Is Cozumel Safe?Most dangerous places in Mexico
And where it´s still safe to travel
Christine Delsol of Mexico Mix and San Francisco Chronicle
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
Geography is still the overriding safety factor; most of the violence happens around the lucrative points of entry to the United States, particularly in manufacturing areas with a large U.S. presence. You can still go to Mexico, as about 18 million Americans do every year, and have a carefree vacation. But it's become increasingly important to know where not to go.
Start with the State Department warnings; they have gotten uncharacteristically specific over the past couple of years and are a reliable guide to the trouble spots. Stratfor is an excellent, up-to-the-minute source of security analyses. There is a substantial fee for membership, but the Web site makes some of its reports available for free.
Finding out which places to avoid is easier than figuring out where you'll be safest. Accurate, up-to-date crime statistics are in short supply, and evaluating them is more alchemy than science. Popular tourist areas remain the safest places in the country, and Stratfor singles out Cozumel, Cancún and Los Cabos as the safest of all. In addition to Stratfor and volumes of news reports, the following recommendations are based on State Department information, the Agencia Reforma newspaper group and the Mexican security consulting firm RRS y Asociados.
Cozumel. There are benefits to being not only an island, but about as far away from the U.S. border as you can get and still be in Mexico. Cozumel, coincidentally, also escaped the flu scourge. You don't have to think twice about visiting.
Cancún. Despite corruption scandals involving top city officials' suspected ties to drug gangs, tourists have nothing to fear. There has been drug activity in parts of town that tourists never see (kind of like Oakland). Tourists are safe in the Riviera Maya as well. Quintana Roo's homicide rate as a whole, though, has moved up from the third-lowest in the country to just above the national average, so be cautious if you venture to less-traveled areas.
Los Cabos. A coastal resort city in one of the safest states in the country is about the best you can do. Baja California Sur, stung by the notoriety of its neighbor to the north, reported just five homicides (drug-related or otherwise) per 100,000 people in 2009. For comparison, the United States reported four per 100,000 for the United States and Chihuahua had 74.
Read full article HERE.
May 6, 2011. Report from CNNMexico tourism is having a bit of a PR problem lately.
Now's not the time to visit our southerly neighbor, right? Well, wrong. Mexico is a lot safer than you may realize.
We tend to lump all of Mexico -- a country the size of Western Europe -- together. For example, a border incident resulted in the death of a Colorado tourist last year, and the Texas Department of Homeland Security recommended against travel to all of Mexico.
Yet it's in the 17 of 31 states not named in the newly expanded warnings where you'll find the most rewarding destinations: the Yucatan Peninsula and Baja California beach resorts, colonial hill towns like the ex-pat haven of San Miguel de Allende, even the capital Mexico City.
An hour inland from Cancun's beaches, Yucatan state -- home to the most popular Mayan sites and "real Mexican" colonial cities such as Merida and Valladolid -- is among the country's safest. The state, with roughly the same population as Kansas, saw two drug-related deaths in 2010. Wichita, Kansas, alone had six gang-related killings over the same period.
In most of central and southern Mexico, drug violence simply isn't on the radar of daily life. "It's as easy-going as it's always been," said Deborah Felixson, a diving operator on Cozumel who is "shocked" when people say they had been scared to go to the Caribbean island. "We're just small communities here. We all know what everyone's up to."
Read more at http://www.transcaribbeantrust.com/times/2011/05/vol-11-issue-5-travel-experts-why-you-should-go-to-mexico/
Houston Chronicle, June 14, 2011.American and Mexican tourist and travel industry groups have asked the Texas Department of Public Safety to narrow its travel advisories about Mexico, saying the state's current warning is too broad and is hurting business.
The groups met with the Texas Secretary of State's office and DPS last week on behalf of companies and tourism agencies suffering from declining American travel to Mexico.
They say that less than 5 percent of Mexico is affected by cartel and drug violence and future DPS travel warnings should clarify which areas of Mexico pose the most threat to tourists.
"Out of roughly 2,500 municipalities, only 80 are currently recording problems with drug violence," said Shannon Stowell, president of the Adventure Travel Trade Association. "It's a very acute problem versus a ubiquitous problem."
Specifically, the organizations say that popular resort cities, such as Cancun, Los Cabos and Cozumel , are not dangerous for Americans.
"If you look at federal travel warnings, they are very editorial free, just reportage on the facts. But the one that came out of Texas had what I would call an inflammatory message. It was an unfair blanket statement," Stowell said. "It's a damage to our membership."
Read more: http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/travel/news/7610938.html
July 1, 2011. An American living on Cozumel for 11 years writes:I believe Cozumel is the safest place I have ever lived. I lived in the U.S. in both large cities and small towns until retiring in 2000. After 24 years of vacationing on Cozumel, I realized this was as close to paradise as I had ever experienced. I always felt comfortable and safe here and I still do after living here 11 years.
But what about the drug wars? The news media is reporting the drug wars taking place on the border between the U.S. and Mexico. They are real and they are terrifying. I would never consider traveling anywhere near the border between the U.S. and Mexico. Although the violence is generally between rival gangs and attacks on the police, I would still never risk being near that.
But Mexico is a large country, and Cozumel is a small island about 1,000 miles from the U.S. border and the drug wars. It's about as far away as you can get from the U.S. and still be in Mexico. The island is 28 miles long and 10 miles wide with only one city. You can only get to Cozumel via air, (a busy international airport) on a cruise ship or by taking one of the regular ferrys that travels 12 miles across the Yucatan channel from the Mexican mainland to Cozumel.
From a discussion thread on Fodor's Travel: I spend part of every winter in Cozumel and have for nearly 20 years. You couldn't be in a safer place. The local people are sweet and kind and honest. There has been no drug violence on the island. That mostly happens on the border towns on the west coast and is always drug related. The one time drug dealers tried to set up shop on Cozumel a few years ago, the locals "gift wrapped" them in their car and put them on the ferry back to the mainland with the full cooperation of the local authorities. You would be safe walking around anywhere on the island at any hour of the day or night. Enjoy!" To read more on this thread: Fodor's Travel http://www.fodors.com/community/mexico-central-america/safety-in-cozumel.cfm