I know there has been a lot of information and talk on social media and the news about “tainted alcohol” and unsafe travel conditions for US citizens traveling in Mexico this year. I am not going to lie to you and say yes, it is perfectly safe. There is nowhere in the world that is. I have been digging deep and will tell you the truth about what I have found.
The crime rate is up this year from last but is mostly due to drug cartels battling each other over turf. There have been some issues in the towns including a nightclub shooting in Playa Del Carmen. The police are cracking down and having more patrols. It has not involved the tourists at the resorts.
As far as the latest reports of Mexican Cartels Hanging Banners with the graphic pictures of dead bodies, the picture is really from an article written in 2011 titled the History of Gangs in Mexico. Most of what is published is repeats of prior information or embellished from what I am finding when I dig deeper. Mexico is not 100% safe but neither is the USA.
Each resort is separate and when you arrive at checkin you are given a wristband that identifies you as a guest of the resort. This is the ONLY way you are allowed on the property of the resort. There are security guards at the gates of the property and around the property including the beach. They don’t allow access to anyone without a wristband or employee ID.
The “tainted alcohol” that we are hearing about has happened before and even at other resorts. It seems to be some cases of spiked drinks with drugs. Other cases are from illegal alcohol distilled wrong and sold to some resorts/bars. The authorities are continually cracking down to remove and destroy this alcohol. I have found about 36 cases in the last 3 years. I’m sure there are more that go unreported. Some were linked with the Iberostar and Secrets chains. Some with local nightclubs. The beautiful young girl that died, did not die from the alcohol but from drowning as the drinks that were tainted seemed to have made her unable to get out of the pool. She was unconscious at the bottom of the pool and died later. They are still investigating. Her brother’s drinks were also suspect and he was also injured in the pool.
I had this happen to me and my husband in New Orleans but he got us back to our hotel before he passed out and I spent the night paralyzed and horribly ill on the bathroom floor. This was after two sips of the first drink on the famed Bourbon St. We have been there three times and I love it!
This can happen anywhere!! This happens here in Colorado in our local bars. Please don’t get me wrong, I am not making light of this as when we go on vacation, we don’t want to worry about safety, we want to just have fun. Sadly, that is not the world we live in. Always us caution when leaving your resort. Travel in groups and be aware of who is around you. Don’t over drink! Be kind to the local people. Tipping is always appreciated. Don’t get in fights, walk away! Leave valuables at home-don’t flaunt them. Enroll in the U.S. Department of State Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
I have traveled all over the world and must say, I have only felt unsafe two times. Neither time was in Mexico and I have traveled all over Mexico including Cancun, Playa, Cozumel, Puerto Vallarta, Zihuantanejo-Ixtapa, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico City, Aguascalientes and more. I have traveled by plane, car and on tour buses. I will be vacationing in Mexico this October myself and staying at the all-inclusive Barcelo Maya south of Cancun and plan to visit Mexico many more times in the future.
Always feel free to reach out to me if you hear anything that makes you uncomfortable or concerned to travel to the destination that we have picked and I will be happy to help you change your plans or help with your concerns. As YOUR travel agent, I always watch the news for updates on safety, weather, resort feedback and anything that is important. This is YOUR precious time away from work/reality and I want to be sure I’ve done everything possible to make sure your vacation is the dream trip you expect it to be! Your Personal Travel Agent, Beth Sharbonda