Comparison Cancun vs Acapulco – Both beach destinations, Cancun is known for its nightlife and Caribbean beaches while Acapulco is a cheaper beach option.
While both Cancun and Acapulco are popular Mexico tourist destinations, Cancun gives you a shoreline of fancy hotels and Caribbean beaches while Acapulco is a more affordable beach destination compared to Cancun. Read here Acapulco vs Puerto Vallarta and Puerto Vallarta vs Mazatlan
We’ll go and compare vacations for each deeper in this post.
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Comparing Cancun vs Acapulco
Acapulco and Cancun are both known for their beautiful beaches, warm weather, and lively nightlife. Both destinations have a long history of tourism and have been popular vacation spots for decades. Acapulco got a lot of challenges to its reputation in the last several years. While Cancun gets a lot of tourists from the United States, Acapulco stayed a cheaper beach alternative to locals from all over Mexico and backpackers.
Cancun is located on the northeastern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, while Acapulco is located on the southwestern coast of Mexico. Cancun is closer to the United States and is easily accessible by air, while Acapulco is further south and is more accessible by car or bus.
Cancun is known for its wide, white sand beaches and crystal clear waters, while Acapulco’s beaches are rocky and the water is not as clear. Because of its rocky beaches, Acapulco is known for its diving cliffs. Cancun’s beaches are also more developed and have more amenities such as beach clubs and water sports, being located in the Caribbean. Blue waters are incomparable and one of the best in the world, if you’re looking for a lounge-on-the-beach experience.
Cancun has a tropical climate with warm temperatures year-round and less rainfall compared to Acapulco which is hot and humid with a rainy season from June to September.
Cancun has a lively nightlife scene with a variety of bars, clubs, and live music venues, while Acapulco’s nightlife scene is more centered on traditional Mexican dance shows and live music.
Cancun offers a wide variety of activities such as snorkeling, scuba diving, and visiting nearby Mayan ruins, while Acapulco is more known for its water sports like jet skiing, parasailing, and banana boat rides.
Cancun is home to many all-inclusive resorts, while Acapulco has a mix of all-inclusive and traditional hotels, and has more affordable options for accommodations and hotels compared to Cancun.
Cancun has a reputation for being a safe destination with a low crime rate, while Acapulco has faced safety concerns in recent years related to crime and violence. It is important for travelers to research and stay informed about the current situation before planning a trip.
Do people still take a vacation to Acapulco?
It is not a secret that tourism in Acapulco has faced challenges in recent years due to safety concerns related to crime and violence in the city. Some travelers may choose to avoid the destination as a result. It is advisable to check with the government travel advisory for the country before planning a trip.
Getting There – Cancun vs Acapulco
Getting There – Cancun
The main airport in Cancun is Cancun International Airport (CUN), which is located just outside of the city. There are direct flights to Cancun from several cities in the U.S., including Miami, Houston, Dallas, and Los Angeles. You can also fly to Cancun from other cities in Mexico and from several countries in Central and South America.
If you are traveling within Mexico, you can take a bus to Cancun from several cities in the country. There are several bus companies that operate routes to Cancun, and you can usually find tickets at reasonable prices.
Cancun is located on the eastern coast of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, and it is possible to drive to the city from other parts of Mexico or from the U.S. However, it is a long journey and may not be practical for most travelers.
Getting There – Acapulco
The main airport in Acapulco is the General Juan N. Álvarez International Airport (ACA), which is located about 15 minutes from the city center. Several major airlines offer direct flights to Acapulco from cities in Mexico and the United States, including Mexico City, Cancun, and Houston. 2
Acapulco is well-connected by bus to other major cities in Mexico, such as Mexico City, Morelia, and Guadalajara. Bus companies such as ADO and Estrella Roja offer regular services to and from Acapulco.
Acapulco is located on Mexico’s Pacific Coast Highway (Mexican Federal Highway 200) and is easily accessible by car from Mexico City, which is about 6 hours away. 4 By Train: There is no train service to Acapulco, The nearest train station is in Mexico City, if you decide to take the train to Mexico City, you will have to take a bus or a plane to get to Acapulco.
Cancun Beaches – Cancun vs Acapulco
Cancun is home to many beautiful beaches, each with its own unique features. Here are a few of the most popular beaches in Cancun and some top hotels to stay in each area:
This beach is located on the southern end of Cancun’s hotel zone and is known for its clear blue waters and long stretches of white sand. It is a great spot for swimming, sunbathing, and water sports. Some top hotels in this area include: The Ritz-Carlton Cancun, The Westin Lagunamar Ocean Resort, and The Grand at Moon Palace.
