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Acapulco Basics

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Scenes of Acapulco

Fast Facts: Acapulco


Acapulco is located on a deep, semi-circular bay. With an important nautical heritage stretching back to the sixteenth century, Acapulco today is a port of call for shipping lines and cruise ships sailing between Panama and San Francisco. Acapulco, located in the State of Guerrero, has a population of about 625,000 inhabitants.

The mainstay of Acapulco's economy is tourism and related service industries. The city is only an hour away from Mexico City by plane, or four hours by car, and the majority of the city's tourists come from Mexico itself.

Acapulco's tropical climate is almost always sunny, hot and humid. There are two seasons in Acapulco: the Dry Season, which lasts from November through April, and the Rainy Season, which lasts from May through October. It's hot and humid in the dry season, and hotter and even more humid during the rainy season.


Acapulco map


First Impressions


Acapulco Bay
©2006 Nammer, under cc-by-sa 2.0 license

From your ship, Acapulco appears as a very pretty city, with the beaches stretching along the bay five miles from north to south. The bay is dotted with small marinas, hosting yachts of all sizes. The Zona Dorada (Golden Zone)--Acapulco's modern tourist area--is located on the southern half of the bay, comprised of high-rise hotels and condominium projects. The remaining beaches further northward are public and undeveloped.

Your ship will dock at the Acapulco Cruise Terminal at the north end of the bay, nearby the Zocalo and the old downtown area.

Acapulco's Cruise Terminal is perhaps one of the ugliest cruise terminal out there. And it's really hot inside the terminal, where you'll check in if you're embarking, or pick up your bags if you're disembarking. If you're taking an excursion, your bus or van will pick you up just outside the terminal.

The town is built on a narrow strip of low ground, scarcely a half mile wide, between the shoreline and the lofty mountains that encircle the bay to the north and east. Access from the town to the inland is on a 4-lane road through the mountains via a 1.2 mile (2 km) tunnel constructed in the 1990s.

The Zocalo, or main square of the town and the heart of downtown Acapulco, is a 5 minute walk from the Cruise Terminal. The Fort of San Diego, once the most important Spanish fortress along the Pacific Coast, is located directly across from the Cruise Terminal.

Unfortunately, reports of daily drug gang violence have devastated the tourism industry in Acapulco. The cru ise lines have responded, and have all but scratched Acapulco off their list of ports. The city has become just too scary a place to visit.


Time Zone


Acapulco is on Central Time, six hours earlier than Greenwich Mean Time during standard time, or five hours during daylight savings time. Daylight savings time begins on the second Sunday of March, and ends on the first Sunday of November.

Mexican flag Acapulco Local Time
 


Language


Spanish is universally spoken in Acapulco; many of the shopkeepers catering to tourists also speak English.


Travel Advisory


Dept of State

The U. S. Department of State has issued this Travel Warning as of December 24, 2014, to inform U.S. citizens traveling to and living in Mexico about the security situation in Mexico.

"Since 2006, the Mexican government has engaged in an extensive effort to combat transnational criminal organizations (TCOs). The TCOs, meanwhile, have been engaged in a vicious struggle to control drug trafficking routes and other criminal activity...

"There is no evidence that U.S. tourists have been targeted by criminal elements due to their citizenship. Nonetheless, while in Mexico you should be aware of your surroundings at all times and exercise particular caution in unfamiliar areas...

"Defer non-essential travel to all parts of the state, except for the cities of Acapulco, Ixtapa, and Zihuatanejo. Travel to Acapulco and Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo only by air or cruise ship, exercise caution, and remain in tourist areas. Travel in and out of Acapulco by air and cruise ship is permitted for U.S. government personnel. U.S. government personnel are prohibited from traveling within Guerrero state by land, including via the 95D toll road ("cuota") to/from Mexico City and Acapulco, as well as highway 200 between Acapulco and Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo.

