dine under
the stars, in secluded hideaways, or overlooking the ocean. You will
find international, continental, nouvelle, Mexican, Italian,
Mediterranean, Argentinean, Japanese, Chinese, French, vegetarian, and
Excalibur Resort’s romantic, island-style El Cocotero Restaurant is
located on the beach. With a palapa (thatched palm frond) roof and open
sides, look at the ocean and enjoy your drinks or meal. And what a meal!
The chef has created interesting ways of preparing and presenting food.
The seafood salad is served on half melons filled with shrimp, fish,
clams, or octopus, in a tangy cocktail sauce. Pergola Rice is fried with
onions, garlic, green peppers, shrimp, octopus, fish, and soy sauce. Try
the spicy baby shark quesadillas, Arrachera asada (Mexican steak), or
other tasty dishes. Each restaurant cooks fish, chicken, or beef the way
you like it!
Bella vista Restaurant is your balcony to view the beach and ocean,
offering a choice of all-you-can-eat buffets or menu. The sumptuous
breakfast buffet includes chicken, beef and other dishes as more of a
brunch. The menu features tender filet mignon, fajitas de pollo
(chicken), Hawaiian or Mexican pizzas, pastas, and hamburgers. Watch
out, the shrimp Diablo is hot! Sir Lancelot Lounge overlooks the beach,
next to the pools. Relax under one of the forty-four palapa-style
umbrellas in front of the hotel. Guests who are on the ALL INCLUSIVE
plan may have complimentary drinks from 10 A. M. to 10 P. M. - liquor,
wine, beer, and tropical drinks. The plan includes breakfast, lunch, and
dinner in all three restaurants.
choice is the La Perla Restaurant, located inside the El Mirador Hotel.
You can dine and dance to live music, plus catch a view of the La
Quebrada cliff divers.
nightlife includes the Hard Rock Cafe, Planet Hollywood, and others
listed below. Some hotels have special discount tickets and VIP line
passes for local discos.
These are good to use because many of these nightspots charge a cover
charge that can run $10 to $60 per person. Some include your drinks, but
some do not. Also, some are rather exclusive, so you may need a VIP line
pass to get in. So, it's a good idea to check these things out with your
hotel concierge before hand.
A fun spot is
the Baby O’s, a disco and concert hall in a caveman setting. Its motto
is, “There is only one Acapulco, and there is only one Baby O’s.”
Nina’s is a late
nightspot with live music, a tropical spectacular show at 1 A.M., along
with nightly salsa, Cuban, and merenge rhythms. Nina’s is a
The Palladium is
the largest disco in Acapulco, accommodating 5,000 people at one time.
It offers view of the bay.
keeps you singing, laughing, and even entices dancing on the table. It
has cliffside dining, and a fun party atmosphere.
piano bar is romantic with a mix of Latin and American music. Join in
You can dance to
the music of the 70s-80s-and-90s at Zucca.
Resort offers Mexican and International shows along with dance music,
and seasonal, live bands in their bar. (See information under hotels.)
As you can see,
you won’t be at a loss for things to see and do in Acapulco!
Check any of the major airlines, but American Airlines has nonstop
flights from Dallas and Chicago, with connecting flights from New
West Airlines has nonstop flights from Phoenix (only on
Aero Mexico offers
a hassle-free trip from Las Vegas and a great, fast zoom through
customs when you return. Complimentary liquor, and one of the few
airlines that still serves food. Their tasty sandwich, salad, and
dessert are a welcome change from other airlines’ peanuts and
crackers. Daily flights from Las Vegas to Acapulco at 6:45 A. M.,
11:50 A. M., 1:10 P. M. They offer direct flights from Los
Angeles, New York, and Chicago, with connecting flights from
Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Miami, and Orlando. For information
call Aero Mexico
Continental Airlines has nonstop from Houston (1-2 flights daily)
and Newark (only on Saturdays).
combination trip would include the excitement of Mexico City with
your Acapulco vacation; certain flights have a stopover in Mexico
Highway #15 runs from Tucson, Arizona, through the border town of
Nogales, Mexico, along a coastal route to Mexico City, then take
#95 D to Acapulco. The drive from Mexico City to Acapulco is
around 3-1/2 hours.
U.S. and Canadian citizens are not required to have a passport to
enter Mexico. However, they must show a certified birth
certificate accompanied by a government issued photo ID.
Where to Stay
Reminder: Check rates and book your reservations- car and hotel
WTA’s Online Travel Booking Service.
Savings can be as much as 40% off car rentals and 65%off hotels!
Excalibur Resort: Av. Costera Miguel Aleman, #163, Fracc.
