What is the real danger?
Published: Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, October 17, 2012 00:10
Lately, the headlines have been filled with drug related violence in Mexico. Just last month 11 people were killed in Guadalajara during a shootout between suspected drug traffickers and soldiers.
Instead of white sandy beaches, visions of drug mules and armed cartel kingpins appear in people’s minds. But does Mexico really deserve that image? Yes and No.
Parts of Mexico are extremely dangerous. Juarez City has been known as a murder capital for years, and Vera Cruz is among the most dangerous places in the world to be a journalist. But there are areas in Mexico that see little of that violence.
The Yucatan peninsula is the safest area in Mexico, and it is breathtaking—immaculate beaches, year-round spring break-style parties, luxurious all-inclusive resorts, and then there are the exciting parts of the state.
You can swim in the crystal clear underwater caves with stalactites hanging over your head and the glowing eyes of catfish tracing your movements. You can hike pyramids and check out the colonial city of Merida where you are surrounded by an energetic culture, amazing food, and wonderful people.
The Yucatan, along with the rest of Mexico, has a lot to offer, and despite what many people think it has been almost completely untouched by the cartels’ violence. According to the website Geo-Mexico, the intentional homicide rate in the Yucatan is lower than the rate in Canada.
I admit that I’ve seen the number of armed police officers cruising the streets increase over the last several years, but I think that some of this could be for show. Tourism is the major industry in the Yucatan and the tourists won’t come if they don’t feel safe.
This is not to say that it would be impossible to be murdered in the Yucatan, but you can’t generalize about the safety of an entire nation based on the violence in one region. Mexico is a huge country and the violence in northern Mexico is worlds away from the beaches of Cancun.