Mexico : Safety by City
- Cabo San Lucas
- Chichen Itza
- Isla Holbox
- Isla Mujeres
- Los Cabos
- Mexico City
- Nuevo Laredo
- Piedras Negras
- Playa del Carmen
- Puerto Morelos
- Puerto Vallarta
- Queretaro City
- San Luis Potosi
- San Miguel de Allende
Acapulco, affectionately known as the “Riviera of Mexico,” is a city and port on the Pacific coast of southwestern Mexico, in the state of Guerrero.
Popular since the 1950s, Acapulco’s picturesque beaches and mountains, robust nightlife, and international clientele once attracted the likes of Elizabeth Taylor, John F. Kennedy, and Judy Garland.
Today, Acapulco remains a popular travel destination for Mexicans and international travelers alike.
However, despite its beautiful scenery and tantalizing tourist attractions, there are some important safety issues to consider before deciding whether a trip to Acapulco is right for your group.
To make sure you’re able to make a well-informed decision, please read on to learn the most recent information and recommendations about visiting Acapulco, Mexico.
Warnings & Dangers in Acapulco
OVERALL RISK : HIGH
Currently, the U.S. Department of State is advising that Americans not travel to the Mexican state of Guerrero, where Acapulco is located, due to both high levels of COVID-19 in the country, and rampant crime and kidnapping in Guerrero specifically.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : MEDIUM
It is advised that travelers rely on Uber and regulated taxi stands while visiting Acapulco. It’s safest to refrain from hailing cars on the street and to avoid traveling between cities after dark or traveling alone. Whenever possible, travel with a companion, travel during the day, and always let someone know where you are going if leaving the city area.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : HIGH
Thieves and pickpockets commonly frequent high-traffic tourist destinations, and prey on unsuspecting out-of-town visitors. For this reason, it’s important to be self-aware in public areas and to be sure that your valuables, money, identification, and important papers are always secured.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : LOW
The most likely natural disaster to affect Acapulco is an earthquake, however, this is very unlikely to be a factor during your trip. The most recent major earthquake to hit Acapulco was a 7.0 magnitude quake with an epicenter about 11 miles northeast of Acapulco in September of 2021. While some buildings were damaged, and some landslides and gas leaks were triggered by the earthquake, there was no major damage to the city or tourist areas.
MUGGING RISK : MEDIUM
Muggings can be common in Acapulco; however, tourists are not often the target of these crimes. To maintain your safety, be sure not to walk through secluded or dangerous areas alone at night. If you do find yourself a victim of a mugging, do not resist. Give the muggers what they are asking for to avoid the encounter becoming more violent. Losing some money is always better than putting your life at risk.
TERRORISM RISK : LOW
While there is a risk of terrorism in all high-traffic vacation areas, the relative risk of terrorism in Acapulco is quite low. Acapulco has not been a target of terrorist groups in the past, and there are currently no credible public threats against the area. However, as always, you should remain vigilant in crowded areas, just as you would in any city or tourist destination.
SCAMS RISK : MEDIUM
It’s not uncommon in Acapulco for unsuspecting tourists to be victims of a scam. Knowing what to look for can help you to avoid finding yourself in a scam situation. One common type of scam in Acapulco is locals pretending to be law enforcement and demanding money for something they’ve alleged you’ve done.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW
Acapulco poses the same type of risks present for female travels at any tourist destination but doesn’t demonstrate a high level of crime against women. Most of the crime in the state of Guerrero is related to gangs and drug cartels, so if you stay away from that type of activity, you shouldn’t be a target. However, women traveling alone to any destination should always be alert and aware of their surroundings.
TAP WATER RISK : HIGH
While locals may have no trouble drinking tap water, tourists are encouraged to stick to bottled water at all times. Mexican tap water, including in the Acapulco region, is known to cause gastrointestinal distress in people not used to drinking it. To avoid your trip being interrupted by stomach problems, steer clear of tap water.
