The Truth About Mexico | Tag Archive | tourism

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Peter Greenberg’s “The Royal Tour: Mexico”

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Peter Greenberg’s “The Royal Tour: Mexico”


I hope everyone will get a chance to see this documentary. Peter Greenberg traveled México with President Felipe Calderón. This link to The Royal Tour: Mexico will give you all the details.

Posted in Mexico in GeneralComments (0)

Q&A with a Recent Traveler to Cancun

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Q&A with a Recent Traveler to Cancun


Yesterday I had the chance to ask some questions of a recent traveler to Cancun. She and her family were nervous before traveling to Cancun, but came here anyway and ended up having a great time. Here are my questions and her answers:

Why were you nervous about traveling to Cancun?

Stella: I was nervous about traveling to Cancun due to all the media coverage in the US and the travel alert that was in effect. Also, there were a lot of colleges warning their students not to travel to Mexico over spring break.

Why did you decide to come to Cancun and not go somewhere else?

Stella: This was our third trip to Cancun, we love the turquoise water and white sand. In addition, we have gone to other islands over Easter break and have not found the impeccable service that we receive in Cancun.

When you arrived in Cancun what were your first impressions?

Stella: When we first arrived, I felt a little nervous, but as soon as we walked outside and felt the warm sun and saw the palm trees blowing in the wind I actually began to feel at ease. Minutes thereafter we saw our service waiting for us with our name on a board and within 20 minutes we were at the front desk of our hotel.

How long were you in Cancun before you were able to relax and know that you would be safe here?

Stella: I actually felt at ease driving to Le Meridian. Our driver was so nice and kind.

What places did you visit while you were in Cancun? Did you go out and have fun?

Stella: We didn’t do any of the tours, because we have done them all before, we actually just wanted to relax. We did go out every night to a different restaurant and/or mall. We walked some of the time or took a taxi. We had no bad experiences.

Will you come back to Cancun again?

Stella: Yes, we will definitely be back.

What advice would you give other travelers who want to come to Cancun but are nervous?

Stella: I would advise other travelers to read your blog and be well aware of what is going in the country, but also to realize Cancun is some 2300 miles away from all that stuff. When traveling to another country you always need to be informed and aware. As long as you are respectful to the country and their people, I don’t see how you could have a problem. You were right, the only thing we came home with was sunburn.

Thanks again for putting my mind as ease prior to our trip.

Prior to asking the above questions of Stella she and I had an exchange of comments on my blog, I’ve shared that exchange here: Back Safe & Happy From Cancun.

Thank you to Stella for answering my questions and giving me permission to re-post our comment exchange.

Posted in Quintana RooComments (3)

Back Safe & Happy From Cancun

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Back Safe & Happy From Cancun


The following comment exchange appeared recently on my blog. It illustrates the fear many travelers to Mexico have before they arrive and shows how unfounded those fears turn out to be. I thought it would be relevant to share this exchange here.

Comment #164 from Stella – April 1, 2009

Hey Rivergirl,
Glad I found this website. We are leaving 4/8 for Cancun, Le Meridian, by husband, myself and 2 kids. I am scared to death that we will be in harms way. My daughter can’t wait to go to Sr. Frog’s and I haven’t told her yet, that we probably won’t go downtown. I need your honest opinion as to whether or not we will be safe. I have arranged for the hotel concierge to pick us up at the airport, thought that was the safest way to go and figured we just won’t leave the resort until its time to head home, but that doesn’t give us many dining options. Please give me your honest opinion on all this. Also, if you know anything about the Le Meridian that you care to share, I would appreciate it.
Thanks so much for your time and info.

Reply from RiverGirl – April 1, 2009

Stella – First off Señor Frog’s is not in downtown Cancun it’s in the Hotel Zone. Second, even if it WAS downtown it would be perfectly safe to go there.

I understand your fears Stella but they are completely unfounded! I’m serious!

I wander around in Cancun all the time, alone as a white American woman. I’ve never been at all nervous for my safety and only once or twice (in large crowds) was I nervous that some purse snatcher would try to grab my purse (though no one ever did).

Le Meridien is a lovely hotel, it’s one of the nicest here. I don’t think the beach near it is very good right now, so you will want to walk north or south to a better beach.

But do leave your hotel and go out. Cancun is perfectly safe for tourists. When you get here and see everyone wandering the Hotel Zone night and day you will relax, I’m sure.

