We just returned from Puerto Vallarta on a Cruise ship - Royal Caribbean 8/22/02 and were harrassed , had money demanded from us and detained for 30 minutes by the police en route to El Eden in a rental jeep. We didn't opt for shore excursions wanting to spend more time exploring and having fun in a jeep with our kids. We knew if you broke the law, you were fair game for police shake downs, but we didn't - we were just targeted as tourists.
These 'police' officers are setting a trap Highway 200 (out of town) and pulling over tourists while letting locals whiz by - our 'crime' was that we didn't stop completely at a blinking red light over speed bumps (which we did). The police feigned 'no English' until we showed him our cruise card and then was then fluent in English... asking repeatedly if we had $ Hundreds $. When my husband said loudly 'hundreds?' the police quickly shushed him and played dumb. The police said they could impound the car, keep our license and we would have to come back at 4:00pm to pay our ticket, he said the license didn't look like my husband, checked the tires etc etc. - we were all terrified, hot and worried. My husband just kept insisting that we had no cash and to write him a ticket so we could go on our way ( two small frightened children with us) and finally the police tired and said we were very lucky and off we went, our trip was ruined. Another couple we spoke to that night said the same exact thing happened at the same location and they had to pay $50.00 American dollars and put it in the policeman's lap and not hand it to him (their trip was also ruined) -
Thought if I prevented one more tourist having to go through what we did, it might make it better. I am posting this wherever it might make a difference to some innocent travelers.