Safest Places to Visit in Acapulco
The safest way to explore Acapulco is to make sure you remain in tourist areas, and refrain from wandering too far from the beaten path, especially at night, or on your own.
That said, there are many exciting places to visit within the tourist corridor.
One of the most popular Acapulco attractions is watching the clavadistas, or cliff divers, at Quebrada.
These daring young athletes put on several cliff-diving shows each day and are truly breathtaking to watch.
For something a little more subdued, try relaxing on one of Acapulco’s beautiful beaches.
For a memorable end to your day, you can gather with other tourists and locals to watch the sunset at Sinfonia del Mar, an outdoor theatre near the Quebrada.
Places to Avoid in Acapulco
To remain safe, avoid the less touristy areas of Acapulco, especially if traveling alone.
Residential areas of the city tend to have higher rates of both petty and violent crimes.
Additionally, do not venture out into other areas of Guerrero, as the state has a much higher crime rate than Acapulco itself.
Refrain from taking unlicensed taxis anywhere in the area and stick to reputable transportation companies recommended to you by the staff at your resort, or a police officer.
While there has been an increase in violent crime in Acapulco, much of this has been caused by drug trafficking, land rights, and conflicts between the cartels.
If you avoid the secluded and residential areas of the city, you should not encounter this type of threat.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Acapulco
- Choose the right resort. Before traveling, do your research. Be sure to choose a resort that not only meets your party’s needs, but also one that is reputable, well-reviewed by international travelers, and located in a safe area within Acapulco’s tourist district.
- Have a plan for getting from the airport to your resort. Before landing in Acapulco, know how you will travel to your hotel. Do not flag down an unregistered cab. Make sure to use a licensed taxi company, or hire a driver through a regulated platform, such as Uber.
- Make use of your in-room safe. Leave valuables, cash, and jewelry locked in your safe. Only take what you need for the day, including minimal amounts of cash. Avoid wearing expensive jewelry in public, as doing so can make you a target of thieves and pickpockets.
- Rely on your credit cards. Most restaurants and businesses will accept credit cards, particularly Visa and Mastercard. Rather than traveling with large amounts of cash, try to primarily use your credit card. Not only will this make you less of a target, but if your card is stolen or misplaced, it is much easier to cancel your card and order a new one than it is to recover stolen cash.
- Blend in. When out and about, try to keep a low profile. Don’t dress in a way that is too flashy, or automatically identifies you as a tourist. Don’t flash expensive electronics or purses, as this can make you a target for thieves. Try not to use travel books or tourist maps while exploring the city, especially after dark.
- Plan most of your activities during the daytime. Like many cities and urban areas around the world, Acapulco is generally safer during the day than it is at nighttime. Whenever possible, try to schedule your excursions and adventures during the day, and stay close to your resort after it gets dark.
- Don’t branch out on your own. Whether you’re vacationing on your own, or want to branch out from your party, refrain from exploring the city on your own. Whenever possible, explore with a partner. If you must travel on your own, stick to the tourist areas, and don’t go out alone at night.
- Avoid residential areas. Tourism is a main source of income for Acapulco, and even the drug cartels know it. For this reason, they will usually avoid tourist areas. Most violent crime happens in residential areas, away from visitors. To remain safe on your trip, stay away from quieter and more secluded residential neighborhoods.
- Limit travel between cities. While many Mexican cities are popular international vacation destinations, traveling from one to the other often means crossing through dangerous rural areas of the country, where crime rates are higher. If you must travel between cities, stick to the main roads, and try to stay in populated areas.
- Be vigilant. As in any international city, the best way to stay safe is to remain vigilant. Don’t have your head buried in a guidebook or focused on your smartphone. Look around. Know where you are at all times. Be aware of exits in public places. Keep an eye out for suspicious activity. The most powerful tools in maintaining your personal safety are awareness and common sense.
So... How Safe Is Acapulco Really?
Although relatively safe in tourist-heavy areas, Acapulco is not a safe place to visit at the present time.
