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Is it safe to travel in Cancun, Mexico?

Feb 2, 2012 | No Responses

This is definitely NOT something you will see in Cancun (see photo).

My Mother is finally separating the headlining news stories about safety in Mexico to the reality that I am living.  Let me assure you, I don’t see decapitated heads on the regular, and the police officers down the street text away as they greet me good morning.  I will gladly be the one to burst the bubble for those who want to believe Mexico is solely a haven for guns, drugs and violence.  For me, it is still home.

Most don’t know this, but Cancun is one of the safest cities in Mexico.  I’ve had no problems, but, I am a smart traveler.  I was lucky enough to grow up in a traveling family so from an early age I knew the rights and wrongs of being in a foreign country.

In Mexico’s defense, I don’t get harassed by people begging on the street, and I don’t have run-ins with drug addicts getting their latest fix on the corner of Richmond and Queen.  I will admit that in Toronto I lived in an area that was at the cusp of sketchiness meets pristine gardens, but as all Torontonions know our homeless rate is astonishing.  I might even have to argue that we have more people begging on our city streets than New York City (but that’s my opinion, not a stat).  So I can honestly say I have seen more crime at home than here, in Cancun.

Let’s also put things into perspective.  Like any other city in the world there is petty crime; pick pocketing, and personal belongings stolen from hotel rooms, but think about… the average wage here in Mexico is $5!  For those living in a first world country, this is coffee at Starbucks so get over.

The war on drugs is between the police and cartels.  Crimes directly related to the drug cartels are not targeted at tourists, unless they were involved in some way to the chain.  We all complain, but we’re feeding the fire.  Everything in life has a reaction to an action…if the demand is there than someone is bound to fill it.  Let’s not forget the over-zealous spring breakers who drink themselves into an oblivion thinking it’s cool to jump off balconies.

So I’ve done a bit of research myself which I would like to share with you.  Cancun was one of the top tourist destinations for Labour Day weekend in 2010, and Travelocity noted Cancun as the top vacation spots for Americans.  According to Virtuoso Luxe Report, Mexico ranked 5th on top international vacation destinations.  For 2010 over 7 million foreigners visited Mexico!  With the few crimes that are reported I’d say that’s pretty damn good.

And let’s remember people… the news is not perfect.  Facts are filtered, and presented to the world according to many factors; what sells, the opinion of the journalist (as unbiased as some claim to be).  What frustrates me is they never write about the cultural events going on or the national pride this country has.  No, let’s focus on the negative, and play innocent in it all.

My only advice to you, don’t be stupid or arrogant when traveling.  Respect the country you are in, and don’t assume anything until you experience it for yourself.  Consider this.  If someone said something awful about a friend of yours would you automatically take it is a fact… I doubt it.


Author: Janelle Brandon

As our dedicated travel writer, Janelle scours Cancun and the Riviera Maya for all the cool things to do around here. From working and living to getting around, and, of course, the best beaches (she loves her sun and sand). Janelle lets you know how it is. As our Chief Operations Officer she makes sure we are not skipping out on work to laze on the beach (although sometimes she joins us). She's a pleasure to have around and always making us laugh with her crazy stories.

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