This beach is located in the heart of Cancun’s hotel zone and is known for its lively atmosphere and water activities. It is a great spot for swimming, snorkeling, and parasailing. Some top hotels in this area include The Grand Fiesta Americana, The Royalton CHIC Suites Cancun, and The JW Marriott Cancun Resort.
Playa Tortugas – Cancun vs Acapulco
This beach is located on the northern end of Cancun’s hotel zone and is known for its clear waters and family-friendly atmosphere. It is a great spot for swimming, sunbathing, and water sports. Some top hotels in this area include The Hard Rock Hotel Cancun, The Hyatt Ziva Cancun, and The Paradisus Cancun.
This beach is located on the eastern end of Cancun’s hotel zone and is known for its calm waters and secluded atmosphere. It is a great spot for swimming, sunbathing, and relaxing. Some top hotels in this area include: The Le Blanc Spa Resort, The Live Aqua Beach Resort, and The Beloved Playa Mujeres.
Other Top Things to do in Cancun
Cancun is a popular vacation destination in Mexico known for its beautiful beaches and warm, tropical climate. There are many things to do in Cancun, including:
Visit the beach: Cancun is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, with crystal-clear water and soft, white sands.
Explore the Mayan ruins
Cancun is located near a number of ancient Mayan ruins, including Tulum and Chichen Itza, which are both UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Go snorkeling or scuba diving
Cancun is home to the world’s second-largest coral reef, making it a great destination for snorkeling and scuba diving.
Go on a boat tour
There are many boat tours available in Cancun, ranging from sightseeing tours to fishing charters.
Visit Isla Mujeres
Isla Mujeres is a small island located just off the coast of Cancun. It is a popular day trip destination, with beautiful beaches and a charming, laid-back atmosphere.
Cancun is home to a number of shopping centers, markets, and boutiques, where you can find souvenirs and local handicrafts.
Visit a theme park
Cancun is home to a number of theme parks, including Xcaret, Xel-Ha, and Xplor, which offer a variety of activities such as snorkeling, zip lining, and swimming with dolphins.
Beaches in Acapulco to Visit for Tourists
This small bay is known for its clear waters and a variety of water sports available, such as jet skiing, parasailing, and banana boat rides. Condesa Beach
This wide beach is known for its lively atmosphere and plenty of restaurants and bars nearby. It’s a popular spot for tourists and locals alike, but it can get quite crowded during peak season.
This secluded beach is known for its excellent snorkeling and scuba diving opportunities. The beach is located in a more secluded area and therefore there is less of a crowd and more of a peaceful atmosphere.
Pie de la Cuesta
This long beach is known for its strong surf, and is popular with surfers and windsurfers. It’s located outside of the city and is more secluded, but it’s a great place to catch some waves and enjoy the scenery.
This wide beach is known for its calm waters, which make it ideal for swimming and sunbathing. It’s a popular spot with tourists and locals alike, but it can get quite crowded during peak season.
Other Top Things to Do in Acapulco
Acapulco is a city located on the Pacific coast of Mexico, known for its beaches, nightlife, and water sports. Here are some of the top things to do in Acapulco:
Visit La Quebrada
This is a popular spot to watch cliff divers perform acrobatic feats as they jump from the cliffs into the sea below. The divers light up the cliffs at night, making it a spectacular sight.
Explore the Old Town
The old town of Acapulco, also known as El Centro, is home to several historic sites and landmarks. Visitors can walk through the streets and see the city’s colonial-era architecture, visit the Cathedral of Our Lady of Solitude, and see the famous Acapulco Bay from the Mirador de la Quebrada.
Visit the Acapulco Botanical Garden
This beautiful garden is home to a wide variety of tropical plants and flowers, as well as a small zoo. Visitors can take a leisurely stroll through the garden, admire the plants, and see the animals. It is located on Costera Miguel Alemán, Acapulco, Guerrero.
Enjoy the Nightlife
Acapulco is known for its lively nightlife, with a variety of clubs, bars, and restaurants to choose from. Visitors can enjoy live music, dance the night away, or simply relax and enjoy the atmosphere. Some of the most famous nightlife spots in Acapulco are La Condesa, Papagayo and El Alebrije.
Take a Boat Tour
Boat tours are a great way to see Acapulco Bay and the surrounding area. Visitors can take a tour on a traditional Mexican boat called a “panga” or a luxury yacht and see the city from a different perspective.
Acapulco offers a variety of water sports, such as jet skiing, parasailing, and scuba diving. Visitors can also take a sailboat or catamaran tour and enjoy the beautiful scenery of Acapulco Bay.
