GOING TO: ACAPULCO; Shades of the 50's, but the Night Life Is Very 00's
Why Go Now
Acapulco, for a certain generation, is suave Frank Sinatra songs and Elvis Presley movies, Kennedy honeymoons and Elizabeth Taylor weddings (O.K., only one of the eight weddings).
The high-flying Hollywood crowd took Acapulco to the moon with it in the 1950's and 60's then went on to their next playground. Although the names of the clubs, the style of the music
and the clientele have changed since La Perla was opened in 1949, Acapulco has always been counted on for night life. Now a new generation of impresarios is taking over the clubs
that their parents built, and raucous foam parties on the beach and writhing on dance platforms until 4 a.m. is often followed by more dancing at an after-hours club until morning breaks.
The disco anthems will be ringing in your ears all day as you lie on the beach and recover.
Where to Stay-Hotels or Private Villa
Some of the old hotels around Acapulco are destinations now simply because they were destinations then. Two built in the 1930's, the Hotel Los Flamingos, Avenida López Mateos,
and the Hotel El Mirador Acapulco, Plazoleta La Quebrada, Hotel el Mirador acapulco are away from what is now the strip, but both have photo galleries that allow old
Hollywood to speak through photographs of John Wayne, Johnny Weissmuller and Errol Flynn.
The resort where Elvis Presley, Rita Hayworth, Elizabeth
Taylor and others lounged, the Villa Vera, Lomas del Mar, is an enclosed
enclave set back from Condesa Beach on a hill and part of it is now a private
The place that most seems to keep the buoyant and flamboyant 1960's alive is the Hotel Las Brisas Acapulco, Carretera Escénica Clemente Mejía
which was built in 1957 about 15 minutes from the center of Acapulco. The 263 casitas of this hotel climb up a steep, hibiscus-covered hill high above Acapulco
Bay in a confection of pink, flat-roofed modernism. Each casita has its own (or shared with one other) plunge pool, and at the base of the hill by the ocean
(via a short shuttle ride from the open-air lobby) is Club la
Concha, its pool and oceanfront set with chairs, bridges, bars and restaurants
bathed in festive pink.
Pink Jeeps ferry visitors along winding ways from the lobby to rooms as if they were elevators. In the morning, drivers can be seen driving up the cliff holding a tray with
breakfast in one hand and steering with the other; a Continental breakfast appears in the room via a drop box before most people are awake. Rates during this season are $210
for a one-bedroom casita with shared pool, $959 for a casita
with private pool and $1,453 for a two-bedroom casita with private pool and each
has an additional $17.50 a day in staff tip.
For something a little more in the thick of things, along Avenida Costera Miguel Alemán, try the unassuming pastel rooms that seem to have seen a lot of traffic,
but have open views of the sea and access to elaborate pool complexes and the beach, at Fiesta Americana Condesa Acapulco.
Two of the most reasonable, newest and nicest private homes for rent by the day or week are Casa Delfin www.acapulcovillarental.com in Marina LasBrisas and
Casa Iguana www.acapulcosunset.com and www.acapulcohoneymoon.com on the open ocean near Pie de la Cuesta. Casa Iguana sleeps up to 32 people.
Eating in Acapulco is informal, with good beach food like tacos and seafood found in open-air restaurants along the Costera, the coastal area running from Papagayo Beach to Icacos Beach.
Particularly soothing in the morning (or early afternoon) are the palapa bars, covered with thick thatched roofs that keep the decks cool.
At Bambú, attached to its sister restaurant, Tío Alex, at Avenida Costera Miguel Alemán 12, (52-744) 484-3656, the gentle Mexican salsa from the 1950's and 60's mixes with the
rhythm of the waves to make a calming backdrop for fresh
grilled red snapper, $9.60. The motto is ''siempre hora feliz'' and beers are
two for one at $3.50 all day long.
A small enclave of interesting restaurants is clustered around the beacon-like nightclub Palladium along Carretera Escénica. Among them is Baikal, Carretera Escénica 22, (52-744) 446-6867,
where the main attraction is the panoramic view of the bay and the fusion food is a good accessory. Dinner for two with drinks will cost a little over $100. One of the original well kept secrets for
lunch is Tres Marias at Pie de la Cuesta at the fresh water lagoon 6 miles from Acapulco.The speciality is barbacue red snapper which is to die for. Ask for Eddie.
What to Do During the Day
The scrambling for a beach space or deck chair poolside begins at about 8:30 a.m. Most of the large hotels along Condesa Beach
have elaborate pools that open directly onto the beach. Condesa, and to the east, Icacos Beach, are the beaches that international and Mexican tourists flock to,
even if sun worshipers are occasionally hassled by vendors pushing sarongs, seashell necklaces, henna tattoos, wind chimes or hair-braiding services.
On Sunday afternoons January through April, visitors can see a bullfight at 5:30 at the Plaza de Toros, Caletilla. Tickets are $4.45 for general admission and $11 to $31 for reserved seats.
The stadium was built in 1955 and can hold 10,000 people, though these days the ring is not nearly full, and most who show up are tourists.
This is not a sanitized exposition --things almost never end up well for the bull -- but it is a chance to get to another part of town
and sit in the late-afternoon sun with a cup of beer or cola while a Mexican marching band plays festive tunes.
Night life does not wake up until midnight, although the clubs along Condesa Beach begin to stir around 10 p.m. Brian Rullán, 25,
runs his father's hillside nightclub dynasty Palladium and Mandara, while on Condesa Beach at the more informal and rock 'n' roll dance club,
Disco Beach, Jonathan Rodriguez, 21, prepares to take over for his father. Disco Beach, Avenida Costera Miguel Alemán 111, is the alpha male along this strip.
