Skip to Content


Your rating: None

Fine Dining

The key elements of fine dining establishments include luxurious and elegant surroundings, valet parking, a splendid view, knowledgeable, experienced, attentive waiters, a complete wine list and, of course, a menu of selections unique to the creative art and technical skill of the executive chef, who is responsible for the restaurant's reputation.

The menu may be specially prepared for that particular day, with a small number of selections in each category. Dressing a bit "upscale" is recommended. Acapulco's top fashion category is "fashionable casual." There is no need for a jacket and tie or frilly cocktail dress, though some guests prefer to be that dressy. At most fine dining restaurants the younger children (under 8) are not excluded, but management discourages the idea. The ambience is clearly designed for quiet, adult conversation and behavior.

Some of the fine dining restaurants in Acapulco are: Baikal, Bellavista, Buda, Casanova, La Casona del Granjero, El Faro, El Olvido, Hacienda, Kookaburra, La Vela, Madeiras, Maretto, Mezzanotte, Miramar, Pampano, Sirocco, Suntory, and Zibu.

Traditional Restaurants

Just as certain types of cuisine lend themselves to fine dining (like French, Northern Italian or Japanese), the medium range of restaurants typically offer either Mexican, American and sometimes Italian fare.

Occasionally valet parking will be available, but usually the system is "self-park." Often the restaurant is family-operated, and the host or hostess will be an owner. Like fine dining establishments, the owner may have expanded into one or two other, related restaurants, but few franchises or "chains" are found in this category.

The service should also be attentive, and provided by an experienced wait staff. Many of them might have been there as long as the owners, or even longer! Dress is casual. Some places do not serve guests who arrive in bathing suits or without shirts or shoes. Children are welcome, though the atmosphere is for adults and
does not normally cater to children. Formality varies widely.

The menu usually has a wide variety of selections, with lots of "standard" choices, including appetizers, salads, entrées and deserts. Daily combination specials (called "comida corrida") are offered, sometimes verbally, or perhaps on a notice on the wall or on an insert in the menu.

Some restaurants also promote their bar, and have drink specials and live entertainment (invariably musical) at certain hours. Examples of traditional Acapulco restaurants in this category are: BubbäBar, La Cabana de Caleta. El Cabrito. Las Canastas. Los Caporales. El Capullo. Carnitas La Esperanza. La Casa de Tere, Costa Romanza, Dino's, El Embarcadero, Flor de Acapulco, El Fogón, Forza d'Italia, Mi Piaci, La Gamba, El Gaucho, Haye's, Ika Tako, El Jardín, Jimmy's, Jovitos, Julio's, La Langosta Loca, La Mansión Bohemia, La Margarita, Mi Barquito, Los Navegantes, El Nono, Paco's, Pollo Giro, San & Town, Tamales Licha, Tío Alex, La Torta, Tres Marías, and El Zorrito Family Restaurants & Cafeterias.

In Mexico, the public has the choice of a popular intermediate selection - less expensive than a traditional restaurant, but not a fast food place. They are called "cafeterias," but are different from the cafeteria as it is known in the US or Canada. Most of them in Mexico are parts of a franchise chain, and the menu is standardized, both in price and selection. Many offer buffets for a fixed price. The atmosphere is usually bright
and casual. In many cases the children have special menus, fun favors (like hats and balloons) and a separate place to play and make noise. The food is prepared by real cooks in a real kitchen, and made to order.

Cafeterias are also commonly the scene of small gatherings of friends "for coffee," or of couples relaxing after a movie or show. A few in this category are part of an International chain (such as Bennigan's in the Casa Inn). Many of the cafeterias operate several different locations, usually along the Costera Alemán. Examples of this category include: 100% Natural, California, El Portón, Sanborn's, Shakey's Pizza, Sportortas, Tacos House, Toks and Vips.

Taquerías and Fast Food Places

Acapulco has just about all the US and Canadian fast food a traveler could crave, including McDonalds, Burger King, Domino's, Subway, Domino's and KFC. For the visitor from the north, however, it might be fun to try out the taco places, where the prices are roughly equivalent, and the food is decidedly from south of the border. A number of them follow the US system in which the guest orders and pays for the food, waits for it, and then either eats it at a nearby table or carries it out. Most taquerías, however, still provide sit-down table service for the customer who is planning to eat on-site. A few have become franchise operations of Mexican companies, but most are one-of-a-kind restaurants and and enjoy a large following among the locals. Any visitor should venture into a taquería at least once during a stay in Acapulco.

Some of these restaurants straddle the border between "traditional" Mexican restaurant and "taquería," offering a wide range of Mexican cuisine, from the most ambitious combination dishes down to the humble, but tasty, taco. Tacos Tumbras in Costa Azul and Magallanes is a good example. Another is Tarascos, in various parts of town. Others in this category are: Tacos Orientalex, Tacosteña, and Tacos y Tacos.

On the street and at the beach

While not exactly a type of restaurant, vendors represent one more way in which Acapulqueños feed themselves. Anyone taking a trip to a local marketplace, like the "tianguis" at the Diana traffic circle or similar ones closer to the older part of town, will confirm that you can buy all manner of tamales, tacos, quesadillas, roast corn, fried bananas, fruit on a stick, and many other delicacies, right on the sidewalk. Anyone who has gone to the beach knows that mobile vendors (called "ambulantes") endlessly march up and down the sand offering lots of the same types of food as well as trinkets, baskets, cigarettes, jewelry, t-shirts, massages and music. Questions naturally arise: "Are these things good? Are they safe to eat?" There is no objective answer. If you are a recently-arrived tourist with a delicate digestive system, the answer is probably "no" on the safety question. But it is true that thousands of people patronize these vendors every day, without any noticeable bad consequences. It is probably a good idea to pass on the street food unless you speak some Spanish. You should feel free to ask when the food was prepared and how much it costs. Generally it is a good idea to watch someone else buy whatever interests you, and observe what the charge is; otherwise the price for non-locals might be higher. Also you can ask a customer for a quick appraisal - did they like it and is it "up to snuff"? Some
of the vendors are well-known to their clientele and take great pride in the distinctiveness of their food and the loyalty of their customers. The same is not always true on the beach, unless the food is being sold by the person who made it, or it comes from a fixed location, like a beach-side restaurant.

One category not covered under "restaurants," but worthy of remembering, are all the coffee houses that serve pastries and light snacks as well as coffee, tea and other refreshments.

Types of Cuisine

Acapulco also offers a number of different cuisines, though the obvious and most abundant choices are for seafood of different kinds. Here is a quick reference for restaurants in specific categories by type of food offered (without concern for whether they are expensive or cheap, fancy or totally casual). (Some restaurants will appear in more than one category):


Acapulco can be divided into four distinct areas. Take a look at the map of the port of Acapulco and Acapulco Bay.

Las Brisas to Diamante

Mezzanotte, Kookaburra, Madeiras, Restaurante Bellavista, Ristorante Casanova, Senor Frog's, Carlos 'n Charlie's (La Isla), Los Pavorreales, Miramar, Beto Godoy, El Jardín del Guamuchil, Mesón del Angel, Buda, La Granja, Los Rancheros, La Vela, La Casona del Granjero, Baikal, Hacienda, Zibu, Sirocco, Maretto, Pampano.

