Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Resort Towns Safe in Mexico

With the apparent hysteria in the media about the dangers of Mexico and the anxious emails I'm receiving about upcoming trips, I thought I would touch on this subject one more time (see previous post here). In Cancun and Quintana Roo, at this moment in time, all is peaceful, all is calm and tourists are safe. According to today's local paper "El Periodico", the US State Department released a letter stating that their warning was intended to urge people to exercise caution in the border areas of the country, not to prohibit travel or imply that resort areas are unsafe. There have been no tourists killed in Cancun as a result of the war on drugs. Do people die here? Why, yes they do, car accidents, heart attacks, drownings, suicides, of course people die here, but random murders just don't happen. The entire city of Cancun had only 65 murders last year, none of the victims were tourists. For a city of about 700 000 residents with millions of tourists visiting each year, that is not a scary statistic. Does crime against tourists happen? Yes, this is not Disneyland (and I am sure there are pick pockets there too), robberies occur, credit card fraud, rape (usually of the "date rape" variety, not random assaults on the street), all things that happen in any major city. Use your common sense and don't put yourself or your things in dangerous situations. Don't buy drugs, don't use the services of prostitutes and stay away from unknown areas outside the tourist zones at night. Don't flash cash around, lock your valuables in the safe, don't get so drunk you can't remember the name of your hotel (or your own name for that matter), and stick with your group or travel partner, all reasonable travel advice for any destination.

But don't just take my word for it, a number of Mexican bloggers and reliable sources have chimed in on the issue
:

Heather in Paradise- Playa del Carmen is Safe
Luna Blue- Playa del Carmen: Is It Safe?
The Rosas-Standring Family- Is Tulum Safe to Visit?
Countdown to Mexico (Mazatlan)- Everyone is on the Defensive
Rivergirl- Is Cancun Safe?
Rivergirl- Cancun, Mexico is Safe for Tourists
TravelOjos- (multiple posts on safety in Mexico)
About.com- Is Cancun Safe?
Same Life, New Location- She Walks in Beauty Like the Night
Mexfiles- Each Man's Death Diminishes Me (not really)
Dangers CancunCasa- Travel Still Safe to Major Tourist Hubs in Mexico
Isla Gringo- We're All Going to Die!

(If I've missed your blog on the subject, drop me a comment and I will add your link)

If the situation changes and things deteriorate, I'll be the first to shout "Watch out!", I'm certainly not going to deliberately put people in harm's way or mislead tourists in any manner. For now, I am living my day to day life, not worrying too much about what's going on in the north of the country and I'm still helping friends and family plan their upcoming visits.

**note: Any comments that do not engage in reasonable debate on the topic will be deleted. You are free to disagree, but back up your opinions with facts and sources and be respectful or your comment will be gone. Racist comments will not be tolerated and personal insults or attacks will result in the removal of your comment as well. Please note that anonymous comments are no longer permitted on this site. Thank you in advance.


27 comments:

Dangers said...

While the border violence and elsewhere are no joking matter, my American countrymen appear intent on creating a Mexican Diablo to feed their deepest fears. The irresponsible media reporting in the U.S. that can't distinguish between geography and specifics in the US State Department's Travel Advisory is just the latest litany of branding of our Mexican neighbors as some kind of rogue state unfit for US citizens.

Immigration, Employment, Nation Failing and now the Unsafe tags are all turning into building blocks for creating and stoking a hate based xenophobic relation between two mutually associated cultures and kindred societies whether intentional or not.

I've never understood why a nation as strong as the US needs to have something to fear to stir it's passions, rightly and often, wrongly as well, but I presume that it says more about many Americans than anything else. Sadly, they need something to hate at, it takes their minds off of failing investments, jobs and education by having someone else to blame as they, rather ironically, live together in places called San Diego, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and New Mexico amongst others.

Of course, when they finally figure out that the lawyers, guns and money, along with the final retail source from all this drug violence mainly comes from the U.S., perhaps they'll be willing to make that global announcement as well.

Till then, Mexico and Mexicans are the new members of the American War for many nearsighted US citizens on things they don't understand, like Terror, Muslims, Iraq and African American presidents.

~JMO~

Islagringo said...

Funny you should mention this again. My blog tomorrow deals with this safety issue also. And, like you, starting next week, I am no longer going to allow anonymous comments. Identify yourself or be quiet.

Babs said...

I too have been getting inquiries, emails and even my tour group for next August has canceled. It is so out of context!
Good blog.

Teresa said...

CancunCanuck, I have lived in Mexico for the past six years and have felt much safer here than in the states where I hail from. I am surprised at the amount of emails and phone calls I get weekly worried about the safety issue here. I spent 3 1/2 years in Playa and now live in the Yucatan in a small village called Chelem. I'm sorry to say but feel that the States is trying to sabotage travel to Mexico and keep all the money there. This is spoken from one who lived in and loved the US for the majority of their life. I really love your blog and the the way you stay in touch with all the issues. Keep up the good work!

Steve Cotton said...

