Acapulco
Overview
Acapulco is a city
City
A city is a relatively large and permanent settlement. Although there is no agreement on how a city is distinguished from a town within general English language meanings, many cities have a particular administrative, legal, or historical status based on local law.For example, in the U.S...

, municipality
Municipalities of Mexico
Municipalities are the second-level administrative division in Mexico . There are 2,438 municipalities in Mexico, making the average municipality population 45,616...

 and major sea port
Port
A port is a location on a coast or shore containing one or more harbors where ships can dock and transfer people or cargo to or from land....

 in the state of Guerrero
Guerrero
Guerrero officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Guerrero is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided in 81 municipalities and its capital city is Chilpancingo....

 on the Pacific
Pacific Ocean
The Pacific Ocean is the largest of the Earth's oceanic divisions. It extends from the Arctic in the north to the Southern Ocean in the south, bounded by Asia and Australia in the west, and the Americas in the east.At 165.2 million square kilometres in area, this largest division of the World...

 coast of Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

, 300 kilometres (186.4 mi) southwest from Mexico City
Mexico City
Mexico City is the Federal District , capital of Mexico and seat of the federal powers of the Mexican Union. It is a federal entity within Mexico which is not part of any one of the 31 Mexican states but belongs to the federation as a whole...

. Acapulco is located on a deep, semi-circular
Semicircle
In mathematics , a semicircle is a two-dimensional geometric shape that forms half of a circle. Being half of a circle's 360°, the arc of a semicircle always measures 180° or a half turn...

 bay
Bay
A bay is an area of water mostly surrounded by land. Bays generally have calmer waters than the surrounding sea, due to the surrounding land blocking some waves and often reducing winds. Bays also exist as an inlet in a lake or pond. A large bay may be called a gulf, a sea, a sound, or a bight...

 and has been a port since the early colonial period of Mexico’s history. It is a port of call for shipping
Shipping
Shipping has multiple meanings. It can be a physical process of transporting commodities and merchandise goods and cargo, by land, air, and sea. It also can describe the movement of objects by ship.Land or "ground" shipping can be by train or by truck...

 and cruising lines
Cruise line
A cruise line is a company that operates cruise ships. Cruise lines have a dual character; they are partly in the transportation business, and partly in the leisure entertainment business, a duality that carries down into the ships themselves, which have both a crew headed by the ship's captain,...

 running between Panama
Panama
Panama , officially the Republic of Panama , is the southernmost country of Central America. Situated on the isthmus connecting North and South America, it is bordered by Costa Rica to the northwest, Colombia to the southeast, the Caribbean Sea to the north and the Pacific Ocean to the south. The...

 and San Francisco, California
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

, United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. The city of Acapulco is the largest in the state, far larger than the state capital Chilpancingo
Chilpancingo
Chilpancingo de los Bravo is the capital and second-largest city of the state of Guerrero, Mexico. It is located at . In the 2005 census the population of the city was 166,796. Its surrounding municipality, of which it is municipal seat, had a population of 214,219 persons...

 and as well, Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

's largest beach and balneario
Balneario
Balneario is a Latin American seaside resort, although they may also occur along great lakes, rivers and at hot springs. In Spain balneario typically only refers to spa town resorts. Whatever the case these resorts offer recreation, sports, entertainment, food, hospitality and safety services,...

 resorted city.

The city is best known as one of Mexico’s oldest and most well-known beach resorts, which came into prominence by the 1950s as a getaway for Hollywood stars and millionaires.
Encyclopedia
Acapulco is a city
City
A city is a relatively large and permanent settlement. Although there is no agreement on how a city is distinguished from a town within general English language meanings, many cities have a particular administrative, legal, or historical status based on local law.For example, in the U.S...

, municipality
Municipalities of Mexico
Municipalities are the second-level administrative division in Mexico . There are 2,438 municipalities in Mexico, making the average municipality population 45,616...

 and major sea port
Port
A port is a location on a coast or shore containing one or more harbors where ships can dock and transfer people or cargo to or from land....

 in the state of Guerrero
Guerrero
Guerrero officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Guerrero is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided in 81 municipalities and its capital city is Chilpancingo....

 on the Pacific
Pacific Ocean
The Pacific Ocean is the largest of the Earth's oceanic divisions. It extends from the Arctic in the north to the Southern Ocean in the south, bounded by Asia and Australia in the west, and the Americas in the east.At 165.2 million square kilometres in area, this largest division of the World...

 coast of Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

, 300 kilometres (186.4 mi) southwest from Mexico City
Mexico City
Mexico City is the Federal District , capital of Mexico and seat of the federal powers of the Mexican Union. It is a federal entity within Mexico which is not part of any one of the 31 Mexican states but belongs to the federation as a whole...

. Acapulco is located on a deep, semi-circular
Semicircle
In mathematics , a semicircle is a two-dimensional geometric shape that forms half of a circle. Being half of a circle's 360°, the arc of a semicircle always measures 180° or a half turn...

 bay
Bay
A bay is an area of water mostly surrounded by land. Bays generally have calmer waters than the surrounding sea, due to the surrounding land blocking some waves and often reducing winds. Bays also exist as an inlet in a lake or pond. A large bay may be called a gulf, a sea, a sound, or a bight...

 and has been a port since the early colonial period of Mexico’s history. It is a port of call for shipping
Shipping
Shipping has multiple meanings. It can be a physical process of transporting commodities and merchandise goods and cargo, by land, air, and sea. It also can describe the movement of objects by ship.Land or "ground" shipping can be by train or by truck...

 and cruising lines
Cruise line
A cruise line is a company that operates cruise ships. Cruise lines have a dual character; they are partly in the transportation business, and partly in the leisure entertainment business, a duality that carries down into the ships themselves, which have both a crew headed by the ship's captain,...