Golden (Hotel) Zone

Le Bistroquet, Palma Real, Villa Fiore, La Torta, Pizza Real, Julio's, Paco's, La Casa del Steak, Los Caporales, Los Cazadores, El Fuerte del Virrey, El Mandil Verde Zona Dorada: La Petite Belgique, Mariscos Pipo, Dino's, El Olvido, Ika Tako, 100% Natural, Jimmy's Cantina & Restaurant, Los Navegantes, Cafe Pacifico, El Zorrito, Zapata, Villa y Compañía, Hooters, El Cabrito, Jovitos, Sportortas, Suntory, Carnitas La Esperanza, Sanborn's, Shakey's Pizza, Hard Rock Café, La Langosta Loca, El Gaucho, California, Planet Hollywood, Cocula, Subway, Pollo Giro, La Gamba, San & Town, Le Rendez Vous Canadiense, Haye's, Giancolo, Bambuco, El Faro, Tacos House, La Tablita Vips, El Portón, Toks.

Traditional Acapulco (Nautica)

La Cabana de Caleta, Tamales Licha, El Amigo Miguel, Costa Romanza, El Jardín, La Mansión Bohemia, El Capullo, Las Canastas, Mi Barquito, El Nono, El Embarcadero, Tío Alex, La Perla, Su Casa & La Margarita, La Fragata Azul, Don Carlos, Calamar, Dragón de Oro, El Norteño, La Casa de Tere, 100% Natural, Carnitas La Esperanza, Sanborn's, California, Pollo Feliz, Vips, El Portón, Toks.

Pie de la Cuesta

Tres Marías

List of Acapulco Restaurants

For a list of Acapulco's restaurants, Go Here.

Your rating: None

Zihuatanejo and its neighbor, the modern tourist resort of Ixtapa just a couple of miles to the north, are vacation destinations on the Mexican Pacific coast about 150 miles (240 km) north and west of Acapulco. Zihuatanejo is the state of Guerrero’s fourth largest city with approximately 65,000 permanent inhabitants. Each area has miles of sandy beaches in neighboring bays. Some say Zihuatanejo is a “little Acapulco,” as it is an older city that welcomes tourists, while Ixtapa is a “little Cancún,” in that it is a recently built, planned resort.

The name Zihuatanejo is a modern version of “Ciguatanjeo,” the Spanish rendering of the Nahuatl name “Cihuatlán.” The Nahuatl name means “the place of women,” presumably because the pre-Columbian society and culture there was matriarchal. According to ancient legend a great leader named Caltzontzin built a rock breakwater at one of Zihuatanejo’s beaches, thus creating calm waters in which the women and children could bathe, free of worries about currents and dangerous sea life. In fact, this natural harbor was probably created over centuries by the sea itself. The place is called “Playa las Gatas” (a “gata” is a nurse shark) because these harmless, whiskered sharks were very numerous here before humans took over. Some Spanish conquistadores thought that Cihautlán was a land of beautiful women and lots of treasure – perhaps even another name for the famous Seven Lost Cities of Cibola. In fact, the conquistadores were just a little too early – the beautiful women and the treasure did not arrive until the era of modern tourism late in the 20th century. Zihuatanejo gained notoriety as the place to which the two heroes eventually escape in the Stephen King novel and movie, Shawshank Redemption. In the movie, Morgan Freeman’s character, Red, reacts to hearing the name for the first time with “See-what?” The phrase has become something of a password amongst the English-speaking visitors who have come to know and love this destination.

Getting to Zihuatanejo-Ixtapa

Zihuatanejo’s airport is served by national and international airlines. Most are connections through Mexico City, but others come from the US and Canada, as well as from other locations like Acapulco and Guadalajara. The latter are more like commuter flights. A good many charter flights land in Zihuatanejo-Ixtapa, operated by Apple Vacations, Funjet Vacations, Ryan International, and several others. Most Mexican tourists arrive in Zihuatanejo by car or bus. Federal Highway 200 runs through Zihuatanejo, coming from Acapulco in the south, up towards Michoacán and Jalisco to the north. There is a more direct road from Mexico City, though some of the segments are fairly narrow and curvy. The major bus lines serve this destination with several daily arrivals and departures. Costa Line, Turistar/Futura (Estrella Blanca) and Estrella de Oro are among them.



Until about 1975 Zihuatanejo was a small village that supported itself mainly by fishing and hosting the occasional tourist looking for a remote place to hide away. Today fishing is still important to the lifestyle of the place, but sport fishing has come to mean a great deal more to the local economy, as visitors from all over arrive in search of marlin, sail fish and other trophies. Another type of visitor is the “cruiser” – persons who live aboard their boat and travel from place to place, mooring for short times at different locations. Many take pleasure in spending their winter months in the calm waters of Zihuatanejo’s bay, enjoying the tropical sun at its very best. The old center of Zihuatanejo may seem a bit dowdy by comparison the beach locations, as it is the unreconstructed part of town. It is still very traditional in both its layout and in terms of all the many things you can buy there.

Zihuatanejo Beaches

Zihuatanejo bay is a large, elliptical, natural harbor about 5.5 miles (9 km) wide. The main beach of the town is called, unimaginatively, “Playa Principal” at the north end of the bay. This is where the fishermen dock and where they return with their catch to sell into the local markets. The constant effort of tending to nets and fishing vessels goes on here, making Playa Principal a very busy place. The “Paseo de Pescador” (fisherman’s path) connects the town docks with the museum of archeology, about a quarter of a mile away. This pedestrian passage leads to numerous shops, bars and open air stands that sell folk art, things to eat and trinkets of all kinds. The town plaza or Zócalo looks out over this paseo to the beach.

Zihuatanejo & Ixtapa Beaches

“Playa la Madera” is adjacent to Playa Principal to the east and south. It is a small beach with a sandy shore, and can be reached either over the rocks from Playa Principal or directly from the street. The waves are calm – just right for families. A couple of restaurants and hotels are on the beach or just above and behind it on the hill. It is named because lumber taken from the mountain forests was shipped out on galleons moored there. “Playa la Ropa” is a wide sandy beach to the eastern side of the bay, perhaps the most beautiful beach in the whole area. The sandy bottom and gentle currents make this the ideal swimming beach. Like Playa la Madera, Playa la Ropa has plenty of seafood restaurants and more than a couple of hotels. This is a good beach to use as your base for all water sports (like the banana boat or jet skis). It is named because clothes from a wrecked galleon washed up on shore there.

“Playa las Gatas” is a small, pleasant beach, named because it was once a haven for nurse sharks (called “gatas” because of their whiskers). On the southern side of the bay there is a small, natural cove that makes for excellent swimming and snorkeling. Restaurants and bars in the several palapas provide seaside food and beverage service as well as umbrellas, chairs and lounges. A water taxi runs between Playa las Gatas and the town pier. “Playa Larga” or “Long Beach” is outside the bay on the open sea. The beach is well named. It is both wide and very long (7½ miles or 12 km), with a sandy bottom, so it is very good for swimming. Lots of people enjoy jogging and horseback riding along this beach. At the very far end of this beach is the fishing village of Barra de Potosí. Beyond this small town is Playa Blanca. Here one can find a large mangrove lagoon, which drains to the sea. Barra de Potosí offers many palm-thatched, fresh air seafood restaurants, complete with lots to drink and a hammock in which to sleep it off.



