Fall 2012: how is travel safety in Mexico?
Replies: 55 - Last Post: Mar 4, 2013 5:46 AM Last Post By: enroutesiglo
Sep 12, 2012 10:25 AM
Fall 2012: how is travel safety in Mexico?Hello,
so the last post about safety travelling in Mex was 6 months old and I thought to open a new one.
In the past weeks I've been discuraged bt Mexican friends about travelling in the north of Mexico as murder rate is getting higher and higher, and also for local si dangerous.
I was planning to start in Los Angeles and then down to Panama, crossing all Mex from north to south. They told me places like Tijuana, Chiuaua, Monterrey, etc... are not advisable for tourism at the moment. The south should be quieter though...
Also the FCO office always posts a lots of alerts about Mex..
So the ball to recent travellers or resident....how is the situation for a solo traveller like me?
I've been to south america for 6 months so I'm used to deal with difficult environments, but reading about Mex sounds over the top now..
Sep 12, 2012 10:30 AM
Most visits to Mexico are trouble-free but crime and kidnappings can be a problem, particularly in urban areas. See Safety and Security - General and Safety and Security - Crime.
There has been a significant rise in bus hijackings, car-jackings, abductions, robberies and illegal roadblocks in the Monterrey metropolitan area and on highways leading from Monterrey to the US border areas across the states of Tamaulipas and Nuevo Leon. You should exercise extreme caution when travelling on the highways between Monterrey, Nuevo Laredo and Reynosa, as there have been reports of disappearances. See Safety and Security – General, Safety and Security - Crime, Safety and Security - State-specific Information (Nuevo Leon and Tamaulipas), and Safety and Security - Road Travel.
There have been a number of violent car-jackings and robberies along the Pacific Highway. You should exercise particular caution along this route, travel in convoy where possible, and avoid travel at night. See Safety and Security - General, Safety and Security - Crime, Safety and Security - State-specific Information (Sinaloa), and Safety and Security - Road Travel.
Sep 12, 2012 10:55 AM
2What might be useful is pressing them for any actual stories of tourists or visitors getting mixed up in this. They might come up with that jet ski thing back a couple of years ago.
Crazy travel warnings are one thing, actual facts on the ground are another. Folks have been bussing the country north to south all year and AFAIK there hasn't been a single story of a tourist getting killed, kidnapped, or otherwise had their vacation time violently dampened.
It can be a sensitive issue with Mexican locals and there are some who will swear up and down to you that you shouldn't go to Mexico City because it's so terribly dangerous... which turns out to be just wrong. Yes there an unacceptable level of violence, but when it comes to affecting tourists, it really just isn't (except for discouraging them from coming).
Sep 12, 2012 11:02 AM
3Along the Tamaulipas border it's not any worse now than it has been over the last 3 years. It some places the situation has improved. There's no real danger travelling on the autopistas between Monterrey, Nuevo Laredo and Reynosa. Monterrey itself has a lot violence, but not much of it is happening in public. Rural areas in the northeastern states (Tamaulipas/Coahuila/Nuevo Leon/Zacatecas/SLP) can be problematic, but the problems are random and not too widespread. Whatever is happening doesn't present any appreciable risk to travelers passing through.
Sep 12, 2012 11:53 AM
4My wife goes back and forth by bus from Puebla/DF to McAllen every few months. No fuss at all.
The main toll roads are very heavily patrolled, at least by day. By both Army and Federal Police with military equipment. At one point, they actually have x-ray or gamma ray detectors and suspicious vehicles are hammered.
I agree that very few tourists are bothered. The last one I heard about was actually a member of a Mexican family who had come to visit his kinfolk, and that was down toward Cd. Victoria, not on a main toll road.
That couple on jet skis, an intelligence company reported the man was mistaken for a "spy" who was known to be working along the border. And, the believed shooter was found shot dead, I think in Matamoros, within a week. Shot allegedly by order of his own chief. Probably for being stupid.
When we come and go which is once a year, we hit the restroom at Anzalduas, so we are way out of Reynosa when we need to stop. And, when we stop at the Pemex "rest stop" on the cuota to Monterrey, we stop before exiting the toll road, and look the place over to make sure people are moving around normally. All things you should normally do.
We do not stop again until we are miles west and south of Monterrey.
We also have everything ready for a quick exit, our papers and a bit of money on our persons, and water at hand. We are psychologically prepared to walk away from the car if someone wants it bad enough to put a gun in our noses.
We also have an 11 year old dark blue mini-van. Not recommended driving a new white Escalade or similar vehicle.