"In Acapulco, defer non-essential travel to areas further than two blocks inland of the Costera Miguel Aleman Boulevard, which parallels the popular beach areas. Lodging for U.S. government personnel is limited to the hotel zone ("zona hotelera") of Acapulco, beginning from the Krystal Beach Acapulco hotel in the north and going south through Puerto Marquez, including the Playa Diamante area and ending at The Resort at Mundo Imperial hotel. In general, the popular tourist area of Diamante, just south of the city, has been less affected by violence. Any activity outside the hotel zone for U.S. government personnel is limited to the coastal area from La Quebrada to the beginning of the hotel zone and only during daylight hours.

"The state of Guerrero was the most violent state in Mexico in 2013, with 2,087 homicides and 207 reported cases of kidnapping, according to the Mexican Secretariado Ejecutivo Nacional de Seguridad Publica. Self-defense groups operate independently of the government in many areas of Guerrero. Armed members of these groups frequently maintain roadblocks and, although not considered hostile to foreigners or tourists, are suspicious of outsiders and should be considered volatile and unpredictable."


Dealing with Money in Acapulco


Currency



Mexican Peso

The Peso is Mexico's official currency, and uses the "$" sign to denote the peso amount. Each peso is made up of 100 centavos. Bills come in denominations of $20, $50, $100, $200, $500 and $1000 pesos. Coinage comes in denominations of 50 centavos, and $1, $2, $5 and $10 pesos.

Just be aware that larger notes (e.g., $500 Peso notes) are often difficult to change.

The current US Dollar/Mexican Peso exchange rate is as follows:


Banks and ATMs

Banks with ATM machines are found throughout Acapulco's Zona Dorada and in the Zocalo, near where your ship will dock. ATM machines in the city can be found at the following locations:

  • Banorte: On Costera Miguel Aleman, on Costera Miguel Aleman in the La Gran Plaza building; another can be found in the Zona Dorada, across from the Golf Course on Costera Miguel Aleman.

  • BBVA Bancomer: Bancomer has 12 ATM machines in Acapulco; one location is in their branch at the Zocalo, a short walk from the Cruise Terminal; another is to be found in the Zona Dorada, across from the Golf Course on Costera Miguel Aleman.

  • Santander Serfin: At the Zocalo, a short walk from the Cruise Terminal. People with Bank of America accounts aren't charged a fee when using a Santander ATM.

  • Banamex: At Costera Miguel Aleman 2085, near the Hotel Fiesta Inn; another is to be found in the Zona Dorada, across from the Golf Course on Costera Miguel Aleman.

Acapulco ATM map


Map icon

See our Acapulco ATM map for the locations of the above ATMs.



Using US Dollars in Acapulco

As US dollars are widely accepted in Acapulco, you don't have to change your dollars into pesos. If you're using dollars alone, make sure to bring smaller denominations to pay for incidentals and taxi rides.


Weather


Fishing boats
©2008 jimmyweee, under cc-by-sa 2.0 license

Acapulco weather is almost always sunny, hot and humid. There are two seasons in Acapulco: the Dry Season, which lasts from November through April, and the Rainy Season, which lasts from May through October.

In the dry season, expect daily highs in the high-80s F, with moderate humidity. In the rainy season, expect highs in the low-90s F and humidity that really gets to you; it'll rain up to 3 times per week. Acapulco gets around 55 inches of rain each year; most of it falls from June through September.

In the winter months, the average sea surface temperature is in the mid-70s F (24° C); it rises to the low-80s F in the spring months. In the rainy season, the average sea surface temperature ranges between 84° to 87° F (28° to 30° C). August through October is the hurricane season.

Average Temperatures

Average Precipitation



Keeping In Touch


Internet Access in Acapulco

You can find cyber cafes in the Zona Dorada area of the town. Starbucks also has several locations in Acapulco, including in the Galerias Diana shopping mall and a store about 4 blocks north of the Grand Hotel Acapulco (the old Hyatt Hotel); Starbucks does free Wi-Fi in its Mexican stores too.