 running between Panama
Panama
Panama , officially the Republic of Panama , is the southernmost country of Central America. Situated on the isthmus connecting North and South America, it is bordered by Costa Rica to the northwest, Colombia to the southeast, the Caribbean Sea to the north and the Pacific Ocean to the south. The...

 and San Francisco, California
California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

, United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. The city of Acapulco is the largest in the state, far larger than the state capital Chilpancingo
Chilpancingo
Chilpancingo de los Bravo is the capital and second-largest city of the state of Guerrero, Mexico. It is located at . In the 2005 census the population of the city was 166,796. Its surrounding municipality, of which it is municipal seat, had a population of 214,219 persons...

 and as well, Mexico
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

's largest beach and balneario
Balneario
Balneario is a Latin American seaside resort, although they may also occur along great lakes, rivers and at hot springs. In Spain balneario typically only refers to spa town resorts. Whatever the case these resorts offer recreation, sports, entertainment, food, hospitality and safety services,...

 resorted city.

The city is best known as one of Mexico’s oldest and most well-known beach resorts, which came into prominence by the 1950s as a getaway for Hollywood stars and millionaires. Acapulco is still famous for its nightlife and still attracts many vacationers, although most are now from Mexico itself. The resort area is divided into two: The north end of the bay is the “traditional” area, where the famous in the mid 20th century vacationed and the south end is dominated by newer luxury high rise hotels.

The name "Acapulco" comes from Nahuatl
Nahuatl
Nahuatl is thought to mean "a good, clear sound" This language name has several spellings, among them náhuatl , Naoatl, Nauatl, Nahuatl, Nawatl. In a back formation from the name of the language, the ethnic group of Nahuatl speakers are called Nahua...

 language Aca-pōl-co, and means "At the big reeds" or “At the broken reeds.” “de Juárez” was added to the official name in 1885 to honor Benito Juárez
Benito Juárez
Benito Juárez born Benito Pablo Juárez García, was a Mexican lawyer and politician of Zapotec origin from Oaxaca who served five terms as president of Mexico: 1858–1861 as interim, 1861–1865, 1865–1867, 1867–1871 and 1871–1872...

, the former president of Mexico
President of Mexico
The President of the United Mexican States is the head of state and government of Mexico. Under the Constitution, the president is also the Supreme Commander of the Mexican armed forces...

. The seal for the city shows broken reeds or cane.

History

By the eighth century, there was a small culture in the Acapulco area, which would first be dominated by the Olmec
Olmec
The Olmec were the first major Pre-Columbian civilization in Mexico. They lived in the tropical lowlands of south-central Mexico, in the modern-day states of Veracruz and Tabasco....

s, then by a number of others during the pre-Hispanic period. In Acapulco bay itself, there were two Olmec sites, one by Playa Larga and the other on a hill known as El Guitarrón. Olmec influence caused the small spread-out villages here to coalesce into larger entities and build ceremonial centers. Later, Teotihuacan
Teotihuacan
Teotihuacan – also written Teotihuacán, with a Spanish orthographic accent on the last syllable – is an enormous archaeological site in the Basin of Mexico, just 30 miles northeast of Mexico City, containing some of the largest pyramidal structures built in the pre-Columbian Americas...

 influence made its way here via Cuernavaca
Cuernavaca
Cuernavaca is the capital and largest city of the state of Morelos in Mexico. It was established at the archeological site of Gualupita I by the Olmec, "the mother culture" of Mesoamerica, approximately 3200 years ago...

 and Chilpancingo. Then Mayan
Maya civilization
The Maya is a Mesoamerican civilization, noted for the only known fully developed written language of the pre-Columbian Americas, as well as for its art, architecture, and mathematical and astronomical systems. Initially established during the Pre-Classic period The Maya is a Mesoamerican...

 influence arrived from the Isthmus of Tehuantepec
Isthmus of Tehuantepec
The Isthmus of Tehuantepec is an isthmus in Mexico. It represents the shortest distance between the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific Ocean, and prior to the opening of the Panama Canal was a major shipping route known simply as the Tehuantepec Route...

 and through what is now Oaxaca
Oaxaca
Oaxaca , , officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Oaxaca is one of the 31 states which, along with the Federal District, comprise the 32 federative entities of Mexico. It is divided into 571 municipalities; of which 418 are governed by the system of customs and traditions...

. This history is known through the archeological artifacts that have been found here, especially at Playa Hornos, Pie de la Cuesta and Tambuco.
In the 11th century, new waves of migration of Nahuas and Coixas came through here. These people were the antecedents of the Aztec
Aztec
The Aztec people were certain ethnic groups of central Mexico, particularly those groups who spoke the Nahuatl language and who dominated large parts of Mesoamerica in the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries, a period referred to as the late post-classic period in Mesoamerican chronology.Aztec is the...

s. Acapulco formally became part of the Aztec Empire in 1486 during the reign of Ahuizotl. It was part of a tributary province called Tepecuacuilco, but control here was relatively unorganized.

There are two stories about how Acapulco bay was discovered by Europeans. The first states that two years after the Conquest, Hernán Cortés
Hernán Cortés
Hernán Cortés de Monroy y Pizarro, 1st Marquis of the Valley of Oaxaca was a Spanish Conquistador who led an expedition that caused the fall of the Aztec Empire and brought large portions of mainland Mexico under the rule of the King of Castile in the early 16th century...

 sent explorers west to find gold. The explorers had subdued this area after 1523, and Captain Saavedra Cerón was authorized by Cortés to found a settlement here. The other states that the bay was discovered on 13 December 1526 by a small ship named the El Tepache Santiago captained by Santiago Guevara.
The first encomendero was established in 1525 at Cacahuatepec, which is part of the modern Acapulco municipality. In 1531, a number of Spaniards, most notably Juan Rodriguez de Villafuerte, left the Oaxaca coast and founded the village of Villafuerte where the city of Acapulco now stands. Villafuerte was unable to subdue the local native peoples, and this eventually resulted in the Yopa Rebellion in the region of Cuautepec. Hernán Cortés was obligated to send Vasco Porcayo to negotiate with the indigenous people giving concessions. The province of Acapulco became the encomendero of Rodriguez de Villafuerte who received taxes in the form of cocoa, cotton and corn.

