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How Safe is Mexico?

Drug-related violence in cities to the south of the United States-Mexico border has caused the U.S. State Department to continue issuing journey warnings for Mexico. The U.S. government advises against going to very certain sites where drug cartels are warring over the millions of bucks made annually trading illegal substances into the United States, and the efforts by the Mexican authorities to put an end to the drug traffic. Unfortunately, right after listening to "forewarning" and "Mexico," many people perceive the advisory for the nation as a whole, which it certainly is not. Inspite of the rise in drug-related violence, a closer glimpse at Mexico exhibits that the region is in fact less hazardous than the headlines suggest. As a whole, Mexico's murder rate is remarkably low: 14 homicides for each 100,000 inhabitants. When compared to Wa, D.C.'s 24 people per 100,000 inhabitants and New Orleans 52, the figures aren't cause for worry if you know where to stay away from. The fact is that much of Mexico is nevertheless perfectly safe for U.S. vacationers. While the U.S. State Department has issued a travel alerting, it concerns visits to very specific areas, mainly confined to the Mexican states along the border with the U.S., exactly where not only drug cartel shootouts, but additionally robbery and kidnapping are very real dangers. Nevertheless -- and this a big even so -- the State Department very clearly states that a lot of Mexico is completely safe for U.S. vacationers, as long as they adhere to selected "common sense safeguards. Unfortunately, after hearing "forewarning" and "Mexico," a lot of People go deaf and think the warning applies to the total country, which it definitely does not. In reality, a lot Mexicans are warm and welcoming to vacationers, and the nation gives not simply stunning beach resorts, but magnificent pre-Columbian ruins and exquisite colonial cities. In Mexico, as in any international region, travelers ought to be acutely aware of their environment. Don't stray from the well-known tourist locations, stay alert, and don't drink too much. Never stroll by yourself at evening, only take public transportation or drive on highways during daylight (and remain to the toll highways, termed cuotas, which are much better guarded), don't deck yourself out in costly jewelry, and keep away from big crowds and demonstrations. Prior to touring to Mexico, ensure your mobile or portable cellphone operates on GSM or 3G international networks, and memorize the Mexican version of 911, which is 066. Mexico is, in general, a incredibly secure country -- with the notable and news-making exclusion of Juárez and various border cities -- and has far less violent offense than any big U.S. metropolis. United States companies effectively conduct business in Mexico. Tourism from North America is a considerable aspect of Mexico's economy. In 2008, international guests (22.6 million of them, 80 % of whom were from the U.S.) invested $13.3 billion in Mexico, producing up 13.8 percent of the country's GDP. But in 2009, Mexican tourism was hammered by the U.S. recession and the swine flu epidemic. Cruise ships briefly canceled trips to the nation, and quite a few eating places and archaeological sites were briefly closed. The revenue from foreign tourism decreased 15 percent to $11.3 billion. This calendar year, tourism is expected to rebound. But 2010 could be another bad 12 months if worry keeps U.S. residents absent. Here is a checklist of the most popular vacationer destinations, rated one to 5, 5 being the greatest cause for concern, and one being the safest.

BORDER Metropolitan areas

Fear Factor: 5 The State Department outlined many metropolitan areas as not highly recommended to visit, which includes Ciudad Juárez, Tijuana, Nogales, Nuevo Laredo, Monterrey and Matamoros. The worst of the bunch is Ciudad Juárez, across the border from El Paso, Texas. The city has been the site of some of the most gruesome murders in an already shocking drug war. Right up until things get under control, this is not the time to venture over the border for some purchasing or pozole.

CANCÚN, THE RIVIERA MAYA AND COZUMEL

Fear Factor: 1 Cancún is one of Mexico's most popular seaside resorts, which average close to four million United States guests per year. Last 12 months a retired Mexican general investigating corruption was assassinated by drug traffickers, but that's been an isolated event. Over-consumption of booze by younger tourists is a difficulty, and there have been rapes. But on the whole, Cancún is very safe. The Riviera Maya (the Yucatán coastline extending to the south from Cancún) has little to anxiety beyond sunburn. The island of Cozumel off the Riviera Maya is a preferred, extremely secure vacation spot for cruise ships, where troubles are the occasional purse-snatching or picked pocket.

MÉRIDA AND THE MAYAN RUINS IN YUCATÁN

Fear Factor: 1 Although quite a few folks check out Chichen Itza on day-trips from Cancún, Mérida is the gateway to comprehensive exploration of Uxmal and various significant Mayan ruins scattered across the state of Yucatán. Mérida is a quiet, charming metropolis, and the most important ruins possess well-organized excursions and guests centers, and guards. In addition to accommodations in Mérida, the Yucatán has a variety of Colonial-era haciendas that have been converted into little resorts. Mayan villagers are welcoming. Here again, it's not a great idea to drive on unlighted rds at night, but central Mérida's active Colonial-era streets are safe to stroll at evening. "Mexico is a large nation. Deciding not to travel to Mexico due to violence is like stating you won't go to New York due to a homicide in Denver," says Mérida resident Ellen Fields.Mérida on the Yucatán Peninsula, and the close by Mayan Riviera, has not seen the violence and is a very safe place to visit or to live.

