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Best Things To Do in Acapulco
The main attraction here is the beach, which stretches out across the moon-shaped shorelines that border Acapulco Bay. But when you're taking time... READ MORE
The main attraction here is the beach, which stretches out across the moon-shaped shorelines that border Acapulco Bay. But when you're taking time away from the coast, catch a glimpse of local history at the Fort of San Diego in the Traditional Zone. This town also has an active nightlife scene, with an abundance of nightclubs and bars in the city center and more elegant establishments in the Diamante area.
Updated July 29, 2020
- #1View all Photos
Acapulco's most storied tradition vaults daily from La Quebrada's daunting clifftops in Old Acapulco. The cliff divers are a must-see and are usually well worth the price of booking an organized tour (which often includes hotel or port round-trip transportation). The show involves several professional divers leaping from more than 130-foot cliffs high above the Acapulco landscape. The divers have drawn attention ever since they began diving as a team in 1934.
The shows get started around 1 p.m. each day and divers must time their jumps with the tide so as to land when the water is deepest. Diving also takes place in the late afternoon and – when divers are feeling especially adventurous – in the dark of a summer evening. Many previous travelers reported grabbing a meal and a drink at Hotel Mirador's La Perla Restaurant, which offers spectacular views of the cliffs.
- #2View all PhotosfreePlaya Condesa#2 in AcapulcoBeaches, FreeTYPEHalf Day to Full DayTIME TO SPENDBeaches, FreeTYPEHalf Day to Full DayTIME TO SPEND
Backed by high-rise hotels, Playa Condesa is one of the most central and popular beaches in Acapulco, with a reputation for crowded sands and great access to water sports. To avoid the crowds, try getting to the beach before 11 a.m. You can also rent a lounge chair and umbrellas from nearby vendors.
Like other parts of Mexico, Playa Condesa attracts beach vendors, but a polite refusal (or two) will usually keep them moving. According to recent visitors, the water can also get dirty, but this beach remains popular for its excellent proximity to local restaurants and shopping outlets.
- #3View all Photos#3 in AcapulcoMuseums, SightseeingTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPENDMuseums, SightseeingTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND
If you feel your brain giving way to the Acapulco sun, refresh your historical knowledge at the city's famous Fort of San Diego (El Fuerte de San Diego). Considered one of the most important Spanish strongholds during Colonial rule, the Fort of San Diego is a five-pointed, star-shaped edifice that doubles as a museum and gift shop. It showcases 12 exhibits on the history of Acapulco, as well as clothing, articles and trade goods from Pacific trade routes. Other exhibits include a look at piracy, the chapel and navigation. Outside the fort, you can enjoy excellent views of Acapulco Bay and the surrounding city.
While some recent travelers said the view is well worth the price of admission, others recommended that you skip the entry altogether. According to reviewers, the museum's exhibits include explanations in English. Others were delighted to find the fort is located within easy walking distance of the cruise dock.
- #4View all PhotosfreeChapel of Peace#4 in AcapulcoFree, Churches/Religious Sites, SightseeingTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPENDFree, Churches/Religious Sites, SightseeingTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND
Overlooking Acapulco Bay from the southern end, La Capilla de la Paz (The Chapel of Peace) offers visitors beautiful seaside views and a peaceful atmosphere. It opened in the 1970s to memorialize two brothers who died in a plane crash and stands as a symbol of peace in Acapulco. Many travelers are drawn to the highest point in Acapulco by the massive white cross, which is visible from almost anywhere in the city. Although the chapel itself is pretty minimalistic, the surrounding gardens provide respite from the hustle and bustle of the city below.
Many recent visitors agreed that the best time to make the trip up to the Chapel of Peace is in the evening, when you can witness the sun setting over the bay. For a stunning photo, nab a spot near Las Manos de la Hermandad (The Hands of Brotherhood); this sculpture of clasped hands provides the perfect frame for the sunset.
- #5View all PhotosfreePunta Diamante#5 in AcapulcoFree, Neighborhood/AreaTYPEHalf Day to Full DayTIME TO SPENDFree, Neighborhood/AreaTYPEHalf Day to Full DayTIME TO SPEND
Acapulco is emerging from its outdated reputation toward a hip, classy and altogether modern Mexican city. This rapid transformation might not hold true in all of Acapulco, but one recently renovated area is really making its mark: Punta Diamante. Located on the south end of the city, across the bay from tourist-heavy Old Acapulco, Punta Diamante's hotels and restaurants are perfect for the luxury or romance traveler seeking a quiet, refined beach getaway far from Acapulco's hustle and bustle.
And though this stylish area might be too expensive to stay in, you should at least visit for a little while, if only to catch the sunset or take a few pictures atop the nearby Capilla de la Paz. Recent travelers highly recommended the area, stating that they felt very safe and apprieciated the clean beach and many amenities found in the area.