Visit the Fort of San Diego
This historic fort is located in the heart of Acapulco’s old town and it offers visitors a glimpse into the city’s past. The fort has a museum that displays artifacts from the colonial era and visitors can also enjoy a panoramic view of the city from the terrace.
How much is One Week in Cancun for One person – Cancun vs Acapulco
The cost of a week-long trip to Cancun for one person will depend on a number of factors, including the time of year you are traveling, your accommodation, transportation, and activities.
In general, you can expect to spend anywhere from $500 to $2,500 or more for a week-long trip to Cancun, depending on your preferences and budget. Here are some estimates for the various costs you may incur during your trip:
Prices for accommodation in Cancun can vary widely, from budget hotels to luxury resorts. Expect to pay anywhere from $40 to $300 or more per night for a hotel room or vacation rental.
Cancun has an international airport, and you can find flights from many major cities in the U.S. and Canada. Prices for flights will vary depending on your origin city and the time of year you are traveling. Once you arrive in Cancun, you can get around by taxi or bus.
Cancun has a number of activities to choose from, ranging from sightseeing tours to water sports. Prices will vary depending on the activity, but you can expect to pay anywhere from $20 to $100 or more.
Food and drinks
Prices for food and drinks in Cancun can vary, but you can expect to pay anywhere from $10 to $50 or more for a meal at a restaurant.
Overall, it is a good idea to set a budget in advance and plan your trip accordingly. This will help you have a more enjoyable and stress-free vacation.
Cost per person for a week in Acapulco
The cost of a one-week trip to Acapulco can vary depending on factors such as travel dates, accommodation, and activities. However, on average, a one-week trip to Acapulco for one person could cost around $1000 – $1500 USD per person. This estimate includes the cost of accommodation, transportation, food, and activities.
Accommodation: You can find many options for accommodation in Acapulco, from budget-friendly hostels to luxury resorts. Prices can range from $20 – $50 per night for a budget-friendly hostel to $150 – $300 per night for a luxury resort.
Transportation: The cost of transportation in Acapulco can vary depending on how you choose to get around. Taxis and buses are relatively cheap, while renting a car or taking a tour can be more expensive.
Food: The cost of food in Acapulco can vary depending on where you choose to eat. Street food and local restaurants are relatively cheap, while fine dining can be more expensive.
Activities: The cost of activities in Acapulco can vary depending on what you choose to do. Visiting the beach is free while taking a boat tour or visiting a theme park can be more expensive.
It’s important to note that these are only estimates, and your actual expenses may vary depending on your travel style and preferences. To have a more accurate estimate it’s advisable to check the prices for the specific dates and places you plan to visit.
Estimate total for a week
Based on the information provided, a one-week trip to Acapulco for one person could cost an estimated total of $1000 – $1500 USD. This estimate includes the cost of accommodation, transportation, food, and activities.
Where to Stay – Cancun vs Acapulco
Top Hotels in Cancun
Cancun is home to a number of hotels, ranging from budget accommodations to luxury resorts. Here are some top hotels in Cancun:
Grand Velas Riviera Maya: A luxury all-inclusive resort located in the heart of the Riviera Maya, featuring a spa, fitness center, and multiple pools.
The Ritz-Carlton, Cancun: A luxury resort located on the beach, featuring a spa, fitness center, and multiple pools.
Le Blanc Spa Resort Cancun: An adults-only, all-inclusive luxury resort located on the beach, featuring a spa, fitness center, and multiple pools.
Hard Rock Hotel Cancun: A luxury, all-inclusive resort located on the beach, featuring a spa, fitness center, and multiple pools.
The Beloved Hotel Playa Mujeres: A luxury, all-inclusive resort located on the beach, featuring a spa, fitness center, and multiple pools.
The Westin Resort & Spa, Cancun: A luxury resort located on the beach, featuring a spa, fitness center, and multiple pools.
Hyatt Zilara Cancun: An adults-only, all-inclusive luxury resort located on the beach, featuring a spa, fitness center, and multiple pools.
Hilton Cancun Golf & Spa Resort: A luxury resort located on the beach, featuring a spa, fitness center, and multiple pools.
These are just a few examples, and there are many other hotels to choose from in Cancun depending on your preferences and budget.
Top Hotels in Acapulco
Fairmont Acapulco Princess: Located in the exclusive Diamante area of Acapulco, this luxury resort offers a private beach, multiple swimming pools, and a variety of dining options.
