Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Tourists Safe in Cancun

If you are a regular in the Mexican blogosphere, you know that Rivergirl wrote of this topic today and Gabatcha shared her thoughts on this matter yesterday. We were all set off by a recent article found on Associated Content written by Julia Bodeeb that is inaccurate and obviously written without any real knowledge of what is happening in Mexico. The article was posted on a Cancun information forum and we soon discovered that attempting to comment on her piece was futile. Several of us have posted comments that dispute her statement that tourists should avoid Cancun, we've asked her for evidence that Cancun is unsafe for tourists and she is consistently (and rapidly) deleting the comments that disagree with her blatant lies and misinformation. One poster contacted the writer directly to challenge her about deleting comments and she replied with a delightfully courteous "You blow". You would think that a professional "journalist" would be able to engage in debate and support her arguments, but apparently she has nothing to back up her claims that tourists are in danger in Cancun. Why? Because they are not.

Mexico is currently involved in a war on drugs, much more of a war than the United States has ever fought (don't get me started on why the cartels are so successful with their American customer base and American guns). The number of people killed in this battle is huge, President Calderon this week admitted that the number is over 6000 for 2008. BUT. The lives that have been lost are almost all members of the drug cartels and the forces trying to fight them and most of the deaths have occurred in towns that border the US, not in the south. Innocent victims are a very, very small percentage of the deaths. The media loves to write scare pieces and are quick to shout that an American (or Canadian or Brit) was killed in Mexico, but the majority of the time it is quickly discovered that the victims were somehow involved with the cartels and got themselves involved in shady dealings. There have been NO tourists killed in Cancun in random violence or anything related to the war on drugs. The events that are making the news take place far from the hotel zone and tourist areas. The attacks are directed and precise, not gunfights in the streets. The target is chosen because somehow they have interfered with the workings of the cartels, they are abducted after being followed and watched and then taken to a location outside of the city. This in no way affects innocent tourists. As Rivergirl pointed out in her article, Americans and tourists in general help the cartels to some degree, they are good cover and they are their main customers, they don't want to jeopardize that relationship anymore than the tourist bureau does. They've got just as much to lose. Tourists mean money for everyone, the government, the locals who live here and the cartels too. No one here wants to see a tourist get hurt.

So, is Cancun safe for tourists? Yes. Crime happens here, sure, pick pockets, thefts from hotel rooms, etc, etc, but violent crime against tourists, no. The type of crime that happens here occurs in every city around the world, tourist attraction or not. Use your common sense and street smarts and you'll be fine. I would venture to say that Cancun is safer than most big cities around the world, I don't feel any different here than I did in Toronto or New York or Los Angeles. In fact, I probably feel safer. I am far from naive, I read the local and national Mexican papers daily so I know exactly what is going on, but it does not fill me with fear. I don't associate with the bad guys, nor do I try to impede what they are doing, I don't have any money nor do I involve myself with dangerous activities. I live my life the same way I did in Toronto, eyes open, head up and aware of my surroundings. If I felt that tourists were in any way in danger, I would shout it from the rooftops. I have no interest in lying about this, people's safety is of far greater concern to me than the economy of the city of Cancun. If I felt that Cancun was THAT dangerous, I certainly wouldn't continue to live her with my small child.

The battle now is against the fear mongers and "journalists" that have their own agendas and misinformed opinions. Speak out, share your thoughts! Bloggers, tell us about security in your town and your thoughts on the anti-Mexico media. Belize and Honduras and Chile and France and Canada and the US, wherever you may be, how secure are tourists in your neck of the woods and how does the media portray your location?

**please see post from March 3, 2009 "Resort Towns Safe in Mexico" for more

55 comments:

kimba said...

I find that people who say that Cancun or any of the towns in The Yucatan are not safe have not been there and are making generalities out of reportage from Mexico in general.

Mexico is a huge place. Saying that Cancun is not safe because of the murders in Tiajuana and other towns in the north is like saying don't go to Miami because there are gang murders in Oakland.

Yes, there are problems in northern Mexico, and some even as far south as central Mexico on the west coast, but travelers in The Yucatan will be as safe there as they are at home, if not more so.

Of course, I should also say don't leave your common sense at home and take care of yourself.

Suzanne Marie Bandick said...

Thank you, that was so well said. I live in Playa del Carmen now and feel as safe or safer here than I did in Canada.

Irresponsible journalism frustrates me. Of course the news seldom gives the good stories. Sigh.

kumichan83 said...

hi,

I am a regular reader of your blog but this is my first time commenting :)

I just wanted to say that Associated Content allows ANYONE to submit articles. I even have a couple there. This lady is most likely not a journalist by any means. People are allowed to post whatever they want at AC and the stuff barely gets edited.