Comment #19 from Stella – April 15, 2009

Hey RiverGirl,
Just wanted to let you know you were RIGHT!! Cancun was more perfect than we remembered. We had a blast and were completely as ease once we checked-in and got in vacation mode. There were no signs of violence at all and actually the people, employees and everyone in general were much more pleasant and accommodating than you will find in Pennsylvania.
Thanks again for this website.

Reply from RiverGirl – April 15, 2009

Stella – I’m really glad you had a great time!

After this exchange of comments I wrote to Stella asking her for permission to re-post our exchange. I also asked her some questions about her fears and her trip to Cancun, a post with her answers will appear here soon.

Thank you to Stella for permitting me to re-post her comments here.

Posted in Personal Experiences, Quintana RooComments (6)

Is Mexico Safe?

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Is Mexico Safe?


Years ago when I lived in New York City I received a phone call one night from my mother, who sounded very upset.

“Are you OK? Is your house on fire? Are you safe?”

I didn’t know what she was talking about. I was totally fine. It turned out mom was watching the nightly news on TV.

Yes, there were riots going on in Brooklyn. Yes, buildings were on fire. Yes, people were killed and others hurt. It was all happening miles away from where I lived. I knew nothing about it. But my mother had the impression that all of New York City was at war.

That phone call taught me two important lessons I’ve never forgotten. First, the news has the power to amplify and distort reality. Second, most people accept as fact anything they read in a newspaper or see on television.

Recent reports of drug “wars” in Mexico are not necessarily untrue, but they look at a small part of the canvas and make people think they are seeing the whole picture. As a full-time resident of Mexico since 1997 I would like to suggest to my readers that they are being misinformed.

Frank Koughan’s excellent report and data analysis previously posted on this site already provides the facts of the matter, so I’ll simply tell you what my life is like here in Mexico City in terms of safety.

I’ve been asking all my friends here if they’re afraid of the drug violence they see in the news (it’s reported here, too, not just in the U.S.). So far I’ve not had an affirmative answer. Neither I nor anyone I know wears bullet-proof clothing. I get up early three mornings a week and stroll across the park to attend a yoga class–dodging joggers and unleashed dogs is my biggest danger. I walk to work, take the subway, ride the buses and taxis, all without fear—ever. People in my local supermarket seem more troubled about whether they should put their groceries in a paper bag or a plastic bag than by any more menacing concerns. Diners at my local taco stand fret over the eternal dilemma: red salsa or green salsa? When I head out at night my biggest worry is whether I will need a jacket or not.

In other words, life goes on in Mexico City much as it does elsewhere in the world.

Know the facts. Most of the violence in Mexico is targeted toward a very specific group of people connected to the drug trade. Most of it occurs in border towns. As a tourist, your chance of being hurt or killed by drug-related violence is about as great as having a piano fall on your head.

Read newspapers with a critical eye. I recently began writing for a national newspaper here, and I can see how easy it would be for any writer to choose a word or a phrase than could alter, slant or color a reporting of ‘facts’. I’ve noted often in The New York Times the use of quotations from one person to indicate the feelings of a nation.

Violence sells. A report about decapitated bodies makes a much flashier headline than one about a trip to the pyramids of Teotihuacán. The former Mexico correspondent for a major U.S. paper is a friend of mine. I knew he loved Mexico and felt safe and happy here, but he wrote many stories about drug violence and corruption. When I asked him about it he said, “That’s what the editor back home wants.”

After eight years of truth-bending news, Americans seem to be living in a country where fear is a common tool for controlling ideas and behavior. Beware! There is something dangerous out there and it’s trying to steal your mind. It’s called the news.

So when people ask me “Is Mexico safe to visit?”, I say yes, come on down. With the current peso devaluation, it’s a real bargain now, and it’s not crowded–all those scaredy cats who believe what they see on the news are staying home.

Posted in Distrito Federal, FeaturedComments (11)

Apparently, We Aren’t the Only Ones Who Have Noticed…

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Apparently, We Aren’t the Only Ones Who Have Noticed…


I just read an article by Arthur Frommer, the famous travel book writer, who talks about how his daughter stood up to a popular Fox News host about the lies being spread about the dangers of visiting Mexico. You can read that article here:

http://www.theledger.com/article/20090321/NEWS/903225015/1326?Title=TV-Blamed-for-Fear-of-Mexico

But then I did as he instructed, and went to www.crooksandliars.com and searched on “Mexico”. Oh my goodness… the things that Fox News is reported to be saying about Mexico will make your toes curl.

