13 Reasons to Visit Acapulco in 2023 (and Is It Safe?)
Acapulco was one of Mexico’s top destinations for decades. With white sand beaches, tropical waters, and a hot, hot climate, Acapulco became the original Mexican beach resort when it shot to fame in the 1950s. Forget Cancun and Tulum, in the 1950s the influencers of the day – movie stars, celebrities and even presidents – were holidaying in Acapulco!
But Acapulco’s golden years of gilded Margaritas and lavish stardom didn’t last forever. The money that flooded into the beach resorts also drew gangs, cartels and violent crime, and Acapulco’s slow descent into chaos ensured that by the 1990s it had become black-listed by governments around the world.
But things have changed again, and while Acapulco still has its problems, Mexico’s original beach resort is making a slow but sure comeback. Whether it’s an action-packed adventure or a laid-back getaway, Acapulco is re-attracting the crowds as crime levels decrease and tourists look for alternatives to the packed Riviera Maya. Located on the southeastern coast of Mexico, Acapulco offers visitors a taste of both traditional Mexican culture and modern luxury for the digital nomad looking for short or long-term stays by the beach.
But what are the best reasons to visit Acapulco, and is it really safe there now? Keep reading, as we explain everything you need to know about visiting Acapulco.
Here are just a few of the reasons why you should visit Acapulco in 2023.
Top 3 Things To Do In Acapulco
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13 Reasons to Visit Acapulco in 2023
From stunning beaches to magnificent seafood, here are the best reasons to visit Acapulco in 2023:
1. Stunning Beaches
Acapulco is home to some of the most stunning beaches in Mexico. With miles of soft white sand set around sheltered Acapulco Bay, you’ll never tire of the coastal views during your stay here.
The beaches are fronted by hotels and apartment blocks, which means you can book yourself a fancy stay or Air BNB overlooking the bay. You’ll be just a short stroll from world-famous beaches like Playa Icacaos, Playa Tamarindos and Playa Condesa. Of course, the beaches along the city front are the busiest, so why not head on over to Playa la Roqueta on the island in Acapulco Bay if you’re looking for a little peace and quiet?
The water inside the bay is calm and collected, and there are plenty of beach activities to keep you busy, such as swimming, snorkeling, and windsurfing. Or you could just order a Mezcalito and soak up the sun!
2. Rich History
Acapulco Bay has been inhabited for centuries. The name Acapulco comes from the Nahuatl language spoken by the Aztecs, and is said to mean ‘the place where the reeds washed away’. The Aztecs had influence in the area when Europeans first arrived in the 16th century, although the indigenous group in control of the region was the Yopes, who come from Guerrero.
Hernan Cortes, the infamous Spanish Conquistador who brought down the Aztecs, founded a port here in 1530 as he searched the western coast for gold. The port grew to be one of the richest in the Spanish Empire, as Acapulco linked Mexico to a lucrative trade across the Pacific Ocean in the Spanish Philippines. Tourism began here in the 20th century, with some saying it was kickstarted by a visit from the Prince of Wales (who later became Britain’s Edward VII), in the 1920s.
Today, you can explore the city’s rich past by visiting its many museums and historic sites. These include the Acapulco Naval Museum, the Fort of San Diego and La Roqueta Lighthouse Museum.
3. Delicious Food
If you love Mexican food, then you’ll definitely want to visit Acapulco!
Acapulco is located on the Pacific Ocean, so the city is well known for its fresh, fresh seafood. The beaches are lined with seafood restaurants and bars selling grilled fish like snapper with cold cervezas, and we can’t think of a better way to spend the afternoon.
We’re big fans of Mexican food, and you can arrive in Acapulco safe in the knowledge that you’ll find all your typical Mexican dishes here. Love tacos? You’ll get them. Tamales? On every street corner! The coconuts are fresh, the Ceviche is right on point and the Tortas are packed with greasy goodness!
There are also plenty of restaurants that offer international cuisine if you’re looking for something more familiar during your stay in Acapulco.
READ MORE: How Much is a Taco In Mexico?