Magallanes, C.P. 39670. Mountain view rooms - $86, with
all-inclusive plan - $140. Ocean view rooms -$92, with
all-inclusive plan - $162. Also have 1-2 bedroom suites. Check for
specials like a 4th night free. Rates are per person, based on
Hotel El Mirador:
Plazoleta La Quebrada 74, Col. La Mira, Old Acapulco 39300. Is
home of the La Quebrada cliff divers, 2 pools, and villas with
ocean views, seawater pool La Poza, beautiful setting but quite
far from everything. (Restaurant is listed under Where To Eat).
Standard room - $69, Superior room - $111, Master suite - $220,
rates change seasonally (Did not personally review food or rooms).
From the U.S. call
Bella vista Restaurant at the
Avalon Excalibur Resort. See hotel
listing above for address. Meals are very affordable ranging from
$4 to $10.
Cocotero Restaurant at the Avalon Excalibur Resort: See hotel
listing above for address.
affordable ranging from $4.40 to $12.
La Perla Restaurant
at the El Mirador Hotel. On the La Quebrada cliffs. See hotel
listing above for address. Watch the divers from your table.
International cuisine - filet mignon, fish with coconut sauce,
pork loin with black pepper sauce, fettuccine alfredo.
The bus costs around 50 cents, but you must have the exact change
in Pesos. The little white Volkswagen cabs are the most reasonable
and you can bargain with them.
Many of these nightspots charge a cover charge that can run $10 to
$60 per person. Some include your drinks, but some do not. Also,
some are rather exclusive, so you may need a VIP line pass to get
in. So, it's a good idea to check with your hotel concierge before
hand to find out who charges what and to see if they have any
special discount tickets or VIP line passes.
Baby O’s: Av. Costera M. Aleman 22, Fracc. Costa Azul, C.P. 39850.
Costera M. Aleman 2909, Col. Costa Azul (Frente al Centro de
Palladium - Las
Frog’s Acapulco: Carretera Escenica #28, Fracc. El Guitarron C.P.
Escenica Las Brisas.
Phone: 446-5711/ 2.
Carretera Escenica # 28-L 1, Fracc Playa Guitarron. Phone:
Excalibur Resort offers Mexican and International shows along with
dance music. Seasonal. (See information under hotels.)
Cliff Divers: See El Mirador Hotel listing and information above.
Magico, Aquatic Park: Av. Costera Miguel Aleman. Fracc. Costa Azul.
Open 10 am to 6 pm. Phone:
481-0294, 484-8033, 484-1970.
Maritur Mexico: c/o Hotel Fairmont Acapulco Princess, L-10, Col.
Granjas del Marques. Phone:
469-1000, ext. 1602-746.
Constellation Services (Services Turisticos Constelacion S. A. De
C.V): Calle Bora Bora # 335, fracc. Lomas de Magallanes, CP 39680.
Divers Association: Island of Roqueta, Cerro San Martin# 325, Int.
Hotel Caleta, Fracc, las Playas. Transportation from & to hotel.
$35. Phone: 744-482-13-57.
www.swissdivers.com. (Note: the author did not personally
Bravo Acapulco: Av Costera Miguel Aleman, # 121, l-30, Hotel
Continental Plaza. Phone:
484-1154/ 55/ 56. (Note: the author did
not personally review this).
CruisesYates Fiesta and Bonanza Fun Cruises: Costera M. Aleman, Glorieta
Tlacopanocha Locales 4 y 5, Centro. Phone:
Parque Papaya: Costera Miguel Aleman. Across from the Avalon
Excalibur Resort. A 52-acre children’s amusement park, skating
rink, jungle garden, mechanical toys, artificial lake, zoo, boat
San Diego Fort Museum: Costera Miguel Aleman. Originally built in
1616 to defend the port against pirate attacks; later rebuilt in
1776. Very exciting displays and exhibits. Open 9:30-6:00 except
Monday. Phone: 482-3828.
Plaza Bahia (next to Acapulco Plaza Hotel) and La Gran Plaza
(across from Avalon Excalibur): both are on Costera Miguel Aleman.
Mercado Municipal is where the locals shop in old town.
La Roaqueta Zoo: Isla La Roqueta or La Roqueta Island.
Parque Papaya: See
info under Amusement Park listing.
Acapulco Convention and Visitors Bureau: Great resource for
information about attractions, restaurants, tours, sports, special
rates, and everything Acapulco has to offer.
U.S. Consulate: Continental Plaza Hotel, Costera Miguel Aleman
121-14, Costera. Phone: 469-0556.
Hospital del Pacifico: Fraile y Nao 4, Costera. Phone:
Excalibur has a physician on staff from 9 a.m. - 7 p.m., and on
call after hours.
Farmacia, La Playa: 24-hour pharmacy. 151 Costera Miguel Aleman.
Next to McDonald’s, a few blocks from the Avalon Excalibur.
Notice: This information is current as of February 2004. It is
recommended that you contact the numbers, and/or visit the websites
above to determine any changes to the information.