Acapulco (Guerrero state) Acapulco, the most famous of Mexico's seaside resorts, combines magnificent scenery with the comforts of a modern city. Sited on a beautiful bay ringed by mountains, Acapulco enjoys tropical weather, which varies little from an average annual temperature of 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
Even though the 50s are over and Elvis has gone to that great concert hall in the sky, Acapulco still swings. In terms of exciting nightlife, it can't be beat and it is a less expensive destination than Cancun.
A recent $12 million grant from the state of Guerrero allows for daily beach cleaning and water purification, among other programs. This follows a $25 million investment to clean up the bay.
The destination has some 17,000 hotel rooms located along the "Zona Hotelera" (hotel zone), a stone's throw from the Centro Acapulco, the cultural and convention center.
Mazatlan (Sinaloa state) Mazatlan sits on a Pacific coast peninsula. An old port city, at the turn of the 20th century it became the first of Mexico's Pacific ports to develop a tourist industry.
Now a year-round resort, Mazatlan has 35 miles of scenic coast offering varied water recreation and a beautifully restored, colonial downtown area. For the meeting planner, there are more than 150 hotels, with 9,800 rooms. Most of the hotels are located north of town, just 20 minutes from the airport. The biggest hotel in Mazatlan is El Cid, a small convention city unto itself. The resort has its own fishing fleet, golf course, and tennis club.
Meeting Needs, at a Glance Attractions: With an ideal winter climate and sandy beaches, Mazatlan offers water skiing, skin diving and deep-sea fishing. Sport fishing ranks among the best anywhere. There are also two championship golf courses as well as a botanical garden.
Puerto Vallarta (Jalisco state) Puerto Vallarta, a thriving resort on the bay, Bahoa de Banderas, combines a scenic locale with ample recreational facilities. Charming, stone-paved streets bordered by old, terra-cotta-roofed buildings contrast with more modern structures in the affluent section on the hillside. From the promenade along the shore, the Pacific Ocean is visible across the bay. The old town maintains a rustic, whitewashed charm. Puerto Vallarta has recently added a $65 million water and waste management facility, road improvements, and landscaping in public areas.
There are 16,000 rooms. Many new hotels are grouped together at the Marina Vallarta development between the airport and town. Officials are currently negotiating for a convention center.
Convention Centers: The Centro Acapulco has nearly 200,000 square feet of combined indoor and outdoor exhibition space, with meeting rooms for 7,000 attendees. A new alternative is the Copacabana Congress Center, next to the Copacabana hotel, with 3,500 square feet of exhibit space.
Attractions: Acapulco's reputation for wild nightlife is renowned. The fun usually begins around 11 p.m, after a long dinner, and lasts until the morning hours. Most activity centers on hotel bars, nightclubs, and discos.
Another celebrated attraction is "La Quebrada" where, from a torch-lit cliff, divers plunge 135 feet into a narrow cove bordered by treacherous rocks.
Newer attractions include high-speed boat tours, sport fishing, parasailing, and water-park excursions. For groups, evening receptions and events can be held at the old stone Fort San Diego, the bullring, or at a lovely seaside mansion.
Attractions: Puerto Vallarta has a lively nightlife. In nightclubs, hotel bars, and dance clubs, the music and mingling extend into the morning hours.
Shopping: The city is noted for its many attractive boutiques, especially along Avenida Juarez; unique artists' studio tours with half-day visits to the artists' homes; and whale watching from November to March.
A Little Romance * Place: Acapulco; Company: College Life Insurance
* Attendees: 80 employees
* Hotel: Hyatt Regency
Carolyn Griffin, Vice President of Human Resources & Convention Coordinator, College Life Insurance, Austin, Texas, used Roy Duckworth of Global Enterprises Inc. in Austin to help facilitate a special incentive trip:
"We held our sales meeting in Cancun because it has newer properties and extensive water sports, but when we wanted to reward a special group of top-performing employees (and their significant others), we chose Acapulco because it's so romantic--and our CEO and his wife love the area. Besides having more of a traditional Mexican feel, Acapulco's nightlife and restaurants can't be beat, and it's less expensive than Cancun."