Secondly, I do agree with everything you are saying. People say the same stuff about Quito without even thinking about the atrocious crimes committed against tourists in the US. In fact, I just read an article talking about Japanese tourists being targeted by rapists in California. I feel safer walking around here in Quito than in many parts of the US. That being said, three robberies have taken place in my neighborhood the past month :(

This also reminds me of an article I read on AOL. The headline was, "Pregnant American Tourist Killed." But um, she was killed in Puerto Rico, which is technically the US right so why emphasize that she was American? I hate this kind of sensational, racist journalism.

Coby said...

Unfortunately, I'm not as familiar with Cancun as other parts of Mexico, but even in the Northern states I've never felt threatened.

One of my blog posts a while back linked to statistics showing that the crime rates were higher in the US than in Mexico in every category except for murder. Even considering that, random homicides and non-gang related murders are much higher in the US.

So yeah, I've felt much safer in Baja and even in Chihuahua than several places in KC, StL, and similar US cities.

Rosas Clan in Tulum said...

Great post darling. Those sort of generalizations about Mexico are so irresponsible. I agree with Kimba that I think the people who are the most vocal about the crime here in Mexico have never been here and are going off what they have heard. I live in Tulum and I feel very safe.

Mamacita Chilena said...

Don't you just love when the media writes false information because it gives them a better story?

A while back a story ran in Newsweek that this group called Pokemones was doing something called "poncear" in the parks and the author of the story gave the definition of poncear as girls giving oral sex to multiple partners. It's actually girls and boys going around and all making out with each other. I'm sure oral sex has happened a time or two but not in the way the article portrayed it out to be.

Anyways, Chilean media caught whiff of the story and how the Pokemones were being misrepresented and the author's excuse was, "Well I asked one of them and that's what he told me."

Umm, fact check much? Maybe try asking more than one source? How does that sound?

Anyways, so while not totally on topic with your same subject, it's another example of media getting it all wrong.

Kyle said...

I just spent a week in cancun and went out every night to restaurants downtown it was the best week Ive had in a long time met a few Americans living there I can see myself living there for the winter anyway I love it!There's more Americans on the buses in Cancun than the buses in Queen's,NY Never had a problem this is my 5th year Hoggie

Anonymous said...

I'm heading down for a vacation at the Royal Solaris with my teenage daughter...what should I be careful about?

Lety said...

You have a lot more credibility than most, since you live there. I am Mexican living in New England and see the crime that is characteristic of big cities, regardless of where they are. I wouldn't vacation in Ciudad Juarez for several reasons, including the crime. Cancun, Acapulco, Merida, Guadalajara and Cozumel are where the good in Mexico can be seen!

Islagringo said...

Well written Kel. I also read Rivergirl's and Steve has an article today dealing with this topic. Just like any city, there are parts of Cancun that you could not pay me to go to. That's just using common sense. There has been an increase in crime here on the island lately. Mostly hotel break ins and house break ins again. But NOBODY has ever been physically assaulted, confronted or even touched. The tourists are perfectly safe. Just keep your doors and windows locked.

CancunCanuck said...

Kimba- Well said, lumping all of Mexico together based on vague reports in the English media is just poor judgement. Crime happens everywhere, the wild claims of some journalists that Mexico is somehow more dangerous to tourists than Miami or Vegas is irresponsible. Thanks for stopping by!

Suzanne- Oh for a newspaper called "It's All Good", with happy happy stories of kitten rescues and people who find true love. Ok, back to reality, haha. I'm frustrated too and have been sighing a lot. Glad to have you here!

kumichan- I read some of your blog yesterday, your baby is SOOO cute! The media is a scary machine, it can twist and turn things to meet any agenda and I think often it sets out to slander other countries in order to keep folks snug at home, ignorant of what the real world has to offer. It's about manipulation of feelings and it goes so much deeper than where is a safe place to travel. (But then again, I am a bit of a conspiracy theorist, heehee). Thanks for commenting, drop by anytime!

Coby- You hit the nail on the head with one word "random". "Random" and unprovoked murders are a rare beast in Mexico, most victims somehow got in the way of the bad guys doing business. If Fred and Mary were attacked while sipping margaritas poolside on their first day here, then that would be a completely different thing. The crimes committed here are actually well thought out and planned (sad as it is to give the murderers any credit, but it's true). I feel safer here than many American cities I have traveled to.

Rosas Clan- Tulum is a very safe place, safer than Cancun in terms of a place to live, you are fortunate. Generalizations make me a very grumpy girl too. :)

Mamacita- Hola! Your example was perfect, media twisting and turning hearsay into "fact", sharing opinion as reality and not caring about sources, statistics and reality. Thanks for stopping in, nice to hear from you.