The U.S. Department of State has issued a level four travel advisory for the Mexican state of Guerrero, where Acapulco is located.
This is the highest level of advisory, labeling Guerrero as a “Do Not Travel” destination.
This is due to widespread crime and kidnapping throughout the state, including Acapulco. U.S. Government employees are currently forbidden from entering Acapulco, which means it would be difficult to receive U.S. Government assistance if you were the victim of a crime during your visit.
Additionally, the Department of State has issued a level three warning (“Reconsider Travel”) for the entire country of Mexico, due to high rates of COVID-19 infection.
Effective December 6, 2021, all travelers boarding international flights to the United States must show a negative COVID-19 test result taken no more than 24 hours before departure, according to the CDC.
While traveling, masks must be worn on airplanes, and at airports within the United States.
Due to both the high rate of violent crime in Guerrero and the prevalence of COVID-19 throughout Mexico, it is not currently safe to visit Acapulco.
If possible, consider rescheduling or postponing your trip until a later date.
If you can’t alter your travel plans, be sure to take every safety precaution possible, and practice smart COVID-19 prevention, such as frequently washing your hands, social distancing, and wearing a face mask when appropriate.
How Does Acapulco Compare?
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- Visas - Visas are not required when vacationing in Acapulco unless your trip will last more than 180 days. Instead, if staying in Mexico longer than 72 hours, U.S. tourists must buy an FM-T or tourist card. If you’re flying, this is most likely included in the price of your ticket. If you’re entering via land or sea, a tourist card can be purchased for around $20 at Mexican border crossings, consulates, or tourism offices.
- Currency - The currency in Acapulco is the Mexican Peso (MXN.) Though the exchange rate fluctuates, as of December 2021, $1.00 USD equals roughly 20 pesos. If possible, it’s best to exchange your money for pesos at home before traveling. Additionally, many tourist locations in Acapulco accept the U.S. dollar, as well as major credit cards.
- Weather - Acapulco features a tropical climate, with an average daily temperature of about 82 degrees. Average lows and highs range from approximately 76 to 88 degrees year-round. The year is split into a dry season, which lasts from November through May, and a rainy season, stretching from June through October. Due to the consistently warm temperatures, it’s advised to pack lightweight summer clothes, perhaps with a warmer outfit or two for the cooler nights.
- Airports - The closest airport to Acapulco is General Juan N. Alvarez International Airport, located about 26 kilometers from the city center. The easiest and safest way to get from the airport to your destination is by hiring a licensed taxicab or using a rideshare service, such as Uber.
- Travel Insurance - There are many different companies that provide trip and travel insurance with varying degrees of coverage and at different price points. If you are interested in protecting your trip in the event that you must cancel or postpone, it’s advised to purchase travel insurance upfront, either through a travel agent, or other reputable sources.
Acapulco Weather Averages (Temperatures)
Average High/Low Temperature
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25 Reviews on Acapulco
My experience at the border
Went to Juarez for a few hours in the morning had fun they never even asked me for my ID. I had issues on the U.S side I was accused by ICE of transportating drugs and crimes that I did not do. I have no criminal history. Not advisable to go unless you have a week or so to go through customs.
Bull, went many years ago and never had any problems getting through customs or any
I have traveled here multiple times I have family who lives in Acapulco and have been all over the city and have never once ran in to any issues. When traveling ANY were just travel smart. I live in Oregon, even when you go out of state you have to be cautious. If you aren’t looking for trouble, acting respectfully, and paying attention to your surroundings you will have a safe and relaxing trip. 🙂 highly recommend imperial Mundo hotel and Acasol! Don’t forget to watch the cliff divers at La Quebrada 👍🏼
My daughter n I want to visit Acapulco but I’m wondering is it safe to go, we were thinking of going in March or april. Is old Acapulco safe?
