Mexico: Acapulco | Disco Balls, Fine Dining & Cliff Divers

by Lori Seto

Blessed with a beautiful bay and honeymoon history -- John and Jackie retreated here, as did Bill and Hillary -- this port city on Mexico's southwest coast attracts sun and fun seekers of every stripe.

In A Word: Disco

Discos are the epitome of decadence in Acapulco -- they're open 365 days a year from about 10:30 p.m. until 4 or 5 a.m. Near the main drag of Costera Miguel Aleman, you'll find Alebrije, Andromeda (where you'll cross a torchlit moat into an interior that resembles a submarine), and Discobeach, Acapulco's only alfresco disco. Both the lavish Enigma and the tony Fantasy, located on the scenic highway to Las Brisas, feature huge windows overlooking Acapulco Bay and fireworks displays.

Why We'd Go: Six Features You'll Never Forget

  • Cliff dives: High above downtown Acapulco stands the Mirador Hotel -- the hot spot in the 1940s -- and La Quebrada, 130-foot cliffs from which divers take the plunge for your viewing pleasure.
    Knot Note: Night dives with torches are better seen from a Divers de Mexico champagne sunset cruise than from the hotel's overpriced supper club.
  • People watching: Take a break at a cafe near the zocalo, a shady plaza that is the heart of downtown Old Acapulco. Stroll around on Sunday evening to hear live music from the bandstand.
  • Shopping: Visit the sprawling, intense Mercado Municipal market for serapes, pinatas, leather goods, baskets, hammocks, velvet paintings, charms, amulets, and talismans to help you keep your new husband, increase fertility, or ward off the evil eye.
  • Parasailing: Strap on a harness and fly up, up, and away for a bird's-eye view of the bay. (Knot Note: Wear shorts over that thong bikini.)
  • Shotover jets: A concept imported from New Zealand, this 30-minute boat ride will take you tumbling and spinning along the Papagayo River. After the ride, visit the iguana nursery and have a bite at a riverside restaurant.
  • Kitsch: Sidle up to the hotel bar at the fuchsia Los Flamingos, playpen for John Wayne, Johnny "Tarzan" Weissmuller, Errol Flynn, and a slew of other 1950s Hollywood stars, and order a couple of the resort's famed Coco Loco cocktails.

Pucker Up: Best Place to Smooch

For "serious" romance, wine and dine at the Coyuca 22 restaurant. Its hilltop terrace tables overlooking Acapulco Bay appeared in Love Boat date scenes.

When To Go: Acapulco At Its Best

  • Best weather: November to April. Rainy season runs from May through October; hurricane season swirls from September to October.
  • Best prices: April to December; exact dates vary by hotel
  • Festival highlights: Navy Day is celebrated in seaports across the country on June 1; Acapulco has one of Mexico's most colorful versions.

Photo: Mexico Tourism Board

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