Last Updated: May 27, 2022

Is Acapulco Safe? Top Safety Tips For Travelers.

Years ago, Acapulco used to be one of the most popular Mexican cities for international travelers. Nowadays, it’s a popular tourist destination for local travelers, but it doesn’t see nearly as many international visitors as it once did. So, what happened? 

Acapulco is situated in the state of Guerrero, which saw a soaring increase in crime rates over the past decade. Although the Acapulco overall risk for travelers is nowhere near as high as in the rest of the state, the increase in kidnappings and robberies discouraged many international travelers from visiting this beautiful Mexican city. 

Keep reading to see just how safe Acapulco is right now, and what you can do to ensure your safety in this beautiful seaside city! 

Is Acapulco Safe To Visit?

Acapulco Mexico

Once upon a time, Acapulco used to be one of the most popular resort towns on Mexico’s Pacific Coast. Crime rates gradually increased and the violence among drug cartels eventually became reason enough for most tourists to avoid this beautiful city. In fact, most of the tourists who visit Acapulco are from Mexico City and other towns in the state. 

The US State Department has a level four warning for Acapulco, which means they advise against traveling to the resort town. However, it’s important to note that this is because the city is located in the Guerrero state, which has a very high crime rate. The state’s crime rate is actually much higher than the actual crime rate of Acapulco, so the city isn’t as unsafe as it appears to be.

There are tourist zones in the city where there’s virtually no danger for the tourists, especially if you’re going to stay in one of the seaside resorts. Staying safe in Acapulco is easier than you might think. It’s all about using common sense and staying aware of your surroundings. Tourists are rarely a target of violent crimes in Acapulco – they’re mostly targeted by pickpockets, which can be said for a dozen other big cities. 

Also, it’s not recommended to venture into residential areas, since these have a higher crime rate than the tourist areas of the city. Traveling between different cities in the state is also not recommended 

Is Acapulco Safe At Night?

Acapulco Night

In general, Acapulco is not very safe after dark. Criminal activity is more common at night, especially outside the areas that are heavily trafficked by tourists. If you’re traveling on your own, the safest thing you can do is head to your hotel room after sunset. 

You can explore the bars and restaurants after dark, but you need to take certain precautions. Don’t go out alone at night – this just makes you an easy target for thieves and pickpockets, especially if you don’t look like you belong. Also, rely on taxis and Uber to get you from one place to another – it’s much safer than walking at night, plus it’s a lot quicker. 

If you must go out at night in Acapulco, stay in the tourist zones. These are a lot safer than the rest of the city thanks to the presence of armed guards, and you’re less likely to be a target of crime here. This part of the city also boasts better infrastructure, which means fewer dark alleys. Don’t ever walk down a dark alley on your own in Acapulco and avoid interacting with shady individuals. 

Is Acapulco Safe For Solo Female Travelers?

Acapulco Solo Travel

The women travelers’ risk in Acapulco is no greater than in any other Mexican city. The city doesn’t have a particularly high rate of crimes against women, so the overall risk for solo female travelers is the same for solo male travelers. 

It’s worth noting that the majority of crime in Acapulco and the rest of the state is related to drug trafficking. If you can manage to stay away from cartel activity during your trip (which should be pretty easy), you should be fine. 

Also, as a solo female traveler in Acapulco, it’s very important that you are always aware of your surroundings, even in the main tourist areas. The busiest parts of the city are known for pickpockets, who might perceive women as easy targets. Try to blend in with the locals, don’t look like you’re lost, and don’t engage with anyone who might seem even a little bit shady – these tips will go a long way towards keeping you safe in Acapulco. 

Is Public Transport Safe In Acapulco?

Public transport in Acapulco is in the form of buses, which are generally safe for tourists. It’s fine to ride the bus if you’re trying to get around the city, but we don’t recommend taking any long-distance buses out of Acapulco. 

Bus hijacking and robberies happen occasionally in Guerrero. Robbers will usually hijack buses on the highway and sometimes they’ll take them to a more secluded location to complete the robbery. That’s why it’s better to avoid taking any long-distance buses in and out of Acapulco – domestic plane tickets in Mexico are not very expensive and they’re much safer. 

Uber is the best option for tourists visiting Acapulco. It’s safe, affordable, and one of the quickest ways of getting around the town. 

