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Attractions

A Museum & A Water Park

The original Fuerte de San Diego, 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 most recently underwent renovation in 2000. The structure houses the Museo Histórico de Acapulco (Acapulco Historical Museum), with exhibits that tell the story of Acapulco from its role as a port in the conquest of the Americas to a center for local Catholic conversion campaigns and for exotic trade with the Orient. Other exhibits chronicle Acapulco's pre-Hispanic past, the coming of the conquistadors (complete with Spanish armor), and Spanish imperial activity. Temporary exhibits are also on display. Admission to the museum is $3.90 (£1.95), free on Sunday. It's open Tuesday through Sunday from 9am to 6pm. To reach the fort, follow Costera Alemán past Old Acapulco and the zócalo; the fort is on a hill on the right.

Death-Defying Divers

High divers perform at La Quebrada each day at 12:45, 7:30, 8:30, 9:30, and 10:30pm. Admission is $3.50 (£1.75) for adults, $1 (50p) for kids under 11. From a spotlit ledge on the cliffs, divers (holding torches for the final performance) plunge into the roaring surf of an inlet that's just 7m (23 ft.) wide, 4m (13 ft.) deep, and 40m (131 ft.) below -- after wisely praying at a small shrine nearby. To the applause of the crowd, divers climb up the rocks and accept congratulations and gifts of money from onlookers. This is the quintessential Acapulco experience. No visit is complete (even for jaded travelers) without watching the cliff divers. To get there from downtown, take the street called La Quebrada from behind the cathedral for 4 blocks.

The public areas have great views, but arrive early, because performances quickly fill up. Another option is to watch from the lobby bar and restaurant terraces of the Hotel Plaza Las Glorias/El Mirador. The bar imposes a $20 (£10) cover charge, which includes two drinks. You can get around the cover by having dinner at the hotel's La Perla restaurant. Reservations (tel. 744/483-1221, ext. 802) are recommended during high season.

The Parque Acuático el CICI, Costera Alemán at Colón (tel. 744/484-8033), 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 is $10 (£5) and free for children younger than 2. 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 $90 (£45) for the half-hour swim, $130 (£65) for the hour; both options include total access to the water park, and are available by reservation only. Shows are at 10:30am, 12:30, and 4:30pm. Reservations are required; there is a 10-person maximum per show for the dolphin swim option. The minimum age is 4 years.

A House of Art

Of all the exclusive villas and homes in Acapulco, one stands far apart from the others. Though not as elegantly 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 work is unique and one of the last he created. The Olmedo mural, which took him 18 months to complete, features Aztec deities such as Quetzalcoatl 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, during which time 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 central plaza, at Calle Cerro de la Pinzona 6. Have the driver wait while you look around.


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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.


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