I have been going every year since 1999 in February or March. I recommend staying at Las Brisas
Great Question....Not an Easy Answer
I grew up going to Acapulco because I had family members living their in the winters. The weather is great. The views are incredible. It is not what it used to be. I have been there 3 or 4 times over the last couple of years and I have had a number of uncomfortable experiences. It comes with the territory. I suggest staying in Costa Azul, near Las Brisas or Diamante. La Isla Mall is great and the restaurants are very good in the Diamante area. Going further downtown brings more risk at night. The Acapulco Princess still is a great hotel. I like Hotel Elcano or Dreams Acapulco which used to be the Hyatt. Dreams is an all inclusive packaged rate. It is very helpful if you speak Spanish. Almost a necessity. Here are some of my experiences.
1. I was pulled once for taking a left hand turn in the wrong lane. It was my fault because of a strange extra turning lane that is on the right of the main road in Diamante. The motorcycle police officer was nice and let me go but later changed his mind. He wanted to take my license and give me a ticket. I gave him about $75 ($1,500 pesos) to get rid of him.
2. I was pulled over for supposedly going through a red light but that is not what I recall. The motorcycle police officer wanted to take my license and give me a ticket. He showed me a list of infractions and what they cost. I paid him the cost which was around $1,000 pesos). They are able to recognize rental car license plates. That is what I was told. They look for the Gringos.
3. At 2 AM near Diana Circle, there was a car chase with the second car shooting at the front car. The innocent drivers pulled over and let them do their business, take a right turn going toward the highway into the hills. Everyone got back on the road and drive away like nothing happened. Absolutely true.
4. I was sitting at an outside table at the Starbucks in Costa Azul on the Costera near Sanborns. Across the street, on the side going toward the hills, there were gun shots and two three cab drivers will killed. It was on the side street and the shooters must have run away from the Costera because there are Military Police in Jeeps driving around with machine guns consistently. They ran away. I did nothing. I wasn’t interested in letting them ruin my latte and I knew the shooters would not run into the Costera. People just went about this business after it happened.
The shootings occur but they are not seemingly related to tourists.
People on the street and also that work at hotels who will very possibly ask you for money. It is understandable why. DO NOT TAKE CABS WITH THE YELLOW STRIPES. Those are cabs that take multiple passengers and mainly for the locals. Take the ones that are white with the blue stripes. It is beautiful city. It really is. Unfortunately, it has its baggage. If you decide to go, stay in the areas that I mentioned and you should be fine. Enjoy!!
The most magical place in the world.
I feel sad for people who don’t go to Acapulco because of fear. They are missing out on the most magical place in the world.
You say you go to Tulum and Playa del Carmen because Acapulco is dangerous. I’ve been telling you for years that Tulum and Playa are now way more dangerous and that the media is paid by the tourism board of the state of Quintana Roo where Tulum, Cancun and playa are. There is a lot of investment there so they don’t tell you what happens.
Don’t forget how dangerous it is also in your home town. Just be safe no matter where you go!!!
Lived here for 20 years and only seen 1 shooting in person. Been there 2 weeks and seen two on the same weekend. I think the choice is clear. You can stay there and not try to convince ldiots to go there
You are not in control
Most crimes happen out of your control. You act like you have full control of what criminals do.
Best 30 year destination
I went there for over 30 years and am reluctant to go back. Always stayed at the Princess and it was like coming home for us, people knew our names and always went into the city to eat and have fun. Loved going to Paradise and pretending it was my birthday, haha. First trip was 1978, last was 2004
We own a Beachfront High rise Condo in Acapulco for 13 years now, I been traveling there for over 25 years,, I seen it in Good times and in their bad times, I never personally had any safety issues there, I love it there the People are hard working and Friendly The Bay there is Beautiful , the Beaches are Beautiful, they have many outstanding Restaurants , I personal feel we have just as much crime there as we do in the States , Yes there are areas you definitely show stay clear of just like here in the States ,, I take my Family and Friends there and share the Beauty with them, If I felt unsafe I surely wouldn’t take my loved ones there,,
Do they offer English writing lessons there?