Kyle- Aww, you came to Cancun and didn't say hi? Just kidding of course, haha. There are a lot of Americans (and Canadians and Brits) living here, it's kind of a mecca for those who want something different but with some conveniences like, oh, jobs. While many of us are concerned about what's happening with crime and security, we know that for the most part we are safe as long as we stay away from the bad elements.

Anon- Be careful about the same things you would be if traveling anywhere in the US. Don't carry around a lot of cash or flash it openly, keep valuables locked in the safe, have a zipper on your purse, don't let your teenage daughter go clubbing by herself, wear sunblock and drink Pepto after a long day of Pina Coladas and spicy nachos. General big city, staying in a hotel precautions. In all seriousness, there is very, very, very little risk of any violent crime in the hotel zone, just enjoy your stay!

Lety- Hola y bienvenida! Exactly, the crime you may experience here can be had in any city, robberies, etc.. The violent crime of Ciudad Juarez and Tijuana is a different beast, cartels and police facing off in the battle for turf. Incidents in the cities you named are few and far between and almost always connected to the cartels, not random violence.

Gringo- Bingo, common sense. Robbery is one thing, violent assault is another matter. Tourists are not in danger on Isla or here, not in the way the media is trying to make them believe.

Thanks to all!

CancunCanuck said...

I wanted to add this link, a story about the perception of American tourists after last weeks attacks on the general.

http://translate.google.com/translate?prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.noticaribe.com.mx%2Fcancun%2F2009%2F02%2Fno_perciben_inseguridad_para_turistas_tras_triple_ejecucion.html&sl=es&tl=en&history_state0=

MrsBug said...

My husband and I (Americans) were in Cancun for the first time the week after Xmas and felt very, very safe the whole time. Everyone was very kind and very welcoming. Of course, we were smart: we didn't flaunt money, we didn't walk around in scary places at night, and we didn't do stupid stuff. We'd go back to the Yucatan/Quinta Roo in a heartbeat - we just loved it.

Anonymous said...

Let's see how long this comment lasts. Cancun is NOT a safe tourist destination. 30% of all "non-natural" deaths of U.S. citizens outside of the U.S. occur in Mexico. To read some of these tragic vacation death stories and other personal Mexico vacation horror stories visit:
www.mexicovacationawareness.com

CancunCanuck said...

MrsBug- Thanks for your comment, I hope your next vacation here is lovely.

Anon- "Let's see how long this comment lasts". What does that mean? I have never deleted a comment, not even one that insults me directly with nasty language. I am not afraid of open debate. The link you posted of course has nothing to do with what is being discussed here. That page has stories of tragic accidents, which can happen anywhere in the world, I see nothing there about tourists being the victims of violent crimes by the drug cartels. People die in back yard swimming pools around the world, how one can say that a drowning is the fault of Mexico is beyond me. People are robbed in Ohio and Alberta and Timbuktu. I looked at the list of deaths of US citizens in Mexico that linked from that page, it's primarily auto accidents and suicides. The homicides that occur are almost all cartel related, people getting involved in criminal activities and finding themselves in big trouble. You can read this story for the truth about many of the deaths in Mexico.... http://mexfiles.net/2009/02/10/5203/. Accidents happen, they are tragic, but they happen EVERYWHERE, not just Mexico.

Fned said...

People told me "don't go to Japan because of the Yakuza"

People told me "don't go to Ireland because of the IRA"

People told me "don't go to Spain because of the ETA"

People told me "don't go to Argentina because the Boca area is dangerous"

People told me "don't go to the US because of 9/11"

People told me "don't go to France because of the Algerian terrorist attacks"

... I could go on and on...

If I listened to every bit of "amarillo" trash journalism out there I would have never gotten passed my door and I'd still be living at my parents' place, never having seen the world... an afraid and ignorant person...

oh wait... maybe THAT explains it....

Fned.

kumichan83 said...

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that on AC you get paid for page views so by linking to that screwball and driving more traffic there, she will make money... not sure if you'd want that!

And your boy is adorable as well!

Brown Dolphin said...

Hey, I'm so glad I found your blog. A friend and I are heading to Cancun next month and I've heard from a couple people here in California saying it's unsafe right now, with the economy and drug wars. I was scared for a bit but this blog really took away the initial fear. Keep up the good work! I'll be reading this until I get there!

Gaelyn said...

Even back in the early 1990s when I traveled for six months in Mexico I heard the same BS, yet certainly didn't experience it. In fact, I'd say there's a whole lot less crime in Mexico than in the US. Generally speaking, the people don't carry guns, and if you don't break the big law, you can live peacefully with loving family. I was never acosted once or had anything but wonderful experiences with the people I met.
How the story goes: I heard from my Aunt Sue, that her doctor's son's friend's brother's uncle said...
When traveling, trouble can be found anywhere you're looking for it.

CancunCanuck said...

