By Alex Kovacova – Alex is a crazy girl who made travel the reason of her life. ”I live to travel, I travel to live” is her motto. She writes about her crazy travel, fun adventures and sexy photos on her blog www.crazysexyfuntraveler.com. Follow her on twitter and facebook.
Every day we hear more and more bad news about Mexico. First it was the outbreak of swine flu which cut off the number of tourists going to Mexico. Then a lot of violence, crime, murders, kidnapping and illegal drug trade. Just yesterday I heard of 25 men who broke out of a Mexican prison, all of them imprisoned for dealing with drugs. And massacres happening all the time. Or robberies. And these are just some to give an example.
Yes, all of the above happen on a daily basis in the United Mexican States. But everywhere? Should you not travel to Mexico? Or if you do anyway, should you be worried? So many questions to ask yourself before you decide to visit this beautiful country. Will I get kidnapped? Will I get robbed? Will I see any violence? Will I be part of it? How and where to go, and what to do to stay safe while in Mexico?
I ask you to overcome your fear and travel to Mexico. I did it myself and three months of personal experience made me realize one thing. If you follow these simple tips like I did, you can enjoy your trip to Mexico without any problems, enjoy its diversity and unique culture, and come back home safe and sound.
- Try to check out on the internet or speak with the locals to find out about the most dangerous places. Logically, try to avoid them. Half of Mexico is very safe (southern part), and the other half extremely dangerous. It is more important to know where NOT to go, than where to go. The worst area with the most problems is the North of Mexico – the border with the US. Just to clear things up, Mexico consists of 32 states. The states with the highest levels of crime and drug smuggling are Baja California, Chihuahua, Sinaloa, Tamaulipas and Sonora in the North, especially the towns Tijuana in Baja Califoria and Ciudad Juárez in Chihuahua, and as well the states of Nuevo León, Jalisco (where many of the most important families of drug dealers live), Guerrero and Michoacán (which is unfortunately very famous for bus assaults) and DF – Mexico City. On the contrary, states such as Chiapas, Oaxaca, Yucatán, Campeche and Quintana Roo in the South and for example Guanajuato and Querétaro in the centre are pretty safe and offer a lot of interesting things for tourists.
- Try not to show off a lot of pricey things, such as camera, iPhone, laptop, Dolce & Gabbana bags or wallet, etc. If you do, you can get easily robbed, mostly in the bigger towns and tourist places. Just pretend you are a poor traveler who owns nothing else than the old clothes on your back.
- With a positive attitude, a smile and a cool temper when you want something, everything will work better. Trust me. Mexicans are actually very nice people and they like to interact with strangers, so if they see you look like a normal person, they will treat you well. Prepare to answer their curious questions.
- I have to admit one thing, it is much easier for you to visit Mexico if you speak Spanish. Obviously, they will see your accent is not Mexican, but at least you can deal with them without any problems and joke in their mother tongue. Many times, even the prices are lower if you speak Spanish and all of a sudden, even those things impossible 2 minutes ago, now are more than fine.
- If you don’t speak Spanish, at least you could learn some phrases. I noticed that sometimes you need to say something a little bit bad/nasty so they leave you alone. Very useful one is ”perdón, no tengo tiempo”, i.e. ”sorry, I don’t have time” and with really annoying weird ‘individuums’ I used often ”déjame en paz” which means ”leave me alone”.
- If you think someone is following you, the best reaction is to show them you know about it. Look at them more times and if they do not stop, make an annoyed what-do-you-want face and change the way you are going. It always helped me.
- Take extreme caution when it comes to choosing a taxi. Once you are in, you are taken to an empty street, robbed and left there – not at the destination of your choice. It is safer to take a taxi from the airport or bus station, but you need to go to the taxi office there, ask for a taxi, say the address where you are going, pay for it and then they give you a taxi. First, they have fixed prices so the taxi driver will not try to charge you double, and second, these taxis are safe. Safer than those you just stop at the street.
Have you been to Mexico? Any tips to safe travel? Share with us in the comments.