It would be nice if there were more direct flights to Acapulco. Unfortunately, most visitors first have to fly into Mexico City and then connect for a flight into Acapulco’s Juan N. Alvarez International Airport (ACA). The Acapulco airport is about 15 miles southeast of the city, a drive that will take about 35 minutes. But the drive is an enjoyable one, since you’ll be heading through the Diamond Zone and you’ll be rewarded with some nice bay views. Most likely you’ll be arriving in the early evening, when Acapulco is just starting to light up for the night.
There is no train service to Acapulco.
Mexican buses can be surprisingly comfortable, with plush seats, movies, air-conditioning, snacks and restrooms—think business class on a plane. If you’re coming by bus, it’s a good chance you’ll be driving in from Mexico City, which is about a 5.5 hour bus ride (a 3.5 hour trip by car). You’ll have a choice of four bus stations in Acapulco: Terminal-Estrella de Oro Diamante, in the Diamond Zone; Terminal Estrella Blanca Papagayo, close to downtown; Terminal Estrella de Oro Cuauhtemoc, downtown; and Terminal Estrella Blanca Ejido in Colonia Carabali. (It’s not likely you’ll be heading to Carabali—its way off the tourism track).
The Acapulco cruise port is a busy one and one of the major stops on an itinerary that cruise lines are selling as the Mexican Riviera. The cruise terminal Jose Azueta is in downtown Acapulco right in front of historic Fort of San Diego and a short walk to the zocalo. Like all cruise ports, within steps from disembarking you’ll be bombarded with touters selling tours, frantic cab drivers and a few paces further, loads of shops and touristic restaurants. Most cruise ships spend less than a day in port, so it’s a dash if you want to see much of the destination.
At first glance, it would seem that driving around Acapulco would be easy, since it’s laid out along an ocean bay. How hard could it be? In fact, streets can change name suddenly—that’s if they even have street signs; parking is a pain in the neck, and traffic clips along at a brisk place. If you absolutely feel the need for your own wheels, major car rental companies are represented at Juan N. Alvarez International Airport, and your hotel can probably make arrangements for you.
Acapulco taxis swarm the city—as a passenger you’re definitely in a buyer’s market. There are a couple of things to remember. Always set a price with the driver before you set out—taxis are unmetered and the last thing you need is a toe-to-toe with your driver once you reach your destination. Also, if you have your hotel bellman hail your taxi, or if you pick one out of the lineup in front of your hotel, you’re going to pay more. To save some cash, walk a half-block and hail one on the street. Since taxis are in such oversupply, many drivers will arrange to pick you up later, or even wait outside the restaurant while you dine—without charging you waiting time. Tipping is optional, but if it’s been a good ride, or if the driver has helped with your luggage, giving a little extra is the nice thing to do.
When it comes to Acapulco transportation we have three words for you: taxi, taxi, taxi. They’re cheap and everywhere. If you’re pinching pennies, the buses are a great option, especially if you’re taking a straight shot down the main beachfront road, Costera Miguel AlemÃ¡n, which is often just referred to as “Costera.” There are plenty of bus stops, but since bus service is privatized, there’s a real hustle for your peso—drivers will pretty much stop on a dime to pick you up.
Acapulco transportation options also include colectivos, shared cabs which are larger vehicles that make a number of stops. These cram in the customers and are cheaper than taxis (about $1 for a fixed fare), and convenient if your final stop fits their itinerary.
Acapulco doesn’t have a metro system