Fned- I'm so glad you did ignore the horrible journalism out there, so many scare tactics to keep people consuming in their home country. Where are you off to next? :)

Kumichan- I know, I know, I hemmed and hawed about posting the link but I went ahead hoping that it would actually be a pretty limited number of folks who would click out. Thanks!

Brown Dolphin- Relax, come on down and enjoy! I wouldn't tell my family and friends to come if I thought they would be in danger, just use your common sense and all will be well. Have a great trip!

Gaelyn- "When traveling, trouble can be found anywhere you're looking for it". Very, very true. Toronto is an incredibly safe city, but you can find problems if you look for them!

Fned said...

Israel.


Fned.

Anonymous said...

Cancun Safe? You all are idiots, this just in:

Cancun Police Chief Arrested In Drug Murder

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=100619355

The chief of police in Cancun ARRESTED, who's going to protect you there if even the police are corrupt. I for one am steering clear of mexico!

CancunCanuck said...

Anon- "This just in?"...that's old news. Calling everyone who lives here and knows far better than you what is going on "idiots", doesn't help your argument one bit. Once again, the point we are making is that tourists are not in danger here, drug dealers and police officers and the people who deal with them, sure, but coming here to enjoy the resorts and the beaches and excursions will not lead you into anything more dangerous than hangovers and sunburns.

Anonymous said...

What a bunch of ingnorant fools. Old news, that happened no more than a couple of weeks ago. Does this kind of thing happen so often that it becomes old news this quickly. The US Department of State posted an alert months ago. Take a look at these links, educate yourself...Cancun is not safe. The resorts are not safe either.


http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/pa/pa_3028.html

http://mikeoncrime.com/article/1911/family-accuses-mexican-police-of-coverup-in-case-of-canadian-severely-injured-at-resort

http://cancun-hotels.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g150807-i8-k1191235-Canadian_on_life_supports_after_beating_at_Moon_Palace-Cancun_Yucatan_Peninsula.html


http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/headline/world/6264321.html

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/headline/world/6259383.html

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/side/6254844.html

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/side/6245298.html

CancunCanuck said...

Anon- "Ignorant fools"? You post a few headlines and suddenly you are the expert on the topic? Hardly. Live here everyday, read the papers here everyday, SEE what is happening on the streets everyday, and then I might give your opinion some value.

Have a look at this response to the Houston Chronicle articles. Newspapers can twist numbers any way they see fit and leave out pertinent information.

http://mexfiles.net/2009/02/10/5203/

And if you are so against coming to Mexico, why do you bother coming to this blog? Go about your little life "safe" in your house (there are no murders where you come from?). You're severely limiting your travel choices if you want to look for the problems in each destination, you'll find yourself locked in your bathroom because you won't be able to go outside.

I repeat and reiterate, the current situation in Mexico does not put tourists in danger.

Anonymous said...

You must be on drugs...that would explain your Cancun Fantasy World. I've been to more places in a year than you've probably been in your lifetime and I mean real places not Hallucinations. I responded before and you managed to remove my response, I wonder why, maybe it's because I'm right. Cancun is unsafe.

CancunCanuck said...

Anon- I removed your response because it was a personal attack and added nothing to the conversation. I will remove any further comments that do not engage in reasonable debate. Name calling and stating that anyone disagrees with you is on drugs is not going to convince anyone that you are right. Show me the statistics that demonstrate that tourists in Cancun are in danger, give me an example of ONE SINGLE TOURIST who has been hurt by the cartel violence in Cancun, that might give you some credibility. Right now, you have none. "Cancun Fantasy World", hm, let's see, it's my day to day reality, hardly a fantasy. Now be on your merry way.

jody said...

Anon just discovered Mexico, and is astonished to find out that it is not part of the southern USA.

Snore, Anon. Are you just discovering that Mexico has some currupt members of its police force???? Wake up, Rumpleskiltskin. My husband has had Federales with machine guns searching his tent and threatening him in La Ticla 30 years ago. Whatever, he still went back. The surf was good.

I would hop on a plane and come to Cozumel or Cancun in a heart beat. We had a drive by shooting in our little south Texas beach town just 2 miles from my home and we are nowhere near Mexico. There are bad people everywhere, and although I would be hard pressed to go to Laredo these days, I would not hesitate to head to the Yucatan.

Safety is all about common sense.

Love your little slice of paradise!!

CancunCanuck said...

Jody- Thanks for your comment, come on down anytime! As you say, crime happens everywhere, there's no escaping it. You are less likely to be a victim of crime here than in many large American cities. I was looking at homicide statistics yesterday, New York City, 516, Chicago, 500, Toronto 69 and Cancun 65. And not one tourist killed by drug violence here. Hope you get to visit soon!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your posts...my husband and I are visiting later this month, and I am a little nervous because we are flying into cancun around midnight, renting a car and driving to Playa in the middle of the night to our resort. Any suggestions? Where should we take out cash, exchange money etc?

