The U.S. State Department has recently expanded it’s Travel Warning to Mexico to include some of the county’s most popular vacation hotspots. Tourist destinations included the Riviera Maya, Cancun, and Los Cabos on the Pacific coast. The warning does not suggest not traveling altogether, but it does “warn U.S. citizens about the risk of traveling to certain parts of Mexico due to the activities of criminal organizations in those areas.” The recent change has left some to wonder if it’s too dangerous to visit.
Mexico is visited by upwards of 25 million Americans per year, making it the most popular tourist destination for citizens looking to travel outside of the country. The massive resorts, all inclusive packages, cultural sites and big cities are especially attractive when coupled with cheap prices and easy access.
Ok, let’s get to the question. Is it too dangerous to vacation in Mexico. The answer to that is….”it depends”. Chicago is the murder capital of the country, yet there are many areas of the city that are perfectly safe and I wouldn’t think twice about going to. What I mean by this is, as long as you use common sense, your likelihood of being safe should stay in your favor. What are some common sense things to keep in mind? Oh I thought you’d never ask. Let’s review shall we.
Common Sense Rule #1 – Do your research. Most likely you’ll research 10 different places to eat, put in at least the same effort for safety. Although nothing is guaranteed and people do get caught at “the wrong place at the wrong time”, it certainly helps your chances.
Common Sense Rule #2 – Try to stay at or near the resort or resort sponsored tour. Most crime happens outside of the resorts, and although things do sometimes happen at the resorts, your odds are better just sticking close.
Common Sense Rule #3 – Try not to do any driving, especially at night. You could make it very easy to get yourself lost. Which then leads to a seedy neighborhood, which leads to you being being beaten, which leads you to waking up in a bathtub with your kidney missing.
Common Sense Rule #4 – Take it easy on the booze. This one is self explanatory. Don’t be like uncle Barry, drink 11 margaritas, end up in a small village 23 miles from the resort in his underwear, yelling at the locals about REO Speedwagon. The police report was very amusing. Keep in mind Mexican authorities seized over 10,000 gallons of alcohol at different resorts after allegations of tainted alcohol.
Common Sense Rule #5 – Enroll in the State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program to stay updated on conditions in your destination.
State Department warnings and alerts: travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/alertswarnings.html