Cortés established Acapulco as a major port by the early 1530s, with the first major road between Mexico City and the port constructed by 1531. The wharf, named Marqués, was constructed by 1533 between Bruja Point and Diamond Point. Soon after, the area was made an “alcadia” (major province or town).

Spanish trade in the Far East
Far East
The Far East is an English term mostly describing East Asia and Southeast Asia, with South Asia sometimes also included for economic and cultural reasons.The term came into use in European geopolitical discourse in the 19th century,...

 would give Acapulco a prominent position in the economy of New Spain
New Spain
New Spain, formally called the Viceroyalty of New Spain , was a viceroyalty of the Spanish colonial empire, comprising primarily territories in what was known then as 'América Septentrional' or North America. Its capital was Mexico City, formerly Tenochtitlan, capital of the Aztec Empire...

. Galleons started arriving here from Asia by 1550, and in that year thirty Spanish families were sent to live here from Mexico City to have a permanent base of European residents. Acapulco would become the second most important port, after Veracruz
Veracruz, Veracruz
Veracruz, officially known as Heroica Veracruz, is a major port city and municipality on the Gulf of Mexico in the Mexican state of Veracruz. The city is located in the central part of the state. It is located along Federal Highway 140 from the state capital Xalapa, and is the state's most...

, due to its direct trade with the Philippines
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

. This trade would focus on the yearly Manila Galleon
Manila Galleon
The Manila galleons or Manila-Acapulco galleons were Spanish trading ships that sailed once or twice per year across the Pacific Ocean between Manila in the Philippines, and Acapulco, New Spain . The name changed reflecting the city that the ship was sailing from...

, which was the nexus of all kinds on communications between New Spain, Europe and Asia. In 1573, the port was granted the monopoly of the Manila trade.
The Manila Galleon
Manila Galleon
The Manila galleons or Manila-Acapulco galleons were Spanish trading ships that sailed once or twice per year across the Pacific Ocean between Manila in the Philippines, and Acapulco, New Spain . The name changed reflecting the city that the ship was sailing from...

 would make its yearly run from the mid 16th century until the early 19th. The luxury items it brought to New Spain attracted the attention of English and Dutch pirates, such as Francis Drake
Francis Drake
Sir Francis Drake, Vice Admiral was an English sea captain, privateer, navigator, slaver, and politician of the Elizabethan era. Elizabeth I of England awarded Drake a knighthood in 1581. He was second-in-command of the English fleet against the Spanish Armada in 1588. He also carried out the...

, Henry Morgan
Henry Morgan
Admiral Sir Henry Morgan was an Admiral of the Royal Navy, a privateer, and a pirate who made a name for himself during activities in the Caribbean, primarily raiding Spanish settlements...

 and Thomas Cavendish
Thomas Cavendish
Sir Thomas Cavendish was an English explorer and a privateer known as "The Navigator" because he was the first who deliberately tried to emulate Sir Francis Drake and raid the Spanish towns and ships in the Pacific and return by circumnavigating the globe...

, who called it “The Black Ship.” To protect the port and the cargo of ships coming here the San Diego Fort was built. Despite the fort’s existence, a Dutch fleet invaded Acapulco in 1615, destroying much of the town and fort before being driven off. The fort was destroyed by an earthquake in 1776 and was rebuilt in 1783.
At the beginning of the 19th Century, King Charles IV declared Acapulco a Ciudad Official and it became an essential part of the Spanish Crown. However, soon after the Mexican War of Independence
Mexican War of Independence
The Mexican War of Independence was an armed conflict between the people of Mexico and the Spanish colonial authorities which started on 16 September 1810. The movement, which became known as the Mexican War of Independence, was led by Mexican-born Spaniards, Mestizos and Amerindians who sought...

 began. In 1810, José María Morelos y Pavón attacked and burnt down the city, after he defeated royalist commander Francisco Parés at the Battle of Tres Palos. The independence of Mexico in 1821 ended the run of the Manila Galleon.
Acapulco’s importance as a port recovered during the California Gold Rush
California Gold Rush
The California Gold Rush began on January 24, 1848, when gold was found by James W. Marshall at Sutter's Mill in Coloma, California. The first to hear confirmed information of the gold rush were the people in Oregon, the Sandwich Islands , and Latin America, who were the first to start flocking to...

 in the mid 19th century, with ships going to and coming from Panama
Panama
Panama , officially the Republic of Panama , is the southernmost country of Central America. Situated on the isthmus connecting North and South America, it is bordered by Costa Rica to the northwest, Colombia to the southeast, the Caribbean Sea to the north and the Pacific Ocean to the south. The...

 stopping here.

In 1911, revolutionary forces
Mexican Revolution
The Mexican Revolution was a major armed struggle that started in 1910, with an uprising led by Francisco I. Madero against longtime autocrat Porfirio Díaz. The Revolution was characterized by several socialist, liberal, anarchist, populist, and agrarianist movements. Over time the Revolution...

 took over the main plaza of Acapulco.
In 1920, the Prince of Wales
Prince of Wales
Prince of Wales is a title traditionally granted to the heir apparent to the reigning monarch of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the 15 other independent Commonwealth realms...

 (the future King Edward VIII
Edward VIII of the United Kingdom
Edward VIII was King of the United Kingdom and the Dominions of the British Commonwealth, and Emperor of India, from 20 January to 11 December 1936.Before his accession to the throne, Edward was Prince of Wales and Duke of Cornwall and Rothesay...