- #6View all PhotosfreePie de la Cuesta#6 in AcapulcoBeaches, Free, Neighborhood/AreaTYPEHalf Day to Full DayTIME TO SPENDBeaches, Free, Neighborhood/AreaTYPEHalf Day to Full DayTIME TO SPEND
If you need to get away from Acapulco, travel northwest to Pie de la Cuesta, a small beach resort town that contains a calm lagoon excellent for water skiing. You'll also find many local resorts and restaurants, perfect for couples seeking secluded romance or a break from the frenetic shores of Acapulco. Should you choose to stay the night, Pie de la Cuesta offers a variety of hotel options.
Past visitors raved about the beautiful beach (especially the sunsets), but warned of strong waves that may not be suitable for young or inexperienced swimmers.
- #7View all PhotosfreePlaya Icacos#7 in AcapulcoBeaches, Free, SportsTYPEHalf Day to Full DayTIME TO SPENDBeaches, Free, SportsTYPEHalf Day to Full DayTIME TO SPEND
Adjacent to Playa Condesa is the popular – and less-crowded – Playa Icacos. One of the largest beaches in the area, Playa Icacos is home to a variety of water sports, including sailing, motor boating, parasailing and water skiing – a particular highlight for recent visitors.
A few recent travelers were disappointed by the amount of aggressive beach vendors, but said a firm "no, gracias" is usually all that's needed to ward off any unwanted sales pitches.
- #8View all Photos#8 in AcapulcoBeaches, Free, Neighborhood/AreaTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPENDBeaches, Free, Neighborhood/AreaTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND
Playa Revolcadero is a true beauty of a beach located just south of Acapulco, but nearly all those familiar with it tell you to look but not touch, or at least not too much. As pretty as Playa Revolcadero may be, its waves can be too rough for even strong swimmers.
Recent visitors praised the cleanliness of the beach and its beauty.
- #9View all Photos#9 in AcapulcoBeaches, Free, Neighborhood/AreaTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPENDBeaches, Free, Neighborhood/AreaTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPEND
Twin beaches that sparkle brightly near the Traditional Zone, Caleta and Caletilla beckon to tourists with their exhaustive roster of restaurants. From the beaches, you can catch a quick boat ride to the nearby Isla de la Roqueta for more snorkeling, diving and lounging opportunities.
Beachgoers who visited recently enjoyed the traditional vibe, but warned the beach can get quite crowded. They recommended arriving early to snag your place in the sun.
- #10View all PhotosfreeThe Zócalo#10 in AcapulcoFree, Neighborhood/AreaTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPENDFree, Neighborhood/AreaTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPEND
Simply put, el Zocalo is a must-see for travelers interested in exploring local Mexican culture and nightlife. The city's main square houses the city's government buildings and several popular and affordable local restaurants. The area also offers excellent opportunities to people-watch, especially during the evening. Recent travelers said it's impossible to get bored here, with lots to see, do and eat.
The square is open (and usually bustling) year-round, but Friday and Saturday nights remain the area's busiest. At those times you'll find the Zocalo flooded with local musicians, street performers and clowns. If you want to tour the city's unique architecture, be sure to check out the Catedral de Nuestra Señora de la Soledad de Acapulco(Our Lady of Solitude Cathedral), located right in the heart of the square.
- #11View all Photos#11 in AcapulcoFree, Churches/Religious SitesTYPELess than 1 hourTIME TO SPENDFree, Churches/Religious SitesTYPELess than 1 hourTIME TO SPEND
The main Catholic church in Acapulco is located in the center of the city, in front of Plaza Alvarez Square. The cathedral's nontraditional exterior, with an onion-shaped blue dome and Byzantine towers, is eye-catching. Inside, visitors will find a yellow-tiled floor, blue and white walls, religious statues and an image of the Virgin of Solitude.
Past visitors said the church, which dominates the Zocalo, is easy to reach from the cruise ship terminal. History buffs in particular were happy to stumble across a historical attraction in a city with few to speak of.
- #12View all Photos#12 in AcapulcoBeaches, Neighborhood/AreaTYPEHalf Day to Full DayTIME TO SPENDBeaches, Neighborhood/AreaTYPEHalf Day to Full DayTIME TO SPEND
This is a beach that travel guides ignore but vacationers love, raving about all the great places to eat and the clean and peaceful area of the beach. The only problem is Barra Vieja, in San Marcos, is about an hour's drive from Acapulco. Still, most say the trip south is worth the hassle of renting a car.
Just one word of caution before you go: You'll have to rent a car, and it can be expensive. Plus, the U.S. Department of State warns tourists against traveling Mexico's roads at night or alone. We emphasize that Barra Vieja is best as a daytrip with buddies.
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