Things and Places to Avoid in Acapulco and Mexico

To avoid getting into trouble and avoiding scams in Acapulco, the general rule of thumb is to walk away from anyone who comes up to you and offers you something, unless you already know and trust that person. This section of the Travel Acapulco guide includes a list of things and places that you may want to avoid, along with some general safety tips.

Airport Scams: Nothing spoils a vacation like having your luggage stolen or getting ripped off on your first day. If you are new to Acapulco, do yourself a favor and make sure you have a trusted means of transportation to your hotel.

Blue Shirts: Along the main strip, especially around Plaza Bahia, you will see many men in bright blue (or peach colored) shirts. These men will appear to be very helpful and will offer you just about anything you are looking for (and many things you aren't). However, the vast majority of these men are scam artists who will cheat you out of your money. To save time, you might also want to avoid the timeshare salespeople from the Mayan Palace.

Drugs: Much of the crime and nearly all of the deaths that I have heard about in Acapulco somehow involve drugs. Walking along the main strip and the beaches, you will be approached by small-time drug dealers whispering and sometimes boldly offering you drugs. I hate to use this cliché, but just say no. It's far too dangerous for too many reasons.

Prostitutes: Technically, prostitution is NOT legal here, but it certainly exists and supposedly is regulated / controlled by the government to some extent. At night you will see prostitutes along the La Condesa strip. Better entertainment can be found in the strip clubs.

Acapulco Police  

Police: You have no doubt heard horror stories about the Mexican police and Mexican jails. They hold true in Acapulco. If you feel that you need to go to the police for some reason, it's probably a better idea to go to your Embassy instead. The ones in blue uniforms (on the right in the photo) are more likely to hassle you just for being a gringo if you stray from the main strip at night.

The new federal police (brown/black/gray uniforms - on the left in the photo) seem to be a positive addition to public safety in Acapulco, however, there are not yet enough of them. The "tourist police" (found along the Costera and who wear white shirts, dark shorts, and dark hats - center of photo) are also helpful. They are here for us, but lack any real law enforcement power. They mainly help to reduce petty street crime (now they carry guns).

Public Drunkenness: If you are stumbling around drunk on the street, you are an easy target for those who seek to do you harm or otherwise take advantage of you. Plus, it's another grounds for being hauled off to jail. If you find yourself in this situation, look out for your friends and have them do the same for you, and seek the safety of your hotel room while you still have enough wits to do so.   Mexican Jails

Fighting: Fights don't seem to be very common in Acapulco, due to the fact that it is pretty laid back here, the people are mostly friendly to tourists, and the fact that you will be hauled off to jail if you are involved in a fight. Keep the peace!

Politics: Like many countries, Mexico has some serious political problems. Furthermore, its elections are often accompanied by violence. It is dangerous enough for Mexicans to be political activists, so foreigners are advised to steer clear of politics. KEEP A LOW PROFILE - this is probably the "Golden Rule" of Mexico, and is especially applicable in Acapulco.

Fidecomiso / Bank Trust: If you planning on buying property in Mexico, Do NOT get your Mexican fideicomiso (bank trust) through Banco Santander. The bank is a shady organization that will milk you dry.

Sergio Pilati Muebles: While not necessarily dangerous, this furniture store in Acapulco deserves a spot on the blacklist. The entire company is full of inept, unresponsive, dishonest employees who repeatedly lie to you and then deliver damaged and/or low quality goods. Do NOT shop here.