Biggest Danger in Mexico for Tourists? A Hangover.

5 December 2013

Canadian travel writer Robin Roberts reports in The Vancouver Sun, wary travelers who buy into media hyperbole and avoid Mexico as a travel destination have a lot to lose.  Yes, there is violence in Mexico, but of the 1.5 million Canadians to vacation in Mexico each year, only a handful even witness a crime, let alone, become the victim of one. From the article:

“I’ve been travelling to Mexico for decades — hell, I even got married here. Since 2010, I’ve spent half the year here. I’ve driven thousands of kilometres from north to south, east to west. Have I ever felt unsafe? No. I have, however, felt uneasy in my hometown of Vancouver, a city with many back alleys I wouldn’t dream of walking after dark.”

As Roberts puts it, a hangover is the biggest danger you face when vacationing in Mexico.  Her advice?  Look at the facts, exercise caution, and you’ll be glad you didn’t let the media hype make your decision for you.

Read about her insightful experiences in Mexico, here.

Safety Over Sensationalism

27 November 2013

Even though it is regularly touted by travel outlets and experts as one of the world’s best travel destinations, Mexico continues to be singled out for violent crime.  Not only are Mexico’s key tourist destinations safe, but according to statistics, they are safer than many other popular tourist destinations around the world.

While the media often portrays Mexico as the most dangerous place on earth, it is statistically quite safe. According to NationMaster.com which uses U.N.-based data, Mexico doesn’t even make the list of the 36 nations with the highest murder rates. Mild-mannered nations like Sweden and Switzerland top Mexico for murders on NationMaster.com.  Even when we add on independent estimates for unreported homicides, Mexico ranks 21st behind many popular vacation destinations. Places we think of as idyllic Caribbean retreats have double, triple, even quadruple the murder rates of Mexico. Mexico’s famous vacation areas are even safer than the averaged statistics, and even safer still for tourists.”

Did you know that the Yucatan, the biggest tourist destination in Mexico, is as safe as rural U.S. states?  Or that New Orleans and Washington D.C. are more dangerous than Mexico City?  As the article points out, violent crime is actually low in Mexico as a whole, and the U.S. assault rate is 5 times higher than that of Mexico.  Unless you are involved in the drug trade, statistically speaking, you are actually safer in most parts of Mexico than in the U.S.

To read the full article, go here.

An Interview with Mexico’s Secretary of Tourism

25 September 2013

Read Travel Weekly’s interview with Mexico’s new Secretary of Tourism, Claudia Ruiz Massieu – as she answers questions about Mexico’s tourism initiatives, including infrastructure and public transportation, as well as her own travels throughout Mexico.

On safety concerns, Massieu says:

We have some concerns in some parts of the country, but they are very geographically specific. And we have to communicate that in a more effective way. We’ve been working with the [U.S.]State Department in that regard, and we’ve been making progress. But generally speaking, we have also seen our [arrival] numbers going up this first quarter. The market is not reflecting concern about Mexico. Our numbers have gone up both in terms of international arrivals and spending, so we’re doing well. But we want to do better.

Read the full interview here.

New Website on Travel Safety in Mexico

14 August 2013

There is a new popular website on travel safety in Mexico worth checking out.  The “How Safe is Mexico?” Website provides detailed information on the parts of Mexico that are safe to travel to, as well as maps and other travel resources.  Travel resources include safety tips, reviews of popular travel destinations and links to popular travel websites focused on Mexico.  The website also allows you to compare global crime statistics to that of Mexico – lending some perspective to sensationalized media reports.  From the website:

More than 150,000 Americans safely visit Mexico every day. And while the media sensationalizes stories of violence in Mexico, Mexico is safer than many major U.S. cities. Travelers feel relatively safe visiting popular U.S. cities like Miami, Philadelphia, Chicago, New Orleans, Washington D.C, or Atlanta. Visitors from around the world enjoy these vibrant cities in relative, reasonable safety. Yet each of these cities is statistically less safe than Mexico.C

You can visit the website, here.

Check out the new U.S. Travel Advisory Issued for Mexico

9 August 2013

The U.S. State Department issued a new travel advisory for Mexico in July.  As Travel Weekly reported, the advisory is pretty much the same as the last travel advisory, issued in November 2012.  Non-essential travel is discouraged for 19 of Mexico’s 32 states.  Popular tourist destinations in Mexico remain excluded from the advisory.

Popular attractions that are safe to travel to include: Cabo San Lucas, La Paz, San Miguel de Allende, Guadalajara, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico City, the Riviera Nayarit, Oaxaca, Huatulco, Puerto Escondido, Cancun, Cozumel, Playa del Carmen, Riviera Maya, Tulum, Merida, and Chichen Itza. While the state of Guerrero is on the list of risky traveling spots, certain cities have been determined as safe for tourism, including Acapulco, Taxco, Ixtapa and Zihuatanejo.

To read the full travel advisory, go here.

Riviera Maya: Mexico’s Softer Side

21 May 2013

As a recent article on Boston.com points out, the media coverage of Mexico’s drug cartel violence in specific areas of the country has contributed much to its massive drop in tourism.  Because of this, informed tourists are able to take advantage of  incredible travel deals at 4 and 5 star resorts.  Says travel writer Melanie Nayer:

“Mexico’s tranquility is located only 45 minutes from the Cancun airport in Riviera Maya, home to all-inclusive resorts and luxury developments, biospheres, eco-facilities and, of course, some of the best water activities….it’s not unlikely you’ll find rooms at four- and five-star resorts for as low as $175 a day per person, including all meals, activities, rooms with a view, and often resort credits good for spa treatments, gift shop purchases and tours.”

