Mexico City is the capital and largest city in Mexico. It’s also one of the largest and most dynamic cities in the world. Despite the fact that it’s hard to imagine ever running out of things to see or do in Mexico City, sometimes it’s nice to getaway for a few days. Mexico is known for having some of the most beautiful beaches and spectacular resorts in the world.
Mexico City is centrally located. Both the Pacific coast and Gulf coast beaches and resorts are no more than five or six hour’s driving time from the city. Much less time is needed if you choose to fly. There are frequent domestic flights between Mexico City and the resort cities of Acapulco and Veracruz.
Acapulco is one of Mexico’s original beach resorts. Nicknamed the Pearl of the Pacific, Acapulco originally gained popularity among Mexico City’s elite in the 1920’s when the two cities were first linked by a paved road. In the 1950’s Acapulco gained popularity among Hollywood celebrities and the city became a favorite resort destination among wealthy international vacationers.
During the 1970’s and 1980’s Acapulco’s popularity suffered as tourists flocked to the newer resorts that were popping up along the coast of the Yucatán Peninsula, however in the early 1990’s Acapulco launched an ambitious revitalization program and it’s popularity is once again on the rise.
In recent years the city has been affected by the violence surrounding the international drug trade but tourists are rarely at risk. To minimize the chance of being in the wrong place at the wrong time tourists should stick to the coastal resort areas and avoid visiting inland neighborhoods.
Likely one of the best known attractions in Acapulco is the show put on by the cliff divers at La Quebrada. Other favorite attractions include the San Diego Fort, Botanical Gardens, the Palma Sola Archaeological site and of course, the beaches.
Several stunning beaches sweep around the Bay of Acapulco offering up activities including snorkeling, boat trips and water sports. Diving is popular off the shores of nearby Roqueta Island. Acapulco’s beaches can get very crowded with visitors and vendors. For more peace and quiet head north along the coast to Pie de la Cuesta or south along the coast to Barra Vieja.
Veracruz is one of the more popular beach destinations along Mexico’s central Gulf coast. Unlike Acapulco, much of the tourism to Veracruz is domestic, although Veracruz does see it’s fair share of international visitors as well.
Veracruz hosts one of the largest Carnival celebration in the country making the nine days before Ash Wednesday a popular time to visit. The celebration includes daily parades, colorful costumes, fireworks, music, dancing, folklore shows and activities for the kids. It’s a great time to visit the city.
Other popular attractions in Veracruz include the Malecón, or waterfront walk, a lighthouse, fortress, several museums and the beaches. Boat tours out to the nearby sand bar Cancuncito or the Sacrifice Island nature reserve are favorite activities. It’s also possible to hire a lancha to tour the nearby mangrove forests running between Boca del Rio and Mandinga.
There are numerous accommodation and dining options in both cities. Acapulco is especially well-known for it’s nightlife. Frequent first class buses depart Mexico City for both destinations. Acapulco can be reached by bus from Mexico City’s Terminal Sur (5 hrs) or Terminal Norte (6 hrs). Veracruz can be reached by bus from Mexico City’s TAPO Terminal (5.5 hrs). Both routes travel along well-maintained major toll highways that lead from the city out to the coasts.