Acapulco's history stretches far back before the city became Mexico's most popular tourist destination. Its location on Mexico's Pacific coast made it a key port, especially since the Spanish government of the day decreed that any goods imported from Asia had to pass through Acapulco.

In the 1600s, church bells would herald the arrival of a galleon from the Philippines, loaded with silk, porcelain and spices. The ship would then be loaded with Mexico's abundant silver, and head for home. Of course, it wasn't long before pirates figured out that this was a good place for easy booty, prompting the government to build a garrison known as Fort San Diego. The fort serves to this day as one of Acapulco's prime historical attractions.

Acapulco's transformation to a tourism capital began in the 1920s, when Edward VIII Prince of Wales visited and immediately attracted the usual royal "wannabes" and hangers-on. Development was slow until the 1950s, when a Texas entrepreneur began serious tourism development and attracted the elite crowd from North and Central America.

Sitting on a wide, beach-lined bay, Acapulco now attracts a wide range of vacationers: families, singles, seniorsnd of course, some of the current elite. The beaches and famous cliff-divers remain the prime attractions, joined by markets, a great selection of restaurants, and a pulsating nightlife.

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Paul LeBel