On his blog for Lonely Planet, travel expert Robert Reid recently wrote about the safety of traveling in Mexico, even going so far as to suggest that Americans are often safer in Mexico’s biggest tourist destinations than they would be in many parts of the U.S.
Although there are undoubtedly plenty of drug-related murders in parts of northern Mexico, this violence is located far from the country’s vacation hotspots.
“What you don’t get from most reports in the U.S. is statistical evidence that Americans are less likely to face violence on average in Mexico than at home, particularly when you zero in on Mexico’s most popular travel destinations,” writes Reid.
He goes on to cite the fact that Disney World in Orlando, Florida, experienced 7.5 murders per 100,000 people in 2010 according to FBI records. According to a Stanford University report this number is significantly higher than Cancun at 1.83 and Puerto Vallarta at 5.9 per 100,000. The fact is, Mexico encompasses a landmass that is roughly the size of France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK combined, which leaves plenty of room for the drug-related violence to be isolated from the country’s major destinations.
Also, the Bahamas, Belize and Jamaica all have much higher homicide rates, at 36, 42 and 52 per 100,000 respectively. Furthermore, in response to the recent travel advisory issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety, which warned Americans about the dangers of traveling to Mexico on spring break, it is important to note that Americans are more likely to be murdered in Houston, which experienced a homicide rate of 6.8 per 100,000 in 2010, more than three times the rate in Mexico. Finally, New Orleans has a homicide rate that is ten times that of Mexico.
The reality is that most Mexico real estate is not even on the U.S. State Department’s travel warning, which advises against non-essential travel to only four of the country’s 31 states, but does not include popular destinations such as Cancun, Cozumel, Mazatlan, Puerto Vallarta, the Riviera Nayarit and Tulum.
“As the U.S. State Department says,‘millions of U.S. citizens safely visit Mexico each year,’ writes Reid. “Mexico makes for some of the world’s greatest travel experiences.”