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Should I Travel to Mexico?
Old 11-05-2014, 10:26 PM   #1
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Should I Travel to Mexico?

I am planning a 2 week trip to Mexico, specifically San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, and Mexico City. I have never been to these areas of Mexico before, generally sticking with the coastal resort cities in the past. They all seem to be highly recommended, and San Miguel famously attracts Canadian and American ex-pats.

However, the news that 43 students went missing last month amidst the gang wars in Mexico has me a bit spooked, although I realize the incident occurred in a different part of the country than I am visiting. But beyond my concerns over my personal safety, I'm not sure I'm comfortable spending my travel money in a political environment where this type of corruption and criminal behavior seems increasingly commonplace.

Thoughts?

Former Iguala, Mexico, mayor captured in case of 43 missing students - World - CBC News
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Old 11-05-2014, 10:52 PM   #2
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We have it on the authority of various people who live permanently or sometimes in Mexico that they feel completely safe.

So do you believe this disappearance apparently involving government agents, or testimony of our esteemed members on scene in Mexico?

Ha
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Old 11-05-2014, 11:26 PM   #3
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I live in San Diego, CA and have been to Mexico many times, however I have not been there for years. It is a risk that I won't take, I have heard many stories that don't make the news. Our son is going to Cancun for spring break next year with a bunch of other strong, big guys.
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Old 11-05-2014, 11:35 PM   #4
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Hmmm - back from a 'Destination Wedding' on Isla Mujeres(near Cancun) for 5 days. Great. Coming back the US was a slight pain in the ass. It was a well oiled tourist destination - being back in the US going thru airports was a bit of a shock after the royal treatment in Mexico.

heh heh heh - however Mexico is a big country and I suspect they have some 'interesting areas' just like here.
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Old 11-05-2014, 11:48 PM   #5
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The areas you're planning on visiting are very touristic... the local police and government have a big incentive to keep gringos safe.

I have former coworkers (american) who live in the suburbs of Tijuana and commute daily. They don't feel unsafe.

My brother in law travels by car to Ensenada regularly - no fears.

Another friend/former coworker goes down to baja regularly for surf trips.

Mexico is a pretty big country. I'd definitely stay away from the places where there is significant lawlessness... but I'd feel fine in the places I mentioned.
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Old 11-06-2014, 02:23 AM   #6
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I wouldn't hesitate to visit the Yucatan/Mexican Riviera, or Oaxaca. I might consider Puebla. Mexico City has had problems for decades and I wouldn't feel safe visiting there without having a local friend to visit. I would avoid the northern states.

No body here drives into Mexico. Flying is fine.
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Old 11-06-2014, 03:09 AM   #7
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DH and I spent two weeks last month in Guanajuato City and San Miguel de Allende and felt safe throughout our trip. I would gladly go again. I can't speak to Mexico City, having never been there.


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Old 11-06-2014, 06:39 AM   #8
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Living 30 miles north of the border, we go all the time. We chose some border towns over others.

Going to the Sea of Cortes, for some sea kayaking, snorkeling, and fun this month.
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Old 11-06-2014, 07:42 AM   #9
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As someone who used to go to Mexico all the time to visit my mother, I would not go there anymore. I used to travel mostly alone, by bus, taxi, etc. from Mazanillo to Chapala.

I could not speak hardly any Spanish, nor could the people I ran across speak much English. But I felt comfortable doing it. I even hopped on a private bus once (at night), with a large people I did not know, and they went all around the city of Manzinillo to many different clubs. It was a great experience. (Looking back, it was probably a foolish move)

There is incentive to keep the places safe down there, but there is a lot of corruption. And corruption can bring violence. Here there is corruption and violence too, but it is not as prevalent, nor as accepted.

Odds are, Mexico is not any more dangerous than NYC or CHI. But at least if someone is going to slit your throat, you can understand what they are going to do...
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Old 11-06-2014, 08:19 AM   #10
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I would consider why I want to see those areas vs the risk in those areas. Most of the crime in Mexico (and most other places) that gets reported outside Mexico seems to be against locals for gang or political reasons, or both I guess, not against tourists, so personally that would not keep me from visiting. There are probably lesser crimes that don't get reported very widely that I would try to find out about and weigh in the decision.

Your other concern:

Quote:
Originally Posted by truenorth418 View Post

...But beyond my concerns over my personal safety, I'm not sure I'm comfortable spending my travel money in a political environment where this type of corruption and criminal behavior seems increasingly commonplace.

Thoughts?

Former Iguala, Mexico, mayor captured in case of 43 missing students - World - CBC News
If this is something that guides your travel decisions, don't go.
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Old 11-06-2014, 10:03 AM   #11
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One way to look at is that tourists are not really particularly targeted by violent crime there.

Now, you are going for two weeks. Let's say it is 5 times more dangerous there than where you live (and that is a LOT more dangerous). Then it is like spending 10 weeks where you live.

The people that really should be more worried about crime levels are people that live in an area -- less so those just visiting.
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Old 11-06-2014, 10:11 AM   #12
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San Miguel and Guanajuato will be no problem but I would take precautions in Mexico City. Like any large city, there are no areas and not so good areas. Mostly pickpockets and scam artists.