Banyan Tree Cabo Marques: This luxury resort is located on a hillside overlooking Acapulco Bay and offers private villas with infinity pools, a spa, and a variety of dining options.
Hotel Emporio Acapulco: Located in the heart of Acapulco’s traditional “Old Town,” this hotel offers easy access to the city’s historic and cultural attractions, as well as a swimming pool, a spa, and several dining options.
Hotel Costa Azul: This budget-friendly hotel is located in the heart of Acapulco’s traditional “Old Town” and offers a swimming pool, a terrace with views of the bay, and several dining options.
The Grand Mayan Acapulco: This luxury resort is located in the Revolcadero area and features a private beach, multiple swimming pools, a spa, and several dining options.
Las Brisas Acapulco: This iconic luxury hotel is located in the exclusive “Golden Zone” of Acapulco, and offers private villas with stunning views, a private beach, and several dining options.
Hotel Elcano: This budget-friendly hotel is located in the traditional “Old Town” of Acapulco and offers a swimming pool, a terrace with views of the bay, and several dining options.
Currency and ATMs in Mexico – Acapulco vs Cancun
Mexico has its own currency called the Mexican Peso. A $1 USD=19 MXN. There are lots of ATMs and exchange currency in many parts of the country. And you have to know that dollars is very common and well-accepted in the country.
Best Time to Visit – Cancun vs Acapulco
Best Time to Visit Cancun
There are 2 seasons dry and wet season. The rainy season starts in May. The best time to visit Mexico is from the months of November to April because it is the months of the dry season. However, lots of tourists prefer to travel from January to March since it’s not peak season but it can be rainy for a few days.
How many days is enough in Acapulco?
The length of your stay in Acapulco will depend on your interests and what you want to see and do. However, generally speaking, 3-5 days in Acapulco would be enough to experience the main highlights and activities the city has to offer.
During that time, you could visit the main tourist attractions such as La Quebrada, the Old Town, and the Botanical Garden, relax on the beach, take a boat tour, and enjoy the nightlife. You could also spend a day or two exploring the surrounding area and taking day trips to nearby towns or natural attractions.
However, if you want to experience more of what Acapulco has to offer, such as water sports or visiting more historical places, you may want to stay longer. Ultimately, the perfect length of your stay will depend on your personal preferences and how much time you have available.
What are the safest areas of Acapulco now?
Acapulco has faced safety concerns in recent years related to crime and violence, and it is important for travelers to take precautions and stay informed about the current situation. However, certain areas of the city are considered safer than others.
The areas that are considered safer in Acapulco include:
Zona Diamante (Diamond Zone)
This is the most upscale area of the city and is home to many of the luxury resorts, high-end restaurants, and exclusive shops. It is considered to be one of the safer areas of the city.
The beach area of Caleta and Caletilla
This area is known for its clear waters and excellent snorkeling and diving, and it is considered a safer area as it is frequented by tourists.
The Old Town
This area is also known as El Centro and is home to several historic sites and landmarks, it is considered safer as it’s a tourist area.
Areas to Avoid in Acapulco
As with any travel destination, there are certain areas of Acapulco that are considered to be more dangerous than others. It is important for travelers to be aware of these areas and take precautions to stay safe.
The areas that are considered to be less safe in Acapulco include:
The neighborhoods located away from the tourist areas, such as Colonia Costa Azul, Colonia Granjas México, and Colonia Guerrero. These areas have higher crime rates and are not as well-patrolled by the police.
The neighborhoods located on the outskirts of the city, such as Barrio de San Miguel, Barrio de Santa Teresa and Barrio de San Juan. These areas have higher crime rates and are not as well-patrolled by the police.
The beach area of Playa Revolcadero and Playa Hornos – These beaches have a reputation for high crime rates and have been known for muggings and thefts.
Final Thoughts on Cancun vs Acapulco – Which is the Better Vacation for You?
Erring on the safe side, we choose Cancun vs Acapulco, especially because of how beautiful the Caribbean beaches are in Cancun. If Cancun fits your budget (as it can get pretty expensive there), you’re happy to add a few itineraries like the ruins and pretty much stay in the hotel and resort area, Cancun may be a good fit for you. If you’re open to exploring Acapulco, it’s not bad to give it a chance as long as you’re aware of all the safety areas and you follow the safety protocols when traveling the country.
In our experience having extensively traveled in South America, avoiding being flashy with money or jewelry, being respectful and humble, staying in safe areas, and avoiding dark places unaccompanied, we always have a safe trip in the continent. Keep your common sense when traveling anywhere and you should be safe. Tell us which you ended up choosing and til our next guide!