Debunking the Popular Myth: Is Mexico Safe to Visit?
The Canadian and U.S governments have placed travel advisories against visiting Mexico due to reported violent crimes; however, as a resident, I can’t help but question the credibility of these claims. My experience has been considerably different, triggering a curiosity to revisit this topic and explore the issue firsthand. Upon detailed investigation, I have found that the reality is indeed quite different from what is generally concluded.
An In-Depth Look at the Issue
Let’s not beat about the bush. The U.S government’s State Department’s travel site issues a straightforward warning against traveling to Mexico owing to widespread violent crimes like homicide, kidnapping, carjacking, and robbery. However, this isn’t a universal truth and varies from region to region, just like any other country experiencing crime. As a resident and a daily witness of life here, I have always felt safe and secure.
We often confuse incidents taking place in one part of the country as a universal problem. For instance, a phone call from my worried daughter after the news of El Chapo’s son’s capture made me realize how this perception can be misleading. The incident took place 1,396 miles away from where I live, which is not around the corner but almost equal to the distance from Minnesota to Baton Rouge Louisiana.
Real Stories from Mexico: An Ask From the Ground
On the ground, life in Mexico is far from the chaos broadcasted in international news. To illustrate this, I spoke to Glenn, a resident of Alberta, Canada, thriving in Mexico.
Glenn not only lives in Mexico, but he has also visited high-alert areas like Playa del Carmen and Tulum. He narrates his experience about getting lost, being harassed at Fifth Avenue — situations that do sound scary but are common in any other tourist location across the world. However, he insists that exercising the regular level of caution you would undertake in any foreign place should save you from potential troubles.
Is Canada Safer than Mexico?
Comparing the crime rate, the murder rate in the United States is 6.52 out of every 100,000 people. In contrast, in the Yucatan Peninsula, including Quintana Roo, Yucatan, and Campeche, the murder rate is around 3 and slightly higher in the state of Yucatan at 2.1. However, for comparison, in Canada, it is 1.95.
Understanding Crime in Mexico: Beyond The Headlines
The media has an immense power to influence public opinion. Every time an American citizen is killed in Mexico, it makes national news, creating terror among spectators. But is this fear justified?
Each year, 35 million Americans and millions of Canadians visit Mexico, indicating a high level of trust among tourists themselves. It creates an economic impact on native countries, and government authorities may be unhappy about the substantial amount of money spent outside the U.S and Canada. But is this reason enough to raise unfounded travel advisories?
The Reality Check in Mexico’s Capital
To get a feel for the ground reality, I decided to visit Merida, Yucatan’s capital and the largest city in the Yucatan Peninsula. Contrary to common beliefs, Merida is the second safest city in the Americas, only following Quebec city in Canada. The entire trip to Merida was anything but dangerous, filled with leisure activities like ice skating and enjoying an ice cream cone at a local kiosk.
Mexico As a Safe Expat Destination
With 1.5 million Americans calling Mexico their home, another question arises: Are all these expats living in constant fear? On contacting the Mexican consulate in Minneapolis, I found out that they are quite occupied with scheduled appointments of Americans intending to migrate to Mexico.
Safety in Mexico is mainly dependent on individual actions, just like anywhere else. It’s advisable not to do drugs, avoid high crime areas, steer clear of illicit activities, and exercise general caution. Additionally, be aware of potential thefts, maintain low profiles, and refrain from displaying wealth openly.
To summarize, don’t let outside warnings dictate your travel decisions. Do your research, follow sensible precautions, and experience the country for yourself. Lastly, always remember – whether you’re in Mexico or any other country – respect the culture, attempt to speak the local language, be friendly, and never invite trouble. Every place has its charm – you just need to discover it.