) visited the area. Impressed by what he saw, he recommended the place in Europe, making it popular with the elite there. Much of the original hotel and trading infrastructure was built by an East Texas businessman named Albert B.Pullen from Corrigan, Tx. in the area now known as Old Acapulco. But some of Acapulco’s best known hotels were built by others. In 1933 Carlos Barnard started the first section of Hotel El Mirador, with 12 rooms on the cliffs of La Quebrada. Wolf Shoenborn purchased large amounts of undeveloped land and Albert Pullen built the Las Americas Hotel.

In the mid 1940s, the first commercial wharf and warehouses has been built. In the early 1950s President Miguel Alemán Valdés
Miguel Alemán Valdés
Miguel Alemán Valdés served as the President of Mexico from 1946 to 1952.-Life:Alemán was born in Sayula in the state of Veracruz as the son of General Miguel Alemán González and Tomasa Valdés Ledezma...

 upgraded the port’s infrastructure, installing electrical lines, drainage systems, roads and the first highway to connect the port with Mexico City.
The economy grew and foreign investment increased with it. During the 1950s, Acapulco became the fashionable place for millionaires Hollywood stars such as Elizabeth Taylor
Elizabeth Taylor
Dame Elizabeth Rosemond "Liz" Taylor, DBE was a British-American actress. From her early years as a child star with MGM, she became one of the great screen actresses of Hollywood's Golden Age...

, Frank Sinatra
Frank Sinatra
Francis Albert "Frank" Sinatra was an American singer and actor.Beginning his musical career in the swing era with Harry James and Tommy Dorsey, Sinatra became an unprecedentedly successful solo artist in the early to mid-1940s, after being signed to Columbia Records in 1943. Being the idol of the...

, Eddie Fisher
Eddie Fisher (singer)
Edwin Jack "Eddie" Fisher , was an American entertainer. He was one of the world's most famous and successful singers in the 1950s, selling millions of records and hosting his own TV show. His divorce from his first wife, Debbie Reynolds, to marry his best friend's widow, Elizabeth Taylor, garnered...

 and Brigitte Bardot
Brigitte Bardot
Brigitte Anne-Marie Bardot is a French former fashion model, actress, singer and animal rights activist. She was one of the best-known sex-symbols of the 1960s.In her early life, Bardot was an aspiring ballet dancer...

. Former Swing Musician Teddy Stauffer
Teddy Stauffer
Ernst Heinrich "Teddy" Stauffer was a Swiss bandleader, musician, actor, nightclub owner, and restaurateur. He was dubbed Germany's "swing-king" of the 1930s.-Early life and career:...

, so called "Mister Acapulco", was a hotelowner ("Villa Vera", "Casablanca"), who attracted a lot of celebrities to Acapulco.

From a population of only 4,000 or 5,000 in the 1940s, by the early 1960s Acapulco had a population of about 50,000. In 1958, The Diocese of Acapulco was created by Pope Pius XII
Pope Pius XII
The Venerable Pope Pius XII , born Eugenio Maria Giuseppe Giovanni Pacelli , reigned as Pope, head of the Catholic Church and sovereign of Vatican City State, from 2 March 1939 until his death in 1958....

. It would become an archdiocese in 1983.

During the 1960s and 1970s, new hotel resorts were built, and accommodation and transport were made cheaper. It was no longer necessary to be a millionaire to spend a holiday in Acapulco, the foreign and Mexican middle class could now afford to travel here. However, as more hotels were built in the south part of the bay, the old hotels of the 1950s lost their grandeur.
In the 70s there was a significant expansion of the port.

During the 1990s, the road known as the Ruta del Sol was built, crossing the mountains between Mexico City and Acapulco. The journey only takes about three and a half hours, making Acapulco a favorite weekend destination for Mexico City inhabitants. The port continued to grow and in 1996, a new private company, API Acapulco, was created to manage operations. This consolidated operations and now Acapulco is the major port for car exports to the Pacific.

The city was devastated by Hurricane Pauline
Hurricane Pauline
Hurricane Pauline was one of the strongest and deadliest Pacific hurricanes to make landfall on Mexico. The sixteenth tropical storm, eighth hurricane, and seventh major hurricane of the 1997 Pacific hurricane season, Pauline developed out of a tropical wave on October 5 about 250 miles ...

 in 1997. The storm stranded tourists and left more than 100 dead in the city. Most of the victims were from the shantytowns that surround the city, built on steep hillsides. Other victims were swept away by thirty foot waves and 150 mph (67 m/s) winds. The main road, Avenida Costera became a fast-moving three foot river of sludge.

In the 2000s, the drug war in Mexico has had a negative effect on tourism in Acapulco as rival drug traffickers fight each other for the Guerrero coast route that brings drugs from South America
South America
South America is a continent situated in the Western Hemisphere, mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere. The continent is also considered a subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the north and east...

 as well as soldiers that have been fighting the cartels since 2006. A major gun battle between 18 gunmen and soldiers took place in the summer of 2009 in the Old Acapulco seaside area, lasting hours and killing 16 of the gunmen and two soldiers. This came after the swine flu outbreak earlier in the year nearly paralyzed the Mexican economy, forcing hotels to give discounts to bring tourists back. However, hotel occupancy for 2009 was down five percent from the year before. The death of Arturo Beltran Leyva in December 2009 resulted in infighting among different groups within the Beltran Leyva cartel. Gang violence continued to plague Acapulco through 2010 and into 2011, most notably with at least 15 dying in drug-related violence on March 13, 2010 and another 15 deaths on January 8, 2011. Among the first incident's dead were six members of the city police and the brother of an ex-mayor. In the second incident the headless bodies of 15 young men were found dumped near the Plaza Senderos shopping center. On August 20, 2011, Mexican authorities reported that five headless bodies were found in Acapulco, three of which were placed in the city's main tourist area and two of which were cut into multiple pieces.

