Acapulco Attempts Cruise Party Atmosphere Revival
On March 27, 2017, Mexico’s biggest travel trade show, annual tourism fair Tianguis Turistico Mexico, kicked off in Acapulco, where organizers were hoping to inject new energy into the destination’s tourist industry. Acapulco and areas inland in the Pacific coast state of Guerrero have been plagued by high levels of crime and drug gang killings. Most cruise lines discontinued making port calls in Acapulco. Those cruise companies who continued to call, saw steep decline in bookings around 2010.
Just as the cruise industry was willing to try Acapulco again, Holland America Line (HAL) canceled eight cruise ship arrivals for 2017 over security concerns. “Given recent security concerns, Holland America Line has replaced its arrivals to Acapulco, Mexico, with alternative Mexican ports in eight cruises scheduled between 2017 and 2018,” said the cruise line in a prepared statement, adding that the safety of its clients was its “highest priority.”
Not all cruise lines have abandoned Acapulco cruise ship calls. Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ cruise ship MS Europa is scheduled for a 17-day cruise from Vancouver, British Columbia to Acapulco, Mexico from June 1, 2017 to June 18, 2017 for € 7,690 per person. Sailing from Canada, Canadians will pay $10,930.83 (CAN).
The cruise will make an unusual call at Portland, Oregon, on Saturday, June 3 on the Willamette River at 1900 hours. Then, the cruise ship leaves Portland the next day, Sunday, June 4 with a day at sea before calling in San Francisco.
Targeted to beer loving Germans where the cruise line is located, the Hapag-Lloyd Cruises website says, “The EUROPA arrives in the state capital of Oregon via the Columbia and Willamette rivers. One of the special things about Portland is that it has over 32 breweries. Visit some of the best breweries* and taste some stouts, ambers and ales. Not far away are the steep banks and many waterfalls of the Columbia River Gorge*: set out in the morning on a hike to enjoy the amazing sights.”
With calls at American ports of San Francisco, Monterey, San Diego, they then cruise to the Mexican cruise ports of Ensenada, Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta and Manzanillo before calling at Acapulco and Mexico City.
The passengers then have the choice to fly to Frankfurt, Germany. It appears the itinerary targets Germans who will fly to Canada to board their cruise, cruise to Mexico, then fly home to Germany.
- U.S State Department Warnings – Acapulco (December 8, 2016)
Guerrero State (includes Acapulco, Ixtapa, Taxco, and Zihuatanejo)
Personal travel to the state of Guerrero, including Acapulco, is prohibited for U.S. government personnel with the exception of travel to Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo by air. In Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo, U.S. government personnel must remain in tourist areas. The state of Guerrero was the most violent state in Mexico in 2015 for the third year in a row, and self-defense groups operate independently of the government in many areas of Guerrero. Armed members of these groups frequently maintain roadblocks and, although not considered hostile to foreigners or tourists, are suspicious of outsiders and should be considered volatile and unpredictable. Read more
- Tennis World USA Warnings – Acapulco (March 4, 2017)
Warning on the Tennis World USA website say, “The Guerriero State in South of Mexico is one of the most violent states in the World. Its three millions inhabitants listen, see or read about crime stories or kidnapping. According to the local press, three clans handle the drugs traffic and not even the thousands of soldiers can stop them.
In spite of that Acapulco, that is one of the most loved cities by tourists, welcomes some of the best tennis players in the World, this year including Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal. The tournament is owned by Mextenis, ran by Pegaso Group, that handles the safety of the players, who are protected by bodyguards wherever they go. Also, they stay in the luxurious Princess Mundo Imperial hotel, which is very close to the beach and the tournament site too.” Read more
- CBC Canada – Acapulco (March 13, 2016) –
As gangs fight in the street, violence-plagued Acapulco battles to lure back tourists
“Once known as a jet-set party town, Acapulco’s reputation has taken a hit in recent years due to a high rate of violent crime, often related to drug cartels.
Acapulco’s murder rate has earned it the title of Mexico’s most dangerous city, and one of the most dangerous places in the world.
In 2015, there were 903 homicides in Acapulco. With a population of just over 860,000, that makes Acapulco the world’s fourth-most violent city, according to Mexican think-tank Seguridad Justicia y Paz, which compiles the list based on per-capita murder rates. (Caracas, Venezuela was ranked first.)” Read more
InSight Crime Analysis – Acapulco ( April 3, 2017)
“The targeted security strategy does appear to have been successful in certain municipalities such as Acapulco in Guerrero, Monterrey in Nuevo León, and Puebla in the state of the same name. The respective decreases of roughly 15, 33 and 35 percent in the homicide rates in these municipalities are significant, given that these three areas have been at the heart of feuds between rival criminal groups vying for control of illicit economies.
But the few and rather slight security improvements are largely overshadowed by the extreme rise in homicides in numerous municipalities. And this dynamic serves as a reminder that Mexico’s security institutions continue to struggle to rein in violence in areas of states that have traditionally been hotbeds for organized crime.” Read more
Vice.com – Mexico’s Drug Cartels Love Social Media (Nov 4 2013)
“This vulnerability was already demonstrated when the hack group known as Anonymous, conducted attacks on the Zetas cartel in 2011, accessing their private data and threatening to reveal members’ names. However, the cartel quickly retaliated by “hiring” its own security specialists, and Anonymous backed down after one of its members was allegedly abducted.
Clearly, cartels aren’t packing their members off to computer science evening classes at the local community college, and it’s likely the more specialized experts have been kidnapped. “They may be engaging young computer scientists in Mexico and giving them a good salary, but if they still require a skill, they just kidnap someone who has it,” Antoine explained. “As of 2012, we had at least 36 cases of engineers who were snatched by the cartels, including an IBM employee, never to be seen again.” Read more
Note the date of the last article above, two months after we arrived in the state of Quintanaroo, including Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Puerto Morelos, Puerto Aventuras, Cozumel, Akumal and Tulum. We were in Quintanaroo from August 27, 2013 to September 9, 2014. There is more cartel crime in the heavy tourism state of Quintanaroo, than is largely reported.
We were told by neighbors, who had seen an article on Vice.com, that during a period of three years, computer techs like us were being kidnapped and enslaved by the cartel to run their internet and communications.
Before arriving there in September 2013, this was not reported in main stream media. So, our ‘working retirement’ in Mexico was cut to 13 months and we rarely went outside of our Oceanfront gated community in Puerto Aventuras.
Video Playlist: Our Time in Puerto Aventuras