Despite what you might think from some nightly news reports,the majority of Mexico is very safe for travelers from the U.S. and around the world. In fact,the U.S. State Department excludes popular tourism destinations on its list of areas to avoid,and no changes were contained in the organization’s newest travel warning issued January 9.
“Still exempt are Riviera Maya,Cancun,Playa del Carmen,Tulum,Cozumel,Puerto Vallarta,Cabo San Lucas,Riviera Nayarit,La Paz,San Miguel de Allende,Guadalajara,Mexico City,Oaxaca,Huatulco,Puerto Escondido,Merida and Chichen Itza,” writes Travel Weekly. “Resort areas and tourist destinations do not see the drug related violence and crime reported along the border region.”
In fact,travel throughout the popular ex-pat havens and tourist destinations is often safer in Mexico than comparable U.S. cities,and tourists are generally not perceived as targets for criminal activity,even in the more unstable areas. Furthermore,the few remaining problem areas are quite isolated and located thousands of miles away from areas where ex-pats have taken up residence and tourists come to relax in tropical paradise.
“Millions of U.S. citizens safely visit Mexico each year,” writes the U.S. State Department in its latest travel report. “The Mexican government makes a considerable effort to protect U.S. citizens and other visitors to major tourist attractions,and there is no evidence that Transnational Criminal Organizations (cartels) have targeted U.S. visitors and residents based on their nationality.”
In addition,TripAdvisor lists the Hotel Zone and downtown Cancun “among the safest places to travel in Mexico,” and states the entire Riviera Maya region is known for its low crime rate. The growing confidence international travelers have in the safety of Mexico’s top destinations can be seen in the sharp rise in bookings throughout these areas,along with the increase in available flights and hotel occupancy rates. Thanks to the safety of its many scenic ports,Mexico is also the world’s top destination for cruise lines,attracting more than 59 percent of the annual global market share.
By all accounts,2013 was a record year for tourism in Mexico,and the World Trade Organization will release its Top Ten list of the world’s most popular destinations this March. Last year,the first quarter saw a 5.9 percent increase in the number of Americans visiting Mexico,according to the nation’s Tourism Ministry – a number that is likely to grow again as 2014 unfolds.