Geography and climate

Forty percent of the municipality is mountainous terrain. Another forty percent is semi flat, and the other twenty percent is flat. Altitude varies from sea level to 1699 metres (5,574 ft). The highest peaks are Potrero, San Nicolas and Alto Camarón. There is one major river, the Papagayo, which runs through the municipality, along with a number of arroyos. There are also two small lagoons, Tres Palos and Coyuca. along with a number of thermal springs.

Acapulco features a tropical wet and dry climate. The climate here is hot with distinct wet and dry seasons, more even temperatures between seasons than resorts further north in Mexico, but this vary depending on altitude. The warmest areas are next to the sea where the city is. Tropical Storms and Hurricanes are threat from May through November. The forested area tends to lose leaves during the winter dry season with evergreen pines in the highest elevations. Fauna mostly consists of deer, small mammals, a wide variety of birds of both land and sea as well as marine animals such as turtles.

Economy

Tourism is the main economic activity of the municipality and most of this is centered on Acapulco Bay. About seventy three percent of the municipality’s population is involved in commerce and most of this is related to tourism and the port. Mining and manufacturing employs less than twenty percent and only about five percent are dedicated to agriculture. Industrial production is mostly limited to bottling, milk products, cement products, ice and energy production. Agricultural products include tomatoes, corn, watermelon, beans, green chili peppers and melons.

Tourism

Acapulco is one of Mexico's oldest coastal tourist destinations, reaching prominence in the 1950s as the place where Hollywood stars and millionaires vacationed on the beach in an exotic locale. But nowadays, tourists in Acapulco have been facing problems with local corrupt police who steal money by extortion, and intimidate visitors with threats to jail. The “original” Acapulco, where hotels owned by personalities such as Johnny Weismuller and John Wayne
John Wayne
Marion Mitchell Morrison , better known by his stage name John Wayne, was an American film actor, director and producer. He epitomized rugged masculinity and became an enduring American icon. He is famous for his distinctive calm voice, walk, and height...

 are located, is on the northern end of the bay. This is where the boardwalk and main square are and today the area is filled with modern, Mexican style hotels, with discothèques and restaurants in walking distance. This side of the bay is also known as “Tradicional” or “Nautica.”

The south end of the bay holds the newer constructions, including the high rise hotels. This area includes Punta Diamante, Puerto Marqués, and stretches from the airport to the Papagayo River which separates it from the older section of town. In this area, no one walks as almost all transportation is by car, limousine or golf cart. The older section of town now mostly caters to middle class, almost exclusively Mexican clientele, while the glitzier newer section caters to international visitors and the Mexican upper classes, many of whom never venture into the older, traditional part of town. This area also has the higher hotel occupancy rates.

Acapulco's reputation is that of a high-energy party town, where one can have dinner at midnight, dance until dawn then relax in the daytime on the beach crowded with sexy bodies in bikinis. The nightlife has made this place famous for decades. From November to April, luxury liners stop here daily and include ships such as the MS Queen Victoria
MS Queen Victoria
MS Queen Victoria is a cruise ship in the Cunard Line fleet, named after Queen Victoria.Queen Victoria is the running mate to Queen Mary 2, and the new Queen Elizabeth. Until November 2008, she also operated alongside Queen Elizabeth 2...

, the MS Rotterdam
MS Rotterdam
MS Rotterdam is a cruise ship, the sixth Holland America Line vessel to bear the name, and is one of the two Atlantic flagships of the fleet. Built in Italy in 1997, Rotterdam features fine art and antiques, an internet center, and a spa and fitness center...

, Crystal Harmony as well as all the Princess liner ships. Despite its international fame, most of Acapulco’s visitors are from central Mexico, especially the affluent from Mexico City.
Acapulco is one of the embarkation ports for the Mexican cruise line Ocean Star Cruises
Ocean Star Cruises
Ocean Star Cruises is a Mexican cruise line brand, based in Mexico City, Mexico. Founded in 2010. The first ship in its fleet is the MV Ocean Star Pacific launched on 9 July 1970 for RCCL and purchased in December 2010 to become the first ship in the fleet. She entered service on 10 April 2011...

.

For the Christmas season of 2009, Acapulco received 470,000 visitors, most of whom are Mexican nationals adding 785 million pesos to the economy. Eighty percent arrive by land and 18 percent by air. The area has over 25,000 condominiums, most of which function as second homes for their Mexican owners. Acapulco is still popular with Mexican celebrities and wealthy, such as Luis Miguel
Luis Miguel
Luis Miguel Gallego Basteri is a Mexican singer. He is widely known only by the name Luis Miguel and is often referred to as "El Sol de México"...

, Plácido Domingo and Dolores Olmedo
Dolores Olmedo
María de los Dolores Olmedo y Patiño Suarez was a Mexican businesswoman, philanthropist and musician, better known for her friendship with Mexican painters Frida Kahlo and her husband Diego Rivera; she appeared on some of his paintings...

, who maintain homes here.

While much of the glitz and glamour that made Acapulco famous still remains, from the latter 20th century on, the city has also taken on other less-positive reputations. Some consider it a “passé” resort, eclipsed by the newer Cancún
Cancún
Cancún is a city of international tourism development certified by the UNWTO . Located on the northeast coast of Quintana Roo in southern Mexico, more than 1,700 km from Mexico City, the Project began operations in 1974 as Integrally Planned Center, a pioneer of FONATUR Cancún is a city of...

 and Cabo San Lucas
Cabo San Lucas
Cabo San Lucas , commonly called Cabo, is a city at the southern tip of the Baja California peninsula, in the municipality of Los Cabos in the Mexican state of Baja California Sur. As of the 2010 census, the population was 68,463 people...

