The US State Department has recently issued warnings for Americans traveling to Mexico. This warning is only the latest: “Gun battles between rival criminal organizations or with Mexican authorities have taken place on streets and in public places during broad daylight.” The warning goes on to mention US citizens being murdered in car-jackings and highway robberies, most frequently at night and on isolated roads. The state of Quintana Roo, which is where Cancun, Cozumel, and Playa Del Carmen are located has recently been added to the list.
Add the Zika Virus (mosquito transmitted illness) to the list along with allegations of tainted alcohol at some of the major all-inclusive resorts and now you’ve got me wondering if my upcoming vacation in the Riviera Maya will be safe enough?
We’re still going to go, but here is my list of ways I plan to stay safe:
- plan to participate in guided excursions, with other hotel guests, likely on a bus together
- cooperate if you go through a check point–government or unauthorized
- be careful not to flash large amounts of cash around (Ha, ha! That shouldn’t be a problem!)
- be prepared for pick-pockets
- keep my cell phone under my control so stolen information from it cannot be used for ransom purposes
- be aware that corruption exists everywhere
- wear insect repellant on and off the resorts (maybe this one will help prevent the Zika virus and maybe keep local pests away)
- limit outdoor activities at dusk and dawn when mosquitos are more prevalent
- avoid excessive alcohol consumption
- bring booze into the resort purchased from duty-free shopping in the airport
- stick to beers or wines at the resort
- don’t leave drinks sitting anywhere unattended
- check the resort out in advance (the resort we’re going to hasn’t had any reports of tainted alcohol)
- ask the bartender to open bottles in front of you–a sealed bottle likely hasn’t been tainted or re-filled with bootleg booze
- research medical providers in the area in advance, like before we go
- be sure you have travel insurance in place
- if you feel ill, stop and seek medical assistance
- be observant of your surroundings and aware of anything suspicious
Really, just use the same common sense you should typically use when traveling somewhere new or foreign. To keep my trip to Mexico in perspective, the current murder rate in Quintana Roo is still pretty comparable to my hometown of St. Louis, MO. I haven’t stopped traveling there because of the crime, I just use some additional sense about it.
If you have other suggestions of tips to add to the list, feel free to leave me a comment.
Otherwise, in the words of James Taylor, Mexico! (click below)