Planning a trip to Mexico, but hesitant because of the recent horror stories? There are measures that can be taken to put your mind at ease. The first step to planning a vacation or move to Mexico is to make a trip to the local embassy or consulate, or visit the web site. When you have arrived at your destination, enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program or “STEP.” This program will keep you up to date on local travel and security. Enrolling in this program will also enable the State Department to locate you in the case of an emergency, and provide you with vital information that may affect your safety when on vacation.
Safety Measures in Mexico
Over 150,000 tourists venture into Mexico on a yearly basis. Although the Mexican government has taken precautions to protect U.S. visitors, over 34,000 travelers have been killed since December 2006. The majority of these deaths are related to Transnational Criminal Organizations or “TCO’s.” The majority of TCO transactions take place in the northern border region of the country, so it is a good idea to avoid this area as innocent bystanders can easily become trapped in the feuds between traffickers.
It is also an excellent idea to be aware of your surroundings at all times. While criminal activity takes place at all hours of the day, it most frequently occurs at night. Regardless of the time of day, if you feel you are in eminent danger, return to your hotel room or visit the local U.S. embassy located in Mexico City or the local consulate.
Safe Vacation Destinations
The number of cities that should be avoided is miniscule in comparison with the cities that are safe and frequently visited by U.S. citizens. The cities that should be avoided due to TCO activity include Northern Baja California, Northern Sonora, Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Durango and Monterrey. There are seven well-known and frequently visited vacation destinations in Mexico. The majority of these locations contain resorts that provide protection for U.S. tourists.
Cancun and Riviera Maya
In Cancun, Riviera Maya, Los Cabos, Puerto Vallarta, Riviera Nayarit, Mazatlan, and Mexico City it is often safe to venture off resort grounds. While crime and violence are absolutely unavoidable, they are less likely to take place in these vacation destinations. The beach is the most frequented tourist attraction in these regions; however each has their own attraction that distinguishes them from the others. Cancun is famous for the shopping, dining, ecological reserves, nearby ruins, and nightlife. Riviera Maya is best known for its combination of quaint fishing villages and sophisticated ambiance.
Los Cabos and Puerto Vallarta
Los Cabos’ landscape possesses some of the most extravagant white beaches, desert landscape, and spectacular rock outcroppings. For the fishing enthusiast, Los Cabos is a dream as it is world renowned as “the capital of marlin fishing.” Puerto Vallarta is the water sport fanatic’s ideal location. Bahia de Banderas is the best beach for sailing, jet skiing, and fishing, while Los Arcos, Quimixto and Punta Minta are prime settings for diving. Puerto Vallarta also offers the opportunity to view turtles, dolphins and hump back whales. Ridely turtles can often be spotted laying their eggs along the shores of Puerto Vallarta.
Riviera Nayarit, Mazatlan and Mexico City
Surrounded by jungle, Riviera Nayarit offers some of the best golf courses designed by professionals. Mazatlan is the largest seaport and contains the country’s largest game fishing fleet. Finally, Mexico City is the capital of this cultured country. This city contains museums that outline the history of the Hispanic culture, as well as historical and modern art. However the city is not the only tourist attraction. The valley in which this city rests is speckled by volcanoes that are frequently explored by U.S. visitors.