Acapulco was once Mexico's leading Pacific coast vacationland. Since the 1950s, the port city was a sandy playground for the rich and tanned, drawing beach lovers from all over the world. But increasingly it's becoming harder to remember those days, as the town falls deeper into the grips of lawlessness and narco-violence.
The resort town now has the dubious distinction of being one of the most violent cities in the hemisphere, with a murder rate second only to that of San Pedro Sula, Honduras — a place nobody ever goes for vacation. Despite the government's efforts to bolster security in the streets of Acapulco, spiking levels of drug-related killings, kidnappings, and extortions have all contributed to a climate of violence and insecurity that has all but smothered the city's tourism economy. The city's fall from fun has been dramatic and sad.
According to the Citizen's Council for Public Security and Criminal Justice, a Mexican NGO, Acapulco started 2015 with a homicide rate of 116 per 100,000 residents, making it the second-most murderous city in the world. There haven been another 478 murders through July of this year.
The Monaco Hotel, located in the heart of the tourist area of Acapulco on the Costera Boulevard, has been abandoned for almost 15 years. Rebecca Flores, 10, has lived in a room of the deserted hotel with her mother for the past 6 years.
Alehí Ortiz, 38, runs the Coco Beach restaurant on Playa Carabalí in Acapulco.
Tomás Mayo Garcia who sings popular Mexican songs for tourists along the beach, said he misses the foreign vacationers and wants to emigrate to Canada one day.
Gabriela Aviles, 19, puts up palapas and sets out tables and chairs for the few tourists who still come to Playa Carabalí. She said she makes about $12.50 day.
Most of the tourists who now visit Acapulco are Mexicans taking advantage of promotional vacation packages from Mexico City.
A man selling hammocks walks alongside a row of tourist buses parked alongside Acapulco's boardwalk.
Masked students from the normal school, a local teachers' college, stop traffic and take over tollbooths at the Maxi-Tunel in Acapulco to collect money for their political programs.
Forensic specialists recover the remains of a murdered taxi driver found in a rural area of the municipality of Acapulco.
The owner of a tow truck company and one of his drivers are found murdered on July 31, in Acapulco's Colonia Coloso. They were two of the 12 murder victims that weekend in the beach town.
A group of homeless, unemployed people —many of them addicted to PVC solvent —live in a tunnel below an overpass of the Coast Boulevard, the main tourist drag in Acapulco.
Keith Dannemiller is a veteran photographer who has worked for Time, Newsweek, Business Week, New York Times, Vanity Fair, National Geographic, Al Jazeera and numerous other international publications. He continuously exhibits his work in various venues throughout the country and recently published Callegrafia, a book of documentary images from the streets of Mexico City, his home for the last 28 years.