Acapulco is a large port city and Mexico's fun capital and largest Pacific resort. As destination, it offers superb weather with an average 360 days of sunshine a year and amazing beaches. City's urban area is approx 85 km2 (33 mi2), and its population - around 700,000 (metro over 800,000).
Located on a deep-water, semicircular bay, the city has the best harbour waterway on Mexico's Pacific coast. Acapulco runs along a narrow land strip between the bay and surrounding mountains. The most popular beaches and hotels are to the east and around the bay - Condesa, Icacos, Playas Hornos, Hornitos. A very popular cliff diving destination is Le Quebrada.
Acapulco harbor was discovered in 1531 by Hernan Cortes (1485-1547, Spanish conquistador/conqueror) and the settlement was established in 1550 as an important seaport for Spanish galleons (large wooden warships) sailing between Spain and the American territories. Sea traffic dwindled following Mexico gaining independence in 1821. Local tourism started to develop since 1927 when a paved road over mountains connected Pacific Mexico's first resort city. Today, tourism is the largest economic contributor, with most of it centred on Acapulco Bay. Over 70% of Acapulco's population is involved in commerce, and most of it relates to tourism and the cruise port. Manufacturing and mining employ nearly 1/5. Under 5% is agriculture.
Acapulco is one of Mexico's oldest coastal tourist destinations, booming during the 1950s as a vacation destination for US millionaires and Hollywood stars. In recent years, tourists face problems with corrupt police stealing money by extortion and threatening tourists with jail. Sadly, once a premium resort vacation destination, current-day Acapulco is largely associated with crime and corruption. The city is also plagued by violence from drug cartel wars. In 2015 were reported 903 murders - more than in any other Mexican city. The US State Department issued travel warnings for some Mexican areas, and Acapulco was also listed as risky.
In 2016, the cruise port handled a total of 18 ship calls. In 2017, the number grew to 32 (a 78% increase). The list of cruise companies with scheduled ships to Acapulco included Crystal, Hapag Lloyd, NCL, Oceania, RSSC-Regent, Saga UK, Silversea.
In 2017-2018, the cruise port had scheduled a total of 30 ship calls. For season 2017-2018, Holland America pulled from its Mexican Riviera cruise itineraries Port Acapulco due to concerns about violent crime in the region. The company (Carnival Corporation subsidiary) had scheduled 8 different itineraries to Pacific Mexico ports, but the popular resort destination Acapulco was scrapped and replaced with alternative Mexican ports. The changed Itineraries included 7 Panama Canal transits and 7 South American voyages.
During winter 2018-2019, the UK-based company CMV (Cruise and Maritime Voyages) homeported here the 1500-passenger liner Magellan. CMV's Acapulco roundtrip cruise program included itineraries visiting the most popular Mexican Riviera ports Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo, Manzanillo, Puerto Vallarta, Cabo San Lucas (Baja California).
An USD 1 billion development plan (2017-2022) includes cruise port upgrades, major resorts renovations (Pierre Mundo Imperial, Princess Mundo Imperial), building new airport terminal, new hotels, shops, restaurants, amusement park, tennis stadium, medical center. The project includes:
- Intense Emotion (space adventure attraction with suspension bridges, extreme rides, restaurant, world’s highest climbing wall / 40 m / 130 ft)
- major hotel renovations (including Pierre Mundo Imperial, Princess Mundo Imperial)
- new Princess Medical Center (sized 4,645 m2 / 50,000 ft2)
- new tennis stadium, new eco-amusement park
- In 2017 was inaugurated the XTASEA zip-line (world’s largest oversea zipline).
- In 2018 was opened a new airport terminal.
- City's infrastructure Improvements included several beautification projects.
In April 2017 was opened the USD 200 million macro-tunnel connecting Golden and Diamond districts. The 3,3 km long tunnel is Mexico's longest. The 3-line tunnel allows locals and tourists just 3 min commute travel (compared to the 1-hour drive via Avenida Escenica). The tunnel is monitored 24-hours via CCTVs, has modern fire protection system, temperature control (with 14 large fans), LED lighting, sound system (broadcasting important messages), emergency stations, 100% cell phone coverage, and can resist 8-Richter scale earthquake. Macro-tunnel passing costs around US$1.60 (residents) and US$3 (tourists).
During 2017's holiday season (Dec 20 - Jan 7) the city was visited by around 573,000 tourists, with average hotel occupancy over 81%. The port reported 3 cruise ship calls (Oceania Sirena, MS Europa, Norwegian Star) during the holidays and 40% increase in passenger shipping over 2016.
Acapulco cruise terminal
The following photo shows Acapulco's cruise ship terminal.