. Over the years a number of problems have developed here, especially in the bay and the older sections of the city. The large number of wandering vendors on the beaches such as Tamarindos, who offer everything from newspapers to massages are a recognized problem. It is a bother to tourists who simply want to relax on the beach but the government says is difficult to eradicate as there is a lot of unemployment and poor here. Around the city are many shantytowns that cling onto the mountainsides, populated by migrants who have come here looking for work. Prostitution is also common here as well. In the last decade, drug related violence has caused problems for the tourism trade here.

Another problem is garbage that has accumulated in the bay. Although 60.65 tons have recently been extracted from the bays of Acapulco and nearby Zihuatanejo, more needs to be done. Most of trash that is cleaned up during the off seasons is done on the beaches and in the waters closest to them. However, the center of the bay is not touched. The reason trash winds up in the bay is that it is common here to throw it in streets, rivers and the bay itself. The most common items cleaned out of the bay are beer bottles and car tires.

Attractions

Acapulco’s main attraction is its nightlife, and has been for many decades. Nightclubs change names and owners frequently. Informal lobby or poolside cocktail bars often offer free live entertainment. In addition, there is the beach bar zone, where younger crowds go. These are located along the Costera road, face the ocean and feature techno or alternative rock. Most are concentrated between the Fiesta Americana and Continental Plaza hotels. These places tend to open earlier and have more informal dress. There is also a bungee jump in this area as well.
Another enigmatic attraction at Acapulco are the La Quebrada Cliff Divers
La Quebrada Cliff Divers
The La Quebrada Cliff Divers are a group of professional high divers, based in Acapulco, Mexico. They perform daily shows for the public, which involve diving 35 metres from the cliffs of La Quebrada into the sea below. The depth of water in the "Gulch" can vary from 6 to 16 feet depending on the...

. The tradition started in the 1930s when young men casually competed against each other to see who could dive from the highest point into the sea below. Eventually, locals began to ask for tips for those coming to see the men dive. Today the divers are professionals, diving from heights of forty meters into an inlet that is only seven meters wide and four meters deep, after praying first at a shrine to the Virgin of Guadalupe. On 12 December, the feast day of this Virgin, freestyle cliff divers jump into the sea to honor her. Dives ranges from the simple to the complicated and end with the “Ocean of Fire” when the sea is lit with gasoline, making a circle of flames which the diver aims for. The spectacle can be seen from a public area, which charges a small fee or from the Hotel Plaza Las Glorias/El Mirador from its bar or restaurant terrace.

There are a number of beaches in the Acapulco Bay and the immediate coastline. In the bay proper there are the La Angosta (in the Quebrada), Caleta, Caletilla, Dominguillo, Tlacopanocha, Hornos, Hornitos, Honda, Tamarindo, Condesa, Guitarrón, Icacos, Playuela, Playuelilla and Playa del Secreto. In the adjoining, smaller Bay of Puerto Marqués there is Pichilingue, Las Brisas, and Playa Roqueta. Facing open ocean just northwest of the bays is Pie de la Cuesta and southeast are Playa Revolcadero, Playa Aeromar, Playa Encantada and Barra Vieja. Two lagoons are in the area, Coyuca to the northwest of Acapulco Bay and Tres Palos to the southeast. Both lagoons have mangroves and offer boat tours. Tres Palos also has sea turtle nesting areas which are protected.

In addition to sunbathing, the beaches around the bay offer a number of services, such as boat rentals, boat tours, horseback riding, scuba diving and other aquatic sports. One popular cruise is from Caletilla Beach to Roqueta Island, which has places to snorkel, have lunch, a small zoo and a lighthouse. There is also an underwater statue of the Virgin of Guadalupe here, created in 1958 by Armando Quesado in memory of a group of divers that died here. Many of the scuba diving tours come to this area as well, where there are sunken ships, sea mountains, and cave rock formations. Another popular activity is deep sea fishing. The major attraction is sail fishing. Fish caught here have weighed between 89 and 200 pounds. Sailfish
Sailfish
'Sailfish' are two species of fish in the genus Istiophorus, living in warmer sections of all the oceans of the world. They are predominately blue to gray in color and have a characteristic erectile dorsal fin known as a sail, which often stretches the entire length of the back...

 are so plentiful that boat captains have been known to bet with a potential customer that if he does not catch anything the trip is free.

In the old part of the city, there is a traditional main square called the Zócalo with shade trees and lined with cafes and shops. At the north end of the Nuestra Señora de la Soledad cathedral, with blue onion-shaped domes and Byzantine towers. The building was originally constructed as a movie set, but when was later adapted into a church. Acapulco’s most historic building is the San Diego Fort, located east of the main square and originally built in 1616 to protect the city from pirate attacks. The fort was partially destroyed by the Dutch
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

 in the mid 17th century, rebuilt, then destroyed again in 1776 by an earthquake. It was rebuilt again by 1783 and this is the building that can be seen today, unchanged except for renovations done to it in 2000. Parts of the moats remain as well as the five bulwarks and the battlements. Today the fort serves as the Museo Histórico de Acapulco (Acapulco Historical Museum), which shows the port’s history from the pre-Hispanic period until independence. There are also temporary exhibits as well.
The Centro Internacional de Convivencia Infantial or CICI is a sea life and aquatic park located on Costera Aleman. It offers wave pools, water slides and water toboggans. There are also dolphin shows daily and a swim with dolphins program. The center mostly caters to children. Another place popular with children is the Parque Papagayo which is a large family park which has life-sized replicas of a Spanish galleon and the space shuttle Columbia, three artificial lakes, aviary, skating rink, rides, go-karts and more.