CancunCanuck said...

Hi anon- I understand your fears, the media is having a field day with this. I hope I can ease your mind, I think you'll be just fine. Stay within the speed limit, exercise caution while driving and if you are pulled over by the police, ask for their name and badge numbers and ask them to give you the official ticket, don't pay them anything on the street, as easy as that may seem. There are cash machines in the airport where you can withdraw pesos. There are money exchange windows ("cass de cambio") in the airport as well, but I'm afraid I don't know if they are open at that hour. Good luck, use your common sense and all will be well! Have a fantastic trip. :)

LisaG05 said...

I am so glad to have found your blog!! Me and my husband are exhausted after listening to several different people "warn" us about how "dangerous" it is to travel to Mexico. We will be in Cancun in May and no matter what anyone says, we cannot wait to go! Absolutely love it there! And we're going on bus trips, but only to Chichen Itza and Tulum...all the touristy stuff lol. As far as violent crimes go, we hear it on the news all the time here in the Baltimore/DC area. But as long as you are aware of your surroundings, mind your own business and RELAX, there will be nothing to worry about. The media only wants to show what is negative because it brings revenue by scaring people and fooling them to watch more and pay more money for their safety, therefore making the company more powerful. Scare tactics to benefit has been around since the beginning of man. It's just been more technical nowadays and the CEO's are becoming more powerful and lining their own pockets from other's fears. It's pathetic. Anywho, I am aware of what is going on but it will not stop my family from traveling and enjoying ourselves. Thank you for this site! I'll be stopping by more often.

CancunCanuck said...

Lisa- Thanks so much for stopping by, I appreciate your comment. I hope you have an absolutely fabulous trip. :)

eckn said...

hi everybody! I will be going to cancun this summer. I, like everyone else, have been told to cancel my trip and steer clear, however my fiance and I are still wanting to keep it the spot for our honeymoon. I know its really all about staying in safe situations and always being aware of your surroundings but there are still some things I have a little concern over. I have read about american tourist being robbed at ATM's and being forced to give over all their money, also being kidnapped and held for ransom. I have also hear to steer clear of the tours to the ruins. This was a little bumming for me becuase I have heard they are awesome and we were really looking forward to making it a part of our trip. The stories I have heard involve the tour buses being pulled over and women being raped and beaten while the men are held at gun point. If this is the case and this situation is very possible I will avoid the ruins at all costs, as I would imagine anyone would do, I would never put myself or my fiance in a situation like that when those sitations are acutally occuring. I have also heard that in a lot of tourist shops there are many people offering drugs to tourists, I have no interest in being involved in any of it but I am a little nervous about how to turn down and get myself out of the situation safely! Any advice would be great! We will also be staying the RIU Palace Cancun, from what we know this is a nice place and it's in a "good" part of cancun, any advice on the hotel? I was extremely excited about the trip when we booked it but because of travel adviories I am a little nervous and just looking for some advice! We don't have any plans to cancel or transfer our trip elsewhere, but it any of you think it necessary please say so! I would much rather lose all the money in the world and be raped and/or beaten and subject to awful situations. I know crime happens everywhere but I am just curious if all of this is taking place and if there is truth to some of the things I have heard. I know it's impossible to avoid all situations but I just want to make sure we have the right tools to stay safe while we are there! I am really looking forward to beautiful beaches and a relaxing place but just a little worried still! Thanks a bunch!

CancunCanuck said...

eckn- The "stories" you share are just that, stories, fiction. There have been zero instances of tour buses being pulled over and held at gun point, that would be front page news around the world! I don't know where people get that kind of damaging gossip. Zero tourists have been hurt or killed in Cancun by the cartels, zero. Drugs have been offered at the markets since they opened, if they see you looking at the pipes, they'll offer to put something in it for you, nothing more than that. Usually if you are a single woman or with a family, they won't even make that suggestion, they will often suggest it to men on their own, but a simple "No gracias" moves them on to another sales pitch. There have been zero reports of tourists being kidnapped in Cancun. The Riu Palace is a gorgeous hotel near the party center, you'll be very safe there. Get out and see some things outside the hotel too, just use common sense like you would in any large city. Don't flash cash around, keep the jewels at home, go out with friends, don't leave drinks unattended at the night clubs, same precautions you would take in Vegas or NYC or Toronto. In fact, I would say that Cancun is safer than Vegas or NYC. Go, enjoy, have a great trip, just keep your wits around you and it will all be fine.

Angela and Tyler said...

I also asked for advice, as we just got back from Playa Del Carmen. We had a WONDERFUL trip without any hitches, kinks or scares. We tried to be smart, we just took taxis everywhere we went and just had the time of our lives. My husband and I both agree we would go back in a heartbeat! Don't hesitate to visit, it is a beautiful, fun place. So much to see and do.

