Acapulco is one of Mexico’s most famous coastal destinations. It’s the closest beach to Mexico City (a less than four-hour drive), which is why it has become one of the most important ports and tourist destinations. Known for its breathtaking beaches, stunning cliffside drivers, and bustling nightlife, Acapulco is rich in culture and history.
While the city was initially centered on Acapulco Bay, it has expanded to both sides. Today it occupies from Pie de la Cuesta, Acapulco, to Barra Vieja, which used to be considered suburbs. Especially the east side of the bay has grown considerably, and today there are large hotels and restaurants in that area. There are plenty of things to do in Acapulco that cater to a wide range of interests.
1. Visit the Beautiful Beaches
Make sure to visit many of Acapulco’s beaches. Playa Condesa on the bay is one of the closest to the city center. Playa Icacos is one of the quietest for snorkeling and visiting with children. Playa Revolcadero has more crystalline waters in an area of more elegant hotels and residences.
Just outside the city is Pie de la Cuesta, Acapulco. Away from the hustle and bustle of the city, Pie de la Cuesta is the perfect beach for couples to enjoy sunsets and excellent local food.
2. Fort of San Diego
Part of Acapulco’s rich history is the Fort of San Diego. Built in the seventeenth century, the this fort served as a defense against pirates and was later used as a prison. Today, the fort houses the Acapulco Historical Museum, which showcases the city’s history through a variety of exhibits. Visitors can explore the fort’s ramparts, towers, and courtyards, and enjoy spectacular views of the bay.
The museum houses historical and archaeological artifacts. Pieces from the museum itself and loans from personal collections or other museums are displayed in more than thirteen rooms. Royal carriages, silks and embroideries, ship models, and Chinese porcelain are some of the pieces that can be discovered inside the Fort.
One of the most impressive exhibits in the Fort of San Diego is the naval museum. This museum features a collection of ships and boats that were used throughout the history of Acapulco. Visitors can see everything from small fishing boats to large naval vessels.
3. Visit the La Quebrada Cliff Divers
Perhaps the most famous attraction in Acapulco is the cliff divers at La Quebrada. Since the 1930s, these brave divers perform daily shows where they leap off a cliff that’s over 40 meters tall (more than 130 feet) into a narrow cove below. The divers time their jumps with the incoming tide to ensure that the water is deep enough for them to safely land. The cliff diving tradition has been around for over 80 years and is a must-see for anyone visiting Acapulco.
There are many shows per day (usually up to five), and sometimes at sunset or night. It’s recommended to arrive early to secure a good viewing spot. It’s an incredible sight to see, and visitors are sure to be amazed by the courage and skill of the divers.
4. Enjoy the Flavors and Nightlife
Acapulco is known for its vibrant nightlife and rich culinary culture, with plenty of bars, clubs, and restaurants to choose from. Most of the best nightclubs and restaurants are located in the Costera, an area of the city known for its nightlife. The Baby’O nightclub is one of the most famous clubs in Acapulco, known for its international DJs and celebrity sightings.
Make sure to try some of the local seafood dishes, such as ceviche and shrimp cocktails, which are popular in the region. You can also visit the Mercado Central de Acapulco, a bustling market where you can find everything from fresh produce to local crafts. The market is a great place to sample traditional Mexican snacks and drinks, such as churros and aguas frescas.
5. Don’t miss the Beautiful Churches
Like most cities in Mexico, Acapulco has many churches, but three are particularly worth mentioning. Starting with one of the most unique and memorable churches in Acapulco is the Capilla de la Paz (Chapel of Peace). Located on a hill overlooking the city, the chapel offers breathtaking views of Acapulco Bay and the surrounding mountains. The chapel itself is a modern structure with a distinctive, cone-shaped roof. Inside, visitors can admire a beautiful marble altar and stained glass windows.
Another popular church in Acapulco is the Capilla del Atardecer (Chapel of the Sunset). As its name suggests, this chapel is known for its stunning views of the sunset over the Pacific Ocean. The chapel features a minimalist design that allows the natural beauty of the surrounding landscape to take center stage.
Finally, the Our Lady of Solitude Cathedral is the main Catholic church in Acapulco. Located in the city center, the cathedral is a striking example of colonial architecture with a beautiful facade and ornate interior. Visitors can admire the cathedral’s impressive altarpiece, intricate wood carvings, and religious paintings.