We’re headed to Mexico (Playa del Carmen) next week for our Destination Wedding wedding. I feel that as long as you’re careful you’ll be safe.
Our resort just sent this and, while it is from a resort looking for continued business, I think it rings true:
Most media reports of violence in Mexico fail to mention nearly all of these incidents take place along the border and far away from popular resort areas frequented by U.S. tourists.
- Mexico is a huge country. Based on geographic size, it’s among the top 15 largest independent nations in the world.
- Major resort areas where Americans like to go, such as Cancun, Cozumel, the Riviera Maya and Cabo San Lucas are quite safe.
- The ongoing drug-related violence is predominantly taking place in the northern Mexican states that border the U.S. and is not targeting U.S. tourists.
- Those individuals trying to lump Acapulco into the list of top Mexico destinations U.S. travelers visit are misinformed. It has been decades since it was a hot tourist destination – today it is more of a destination for Mexican nationals rather than U.S. Tourists.
USA Today provided some statistical comparisons in the fall of 2010 between Mexico and the U.S.
1. Yucatan, the Gulf of Mexico state known for its beaches and Mayan ruins, had a murder rate of 2 per 100,000 which is comparable to Wyoming and Montana.
2. Washington, D.C.’s murder rate is nearly quadruple that of the Mexican capital. Washington’s murder rate was 31.4 per 100,000 people in 2008; Mexico City’s rate in 2009 was 8.
While the U.S. State Department issued a Travel Warning last year, it is primarily devoted to the violence in communities at or near the U.S. border.
- The State Department does not explicitly say, do not travel to Mexico.
- The State Department aptly notes: “Millions of U.S. citizens safely visit Mexico each year. This includes tens of thousands who cross the border every day for study, tourism or business and at least one million U.S. citizens who live in Mexico. The Mexican government makes a considerable effort to protect U.S. citizens and other visitors to major tourist destinations.”
- The distance between the U.S./Mexico border, where much of the violence takes place, and Cancun is over 1,400 miles. The flying distance between the border and Cabo San Lucas is the same as between Oklahoma and Indiana.
All travelers, no matter what country they visit, can take precautions to help ensure their safety and well-being. First and foremost: obey the law. If our clients are going to pack one thing, we’d strongly recommend it be common sense. No matter what our clients’ age or destination, they should always use good common sense when it comes to their personal safety, just as they would at home.
To maximize safety and security while traveling in Mexico or any other international destination:
1. Follow your instincts and avoid any areas or situations that seem as though they could become dangerous.
2. Stay in the well-known tourist areas of the cities.
3. Know and respect the laws in the country you are visiting.
4. Visit only legitimate businesses and tourist areas and avoid areas where prostitution and drug dealing might occur.
5. Leave your itinerary with a friend or family member back home.
6. Check with your cell phone provider prior to departure to see if your phone is capable of roaming on GSM or 3G international networks.
7. Do not display expensive looking jewelry, large amounts of money or other valuable items.
8. Make every attempt to travel during daylight hours and stick to main roads.
o The U.S. State Department has even put together a document called: Spring Break in Mexico – “Know Before Your Go!” For more, go to: http:/travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/spring_break_mexico/spring_break_mexico_5014.html
9. Safety is our top priority for our clients.
o Our business is founded on repeat customers. Therefore, we want to be sure everything goes off without a hitch.
o We provide the facts so our clients can make informed decisions about their travel plans.
o We closely monitor the U.S. Department of State Web site for travel alerts for all destinations, including those that are most popular with our clients.
o Should we become aware of an issue for a specific destination, we alert clients who may be planning to travel there so they can make and determine for themselves if they still wish to travel.
Cancun & Playa del Carmen – Riviera Maya