4. Exciting Nightlife
Acapulco is known for its nightlife scene, which is best described as exciting! The main beachfront is packed with beach clubs, where you can spend the day sipping on cocktails and ordering buckets of ice-cold beer until the sun sets.
Once the sun has gone down in a fiery blaze over the Pacific Ocean, the real partying begins. Condesa is the biggest nightlife area, but there are plenty of bars and clubs all over the city to choose from, so you’re sure to find one that suits your taste.
Whether you want to dance the night away or simply enjoy a few drinks with friends, you’ll have a great time in Acapulco.
5. Resorts and hotels
Acapulco is the original Mexican beach resort. That’s reflected in the city’s architecture, and when you first arrive, you’ll notice how the beachfront is lined with high-rise hotels and resorts – including the iconic Pyramidal-shaped five-star hotel that’s a staple of the city’s skyline. While many of these were built in Acapulco’s tourist heyday and need a good lick of paint, many more have been redeveloped into premier properties with amazing sea views over the Pacific Ocean.
The prices are even better though. Acapulco’s reputation as a ‘dangerous city’ ensured that until recently, foreign tourists just weren’t seen here. Mexican tourists swept in to fill their place, but for Digital Nomads, the prices are still comparatively low here, especially when compared to Tulum. Check out Booking.com and AirBnB for short and long-term stays in the city.
6. Majestic Cliffs
One of the best reasons to visit Acapulco is its proximity to majestic cliffs and coastal scenery. We aren’t just talking about the beaches here, but the often overlooked nature that you’ll find just outside the city centre.
One of our favourite natural spots is La Roqueta Island, which you’ll find on the edge of Acapulco Bay. Green trees rise above rugged rocks, and the island makes for a fantastic city escape.
Along the nearby coast, the tall cliffs often play host to cliff-diving competitions, a dramatic spectacle that draws thrillseekers to Acapulco. La Quebrada is the most iconic cliff-diving spot in Acapulco, and one of the best places to visit during your stay.
7. Local tourism
As Digital Nomads, we love finding destinations that actually feel local. While Acapulco is without a doubt a tourist destination, we love it here because much of the tourism is Mexican.
By local, we mean you’ll meet holidaymakers from Mexico City looking for a beach escape, but that gives Acapulco such a different feel to the Riviera Maya. You’ll have loads of chances to practice your Spanish, as you settle into the beach life!
8. It’s Surprisingly Safe
Okay, so it’s time to confront the elephant in the room. Is Acapulco safe? While the US government advises against travel to Acapulco due to its high crime levels, other governments, like the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office, have loosened restrictions. This goes a long way to showing how Acapulco is attempting to retake its position as one of Mexico’s beach resorts and to do that, it’s starting to clean up its act.
Make your own decision when visiting, of course, but as long as you keep the main beaches and hotels in Acapulco, you shouldn’t have any more trouble here than you would elsewhere in Mexico.
9. Affordable Prices
One of the best things about Acapulco is that it’s very affordable compared to other popular tourist destinations in Mexico. While hotspots like Tulum have become insanely expensive to visit due to the huge influx of tourists and long-term Digital Nomads, Acapulco is a different story entirely.
Prices here are much more respectable, and you can find excellent deals on beachfront resorts and hotels even in peak season. We saw prices for as little as $300 for a week’s stay for two people in a five-star resort on the beach when we last checked. You’ll find that prices are much more local, and yes, that’s reflected in the price of tacos, beers and margaritas for those worrying!
READ MORE: How Much Do Tacos Cost In Mexico?
10. The Weather
Acapulco is located on Mexico’s Pacific coast, which means that the weather is warm and sunny all year round. And with an average yearly temperature of 28 degrees Celsius, you’ll never have to worry about being too cold!
The hot weather in winter means that November through February is a busy time to visit Acapulco, particularly in the run-up to Christmas and New Year. The weather is hot and dry, though, with almost no chance of a rainy day.
June, July and August is the low season, and you can expect fewer crowds but a higher chance of rain. It’s also quite sticky and humid in the summer season, although that’s nothing that a dip in the Pacific Ocean won’t help with.
