Fall 2012: how is travel safety in Mexico?
Replies: 55 - Last Post: Mar 4, 2013 5:46 AM Last Post By: enroutesiglo
Sep 13, 2012 1:08 PM
Sep 13, 2012 1:35 PM
16enroutesiglo you wrote, "...AFAIK there hasn't been a single story of a tourist getting killed, kidnapped, or otherwise had their vacation time violently dampened."
So, I mentioned one off the top of my head. And yes, it is necessarily from the past.
RichTX1, I've been to Mazatlan and I'd go again (if I had liked the city better). I walked in the area in which the incident occurred and that's why it stuck with me. The guy was a snowbird (a term used to describe people, mostly Canadians, who spend our winters in nicer climates) not a drug dealer. I would suggest that lots of foreigners go to Sam's Club. All-inclusive vacations aren't especially popular in Mazatlan, more self-catering, so trips to Sam's Club are typical among those vacationers.
I love going to Mexico.
It's incorrect to say there hasn't been a single story of violence towards tourists.
Sep 13, 2012 6:04 PM
17well, as many know I'm a local in Monterrey, back in Mty actually,
I spent most of last year in the States taking a good nice break from all happening here.
There are big issues here, still...This past weeks have been brutal,Monterrey is mourning, many kidnappings ending in death,, Others were luckier like a 15 yr old girl, friend of my son, who returned unharmed after two weeks and many dollars payed by her family.Negotiations started at a top of 15 million dollars.
What I can be sure of is that no international tourist is a target for kidnappings. This is true unless you are in a bus with many illegal immigrants from Guatemala, Salvador, one of this buses was reported missing in Guanajuato a couple of days ago. Not sure if it was found or a false alarm,or still missing.
Being caught in a shooting is very unlikely although I missed one for no more than 5 minutes today! It happened in a supermarket parking lot I had just passed by!
I think it is ok to travel to most areas of mexico, but always be very vigilant.
In August a friend of other son got kidnapped express in a Cancun atm, he was taken for 10 hours, had to ask his family to deposit money and his captors took him around atms.
They were nice to him actually, told him that they didn't want to harm him and to please understand that it is just their job!!!
One very important fact is, all police is corrupted. It is so random when they will act according to law and when not. You can kind of tell in which mode they are in by the way they stare at you.
Sep 13, 2012 8:34 PM
18Two days ago I returned from a solo driving trip from Lake Patzcuaro, in the colonial highlands of Michoacan, around Queretaro, into Monterrey to spend the night, up through Laredo to my NOB home in Austin, TX. Last month, I made the reverse trip down south to Lake Patzcuaro.
There were no issues, but the distractions of the beautiful vistas took my mind off the driving. Both trips were easy driving, with very little detours from road construction. I tried to keep speed at around 75mph, but I was not the fastest car on the road. Most of the major rest areas have wifi, but all had gasoline, immaculate restrooms, and good places to eat. I love my drives through Mexico. Feliz viaje, David
Sep 14, 2012 11:47 AM
Sep 15, 2012 3:18 AM
20Thanks a lot everybody, this has been really informative!
So as usual sounds like the FCO alerts are made to scary people so they think twice before going to a place and doing something stupid!
I consider myself an experienced an careful traveller, I did south america with no problem or hassle so I was just looking for some confirmation from real travellers, not people sitting in London or Washington writing the travellers alert based on newspaper news..!
Sep 15, 2012 7:44 AM
21Sanddrifts... Um... the "snowbird" was a full-year resident, and the Ley's where this happened was nowhere near Sam's Club. At any rate, as noted, it was seen by the victim as "one off". Violence to foreigners in Mexico is rare enough to make the national press.
MM... two points about FCO warnings. They are (obviously) produced by Foreign Service officers, who face much different hazards than normal travelers — and who do have to err on the side of caution — AND, they are often politically tinged (for a short time, the U.S: claimed Ottawa was dangerous, during a diplomatic spat between Canada and the Reagan Administration).
Sep 15, 2012 10:41 AM
22I guess I spoke too broadly saying that no one has had their vacation "violently dampened" as I'm sure there were other petty crimes and grazings, but the point is that they're so dang rare as opposed to the violence-soaked U.S. where vacationers get popped and shredded all the time.