Ixtapa is a place, not a city. FONATUR, a tourism-promoting agency of the Mexico’s federal government, planned the resort and built it over several years. FONATUR also manages the area, including the supervision of land development and real estate sales as well as construction of public assets (like roads, streets and piers) and the provision of public services. Ixtapa is just up the coastal road from Zihuatanejo about four miles. From the ocean, it is just one bay north of the bay at Zihuatanejo. Ixtapa offers the visitor some very upscale boutiques and shops in modern shopping centers. Several tall buildings of condominium apartments line the beach, together with a large number of luxury hotels. In most condominiums and in several of the hotels a visitor can acquire a time-share interest in a unit. The remaining space is occupied by lots of seaside bars and restaurants, as well as a few nightspots. Ixtapa also operates a large and well-equipped marina. Behind the beach buildings and across the coastal avenue are quieter neighborhoods in which the permanent residents make their homes. Here one can find bed & breakfast accommodations and smaller hotels. Ixtapa has two highly respected 18-hole golf courses and lots of options for racquet sports as well. Additionally, tourists can spend their days with water sports on the bay – sailing, skiing, parasailing and wave-running. They can also take off into the deep waters on fishing excursions. The adventurous may want to make an outing to Troncones, a tiny fishing village about thirty miles (55 km) north of Ixtapa. This place has been a popular eco-tourism destination for well over a decade. These days it shows a few signs of development – like small hotels and seafood restaurants – but its beaches and coastal areas remain natural. The natural habitat of Troncones has not yet changed dramatically from what it was centuries ago.

Ixtapa Beaches

El Palmar is the name of the principal beach of Ixtapa. It is about a mile and a half long and is very smooth, sandy and inviting for beach walking. Most of Ixtapa’s important beach front hotels are on El Palmar, so it is synonymous with the “Hotel Zone” or “Zona Hotelera.” The bay at Ixtapa is not closed – it is more of a scallop in the coastline, facing the open waters of the Pacific. As a result, this beach has substantial waves and can be excellent for surfing. It may be a little too much for small children. As you walk south, towards Zihuatanejo, the waters become a bit calmer because large rocks and a ridge line come down towards the sea to protect a portion of the beach. El Palmar is good for people-watching, as each hotel puts out its umbrellas and lounges and the staff members serve drinks and food while other staff members organize activities for their guests. The terrain in between each hotel has been left natural, by direction of the Master Plan for Ixtapa. The beach along the hotel zone also provides perfect, unobstructed views of the gorgeous sunsets over the Pacific horizon. Two small rock formations called “Los Morros” are just offshore.

A secondary hotel zone is found at Playa Quieta, just up the beach – north and west -- from El Palmar. Like its neighbor, Playa Quieta is smooth and sandy. The waters are quite calm, and therefore they attract kayakers, snorkelers, swimmers and windsurfers. Three hotels border this beach, which is just a few minutes’ ride by car from El Palmar.

North and west of Playa Quieta is Playa Linda, a very calm beach with fine, white sand. From this beach you can take a water taxi across to Ixtapa Island, which lies just off the shore. Horseback riding is available, permitting you to visit a coconut plantation and to pass through some tropical jungle terrain. Also by Playa Linda is a small, native mangrove lagoon, locally known as “El Cocodrilario” – or Croc house. Isla Ixtapa. Taking a small boat from Playa Linda, in about 10 minutes you will set foot on Isla Ixtapa. The island is natural, covered with native forest. Four small and isolated beaches can be found here. There are services for food and beverage, as well as opportunities for scuba diving, snorkeling and motorized sports. The main beach is called Cuachalalate. Varadero and Coral are smaller ones with restaurants on them as well. Varadero faces right into the sunset. Coral has really clear water for snorkeling. Playa Cary is the most secluded and remote of the four. Be careful about the time. The last ride to the mainland leaves at 5:00 pm.


Zihuatanejo Fishing

Zihuatanejo and Ixtapa offer a good bit of excitement for those who are looking for something more than just lying in the sun. Naturally, all other water sports are options than can easily be arranged: scuba diving, snorkeling, sport fishing, windsurfing, body surfing, surfboarding, sailing, water skiing, jet-skiing – all are open to the visiting tourist. In addition, it is fun to get out into the terrain around the water with hiking, horseback riding and sightseeing tours. Add to this golf and tennis as well as recreational shopping, eating and drinking, and it will be easy to fill up every day with fun. The two communities of Zihuatanejo and Ixtapa also offer a lively experience after dark as well.

Self-guided tours are very popular. One of them is to El Faro – the lighthouse on Playa las Gatas. Walk to the far end of Playa las Gatas, where the Beach Club is located. There is a flagstone path that goes towards to lighthouse. If you do not see it right away, anyone who works there can direct you. The walk takes about 15 minutes, mostly uphill. The view from the cliffs overlooking the ocean is magnificent. You will also get a good sense of all the different islands along this part of the coast – Los Morros de Potosi in the south, just of Playa Blanca to the islands in front of Ixtapa itself towards the north. Out in front you will see La Piedra Solitaria, about a half mile out in the ocean from Zihuatanejo’s bay. It is a tiny island with a beacon, which can be seen after sunset.

Some visitors enjoy an excursion to Petatlán, a very old and traditional center of ranching and agriculture on the coastal road towards Acapulco. It takes about 40 minutes to get there by car. Buses go there, too. Important sites include the exquisite church and the open-air gold market out in front. Tourists will be able to see many vestiges of Petatlán´s colonial past. Some archeological sites can be found nearby, and their artifacts are on display throughout the town. If you are in town for Semana Santa (the week before Easter), Petatlán is really worth the special effort to go there because of its famous “Feria de Semana Santa” – a large open-air market event for Holy Week with every kind of art, artisan work, food and clothing on display and for sale. The Petatlán bus (Ómnibus de Petatlán) leaves Zihuatanejo from a stop behind the Jaiba Feliz restaurant on Benito Juarez Street. You need to ask to get off at the street going to the town square or “Zócalo.” It’s about four or five blocks to the center of town. Remember where you got off, as that’s where the bus will stop to pick you up.

If you decide to venture south to La Barra de Potosí off Playa Blanca, follow the coastal highway (Federal 200) for about 25 minutes to Los Achotes. This is a tiny town on the highway. Go right at the sign for the Laguna de Potosí (right past the bridge) and then left at the shore. You’re there when you run out of road. Here there are several really wonderful seafood restaurants and a calm and quiet beach. Boat tours of the lagoon estuary are available, and you will be able to see lots of tropical wildlife, particularly birds like herons, spoonbills and white pelicans (which are extremely rare). Small mammals and medium-size reptiles (like crocodiles) are often spotted, too. This tour will be especially important for ecologists and photographers.


Zihuatanejo and Ixtapa present a full range of shopping options for those who enjoy browsing the shops and stores when on vacation. Both locations have open-air markets of folk art, traditional handicrafts and souvenirs. In Zihuatanejo it is found on Calle Cinco de Mayo by the church. In Ixtapa it is at the south-eastern end of the main hotel zone. Each has perhaps two hundred or more booths with ceramics, rugs, leather goods, tapestries, masks, crafts of wood, stone or metals, and many other keepsakes. The Mercado Central of Zihuatanejo is enormous. Here in the early part of the day one can buy fruit, vegetables, fresh seafood, spices and everything else for cooking. Then, in the center of Zihuatanejo and in the village area of Ixtapa once can find shopping malls, including boutiques with tropical fashion and the latest in casual and sport clothing. Home furnishings and more upscale native art are also for sale in these centers. In addition several shops offer fine silver jewelry, tableware and articles for the home, crafted by the renowned silversmiths of Taxco.


Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo is more of a tourist destination than a party town. Nevertheless, local nightspots offer a variety of options for fun after dark. Zihuatanejo provides several choices for the small, cozy, quiet bar in which it is easy to have a relaxed conversation. Others are more like lounges with DJ’s, dancing, and open spaces with grand views. A third possibility is the romantic bar, in which offers quieter music. Often a live singer will entertain with ballads, trovas and boleros. You can chose to go to a “canta-bar” (karaoke) if that is your pleasure, or seek out the Latin rhythms of salsa, meringue and other dances. In Ixtapa you can find the “after-hours” bar and the lively discos. Dance clubs open their doors around 10 pm and stay active until dawn or even after. Whether you seek to chat, to romance, to dance or to party, you should be able to find what you are looking for in Ixtapa and Zihuatanejo.