Taxis are also a good option, just don’t take the cabs that have yellow stripes. These cars accept multiple passengers per ride and they’re mostly for the locals. The white cabs are the better option for tourists, mostly because the driver won’t stop and pick up another customer. 

The locals you encounter in the taxi are most likely no reason for concern; the bigger issue is that the taxis might take you through parts of the city that aren’t quite as safe as the tourist areas.

Is It Safe To Drive in Acapulco?

Acapulco Driving

For the most part, it’s not safe to drive on your own in Acapulco. The roads are in bad condition and the traffic is nightmarish, so it’s much better to just let someone else drive you around. 

Rental cars are available at airports in both Acapulco and Mexico City, but it’s not recommended to drive into town from the Álvarez International Airport because the main highways can be a bit dangerous for tourists. Robberies and hijackings happen, and flying directly into town is just much safer. 

On top of that, police officers can recognize license plates of rental cars and they will stop you just to try to get some money out of you, even if you did nothing wrong. If you do get stopped by a police officer while driving in Acapulco and they try to write you a ticket, they’re most likely trying to get you to pay them off. About 1,000 pesos should be enough to get them off your back, and it will be easier to deal with the police if you speak Spanish. 

Also, it’s worth noting that road conditions are even worse at night, and driving alone at night is a rather risky endeavor. We recommend driving in Acapulco only if you are a very experienced and confident driver, otherwise, just stick with Ubers and white cabs. 

Is It Safe To Drink Tap Water In Acapulco?

tap water

Most locals drink the tap water in Acapulco, but it’s not recommended for tourists. Mexican tap water is generally not safe for drinking, but Acapulco actually has some of the cleanest tap water in the entire country. So, why can the locals drink it but you shouldn’t? 

Even though Acapulco has some of the cleanest tap water in Mexico, trace metals and microorganisms were found in it. They’re not outright dangerous to your health but they can cause gastrointestinal issues in people who are not used to drinking the tap water. 

After a certain period, you get used to the taste and your stomach gets used to those extra bits in the water, which is how the locals can drink it without consequences but tourists usually end up with an upset stomach or worse. 

It’s best to stick to bottled water if you want to admire the beauty of Acapulco instead of the tiles in the bathroom. Bottled water is extremely affordable and readily available throughout Acapulco, and you can actually get purified water and ice at most restaurants in the city. 

Is Food In Acapulco Safe To Eat?

Acapulco Food

For the most part, the food in Acapulco is safe to eat. Naturally, it depends on where exactly you’re getting the food because some places are safer than others, but it all comes down to just using your common sense and reading some reviews. 

Zocalo is the busy part of the city where you’ll find the best street food vendors, as well as a large selection of both international and Mexican cuisine. Street food in Acapulco is generally safe, but it’s not quite as safe as dining in upscale restaurants. If you really want to try out the street food in Acapulco, at least make sure that you’re getting food from a trusted vendor who pays attention to hygiene. 

The city is home to many restaurants that cater specifically to tourists, and these are good places to eat if you’re worried about food safety. They often have purified water and ice, plus the cuisine is more international than local. This is worth noting because some of the more local restaurants will serve unpeeled fruits and veggies, which can cause a reaction if you have a sensitive stomach. 

Is Acapulco Safe To Travel For Families?

Acapulco Family

The tourist areas of Acapulco are perfectly safe for families, but it’s not the best destination in the world for families with children. The city has several kid-friendly resorts and hotels that organize entertainment for the youngest visitors, while parents are out and about exploring the town or just lying on the beach. 

However, it’s worth noting that Acapulco is still not perfectly safe for adults, so it’s definitely not safe to let children go out alone in the city. If you’re okay with mostly being at the resort with your family and only going out in the guarded tourist zone, you can have a great time in Acapulco with your family. 

Also, it’s not like there’s nothing to do for families outside the resorts. You can visit the beautiful Playa Pie de la Cuesta, go see the cliff divers at La Quebrada, and take them to water parks which are plenty of fun for the entire family. 

The city is perfectly safe for both adults and kids if you’re taking minimal precautions, so don’t be afraid to explore this beautiful Mexican destination with your family. Stay at a kid-friendly hotel that has a daycare or people who are paid to look after the kids and entertain them, and apart from that, don’t let your kids out of your sight. Never let them go out alone – even if it wasn’t for the rising crime rate, Acapulco is a pretty big city and it’s easy for adults to get a little lost, let alone children. 

