Though you chose Acapulco for its beautiful beaches and exciting nightlife, the Fort of San Diego (or El Fuerte de San Diego) provides a fine, air-conditioned dose of cultural enrichment perfect for the entire family.
The fortress itself, though small, is an excellent example of classic Spanish defensive architecture, built in 1616 to repel increasingly brazen attacks by British pirates on the deep-water port. Its five photogenic stone arms topped with turrets, once protected galleons that connected the Americas to Asian ports.
Today, they are filled with objects from that era, a part of the Museo Histórico de Acapulco. The permanent collection is solid, and the museum also exhibits shows traveling from elsewhere in Mexico.
The Fort of San Diego is unmissable, its stone fortifications splayed across the strategically important point at the end of Playa Hornos, guarding the deep natural port that today hosts enormous cruise ships. While you can usually find English-speaking guides at any time, call ahead to make sure. An English-language version of a costumed historical presentation, held in Spanish Thursday – Saturday evening, can also be arranged. The fortress is free on Sundays.