Posts Tagged travel

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.

Latest Mexico Travel Warning Greenlights Most Tourist Destinations

11 December 2012

As reported in The San Francisco Chronicle, The U.S. State Department’s recent update to its travel warning on Mexico on November 20, 2012 was notable due to the lack of fanfare that has characterized previous warnings.  Also notable is that:

“The State Department has gotten more specific about where travel is dangerous in Mexico – and where it is not. The vagueness of earlier alerts led wary travelers to conclude that all of Mexico was going up in flames. The state-by-state evaluations produced this year, clearly outlining areas to stay away from and places that call for caution, are finally informative enough to encourage travelers to make intelligent decisions.”

Excluding Acapulco, all of the major Mexican tourist destinations are given the green light, including: Mexico City, Cancun and the Riviera Maya, the Costa Maya, Chichen Itza, Merida, Campeche, Baja California Sur, Los Cabos, La Paz, Todos Santos, San Ignacio, San Miguel de Allende, Leon, Oaxaca, Pueblo, and more.

The article goes on to review the areas of Northern Mexico which remain on alert, including Baja California (not to be confused with Baja California Sur), Tijuana, Nuevo Leon and Ciudad Juarez.

To read the full article, go here.

Conde Nast Traveler Reader’s Choice Awards: San Miguel de Allende

25 October 2012

Mexico’s colonial town and expat paradise San Miguel de Allende was recently named one of Conde Nast Traveler’s Top 10 Cities in the World – as chosen by its readers.  San Miguel topped the list along with Florence, Italy, Bangkok, Thailand and Vancouver, Canada.

See the full list at CNTraveler.com.

Gadling.com Writer on the True Victims of Mexico’s Drug Violence

12 July 2012

Travel writer Kyle Ellison recently wrote about his recent trip to Mexico on Gadling.com.  Citing travel concerns about Mexico as one of the current hottest topics in North American travel, Ellison felt compelled to rehash the subject after encountering what he calls “crowdsourced ignorance” in talking to others about travel to Mexico.  He writes,

“While I could rattle statistics off from a slew of different sources, the bottom line and the main point which needs to be made is that traveling to Mexico is no more dangerous than living in any major global city. Of the 60 countries I’ve wandered through and after 20+ visits to Mexico, you know where I’ve felt the most in danger (including when I thought I was kidnapped in Borneo)?  When I got lost on the south side of Chicago.”

Ellison’s incense about the common ignorance about safety in Mexico is propelled by what he calls the “real, true victims” of Mexico’s drug violence – the “peace-loving, everyday Mexican citizens who rely on tourism dollars to survive.”  He fondly recaps the highlights of his trip to Mexico, which includes cheap beers, perfect waves, and long conversations with friendly locals.

To read the full article, go here.

Travel Organizations Meet With Texas DPS About Travel Advisories

2 July 2012

Recently American and Mexican tourist and travel industry groups met with the Texas Secretary of State’s office and the Texas Department of Public Safety to discuss the state’s current travel warning, which they contend is too broad and hurting business.  The groups asked that future DPS travel warnings should clarify which areas of Mexico pose the most threat to tourists, citing that less than 5% of Mexico is actually affected by drug and cartel violence.  Said Shannon Stowell, president of the Adventure Travel Trade Association,

“Out of roughly 2,500 municipalities, only 80 are currently recording problems with drug violence.  It’s a very acute problem versus a ubiquitous problem.”

The organizations point out that the most popular resort areas, including Cancun, Los Cabos and Cozumel are not dangerous for travelers.  They compare the Texas DPS travel warning to that of the federal travel warning, which is less editorialized and points out specific areas to avoid.

The Texas DPS travel warning issued this year and targeted at spring break travelers, tells Texans to avoid the country all together and “stay alive,” – which the organizations feel is irresponsible.

To read the full article, go here.

Despite What You Hear, Mexico is Still Safe for Travelers

25 May 2012

Cozumel Lighthouse in Cozumel, Quintana Roo (by wiredtourist.com)

Mexican governor Roberto Borge of Quintana Roo – one of Mexico’s most popular tourist destinations – visited Austin, Texas recently to encourage Texans to head south of the border.  Borge confronted media headlines of drug cartel violence head on, stating that while cartel violence is indeed a problem, it is concentrated in very small areas of Mexico and that this violence does not affect tourists.  Borge said:

“Mexico has 112 million citizens,” he said. “Are there more good Mexicans than bad? Yes. There are more than 2,500 municipalities in Mexico, and the majority of violence is in 12 of them. Has one tourist been involved in that violence? Not one.”

Borge also pointed out that while the U.S. Travel Advisory should not stop issuing warnings, they are too general – and that this hurts both the Mexican and Texas tourist economies.  Author of the article, Melissa Gaskill reiterates the safety of Mexico’s tourist destinations.  After returning from a family trip in early May on the East Cap of Baja California, she says she felt just as safe as she would in her central Austin neighborhood.  Quote Gaskill:

“The food is great, the culture rich, the landscape absolutely beautiful. Simply crossing it off our travel list is a loss for everyone.”