Your rating: None

Though Acapulco is often seen as a town for romantic couples or college partiers, it is truly a wonderful place for a family vacation. In fact, by far most of Acapulco’s visitors come with their families.


The first and obvious draw is, of course, the beautiful beach – from Pie de la Cuesta on the north west side of the coast, through the Bay of Santa Lucia and over the ridge to Puerto Marques, Revolcadero, and down to Barra Vieja on the extreme southeastern portion. The waves inside the bay, along the Traditional Zone and the Acapulco’s Golden Zone, are really very gentle and most appropriate for small children. The beaches of Puerto Marques are also protected from swells and wind, and will not overwhelm little ones. The beaches along the Pacific Ocean are best reserved for adults and adolescents who are able to swim well.

Do not forget that at the beaches you can rent watercraft – jet skis and windsurfers. The best windsurfing is in the bay of Puerto Marques and the Tres Palos lagoon, but it can be accomplished in Acapulco’s larger bay, too. Waterskiing, snorkeling, diving, and even parasailing are all options open to parents with older children. Most concierge desks can readily set you up with guided tours and equipment rentals, and many are available just by walking out onto the beach. This is especially true of the jet skis, which are rented on almost every beach along the waterfront.

Kids Programs

Many hotels offer “Kids’ Programs” of one sort or another, which give the parents a few hours out of each day to enjoy their own adult company. And the kids really enjoy the activities organized especially for them. Usually the age range is from about 6 to 12 years of age. Details vary by hotel, but all kids programs put a lot of emphasis on outdoor activity, usually with games around the splash pool or in a controlled environment like the fitness center. Then there will be stories and crafts and quieter activities. One program gives kids a detailed tour of the hotel, including all the parts that the guests do not see, like the kitchens and the supply areas. The hotel staff explain to the children how everything is managed so that the hotel will give everyone a comfortable stay. The kids’ program of the Crowne Plaza has received very high marks from previous guests. The Avalon, Fiesta Americana, Las Brisas, and the Fairmont hotels also offer them as well. The idea has taken hold, and several other Acapulco hotels may also provide programs for children, too. Though not a luxury accommodation, the Sands Hotel takes full advantage of its on-premises fun park to offer a special day program for kids. Some of these programs are fee-based, and some are free. The concierge desk will have all the details for any given hotel.


The best activities for children really involve making an outing as a family. Acapulco has many, many destinations for a day trip with the kids. The first stops should be at the parks set up just for children to enjoy. Three of them should be at the top of your list. They are: Aca-Zoo. The Aca-Zoo is on Roqueta Island. This is the large green island right in the mouth of the entrance to Acapulco’s bay. It is a nature preserve. To get there, take a glass-bottom boat ride from Caletilla beach. Once on the island follow the signs up the hill. Several tropical jungle animals are kept in this small zoo, including snakes, wild donkeys, monkeys, and also elephants and giraffes. Be sure to notice the tropical jungle vegetation, too, much of which is identified for you.

CiCi Water Park

Come in your bathing suit and bring a change of dry clothes. The CiCi water park is famous in Acapulco mainly because kids can swim with dolphins there. In addition, this amusement center has tall slides, water sleds, and a roller coaster adapted for water play. CiCi also has a lazy river, a wave pool, and conventional pools for swimming and diving. Seal and dolphin shows are scheduled throughout the day. This is a great place to come for the better part of a whole day. Going to CiCi is easy but bus or cab. Just go down the Costera towards Costa Azul (away from the Traditional Zone, towards the Naval Base). About two blocks past the Acapulco’s International Center (Convention Center) you will find CiCi on the bay side of the avenue. The walls are decorated with waves and are painted blue. There is a fee for admission, per person, good for the whole day.

Parque Papagayo

Originally an estate, this large area of green in the middle of Acapulco has recently been given a facelift and now offers all manner of fun activities for kids and grownups, too. There is swimming pool and a skate board/roller skating rink and park, a number of animals on display, some jumping fun on large inflated climbing structures, ducks to feed, a ride on the park’s tour train, and even a model galleon in one of the ponds. Cotton candy, hot dogs and all the other carnival eating options are there, too. Parque Papagayo is also a great place for jogging or strolling along its several kilometers of pathways. Admission is free, but some of the rides have a fee. To get there, go down the Costera Alemán to the large, central flag pole around mid-bay. The entrance is right across the Costera from there.


AquaPlanet is a family activity consisting of an educational center for kids in the 5-13 age range, found in “La Isla” in Acapulco Diamante. The idea is to teach how important water conservation is in saving the planet from the assaults of modern human lifestyles. The entry for the day is $150 pesos, and the place is opens at 10. They close at 8 on Mondays through Thursdays and at 1 am on the weekends. Ten attractions are offered including a rock climbing wall, bumper boats, a kids' pool, and a miniature golf course.

Mágico Mundo Marino

Mágico Mundo Marino is another great place to go with the children. It is an aquarium along the lines of Sea World, but obviously much smaller. It also has water sports and slides as well as a place to eat and buy souvenirs and gifts. See the tropical birds, the marine museum, and take in the view of Isla Roqueta, Caleta and Caletilla. The Mágico Mundo Marino is open from 10 to 6 every day, and is found right at the point where Caleta Beach and Caletilla come together.


Don’t overlook the shopping malls. The Gran Plaza, on the Costera right by the east side of Parque Papagayo has “Recorcholis,” a large kids’ fun center with lots of video games and entertainment. Older kids can be left to their own devices while the parents go shopping. Formerly called “Amazing World,” this spot has ball-filled pools, climbing frames and tunnels and trampolines. A special section is for kids 2 and under. The grown-ups are welcome to join in with their kids.

Galerías Diana

In the Galerías Diana shopping area on the Costera kids will also find a large video game arcade. It’s near the movie theaters, so you may be able to make a long visit, including the popcorn!

Delfines Paradise

Here you can swim with dolphins in their own environment. There are water platforms where the kids can interact with them if they want to. The activity is safe and unlike any other. The handlers explain a great deal about dolphins and can show you how they communicate. Delfines Paradise is on the Costera Alemán at Condesa Beach.


In the Plaza Bahía shopping center on the Costera in between Galerías Diana and Gran Plaza, and on the other side of the avenue (on the bay side), you will find a fully-equipped, modern bowling alley. This is a really good choice for older kids who may have some pent-up energy to expend.

Historical Tours

Acapulco’s role in Spain’s expansive empire and nautical exploration can come to life for children when hey visit historic Fort San Diego. Originally built in 1616, Fort San Diego was designed to protect the small Spanish garrison from attacks by English pirates and hostile indigenous peoples. The galleons coming from China and the Philippines were all headed to Acapulco, finally arriving after months at sea. Their rich cargoes would be packed overland to Veracruz, where ships would depart back to Spain. Two hundred years later, the fort played a role in Mexico's struggle for independence. There are guided and self-guided tours at the Fort. Worth visiting also is the smaller Fortin Álvarez, where the powder magazine was. The soldiers did not want the explosives in the same place as they and the colonial families were living, so this small outpost was established nearby. Another fun side trip at the Fort is the House of Masks, a display of the colorful masks created by indigenous cultures local to Acapulco, together with explanations of the dances and traditions surrounding them.

