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Mexico is a trendy tourist destination for honeymooners and families, and it entices tourists with its pristine beaches, all-inclusive resorts, and the rich history of the place. Since the country is very close to the US, it receives a lot of American travelers every year. However, the country has been making the headlines recently for all the wrong reasons like drug-related violence and robberies. So naturally, a question pops up: is it safe to travel to Mexico right now?
Safety is something that many people would consider while traveling to this region or, for that matter, any part of the world. However, despite what all is being reported in the media, thousands of people flock to Mexico and travel trouble-free. Vacationing in Mexico can be a lot of fun, but you need to be careful and take some precautions.
Is it Safe to Travel to Mexico Right Now?
The media has always reported Mexico as a place of crime and drug violence, but this generalization should not stop avid travelers from enjoying the amazing place called Mexico. However, you must use your common sense while traveling, be aware of your surroundings, and keep the valuables out of sight.
There is no Mexico tourism board
It was perceived to be a disaster as the Mexican tourism board was disbanded to channelize the funds to the highly ambitious USD 6.5 billion Mayan train project. However, a couple of privately funded tourist offices have come up in Los Angeles to promote tourism in Mexico, especially in Yucatan & Oaxaca. It shows an effort by Mexican tourism officials to maintain the flow of tourists to the country as before.
Common questions when asking if it Is it Safe to Travel to Mexico Right Now
Is Mexico Zika free now?
Mexico had a history of the transmission of Zika virus. However, at present, there is no evidence of any kind of Zika virus outbreak. But, to be on the safe side, you can always use anti-mosquito measures during the daytime.
Is it safe to travel to Mexico right now when you are pregnant?
If you are concerned about security issues, then be informed that Mexico is as safe as any other country. However, you need to be extra cautious as there has been a spurt of crimes recently. You should speak to your health care provider about potential risks and then make a decision. If you do decide to travel, try to avoid getting bit by mosquitoes and sexual exposure to Zika.
Can I travel to Mexico with kids?
Mexico is very enjoyable when you are traveling with families and kids. However, you should not flaunt your wealth or go to any obscure locations as these pose a significant risk for travelers. The villages and towns are very safe and provide a rewarding experience that you will never forget. There is very little crime, and the Mexicans are genuinely interested in the welfare of the tourists.
What precautions should you take?
Many people travel to Mexico and do not encounter any problem at all. But, just like any other tourist destination, crime is a fact of life, and tourists sometimes get targeted for thefts and scams. The best thing you can do is to take specific steps so that such crimes can be easily prevented. Follow the following tips for traveling safely in Mexico –
Research the destination very thoroughly. The website of the US State Department has valuable information about Mexico and also gives public announcements regarding safety issues for travelers.
When you are packing your bags for the trip, it is a good idea to leave the valuables at home. This will also make your bags lighter, and you will be able to move more freely.
The most crucial step would be to scan the passport and all travel documents and then e-mail those to yourself. In this way, even if your documents or passports get stolen, then you can easily access the copies from the e-mail account.
Places to avoid
There are many neighborhoods in Mexico which you should avoid for your good. Even if you insist on visiting these areas, you must exercise extreme caution at all times.
- Tepito – is the black market of Mexico and has a very dicey reputation. Most of the goods are stolen or low-quality Chinese products.
- La Merced Market – although it is the largest market in Mexico, you must not carry any valuables here with you and don’t come here after dark as prostitution starts in full swing.
- Doctores – if you want to come here, Uber is the best option and don’t hang around here unnecessarily.
- Iztapalapa – it is a Southern Mexico neighborhood that has very high incidences of violence against women, including rape. This is an excellent reason to avoid this area.
How can I protect myself in Mexico?
It is effortless to take care of yourself in any place in the world, including Mexico. One just needs to do his/her homework. There is a risk of crime in any tourist destination, and Mexico is no exception.
When you have finalized your destination, check it with the US State Department. There are plenty of places in Mexico that are historically important and touristic such as Mexico City, Cancun, Puerto Vallarta, and Acapulco. All these places are not on the US warning list. However, it always makes sense to contact a registered and reputed travel agent for all your travel needs during your stay in the country.
The public transport system in Mexico is a bit chaotic but very affordable. But UK Foreign Office warns travelers that everyone should exercise caution while using public transport in Mexico, especially women. There are females only carriages in Mexico, and women travelers should use these as much as they can. In the evenings, I never hesitate to take a taxi and avoid using public transport.