The Dolores Olmedo House is located in the traditional downtown of Acapulco and is noted for the murals by Diego Rivera
Diego Rivera
Diego María de la Concepción Juan Nepomuceno Estanislao de la Rivera y Barrientos Acosta y Rodríguez was a prominent Mexican painter born in Guanajuato, Guanajuato, an active communist, and husband of Frida Kahlo . His large wall works in fresco helped establish the Mexican Mural Movement in...

 that adorn it. Olmedo and Rivera had been friend since Olmedo was a child and Rivera spent the last two years of his life here. During that time, he painted nearly nonstop and created the outside walls with tile mosaics, featuring Aztec deities such as Quetzalcoatl
Quetzalcoatl
Quetzalcoatl is a Mesoamerican deity whose name comes from the Nahuatl language and has the meaning of "feathered serpent". The worship of a feathered serpent deity is first documented in Teotihuacan in the first century BCE or first century CE...

. The interior of the home is covered in murals. The home is not a museum, so only the outside murals are able to be seen by the public.

There is a small museum called Casa de la Máscara (House of Masks) which is dedicated to masks, most of them from Mexico but there are examples from many parts of the world. The collection contains about one thousand examples and are divided into seven rooms called Masks of the World, Mexico across History, The Huichols and the Jaguar, Alebrijes and Dances of Guerrero, Devils and Death, Identity and Fantasy, and Afro-Indian masks.
The Botanical Garden of Acapulco is a tropical garden located on lands owned by the Universidad Loyola del Pacifico. Most of the plants here are native to the region, and many are in danger of extinction, such as the Peltogyne mexicana or purple stick tree.

The annual French Festival takes place throughout Acapulco city and offers a multitude of events that cement cultural links between Mexico and France. The main features are a fashion show and gourmet food fair. The Cinépolis Galerías Diana and the Teatro Juan Ruíz de Alarcón show French and French literary figures give talks on their specialised subjects. Even some of the local nightclubs will feature French DJs. Other festivals celebrated here include Carnival
Carnival
Carnaval is a festive season which occurs immediately before Lent; the main events are usually during February. Carnaval typically involves a public celebration or parade combining some elements of a circus, mask and public street party...

, the feast of San Isidro Labrador on 15 May and a crafts and livestock fair called the Nao de China in November.

There are a number of golf courses in Acapulco including the Acapulco Princess and the Pierre Marqués course, the latter designed by Robert Trent Jones
Robert Trent Jones
Robert Trent Jones, Sr. was a golf course architect who designed about 500 golf courses in at least 40 US states and 35 other countries all around the world...

 in 1972 for the World Cup Golf Tournament. The Mayan Palace course was designed by Pedro Guericia and an economical course called the Club de Golf Acapulco is near the convention center. The most exclusive course is that of the Tres Vidas Golf Club, designed by Robert von Hagge. It is located next to the ocean and is home to flocks of ducks and other birds.

Acapulco also has a bullring
Bullring
A bullring is an arena where bullfighting is performed. Bullrings are often associated with Spain, but they can also be found in neighboring countries and the New World...

, called the Plaza de Toros, near Caletilla Beach. The season runs during the winter and is called the Fiesta Brava.

Spring break

Over 100,000 American teenagers and young adults travel to resort areas and balneario
Balneario
Balneario is a Latin American seaside resort, although they may also occur along great lakes, rivers and at hot springs. In Spain balneario typically only refers to spa town resorts. Whatever the case these resorts offer recreation, sports, entertainment, food, hospitality and safety services,...

s throughout Mexico over spring break
Spring break
Spring break – also known as March break, Study week or Reading week in the United Kingdom and some parts of Canada – is a recess in early spring at universities and schools in the United States, Canada, mainland China, Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, the United...

 each year. The main reason students head to Mexico is the 18 year old drinking age (versus 21 for the United States), something that has been marketed by tour operators along with the sun and ocean. This has become attractive since the 1990s, especially since more traditional spring break places such as Daytona Beach, Florida
Daytona Beach, Florida
Daytona Beach is a city in Volusia County, Florida, USA. According to 2008 U.S. Census Bureau estimates, the city has a population of 64,211. Daytona Beach is a principal city of the Deltona – Daytona Beach – Ormond Beach, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area, which the census bureau estimated had...

 have become restrictive on drinking and other behaviors. This has pushed spring break visitation to various parts of Mexico, with Acapulco as one of the top destinations.
In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Cancún
Cancún
Cancún is a city of international tourism development certified by the UNWTO . Located on the northeast coast of Quintana Roo in southern Mexico, more than 1,700 km from Mexico City, the Project began operations in 1974 as Integrally Planned Center, a pioneer of FONATUR Cancún is a city of...

 had been favored at the spring break destination of choice. However, Cancun has taken some steps to control the reckless behavior associated with the event, and students have been looking for someplace new. This has led many more to choose Acapulco, in spite of the fact that the flight is longer and more expensive than to Cancun for many travelers. Many are attracted by the glitzy hotels on the south side and Acapulco’s famous nightlife. In 2008, 22,500 students came to Acapulco for spring break. Hotels did not get that many in 2009, mostly due to the economic situation in the United States, and partially because of scares of drug-related violence. MTV
MTV
MTV, formerly an initialism of Music Television, is an American network based in New York City that launched on August 1, 1981. The original purpose of the channel was to play music videos guided by on-air hosts known as VJs....

 will transmit special programming from Acapulco in 2010.