Other Sites and Sights

Acapulco has an underwater chapel where you can see a statue of the Virgin of Guadalupe. Take a glass bottom boat ride to Isla Roqueta from Caletilla beach.

On the ridge of Las Brisas, way above the bay, on the skyline, you will be able to see a large cross. This is a modern and beautiful “Chapel of Peace,” a non-denominational refuge for prayer and meditation. After 10 in the morning the Chapel is open to visitors. It’s best to go by taxi or private car. El Zócalo is the central town square, where the cathedral is located. In the early evenings it is common for clowns to perform in the gazebo area. Sometimes there are impromptu concerts by local bands. There is always something brewing in the Zócalo.

Hikes on the hillside

For the hearty, there is a national park right above Acapulco, with vast expanses of terrain, good for day trips. Overnight camping is not recommended. Check out the details in the page on the Veladero National Park.

Go to the Laguna de Tres Palos and see a truly natural tropical forest. You can rent boats and kayaks at the lake.

Browse the Open Air Markets

Go to the Central Market or to the Mercado de Artensanías Dalia or Diana, where the kids will enjoy browsing through all the toys, clothing and bric-a-brac on sale.

Your rating: None Average: 9.5 (2 votes)

So you've decided to get married and want to do it in style in the romantic capital of the Mexican Pacific? Great idea! Acapulco provides a really beautiful and memorable backdrop for making your wedding day extra special. Also, Acapulco offers you all the services you will need to make your wedding day very easy, too. Foreigners and Mexican nationals alike come to Acapulco with their friends and family for a few days of fun and vacation that culminate in a joyous wedding celebration.

If you bring your own officiant with you from your home country (for example, a pastor who is part of the bride’s or groom’s family), you may want to obtain a wedding license (or even perform an exchange of vows) in the state, province or country where that person is resident. The wedding would then have taken place there for all legal purposes. The Acapulco events would technically be a reaffirmation of vows, but for all public purposes, it would still be “the wedding.” This approach renders unnecessary all the documentation and the trips to the Civil Registry. It is simply not possible, bureaucratically speaking, to have a foreign judge or pastor "deputized” under Mexican law to certify to a ceremony at a local Civil Registry. Many couples in this situation take a second option -- to arrange to have a local judge jointly perform the ceremony with the invited foreign officiant, so that the local official can then execute the necessary paperwork.

Since only the civil ceremony is valid, the choice open to the bridal couple is whether to have the civil ceremony as part of the wedding celebration, or separately. The judges of the Registro Civil (who are similar to justices of the peace in the English legal system) will, for a fee, perform their function outside of their offices. This makes weddings on the beach a practical possibility.

Most resorts offer a selection of venues for outdoor weddings, including quiet locations along the beach, private gardens and other really beautiful locations. In principle, any public place in Acapulco is fair game for a wedding ceremony, though beach venues are the overwhelming favorite. You could choose, for example, to be married in a boat in the middle of the bay, or on a mountain top.

Tip: June weddings come right in the middle of rainy season, and often there is a downpour at around 4:00 in the afternoon. It is best to plan for an indoor wedding or perhaps a wedding earlier in the day if it has to be out of doors.

Tip: If you plan a beach wedding, choose a quiet location, perhaps somewhat remote from the busy beaches around the bay. Noise and distraction created by all the other tourists passing by and gawking can mar the setting. Theoretically, all beaches in Mexico are public, but some of them are much more public than others. A few private villas that can be rented through Real Acapulco are located on strips of beach that, while not technically private, are totally inaccessible to the public. Renting on of these villas for the event would be the best option for a private wedding on the beach.

If you decide to have a religious wedding, in the manner of many local Mexican couples, then the best approach would be to do as they do – go to the Civil Registry for the legal formalities, and then organize the religious ceremony afterwards. It is best to plan the religious ceremony for the following day. Local couples often try to fit in both steps on the same day, and wind up having delays at the Civil Registry to the point that they are late for their own wedding! (It is possible, though not usual, to have a civil judge and a religious officiant at the same ceremony – one to ensure legality, and the other to accomplish the sacramental objective. As there is a fee for performing any civil ceremony away from the Civil Registry, most couples would rather use the two-step method.)

If the religious ceremony is to be held under the rites of the Roman Catholic Church, you should know that the local archdiocese does not permit priests to perform the sacrament of marriage outside a consecrated building. So your choice will be to marry in one of Acapulco’s several Roman Catholic churches. Many of them are quite beautiful, and provide an excellent context for starting a marriage. The restriction concerning churches does not necessarily apply to Protestant ministers, rabbis or Islamic officiants. Acapulco has an Anglican church (a mission of the Diocese of Cuernavaca), a Methodist Church (Principe de Paz), several evangelical congregations, and an active synagogue. The hotel’s wedding coordinator or concierge can help you explore any of these other religious options if you are interested.

Another option is to get married in the “Capilla de Paz” at the top of the ridge in Las Brisas, which stands above Acapulco on the east side of the bay and looks out over Puerto Marques. This modern, non-denominational chapel was built as a memorial to family members by a fairly recent resident of Acapulco. The fees and terms of access to the Capilla de Paz can be described in detail by your wedding planner or concierge. Las Brisas, a resort close by the Capilla de Paz, offers wedding packages that include this forum, complete with transportation.

Wedding Venues

Acapulco Weddings

By far the best option for a wedding in Acapulco is to rent a private villas with a spectacular bay view. Acapulco's many luxury villas not only are a great place to have the wedding event, but also a great place to the wedding party to stay and enjoy the best of Acapulco. Acapulco's villas are often more economical than hotels for large groups.

Villa Vera. Acapulco famously hosted Liz Taylor’s nuptials with Mike Todd as well as the honeymoons of Bill and Hillary Clinton, Jack and Jacqueline Kenned and Donald and Ivana Trump. The hotel most identified with the celebrity couples is Villa Vera Hotel Spa and Racquet Club . This property offers several beautiful locations for a ceremony as well as a spa and beauty salon. A wedding coordinator is part of the hotel staff. Villa Vera offers elegant catering of the parties and receptions as well. The coordinator can arrange for photography, music, flowers and all the details.

Las Brisas. Las Brisas states that it is the most romantic hotel in Acapulco, and few dispute this fact. From its commanding location above the bay, Las Brisas can organize small and large weddings in many different locations, from a secluded beach to the “Capilla de Paz” at the top of the mountain. Special accommodation rates are offered for large parties, including a complimentary bridal suite complete with flowers, champagne and personalized touches.

Fairmont Princess Acapulco. The Fairmont Princess Acapulco has also invested in creating the perfect context for a beach wedding, with all the elegance of a five-star hotel. The wedding coordinator handles everything, from the choice of the location to the reception catering, to the music, boutonnières and videos. Packages start with a simple affair for from two to ten persons, including champagne (really, champagne-style sparkling white wine) and a cabana on the beach for the ceremony. You can add different catering options, Mariachis or a string quartet (from the Acapulco Philharmonic) and spa and beauty salon components as well.

Mayan Palace. The Mayan Palace keeps a wedding planner on staff at all times, who will be able to explain all the various packages available to a bridal couple. Right outside is the famous Revolcadero Beach, where many couples have “tied the knot,” surrounded with natural beauty and grandeur, and pampered by the attentive service of the Mayan staff.

Emporio Acapulco. The Emporio is at the Diana traffic circle on the Costera Alemán in Acapulco’s “Golden Zone.” Their wedding coordinator can set up nuptials on the beach, by one of the pools, or indoors in one of their elegant venues, complete with all the touches of catering, decoration, music, flowers and photography.