MEXICO CITY

Fear Factor: 1.25 No one considers twice about going to the U.S. capital, and the same should go for Mexico's capital. In 2009, Mexico City had a murder rate of eight for every 100,000 individuals, while Washington D.C. had a rate of 24 per 100,000-three times higher. Guests to Mexico City should exercise similar safeguards taken in any of the earth's big metropolitan areas; sticking to busy, central areas and remaining informed of one's surroundings. It's very essential to take only radio-issued taxis or taxis from official stands, in no way the "libre" (independent) or Volkswagen cabs, as there have been many cases of robbery and kidnapping. Don't walk at evening except shortbrief distances on busy streets. This is an fascinating city full of museums, art galleries and fantastic eating places, not to be missed. Most individuals include a go to nearby the majestic ruins of Teotihuacan, which are very well patrolled and completely secure, with a customer's center and organized guides.

SAN MIGUEL DE ALLENDE AND THE COLONIAL Cities

Fear Factor: 1 This arty town is popular with Us residents, who stroll its beautiful colonial streets, dine out and search the art galleries with no worries. This is true of all of Mexico's beautiful colonial cities. In some circumstances, though, the countryside around them may be iffy. The State Department has issued a alerting against travel within the whole state of Michoacán, where violence by the drug cartel La Familia has escalated. And Taxco, the renowned precious metal metropolis 99 kilometers southwest of Mexico City that is a well-liked tourist vacation spot. Guanajuato, Querétaro, Zacatecas and the rest of the colonial cities are all very well really worth visiting.

GUADALAJARA

Fear Factor: 1.25 Mexico's advanced 2nd metropolis is both a colonial gem and a key center for buying that's regularly combed over by interior decorators from the southwestern U.S. There's also a vivid art scene to enjoy, with art galleries and museums. But Guadalajara is a extremely significant metropolis, with the attendant need for caution, and it's best to stay to the key metropolis vacationer regions and leafy upscale neighborhoods. A preferred side-trip is past flds of blue agave to the city of Tequila, where tequila distilleries can be visited and the wares sampled from such famous brands as Cuervo and Herradura. This is absolutely safe, but again, don't overindulge.

OAXACA

Fear Factor: 1 Oaxaca city was the site of a teachers' strike in 2006 that led to some violence and, alas, the shooting of an American freelance journalist. As a consequence, the metropolis has been tarred as unsafe, though absolutely nothing could be farther than the truth. The colonial city center, the nearby ruins at Monte Albán and the encompassing crafts towns like Teotitlán del Valle are well-traveled and very protected. "There is a lot of hysteria in the U.S. about anything from drugs to flu in Mexico, but after 5 years in Oaxaca with my husband and daughter, I have to say that these problems have not even remotely affected us," explained an American expat. Oaxaca has a thriving art scene and one of Mexico's most highly-regarded cuisines. The Oaxaca coastline, which includes beautiful, well-developed Huatulco and the little surfing mecca of Puerto Escondido is quite protected, although swimming along the coastline ought to be done with caution (verify with your hotel), as some areas have rip-tides.

IXTAPA/ZIHUATANEJO

Fear Factor: 1 Ixtapa is a vacation resort location formulated by the Mexican authorities, and its big resorts are really secure. Neighbor Zihuatanejo is a previous fishing village that reeks attraction and has some upscale hotels and beautiful out of doors eating places. A lot of Us residents stay in "Zi". This is an additional place where your most significant problem could be sunburn.

PUERTO VALLARTA

Fear Factor: 1 The beautiful cobble-stoned hillside fishing village that was "discovered" soon after the filming of Night of the Iguana has spread at a dizzying rate, so that there are quite a few Vallartas, such as the original still charming) city, the Marina and Nuevo Vallarta. Puerto Vallarta is filled with art galleries, which often throw open houses, gourmet eating places and accommodations in each price range. Downtown Puerto Vallarta is secure to stroll, but never ever late at night time once the festivities are over, and it's not a good idea to venture too far off the beaten track. Countless numbers of Individuals stay here, and enjoy it. The Costalegre coast, stretching from Puerto Vallarta to Manzanillo in the to the south, is really secure, as is the newly-named Costa Nayarit (a sequence of bucolic fishing villages) to the north. The rest of Nayarit is considered so unsafe that the state authorities ended the school year early in 2010.

ACAPULCO

Fear Factor: 2 Acapulco in recent years has undergone a significant revival. Once Mexico's most fashionable resort, it had gone a bit seedy, but now has regained much of its glamour. However, it has recentlylately) been touched by drug-related violence.. It's especially essential these days to be alert to your surroundings here, and remain away from nightclubs known to attract the narcotraficantes. That explained, the possibilities of becoming caught in a drug shoot-out are on the extreme end of slim to none.

LOS CABOS

Fear Factor: 1 Cabo San Lucas, San Jose del Cabo and the "Corridor" of resorts that extend in between them are like a backyard for citizens of the southwestern U.S. Hundreds of People stay here on the southern tip of the Baja Peninsula and in the artsy tiny town of Todos Santos, 45 minutes up the Pacific coastline from Cabo San Lucas. It's a world away from Tijuana's troubles. The region is very safe, with excellent highways and busy downtowns. Visitors should stay out of unlighted side streets and stay to the well-traveled vacationers parts, where shopping, art galleries and a big selection of eating places make straying unnecessary. Mexico is a lovely charming place and should not be painted with a broad brush of fear. Do not let the news of violence in a very few places in Mexico taint the entire country and, more importantly, rob you of the wonderful experience of knowing Mexico.

Posted: Tuesday, January 11, 2011 10:02 AM by Nick Fong
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