Or you could try the spring and autumn shoulder seasons, when you’ll have smaller crowds but (mostly) excellent weather!
11. It’s Beautifully Diverse
Finally, we love Acapulco because it’s a melting pot of cultures, with residents from all over Mexico and beyond calling it home. Margaritas on the beach help, too.
Regardless of your background or interests, you’re sure to feel right at home in Acapulco as a Digital Nomad!
READ MORE: Do You Need A Passport To Go To Mexico?
Is Acapulco Safe?
You may have heard that Acapulco is not the safest place to travel. But is this true? Let’s take a look at the data to see if Acapulco is really as dangerous as some people make it out to be.
Acapulco is located in the Mexican state of Guerrero, which has been rated in the past as one of the most dangerous states in Mexico.
According to a report by Statista, there were 1545 homicides in Guerrero in 2021, which equates to a rate of about 75 per 100,000 people.
This is nearly triple the national average of 26.6 per 100,000 people.
The state has long been known as a battleground for rival drug cartels, and this has led to increased levels of violence and crime throughout the state – including Acapulco.
Most of this violence is drug-related though, and you’ll likely never come across it as a foreigner.
It’s also important to keep in mind that Acapulco is just one city in Guerrero. And while the homicide rate in the state of Guerrero is certainly high, it’s not necessarily reflective of the city itself.
The drug-violence is an image that the city of Acapulco is trying (and succeeding) to change. In fact, the increased police presence has made many areas of the city safer than they were even just a few years ago.
So, is Acapulco safe? The answer is complicated. Overall, the state of Guerrero – of which Acapulco is a part – is considered to be dangerous. However, within Guerrero there are certainly safer places to be than others, like the heavily policed tourist areas of Acapulco.
So if you do find yourself planning a trip to Acapulco, it’s important to exercise caution and be aware of your surroundings at all times.
READ MORE: Mexico Sucks – Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Go There
Where is Acapulco Located?
Acapulco, also known as “The Pearl of the Pacific,” is located on Mexico’s southwestern coast in the state of Guerrero.
It sits on the Pacific Ocean, just over 250 miles away from Mexico City.
You can see where Acapulco is on a map here:
Acapulco Travel FAQ
Spanish is the predominant language spoken in Acapulco, as with the rest of Mexico. However, there are also a number of other languages spoken here, including English, French, and Italian.
Acapulco is in the continent of North America.
Acapulco is in the Central Standard Time Zone.
Acapulco is considered to be safe for travel – as long as you exercise caution and are aware of your surroundings.
No, Acapulco is not in Veracruz. It is in the state of Guerrero.
Acapulco does not have a direct translation from Spanish to English.
The name Acapulco actually comes from the Aztec Nahuatl language and it means: where the reeds were destroyed or washed away
So Why Visit Acapulco?
If you’re still on the fence about whether or not to visit Acapulco, hopefully, this article has helped show you some of the amazing things you can experience there.
From its stunning beaches and crystal-clear waters to its delicious food and vibrant culture, Acapulco has something for everyone.
Just as a recap, here are 13 reasons to visit Acapulco:
- 1. The Weather is Perfect
- 2. The Beaches are beautiful
- 3. There’s Something for everyone
- 4. The food is delicious
- 5. The nightlife is exciting
- 6. The people are friendly and welcoming
- 7. The city is safe
- 8. There are plenty of activities to keep you busy
- 9. The hotels are luxurious and reasonably priced
- 10. There is a wide variety of accommodation options available
- 11. The city is easy to get around
- 12. There are plenty of things to see and do in the surrounding area
- 13. Acapulco is a great value for your money!
So what are you waiting for? Start planning your trip to Acapulco today!
Have you been to Acapulco before? What were your favorite memories from the city? Let us know in the comments below.
READ MORE: 9 Best Places to Live in Mexico
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Love Acapulco. Just came back February 2023. It is safe and super fun. Acapulco is a beautiful city with fun activities and an exciting safe night life:)
Lots of Canadian and German tourism. Not many Americans.