  • Cybercafe, at Costera Miguel Aleman 93.

  • Vid@Net, Calle Hidalgo. In Old Acapulco a half block from the Zocalo, has eight computers. Open daily 8:00 am to midnight.

Acapulco Internet Access Map


Map icon

See our Acapulco Internet Access Map for the locations of the above internet access points.


Internet Cafe

Cellular Phone & Data Services

Customers of U.S. wireless carriers can expect the following levels of service in Acapulco:

Verizon

Cell service: Verizon's CDMA service in the Acapulco area is provided by local partner Iusacell.
Data services: Through partner Iusacell, Verizon offers EVDO coverage in the greater Acapulco area.
See details on Verizon's cell and data services pricing and coverage maps.

ATT Wireless

Cell service: AT&T's GSM service in the Acapulco area is provided by Telcel and Telefonica.
Data services: AT&T offers 3G service in the Acapulco area through its partners Telcel and Telefonica.
See details on AT&T's cell and data services coverage maps.

Sprint

Cell service: Sprint's CDMA service in the Acapulco area is provided by partner Iusacell, and with partners Telcel and Telefonica when using a quad-band GSM phone.
Data services: Through Iusacel, Sprint offers EVDO coverage in Acapulco. Sprint also offers 3G coverage in Acapulco when using a UMTS-capable device with an active SIM card and global plan.
See details on Sprint's cell and data services coverage maps.

T Mobile

Cell service: T-Mobile's GSM service is available in Acapulco through its partners Telefonica and Iusacell.
Data services: T-Mobile offers 2G service in Acapulco through its partners Telefonica and Iusacell.
See details on T-Mobile's cell and data services coverage maps.


Samsung Galaxy S III

Acapulco Telephone Information

Travelers with American and Canadian cell phones should be aware that their carriers will add a variety of international roaming charges when their phones are used in Mexico. You can also buy a "Mexico plan" from your carrier; check with your carrier for the precise details.

If you plan on using your cell phone a lot while on your cruise, you may want to consider getting a SIM card for your trip from OneSimCard.com. These SIMs work in over 200 countries, and provide very affordable prepaid talk, text and data plans. Not only will you save a lot of money, but you'll also avoid a big cell bill surprise when you get home.

Country Code: 52

Acapulco Area Code: 744

Local Phone Numbers have seven digits: XXX-XXXX

Calling Acapulco from the US or Canada: Dial 011-52-744-XXX-XXXX

Using your US or Canadian cell phone in Acapulco

To make a call from:

Acapulco to the US or Canada: Dial 001 + (area code) + XXX-XXXX

Acapulco to a US or Canadian cell in Acapulco: Dial 001 (area code) XXX-XXXX

Acapulco to a local Acapulco number: Dial 001-52-744-XXX-XXXX

Woman with a cell phone

OneSimCard - prepaid international roaming, works in over 200 countries, free calls in over 150 countries

Local Holidays, Events & Festivals


Look for the following local festivals, holidays and events taking place in Acapulco in 2017:

  • Ano Nuevo (New Year's Day), Sunday, January 1. National holiday celebrated with dances and fiestas.

  • Dia de los Santos Reyes (Day of the Three Kings), Friday, January 6. A national holiday celebrating the New Testament story of the arrival of the three wise men who each brought a gift to the Christ child. It's the day that children receive their Christmas gifts as well as shoes full of candy, and people buy a pastry called the rosca de reyes.

  • Dia de la Constitucion (Constitution Day), Sunday, February 5. Public holiday commemorating the signing of the Mexican Constitution of 1917. The day is usually marked by festivals and street celebrations. Since the day falls on a Sunday, Mexicans also get Monday, the 6th, as a day off.

