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Safety Concerns for Vacations in Mexico: 5 Things You Need to Know

Written by Michele Richardson on July 10, 2015

We are consistently asked by our G2G Members “is it safe to vacation in Mexico”, especially since we have residences in three major Mexican resort destinations.  Here we will debunk some popular myths about Mexico vacation dangers, and give you the 5 most important things to know regarding vacationing there.

Vacationing in Mexico – Safe or Dangerous?

Here are the 5 most important things to understand about the safety concerns for vacations in Mexico:

1. Mexico is a REALLY big country.   While the past 10 or more years of drug cartel violence, mainly along the border towns of Mexico, has created a PR nightmare for Mexican tourism among many Americans, it’s important to remember how big a country Mexico is.  Even though they are both on the Baja Sur peninsula, Los Cabos is nowhere near Tijuana.  It’s about a 20 hour drive, or 1,000 miles away.  So, hearing about violence in Tijuana (which is actually very close to San Diego, just over the border), and not wanting to go to Cabo on vacation is about the same as hearing about the protests and violence in Baltimore and not wanting to go to Miami on vacation.  Playa del Carmen is around 2,500 miles away from Tijuana.  Some areas of Mexico can be very dangerous, but most resort destinations are extremely safe and have had no incidents of cartel drug running or violence.

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2.  You have to be careful on vacation anywhere in the world.  Just because there may not be drug related violence doesn’t mean you don’t need to be careful when you are on vacation in Mexico, or anywhere in the world for that matter.  There’s no reason to travel with expensive jewelry, and don’t leave valuables lying around.  Don’t go out alone to bars or nightclubs late at night.  If you venture outside a gated, resort setting, stay on well-lit streets with friends.  There is safety in numbers when traveling.  All of this advice is not specific to Mexico, but basic common sense travel tips for any country you might be visiting.  I have found Mexican people to be some of the kindest, warmest people on the planet.

3.  Where you stay matters.  First, make sure you go to a destination that isn’t on the border and doesn’t have a history of drug cartel activity or violence.  If you stick to major resort destinations, such as Los Cabos, Puerto Vallarta (or Punta de Mita), and the Mexican Riviera (Playa del Carmen and Tulum), it is highly unlikely you’ll ever have an issue.  For those who want added protection, security and comfort, I suggest staying in a guard gated community in these areas.  For example, if you stay in Puerto Los Cabos or Hacienda Beach Club in Cabo, you will likely feel even safer than in your own city.  For more on where to rent in Cabo, see “Los Cabos Luxury Vacation Home Rental Costs.”  And Punta Mita, about 45 minutes from Puerto Vallarta, with a Four Seasons and a St. Regis within the gates, is one of the most secure resort developments you’ll ever come across, with multiple (and strict) guard gate checkpoints.

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4.  Do not rent a car and drive yourself.  This is less about safety and more about avoiding corrupt police.  You don’t want to be pulled over by a Mexican cop looking to trade pesos (or dollars) for avoiding a Mexican jail.  Luckily, this ugly situation can be easily avoided by going with reputable transportation companies to get you safely from the airport to your resort, where you can either walk to the beach and restaurants or take a taxi.  No need to pay the extra money to rent a car and take the risk of being pulled over.

5.  Montezuma’s Revenge.  While your biggest safety risk in Mexico is probably still food related, gone are the days of having to worry about drinking the water and eating fruits and vegetables, so long as you are staying in a decent resort community or hotel.  They all have filtered or at least safe water to drink.  That said, for those who are still nervous, I suggest bottled water, which is typically provided.

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As you can see, most of the fears of vacationing in Mexico are unfounded and based on a few bad occurrences thousands of miles away from the major resort destinations.  Stick to those areas and splurge a bit to stay in a high end, guard gated community, don’t drive and don’t do anything stupid (like going out alone late at night) and you will have a safe, worry free vacation in one of the most beautiful countries in the world.  G2G Members regularly stay in high end residences in Cabo and Punta Mita, with Playa del Carmen coming soon, but they have also paid to join a private club that affords them nightly rates of around $500 for a 2 to 4 bedroom private residence.  If you have questions or would like more info on traveling to Mexico, please call us at 678-506-2700 or email us at membership@g2gcollection.com.