Once a sanctuary to stars like Frank Sinatra, John Wayne and Brigitte Bardot, Acapulco became a victim of its own success by the 1970s, growing overcrowded and sleazy. Then in 1997, Hurricane Pauline devastated the city. Today, 12 years into its reconstruction, Acapulco is poised for comeback, set to reclaim its crown as the Mexican destination of choice.
Eat: Chef Eduardo Palazuelos studied for months in Thailand before opening Zibu (above), a Mexican-Thai fusion restaurant that sits on the bluffs overlooking the southern bay. Shrimp Lollipops and Young Coconut Broth taste even better when you’re basking in the warm Pacific breeze.
Sleep: Rooms at the newly renovated Fairmont Pearl offer acres of space. Five pools means tough decisions, but our favourite spot is the shaded salt-water haven with caves, accessed by swimming behind a pounding waterfall.
Shop: Bring a long string to El Parazel market: The layout, it seems, was inspired by a plate of spaghetti. Haggle for sturdy double-knit hammocks and hand-painted ceramics, available for the price of a beer.
Dance: Avoid Disco Beach and its loudly advertised foam parties. Instead, loosen up your hips and shake a tail with the locals at B&B Disco in Caleta (the old section of town).
Drink: La Concha Club is reserved exclusively for guests of the astoundingly romantic Las Brisas Hotel (a.k.a., the Baby Factory). But unbeatable views of Acapulco Bay, a serene pool area and near-perfect tumblers of Mezcal mean it’s well worth the cost of entry.