CancunCanuck said...

Angela- Glad you had a terrific trip, thanks so much for checking in and spreading the good word! Come back soon. :)

Concerned Mom said...

Great blog! I too had heard it wasn't safe to go to Mexico. My daughter has been invited by a friend and their family to go to Cancun (Riviera Maya) this summer. Their family has been doing this annually for years. I have been apprehensive about letting my daughter go. Reading your blog has put my mind at ease. I almost made my daughter miss out on "the chance of a lifetime."

Thank you!!

Luis said...

thanks for all the information, it has been very useful for me. Im planning to travel to cancun to see the ruins, im most likely going alone. Just wondering how safe that was?. Or does anyone know of a hotel where perhaps more families attend?.. Im pretty laid back, just wana go enjoy the sun, see the ruins maybe have a couple drinks in the hotel bar, and call it a night.. responses are appreciated :)

bocephus said...

Canuck - thanks for the posts but it's not fiction that the gunpoint bus robberies and other crimes happen in Cancun; they can't all make headlines around the world. It's on the US Travel Department's most recent Mexico Travel info page -
http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_970.html

"Armed street crime is a serious problem in all of the major cities. Some bars and nightclubs, especially in resort cities such as CANCUN... can be havens for drug dealers and petty criminals. Some establishments may contaminate or drug drinks to gain control over the patron.

"All bus travel should be during daylight hours and on first-class conveyances. Although there have been several reports of bus hijackings and robberies on toll roads, buses on toll roads have a markedly lower rate of incidents than buses (second- and third-class) that travel the less secure "free" highways...Although the police have made some progress in bringing this problem under control, armed robberies of entire busloads of passengers still occur."

We're still probably going, but now thinking twice about driving out to visit the ruins. Advice?

CancunCanuck said...

Bocephus- Gunpoint bus robberies do not happen in Cancun, it would certainly make the local news if not the international. Note that the Cancun reference is for nightclubs and bars being a place where drugs are dealt, that is true of any major city. The buses here are safe from assault, there have been zero occasions of a tour bus being robbed (nor of any local buses either, you hear about that happening in Mexico City, but not here. I would feel totally safe coming here as a tourist, and definitely would check out the ruins. The warning is very broad and Mexico is an extremely large country, they are making sweeping strokes without showing any details. I get 99% of my news from local/national Mexican papers, not the American press, I read every day and if crimes like these were happening, we would certainly know about it. I hope you have a fantastic trip, relax and enjoy.

Buy Hi Sell Low said...

Dear folks in Mexico who have written here, and those abroad reading, I am US tourist and here's my two-cents (carefully prescribed)...

My wife and I just [now] backed out of a $3500 dollar steeply discounted 8-night escape to "Aventura Spa Palace" in Riviera Maya. Why? Well it has more to do with U.S. Dept. of the State's message to Americans than the media (which some would argue is one-and-the-same). I looked passed all the journalistic internal warnings, however, as a U.S. citizen I have an obligation to pay mind to those that warn from within our system.

While my wife and I are disappointed, we are taking our dollars to the USVIs or BVIs next week. It's certainly unfortunate because, as world travelers, we have rated the resorts in Mexico to be the highest of quality as compared to other options.

It's my hope that Mexico's government can return some order to the criminality that has sponsored world-wide attention this year.

Here's a bit about us: Lived in NYC, Philadelphia, Madison (WI), Miami, West Palm Beach (currently), have visited every major city in the U.S. such as Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Minneapolis, etc., in addition to many parts of Europe and Africa. So here's my point: I've never felt an ounce of insecurity while using public transportation through the most notorious parts of Philadelphia, for example, or at night driving through Snyder ave. after a midnight movie, or downtown Biscayne Blvd. after a concert in Miami. Why? Because the police are on my side.

I don't feel insecure in "ANY" part of the U.S. at any time, in any situation [and not because I legally carry a firearm] but because I know the police will help me if needed. Period.

When my wife walked out of my office last night with her head hanging after learning I cancelled the trip, I explained two perspectives: (1) the

gillian said...

Cancun is a paradise for me. I don't care if it is unsafe do go there or not. The thing is I want to explore the beauty of the place. Cancun is still one of the most love destination of travelers. Sometimes things would happen the way we don't want to happen and still that bad thing will go away and re-live again.
Cheap Hotels

stmcgarret said...

Thanks for your article. I just returned from Cancún and had a perfectly grand time. I was frequently on the bus, walked around town and around Mercado 28, and even took the colectivo vans. The people were great and the weather was fantastic.

Sure, Mexico has some serious issues, but as stated previously Cancún at present has been isolated from them. Yes, people need to be street-smart but this is true anywhere you go where I'd dare say the risk of crime is much, much higher in many US destinations.

