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?
|Playa del Carmen
|Cabo San Lucas
|Hong Kong (China)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
|Temperature / Month