by Lewis Fonner,
Over the past few years, Mexico has gotten a bad wrap as a tourist destination. Splashy and sensationalistic headlines about drug cartels, police corruption have made every day in Mexico seem like the Day of the Dead. The subtext of these headlines seem to imply that if you’re a sensible and reasonable citizen looking to take a holiday, then you will avoid this chaotic war-zone at all cost. All of this, of course, is greatly exaggerated. While drug violence and crime have plagued Mexico for some time, there are still plenty of places in the country that are safe to travel to. Mexico is the size of Western Europe, and places like Cancun and Cozumel remain as safe as they ever were. Lets take a closer look at some pros and cons of traveling to Mexico.
Mexico might be known for its drug cartels, but there are other pitfalls and dangers as well. Identity theft is on the rise all over the world. When you connect your laptop or tablet to a non-secure, public Wi-Fi system, whether at an airport lounge, Internet café or hotel, your personal information and bank account numbers can be compromised. Lifelock, a leading identity theft service, can protect your information from would-be hackers and thieves. In the end, you probably have more of a chance of running into an identify thief in Mexico than a high-ranking member of a drug cartel.
All of the bad press about Mexican drug violence has had a serious and long lasting affect on the country’s tourist industry. In other words, people are afraid to go to Mexico. On the flip-side, however, this fear has driven prices for flights, hotels and resorts to an all-time low. There are more budget friendly deals to Mexico now than ever before. While the price tag for traveling to Europe and other parts of the world has skyrocketed, a vacation to some of the nicest and most luxurious resorts in Mexico has bottomed out. Businesses are doing everything they can to lure wary vacationers back to Mexico, and the deals are a dime a dozen.
The U.S. State Department’s Mexican travel advisory is misguided and exaggerated. The U.S. has always has a tenuous relationship Mexico, and the ongoing drug war and immigration debate has stirred up centuries worth of bad blood. Yes, the border towns of Mexico are especially violent. Yes, the cartels employ especially gruesome tactics. However, Mexico is a large country and these violent hotspots do not make up the majority. From Caribbean islands like Jamaica and St. Lucia to the states that make-up the U.S., there is crime and violence everywhere.
When you go to Mexico, it is best to stay in one place. In other words, it is not the type of country where you want a bout of wanderlust to hit you. While the Mexican coasts and beaches are safe, once you start driving around, exploring or going on guided tours, you are more apt to run into trouble. Being cooped up at a resort in Cancun is not everyone’s idea of a holiday. Having your freedom restricted is certainly a con when traveling to Mexico.
Mexico is a beautiful place to visit. Sadly, the gruesome headlines that have come out of the country have tainted its reputation as a traveler’s paradise. However, if you decide to book that cheap ticket to Mexico, the type of precautions you should take are the same as if you were traveling to any other foreign destination.
Lewis specializes in travel writing and hopes to spend his future retirement abroad.