Port of Acapulco
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With a population of 1.6 million people, Acapulco has been relentlessly developed, and there is little hint of its early origins. Longtime visitors may grumble that the area has lost its charm, but with its lovely, natural setting, rising from the blue bay up into the Sierra Madre mountains that frame it, Acapulco remains an undeniable scene-stealer.
Where You're Docked
Cruise ships tie up at a pier in Old Acapulco -- just below the Fort of San Diego -- which was built in the 1600's. It's a terrific location; the center of Old Acapulco is a few blocks to the west, and the bay beachfront is just steps away to the east. An interesting factoid: Our ship rolled more at this dock than at almost any other time during our cruise of Mexico's Pacific coast. (It was gentle, though still quite noticeable.) You may not see them, but deep swells and impressive tides are characteristic of this magnificent harbor.
Good to Know
With Mexican drug crime a staple in the news today, it's no wonder that security is a cause for concern. What most foreign visitors don't realize, until they sample a place like Acapulco for themselves, is that tourist districts are under heavy guard -- and have been for years. Armed police are a huge (and, frankly, comforting) presence on the street, at the pier and in patrol boats that stand sentry over cruise ships while they are in port. That's not to say you shouldn't take the same precautions you would in any other city: don't wear flashy jewelry or watches or carry excessive amounts of cash, and steer clear of deserted beaches or streets after dark.
Currency & Best Way to Get Money
Mexico's currency is the peso. Visit XE.com for current rates. ATM's are plentiful and tend to be the cheapest way to acquire pesos. However, most taxis and vendors will accept U.S. dollars or euros, and guides are happy to be tipped that way. Credit cards are not generally accepted in small family restaurants or tiny shops. To be on the safe side, ask first.
Spanish. Surprisingly, little English is spoken, except in the finer hotels, restaurants and shops in the tourist district. Many eateries do, however, have English translations on the menu.
There is no lack of artesano markets that sell embroidered textiles, hand-painted ceramic plates, masks of the region, wooden carvings and silver from Taxco, one of the world's silver capitals. To ensure its authenticity, make sure the silver is stamped .925. There are all manner of shops on Avenida Costera Miguel Aleman, the boulevard that hugs the bay. One popular market on the strip is La Diana Mercado de Artesanias. Be prepared to barter; shops, however, have set prices. There are also lots of souvenir shops in Old Acapulco. Sanborns, a chain well-known throughout Mexico, sells souvenirs and a host of other products. There's a store on Costera Miguel Aleman, three blocks west of the marine terminal.
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