(If you will not spend your money in areas where corrupt politicians may benefit, I think you should move to the mid-west!)
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Old 11-06-2014, 10:41 AM   #13
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There is a huge amount of variation in the relative safety of different states in Mexico. Guerrero state has had a lot of problems, and that's where the students recently disappeared. Much of Mexico is quite safe, including the state of Guanajuato which has the city of the same name and San Miguel de Allende. I've been to both towns and felt perfectly safe all the time. Guanajuato is one of my favorite towns in Mexico, along with Oaxaca.

I've been to Mexico City several times and like the city a lot. It's a world-class city. I've always felt safe there, and I've taken the Mexico City metro (subway) and other transport dozens of times. (I only avoid the metro at rushhour in certain directions because of severe overcrowding.) Neighborhoods which are less safe don't have tourist attractions so they're easily avoided. Mexico City has numerous fantastic museums. The food, like pretty much everywhere in Mexico, is also fantastic. Hotels and restaurants are a bargain compared to the US or Canada.

Finally, I've found that most Mexican people are among the friendliest people I've encountered anywhere.
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Old 11-06-2014, 11:59 AM   #14
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Living 30 miles north of the border, we go all the time. We chose some border towns over others.

Going to the Sea of Cortes, for some sea kayaking, snorkeling, and fun this month.
There is one town on our Texas border, Progresso, that I would not hesitate to visit. But there is no need to drive across to go there.

Driving into the states of Tamaulipas or Nuevo Leon? No way. The cartels have too much control. The highways are not safe, and neither are many cities.

And folks here avoid the other border towns.
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Old 11-06-2014, 12:02 PM   #15
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San Miguel and Guanajuato will be no problem but I would take precautions in Mexico City. Like any large city, there are no areas and not so good areas. Mostly pickpockets and scam artists.

(If you will not spend your money in areas where corrupt politicians may benefit, I think you should move to the mid-west!)
Also, even in the 90s, it was not safe to take taxis, you had to be very careful. Back then we used public transportation OK. The museums are amazing, but I would feel better with a local companion. And so much of Mexico is way more beautiful. Why be stuck in a sprawling, super-crowded, smog infested and traffic challenged city when so much of Mexico is clean and stunningly beautiful?
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Old 11-06-2014, 01:09 PM   #16
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I have former coworkers (american) who live in the suburbs of Tijuana and commute daily. ...
Just curious how they do that every day. Any time I have gone across wait times getting back into the U.S. have been crushing. I couldn't imagine doing that every day. Do they use Otay Mesa instead of TJ, cross as pedestrians, or something else or just endure the long commute?

Edit: Since the question was about fear of going to Mexico. I do indeed fear going to Mexico, that fear is what if I need a bathroom while I am waiting three hours to get across the border.
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Old 11-06-2014, 01:22 PM   #17
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Just curious how they do that every day. Any time I have gone across wait times getting back into the U.S. have been crushing. I couldn't imagine doing that every day. Do they use Otay Mesa instead of TJ, cross as pedestrians, or something else or just endure the long commute?

Edit: Since the question was about fear of going to Mexico. I do indeed fear going to Mexico, that fear is what if I need a bathroom while I am waiting three hours to get across the boarder.
According to one friend I talked with a lot about it - he uses the fastpass... sometimes. Apparently he leaves home at 3:45am - and is at work (Sorrento Valley area) by 5:45. As he approaches he comes down a hill and can see whether the fast pass lanes are short or long - if they're long, he gets in the regular lanes. He leaves work at 3pm - the border isn't a problem then - but sometimes 805 south is a mess. His wife is Mexican and has appied for a visa - but doesn't have it yet... - so this is his way of living with his family. Not ideal - but he says the rent is super cheap for an ocean view home in a suburb of expats.
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Old 11-06-2014, 02:54 PM   #18
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I wouldn't hesitate to go to the areas you mentioned. I'm tentatively hoping to go to Oaxaca for a summer at some point in the next few years. Most of the Yucatan seems safe enough. Mexico City is relatively safe in most parts but it has seedy areas if you get away from the nice places.

I wouldn't chance crossing the border on foot or driving in the border areas, although some might be safe enough (no clue though without researching it further).

It's a pretty big country. Some parts are rough, others not as much. There are plenty of places in the US that I would advise against driving or walking on foot.

I've heard a Mexican say that these days you have to be in the wrong place at the wrong time to suffer gang violence.
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Old 11-06-2014, 02:55 PM   #19
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Quote:
According to one friend I talked with a lot about it - he uses the fastpass... sometimes. Apparently he leaves home at 3:45am - and is at work (Sorrento Valley area) by 5:45. As he approaches he comes down a hill and can see whether the fast pass lanes are short or long - if they're long, he gets in the regular lanes. He leaves work at 3pm - the border isn't a problem then - but sometimes 805 south is a mess. His wife is Mexican and has appied for a visa - but doesn't have it yet... - so this is his way of living with his family. Not ideal - but he says the rent is super cheap for an ocean view home in a suburb of expats.
Reading this makes me so incredibly grateful that I never had to have that kind of a commute. I can't even imagine. All I can say is that she must be spectacular.
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Old 11-06-2014, 03:28 PM   #20
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Just came back from a few days in Puerto Penasco, it's about a one hour drive from the Arizona border. Felt safer there then I would in just about every major US city.
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