What You Need To Know
Acapulco de Juárez, is a city, municipality and major seaport in the state of Guerrero on the Pacific coast of Mexico, 380 kilometres (240 mi) south of Mexico City. Acapulco is located on a deep, semicircular bay and has been a port since the early colonial period of Mexico’s history. It is a port of call for shipping and cruise lines running between Panama and San Francisco, California, United States. The city of Acapulco is the largest in the state, far larger than the state capital Chilpancingo. Acapulco is also Mexico’s largest beach and balneario resort city. The city is one of Mexico’s oldest beach resorts, which came into prominence in the 1940s through to the 1960s as a getaway for Hollywood stars and millionaires. Acapulco is still famous and still attracts many tourists, although most are now from Mexico itself. The resort area is divided into three parts: The north end of the bay and beyond is the “traditional” area, which encompasses the area from Parque Papagayo through the Zócalo and onto the beaches of Caleta and Caletilla, the main part of the bay known as “Zona Dorada” (‘golden zone’ in Spanish), where the famous in the mid-20th century vacationed, and the south end, “Diamante” (‘diamond’ in Spanish), which is dominated by newer luxury high-rise hotels and condominiums. The name “Acapulco” comes from Nahuatl language Aca-pōl-co, and means “where the reeds were destroyed or washed away”. The “de Juárez” was added to the official name in 1885 to honor Benito Juárez, former President of Mexico (1806–1872). The seal for the city shows broken reeds or cane. The island and municipality of Capul, in the Philippines, derives its name from Acapulco; Capul was the western end of the trans-Pacific sailing route from Acapulco to what was then a Spanish colony.
Population: 691 274
Area: 1 881 km²
Tourism is the main economic activity of the municipality and most of this is centered on Acapulco Bay. About seventy-three percent of the municipality’s population is involved in commerce, most of it related to tourism and the port. Mining and manufacturing employ less than twenty percent and only about five percent is dedicated to agriculture. Industrial production is limited mostly to bottling, milk products, cement products, and ice and energy production. Agricultural products include tomatoes, corn, watermelon, beans, green chili peppers, and melons.
The total of languages amounts to around 68 and 350 dialects, with a large majority of the population fluent in Spanish while some Indigenous Mexicans are monolingual in indigenous languages. Today, Mexicans predominantly speak Spanish.
Over 100,000 American teenagers and young adults travel to resort areas and balnearios throughout Mexico during spring break each year. The main reason students head to Mexico is the 18-year-old drinking age (versus 21 for the United States), something that has been marketed by tour operators along with the sun and ocean. This has become attractive since the 1990s, especially since more traditional spring break places such as Daytona Beach, Florida, have enacted restrictions on drinking and other behaviors. This legislation has pushed spring break visitation to various parts of Mexico, with Acapulco as one of the top destinations. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Cancún had been favored as the spring break destination of choice. However, Cancún has taken some steps to control the reckless behavior associated with the event, and students have been looking for someplace new. This has led many more to choose Acapulco, in spite of the fact that for many travelers, the flight is longer and more expensive than to Cancún. Many are attracted by the glitzy hotels on the south side and Acapulco’s famous nightlife. In 2008, 22,500 students came to Acapulco for spring break. Hotels did not get that many in 2009, due mostly to the economic situation in the United States, and partially because of scares of drug-related violence. In February 2009, the US State Department issued a travel alert directed at college students planning spring break trips to Acapulco. The warning—a result of violent activity springing from Mexico’s drug cartel débâcle—took college campuses by storm, with some schools going so far as to warn their students about the risks of travel to Mexico over spring break. The New York Times tracked the travels of a Penn student on spring break in Acapulco just a week after the dissemination of the email, while Bill O’Reilly devoted a segment of his show, The O’Reilly Factor, to urge students to stay away from Acapulco. In June 2009, a number of incidents occurred between the drug cartel and the government. These included coordinated attacks on police headquarters and open battles in the streets, involving large-caliber weapons and grenades. However, no incidents of violence against spring breakers were reported.
