Is Mexico Safe?

Question: Are people from the US still visiting Mexico and is it safe?

Mexico remains the most popular international destination for U.S. tourists.

MEXICO CITY, Feb. 14, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — SECTUR, The Mexican Ministry of Tourism revealed that 2011 was a record breaking year for tourism. 22.67 million international travelers visited Mexico in 2011; this represents an increase of 2 percent on 2010, a 5.7 percent increase on 2009, and a 0.2 percent increase on 2008 – historically Mexico’s best year for international tourism.


Note well:  This article is based on tourism and travel media, US State Department data, and my own opinions and experience.  While I can’t claim any destination as 100% safe, I will certainly NOT recommended a destination if I was not comfortable planning my own trip there.  Mexico is a large country (rivaling the size of Western Europe), but today we will focus on the tourist region south of Cancun, referred to as Rivera Maya.  I especially enjoy advising, planning, and servicing trips to the Riviera Maya for several reasons:

1) High availability of flights which results in good pricingMap of Riviera Maya

2) One of the best selections of All-Inclusive resorts – again good pricing and more importantly, good value for your money
3) Cultural/nature/adventure activities near resorts
4) Second largest reef system in the world for diving and snorkeling
5) Famous Mexican hospitality
6) Mayan Ruins
7) Maroma – One of the top ten most beautiful beaches in the word.

Question: when  the news media reports about violence in Mexico, why do they show Cancun?

Most media reports of violence in Mexico fail to mention nearly all of these incidents take place along the border and far away from popular resort areas frequented by U.S. tourists.

Reality – Please read for yourself…Official US State Department Warning February 8, 2012 U.S. State Department/Mexico

Quintana Roo: Cancun, Cozumel, Playa del Carmen, Riviera Maya and Tulum are the major cities/travel destinations in Quintana Roo –see map (PDF, 286 kb) to identify their exact locations: No advisory is in effect.”

Read this list to bring things into perspective:

  • The distance between the U.S./Mexico border, where much of the
    violence takes place, and Cancun is over 1,400 miles.
  • Those individuals trying to lump Acapulco into the list of top Mexico destinations
    U.S. travelers visit are misinformed. It has been decades since it was a hot
    tourist destination – today it is more of a destination for Mexican nationals rather
    than U.S. tourists.
  • USA Today provided some statistical comparisons in the fall of 2010 between Mexico and the U.S.
    Yucatán, the Gulf of Mexico state known for its beaches and Mayan
    ruins, had a murder rate of 2 per 100,000 which is comparable to
    Wyoming and Montana.
  • Washington, D.C.’s murder rate is nearly quadruple to that of the Mexican
    capital, Mexico City. Washington’s murder rate was 31.4 per 100,000
    people in 2008; Mexico City’s rate in 2009 was 8.
  • Cancun, Los Cabos and Acapulco are at least a two-hour flight away from the main areas impacted by drug related violence. For example, the distance from Cancun to Ciudad Juarez is 1,312 miles – approximately the same distance between New York and Miami (1,290 miles), Chicago and Laredo, Texas (1,395 miles), or Los Angeles and Oklahoma City (1,328 miles).