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Mar
23

Cheap Flights to Mexico-Is Spring Travel Safe?

cancun spring break

cancun spring break

So your kids tell you EVERYONE is booking a flight to Mexico City for Spring Break.  Or they’re just hopping a direct flight to Cancun, what do you do, what do you say? Isn’t Mexico falling apart, heads rolling down the freeway and all that?

Believe it or not, despite a steady stream of bad press and travel warnings, Mexico is headed for a good year for tourism.

Mexico, of course, has been the top foreign country visited by Americans for more than two decades. Mexico welcomed more than 16 million Americans in 1990, 20 million in 2010. We love Mexico. And what’s not to love? The food is great, the beaches are heavenly, the people are wonderful, it’s close and it’s pretty inexpensive. In fact so many friends of mine fly all the way from Italy to Mexico because of all of the above.

But with the truly grisly drug war and the nonstop photos and stories that go along with them, people wonder is this all of Mexico? Or is confined? The answer is it’s confined.

Southeast Mexico

Southeast Mexico

Most spring breakers hit the southeast. In fact, the Mexico Tourism Board estimates that 52 million domestic and international tourists will visit the southeastern part of the country in 2012.

The southeast has such popular resort areas such as Cancun, Cozumel and Playa del Carmen, as well as Mayan cultural destinations, a key area of focus for the tourist board in 2012. It’s the more urban northern Mexico, which is plagued by cartel-related violence.

tulum

tulum

Places like the Mayan Riviera, a hotspot for tourism, remain safe, according to Miguel Salazar of the Woodrow Wilson International Center in Washington.

Before you book any cheap flight to Mexico city, be sure to read the travel warnings from the State Department to Americans. They clearly state that you should avoid all but essential travel to all or parts of 14 of 31 Mexican states. No advisory is in effect for Yucatan, Quintana Roo or Campeche, states that make up the Yucatan Peninsula, or for that matter, Mexico City, the nation’s capital.

Quintana-Roo

Quintana-Roo

Although it seems like Mexico is losing the war on organized crime, the numbers tell a different story: A record-breaking 22.67 million international visitors arrived in 2011, representing a 2% increase from 2010, according to figures provided by the Mexico Tourism Board.

That’s not to say that bad things don’t happen outside the hot zones. In February, 22 Carnival Cruise Lines passengers were robbed of valuables and their passports during a shore excursion in the Mexico seaside resort of Puerto Vallarta in the state of Jalisco.

The State Department warning advises travelers to avoid travel to areas of Jalisco that border the states of Michoacán and Zacatecas.  Avoid traveling at night outside of cities elsewhere in the state.

borderlands

borderlands

Experts agree, Mexico is a very large country, the size of western Europe, so it’s unfair to paint Mexico with a broad stroke. In my humble opinion the real dangers of Spring Break lie not with the drug cartels and police warfare but with the kind of Americans who flood there. I mean it’s horrifying.

cancun girls

cancun girls

And:

here's your real danger

here's your real danger

So go ahead book that cheap flight to Mexico City, hop on a  cancun flight and disappear into Tulum, just don’t let your children go to places where they pour vodka down your kid’s throat.

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