The concept of all-inclusive resorts in Mexico is quite popular, particularly in places like Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and Playa Mujeres. There are even adults-only resorts for people who are looking for alternative forms of fun. However, you should be willing to spend a good amount on these resorts as the majority are quite expensive. The other drawback is that you will be forced to have all your meals at the resort only as you have paid for them. The price generally includes all meals and activities and appeals to those who would be willing to spend a lot of time in the resorts only. But the main advantage is that you will feel protected and safe at all times.
Cruises are the best and one of the safest ways to experience the delights of Mexico. There is a cruise for each type of traveler, and this is the best way to enjoy the outstanding scenery and culture of this country. Do your research on each cruise port to stay safe during the trip. Of all the ports, Cozumel is said to be 100% safe for all visitors. Crimes on Cozumel is very rare.
Mexico has another problem in hand – the invasion of the sargassum seaweed. There have been reports of massive algae washing up on shores between May and October, and this has raised doubts in the minds of many travelers – whether to travel to that destination at all? This problem has arrived in places Cancun and Riviera Maya, but the concerted efforts of the many resorts have helped to clear the beaches of the algae. Resorts like Villa del Palmar has taken huge steps in clearing the beaches and travelers should choose such resorts so that they can enjoy the beaches.
What can you not do when traveling in Mexico?
Traveling and staying safe in Mexico is paramount for all travelers. For this, you need to be very careful about your surroundings, and there are certain things which you cannot do here.
Never act like a foreigner
You cannot behave like a foreigner here as it will draw untoward attention. Try to blend in as much as possible. Always try to be discreet. If you walk around with a camera and a travel guide book in hand, everyone understands you are a tourist and will mark you out.
Carry unnecessary cash or valuables
You cannot walk around carrying every Peso that you brought in. Just carry what you need for the day and, if possible, in two locations. Always exercise caution when you are withdrawing money from ATMs. It is wise not to carry valuables with you when you are going out for sightseeing.
As a rule of thumb, you should never hail taxis from the streets. Ask the hotel to call a cab, and they will promptly do it. The hotel will also take down the number of the taxi and the driver’s name for your security. Official taxi stands are also available at the airport and bus stations.
Do not eat or drink anything and everything
Street food in Mexico is excellent, but one should choose wisely. Always have food from the stalls where there are maximum people, and it is a good idea to have food from stalls which are visited mostly by locals. In this way, you will be sure that the booth is reputed and affordable too.
It is also advised to stick to bottled water of good companies. Always ensure that the bottle is opened in front of you. NEVER resort to drinking tap water as it is not at all dependable.
Never rent a car
You will be tempted to rent a car and explore Mexico on your own. While you can do this in other major parts of the world, we recommend that you stick to hotel cars and taxis for moving from one place to another. Renting a car is an option that is best not exercised due to several security issues.
Traveling to Mexico money tips
When you are traveling to Mexico, you must exercise a few cautions related to money. For example, you will use cash more than anything else here, so it is advisable to carry a money belt if you can. You can keep the cards and other valuable things in the hotel deposit box or at the reception. Try to carry some excess cash in the money belt, in case you need it.
Carrying debit and credit cards is not a great idea as there have been reports of card numbers being skimmed and money stolen or falsely charged to the credit card account. There is also the risk of physical theft of credit and debit cards.
This term is probably new to many tourists but not here. In this case, a person is captured for just 24 to 48 hours so that criminals can withdraw cash from your credit and/or debit cards. This is the reason we recommend that you do not carry your cards at all. However, e-mail yourself all the card details and also take pictures of your cards as an extra precaution. Is it Safe to Travel to Mexico Right Now? It is if you follow our money tips!
Tipping is not necessary in Mexico, but when you are eating at a restaurant, you may want to leave something for the waiter/waitress. 10% tipping is standard, but you can add more if you found the service exceptional.
Mexico is one of the most popular destinations in the world, and contrary to what newspapers say, it is a relatively safe place to visit. But the decision to visit the country or not is as per the comfort level of the tourist. The major touristic areas like Mexico City, Cancun, and Riviera Maya are safe for travel, and disturbance to foreign travelers are almost unheard of. If you find yourself still asking Is it Safe to Travel to Mexico Right Now, then you might want to rethink your trip for another time.
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