Though it may not seem possible, there are even more restaurants than hotels in Acapulco. To eat cheaply, though, you're confined to the area around the zocalo. Places actually on the square tend to be quite expensive but are great for lingering over breakfast at an outdoor table and watching the world go by. Cheaper places nearby are nothing special but you won't go hungry.

Eating by the beach - where there's some kind of restaurant at every turn - is of course very much more expensive, and increasingly so as you head east, but, if you have the cash to spare, many of these places, along with the fancy tourist traps between the hotels, are very good. Throughout the tourist zone, especially along Costera, 100 Natural, a chain of 24-hour "healthy" eating places, serve good salads, fruit shakes, burgers and the like at grossly inflated prices. Less healthily, you can choose from McDonald's, KFC, the Hard Rock Cafe and the raucous Mexican fun bars Iguanas Ranas, Carlos 'n' Charlie's and Senior Frogs.

One thing to look out for wherever you are on Thursday is pozole, a hearty pork and vegetable stew, served up almost everywhere. No one seems to be able to explain why, butjueves pozolero is now an institution.

In the Center

El Amigo Miguel Juarez 31. Two locations at the junction of Juarez and Azueta, both serving good seafood at reasonable prices in clean, if harsh, surroundings.

Cafeteria Asturia Inland end of zocalo. Quiet cafe, cheaper than the El Flor, tucked just off the plaza. Good coffee and light meals.

Braseritas On Costera a block and a half west of the zocalo. The best of a series of cheap restaurants in this and the next block, serving bargain breakfasts and a respectable range of seafood.

Fat Farm Juarez 10, a block west of the zocalo. Inexpensive tourist-oriented restaurant with a central patio that's good for idling over breakfast, though the food often fails to match expectations. Book swap.

El Flor de Acapulco On the zocalo. Good for Mexican dishes, cocktails or just a coffee. Not the cheapest on the square but a pleasant spot to linger, and a popular meeting place for travellers.

Restaurant Del Puerto On Juarez a block from the zocalo. Perhaps the best budget restaurant in the area. Good-value comidas corridas all day for $3.

Along Costera

Tropicana Copacabana Just east of Parque Papagayo on Costero. One of a series of similar restaurant-bars that tend to play cumbia, merengue and salsa as much as American rock. Try also Horizonte and Amigo Miguel.

Pasteleria Viena On Costera just past Diana Glorieta. Tiny place for cake, coffee and great ice cream for much less than the neighboring Baskin-Robbins. Daily until 11 p.m.

Los Tres Amigos Mexicana Just east of the Diana Glorieta. Just one of many al fresco places in this area which start out as restaurants in the early evening then turn into raucous bars around happy hour. Try also Taboo and Disco Beach.

Dino's On Costera just beyond Diana Glorieta (74/84-00-37). Fancy, expensive and very good Italian restaurant with pretty much the full range of Italian dishes (minus pizza) and a smattering of international meals.

Doija Blanca Behind Big Boy Burgers, opposite Plaza Bahfup to $8. Buffet-style place where you help yourself to almuerzo, comida and cena. There's nothing gourmet, but it is filling.

Cocula Opposite the Centro Cultural. Moderate to expensive restaurant right on Costera, dishing up huge tasty breakfasts and specializing in grilled chicken.