Acapulco Weddings

Unlike other countries of North America Mexico does not recognize the validity of religious wedding ceremonies. Only the civil ceremony has legal effect. In other words, if you decide upon a religious ceremony, you may consider yourself married for all moral and practical purposes except under Mexican law. Mexican couples go to the Civil Registry to have their marriage "officially" accomplished and recorded, and then they may or may not then organize a church wedding. (The Roman Catholic Church, of course, recognizes the religious, sacramental marriage as binding).

This means that a foreign couple may decide to follow the same path – first going to the local Civil Registry for the legally valid process, and then sharing a religious ceremony or a repetition of vows on the beach or elsewhere, surrounded by family and friends.

The Civil Registry is on Acapulco’s waterfront in the “Traditional Zone,” near the Fort San Diego. If a civil ceremony is performed outside the Civil Registry (by an authorized judge), additional fees apply. Some hotels relieve the couple of having to go downtown first and then repeating vows elsewhere. They have arrangements with judges of the Civil Registry to come to the hotel (or other venue) and do everything all at once.

Either way, the wedding couple needs to apply for a wedding at the Registro Civil. The application involves setting a day and hour for the wedding, paying a fee, and providing other necessary documentation. Mexico imposes no residency requirement for foreign couples seeking to be married in Acapulco. Make the application as soon as possible. Do not wait until the last minute, as a gap in the documentation could cause a delay of the whole wedding process.

Tip: Whenever a document is required, assume that you need an official original (a photocopy is not acceptable) from the issuing agency. Assume that it must be translated into Spanish by a competent person who makes a sworn statement as to the fidelity of the translation. Assume that the original and the sworn translation should be copied (make two copies, just to be safe), and the copies notarized, and then the notarization then certified by the Mexican consulate in your home country. For ID’s of the bride and groom and witnesses (passports, tourist cards, Mexican voter cards), make two clear copies of everything and then bring the originals and the copies with you. You can’t be over-prepared for this step. This is the hardest part of getting married in Mexico. The rest is easy and fun. If the documents have not been translated before you arrive, you will need a few days before going to the Civil Registry to arrange for their translation. Divorce decrees, especially, can be lengthy and take time to translate.

The required documentation includes proof of age and citizenship, marital status (single or divorced) and health. Do not bother to go to the Civil Registry if you do not have everything you need.

Proof of Birth. It is a good idea to obtain from the state or province of birth an officially certified extract of the birth records of the bride and groom. (Photocopies are not acceptable, and it is not unheard of for the Civil Registry to reject even copies certified by a Mexican consular official in the United States if everything is not absolutely correct!) Make sure the documents are accompanied by a certified translation. If the translation is performed in Mexico, it need not be consularized, but it must be sworn. If the translation is done in the states, the additional step is required. A Mexican consular official must add his or her signature and seal to it, indicating that he notarial act of the foreign certifying officer is recognized by the Mexican government. Bring your passports, too, and tourist cards. Sometimes it is possible to enter Mexico without receiving a tourist card. Don’t let this happen to you. Insist on receiving a tourist card at the border, as you will need it at the Civil Registry. If the bride's last name does not match that on the birth certificate for any other reason than a divorce (which will already be documented), bring whatever other documentation there is to prove that the name on the birth certificate can be reconciled with the name on the passport.

Proof of Marital Status. If one of the couples was married before, a certified (and translated) copy of the divorce decree or death certificate of the previous spouse must be provided. The formal requirements for translation and certification are quite specific and exacting, so it makes sense to discuss these details well in advance with your wedding coordinator (or directly with the Civil Registry, if you do not use a coordinator). Even though most other countries have entered into a treaty with Mexico about the reciprocal recognition of notarial acknowledgments, the news has not yet reached the Registro Civil. They still require that all decrees be provided as copies of the original, accompanied by a translation into Spanish, and with a certification that the copy is a true copy of the original, and that the translation is a faithful translation of the English, and both certifications must be notarized, and the notary's signature and seal must be recognized as valid by a Mexican consular officer in the United States. Without the Mexican consular seal on the document, it does not count in Acapulco. If you accomplish the translation locally, then of course the consular step can be omitted. A divorce decree in Spanish is called a “decreto de divorcio.” The same level of formality applies to death certificates of deceased spouses as for divorce decrees. A death certificate in Spanish is called an “Acta de Defunción.” (“Acta” is a masculine noun.) If you arrange all the paperwork at home before your trip, it will look as if it had a pedigree, with so many signatures, seals and stamps!

Also note this very important, easily overlooked detail: Remarriage after divorce or death of a spouse is not permitted within one year of the date of the final divorce decree or death.

Proof of Health. Mexico considers it an impediment to marriage if one of the parties suffers from certain communicable diseases. The medical examination, including a blood test and possibly an x-ray, must be performed in Mexico by a licensed physician within 15 days of the wedding.

Witnesses. Assuming all goes well with the process of applying for the wedding at the Civil Registry, the couple appears for the actual event at the date and time stated in the application. A minimum of two witnesses are required. Up to four can fit on the form. It is a good idea to bring at least two local witnesses (with Mexican ID’s) if you plan to have part of your wedding party serve as witnesses, too. All witnesses must be at least 18 years of age and have valid identification.

The Registro Civil is accustomed to drafting a couple of its employees to serve as witnesses, too, so it's not a total disaster if you show up without remembering this detail. If a stranger serves as your witness, it's appropriate for the groom to provide a small payment for the favor. If there are no delays, a $50 peso bill should be enough. At times, people hang out at the Registro Civil to offer themselves as witnesses for a fee. It’s up to you if you want to use them. There's no risk involved, really, and they are usually well-known to the Civil Registry staff.

Once the consents of the bride and groom have been declared, the judge will complete the paperwork, and all has been accomplished. Frequently the marriage certificate can be issued on the spot after a short wait, particularly if you have provided photocopies of all the necessary documentation for the Registro Civil to work with. It is preferable to wait for this to take place, if you can. A lot will depend on what else is going on at the Civil Registry at the time. Sometimes it will be necessary to come back for the certificate. It is not good advice to ask to have it mailed. The marriage certificate is called an “Acta de Matrimonio.” If you have time, it is not a bad idea to go by your country’s consulate in Acapulco (if there is one) and have the Acta de Matrimonio certified as official, so it will be competent for any legal purposes back home.

Your rating: None Average: 10 (1 vote)

Acapulco's proximity to nearby silver-mining towns has created here a large market for the unique creations of Mexico's best silversmiths. Mexico is one of the largest producers of silver in the world. The mountainous, colonial town of Taxco, in the northern part of Guerrero state, a few hours from Acapulco, has the country's largest concentration of fine silversmiths. These artisans produce a wide variety of beautiful works in silver and pewter for the home and for personal adornment.

Jewelry in Acapulco, Mexico

In practice, the only products encountered will be either: Sterling silver, which is 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper, is the standard. Like gold, a purer mixture (like "fine silver," which is 97% pure) is usually too soft to be worked artistically, and the small amount of added copper gives the alloy tensile strength without compromising its brilliant qualities. All pieces made of sterling will be stamped "925" somewhere on the back or bottom. Remember to look for it. "

"Alpaca" or "German silver," which is similar to pewter. It is an alloy of silver mixed with zinc and copper. Most pieces will be stamped "MEX" somewhere on the back or bottom, usually in the tiniest of letters. A deceptive sales person may try to make the "MEX" look like "925" or at least argue that it is. A close and discerning examination will always flush out the truth. Take a magnifying glass with you to the shops, just to be sure. The stamps are put on the articles by the craftsman who makes them and are thus usually reliable. (That is, it is rare to find alpaca disguised with a sterling stamp.)