Best comment ever! ROTF
Please take me! I love Acapulco!
Had a wonderful trip until I was decapitated. Minor inconvenience. Best to ignore such trivialities. Looking forward to going again and due to my recent bodily modification, movie goers sitting behind me complain a whole lot less.
Seriously, go to Acapulco if you want to experience real Mexico where tourism doesn’t influence everything. Guadalajara is another example. The cliff divers of Quebrada are boring. Hard to believe athletes can be so chubby. Risking their lives for the amusement of tourists. Should be illegal. The women are gorgeous, family life thrives, the men and women are dedicated to their families, the children have much hope for the future thanks to ample parental support, the history of Mexico is deep and fascinating, the culture rich in complexity and irony…..all in all a swell place to go.
Hide your MOST of your money well though always have at least $20 for muggers, don’t display ANY signs of wealth like a camera or phone, practice sprinting, wear shoes good for walking/running in case of an emergency, don’t eat junk food, get lots of sleep….normal precautions when you travel anywhere so you’re full of energy and well rested.
If you like water snorkel at La Roqueta island (OK visibility), see crashing beach surf at Pie de la Cuesta, try body surfing at Playa Revolcadero, get food at the huge downtown market and above all else, if you feel sick do NOT take pills. Rather find a source of purified water and drink only that at room temperature for a of couple days until you feel better. Then you’ll build an immunity to the bacteria/virus that made you sick. Pills are useless.
If you have some time Zihuatanejo to the north and Puerto Escondido to the south and Huatulco south of that are relatively close and very different. All well worth seeing.
Be a traveller, not a toursit, talk in depth to the locals, learn a few popular Spanish slang words to break the ice and you’ll have an experience you’ll never forget instead of a mad dash of escapism to get a break from a dreaded job.
Of all the comments, on all the ex pats in Mexico forums, yours is hands down the best! And most informative…
Could I possibly pick your brain?
Need to be pointed in the direction of a forum containing boots on the ground ex pats and good data including where to search (online) for affordable furnished 6 month accommodations?
I’m an older Canadian gringa. Unafraid of possible decapitation.
Would you known of a “locals Acapulco” site I can peruse for solid info? Cannot find ANY such board…
San Miguel has an “ex pat” (former yahoo groups) site, however terribly boring frightened elderly folks post nonsense, daily. Double or single vaccinated, driving to the border for booster shots, local mask, social distancing and Covid protocols, as well as announcements about the latest R.I.P.
There will be an ex pat celebration of “life”. Please wear your mask and kindly show your vax passport to our Covid Ambassador who’ll be stationed at the entrance?
I believe I would die quickly there too. Of boredom.
I have zero interest in relocating there.
Nothing about PV ever interested me either.
That leaves Puerto Escondido. (Wondering whether the main street is still dirt?)
Now there’s a city which holds a lot of attraction for me.
Would Acapulco Bob, or anyone else, kindly reply to my query?
Muchas Gracias por su ayuda.
Just got back home to Vancouver tonight.
I couldn’t sleep unless I voiced my opinion on the beautiful destination of Acapulco.
I’m happy to dispel ( in my opinion)any notion of this being a dangerous town( at least where the tourist areas are)
From what I hear, the new mayor has made a huge clean-up of the town’s
It’s a very clean city
I’m already planing on booking my return back there! Lols
Safe for everyone using common sense.
P.S. : Hotsson Smart is beautiful great hotel!
Go and enjoy / Book now
Be ahead of the masses, this town defiantly is on its way to making a comeback!
acapolco is safe
one of the most beautiful city in the world and a beautiful bay sunsets are the best in the world, just be sensible, we felt very safe at the beach walking around, food is great people are nice very nice, been all over Mexico Acapulco is the most beautiful city in Mexico don’t worry be happy.
Acapulco Beachfront Condo Fabulous View! Affordable Too!