I'm glad I did not listen to the fear mongers and went and had a great time in Cancún. A lot of hard working people also appreciated it as their livelihood is dependent on tourism.

BobbyB said...

My friends and I are planning on going to cancun for our graduation trip. I have done some research and read both sides of the story however I'm looking for a honest and credible opinion on how safe it would be for us. There is no doubt we would go to the nightclubs and drink, but I don't want to risk it if there is a good chance of us being robbed, assulted, or raped. How Safe is it to go to these clubs? Any help would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance!

BobbyB said...

My friends and I are planning on going to cancun for our graduation trip. I have done some research and read both sides of the story however I'm looking for a honest and credible opinion on how safe it would be for us. There is no doubt we would go to the nightclubs and drink, but I don't want to risk it if there is a good chance of us being robbed, assulted, or raped. How Safe is it to go to these clubs? Any help would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance!

eternian said...

kumichan83 said,

"hi,

I am a regular reader of your blog but this is my first time commenting :)

I just wanted to say that Associated Content allows ANYONE to submit articles"

NOT TRUE: They discriminate against fundamentalist Christians, and I know from more than one experience."

eternian.wordpress.com my journal can also be reached via nite.tk.

I an article on Mexico too at mexihell.tk

JJ said...

I plan to leave for Cancun on July 26th and stay for a week. I'm getting really scared that the violence is worsening there. Am I over just reading too many headlines?

CancunCanuck said...

JJ- I still stand by the fact that tourists are safe here. If you are not involved with the bad guys in any way, you won't have any troubles. They are "infighting" and it's taking place outside the city limits, no tourists have been involved at all. Enjoy your vacation, don't worry!

Danielle said...

Let me start by saying, I'm very passionate about what I'm about to say, but I am in no way making a personal attack, so in hopes my opinions are perceived in any other way other than expressing my thoughts and playing devil's advocate here... you're a travel agent, right? So, let me get this straight, you cash the check that I write you and benefit from commission on that trip to Mexico, correct? If I were in your exact position right now, I would say to people before I went ahead and guaranteed their safety, "Do your research, go to the US Department of State website and check into how many deaths occurred as a result of "non-natural causes" in those tourist areas. Look at the lack of explanation as to why and the patterns. Go to this site www.mexicovacationawareness.com and read the stories. Do some Googling. There's plenty of support out there in favor of making the trip...but you really have to dig to find the information that results in making a truly informed decision." It's going to have to be a decision each individual makes on their own. If there are stories to paint both sides of the picture, a decision can be made about whether or not spending money in Mexico really is the best stretch for the dollar. Personally, if I'm going to throw a few grand out to go on vacation, I'm not going to have reservations about my health, my safety and I'm certainly not asking someone that benefits from my almighty dollar if it's safe or not. Mexico is not the US. It's a whole different set of rules. Americans trust entirely too much and take for granted that our government protects us...it doesn't work that way down there folks...something happens to you down there...you're on your own. I keep reading "stay in good areas"...most tourists have NO IDEA where that is, and evil does not discriminate...it finds it's way to affluence as well. There have been plenty of questionable incidents that have occurred in 4 and five star resorts. Security is an issue. Period. If you are sick or injured, good luck getting sufficient medical care,if you are wrongfully accused of a crime, or god forbid you get a little unruly while you're there, good luck getting fair and speedy due process. If you feel comfortable playing russian roulette rolling the dice on your life, or a loved one's life...be my guest...I'm spending my money elsewhere!

Danielle said...

One more thing...while you're doing all that research...since everyone is throwing around crime stats...go ahead and look into the number of crimes that are actually reported and prosecuted in Mexico. If the crime isn't reported, prosecuted, or covered up...does it mean it didn't happen?

CancunCanuck said...

Danielle,
I am not a travel agent, I am not cashing any of your cheques. At the time I wrote this article I was teaching English. I now work in tourism (social media, a year after I wrote this post), but my pay cheque remains the same whether you visit or not. You are certainly entitled to your opinion, but I think if you are relying on mexicovacationawareness for your information, you are terribly biased, it is a hateful racist website that spams my blog and those of my friends with their bile. The only way to understand what is going on here is to live here, visit here or read the Mexican press. Crime exists EVERYWHERE, there is certainly more crime in major US cities than there is in the tourist area of Cancun. I feel safer in the hotel zone than I do in NYC or Las Vegas. I can only share what I SEE everyday and I have yet to see or read about a tourist being the victim of random violence. I believe most tourists these days do a lot of research and know where the safe areas are (pretty much anywhere that is not on a border town).

