With all the recent bad press regarding drug traffic related gang crimes in Mexico, one has to wonder if that Mexico vacation is still safe.
Peter Diaz, President of VoyageMonkey.com Online Travel, compares travel to Mexico with any travel within the United States. Simply stated, “We all generally don’t take vacations to bad parts of Oakland California or South Central Los Angeles, yet we regularly hear about drug related crimes, gang violence and murders taking place right here in our own backyards.” Yet we don’t question if travel in the United States is safe.
The facts are that travel to such popular Mexican destinations as Puerto Vallarta, Cabo San Lucas, Cancun and other tourist spots in Mexico is generally safe. Most of the Mexican crimes in the press have been in the border towns and some of the larger cities. Victims are generally other gang members and authorities. Statistically this is not unusual when compared to the United States. The press has capitalized on these stories, as is expected. The event becomes a story and every news network puts their own spin on it, for days, or weeks, or months.
Several years ago a young woman named Natalee Holloway was murdered in Aruba and the press capitalized on it. Diaz says “Aruba is one on the safest places to travel to in the Caribbean. I would not think twice about vacationing in Aruba.” The Natalee Holloway story was rare to Aruba, but travel to Aruba was affected. The Natalle Holloway story still receives some press.
Another recent story involved a young girl on a cruise ship that was sexually assaulted. Unfortunately, the young girl was allowed to wander the ship alone, unsupervised, in this floating city of 3,000 people. Something parents generally don’t allow back at home. The event turned into stories about how United States laws don’t protect cruise ship passenger and how cruise lines will not properly investigate and report crimes. The cruise industry was attacked by the press and the safety of all cruise ships was questioned. Travelers were asking if cruise ships were safe.
These stories should remind us as travelers that we should always be alert and stay out of risks way at home and abroad. When traveling anywhere, using good common sense will keep you safe. Always keep your children in your sight. Stay in resort hotels and keep to the tourist areas. Don’t walk alone at night (take a cab), don’t accept rides with questionable transportation, and always keep the alcohol consumption down and stay away from illegal drugs. Going out drinking and clubbing at night always carries some risks. Leave the Rolex watch and the flashy bling bling at home.
Mexico has some great travel destinations, excellent beaches, and the dollar is strong against the peso. Travel to Mexico is down so the deals are really good. We say, take that Mexico vacation and enjoy yourself. Any of the destinations that have been developed as resort areas will be safe. The local economies rely on the tourist dollar and drug trafficking is not a huge business in these areas. Local law enforcement is making sure these areas stay safe for tourists. If you’re still not sure, stay at home, lock your doors and just watch the travel channel.