In February 2009, the US State Department issued a travel alert directed at college students planning spring break trips to Acapulco. The warning—a result of violent activity springing from Mexico's drug cartel debacle—took college campuses by storm, with some schools going so far as to warn their students about the risks of travel to Mexico over spring break. The New York Times tracked the travels of another Penn student on spring break in Acapulco just a week after the dissemination of the email, while Bill O'Reilly
Bill O'Reilly (political commentator)
William James "Bill" O'Reilly, Jr. is an American television host, author, syndicated columnist and political commentator. He is the host of the political commentary program The O'Reilly Factor on the Fox News Channel, which is the most watched cable news television program on American television...

 devoted a segment of his show, The O'Reilly Factor
The O'Reilly Factor
The O'Reilly Factor, originally titled The O'Reilly Report from 1996 to 1998 and often called The Factor, is an American talk show on the Fox News Channel hosted by commentator Bill O'Reilly, who often discusses current controversial political issues with guests.The program was the most watched...

, to urge students to stay away from Acapulco. In June 2009 a number of incidents occurred between the drug cartel and the government. These included coordinated attacks on police headquarters and open battles in the streets involving large-caliber weapons and grenades. However, no incidents of violence against spring breakers were reported.

Transportation

From the U.S., many airline
Airline
An airline provides air transport services for traveling passengers and freight. Airlines lease or own their aircraft with which to supply these services and may form partnerships or alliances with other airlines for mutual benefit...

s now fly to Acapulco Airport
General Juan N. Álvarez International Airport
General Juan N. Álvarez International Airport , also known as Acapulco International Airport, is an aviation facility located from Acapulco, Guerrero, Mexico...

 year-round. While in the city, there are many bus
Bus
A bus is a road vehicle designed to carry passengers. Buses can have a capacity as high as 300 passengers. The most common type of bus is the single-decker bus, with larger loads carried by double-decker buses and articulated buses, and smaller loads carried by midibuses and minibuses; coaches are...

es and taxi
Taxicab
A taxicab, also taxi or cab, is a type of vehicle for hire with a driver, used by a single passenger or small group of passengers, often for a non-shared ride. A taxicab conveys passengers between locations of their choice...

 services one can take to get from place to place, but most of the locals choose to walk to their destinations. However, an important mode of transportation is the government subsidized 'Colectivo' cab system. These cabs cost 10 pesos
Mexican peso
The peso is the currency of Mexico. Modern peso and dollar currencies have a common origin in the 15th–19th century Spanish dollar, most continuing to use its sign, "$". The Mexican peso is the 12th most traded currency in the world, the third most traded in the Americas, and by far the most...

 per person to ride, but they are not private. The driver will pick up more passengers as long as seats are available, and will transport them to their destination based on first come first served rules. The colectivos each travel a designated area of the city, the three main ones being Costera, Colosio, Coloso, or a mixture of the three. Coloso cabs mainly travel to old Acapulco. Colosio cabs travel through most of the tourist area of Acapulco. Costera cabs drive up and down the coast of Acapulco, which is where most of the hotels for visitors are, but also includes some of old Acapulco. Where a driver will take you is partly up to his choice. Some are willing to travel to the other designated areas, especially during slow periods of the day.

The bus system is highly complex, and can be rather confusing to an outsider. As far as transportation goes, it is the cheapest form other than walking in Acapulco. The most expensive buses have air conditioning
Air conditioning
An air conditioner is a home appliance, system, or mechanism designed to dehumidify and extract heat from an area. The cooling is done using a simple refrigeration cycle...

, while the cheaper buses do not. For tourists, the Acapulco city government has established a system of yellow buses with Acapulco! painted on the side of them. These buses are not for tourists only, but are certainly the nicest and most uniform of the bus systems. These buses travel the tourist section of Acapulco, driving up and down the coast. There are buses with specific routes and destinations, generally written on their windshield
Windshield
The windshield or windscreen of an aircraft, car, bus, motorbike or tram is the front window. Modern windshields are generally made of laminated safety glass, a type of treated glass, which consists of two curved sheets of glass with a plastic layer laminated between them for safety, and are glued...

s or shouted out by a barker riding in the front seat. Perhaps the most unusual thing about the privately operated buses is the fact that they are all highly decorated and personalized, with decaling and home made interior designs that range from comic book
Comic book
A comic book or comicbook is a magazine made up of comics, narrative artwork in the form of separate panels that represent individual scenes, often accompanied by dialog as well as including...

 scenes, to adult themes
Pornography
Pornography or porn is the explicit portrayal of sexual subject matter for the purposes of sexual arousal and erotic satisfaction.Pornography may use any of a variety of media, ranging from books, magazines, postcards, photos, sculpture, drawing, painting, animation, sound recording, film, video,...

, and even to "Hello Kitty
Hello Kitty
is a fictional character produced by the Japanese company Sanrio, first designed by Yuko Shimizu. She is portrayed as a female white Japanese bobtail cat with a red bow. The character's first appearance on an item, a vinyl coin purse, was introduced in Japan in 1974 and brought to the United States...

" themes.

Government

As the seat of a municipality, the city of Acapulco is the government authority for over 700 other communities, which together have a territory of 1,880.60 km2. This municipality borders the municipalities of Chilpancingo, Juan R Escudero (Tierra Colorada)
Juan R. Escudero (municipality)
Juan R. Escudero is one of the 81 municipalities of Guerrero, in south-western Mexico. The municipal seat lies at Tierra Colorada. The municipality covers an area of 652.6 km².As of 2005, the municipality had a total population of 22,805....

, San Marcos
San Marcos, Guerrero
San Marcos is the name of a town in the Mexican state of Guerrero.It serves as the municipal seat of the surrounding municipality of San Marcos.The town currently has about 12 000 inhabitants....

, Coyuca de Benítez
Coyuca de Benítez
Coyuca de Benítez is a city and seat of the municipality of Coyuca de Benítez, in the state of Guerrero, south-western Mexico....

 with the Pacific Ocean to the south.

The metropolitan area is made up of the municipalities of Acapulco de Juárez and Coyuca de Benitez. The area has a population (as of 2005) of 786,830.

External links

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