  • Carnaval
  • Carnaval (Mardis Gras), Wednesday, February 22 to Tuesday, February 28. Acapulco's Carnaval may not be as celebrated as that in Mazatlán, but Acapulcans do have a good time. Throughout the city, you'll find venues featuring music, food, costume parades, fireworks, art exhibits and more. The big party is held on Tuesday night, the 28th.

  • Birthday of Benito Juarez, Tuesday, March 21. A public holiday celebrating the birthday of Benito Juarez, who rose from humble origins to occupy the Presidency of the Republic in the second half of the 19th century. Since the day falls on a Tuesday, Mexicans get Monday, the 20th, off to observe the holiday.

  • Semana Santa (Holy Week), Monday, April 10 to Sunday, April 16. A religious and a secular holiday in Mexico, where you'll see processions and passion plays taking place in the city. Easter takes place on Sunday, April 16. During Semana Santa, banks are closed on Maundy Thursday, April 13 and Good Friday, April 14.

  • Primero de Mayo (Labor Day), Monday, May 1. A national holiday.

  • Cinco de Mayo, Friday, May 5. A Mexican holiday that commemorates the Battle of Puebla in 1862, when the Mexican army defeated a French force twice its size just south of Mexico City. This holiday is really only celebrated (outside of the Gringo bars) in Puebla.

  • Dia de Independencia (Independence Day), Saturday, September 16. Look for the delivery of the "El Grito de Dolores," the official grunt that marks the day.

  • Dia de la Raza (Columbus Day), Thursday, October 12. Dia de la Raza is how Mexico celebrates Columbus Day. There will be parades in the main streets of downtown, with floats of the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria, as well as other themes. Carnival rides and open-air concerts will be offered, and the evening caps off with a fireworks show over the bay.

  • Mariachis
    ©2013 Inocencio Vasquez Melchor, under cc-by-sa 3.0 license
  • Dia De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead), Wednesday, November 1 (which is All Saints's Day) and Thursday, November 2 (which is All Souls' Day). Two days when celebrants honor the deceased. In the town center (Zocalo) and at nearby cemeteries, locals will celebrate with music and decorate shrines with flowers and photos. Acapulco hosts a non-stop procession of parades and musical fiestas throughout the town.

  • Revolution Day, Monday, November 20. A national holiday celebrating the Mexican Revolution of 1910.

  • Fiesta de la Inmaculada (Feast of the Immaculate Conception), Friday, December 8. Marks the beginning of the Christmas celebration season.

  • Dia de Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe (Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe), Tuesday, December 12. Commemorates the Virgin of Guadalupe, Mexico's patron saint. In Acapulco, they have street parties, carnival rides, contemporary and folk music concerts, dancing and parties. It's a festive occasion.

  • Las Posadas, Saturday, December 16 to Sunday, December 24. Commemorates the New Testament story of Joseph and Mary's search for shelter in Bethlehem. Consists of candlelight processions as well as stops at various nativity scenes.

  • Navidad (Christmas Day), Monday, December 25. A public and religious holiday celebrating the birth of Christ.

  • Vispera de Ano Nuevo (New Year's Eve), Sunday, December 31. Celebrations and fireworks take place in Acapulco.

Cruise Port Schedules


Princess ship
©2010 uberdadofthree, under cc-by-sa 2.0 license

Acapulco has lost its luster as a popular port of call, primarily due to drug gang-related violence in the city. Which is unfortunate, mostly for the people who live there.

On average, cruise ship passengers can expect to spend around 10 hours ashore.

In 2017, Acapulco is slated to host 36,200 passengers sailing on 33 ships. For further information, see our Acapulco Cruise Ship Schedule - 2017.


Cruise Lines Making Port


The following cruise lines are scheduled to make port in Acapulco in 2017:

Norwegian
Holland America
Regent
Oceania
Silversea
Phoenix
Hapag Lloyd
Saga Cruises
Cruise & Maritime
Cruise Ship


       
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