Acapulco remains gorgeous, though overdeveloped. Worse, the city’s reputation has been tarnished by years of violent battles in Mexico’s ongoing drug wars. Despite the frightening homicide statistics, the violence is largely confined to internecine gang struggles for supremacy. International tourism has plummeted, but the city remains comparatively safe to visit. It still offers plenty of atmosphere and charm, with romantic cliffside restaurants, VW Beetle taxis, an impressive 17th-century fort, a world-class botanical garden, cliff divers and the old town’s charming shady zócalo.
And when you tire of the crowds, secluded beaches such as Pie de la Cuesta are just a short trip away. Thanks to the dropping visitor numbers, Acapulco has now become an affordable place for a Mexican beach vacation. In an effort to lure back travellers, hotels here offer frequent discounts off their already reasonable rates. Once almost exclusively the province of foreign tourism, Acapulco feels much more Mexican these days than its flashier competing beach resorts.