The other thing that is a huge factor but often goes unspoken is that it's absolutely in the interest of criminal organizations to avoid harming foreigners or tourists at all costs; that's different than potential petty crime arising from actual drug use, but there's a reason why so few foreign tourists (not counting Mexican expats returning to see family) ever get caught up in this stuff.
Sep 15, 2012 7:26 PM
23I was very glad to learn that the travel warnings have been lifted for Ottawa. I was afraid to go there for fear my travel insurance would be invalidated.
Sep 16, 2012 7:48 AM
24RichTX1, I can give you the links to two Canadian national broadcasters that identified the victim as a "tourist" but I don't think that you're interested. It seems that you're very dismissive of a man being shot in the leg (not a "petty crime" or "grazing") during a gang drive-by shooting.
On the other hand, I read with interest some of the other postings that go into detail about conditions in various areas, both good and bad, and which aren't as skewed as advice such as 'don't worry, nothing ever happens, it's media hype, blahblahblah...'
Sep 16, 2012 8:12 AM
25Actually #24, it was the victim himself who was extremely dismissive of being grazed in the leg, who rightfully took it as a freak occurrence which even happens in Canada occasionally, and certainly didn't give a ***'s *** what a "national broadcaster" called him.
Seriously... perspective. What is your angle here? Did Mexico touch you inappropriately one time, and how?
Sep 16, 2012 12:24 PM
26I don't know your "angle" either Sanddrifts---but if you are looking for incidents over the past two years in which Northamericans not involved in criminal activity were travelling in northern Mexico and murdered by the Zetas, google the names of Kenneth Klowak, Jonathon William Torres, Nancy Davis, and Maria, Karla and Christina Hartsell.
They may not specifically target foreign tourists or residents, but the Zetas do not have some unwritten hands-off foreigners policy. There were many reports of carjackings and robberies on the highways leading to the Tamaulipas border towns involving foreign travelers in the weeks after the onset of violence following the Zeta/Gulf cartel split in February 2010.
Sep 16, 2012 1:11 PM
27enroutesiglo: I never wrote that there isn't violence in Canada. But this thread is about Mexico. I brought up this particular example because you wrote that no tourists had been affected by violence in Mexico. The incident happened in early 2011, not three years ago, as you mentioned. He was shot, not grazed, and needed surgery on his leg. He said the incident wouldn't stop him from visiting Mexico again but that's hardly the same as being "extremely dismissive" about being shot.
I brought up that two national broadcasters said he was a tourist, in reply to RichTX1 calling him a resident. I'm trying to keep the facts straight.
Maybe the reason you can't figure out my angle is that I don't have one. Can you say the same?
And as I've written before, I love Mexico. But when people ask if there's been trouble in certain areas, I think they deserve an honest answer.
Sep 16, 2012 2:51 PM
Sep 16, 2012 3:11 PM
29"Absolutely no violence" seems a bit of an overstatement. I've met tourists who've experienced violence in the form of muggings, and I've read of others. No big mystery about this--I've certainly heard similar from visitors to New York.
But why allow yourself to be maneuvered into taking polarized positions like "absolutely no violence?" It just invites attacks, since that position is essentially indefensible. Try practicing phrases like "very rare," or "hardly ever," or even "an almost infinitesimally small percentage." Or, if anyone still remembers what the OP was asking, you could relate travel in Mexico to his 6 months' experience in South America, e.g., "no more dangerous to tourists than any other Latin American country, and safer than many."
Many of us, myself included, tend to go overboard on these threads. When someone posts ridiculous stuff about how scary it all is, I'm tempted to come right back at them by exaggerating the opposite position. In fact, I've had enough experience in Mexico to feel pretty safe there--although I don't hang in Nuevo Laredo much.
But it's obvious that stuff happens, that some tourists have targets painted on them, and that to a large extent it's all luck anyway. If tomorrow someone comes on the forum describing how they just got mugged by six guys on a beach or outside a bar, that doesn't make it less safe than it is today--that just fills out the picture a bit.
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