Acapulco

Acapulco by night

Acapulco is the original Mexican resort town. Still, it remains a major destination and a worthwhile trip and is the number two Mexican spring break destination among U.S. college students.

Get in

Many buses go from major cities (e.g. Mexico City) to Acapulco. Most buses are safe, fast and comfortable and usually not very expensive. Some bus lines offer student discounts. The Estrella de Oro bus line offers nonstop trips from Mexico City with service more like of First Class on an airline—roomy seats, ride attendants, snacks and drinks, and free movies (The Lake House and Superman Returns on a recent trip.) A regular Estrella de Oro (double-decker) one-way ride is 395 pesos, while upgraded VIP bus service is 520 pesos; VIP service includes a marble lounge inside the regular Acapulco bus terminal with TVs, drinks, and newspapers. Depending on the bus, the ride takes 5 - 5 1/2 hours in comfort. Be warned, they search you and pat you down for weapons before leaving.

There is a modern four lane highway from Mexico City to Acapulco (Autopista del Sol). It is somewhat expensive, but will take you there in 3 and a half hours, approximately, if you don't stop on the way. The Autopista is not continuous; there is a break in two sections where the road is rougher, so a car with good tires is a must. However, before you decide to drive to Acapulco, remember that traffic and parking in the city are difficult.

Travelers by bus or car should note the cautions in "Stay safe" below.

Juan N. Alvarez International Airport (ACA) is well connected domestically and internationally. Flights from Mexico City to Acapulco take approximately 35 minutes and ground transportation from the airport to the major tourist area of La Costera takes more or less the same time. Round trip fares depending on the season and class, range from USD$23 to USD$50.

Get around

Taxis are everywhere in Acapulco. Since they are unmetered, make sure that you agree on a fare before entering. Always negotiate - they can smell tourist money a mile away. The old Volkswagen beetle cabs are cheaper than newer air conditioned cars. Shared Cabs (usually white with yellow) run between major destinations and are very convenient. They usually display their destination in large letters and charge a flat fee on $12pesos, irrespective of distance. You should not have to pay more than $50 pesos per cab ride within the Costera area but fares can reach as much as $120 pesos for rides from La Costera to La Quebrada, Princess Hotel (Revolcadero Beach) and the airport. Alternatively most hotels can arrange for taxi transportation for a fixed fare (usually inflated). Prices will usually be about 50% more expensive than for a taxi hailed on the street.

There are several public transportation options: Yellow cabs are 12 pesos per person; buses are 5 pesos or 6 pesos with the luxury of air-conditioning. Because of the sheer amount of taxis here, when one is dining out it is often worthwhile for them to offer a round trip and simply wait around while you have your meal, and they will not charge extra.

Buses are worth experiencing even if you don´t want to travel on them. Destinations are printed on the front window of each bus. There is no need to be at one of the buses regular stops in order to get on. Just wave your arm or look at the driver. He will stop and encourage you to get in. In fact, drivers will stop and try to get you ride with them if you are even walking in the same direction that they are driving in. The bus system in Acapulco has been fully privatised - each bus is privately owned. This means they can decorate them however they want. Pink buses cruise around blaring out traditional Mexican music, racing against ones decked out in UV lights pulsing out club music into the night air. The complete lack of suspension and the bizarre incentive for the buses to race each other to each bus stop as they compete for passengers makes for an unforgettable ride.

Private Autos It is generally unwise to try to drive yourself around Acapulco. Traffic is heavy and drivers aggressive, parking is scarce, streets do not run in a neat grid, and even change names unexpectedly. Most, if not all streets lack signs indicating their name. In addition, foreign tourists driving rental cars can become targets of the Acapulco police officers, who will accept payment (~$400 pesos) for violations in person at the time of pullover, without providing a receipt or proof of violation or clearing of said violation.

See

The cliff divers at La Quebrada

Beaches

Most beaches are in the bay area fronting the main boulevard "La Costera". This bay area is what made Acapulco famous and its beauty and majesty have not faded over the years. Some of the most popular beaches inside the Bay and lining the Costera are Hornos, the traditional "afternoon beach", Papagayo, Tamarindos, and Icacos. Condesa beach at the east end of the bay is gay friendly. Caleta/Caletilla beaches and Langosta Beach are on the open ocean, and usually a bit cleaner. Most hotels in Acapulco are found along the Costera, and prices generally go down as you move west toward the Zócalo and old Acapulco.

Another open water beach, more suitable for surfing, lies in front of the Fairmont Acapulco Princess and Fairmont Pierre Marqués Hotels. Playa Revolcadero is east of Acapulco, closer to the airport. The wave action is much higher than inside the bay or at Caleta/Caletilla, which are protected by La Roqueta island. Transportation from La Costera takes about 35 minutes through a winding and scenic road.

Don't miss Barra Vieja, approx. 20 past the Airport coming from the costera($500–$800 Pesos for a cab all day)

Do

There are several more attractions, including golf courses, night clubs and post-Hispanic fortifications. Nightlife in Acapulco is pretty much fun, and many places are suited for tourism including "El Alebrije", "Disco Beach" and "Palladium", this last having an awe-inspiring sight of the whole bay of Acapulco.

Eat

Drink

In the past few years Acapulco has become a preferred destination for spring breakers, with tens of thousands of students descending upon this resort town to drink away the sorrows of midterms in a multitude of bars and clubs. Be aware that the fancier places may have long queues outside and will probably not let you in if you wear shorts and/or sneakers.

La Costera, Acapulco's main street along the coast, is full of bars and clubs:

Sleep

Budget

Splurge

Stay safe

NOTE: The state of Guerrero has been the venue of widespread, ongoing protests after corrupt authorities in Iguala abducted 43 student teachers, who were protesting, and turned them over to a drug gang to be brutally murdered. While Acapulco is over 200km distant from the scene of the crime and therefore not the epicenter of the protests, the US embassy in Mexico advises (as of Sept 2015) that U.S. nationals exercise some caution about travel to, from and about the city (see entry for the State of Guerrero at . Although this violence seldom involves foreign residents or tourists, travelers in the city and area should be vigilant in their personal safety.

For an average tourist, a more common danger comes from local police. Bribery and extortion can be encountered at every step. For example, if you are driving a nice clean car (doesn't matter it's a rental) you can expect with high probability to be stopped and blamed for driving through red lights (even the traffic lights were turned off), not using mirrors, using traffic lanes wrongly or other minor infractions.

Cope

Consulates

Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Sunday, September 13, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.