The recent events in Mazatlan involving cartel-related violence have revived the never-ending debate about traveling to Mexico. Like most things that appear in the news, people are divided in their opinions. Some people who tend to dislike Mexico, use the incident in Mazatlan to strengthen their case about how unsafe Mexico is as a travel destination, and those who enjoy visiting Mexico cite that unless you are going to join a cartel or mess with them, Mexico is safer than the United States. Both sides are wrong in oversimplifying a very complex situation.
There are valid concerns about traveling to Mexico and questioning safety, for sure, and what happened in Mazatlan is very unfortunate and needs to be acknowledged. What happened in Mazatlan though, is an outlier event in general though. Anyone traveling to Mexico needs to assess where they are going and what they will be doing. Despite visiting Mexico 10+ times and spending time in cities and beach destinations, we exercise a high degree of caution at all times, probably more than other destinations we travel to, i.e. we don’t drive at night and wander randomly.
Mexico, like many countries, has general travel advisories and region-specific ones. Even with the recent incident in Mazatlan, we do not know anyone who has canceled their trips and record numbers of people we know are still flocking to Mexico to enjoy their vacation.
One of We Leave Today’s most popular posts is “Travel Advisory for Mexico – A Vacation Horror Story”, a satire post that imitates click bait and talks about travel to Mexico in general from our experiences, both the good, the bad and the in between. We also have a lot of Mexico content: between there and Hawaii, content about these destinations makes up a significant portion of the blog. We really hope to explore more of the country and are planning to visit Oaxaca in the next couple of years to enjoy all the culinary and culture the city has to offer. Puerto Escondido is also high on our list of new beach destinations to visit and we always dream of going back to Playa Escondida in Sayulita.
Travel, like life, has risks involved each day, hour, minute and second and it’s up to each person to figure out what is reasonable. Assessing risk accurately can be tricky though: for example, Mexico and Thailand have the same travel advisory rating of “Exercise a high degree of caution” with regional advisories but the United States, despite all the mass shootings, has a rating of “Take normal security precautions”. How many people also heard the news about 6 random people being stabbed at a train station in Paris recently and subsequently decided to cancel their trip as a result? Even here, in Vancouver, the city we live in, violent crimes have increased drastically; it is estimated there are about 4 random assaults per day. There is no denying that cartel violence in Mexico is an issue and can be unpredictable though. Local people also suffer as a result and do not have the luxury of avoiding it, like tourists who can cancel trips or stay in luxury resorts away from things.
So, should you cancel your trip to Mexico? We are not here to tell you what to do but to discuss how polarizing the question is. People shouldn’t tell other people what to do in general. Do your research, be responsible, and don’t tell other people what to do. For those in Mexico right now, have fun, be safe, and have a margarita for us: wish we were there with you!
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