ACAPULCO -- This vibrant port city, famous for its beautiful bay,
offers something for just about every traveler's taste and budget.
The beach might still be the No. 1 reason for coming here, but
visitors interested in nightlife, sightseeing, shopping and dining
will find plenty to keep them occupied.
Looking for a love potion? How about a sombrero? Then look no
further than the zocalo and its Mercado Municipal.
Locals come to this sprawling market to purchase their everyday
provisions, from fresh fruits and vegetables to love potions.
Although Acapulco is not known for its indigenous handicrafts, the
crafts market here features such typically Mexican items as
sombreros, pinatas, framed paintings of the Virgin of Guadalupe and
seashell renderings of the crucifixion.
Fruit is an especially sweet buy, with mangos and bananas
selling for as little as 25 cents a pound. The market is open
From El Fuerte de San Diego, which originally was built to
protect Acapulco from pirates, to Cici, a modern-day,
water-oriented theme park for children, the Costera Aleman -- the
city's main business avenue -- is home to many of Acapulco's
kid-friendly and low-cost attractions.
• Cici. A water theme park for children, Cici has dolphin and
seal shows, a freshwater wave pool, a water slide and a
mini-aquarium. Entrance is $4.
• Parque Papagayo. Papagayo sits on 52 acres of prime real
estate on the Costera. Children can enjoy a life-size model of a
Spanish galleon, an aviary, a roller-skating rink and a racetrack
with child-size race cars. Entrance is free, and rides range from
70 cents to about $2.
• Casa de la Cultura. This complex houses a small archaeological
museum, an exhibit of Mexican and international crafts and the
Ixcateopan art gallery. Entrance is free.
• Sunset cruise. For about $12, visitors can enjoy a cruise with
an open bar and live music. Bonanza, a respected local operator,
runs sunset cruises from near the zocalo. Many hotels and shops
sell tickets for the cruises, which depart daily at 4:30 p.m.
A day at the beach is a day well spent in Acapulco. For less
than a $12 taxi ride or a 75 cent bus ride from the city, visitors
can head to two beautiful, off-the-beaten-path beaches known as Pie
de la Cuesta and Coyuca Lagoon.
You can power along on a Jet Ski or sign up for a laid-back,
three-hour boat ride on Coyuca, the freshwater lake that's said to
be three times the size of Acapulco Bay.
Another less-crowded beach is Puerto Marques. Sheltered within a
small bay east of Playa Icacos, it boasts the most tranquil waters
in the area, great sunsets and small restaurants where a local meal
of fresh-caught fish and a beer costs about $5.
Looking for silver goods? Then a day trip to the city of Taxco
is well worth the journey. Located about 170 miles north of
Acapulco, Taxco is a relic of its colonial past.
An old mining town, Taxco remained isolated for centuries until
William Spratling, an architecture professor from Tulane
University, fell in love with the town and started reviving its
silver mines in 1929.
Today, the town is dotted with silver shops and tourists trying
to strike a deal on beautifully designed silver jewelry and other
Although shopping in Taxco is not what many would consider
"cheap," shoppers definitely find good value for their dollar.
Comfortable bus service is available from Acapulco for about
$13, and information about schedules can be obtained at any hotel
concierge or tour desk.
The spectacular Quebrada, where fearless divers plunge 130 feet
into the Pacific below -- landing in a 12-foot-deep cove -- has
been one of Mexico's famous attractions since the 1940s.
No visit to Acapulco would be complete without witnessing a
dive. There are typically five daily performances, including four
in the evening when divers carry torches.
One of the best viewing spots is La Perla Nightclub at the
cliffside Hotel Plaza Las Glorias (formerly Hotel El Mirador).
For more information on Acapulco, call (800) 44-MEXICO or visit