At this point in time, I am more frightened to go to the US. The hatred for the Mexican people (recent hate crime attacks in NYC against Mexicans as an example) makes me not want to go to such a racist place where my sweet child would be hated simply because of his Mexican heritage. Random violence in the US is a much bigger problem than here, the streets of the US are not safe, particularly for anyone with brown skin.

Do you research and you'll see that tourists are NOT the victims of the crime that is happening in Mexico. Read forums, blogs, social media, anything except the mainstream American press which has a bias against Mexico for many socio/politico/economic reasons.

Danielle said...

Did the research. There is information all over...not just on that site. That site just chronicles the stories of people who lost family members. Sad. There is plenty of information out there in favor also but most of that comes from the travel industry. Of course Mexican press is going to favor tourism to Mexico! LOL! That's one of the countries cash cows! If the visitors stop...Mexico is in deeper doo doo than it already is! Just as in Vegas if tourism slows we are in the same boat...and we don't like the negative press either! So I get it...

I've visited. I grew up visiting Acapulco quite frequently from the time I have memories as a child to young adulthood as my grandparents had a timeshare there. There was always this feeling of having a thumb on top of me while vacationing there, because we always had to stay together. In addition my church did several builds in Mexico, two of which I was in attendance. Same thing. My husband was a marine and stationed at Oceanside, so trips over the border into Tijuana were common also. It's just different. Sure there are places in the states that are dangerous...but there are differences! That is undeniable! You can't even put the two in the same category...that's like comparing apples and oranges! I've been to Riviera Maya...Cancun, Cozumel, and Playa Del Carma. I've visited. I've seen it. I've felt the uncomfortable feelings on occassion while being there. That being said, have I ever felt that way in the states? Yes...but there's something different about Mexico and the feeling I get there. HERE, LIVING in Vegas, (I've also lived in the loop in Chicago)I know the police are on my side. HERE, my second amendment rights offer me the protection of bearing arms if I so choose. I know the rules and the games. THERE, not so much...as many Americans do not. Even doing our research. Just as you do not feel comfortable in America because this isn't your home, nor has it ever been.
It is unfair to pull race into your response to me. I really don't know where the race card came out of all of that, and in fact because you do not know my heritage, my political views or my socio-economic background I found it a little distasteful that you would even bring it up. My opinions on where I would spend my money on vacation have nothing to do with race. In fact the mere mention of it suggests more about your assumptions about the states. Isn't that a little bit biased? Fact: La Policia are often not on the right side of the law.
Fact: If you really look the information is out there and not just on one or two sites.
Fact: I was ready to spend my money in Mexico and give it another shot this year until I started digging around AND received an email from a travel agent telling me of a specific instance of an American she booked travel for to a resort in the Riviera Maya that had some problems. She encouraged me to do some research on my own and then make a decision and let her know if I still wanted quotes on a Mexican vacation. I've decided I do not.

I think Mexico is beautiful. I think there are some really wonderful people there. I think it's too bad that things are a bit unstable in many areas and it's not quite as it used to be traveling there. I also think no matter where you live, there will be always be crime. But where there is poverty, there is always more because people are desperate. I think journalists these days will spin a story to fit their own beliefs...no matter what their country of origin. I think at this point I'd rather spend my money elsewhere.

(BTW...I guess I'm confused about what violence against Mexicans you're speaking about? This is the first I've heard of it?)

Galina said...

Hi,
My husband and I are planning a vacation in Cancun in January,2011. I know that I might sound paranoid about the whole safety but we have a 2 year old and as a mom im just freaked out about everything. My husband is very excited he has been there before, on the other hand i have never been. So unknown situation really worry me especially with a child. I myself come from Moldova, a country that also has very corrupt police and government officials. It is very hard to trust anybody. I have been reading a few post and blogs on the web. Some of the post sound great and some not so much. I guess Im looking for some reassuring. Please help.

Riicky said...

Looks like Drug Activity is getting stronger on the Riviera Maya


Among the detainees is "The counter" main ringleader of this criminal group. : Sun Mexico
Organizacion Editorial Mexicana
July 22, 2011


Mary Rivero / Sol Mexico

Cancun, Quintana Roo-elements of the army, federal and judicial conducted several searches that began in the town of Playa del Carmen and concluded in Cancun allowed the arrest of some 16 members of the narco cell of the "Zetas", among them four women, where was also arrested "The counter" main ringleader of this criminal group that carried out the narco payroll payments.

So far the authorities are unaware of the identities of this bloody and violent criminal group, however it transpired that all detainees were transferred aboard a plane of the Federal Police to the city of Mexico to make them available to the Attorney of research specialized in organized crime (crew), transfer was conducted from 7: 30.

Highlights the figure of one of the leaders of the narco cell, identified as "The accountant" responsible for the payment of payroll "Los Zetas" narco and was dressed in a black t-shirt with white stripes, black trousers and shoes of the Adidas brand.