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Is Mexico safe for travel?

  1. Sep 20, 2009 #1
    I had been reading about the troubles down there and was concerned about my young nephews and niece going there. Their father replied, "If you always listened to the State Department, you would never go anywhere." So then, what is a good way to determine if a destination is safe enough for young adults/kids?
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  3. Sep 20, 2009 #2


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    The State Department is a good source.
  4. Sep 20, 2009 #3
    Hurkyl is probably right. The big questions are how old are the people we are talking about and do they have any native experience dealing with con artists and the like?

    I personally live somewhere that is not considered very safe but I know well enough how to take care of myself that there is not really any worry.

    Different places also have their own circumstances and problems. I understand that there are actually very nice areas in Mexico. I have never been there myself though so I could not really give you any ideas of them unfortunately.
  5. Sep 20, 2009 #4


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    It depends on where they're going. My wife and I go to the resorts along the Rivera Maya coast south of Cancun each year and we've never felt unsafe. We wouldn't dream of going into the towns across the US-Mexican border though.
  6. Sep 20, 2009 #5
    Yeah as long as they stay within the boudaries and stay with other people it should be fine. They have armed-guards walking around all the time and the resorts are well guarded... It's when people go out of the resort into the cities and such that problems happen.
  7. Sep 20, 2009 #6


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    One has to check with the State Dept. as Hurkyl suggested. If you know someone who's been there, or who lives in the US just across the border from Mexico, or possibly a local newspaper from a border town, that might be a good supplement.

    The wife of a friend was doing volunteer work in Tijuana, but she stopped going because of the kidnappings and shootings. Juarez is a pretty bad place to go - unless you know people there, know the language, i.e. appear like one of the population.

    Places like Cancun or Acapulco are relatively safe.
  8. Sep 20, 2009 #7


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    Mexico is a large country. Rather than just finding out if there is some sort of travel advisory for the country, look further into depth about the specific areas you plan to travel.

    Any time you travel to a place where there are a lot of tourists, the biggest thing to be careful about are pickpockets targeting tourists who are busy reading maps and staring at the sites or staggering around drunk after too many cocktails with dinner and not noticing their wallet getting lifted.

    My best advice is to keep copies of the front page of your passport at the hotel, and with someone back home that you can easily call to send it to the consulate's office if necessary. If you don't have a need for your US driver's license, leave that locked up in the hotel safe rather than carried with you, so if you do lose your passport, you have another form of photo ID that at least will help on the US side with recovering other documents lost when you return. And don't carry all your money in one place. Split it up, carry some in a wallet, some in a pocket, some in a money belt, leave some buried in your underwear in the hotel room (or some such non-obvious place...not sitting out in the front pocket of a suitcase where someone can quickly find it)...that way, if some gets stolen, you aren't out all the cash you had with you. Limit the number of credit cards you carry with you, and leave the rest home. None of this lowers your chance of being a target, but minimizes the damage should you become one, and makes it easier to just let someone take the cash you have if they mug you without worrying you're going to be stuck in a foreign country with no cash and no ID.
  9. Sep 20, 2009 #8
    Okay. Good points, everyone. I went to the State Department website and printed out their travel alert for them. It does feel like they're throwing caution to the wind, so I'm largely left only some hope.
  10. Sep 20, 2009 #9


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    Just stay away from the border towns... it's practically a warzone.
  11. Sep 20, 2009 #10
    Travel Alerts are issued to disseminate information about short-term conditions, generally within a particular country, that pose imminent risks to the security of U.S. citizens. Natural disasters, terrorist attacks, coups, anniversaries of terrorist events, election-related demonstrations or violence, and high-profile events such as international conferences or regional sports events are examples of conditions that might generate a Travel Alert.

    http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/pa/pa_4491.html [Broken]

    I worked in a Mexican border town for five years and the last time I was in Mexico (Chihuahua) was about 3 weeks ago, crossing the border at El Paso - Juarez. I would say the above travel alert is pretty accurate.

    About a year ago a friend of mine who grew up in Colombia got in a cab at his hotel in Mexico City instead of calling for a specific cab. The cab took him to a place where several other men got in on both sides of him. They took him to an out of the way place, beat him, robbed him and let him go. The scary thing is, he said, that by their manner he could tell they were off duty cops. He was a very experienced traveler, spoke the language and still got nailed.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  12. Sep 23, 2009 #11


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    Speaking from a Latin american perspective. Mexico's safety varies per urban centers. There are places, I wouldn't venture at all. If you want to know the "culture" then try Mexico D.F., the capital. It is reasonably safe, if you don't act too much of a tourist (always be cautious, and don't mistake friendliness for criminal intent). If you look to out of place, YES unfortunately, you'll likely be a potential target (check Moonbear's suggestions).

    Anyway, Most Latin american countries in their main cities have Tourist Police (Politur), so just try to stick yourself close to those places with Politurs. Don't be crazy adventurous unless you're willing to accept the consequences. On the other hand, if you look local then you can be a bit carefree, just make sure you don't open your mouth unless you have to =).

    In the end, Why go to Mexico? just go to the Dominican Republic, it's the better choice.

    Have a fun a trip!.
  13. Sep 23, 2009 #12


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    Their has been over 2000 murders this year in Mexico and no convictions.

    You tell me if you think that is safe...

    j o k e
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