A favourite place in the tropical sun is here at my Affordable Acapulco Beachfront Condo with fabulous views right on Acapulco Bay! The studio’s panoramic 270 degree view of Acapulco Bay, city lights and Sierra Madre mountains is candy to my eye. For the past 14 years, it has allowed me to write novels and paint local scenes in peace and total privacy. From my very private terraza, I watch the sun rise in the morning while having breakfast. Perhaps later, viewing a sailing regatta, a cruise ship arrival, fascinating marine life in the reef below. Take in a museum, an old historic fort and maybe some markets, mariachi bands with lunch at a beachside restaurant. Beach time or pool time might round out the afternoon. Then, as the city lights begin to sparkle, watching the very colorful sunset while having dinner on my terraza with the golden illumination of the navy’s sailing ship lit up and the dazzling displays of fireworks from weekend dinner celebrations ringing Acapulco Bay. I have other favorite places which are similar in lifestyle – an Aloha Beach Condo in Kona on the island of Hawaii and a mountaintop aerie overlooking a panorama from Vancouver’s snow-capped Coastal Mountains, towards Seattle and the Olympic Mountains, all from above Victoria harbor on Vancouver Island in Canada.
Much better than it was.
“Going further downtown brings more risk at night.”
Nah, I disagree. I own a place at the end of the Costera by Playa Caleta. Pretty much anyplace along the Costera (main road along the bay) are equal in terms of safety. My area is just quieter at night, nothing to do for tourists. Most of the tourist action at night runs from the Naval Base to just before Park Papagayo, then dies out. Though the area by the Zocalo is picking up again in the evenings with locals.
I love Caleta. I lived over there with my Mexican husband. I loved how quiet it was but if you wanted to hit the strip it wasn’t far. I really miss it!! I’m going for the month of February and will definitely take a trip over for old times sake. See if my favourite restaurant on tye beach is there.
I’ve been going to Acapulco for past 7 yrs. I LOVE. Have many friends there now. Did not go this yr. because of Covid .Miss being there. I’m SAD.
May I share that Acapulco keeps calling me; 2 visit again, and again, despite not being there, for 15 yrs. Wish me success; bc, I am planning 2 return.
I LOVE ACAPULCO!!❤️❤️
I LOVE Acapulco. I have been going since 1985. Yes it has changed immensely which is sad but it’s still my beautiful Acapulco. I lived there for six months from 1989 to 1990 and have been there 33 times. I was married to a man from there. Unfortunately that didn’t work out but through him I saw the real Acapulco and it’s amazing. The people are warm, good hearted, hard working and would give you the shirt off their sometimes very poor backs. Also very hospitable. You have to keep your wits about you but the main thing is to be respectful and kind to the locals. They will be a friend forever if you are. You have to see things from their side too. They see people coming on vacation from other countries like Canada, the US, Europe, etc. They see the money we have. My friends all work at bars and restaurants and they rely on tips so tipping them well goes a long way. It’s a beautiful, magical place and I doubt you’d be sorry you went. Stay at your resort and if you go on tours make sure they’re arranged through your hotel. If you go outside your resort or hotel just stick to the Costera (the main strip) and you will be fine. There is a strong military presence on the streets but that made me feel safer. They actually looked really bored so I asked to get a picture taken with them. Lol. That made their night. I feel nowhere is totally safe these days so honestly you should be fine there. I’m going for the month of February. I’m staying at the HS Hotsson which is a beautiful hotel, all inclusive, on the main strip and close to everything. I hope this helps anyone thinking about going. You will love it.
I live in Acapulco…and American widowed female …when my husband was alive we were here every winter…became pregnant with my oldest son here and he is 50!
I am from NYC.. apartment in Manhattan… so maybe is am used to being in a busy
city … like anywhere else in the world you don’t do stupid things… do I walk down the mountain myself at night … no … just the same way I am cautious in NYC!
The people of this city are lovely … do you come across idiots…yes … but duh NYC is loaded with them!
The weather is amazing … the vistas are sensational… great food..lovely people…much more courteous than most people from NYC!