Are There Areas To Avoid in Acapulco?

Yes and no. In general, tourists are better off if they stay within the tourist zones that are heavily guarded by the police. But it is possible to safely explore other parts of the city, and as long as you don’t go looking for trouble, it won’t find you. 

Staying safe in Acapulco is more about avoiding shady people than certain parts of the city. The vast majority of the crime in Acapulco is related to drug trafficking – if you go out looking to buy drugs, you’re at a much higher risk than someone who isn’t even thinking about that. 

On the other hand, there are parts of the city that are outright dangerous and that you should avoid if you want to be safe. The older parts of the city have higher crime rates, especially the Ciudad Renacimiento, Colossus, Progresso, and Center neighborhoods. 

Is Acapulco Safe To Live In?

Acapulco Living

Not really. The city is situated in a state with one of the highest crime rates in Mexico, so it’s not a good place to live. The tourist zones in Acapulco are safe for the most part, but the residential areas are not quite as safe. 

Those living in the residential neighborhoods of Acapulco are more likely to be a target of break-ins, robberies, and other crimes. These parts of the city also have a poorer infrastructure – worse roads, more unlit streets, and other issues, so it’s generally not the same experience as staying in the town for a week or two. 

If you can afford to live in one of the better and safer parts of the city, it’s going to be much easier to stay out of trouble in Acapulco. However, it’s worth noting that most locals – at least those with shady intentions – see gringos as easy targets in the city, so the risk is always higher than for the natives. 

In terms of natural disasters risk, Acapulco is a pretty safe place. Earthquakes are the biggest threat to Acapulco, but even the latest one which had a magnitude of 7.0 didn’t do too much damage to the city’s infrastructure. 

When Is The Best Time To Visit Acapulco?

Visit Acapulco

The best time to visit Acapulco is either April-May or October-November. This is mostly the dry season in the area, with warm and sunny weather that allows visitors to truly enjoy the beautiful beaches of Acapulco. 

The average daily highs are in the upper 80s and the lows are in the upper 70s. There’s very little rain during the dry season, and the monthly average is under an inch for the entire dry season. October is the shoulder month with an average precipitation of five inches, which is still just half of what’s considered the wet season in Acapulco Bay. 

Top Safety Tips for Traveling in Acapulco

Acapulco Safety Tips

Staying safe in Acapulco is not very difficult, especially if you follow these Acapulco safety tips! 

Stay In A Hotel

Staying in a reputable hotel (resort) is half the job done when it comes to tourist safety in Acapulco. It’s much safer than renting an apartment in a residential neighborhood, and it makes sense financially because Mexico is known for affordable hotels. It’s also more convenient in case you need assistance with anything or recommendations for safe taxis and quality restaurants. 

Additionally, make use of the safe in your hotel room. If you can’t afford to lose something, it should stay in that safe throughout the entire trip. 

Be Aware Of Your Surroundings 

Being aware of your surroundings is key to staying safe in Acapulco, especially if you are traveling on your own. It’s especially important to stay alert when in you’re in very busy places because these are usually swarming with pickpockets looking for their next prey. Gringos who look like they don’t know where they’re going are an easy target, so being confident about your whereabouts is crucial for staying safe in Acapulco. 

It’s also a good idea to wear neck wallets and pouches – anything that keeps your most important possessions out of sight and out of reach of those who might want to steal them. 

Get Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is always a smart idea, but it’s especially a good thing to have when you’re traveling to a Mexican city that’s notorious for pickpockets. Most travel insurance packages will reimburse you for stolen belongings up to a certain value, which can come in handy in case you run into some trouble while you’re in Acapulco. 

But you shouldn’t get travel insurance just because you’re scared of pickpockets – it’s also helpful if your luggage gets lost in transit, if you misplace something of value, or if you are traveling with valuables that you can’t afford to replace if anything happens to them. Look into travel insurance packages that include medical insurance if you’re traveling to Acapulco for a longer period. 

About the Author Anna Timbrook

Anna is the co-owner of expert world travel and can't wait to share her travel experience with the world. With over 54 countries under her belt she has a lot to write about! Including those insane encounters with black bears in Canada.

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