World ? Caribbean & Central America ? Mexico ? Acapulco

Acapulco: Introduction

366km (227 miles) S of Mexico City; 272km (169 miles) SW of Taxco; 979km (607 miles) SE of Guadalajara; 253km (157 miles) SE of Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo; 752km (466 miles) NW of Huatulco

I like to think of Acapulco as a diva -- maybe a little past her prime, perhaps overly made up, but still capable of captivating an audience. It's tempting to dismiss Acapulco as a passȳ resort, but the town's temptations are hard to resist. Where else do bronzed men dive from cliffs into the sea at sunset, and where else does the sun shine 360 days a year? Though most beach resorts are made for relaxing, Acapulco has nonstop, 24-hours-a-day energy. Its perfectly sculpted bay is an adult playground filled with water-skiers in tanga swimsuits and darkly tanned, mirror-shaded studs on jet skis. Visitors play golf and tennis with intensity, but the real sport is the nightlife, which has made this city famous for decades. Back in the days when there was a jet set, they came to Acapulco -- filmed it, sang about it, wrote about it, and lived it.

It's not hard to understand why: The view of Acapulco Bay, framed by mountains and beaches, is breathtaking day or night. And I dare anyone to take in the lights of the city and not feel the pull to go out and get lively.

Though a few years ago, tourism to Acapulco was in a state of decline, it's now attempting a renaissance, in a style reminiscent of Miami's South Beach. Classic hotels are slowly being renovated and areas gentrified. Clean-up efforts have put an entirely new face on a place that was once aging less than gracefully.

International travelers began to reject Acapulco when it became clear that the cost of development was the pollution of the bay and surrounding areas. The city government responded, and invested over $1 billion in public and private infrastructure improvements. In addition, a program instituted in the early 1990s has cleaned up the water -- whales have even been sighted offshore.

Acapulco tries hard to hold on to its image as the ultimate extravagant party town, and remains a top weekend and vacation destination for affluent residents of Mexico City, in particular. It's still the top choice for those who want to have dinner at midnight, dance until dawn, and sleep all day on a sun-soaked beach.

Acapulco, Queen of the Silver Screen

Along with hosting some of the legendary stars of the silver screen, Acapulco has also played a few starring roles. Over 250 films have been shot here, including 1985's Rambo II, which used the Pie de la Cuesta lagoon as its backdrop.

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