Advice from an Expert

By: Daniel Nardini

With all of the bad news about the drug war and the killings going on in Mexico, a lot of Americans are being turned off to travel to that country. However, one well-known publication company, Lonely Planet, recommends that people should go to Mexico. Yes, there are serious dangers there, and Lonely Planet does not pretend to gloss over them. But Lonely Planet makes it clear that Mexico, the size of all western Europe, is a very big country.

Even with the U.S. State Department issuing travel warnings for 13 Mexican states and the State of Mexico where Mexico City is located, not every place in those states are dangerous. There are no travel warnings for 17 of Mexico’s 31 states—at least beyond petty theft and annoyances. Many of Mexico’s main tourist attractions are located in these states. In the State of Yucatan are the Mayan ruins and some of the friendliest people you will meet. In Oaxaca are the Zapotecs and many beautiful Spanish-style neighborhoods as well as ruins of the Zapotec civilization. Some parts of Mexico are in fact as safe as anywhere in the United States—depending on where you are. The Yucatan state, for example, is the same size as the U.S. State of Kansas. In Yucatan state, there were two drug-related murders in all of 2010. Compare this with six gang-related deaths in Wichita, Kansas, for the same period.

Even the State of Chiapas, which had been the scene of the Zapatista uprising in the 1990’s, is stable. Places like Cuernavaca, Valladolid and even the small island of Cozumel are safe tourist havens. Despite the dangers, a record number of Americans have been going back to Mexico for tourism and also shopping just over the border. In fact, far more Canadians and people from Western Europe have been going to Mexico for vacation. The culture, sights and people draw them from all over the world. According to Lonely Planet, tourism helps the people, and puts badly needed money into the economy. And of course people-to-people contact is absolutely essential. So Lonely Planet states that those who wish to go should go and enjoy themselves in Mexico. I cannot argue with this from an expert.

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