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Riviera Maya (Mexico) Travel Advisory...by a traveler

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Colo Spgs
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Riviera Maya (Mexico) Travel Advisory...by a traveler

DISCLAIMER: The following is the opinion of one person and is not the product of any governmental agency. Thus it is probably better.

1) US State Department: In years past we have been bombarded by grossly all-encompassing travel advisories by the US State Department that paints all of Mexico the same. The same blanket mindset by the US CDC advised people not to travel to the Riviera Maya region during the Swine Flu hysteria when it was not a concern there.

Recently the US State Department has modified their Mexico travel advisories to a more regional assessment. They are to complimented for this change. The advisory for Mexico is here:

…state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/tw/tw_5665.html

You have to scroll near the bottom to get info on the Yucatan area of Quintana Roo. The current wording is copied here from that site:

“Quintana Roo: Cancun, Cozumel, Playa del Carmen, Riviera Maya and Tulum are the major cities/travel destinations in Quintana Roo -see map (PDF, 286 kb) to identify their exact locations: No advisory is in effect. (emphasis added).”

So no advisory is in effect. This does not mean that a visitor should not take normal precautions as they would at home, but paranoid fear of the area is unwarranted.

As a traveler to the area, I agree with that. My trips are mainly to Cozumel but I do fly into the Cancun airport. I have stayed in Cancun, made short trips there, to Isla Mujeres, Isla Holbox, day trips to Ek Balam, Coba, Tulum and other area attractions like Xplor, Selvatica, Hidden Worlds and several cenotes in the Tulum area.

2) Texas DPS Spring Break Warning: The following seems to be a way to get college kids to go to Texas (South Padre Island) instead of Cancun or other Riviera Maya locations. My opinion is that this “warning” is self-serving to Texas tourism, grossly general compared to the US State Department advisory and poor judgement by the Texas officials who approved it.

…state.tx.us/director_staff/…pr030111.pdf

3) Armed Military: You are likely to see armed (machine gun) military personnel more so than in the USA but it is a normal sight in this area. They are not there to intimidate you so do not let their presence scare you.

4) Rental Cars: There are problems that you need to be aware of. Should you rent a vehicle, there are some reports of being charged for bogus vehicle damage. Try to minimize that chance by choosing a reputable agency and document with photos and agency paperwork any damage, however minor, or missing car equipment.

Two potential big issues are gas station scams and police extortion. Go to the Top Question section of the Playa del Carmen forum and read up on these matters. Here is a recent example of a person who knew of the police extortion and how he was not victimized while remaining civil and non-confrontational:

http://tinyurl.com/7g2qprb

Your other option is using the excellent bus system or excursion provided transportation.

5) Sunburn: For some people, sunburn is a real, but preventable hazard. This is not rocket science. Be cautious.

6) Timeshares: For many, the following will serve you well:

Just say NO to timeshares

7) Drinking: After several years of reading about a few serious problems in Mexico, excessive drinking seems to be a possible factor in many of these events. Take appropriate actions to keep at least one person sober and in control of traveling companions who consume too much and these problems will be few and far between.

8) Attitude: Go to the area with a good attitude. Don’t treat the people working there as your servant. The local people you will encounter are most likely among the nicest you will meet anywhere. Don’t whine about minor inconveniences. There are differences between Mexican hotels and tourist attraction and where you live. If you cannot accept or adapt to those differences, perhaps a trip to Walt Disney World is a better choice for you.

Corpus Christi
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1. Re: Riviera Maya (Mexico) Travel Advisory...by a traveler

I don't think the Texas DPS warning has anything to do with Cancun or Riviera Maya. South Padre is only 10 miles from the Mexican Border. The Mexican border towns have long been a favorite of college students since the drinking age is only 18. I think the main purpose of the DPS alert was to warn springbreakers visiting Texas that they should not cross the border into Mexico since this is one of the most dangerous areas in the drug wars.

Colo Spgs
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2. Re: Riviera Maya (Mexico) Travel Advisory...by a traveler

Two quotes from the Texas DPS warning

1) "The Texas Department of Public Safety is urging Spring Breakers to avoid traveling to Mexico because of continued violence—and reminding boaters to stay on the U.S. side of Falcon Lake."

2) "“Our safety message is simple: avoid traveling to Mexico during Spring Break and stay alive.”

If the concern was primarily northern border areas, then these two quotes would have been worded differently.

Corpus Christi
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3. Re: Riviera Maya (Mexico) Travel Advisory...by a traveler

Falcon Lake is in the area I am talking about which I think makes my point.

Cozumel, Mexico
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4. Re: Riviera Maya (Mexico) Travel Advisory...by a traveler

I dont know why the Texas warning would have been worded differently. I think they said what they wanted to say. And I would avoid Falcon Lake!

Dallas, Texas
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5. Re: Riviera Maya (Mexico) Travel Advisory...by a traveler

Three Texas women were gunned down on a bus traveling to Veracruz to visit relatives on Christmas Day. A woman walking in downtown El Paso pushing a stroller was recently shot by a stray bullet from a gunbattle in Juarez just last month. The man riding the jet ski in Falcon Lake was killed by a drug cartel while sightseeing with his wife, and his body has never been recovered.

