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Acapulco Ready and Waiting to Welcome Tourists Again

Colorful homes and boats sit alongside Tres Palos Lagoon.
Colorful homes and boats sit alongside Tres Palos Lagoon.

When Hurricane Otis hit Acapulco, MX this past October, it left a path of destruction in its wake. What that Category 5 storm did not diminish, however, was the spirit of the Mexican people who are not only recovering from the storm, but are opening their doors to the whole world while they rebuild.

This was much in evidence at Tianguis Turístico, the annual tourism show that rotates between Mexican cities each year. Scheduled well before the hurricane hit, it was thought that the event, which attracts buyers and exhibitors from 40 countries, would need to be canceled due to the damage. But the people and the city rallied to make sure that those who attend Mexico’s biggest tourism event would get to enjoy all that the “Pearl of the Pacific” had to offer.

Like with any natural disaster, some areas of the city were harder hit than others, and there are some accommodations that have not yet reopened. However, there are still plenty of wonderful places to stay, from the Hotel Emporio, located in the city’s Golden Zone, right on the beach and in the heart of the Diana District, to the more secluded Las Brisas Resort, nestled among the hills overlooking Acapulco Bay.

Each month, more hotels reopen, and as of March 15, 2024, 8,326 rooms were available in 180 hotels—2,797 more than the previous month.

Lounging on my patio at Las Brisas—where each bungalow-style room has its own swimming pool—it was easy to see why so many people are attracted to this shining city. The views are amazing, whether you’re looking at the boats cruising Acapulco Bay or at the twinkling lights of the city sheltered by the bay. The sunsets are nothing short of spectacular, and the weather…well, let’s just say that I was not anxious to leave the 84 degree days and constant sunshine to return to a rainy Pittsburgh spring.

Las Brisas is also home to the La Concha Beach Club, so if you’d prefer to enjoy the day in a more social setting, you can do that as well at the swim-up bar, pool, or either of two saltwater swimming grottos. And the resort’s pink Jeeps, which chauffeur you all around the property, make it easy to visit all that this oasis has to offer.

Many of the city’s restaurants are open and serving customers, and foodies can enjoy seafood fresh out of the ocean accompanied by other local delicacies. I ate some of the best fish that I’ve ever had at Las Gaviotas II and at Wahoo, and dining outside enjoying the cooling breeze just added to the ambiance of each experience. Amazing views accompanied the delicious local dish, pozole, at El Nido restaurant, which is located in Papagayo Park at the viewpoint of Cerro del Mogote. There, some of the wildlife was so close that you could almost touch it—we had to shoo a few curious iguanas away from our lunch. They may also have wanted to sample the local Alquimista Mezcal Artesanal that we enjoyed, which served as a delicious accompaniment to the meal and the mariachi music played by a local band.

For those wanting to get away from it all, a guided boat tour of Tres Palos Lagoon provides a serene look at the wildlife and the diverse ecosystem located just a short distance from the city. Silently cruising through the mangroves, it’s easy to spot beautiful white herons and matte-black cormorants, and you don’t even need binoculars as they are right there on the water. Our guide talked about the healing mud of the lagoon, and several of our boat’s passengers leapt out to slather it on in hopes of taking advantage of its medicinal properties.

A quick drink of fresh coconut milk—so fresh that the coconut was cracked open right in front of me—made for the perfect ending to this rejuvenating trip.

One of the must-dos while in Acapulco is to spend an evening watching the La Quebrada cliff divers at Mirador Hotel, where you can pay a small fee to go down on the cliffs, or sit on the balcony of the hotel for a bird’s-eye view. This awe-inspiring sight used to be shown on ABC’s Wide World of Sports in the 1970s, but to see it in-person is an entirely different experience. Divers—some as young as 14—plunge into the water from rocks 135 feet above, timing their dives with the waves crashing into the gulch below. They even dive at night, carrying torches as they make their descent.

You will be in good company at the hotel, as hundreds of famous celebrities—both Mexican and American—have left their signatures on the walls. Starting in the 1950s, the Mirador became a popular getaway for Hollywood stars, including Elizabeth Taylor, Yul Bryner, Veronica Lake, Jose Feliciano, Clint Eastwood, Roy Rogers (and Trigger) and more.

If you’ve been thinking of visiting Acapulco, now is a great time to do it as they are not only ready to welcome visitors again, but your tourist dollars will continue to help the city rebuild. To find out what’s open and where to go, check out

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