Taxis are everywhere in Acapulco. Since they are unmetered, make sure that you agree on a fare before entering. Always negotiate – they can smell tourist money a mile away. The old Volkswagen beetle cabs are cheaper than newer air conditioned cars. Shared Cabs (usually white with yellow) run between major destinations and are very convenient. They usually display their destination in large letters and charge a flat fee on $12pesos, irrespective of distance. You should not have to pay more than $50 pesos per cab ride within the Costera area but fares can reach as much as $120 pesos for rides from La Costera to La Quebrada, Princess Hotel (Revolcadero Beach) and the airport. Alternatively most hotels can arrange for taxi transportation for a fixed fare (usually inflated). Prices will usually be about 50% more expensive than for a taxi hailed on the street.
There are several public transportation options: Yellow cabs are 12 pesos per person; buses are 5 pesos or 6 pesos with the luxury of air-conditioning. Because of the sheer amount of taxis here, when one is dining out it is often worthwhile for them to offer a round trip and simply wait around while you have your meal, and they will not charge extra.
Rental Car Although the rates aren’t always low, and the cheapest cars tend to be manual transmission, renting a car is a good way of getting around the city. Although if you are just planning to stay at the hotel, then it’s a no, but otherwise is a good idea. Traffic is not that heavy, except on Spring Break and the Mexican Holidays, and parking in hotels is not expensive (3-4 USD for your stay), and gas is very cheap.
Buses are worth experiencing even if you don´t want to travel on them. Destinations are printed on the front window of each bus. There is no need to be at one of the buses regular stops in order to get on. Just wave your arm or look at the driver. He will stop and encourage you to get in. In fact, drivers will stop and try to get you ride with them if you are even walking in the same direction that they are driving in. The bus system in Acapulco has been fully privatised – each bus is privately owned. This means they can decorate them however they want. Pink buses cruise around blaring out traditional Mexican music, racing against ones decked out in UV lights pulsing out club music into the night air. The complete lack of suspension and the bizarre incentive for the buses to race each other to each bus stop as they compete for passengers makes for an unforgettable ride.
Private Autos It is generally unwise to try to drive yourself around Acapulco. Traffic is heavy and drivers aggressive, parking is scarce, streets do not run in a neat grid, and even change names unexpectedly. Most, if not all streets lack signs indicating their name. In addition, foreign tourists driving rental cars can become targets of the Acapulco police officers, who will accept payment (~$400 pesos) for violations in person at the time of pullover, without providing a receipt or proof of violation or clearing of said violation.
- La Quebrada Cliff Divers– No visit to Acapulco is complete without watching the cliff divers perform their impressive jumps into the shallow stream of water of dangerous tides that forms in the bottom part of La Quebrada. They have been doing it since 1934. You can see the dives from a small platform by the cliff for a small entrance fee, or eat at the La Perla restaurant which offers a good view of the divers. Showtime at 1PM, 7:30PM, 8:30PM and 9:30PM.
- Zócalo– Zócalo, Acapulco’s town square, lies on the western side of La Costera. It’s cool, shady and peaceful during the daytime. There are two fountains and many mature, multi-trunked trees that are a sight in themselves. The Zócalo tends to expose more local culture than other, more tourist-centric, areas. Zócalo contains Acapulco’s cathedral, as well as many restaurants ranging in size from sidewalk bistros and tiny street-corner kitchens. Many of the smaller restaurants will provide full dinners for as little as 35 pesos. The Zócalo at night is worth experiencing. Between 8:00 and 11PM the place is flooded with locals & chilangoes. Clowns entertain the crowd for tips. One is dressed as some sort of aztec warrior/statue thing. He is silver from head to toe.
- Pie de la Cuesta– Pie de la Cuesta is a quiet strip of land roughly 6 miles northwest of Acapulco, bordered on one side by the Pacific Ocean and on the other by a freshwater lake (Laguna de Cuyoca) on the other. The lagoon is extremely tranquil, but tourists are advised not to enter the Pacific Ocean at Pie de la Cuesta, because the surf is very dangerous. One can reach Pie de la Cuesta via bus. If you are on the Bay Side along the Costera, between Escudero and Diego Mendoza, look for the bus that says Pie de la Cuesta PLAYA LUCES. These go up that narrow strip of land. You can also take one that says San Isidro and that will let you off in the Zocalo in Pie de la Cuesta, but you have to walk a couple blocks to the strip and about a half kilometer up to the lagoon.
