SAFE TRAVEL IN MEXICO

Before you read what I have to say about “Safe Travel in Mexico” I would like to share a story with you. At the conclusion of our Summer Cruise for Teachers 2012 Expedition we stayed at a local hotel in La Paz. The hotel is located right in the heart of the famous Malecon sea walk.  One morning Jeremy McComb, one of the teachers from Canada, dropped his wallet while on a morning stroll. Somewhat distressed Jeremy, with the help of the hotel staff, contacted the police and the tourist cops to let them know, in the event the wallet showed up. In the wallet was $450.00 US, credit cards, drivers license, etc.

My comment to Jeremy was that he had a 50/50 chance of getting it back leaning towards it being found and returned. The same morning Senora Adriana Porta, a local resident of La Paz, was walking her dog and found the wallet. Adriana said she was so concerned that Jeremy had lost his wallet, with everything in it, that she looked inside the wallet and found a business card of a car salesman and phoned him in Canada to let him know that she had found Jeremy’s wallet. The car salesman phoned his wife and the same day we picked up his wallet.

The wallet was returned with the $450.00 and everything intact. I can say from experience a similar incident happened to me. Unknowingly my wallet had fallen out of my cargo pant pocket and a gentleman behind me picked it up and promptly returned it. On both occasions Adriana and the gentleman would not accept money or a gift of thanks. Does this sound like the Mexico in the news? I can say from experience of 32 years of visiting La Paz that it is safer than most cities in Canada.


As a result of past incidences involving tourists abroad visiting Mexico, media outlets in both Canada and the US are reporting about the crime and violence afflicting tourist towns and border towns of northern Mexico and the southern US. Travel warnings have been issued and Mexico has a risk level of “you should exercise a high degree of caution”. This means there are identifiable safety and security concerns or the safety and security situation could change with little notice. You should exercise a high degree of caution at all times, monitor local media and follow the instructions of local authorities. It should also be noted the risk level Mexico has been given is not an official advisory. The risk level given is an advisory but should not be mistaken as an official advisory.

On a personal note, my only problem with this is it suggests the United States is safer to travel then Mexico. I beg to differ!

With respect to Mexico, I can only speak to my experience in Baja California Sur for the past 30 years. It remains a beautiful and peaceful place for tourists looking for sun-filled holidays and amazing adventure travel. To be quite honest, the areas we play, Loreto, La Paz and Cabo, are actually safer than parts of some cities in our own country.

Like anywhere else, when one visits another country, sensible tourists should exercise courtesy and respect.  It is not a good idea to walk off the beaten track. It is courteous to be aware of local customs (what is appropriate and what is not).  It is essential to be aware of the political climate where you are visiting. I feel that both the Canadian and Mexican cultures are very similar, and, as a Canadian, my experience with the people of Baja California has been very respectful and hospitable. The Mexico I know is reflective of the people: beautiful, kind, peaceful and warm. I exercise the same caution when in Mexico as I do at home in Sidney, BC, Canada and in all of the years I have been visiting Mexico I have never been harmed nor felt afraid for my life. As a matter of fact, when I am in the Baja it feels like I am at home in the safety of my small town of Sidney on Vancouver Island.

My experience in Mexico is limited to flying in and out of Mexico and driving between Loreto, La Paz and Cabo, which I find safe insuring that I do not drive at night.  I choose not to drive at night due to the high collision rates with wandering cattle and wildlife along the unfenced highways after dark, not because of “banditos” or any other people that might harm me. I also choose to stay away from isolated places and stay within the safety zones of the tourist areas. The key to traveling anywhere in the world is to use common sense.  When you do, what awaits you is an amazing experience with a beautiful culture.

Crime is found all over the world and no matter where it happens, we are all impacted by it in one way or another. As with all places in the world, there are criminals lurking in the crowd. Over the 30 years and thousands of guests later Panterra has never experienced anything life threatening or damaging to our experience in the southern Baja. The Mexican people and their culture are beautiful, just like you and I.


Canadian Government Advisory on Travel in Mexico (August 14, 2016)

MEXICO – Exercise a high degree of caution
There is no nationwide advisory in effect for Mexico. However, you should exercise a high degree of caution due to violence in those parts of the country experiencing a deteriorating security situation (see Advisories below). High levels of criminal activity, as well as demonstrations, protests and occasional illegal roadblocks, remain a concern throughout the country.

Northern states – Avoid non-essential travel
Global Affairs Canada advises against non-essential travel to the northern states of Chihuahua, Coahuila, Durango, Nuevo León (except the city of Monterrey), Sinaloa (with the exception of Mazatlán), Sonora (except the cities of Hermosillo and Guaymas/San Carlos), and Tamaulipas due to high levels of violence linked to organized crime. Consult Security for more information.

Western states – Avoid non-essential travel
Global Affairs Canada advises against non-essential travel to the western states of Guerrero (including Acapulco but excluding the cities of Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo and Taxco) and Michoacán (excluding the city of Morelia) due to the high levels of violence and organized crime. For the same reason, avoid non-essential travel to the areas of Jalisco state that border the states of Michoacán and Zacatecas, as well as the areas of Colima state that border Michoacán. Exercise a high degree of caution in the excluded areas. Consult Security for more information.

Risk Levels

Exercise normal security precautions
There are no significant safety and security concerns. The overall safety and security situation is similar to that of Canada. You should take normal security precautions.

Exercise a high degree of caution
There are identifiable safety and security concerns or the safety and security situation could change with little notice. You should exercise a high degree of caution at all times, monitor local media and follow the instructions of local authorities.

IMPORTANT: The two levels below are official Government of Canada Travel Advisories and are issued when the safety and security of Canadians travelling or living in the country may be compromised.

Avoid non-essential travel
There are specific safety and security concerns that could put you at risk. You should reconsider your need to travel to the country, territory or region. If you are already in the country, territory or region, you should reconsider whether or not you really need to be there. If not, you should consider leaving while it is still safe to do so. It is up to you to decide what “non-essential travel” means, based on family or business requirements, knowledge of or familiarity with a country, territory or region, and other factors.

Avoid all travel
There is an extreme risk to your personal safety and security. You should not travel to this country, territory or region. If you are already in the country, territory or region, you should consider leaving if it is safe to do so.

For the latest update on travel advisories:

Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada 

US Department of State Consular Affairs

UK Government Passports, Travel and Living Abroad