B and B Jewelers

Parque Papagayo, Costera Alemán, 39350 Acapulco, Gro., México +52 744 485-6270 This place is really a jewelry factory within the grounds of Parque Papagayo. If you do not see it right away, ask any park attendant. The place is very large, and demonstrates how fine silver and gold jewelry is made. The store is adjacent. Fire opals set in gold is a specialty.


Playa Revolcadero s/n, (Granjas del Marques), 39907 Acapulco, Gro., México (incide the Fairmont Acapulco Princess ) +52 744 469 1000 Minette is the best place in town for spectacular diamond jewelry designed by Charles Garnier and Nouvelle Bague. Other offerings include Caledonia stone jewelry out of Africa and the bright inlaid porcelains of Emilia Castillo, bedecked with stars, birds and fish. This shop is considered "pricey," as its merchandise is mainly signed artistic works of art.

Tane Orfebres

Carretera Escenica 5255 (Las Brisas), 39868 Acapulco, Gro., México +52 744 469-6900 Gold and silver jewelry of the finest craftsmen are offered in this exclusive shop high above Acapulco in the Hotel Las Brisas. Jewels of all kinds are on display, and can readily be added to a gold or silver selection. Engraving on the premises is available, too. Look around the store at the marvelous flatware, candelabra, and other items fashioned of silver. Some sculptures and other works of art are also for sale. Most pieces are signed by well-known jewelry craftsmen.

Taxco Exporta

Costera Alemán 1900 (Club Deportivo), 39690 Acapulco, Gro., México +52 744 482 4918 Daily, 10a-7p Many veteran jewelry shoppers go to Taxco Exporta first when looking for fine pieces of gold and silver jewelry. The prices are reasonable, and the quality of each piece is assured. Precious and semi-precious gems can be added to selected pieces at the customer's option, including jade, onyx, topaz, aquamarine, sapphire and emerald. Custom crafting from a customer's design is also possible. Engraving is available.

Torzal Joyeros

Costera Alemán 125 (Farallón) 39670 Acapulco, Gro., México +52 744 485 2443 Torzal is found on the bay side of the Costera. Specializing in their own exclusive designs for gold jewelry, this craftsman provides some truly original works of are. Prices are reasonable, considering the value of the materials, of course. In one part of the store there is a large display of gold wedding rings. In another, look for gold earrings, and in another, jewelry that has been encrusted with precious and semi-precious stones.


Sanborns, particularly its downtown location at the corned of Cuahutémoc and the Costera, is well known as a great place for gift shopping, particularly items of sterling silver and alpaca. The prices are fixed, but reasonable. A large variety of houseware silver (like candle sticks and serving pieces) as well as personal jewelry items is on sale. Both fine jewelry and less expensive choices are available.

Linda de Taxco

Linda de Taxco is found downtown, on the opposite side of Cuahutémoc from Sanborns. This company, established in Taxco in 1945, has eight outlets in Acapulco, Taxco, Mexico City and San Antonio, Texas. The work is performed mainly by Taxco silversmiths, following long traditions for design and skill. Silver pieces for the home are on sale, as well as items for personal adornment. Linda de Taxco is a great place to go for gifts for a family member.

Joyería Bonita Margarita

Ignacio de la Llava (Centro), 39300 Acapulco, Gro., México (Olviedo Building) This great find of a silver and gold jewelry shop is in an older downtown building between Sanborn's and Linda de Taxco on the Cuahutémoc side and Zócalo on the other. Here you will find one of Acapulco's widest selections of handicrafts and well as fine jewelry made of silver and gold. The quality is first rate. Prices may seem a bit high, but you might find them to be negotiable, unlike the situation at Sanborns.

Your rating: None

Gay Life in Acapulco, Day and Night

Acapulco has been a welcoming place for gays for many years. The main daylight locale is on the beach at Condesa. In the neighborhood you will find a couple of bed and breakfasts that cater specifically to gays. And in the evening, several nearby "antros" (read, "nightspots") welcome gays, both singles and couples. The following places specifically offer fun and entertainment for anyone who cares to show up. Usually the party starts late in the evening, like almost all the lively nightspots in Acapulco.

Gay Bars and Discos

For information on specific places, go here. Among them are Cabaretito Beach Acapulco, which is not a beach, but rather a dance club. It's neighbor is Picante, also a festive gay bar. One group operates three different clubs, all fairly close to each other. They are Demas, Acapulco's most active and welcoming gay bar, Pink, and Moons. Relax offers video-bar dancing. Nearby is Zoom, which offers entertainment as well as food, drink and dancing. Prince, which is on the Costera roughly across from the Playa Suites, is more of a late-night hangout. Ibiza, on the Costera, welcomes everyone, gays and straights alike.

Acapulco's Gay Beach

Acapulco's gay beach spot is located in front of the Morro (the big rocky outgrowth near the shore) on Condesa Beach roughly in front of Paradise and the bungee jump.

Your rating: None
El Malecón

El Malecón

Would a seaside town in tropical Latin America really be complete without a “Malecón” or “Town Pier”? Acapulco’s Malecón is a great seaside boardwalk in the traditional part of town. The Malecón is always very lively. You will find both tourists and locals there. The locals will have all manner of things for sale. This is a good place to find a boat ride for a discounted rate.

Parque Papagayo

New York has its Central Park, San Francisco has Golden Gate Park, and Acapulco has its Parque Papagayo.

Parque Papagayo is Acapulco's big stretch of green that runs between La Costera and Ave. Cuahutémoc right before you enter the Golden Zone. It's situated right across from Hornos beach. Just look for the huge Mexican flag by the beach and you'll know right where to find the main entrance to the park.

Parque Papagayo offers roller skating and skateboard facilities, rides for the kids, a big pool, and the coup de grace, the 20-meter high Piñata fountain, which looks like a brightly painted jack. It's peaceful and a great place to jog or wander aimlessly. It's also a mini-zoo. The kids will enjoy seeing the many tropical birds, monkeys, jaguars and other tropical fauna that are cared for in the park.

Parque Papagayo is a great place for a morning or evening stroll, and it offers pleasant activities, like paddle boats and a replica of one of the old Spanish galleons. It also has places to buy foods, candy, and arts and crafts. It's also a nice place to go walking, or sitting on a park bench with a sweetheart, as many locals do. Parque Papagayo also operates several basketball courts and a big soccer field, where local youth and adult soccer leagues play.

The park closes at dark. There used to be a big tunnel in front of the park, before Hurricane Pauline struck.


Fisherman's Villiage in Acapulco

Manzanillo is definitely an off-the-beaten track option. This little area of the city is located off the marina behind Moraga Park in the Marina area of old Acapulco. You've heard of the Elephant graveyard? This is the the Acapulco boat graveyard. It's hard to describe it, but boats are piled on top of boats as fisherman repair their vessels and bring in fresh hauls while herds cats run around looking for scraps. As you can see in the photos below, a dead Volkswagen bug managed to get a plot there among the ships.

There are wide sidewalks on each side and a concentration of great, if rustic and perhaps not totally sanitary, seafood restaurants. The atmosphere and the cheviche are good. It's an enjoyable place because it feels real - a side of Acapulco life that most people don't get to see. This is not a place for those into luxury, but for those looking for a change of pace from the in-your-face tourism of the Golden Zone. It's also not far from the Zocalo, La Quebrada and other areas of interest in the old section of town.