- Puerto Marquez– Located at a smaller bay just east of Acapulco, Puerto Marquez sees much less tourist traffic than Acapulco. One side of the bay is completely covered by adjacent beach-side restaurants offering very reasonably priced food and beer. The restaurant owners (as well as most other locals) are very friendly to tourists and some will offer discounts or a free round of beer to groups. Tourists and locals alike munch on shrimp enchiladas, sip negra modelos, wade in the waters, and enjoy the breathtaking sunsets. Fewer locals speak English in Puerto Marquez than in Acapulco, so it is recommended that visitors speak some rudimentary Spanish. One can reach Puerto Marquez via bus.
- Isla de la Roqueta– Isla de la Roqueta has a beautiful beach with shallow areas for families to play. You can get there by water taxi (around $3.50 USD) or the glass-bottom harbour tour boat (around $7 USD) from Caleta Beach. The harbour tour provides many sightseeing opportunities as well as seeing the yachts and homes of the rich and famous. As well, you can experience the cliff-divers’ show at La Quebrada, the submarine Virgin of Guadalupe, and see a diver with the tour swim under the boat with food to attract fish. If you don’t pack food while on your tour, there is a great opportunity to have lunch by way of a boat restaurant that comes alongside the boat and prepares your order. Just be prepared to wait depending on the number of people on the tour with you. Once on Isla de la Roquet there are numerous well-maintained trails, a lighthouse and beautiful snorkeling spots – but they can be rough (if this doesn’t suit you, your best bet would be to go to the Camino Real for snorkeling). And the bonus, you can take as much time as you want as the tour company’s boats dock throughout the day.
Most beaches are in the bay area fronting the main boulevard “La Costera”. This bay area is what made Acapulco famous and its beauty and majesty have not faded over the years. Some of the most popular beaches inside the Bay and lining the Costera are Hornos, the traditional “afternoon beach”, Papagayo, Tamarindos, and Icacos. Condesa beach at the east end of the bay is gay friendly. Caleta/Caletilla beaches and Langosta Beach are on the open ocean, and usually a bit cleaner. Most hotels in Acapulco are found along the Costera, and prices generally go down as you move west toward the Zócalo and old Acapulco.
Another open water beach, more suitable for surfing, lies in front of the Fairmont Acapulco Princess and Fairmont Pierre Marqués Hotels. Playa Revolcadero is east of Acapulco, closer to the airport. The wave action is much higher than inside the bay or at Caleta/Caletilla, which are protected by La Roqueta island. Transportation from La Costera takes about 35 minutes through a winding and scenic road.
Don’t miss Barra Vieja, approx. 20 past the Airport coming from the costera($500-$800 Pesos for a cab all day)
- CICI– a water park right by the main beach. Especially nice for kids. Entrance is 100 pesos and it features many different pools and slides, a Skycoaster (a mix between a swing and a bungee jump) and a dolphinarium. Dolphin shows are on offer, and so is one hour swims with the dolphins – a lifetime memory for USD120.
There are several more attractions, including golf courses, night clubs and post-hispanic fortifications. Nightlife in Acapulco is pretty much fun, and many places are suited for tourism including “El Alebrije”, “Disco Beach” and “Palladium”, this last having a awe-inspiring sight of the whole bay of Acapulco.
- Bungee Jump, On La Costera, 500 meters west of La Diana roundabout..
- Señor Frog’s– Señor Frog’s is a party place; outside you will see signs that read “Drunk Crossing”; from that you can infer what this place is like.
- Casanova– Excellent Italian food with a great view of the city.
- Kookaburra– Also good food with a great view of the city.
- La Perla– La Perla’s claim to fame is that it provides a wonderful view of the cliff divers. A buffet breakfast is 110 pesos (roughly $11 USD) and includes Mexican breakfast specialties such as chilaquiles (fried tortilla pieces with scrambled eggs,cheese,chicken and salsa), sopas, and chicharones(pork rinds), with yogurt, cereal, fresh fruit, tropical juices, Mexican pastellitas (little coffee cakes) and seasonal treats such as a whole roasted piglet. Before the divers’ show, you stand a good chance of a getting a serenade from a wandering trio of mariachis. (Tipping recommended, and they also take requests.)
- Shu– Located in Diamante zone, in The La Isla Shopping Village Mall, this restaurant is a direct competitor of the Nobu. It offers good food and service although it’s expensive.
- 100% Natural– A Mexican chain of restaurants in many locations throughout the city, including the beach. They specialize in traditional Mexican food prepared with a healthy slant and different sorts of tropical and nutritional juice blends. A hearty, tasty breakfast ranges between 35 and 70 pesos, not including a juice drink. Very clean, with prompt service.
- Sanborn’s, on the south end of the main drag. Waitresses wear the traditional Mexican clothes.
- El Amigo Miguel. Best restaurant in town for its tradition and quality. Excellent sea food. Price ranges between 150 and 250 pesos per person. Difficult to find because is not on a main road but any taxi driver will know how to get there.