You can understand that Texas has a much more complicated relationship with Mexico than most US states. Why wouldn't Texas issue a warning? If they didn't and people were killed, they would be called irresponsible.

Dallas, Texas
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6. Re: Riviera Maya (Mexico) Travel Advisory...by a traveler

I forgot to add that the official in charge of the Mexican investigation of the Falcon Lake killing was himself killed within 2 weeks of the beginning of the case. Needless to say, it has never been solved.

The mayor of Juarez has asked for amnesty in the US since it is too dangerous for her and her family to live there.

Edited: 08 March 2012, 19:58
Queretaro City...
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7. Re: Riviera Maya (Mexico) Travel Advisory...by a traveler

Nobody would dispute the warning to not venture in areas such as Falcon Lake (and that warning has been in place for years) but that is different than warning against traveling ANYWHERE in Mexico which is what the Texas statement implies.

In a Little Cafe...
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8. Re: Riviera Maya (Mexico) Travel Advisory...by a traveler

From this perspective, and I understand their concerns for certain areas of Mexico but a blanket warning of this type, the third in three years, for the entire country of Mexico, IMHO, goes a bit too far. Considering, geographically alone, that Mexico is almost three times the size of Texas and almost one fifth the size of the entire U.S.....and that literally millions of people visit Cancun and the resort areas of Quintana Roo, the Islas and other venues, the large majority without incident, each year.

Below, the Texas DPS Statement as of March 6, 2012:

DPS Advises Against Spring Break Travel to Mexico

The Texas Department of Public Safety is again urging Spring Breakers to avoid traveling to Mexico as a result of continued violence throughout the country.

“The Mexican government has made great strides battling the cartels, and we commend their continued commitment to making Mexico a safer place to live and visit,” said DPS Director Steven C. McCraw. “However, drug cartel violence and other criminal activity represent a significant safety threat, even in some resort areas.”

According to published information from the U.S. Department of State: *

• 12,903 narcotics-related homicides were reported the first nine months of 2011 alone.

• The number of U.S. citizens reported as murdered in Mexico increased from 35 in 2007 to 120 in 2011.

• U.S. citizens have fallen victim to transnational criminal activity, including homicide, gun battles, kidnapping, carjacking and highway robbery.

• Rape and sexual assault continue to be serious problems in resort areas.

• Some bars and nightclubs, especially in resort cities such as Cancun, Acapulco, Mazatlan, Cabo San Lucas, and Tijuana can be havens for drug dealers and petty criminals.

• Crime and violence are serious problems throughout the country and can occur anywhere.

• The State Department now urges U.S. travelers to defer non-essential travel to all or parts of 14 Mexican states, four more than 2011.

“The situation in Mexico today is significantly different than it was just a decade ago,” said McCraw. “Many crimes against Americans in Mexico go unpunished, and we have a responsibility to inform the public about safety and travel risks and threats. Based on the unpredictable nature of cartel violence and other criminal elements, we are urging individuals to avoid travel to Mexico at this time.”

DPS acknowledges that many travel to Mexico without incident, but the risks cannot be ignored. Travelers are encouraged to carefully research any planned trips.

Travelers should always check the U.S. Department of State website for the most up-to-date information related to security issues in Mexico. (See *http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_970.html.)

U.S. citizens living or traveling in Mexico are urged to register with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate at https:/….

### (HQ 2012-022)

Littleton, Colorado
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9. Re: Riviera Maya (Mexico) Travel Advisory...by a traveler

Ever since all those colleges students were murdered and buried in mass grave in the mid-late 80's by the Matamoros Cult (Satanism, Black magic, voodoo), Texas has issued warnings aimed mostly at students to party on the Texas coast instead of venturing into Mexico, getting drunk and being taken advantage of.

This is nothing new, the warnings go out every year for spring break. Texas has the longest border with Mexico and has to protect her citizens. Drug cartels and "on the border" devil worshipers are nothing new to TX. Google Fred Carasco and read about his cartel activities in the 70's and what Texas had to do to protect her citizens. He made Dillinger look like Mother Teresa. So don't be so quick to judge Texas DPS on their warnings, they have reason to believe anything is possible.

Dallas, Texas
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10. Re: Riviera Maya (Mexico) Travel Advisory...by a traveler

Thanks for the numbers, Danger. From your copy and paste report I got:

• The number of U.S. citizens reported as murdered in Mexico increased from 35 in 2007 to 120 in 2011.

“Many crimes against Americans in Mexico go unpunished, and we have a responsibility to inform the public about safety and travel risks and threats.

In this litigious society, Texas would be remiss in not noticing that the number of Americans killed in Mexico has increased dramatically, as reported by yourself, and that these crimes most often go unpunished.

I applaud the state of Texas for being proactive in protecting our citizens, and trying to keep everyone safe. Texas accounts for a huge number of tourists to Cancun and Mexico in general. If Mexico can't clean up their act, they don't deserve our hard earned dollars.