(But not in the expensive areas)
By Barbara Kastelein
Want to taste the Acapulco of the movies? It is there for the taking … all you need is the costs of a return ticket (you hardly will have to spend any money when there).
Yes it’s true. Acapulco is reborn, and this newest renaissance is bigger and better than the rest.
For the Hollywood experience go the lobby of the Hotel Flamingos where you will find anything from Tarzan to Signourny Weaver, and to La Perla bar in the Hotel Mirador — Hall of Fame, signatures, photos and great cocktails or beers while overlooking the cliff diver show (4 times every night).
The newcomers — eg. Banyan Tree Hotel — are great, but they are expensive and there is no need to splash out … This is the big secret, Acapulco is back shining again, and costs less than ever.
The town gained notoriety in international media, such as the BBC, for shoot outs between drug gangs, and for it’s high murder rate. Cruise ship visits fizzled out and restaurants emptied out.
This holiday period (Christmas and New Year are the highest seaons because of the perfect climate, but Easter is busiest … and hot!) saw hotels at over 81% occupation already in the first week of the month. It was 90% on time for the wonderful days (6 to 11 Dec) running up to the feast day of the resort’s Patron Saint and loyal Protectress.
But it doesn’t matter when you go to Acapulco. Few other cities in the word know so well how to party. Jan 5, especially evening, is great for the festival of the Reyes Magos, and the streets in old Acapulco (known as “Acapulco Tradicional”) fill up with children and families. Summer is stunning, with the occasional cyclone, and the steps of the Hotel Mirador cascade with water — one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen.
Yet you don’t have to worry about weather. Acapulco’s climate puts Cancun to shame. In the old days, hotels would guarantee sunshine, or your money back! It is that good.
The grandmammy of tourist resorts worldwide, Acapulco is still one of the best places in the whole of Mexico to get married … honeymoons in Las Brisas Hotel, The Princess Hotel highly recommended. Everything you could dream of is for hire: limousines, yachts, deep sea fishing trips. It’s worth paying for them, with the money you save in hotel costs.
Flights take 35 mins from Mexico City airport. Or get a luxury bus with Estrella de Oro from the capital (5 hours, with films, food and bathrooms).
So, what are you waiting for?
Where to Stay:
- Hotel Mirador
- Hotel Flamingos
- (bit more caro) Hotel Boca Chica
Where to Eat
- (in old town) Mi Amigo Miguel
- (on beach) Sirrocco and La Cabanya de Caleta
- (more expensive) Zibu
Where to have breakfast:
- Don Carlos Restaurant, Mirador Hotel
- any of the joints on the Costera
- Hotel Flamingos
- Hotel El Cano (by pool)
Where to lunch:
- Boca Chica Hotel (under the palapa or by the pool)
- Mi Piace (on Zocalo)
- La Casa de la Cultura (on Costera main drag)
Where to party / dance:
- Baby O
- Any of the glittering joints on the Costera,like Barba Roja (late) …
- Cici Parque Acuatico (book early to swim with dolphins)
- visit Caleta Beach
- go to La Roqueta Island
- drive to Tres Palos Lagoon, or up to Tres Vidas resort hotel
and if you have at least 5 days in Aca, take 1 night out and go to Pie de la Cuesta (taxi)
kick up the surf on the open Pacific, swim safely in the pool, ride a horse on the beach, waterski on the lagoon (Tres Marias) and enjoy camarones a la diabla (Tres Marias waterski), deep fried tacos with white fish and cumin, a coco-loco, sopes on the hammock at any of the beach joints …
Where to have cocktails:
- Las Brisas Hotel
- The Princess Hotel
- Hotel Flamingos (at sunset)
What 2 see:
- the world-famous Acapulco Cliff Divers, La Quebrada (near the ZOcalo): 1pm, 7pm, 8pm, 9pm, 10pm.
- best show in town (steamy towards the end!) Tabares
- Las Brisas Church and the big white cross outside
- The Fort of San Diego History Museum
WHAT ELSE TO DO:
(when the season’s right) release baby turtles into the sea (Revolcadero Beach)
watch the firsherman on the main bay (Zona Dorada) bring in their catch 7 – 9am
Dr. Barbara Kastelein is author of “Heroes of the Pacific: Behind the Scenes with Acapulco’s Cliff Divers” out soon with Trilce Ediciones)