Manzanillo Beach, a beach in the tourist area of Acapulco Acapulco is one of Mexico’s oldest coastal tourist destinations, reaching prominence in the 1950s as the place where Hollywood stars and millionaires vacationed on the beach in an exotic locale. In modern times, tourists in Acapulco have been facing problems with local corrupt police who steal money by extortion and intimidate visitors with threats of jail. The “original” Acapulco, where hotels like Hotel Los Flamingos, owned by personalities Johnny Weissmuller and John Wayne are located, is on the northern end of the bay. This area is part of the “traditional zone”, anchored by attractions such as the beaches of Caleta and Caletilla, the cliff divers of La Quebrada, and the city square, known as “El Zocalo.” The “heyday” of this part of Acapulco ran from the late 30s until the 60s. Starting in the late 50s, and with development continuing through the 80s, the main area of Acapulco bay grew into what as known at the “Zona Dorada” or Golden Zone. This is where the boardwalk and main square are and today the area is filled with modern, Mexican and International branded hotels, with discothèques and restaurants within walking distance. This area also has the higher hotel occupancy rates. South of the bay connected by the highway La Escenia holds the newer constructions, including high-rise hotels and condominios. This area known simply as “Acapulco Diamante” includes Playa Diamante, Puerto Marqués, and stretches from the airport to the mountains that separates it from the bay. In this area, all along Boulevard de Las Naciones no one walks, as almost all transportation is by car, limousine or golf cart. The older section of town now caters to mostly middle class, almost exclusively Mexican clientele, while the glitzier newer section caters to the Mexican upper classes, many of whom never venture into the older, traditional part of town.
From the U.S., many airlines now fly to Juan N. Álvarez International Airport year-round. In the city, there are many buses and taxi services one can take to get from place to place, but most of the locals choose to walk to their destinations. However, an important mode of transportation is the government subsidized ‘Colectivo’ cab system. These cabs cost 13 pesos per person to ride, but they are not private. The driver will pick up more passengers as long as seats are available, and will transport them to their destination based on first-come first-served rules. The colectivos each travel a designated area of the city, the three main ones being Costera, Colosio, Coloso, or a mixture of the three. Coloso cabs travel mainly to old Acapulco. Colosio cabs travel through most of the tourist area of Acapulco. Costera cabs drive up and down the coast of Acapulco, where most of the hotels for visitors are located, but which includes some of old Acapulco. Where a driver will take you is partly his choice. Some are willing to travel to the other designated areas, especially during slow periods of the day. The bus system is highly complex and can be rather confusing to an outsider. As far as transportation goes, it is the cheapest form, other than walking, in Acapulco. The most expensive buses have air conditioning, while the cheaper buses do not. For tourists, the Acapulco city government has established a system of yellow buses with Acapulco painted on the side of them. These buses are not for tourists only, but are certainly the nicest and most uniform of the bus systems. These buses travel the tourist section of Acapulco, driving up and down the coast. There are buses with specific routes and destinations, generally written on their windshields or shouted out by a barker riding in the front seat. Perhaps the most unusual thing about the privately operated buses is the fact that they are all highly decorated and personalized, with decals and home-made interior designs that range from comic book scenes, to pornography, and even to “Hello Kitty” themes. The conflictive public transportation would be upgraded the 25th of June 2016 with the implementation of the Acabus. The Acabus infrastructure has a length of 36.2 kilometres (22.5 miles), counts with 16 stations that spread through the city of Acapulco and 5 routes. This project will help organize traffic because the buses now have a specific line on the roads and there would be more control over transportation and passengers.
The city, located on the Pacific coast of Mexico in the state of Guerrero, is classified as one of the state’s seven regions, dividing the rest of the Guerrero coast into the Costa Grandeand the Costa Chica. Forty percent of the municipality is mountainous terrain. Another forty percent is semi-flat, and the other twenty percent is flat. Altitude varies from sea level to 1,699 metres (5,574 feet). The highest peaks are Potrero, San Nicolas and Alto Camarón. There is one major river, the Papagayo, which runs through the municipality, along with a number of arroyos. There are also two small lagoons, Tres Palos and Coyuca. along with a number of thermal springs. Acapulco features a tropical wet and dry climate (Köppen: Aw): hot with distinct wet and dry seasons, with more even temperatures between seasons than resorts farther north in Mexico, but this varies depending on altitude. The warmest areas are next to the sea where the city is. Tropical storms and hurricanes are threats from May through November. The forested area tends to lose leaves during the winter dry season, with evergreen pines in the highest elevations. Fauna consists mostly of deer, small mammals, a wide variety of both land and sea birds, and marine animals such as turtles.[