Nice post. As I get ready for the drive south, I am hit daily with passionate pleas from friends and relatives to not move to Mexico. Very level-headed people are convinced that I will be dead within minutes of driving across the border. Of course, the most dangerous part of my trip will be just that -- the first hour as I drive through the border area. The best testimonial is for those of us who live very normal and safe lives to keep writing about our very normal and safe lives. Maybe our friends and relatives will learn something when we spite them by simply living.

K.W. Michigan said...

Amen to your post and all the comments so far. I can't tell you how many people have been asking me about Cancun. Are you going .. aren't you scared .. NO I'm NOT. I sure give them an ear full. And I'm sick of the news media downgrading the tourist areas in Mexico. Yep they mentioned Cancun. Wake up people.. there is more crime right here in our cities. People killed every minute in the US. I live in the subs of Detroit .. and yes I'm scared here. Not in Cancun!

Kelly said...

Amen! I have forwarded this to all the nay-sayers I know. Granted, the border isn't the safest place in the world, but I think US officials (especially in Texas) use that as a scare tactic to make people fear or dislike Mexican immigrants - basically, it's a way to incriminate a whole country that happens to be at the forefront of immigration issues here.

Personally, I can't wait to jet down to the Yucatan for some beach time, and if it means less obnoxious people will be there, that's fine. I'll spend more in town to try to make up the difference : )

CancunCanuck said...

Dangers- Well said, thank you so much for your insightful comment. I'm giving you my "Amen hallelujah" for the day!

IslaGringo- Great post, I've added it to the list. I really don't have a problem with people disagreeing with me, it makes for interesting debate, but I won't tolerate insults and comments that do not relate or contribute to the conversation and these usually come from anonymous commenters so yep, no more!

Babs- It really is crazy, isn't it? Sorry you had a cancellation, that's just overreacting in my humble opinion. Thanks for stopping by!

Theresa- Very nice to meet you, welcome. I agree, I think there is certainly something to the speculation that the US tourism industry is trying to keep the vacation dollars at home. Again, bienvenida, glad you enjoy the blog!

Steve- I can understand why people are freaking out, they are being led to the edge by the media. People who love you will be concerned, but you are the one with all the knowledge of what is really going on and I know you can put their minds at ease. The first part of your trip may be the riskiest, but I am sure you'll be just fine and it will make for some great blogging at the very least.

K.W.- Amen back atcha. I was far more frightened in my time in Detroit than I am here. Thanks for spreading the good word! Hopefully you'll get a trip south soon. :)

Kelly- More good points. The immigration issue certainly stimulates the worst in people and any excuse to bash Mexico or Mexicans is good enough for them. I can't even bring myself to read the comments on the news stories about the warnings, I just feel nauseous from the hate. While the border areas ARE suffering, it's unfair to paint a whole country with the same brush. And heck yeah, the obnoxious haters can stay home, all the better for us! :)

Sara said...

I tried to tell my Fox news watching grandma about your post because she talks about how dangerous Mexico is becoming. I don't think she realizes yet how far Chile is from Mexico.

Heather said...

Its all media. When I lived in Kenya my mom would email daily about how i was in drought and poor but she was all wrong, its just what the media puts out there. Kenya is just as safe or dangerous as downtown LA, lol!
-h

CancunCanuck said...

Sara- I think trying to convince grandmas of anything is hard. The whole "teaching an old dog" thing. Has she visited you in Chile?

Heather- The media is extremely good at manipulating people's minds, it's kind of their "job". I saw an interview once with Marilyn Manson (a surprisingly intelligent man) who said that the media breeds fear in society in order to get them to consume. Fear of bad breath, buy Listerine, fear of pimples, buy Oxy, fear of Mexico, buy a trip to Florida. It's all connected. :)

MissFab said...

This tips are useful, especially around spring break time when many people are thinking about where to go - Mexico is a popular place! Thanks for posting, this stays relevant over the years.

Marissa
Cabo Hotels

CancunCanuck said...

MissFab- Thanks for your comment, glad you found the article useful. Hope things in Cabo are hopping during this high season!

Anonymous said...

Well, I'm glad to read that other people are being pestered about upcoming trips to Mexico--it's not just MY family and friends who are nuts! ;o)

We're counting the days until our 2 weeks of relaxation and I can't see why people are so wound up about border town dangers all the way down on the Yucatan. We take the same precautions we would take in any tourist destination and have a great time.

Glad to have found your blog tonight!

CancunCanuck said...

Deborah- I hope you have a terrific trip, I know you will be just fine! Glad I could ease your mind a bit, you can also check out www.thetruthaboutmexico.com and share it with family and friends that are concerned. The site is a compilation of many ex-pat bloggers sharing their thoughts and news links about Mexico. Have a great trip and thanks for stopping by!

Sandman said...

Hi Canuck,

Love your blog, we are coming down to VCI in May, have been coming every year for years. This time we are bringing friends, some of whom were a little concerned by all the fear mongers. Glad to see you are telling it like it is. Maybe I'll run into you at Walmart :).

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