Over the years Mexico has had a bad reputation for being violent and dangerous, especially due to drug cartel. To say it does not have that problem would be a lie, it does.
Every country has problems with drugs these day. It’s only that (I’m guessing) most “western” countries are better at playing it down.
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My wife and I spent five months in Puerto Morelos, Mexico; about a half hour drive south of Cancun and north of Playa Del Carmen. We stayed where the locals lived, did our best to fit in and visited many places including Merida, Tulum, Isla Mujeres etc.
One of the problems many tourists have when visiting countries, especially if staying in a hotel complex, is they don’t understand the mentality of the people in whose country they are visiting.
When we went to stay in Mexico, we made sure we listened to the advice of the locals about areas not to venture into unless in a group, certain hours of the night not to be walking around, restaurants and bars to be careful of due to being set up by the cartel etc. and we listened!
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Staying at large hotel resorts, in a way, gives people a false sense of security. I will also mention the whole “3rd world status” thinking. Many tourists from first world countries (which I won’t even name) can have a sense of superiority when visiting other countries with less means (money). What they forget to remember is that they are far away from home! If you keep the locals happy, you will stay relatively safe.
The Mexican people are some of the nicest and most friendliest people I have ever met. They would go out of their way to help you and expect nothing back. Treat them as you would want to be treated and no harm should come to you.
If you go to the clubs and stay out late at night, then let’s face it, trouble will eventually find you. Even if you’re not looking for it, you could end up being in the wrong place at the wrong time. If the place is wrong, well, you become a bigger target.
Sad to say, at times, no matter how much we do to prevent calamity, we find ourselves falling victim to some crime. But, this can be true anywhere we live.
So a few tips to help keep yourself safe in Mexico:
One. Listen to local advice about the area. If you are in a Hotel Complex and want to venture out at night on the club and bar scene, stay in a group.
Two. Order drinks which come in a bottle. Let them know you want them to open the drinks at your table (please don’t be too obvious though as 99% of bars and restaurants are legitimately trying to give you a wonderful experience).
Three. Treat the locals and any members of staff with respect at all times. If ever you need help, they could be your greatest ally.
We loved Mexico and could spend the rest of our lives living there. If you are contemplating a visit to Mexico, I say, “Go, for it!”.