The original Mexican hotspot, Acapulco has been the place to party for over half a century. With a sweeping coastline made up of extensive beaches and rugged cliffs, the city and resort is home to swaying palms and you can even see a humpback whale or two.
Whatever your plan, Acapulco has plenty to keep visitors entertained. Watery pursuits are undoubtedly the star of the show, with numerous water parks, surfing, diving and cruising opportunities from placid yachts to high-octane motor boats.
The Shotover Jet is a fun introduction to the variety of the local landscapes. High speeds of up to 60 miles an hour can be reached by these motor boats, taking visitors out on to the Papagayo River in no time at all.
Cruise past the rocky landscape of the Sierra de Guerrerro Mountains and the otherworldly realm of the mangroves at a sightseeing pace, before tearing off at full throttle to simply enjoy the ride.
A deep-sea fishing trip along the Pacific Coast is considered one of the best locations for this particular sport. Fishing guides will often take you out on a boat for a full day in search of marlins, tunas and thresher sharks, with lunch, drinks and fishing license included.
If you fancy some time out from all these exertions, try watching someone else in the water for a change. Probably the most iconic image of this Mexican holiday destination is the clavadistas, or cliff divers, out at La Quebrada.
These fearless performers plunge from heights of up to 100 feet with stylish synchronicity. Shows can be caught in the afternoon or evening and the site is a short walk or taxi ride away from the centre.
The Isla La Roqueta is home to an idyllic nature reserve and plenty of diving and snorkelling opportunities. The beach attracts a large number of visitors and the island’s underwater treasures are best seen via the glass-bottomed boat tour which leaves from Playa Caleta.
For the more cultural traveller, the journey usually begins at the Fuerte de San Diego, a well-preserved slice of Spanish colonial history dating back to the 17th century.
The fort was damaged in an earthquake in 1776 but has been painstakingly restored in recent years and offers unparalleled views of the resort from its pentagonal ramparts.
The Palma Sola in the El Veladero National Park allows visitors to leave the crowds behind and hike up into the mountainous north of the city. Fascinating pre-historic petroglyphs can be found here and the site also comes with its own rewarding view once you reach the summit of the winding 400-metre trail.
Similarly, for some quiet contemplation away from the heady beach life head to La Capilla de la Paz. An unusual open-air chapel made up of gardens and waterfalls, this spot has some of the best seats for the spectacular Mexican sunsets.
The beaches are one of the main attractions of this resort, but with so much choice it’s a good idea to explore further afield than the popular spots of Bahia Puerto Marques. Try Playa La Angosta for its quiet cove or Playa Revolcadero for the powerful surf and a beautiful shoreline which stretches into the distance.
Fine dining in Acapulco is often more unusual than might be first thought. Traditional Mexican food is found at its best in places such as El Cabrito with its boiled goat-head specialities. Fusion restaurant Baikal is in an unrivalled cliff-side locale and provides an exciting blend of Continental and Asian flavours.
It’s part of the Acapulco experience to at least dip your toe into the wild array of nightclubs and discos. Salsa clubs such as Ninas are good value for picking up some local dance moves, whilst the outdoor ‘Disco Beach’ has a late bar right on the sand and a relaxed feel.
Whether you want to go in search of sharks, indulge the family on the waterslides or take off for the swamplands on a jet boat, there’s more to Acapulco than white sands and cocktails. Its balmy climate and perfect holidayatmosphere remain the biggest draws but its hidden gems are definitely worth searching for as well.