When we told people we would be sailing from Zihuatanejo to Acapulco they all seemed to give us this look of worry and disapproval, and for good reason. The city has the highest crime rate in Mexico and since the break-up of the major drug cartel in that area over a decade ago, the city’s gangs have been in a constant power struggle. We actually thought about skipping it as well after we googled, “crime in Acapulco”. In the week before there had been several gruesome killings, though all but one was gang related.
Rachel and I have a couple of rules for “unsafe areas”. First we always listen and trust our instincts, we don’t second guess our gut feelings as we find they are there for a reason. If we see women and children playing on the street, it’s probably safe. The locals know the area and most of the time they will try to avoid the shady areas. So if you see families playing without a care, it’s most likely safe for you too. Most importantly we don’t flaunt our wealth. Even if you are in your normal “American street clothes”, look at your feet. Those $200 Nike shoes are worth what a lot of people here make in 2 to 3 weeks!!! We try to be careful and observant whenever we travel and it has paid off. I am fortunate to say that we haven’t had any bad experiences so far, at least crime related.
That being said, our experience in Acapulco was great!!! We walked around the whole city never feeling unsafe. We saw the cliff jumpers from a beautiful balcony restaurant, ate amazing street food until midnight, went to the local markets and never felt like we needed to be nervous.
Acapulco used to be a very popular tourist destination, enticing Hollywood’s elite, congressmen, presidents, and the rich and famous from around the world to come and enjoy the city’s beautiful beaches, fishing, tropical climate and rich culture. Even though tourism has declined over recent years you can see it’s influences everywhere. The city is full of huge hotels, beach front bars, restaurants and amenities available everywhere.
Now that cruise ships have stopped making Acapulco a port of call on their Mexican route, the people there are starved for the money that tourism brings in. This means that they go above and beyond to make sure that you are happy, stay as long as possible, and go home to tell your friends about the great time you had.
We were only able to stay for three days and two nights, as we were pushing south excited to get to Huatulco and the ever elusive clear waters we were searching for.