And this morning, according to the L.A.Times, there is a report about Hilary Clinton’s recent visit to Mexico and Obama’s upcoming visit.

Things certainly are getting interesting….

Posted in YucatanComments (6)

Distances Between Tourist Destinations and High-Risk Areas in Mexico

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Distances Between Tourist Destinations and High-Risk Areas in Mexico


To help put the relative danger of travel in Mexico into perspective, we have prepared this map illustrating distances between the hotspots identified by the US State Department, and major tourist destinations. Please feel free to distribute this file, or download our print-quality PDF.

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Posted in Mexico in General, YucatanComments (4)

The Face of Mexico – It’s All Smiles

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The Face of Mexico – It’s All Smiles


Mexico is once again splattered all over the news. “DON’T GO,” scream all the headlines. It’s so dangerous, people are being slaughtered. Tourists are prime targets. You’d be downright crazy to cross that border.

All that smack is coming out of every media outlet and as I sit here in my sunny LA kitchen, I just remember the smiles. The big, white, toothy smiles of every Mexican I came across in all my travels around that lovely country. In fact, I just got back from Mexico in February. 2 weeks of happy, pure bliss.

Last year, I traveled SOLO for months around the country with a solar trailer strapped to the back of my truck. I cruised down extremely dusty back roads, took precarious routes along the Sierra Madre’s, and swam along lonesome stretches of sandy beaches. Never did I fear for my life. Not once did I think I was gonna catch some trouble cause I was alone. If anything, it made me travel deeper, happier…

Oh yeah, there are those dozen times I’ve done all of Baja alone too. Up and down the Sea of Cortez, sleeping in my truck, cruising along tar black, two lane roads at midnight, and then coming upon a security checkpoint in the middle of the cold, star-filled desert. Only to skid to a stop, get out of my truck while they searched it…and laugh it up with the guards wielding machine guns. Again, HUGE smiles. Pretty smiles. Curious smiles. And, most of all, friendly smiles.

These aren’t trips that were decades ago. These are trips that happen 4-5 times a year for me. Stay away from Mexico? As if. You’d be crazy if you did.

Posted in BajaComments (4)

Tourists Safe in Cancun

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Tourists Safe in Cancun


If you are a regular in the Mexican blogosphere, you know that Rivergirl wrote of this topic today and Gabatcha shared her thoughts on this matter yesterday. We were all set off by a recent article found on Associated Content written by Julia Bodeeb that is inaccurate and obviously written without any real knowledge of what is happening in Mexico. The article was posted on a Cancun information forum and we soon discovered that attempting to comment on her piece was futile. Several of us have posted comments that dispute her statement that tourists should avoid Cancun, we’ve asked her for evidence that Cancun is unsafe for tourists and she is consistently (and rapidly) deleting the comments that disagree with her blatant lies and misinformation. One poster contacted the writer directly to challenge her about deleting comments and she replied with a delightfully courteous “You blow”. You would think that a professional “journalist” would be able to engage in debate and support her arguments, but apparently she has nothing to back up her claims that tourists are in danger in Cancun. Why? Because they are not.

Click here to continue reading this article on my blog!

Posted in Quintana RooComments (0)

Resort Towns Safe in Mexico

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Resort Towns Safe in Mexico


With the apparent hysteria in the media about the dangers of Mexico and the anxious emails I’m receiving about upcoming trips, I thought I would touch on this subject one more time (see previous post here). In Cancun and Quintana Roo, at this moment in time, all is peaceful, all is calm and tourists are safe. According to today’s local paper “El Periodico”, the US State Department released a letter stating that their warning was intended to urge people to exercise caution in the border areas of the country, not to prohibit travel or imply that resort areas are unsafe. There have been no tourists killed in Cancun as a result of the war on drugs. Do people die here? Why, yes they do, car accidents, heart attacks, drownings, suicides, of course people die here, but random murders just don’t happen. The entire city of Cancun had only 65 murders last year, none of the victims were tourists. For a city of about 700 000 residents with millions of tourists visiting each year, that is not a scary statistic. Does crime against tourists happen? Yes, this is not Disneyland (and I am sure there are pick pockets there too), robberies occur, credit card fraud, rape (usually of the “date rape” variety, not random assaults on the street), all things that happen in any major city. Use your common sense and don’t put yourself or your things in dangerous situations.

Click here to read the rest of this post on my blog!

Posted in Quintana RooComments (1)

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