Read Nayer’s full review here.

Is it safe to travel to Mexico? Unequivocally, yes.

7 May 2013

Consumer Affairs reporter Darryl Nelson recently interviewed well-known travel expert Peter Greenburg, asking him a frequent travel question these days: is it safe to travel to Mexico?  Greenburg’s answer was, “Unequivocally, yes.”  Says Greenburg:

“If you look at the map, Mexico is a huge country and whatever violence is happening in Mexico, first of all, it’s directed at Mexicans to other Mexicans. Americans are not being targeted, and let’s take a look where it’s happening.

It’s happening in locations where American’s don’t even go—in Nuevo Laredo, Ciudad Juarez—and if you actually look at the real numbers of how many people have been killed in the drug violence, it is staggering, there’s no getting around that. Depending on who you believe its 50,000 to 60,000 people in that last 20 years.

Of those, ask yourself how many of them were Americans. I can tell you, less than 20—and of those 20, I think 17 of them were vacationing American drug dealers, because look where they were killed. They were killed in places like Nuevo Laredo and Ciudad Juarez.”

Greenburg himself travels to Mexico several times a year, and has not encountered any problems.  He highly recommends Mexico  as a tourist destination for active and adventure seeking travelers.  As far as safety is concerned, he suggests travelers take practical safety precautions, such as informing themselves about the area or country they are planning to visit, and using common sense while traveling.  And what about spring break? Should spring breakers avoid the country? Greenburg says that parents should be more concerned about their kids’ alcohol consumption and partying, than being faced with violence.

Read the full article here.

Lonely Planet’s U.S. Travel Editor Encourages Travel to Mexico

23 March 2013

Lonely Planet’s U.S. Travel Editor Robert Reid gets asked frequently if it’s safe to travel to Mexico, and his answer has always been, “If you’re thoughtful about where you go, the answer is yes.”  Reid says that perhaps a better question is, “Do you think it’s safe to go to Texas?”

Mexico, a country that is roughly the size of the UK, France, Germany, Spain and Italy combined, has been singled out in the mainstream media, especially when compared to other popular tourist destinations which have far higher homicide rates like the Bahamas, Belize and Jamaica (36, 42, and 52 homicides per 100,000 people, respectively).

While Mexico tourism is finally starting to bounce back with Canadians and Brits, Americans remain reluctant to return.  Even though U.S. violent crime statistics suggest that Americans are more likely to encounter violence at home, especially if you look specifically at Mexico’s most popular tourist destinations.  For example, Disney World’s Orlando saw 7.5 murders per 100,000 residents in 2010, which is higher than popular Mexican destinations Cancun (1.83) or Puerto Vallarta (5.9).

Reid asks American tourists to consider 5 things, before forming an opinion on Mexico.

  1. Mexico may be more dangerous than the U.S. overall, but not for Americans.  4.8 per 100,000 Americans were murdered in the U.S. in 2010, while only 2.1 of 100,000 visitors (who may or may not have been connected to drug trafficking) were murdered in Mexico.
  2. Texans are twice as safe in Mexico than in Texas, and three times safer than in Houston.
  3. Texans aren’t the only state citizens that are safer in Mexico than their home state (yes, New Orlean’s homicide rate is triple that of Mexico’s national homicide rate).
  4. The vast majority of Mexico is not on the U.S. State Department’s travel warning.
  5. President Obama’s daughter Malia went to Oaxaca for her spring break, despite Texas’s alarmist travel warning.

Mexico offers some of the greatest travel experiences in the world, and as the U.S. State Department says, “millions of U.S. citizens safely visit Mexico each year.”  If you can go to Texas, New Orleans, Orlando or the Bahamas, you can certainly go to Mexico.

Read the full article here.

Safety in Mexico: Reality vs. Media Hype

17 January 2013

Cathy Brown of Escape from America travel site, writes recently about people’s reactions to her travels to Mexico, reactions founded from what she calls “misguided, baseless fear.”

She asks people to look at the facts, saying:

“Mexico is roughly the size of Western Europe. Of Mexico’s 2,500 municipalities, only 18 have been considered to be a security problem.  Please read that sentence again. Pretty sure that leaves you with a 2482 very safe options if you want to travel to Mexico. Yes, there are places in Mexico that have had problems with drug violence. But the majority of Mexico’s organized-crime killings last year took place in a mere three of Mexico’s 31 states: Chihuahua,Tamaulipas and Nuevo Leon. I am not here to dispute that there has been and is drug violence in Mexico.I am here to point out that those specific places are likely nowhere near where you as a tourist or expat are planning to go.”

She goes on to cite the statistics on the higher homicide rates per 100,000 inhabitants that exist in U.S. cities such as Baltimore, Washington DC, and Detroit.  Mexico ranks behind the U.S. in drug offenses, ranked 12th in the world (the U.S. is ranked 4th).  When it comes to homicides with firearms, the U.S. ranks 7th, while Mexico ranks 17th.

As with any place you travel, you should exercise caution, and be aware of which areas should be avoided.  However, Brown encourages people to make an informed opinion about Mexico and to look at the media hype with a critical eye.

Read the full article here.

Drug-related Deaths in Mexico Decline

17 January 2013

Is Mexico getting safer? As the LA Times reports, the total number of drug-related deaths throughout Mexico has been declining.

Although the U.S. State Department’s most recent travel advisory regarding Mexico tells travelers to defer non-essential travel to 4 of Mexico’s 31 states, it is less guarded about Mexico compared to previous advisories.

Read the full article here.

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