Fisherman Acapulco

Your rating: None Average: 1 (1 vote)

Because Mexico City is one of the world's most polluted population centers, "Mexico" and "Pollution" are highly associated in the mind and in the media. Acapulco is only a few hours' drive from Mexico City, but it is worlds away in all other respects. In Acapulco, the air is clear and fresh. Even during "rainy season" most days are sunny, and between mid-November and mid-May, there are only a few clouds in the sky, usually accompanying the sun as it sets. The breeze comes in off the ocean, and the air is relatively dry. During rainy spells the air becomes moist, but the temperature drops as well.

Acapulco's biggest challenge is not the air -- or lack of it -- as is the problem in Mexico City. It is the water. In the early 1970's the local government began to understand that the purity of the water was its biggest environmental challenge. Even though the sea continued to lap into the shore in a much cleaner state than along many other areas of the Pacific coastline, the outflow of water from the city was threatening the environment in drastic ways: human waste, garbage, fertilizer run-off and industrial pollution were gradually killing the rivers, sullying the beaches, and threatening fowl, fish and whole ecosystems. The city's own growth was a main cause of the problem. Since the 1970's, municipal, state and national governments have started taking measures to keep the waters free of this human-caused problem, especially in the beach areas so popular with tourists.

The Secretaría de Marina has been at the forefront of beach clean-up efforts. In 2002 alone, it supervised the isolation and removal of some 58 million tons of solid waste and 800,000 liters of contaminating liquids from all of Mexico's beaches. According to new guidelines laid out in the Atlas de Contaminación Marina, closed bays, like those in Acapulco and Zihuatanejo, are zones of special vigilance because the tides are no longer sufficient to carry away to open seas all the unprocessed waste.

These efforts are in earnest, and they are increasingly effective, though they have been widely criticized for being far more expensive to taxpayers than similar efforts elsewhere. The Secretaría de Marina has recently put into effect some 600 control operations in coordination with similar-minded agencies like the Coordinación de Programas Contra la Contaminación and Protección al Medio Ambiente Marino. Together they have performed over 300,000 land inspections and have put into place more than 6,000 maritime operations around the coast. The initiative to detect and address water pollution has continued to the present day, with nearly unamimous political and popular support. As of the summer of 2010, Acapulco's bay is much improved.

Air pollution is much less of an issue. The absence of heavy industry in Acapulco has greatly aided this recovery. Air pollution is minimal because no thermal inversion occurs to trap vehicle exhaust. Homes need no central heating. Traffic congestion and carbon pollution can be seen occasionally on the narrow highways at the outer perimeter of the natural amphitheater that creates the bay. These are well distant from the areas of interest to visitors.

Litter and trash remain a persistent problem in most popular neighborhoods around Acapulco, but improvement is noticeable. The city has expanded its landfill operations and has improved the quality and frequency of garbage collection. The city also has hired and trained several hundred employees who regularly patrol the beaches and clean up after the tourists. The ultimate answer will be a change in the culture, when locals and tourists alike will consider littering to be morally unacceptable. But Acapulco is making strides in cleaning up its environmental act until such a time arrives.

Your rating: None

In October of 2008, Manuel Añorve Baños (last name is "Añorve") was elected mayor of Acapulco in a closely-disputed election, which saw his party, the PRI (Partido Revolucionario Institucional) sweep out the more liberal PRD (Partido de la Revolución Democrática) from many of the counties of the State of Guerrero.

Foreigners should understand that the PRI was the inheritor of the political tradition of the Mexican Revolution of 1910. The PRI completed its political consolidation of power only many years later, in the 1930's, and then dominated Mexico in a conservative tradition for sixty years. Towards the end of the 20th century, the PRI encountered much popular opposition, such that rival politicians from competing parties began to win several local elections, and eventually took over the presidency of the nation. The governor of Guerrero and the mayor of Acapulco were both from the PRD, the main opposition party to the PRI. The election of Añorve in 2008 was considered a popular repudiation of the PRD - the governor of the state and the incumbent mayor of Acapulco, José Felix Salgado Macedonio. Technically, the mayor's title is that of "President" of the constitutional council that governs the city.

Even his political adversaries concede that Añorve has experience in government and politics, so that Acapulco can expect an administration less inclined to improvisation and more focused on building consensus. These were two principal criticisms leveled against his predecessor, whose governing style was targeted by the major candidates in the mayoral election for its political drama and tricks at the expense of the public welfare.

Born in the State of Guerrero on May 15, 1957, Manuel Añorve graduated in 1979 with a law degree from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico (UNAM). He went to work in the Department of Agrarian Reform in the federal government, and then moved to the Guerrero State Government, working in the areas of finance and employment. In 1993 he became the City Attorney of Acapulco [Sindico Procurador]. In 1997, he served as interim mayor of Acapulco at the direction of the state legislature, during which time he supervised the reconstruction of Acapulco after the devastation of Hurricane Paulina. The next year Añorve acquired his doctorate in law from UNAM. Shortly thereafter he was elected a local representative of Acapulco in the state legislature, and then a federal representative, where by was vice-chairman of the PRI caucus [vice-coordenador del grupo parlamentario del PRI].

In 2007, Manuel Añorve became the support coordinator for the party's Leadership Committee in the Mexican Senate and founded a movement for the improvement of Acapulco, organizing methods for dealing with the inability of the municipal government to provide potable water to its citizens. This work led directly to his campaign to be the chief executive of Acapulco, with a motto of "Better Times for Acapulco." In the campaign the PRI allied itself with the Green Party, and defeated the PRD and the PAN convincingly. The PRI also won out over the Convergencia Party by a narrower margin.

Miguel Añorve is married to Julieta, and has five children: Jorge, Manuel, Ana Paola, Marijose, and Sebastian.
His father was a professor in the social sciences department of the Universidad Autónoma de Guerrero. He is affectionately referred to (or perhaps not) as "Chucky" due to his resemblance to the possessed doll from the horror series films of the same name.

Your rating: None

Mexican Pharmacies are so different from their counterparts in the United States and Canada that they deserve a detailed explanation for those who have not experienced them yet.

Pharmacies in Mexico are much more faithful to the concept of personal freedom and choice than their counterparts farther North. They don't treat their customers like infants or idiots. Need insulin or B-12 or penicillin and a syringe to give yourself a shot? No problem. Need something to slow down your system, speed it up, make you sleep, keep you awake, cure a hangover or enhance your sex life? No problem. It is up to the customer to read the warnings and labels and decide whether or not he or she is a candidate for the dosage or treatment. A sizable percentage of drugs and other treatments that in the U.S. require a needless and costly trip to the doctor can be purchased over the counter in Mexico.

The pharmacies in Acapulco are much like those all over Mexico. Do not, however, confuse Mexican pharmacies with the organized pill-pushing industry that operates along the border with the US. There you can buy almost anything, especially drugs that can be abused, like Valium, Zanex, and Rohypnol (aka "date rape drug"). In Tijuana, you might even be stopped on the street by someone asking, "hey amigo, you looking for a prescription?" This is not the case in Acapulco, nor is it the case elsewhere once you get away from the US border.

Another great aspect of Mexican pharmacies is that many of the most expensive drugs in the US can be purchased for much less in Mexico. In the US, brand-name drugs are price-controlled. In Mexico, competition affects how pharmacies charge for them. Generic drugs are widely available in Mexico, and they are usually inexpensive. Not all pharmacies handle all possible prescription-level drugs. If you go to a popular pharmacy chain (like "Similares" or "Ahorro") and do not find what you are looking for, it may be on sale at the pharmacies in the larger stores, like Wal-Mart, Aurrerá, Soriana, Comercial Mexicana, or Sam's Club. The individual pharmacies often have better prices, but they do not always have everything you might be looking for.