We get to San Jose Iturbide before dark and stay at the No Tell Motel two miles south of the SJI exit.
Bill, the good Bill who sometimes comes to visit us when the other one sleeps, says you need to know where you are going and how you will get there. Great advice in any place. This is not a time for random travel in the Northern states.
Edited by: tiredandretired
Sep 12, 2012 12:34 PM
5The thing to remember too is that Mexico is a much larger, economically and politically more important country than the Central American nations to the south, which the OP also plans to visit. The other nations have much higher levels of interpersonal violence (and there has been on-going political violence in Honduras). Not that there isn't violence in Mexico, but only that with the largest of the English-speaking countries right on its borders, and so heavily invested in the "narcotics export trade war", atrocities are much more likely to be reported in the English-speaking press
Sep 12, 2012 12:46 PM
6I'm not sure what point Rich is trying to make, but only the worst or most sensational of the incidents make the national press in Mexico's English speaking neighborhood. The incidents that are more typical of the problems and which occur regularly--like the one yesterday linked below--aren't reported outside of the immediate border area.
Four Gunmen killed in Reynosa
Sep 12, 2012 3:28 PM
7Hello, we are planning to enter mexico soon entering the city of Matamores. Listen, we have more killings here in Mississippi then there. Most all killings are between police and gangs and people in trouble looking for it. I have a good friend that lives in Matamores and she keeps me updated weekly. we will enter the contry in the morning, find your place and stay indoors late at night. Most accidents are from lack of common sense. I knew a guy that won a lottery in brasil and decided to go out to celebrate with a brown bag of 40,ooo us dollars and got robbed. sort of dum. Wear less flashy appearel, stay in buy areas, no back side dark alleys, ask police or store owners directions, use taxies, walk in public areas. If you drink, stay well enough to make it home and remember where that is at. Do not carry a gun, try to avoid arguments in street. If you heasr or see disturbances, avoid them. Like an auto accient btween others, avoid it rather than be curious to see what happened in a large group. Keep you money close to you,if a girl , use shoulder strap purse, its harder to snatch.
Don't pull out all yor money if possible when paying someone something revealing all you have. Try to dress to fit in with main flow of mulitude. Be kind , curtiousm, respectful, polite, like I know you most likely are and you will have a great time and do whatever you like. You will be well treated in general by all and be received and taken care of. Ask hotel leadership questions, take advise from them. I have 30 years experience in south america, not mexico, but I think what I wrote can have some bearing and application on your question. have a great visit, I cannot wait until I get there and follow my same advise.. Most warnings are by American athorities that have other reasons to warn you besudes your safety. Because of political reasons between Mexico and USA, it appears we want to put hamper on tourism there. The Mexicans can use all the help and visits they can receive, the country is nice and so are the people. I lived and worked with many in New Mexico. Food great, nice hot peppers if you like that. Just common sense, a little preparation, politness and you will go a long way there with out injury. Good Luck, God's protection.
Sep 12, 2012 7:16 PM
8Unless you are involved in drugs there is little chance of any trouble in Mexico.
Edited by: heyduke
Sep 12, 2012 9:30 PM
9I travel to northern Sonora a couple of times each year to birdwatch....never a problem....I camp on farms, always ask first, and often get invited to dinner....homesteader
Sep 12, 2012 10:20 PM
10If you are driving I strongly suggest that you avoid Acapulco, the police there are totally corrupt. Trumped up traffic violations are real test of your patience and barganing skills. Take the ring road and bypass the whole mess.
Sep 12, 2012 11:22 PM
Sep 13, 2012 4:57 AM
Sep 13, 2012 7:49 AM
Sep 13, 2012 8:03 AM
14Alta (#6)... only that if crime in Honduras, Guatemala, etc. received the same attention in the English-speaking press that crime in Mexico does, the OP wouldn't be worried nearly as much about this country as those further south. While certainly I wouldn't recommend wandering off the beaten path in your neck of the woods, foreign tourists aren't likely to run into trouble unless they go looking for it, or engaging in "high risk" activities ... alas, up your way some normal tourist activities, like bird-watching without a guide, or tooling along the back roads of the countryside, are high risk at this time... in six months, who knows?
Sanddrifts (#12)... besides being a three year old story, the Canadian wasn't a "tourist" but a foreign resident — who took it as I did (he's probably one of the few foreigners, other than myself, who shops at that particular store regularly) as a weird, "one-off" occurrence.
(3 star Hotel)
From US$263.00 per night
(3 star Hotel)
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(3 star Hotel)
From US$138.89 per night