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The question of whether Mexico is a safe tourist destination is very much dependant on the good sense of the tourist. This is not to say that no violence will befall a visitor who abides by some rules, but incidences are rare. I am also not suggesting that a high crime rate does not exist in Mexico, but good sense and a balanced perspective begin with the realisation that as with anything else, bad news sells newspapers. If every case of an incidence-free, highly enjoyable holiday was reported on, then the question would probably never arise. The seedier side of life exists in any country on earth and the trick is to either avoid these areas completely or if that is not possible, then to ensure you are accompanied by a person who is familiar with the dangers and the avoidance methods. If common sense prevails, then the chances of having a great Mexican experience are almost certain. One benefit of sensationalising the Mexican crime situation is the increased chances of finding a not expensive airline to fly you there.
Common Sense Practices
Doing some research into the places you intend visiting is always a good idea and when your destination is a country with a high reported crime rate then it is essential. Make use of the expertise of those who have visited a location many times to plan your itinerary. If their visits have been crime free, then the chances are excellent that they are familiar with both the safe areas and the trouble spots. Embassies are a valuable resource for identifying areas that are known for violence and illegal activity and advice from them should always be sought and followed. It is also a good idea when arriving at your destination to get the telephone numbers of any emergency services: Illness and accidents are just as likely to befall a tourist as any violence and it is better to be prepared for any eventuality.
Drug cartels are highly active in certain areas of Mexico and the murder rate in these areas is horrific as organised crime groups battle for dominance and control. Areas such as Ciudad Juarez are virtual drug battle fields and anyone straying onto this turf is begging for trouble. It is often the adventurous student or youth on the lookout for what they consider harmless drugs who are vulnerable to violence. No one should ever be enticed to an out-of-the-way bar or club and certainly not with the promise of a ‘harmless’ drug buy. Narcotic related violence is by far the most prevalent of crimes in Mexico and most deaths or murders are connected to it. Most people in the know would also advise the adventurous young traveller against backpacking through Mexico without a companion who is very familiar with the different regions and their security issues.
It is generally accepted by most seasoned travellers to Mexico that if you stick to the popular tourist destinations and engage only in the activities provided by the many renowned resorts, then your visit to this beautiful country can be extremely pleasurable. Mexico has some of the most stunning beaches on which to soak up some sun and enjoy the clear, blue ocean. It is also rich in history and visiting its many historical sites in the company of a reputable guide can be both a rewarding and a very memorable experience. Cancun, Merida, Mexico City and Los Cabos are just a few locations that promise the tourist a view of the fun-loving, hospitable and exciting country that is sunny Mexico.