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Las Brisas Acapulco Safety Warning

Old Nov 17th, 2008, 12:57 PM
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Las Brisas Acapulco Safety Warning

While staying at the Las Brisas Acapulco resort this past weekend, we rented a car from the Hertz location on site. A few minutes from the hotel, while driving on the Carretera Escenica (the road on which the hotel is located)toward Revolcadero beach, we were stopped by a purported Transit Police patrol car, threatened with being taken downtown to the station (we'd done nothing wrong) and then robbed by the "officers". I saw on tripadvisor that another guest had had the exact same experience. Las Brisas is listed in Fodors as one of Acapulco's premier resorts, and it deserves the rating; the hotel's a great place. What Fodors present edition does not sufficiently emphasize is the danger that exists right outside the entrance to the property. The resort was on notice that this sort of thing was going on, and even though I inquired specifically about the safety of making this small side trip in our rented car, I was told that it was safe. As travellers we have choices, and use this board, others like it and guide books to help make informed ones. I hope others will be able to avoid a vacation ruining event like the one that happened to us this weekend. While we were only robbed, in that sort of situation worse things can (and have) happened. My suggestion is that if you go to Las Brisas, be prepared to stay on the premises (the main resort and its La Concha beach club) and do not rent a car or go out in other than a hotel approved taxi. Having travelled all over Latin America, I have to say that I will go to other countries in the region on vacation in future (something which really is sad because I think Mexico is a great place) due to the really serious and worsening problem with public safety in Mexico. Panama, Costa Rica, Chile, and Argentina offer great travel experiences in my opinion, and while not immune from crime (noplace, including the US is), they are safer than Mexico and do not have anything like as much of a problem with dishonest and dangerous police.
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Old Nov 17th, 2008, 01:21 PM
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I do not believe it is fair to broad-brush bad-mouth an *entire country* because of a single incident at one resort in Acapulco.

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Old Nov 17th, 2008, 03:06 PM
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Hi Suze: Thanks for your reply but I think you misinterpreted my post. There's no bad mouthing of Mexico in it; to the contrary my only broad-brush statement was that I think Mexico is a great place. I do however think that Mexico has a serious problem with crime and public safety that is worse than many of its neigbors. Perhaps you think that's bad-mouthing and overly broad; I don't. My anectodal experience is just an example of the crime problem. A review of the media - particularly the Mexican media - will confirm what I am telling you is distressingly common in many parts of the country well beyond Acapulco, including Mexico City and many (though I agree not all) popular tourist destinations. I think safety is a factor to take into account when making a personal decision on a vacation destination - others may not and that's fine by me, but I don't think I'm being unfair in making it a priority. What's more, for those who want to visit what I agree is a terrific and interesting place, I figured it would be better to start that visit knowing more about the risks than less.
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Old Nov 17th, 2008, 03:26 PM
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Well you didn't frame your OP that way. You said... "due to the really serious and worsening problem with public safety in Mexico".

I vacation every year in Puerto Vallarta, as one example, which has a very good track record for tourist safety.

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Old Nov 19th, 2008, 03:59 AM
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SkylarMA, I do agree with some of the comments you made. Mexico, both East and West Coast, have had for many years complaints of police officer corruption. It's even listed as a warning in the Frommer's Travel Guides and some of the other travel guides. Also, Alcapulco has been rated as a high crime area for awhile now. Maybe a more detailed research of your destination you would have found these issues and then decided if it was the right place to go or not. Personally, I would love to go to Las Brisas. It looks like an awesome hotel, but we had avoided Acapulco for many reasons.

We've been to Caribbean Mexico 8 times and Puerta Vallarta once. We have never had a problem, but we researched throughly beforehand and used proper precautions. With all the known postings of police corruption, we have never rented a car in Mexico and never will. I think that the people who do are nuts taking that kind of chance, but if that's what they want to do then they have to understand and accept the consequences that come with it if and when they run into issues like you experienced. I get negative feedback all the time for sticking to guided tours instead of just going off on our own when we travel, but for us it the best and safest way to see an Island.

Don't blow off all of Mexico due to this one incident. Just research more carefully so you can make a better informed decision next time.
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Old Nov 19th, 2008, 04:46 AM
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Hi KVR: Thanks for your reply. I agree with you; if I had spent more time looking around on the web and researching as you suggest, I may have had a better idea of how risky renting a car was in Acapulco. I assumed (bad move on my part)that renting a car in Acapulco would be the same as renting one in Panama, Chile or Argentina where I had had no problems. Since I've been home, I have done some of the research I should have done before the trip and now realize that these types of robberies can be alot worse; in Baja over the past year or so, people with US plates on their cars have been stopped by "cops" who have kidnapped & beaten them. My post here is my attempt to save others who may not have time to do enough digging in advance of a trip from making the same mistake I did. One thing I realize I did not mention in my original post is that I had no ATM or credit cards on me; that was lucky because the cops wanted to take us to an ATM machine to have me clear out my bank account. Not having the card on me saved us from that at least. All in all though, I do agree with you about Las Brisas - it's a really beautiful resort and a great place to stay, but for the robbery it would have been perfect for us. I'm taking your suggestion and not writing off Mexico - I'll just be much more careful going forward. Thanks again.
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Old Nov 19th, 2008, 07:48 AM
Join Date: Jun 2008
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Las Brisas is great

Think this has nothing to do

with the resort itself.

But problems with corrupt police and robberies are on the increase.

For me rental car in Mexico CA is kind of like painting a bullseye on yourself.

Always wiser for me

to do taxis private drivers

in that area

Not sure you have to strictly

hide out in the hotel
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Old Nov 20th, 2008, 09:55 AM
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This exact same thing happened to me in LaPaz, Baja last year. We actually saw the police car jet across traffic to pull us over, in our obvious rental car. Same deal-- we'd be taken downtown to the judge unless we paid the fine on the spot- the judge might not be there and we'd be put in jail. blah.blah.

It is a huge scam. I keep a separate wallet with only a $20 in it for these purposes while traveling in Mexico.
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Old Nov 21st, 2008, 05:22 AM
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I am new here but not new to Mexico. Maybe a stupid reply, but what would have happened if you said to the TP, OK take me downtown? My guess is that he would have let you go. I would also have reported this to the consulate. I also like the idea of the twenty dollars in the wallet idea.
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Old Nov 21st, 2008, 06:23 AM
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Watch out for yourself in Washington, DC. cops aren't corrupt there, but robbers abound. I've crossed the USA of my list of places to go.
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