ACAPULCO, MEXICO -- Pot-bellied, naked children play in the dust of an unpaved road. Women wash dishes in a pool of stagnant, reeking water. Pigs root in piles of rubbish.

People defecate in the open. Families live crammed 10 to a room, sleeping cross-wise for lack of space. Shacks are fashioned of corrugated iron, cardboard and plywood.

Night life centers on rough dance halls, where a partner can be had for 25 cents a dance, half the price of a bottle of beer.

Teen-age prostitution is widespread, alcoholism so rampant that Alcoholics Anonymous gives counseling during the day as well as after work. But then, not many people have jobs.

This is the other side of Acapulco, a swath of slums which bear little relation to the tourists' Acapulco of tropical luxury, tall drinks, throbbing discos and scanty bikinis.

Politely known as "lost cities," the slums are hidden from Acapulco Bay by green mountains. Tourists rarely venture across. Neither did eight Latin American presidents who held a weekend summit here last month to discuss ways of redressing their region's economic and social problems.

"We are the forgotten people of Acapulco," said Maria de Jesus Casales, 31. "No one pays attention to our needs, no one cares for us. It is as if we did not exist."

Her neighborhood, called Zapata, is a short bus ride from the seven miles of horseshoe-shaped bay of the other Acapulco: glistening beaches, restaurants, nightclubs and 273 hotels.

She needs about $2 a day to feed herself and her three daughters. Her husband, she says, left "because he had no job and was ashamed he could not provide for us."

A night at Acapulco's best hotel costs $800 for the most expensive suites, all of which were occupied by the presidents meeting here.

That much money would feed the Zapata woman for more than a year, as long as she continued to eat only one meal a day. "We eat tortillas and beans and rice," she said. "It is little, but we are not dying of hunger."

Zapata adjoins a district known as Renacimiento, formed five years ago when authorities dislodged thousands of people from slums on hillsides overlooking the tourists' Acapulco.

"The government said we had to move because they could not provide services to where we were," said Gustavo Hernandez, an unemployed mason. "But what really happened is that they wanted us out of sight of the tourists."

With tourism Mexico's biggest foreign-currency earner after oil, and Acapulco its biggest resort, the needs of slum dwellers are not given high priority.

Renacimiento provides running water and electricity to many of the reluctant initial settlers, whose departure from their original homes was punctuated by bursts of violence as police used clubs and rifle butts to hasten the exodus.

The district has since been swollen by new arrivals from the countryside. Thousands live in ramshackle huts without water, light, toilets or cooking facilities.

By some estimates, almost a third of Acapulco's million inhabitants live in slum conditions, and the number is rising. Few other cities in Latin America have grown as fast: the population more than quadrupled within a decade.

While the contrast between the two Acapulcos is particularly striking, it highlights problems common to most Latin American countries: poverty, unemployment, a steadily widening gap between rich and poor. Economic growth lags behind population increases.

Government austerity measures, often introduced to help service the region's $382 billion foreign debt, have tended to hit the poor hardest. Spending on social services have fallen, and per capita income dropped to 1975 levels.

The United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean says 170 million Latin Americans will live in poverty by the year 2000 -- 11 million more than today.