To read the full article, go here.

FBI Crime Statistics Show Americans are Safer in Mexico than Many Parts of the U.S.

3 May 2012

Lonely Planet’s New York-based U.S. Travel Editor Robert Reid, who has been traveling to Mexico since he was a child, adds to the chorus of travel writers and reporters who consider the warnings against travel to Mexico to be out of context.  While citing that the drug violence in Mexico should be taken seriously, he also asks travelers to be sensible and consider the facts.

He writes:

“What you don’t get from most reports in the US is statistical evidence that Americans are less likely to face violence on average in Mexico than at home, particularly when you zero in on Mexico’s most popular travel destinations. For example, the gateway to Disney World, Orlando, saw 7.5 murders per 100,000 residents in 2010 per the FBI; this is higher than Cancun or Puerto Vallarta, with rates of 1.83 and 5.9 respectively…Yet in March, the Texas Department of Public Safety advised against ‘spring break’ travel anywhere in Mexico, a country the size of the UK, France, Germany, Spain and Italy combined. Never mind that popular destinations like the Bahamas, Belize and Jamaica have far higher homicide rates …why the singular focus?”

His article goes on to put things in context, stating that Mexico is less dangerous for Americans overall, than…well, America.  According to Reid and FBI crime statistics, Mexico is twice as safe for Texans, than Texas (and three times safer than Houston).  He also points out that most parts of Mexico are not included on the U.S. Travel Advisory for Mexico.

To read the full article, go here.

Top 10 Tourism Destinations in Mexico

10 April 2012

As Never Stop Traveling reports, Mexico continues to be one of the most popular destinations for American tourists, boasting sandy resorts and culturally rich travel experiences.

The article encourages travelers to exercise common sense safety precautions, as they would in any other foreign country, while enjoying all that Mexico has to offer via the Mexico Tourism Board’s top 10 tourism destinations in Mexico.  These destinations include:

-The sun, sand and waters of Cancun, Riviera Maya, Cozumel and Isla Mujeres

-The lively art, culture and shopping that Mexico City has to offer

-The upscale restaurants and panoramic views of Puerto Vallarta, Riviera Nayarit

-The spas, eco-tourism, and year-round, impeccable weather of Baja California Sur: Los Cabos and La Paz

-The music and agave fields of Guadalajara and Tequila in Jalisco

-The charm and world-class golf courses of Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo

-The art, history, museums and culture of Central Mexico: Queretaro, San Miguel de Allende and Guanajuato City

-The archaeological sites and Mayan culture of the Yucatan: Merida, Uxmal and Chichen Itza

-The natural beauty and breathtaking scenery of Copper Canyon

-The open-air markets and handmade crafts of Chiapas: San Cristobal de las Casas

To read the full article and destination descriptions, go here.

A Family Road Trip to Mexico Dispels Myths About Danger

6 April 2012

Rachel Denning shares her recent experiences on a family road trip through Mexico, for the popular BootsnAll Indie Travel Guide.

Denning and her family of 7, including her kids (whose ages range from 4 to 2 months), crossed the border from Arizona into Chihuahua, and passed through Durango, Guadalajara, Mexico City, Puebla, Oaxaca, Chiapas, and most of the Yucatan Peninsula before crossing into Belize.

What they experienced was a Mexico far from the “lawless,” “violent,” and “dangerous” Mexico they had been sufficiently warned about.  What they discovered instead was a Mexico “so far from the rumors, news reports, warnings and ‘common knowledge’ that it was almost comical, if it wasn’t so sadly incorrect.”

Says Denning,

“Yes, there are people being killed in Mexico. Yes, there is a drug war going on. Yes, regular precautions should be taken, just as you would if you were taking a trip to the United States for the first time. You probably wouldn’t pick a known gang neighborhood in L.A. as the place you would spend your time.  The same logic applies for visiting Mexico. For the most part, the urban legends  just aren’t true, and if you avoid the “bad parts of town,” the result will be a rich, rewarding experience.”

In her article, she dispels 4 common myths about Mexico.  Those myths include:

-“Because of the drug war, all of Mexico is unsafe”

-“Tourists are being targeted and killed, even in the “safe” areas, and anyone could get caught in the crossfire”

-“If you do go, stick to the touristy areas – they’re the safest for you and your kids”

-“Mexico is just a poor, third world country.  There’s not much to see and do anyway, especially for kids”

She also shares her six favorite destinations in Mexico, which include: Lake Chapala, Morelia, Mexico City, Oaxaca, Chiapas, and Laguna Bacalar.

To read Denning’s explanation behind the 4 common myths about Mexico, as well as her travel and destination recommendations, view the full article here.

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