Bay Cruises & Roqueta Island
The waters of Acapulco are dotted with virtually every kind of boat -- yachts, catamarans, and trimarans (single- and double-deckers). Cruises run morning, afternoon, and evening. Some offer buffets, open bars, and live music; others just snacks, drinks, and taped music. Prices range from $26 to $50. Cruise operators come and go, and their phone numbers change so frequently from year to year that it's pointless to list them here; to find out what cruises are currently operating, contact any Acapulco travel agency or your hotel's tour desk, and ask for brochures or recommendations.
Boats from Caletilla Beach to Roqueta Island -- a good place to snorkel, sunbathe, hike to a lighthouse, visit a small zoo, or have lunch -- leave every 15 minutes from 9am until the last one returns at 5:30pm for under $10 round-trip. There are also primitive-style glass-bottom boats that circle the bay as you look down at a few fish and watch a diver swim down to the underwater sanctuary of the Virgin of Guadalupe, patron saint of Mexico. The statue of the Virgin -- created by sculptor Armando Quesado -- was placed there in 1958, in memory of a group of divers who lost their lives at the spot. You can purchase tickets ($5) directly from any boat that's loading.
A Museum & A Water Park
The original Fuerte de San Diego, Calle Hornitos off Costera Alemán, east of the zócalo (tel. 744/482-3828), was built in 1616 to protect the town from pirate attacks. At that time, the port reaped considerable income from trade with the Philippine Islands (which, like Mexico, were part of the Spanish Empire). The fort you see today was rebuilt after considerable earthquake damage in 1776 and has undergone a series of renovations since. The structure houses the Museo Histórico de Acapulco (Acapulco Historical Museum), with exhibits that reveal the port's role in the conquest of the Americas, Catholic conversion campaigns in the region, and exotic trade with the Orient. Temporary exhibits are also on display. It's one of Mexico's finest museums -- and it's air-conditioned. Escape the midday heat here. Admission to the museum costs 35 pesos, free for locals on Sunday. It's open Tuesday through Sunday from 8am to 6pm. To reach the fort, follow Costera Alemán past Old Acapulco and the zócalo; the fort is on a hill on the right.
The Parque Acuático el CICI, Costera Alemán at Colón (tel. 744/484-1970; www.cici.com.mx), is a sea-life and water park east of the convention center. It offers guests swimming pools with waves, water slides, and water toboggans, and has a cafeteria and restrooms. The park is open daily from 10am to 6pm. General admission including the dolphin show is 180 pesos, free for children 1 and younger. There are dolphin shows (in Spanish) weekdays at 2pm and weekends at 2 and 4pm. There's also a dolphin swim program, which includes 30 minutes of introduction and 30 minutes to 1 hour of swim time. The cost for this option is 990 pesos for the half-hour swim, and 1,350 pesos for the hour; both options include total access to the water park and are available by reservation only. Reservations are required; there is a 10-person maximum for the dolphin swim option. The minimum age is 4 years.
High divers perform at La Quebrada each day at 1, 7:30, 8:30, 9:30, and 10:30pm. Admission to special viewing platforms is 35 pesos for adults, 10 pesos for kids 10 and under. From a spotlit ledge on the cliffs, divers (holding torches for the final performance) plunge into the roaring surf of an inlet that's 7m (23 ft.) wide, 4m (13 ft.) deep, and 40m (131 ft.) below -- after praying at a small shrine nearby. Divers climb up the rocks and accept congratulations and gifts of money from onlookers. No visit is complete (even for jaded travelers) without watching the divers at this quintessential Acapulco experience. To get there from downtown, take the street called La Quebrada from behind the cathedral for 4 blocks. Parking costs 20 pesos.
The public areas have great views, but arrive early, as they quickly fill up. Another option is to watch from the lobby bar of the Hotel El Mirador. The bar imposes a $15 cover charge, which includes two drinks. You can get around the cover by dining at the hotel's La Perla restaurant ($25 minimum for food during show times). Reservations (tel. 744/483-1221, ext. 802) are recommended during high season.
A House of Art, Seen from Outside
Of all the exclusive villas and homes in Acapulco, one stands out. Though not as impressive as the villas of Las Brisas, the home of Dolores Olmedo in Acapulco's traditional downtown area is a work of art. In 1956, the renowned Mexican artist Diego Rivera covered its outside wall with a mural of colorful mosaic tiles, shells, and stones. The mural, which took 18 months to complete, features Aztec deities such as Quetzalcóatl and Tepezcuincle, the Aztec dog. Rivera and Olmedo were lifelong friends, and Rivera lived in this house for the last 2 years of his life, when he also covered the interior with murals. The home isn't a museum, so you have to settle for a look at the exterior masterpiece. The house is a few blocks behind the Casablanca Hotel, a short cab ride from the zócalo, at Calle Cerro de la Pinzona 6.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.