Since 1980 it has pulled in young partiers (and throngs of spring breakers) with live bands on a rock 'n' roll stage (and a fleet of scantily clad house dancers)
on the street level, while downstairs the D.J. area opens onto the beach. The cover changes depending on the entertainment, theme of the evening and time of year,
but is generally about $30 for men and about $24 for women.
Heading east, Baby O, Avenida Costera Miguel Alemán 22, (52-744) 481-1035, www.babyo.com.mx has been open since 1976, although now it is across
the street from a Hooters and next to a Wal-Mart. The club, with a multileveled labyrinthine space with a vaguely jungle theme, is open only Wednesday
through Sunday starting at 10:30, $9 for women and $35 for men, and does not have an open bar.
Palladium, Carretera Escénica, Las Brisas, (52-744) 446-5483, www.palladium.com.mx, seems to be the club where everyone eventually ends up now.
On a recent night the crowd included a musician from Montreal, a designer from South Africa, a chef from France, D.J.'s and club kids from Brooklyn and young Mexicans working in government,
media and fashion. The huge pleasure dome is perched high on a cliff with a wall of windows 160 feet wide and 30 feet tall with views of the entire bay.
The dance floor, ringed by banquettes, cantilevers out over the cliff so that young men in button-down shirts and leather shoes and women in form-fitting tank tops and short skirts
appear to be dancing in the sky. A man painted silver with an Aztec headdress makes a high-energy appeal for continued partying with a dance performance between 3 and 4 a.m.;
a spray of fireworks outside the windows follows his appearance. A sister club, Mandara, is just down the street and has a similar, if smaller, dance space.
It also has a relaxed piano bar. If the right people are met while dancing, visitors may score an invitation to the after-hours lounge Privado, which starts at 3 a.m.,
also housed in the Mandara club. Admission to each club is $22 for women and $31 for men, with open bar for everyone.
Where to Shop
The open-air marketplaces that are called mercados des artisanías are generally little more than flea markets with an endless array of T-shirts,
sarongs and ceramic frogs. Most of it is probably made in
Asia, but the markets are fun to stumble through.
Intergalerias S.A., Avenida Costera Miguel Alemán 120, (52-744) 484-4992, has some bright and interesting Mexican art
(most of which would certainly not fit in an overhead compartment). Oversized pieces of wooden fruit fill the gallery and sculptures of centaurs and mermaids
by Sergio Bustamante and vibrant paintings by Gustavo Martinez. Most works start at about $500.
There are plenty of Internet spots, though not necessarily Wi-Fi hot spots. Along the Costera strip, Santa Clara cafe, which offers coffee,
pastries and ice cream, has Internet service for 90 cents for 20 minutes. Open 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., it is at Avenida Costera Miguel Alemán 136.
First Time or Your 10th Time
The tanned men flinging themselves off the rocky cliffs of La Quebrada, near El Mirador Hotel Acapulco at Plazoleta La Quebrada
74,(52-744) 483-1400, have become the iconic image of Acapulco. Teddy Stauffer, a Swiss-born bandleader who became an impresario of
Acapulco night life, opened La Perla nightclub with a view of
the craggy gorge and made the informal dives by local boys into a spectacle.
Today the divers, members of Clavadistas Profesionales de la Quebrada, or association of professional cliff divers,
(who will extract a charge of $2.70 from spectators before allowing them into the viewing area), perform five times a day,
with one dive at 12:45 in the afternoon followed by four on
the half-hour starting at 7:30 p.m.; for the last two the divers jump with
torches in their hands.
The divers, who are surprisingly young, make their way through the crowd gathered on steeply tiered viewing areas. With no shoes,
they shimmy up the cliff on the other side to their posts
between 80 and 115 feet above the 22-foot-wide channel below.
With arms stretched above their head, each scans the waves below for a water level that will make the water at least 30 feet deep.
After letting out a call that echoes through the cavern, the diver soars out and down, traveling about 55 miles an hour and hitting the water in about three seconds.
A few seconds after his performance, the diver climbs through
the crowd, up the hundreds of steps from the viewing area, toweling off and
How to Get There
From New York, most airlines stop in Atlanta, Dallas or Houston and then again in Mexico City before reaching Acapulco.
Round-trip air fares start at roughly $650.
How to Get Around
Taxis are everywhere, and the most effective way to get up and down the avenue. But arrange the price before getting in -- usually $1 to $5 in town,
$30 to get to the airport -- because there are not any meters.
You can hire a private driver who has access to Suburban. His name is Carlos Macias his email is email@example.com
House phone:(011)(52)(744) 132-8456 Cell 044 744 104-7838 If you need several suburban he organizes everything. He speaks both Spanish and English.
You can also rent a car and really explore Acapulco and it's beautiful beaches. All of the regular companies are here in Acapulco, but we recommend Saad Jeep & Car Rental.
They will have a driver meet you at your flight and take you to your car. Click on he button below to go directly to their website. Be sure and let Saad know that you are a guest at Casa Iguana / Delfin.
Jerry Spady Owner
MX:   460-4900 Casa Iguana /
Contact Greg or Jerry Spady at
Owners Business Website
Updated 04 Feb 2009
Casa Delfin in Marina Las Brisas
( ideal for 3 couples)
If you want info to stay on our private island in
Stuart, Florida near Palm Beach or Jupiter, Fl. go to