Safety is a primary concern for Americans going on vacations abroad this year.
Whether it’s the war in Europe, the political instability that continues to plague most of South America, or the volatile world of geopolitics as a whole, we will not judge you if you have reservations about visiting certain territories in 2023.
Fortunately for the sun-seeking type, America’s favorite go-to getaway, the Mexican Caribbean, remains a perfectly safe summer destination.
This statement might come as a surprise to some, especially if you’ve been buying into the mainstream media’s anti-Mexico rhetoric, but it truly couldn’t be safer (in the words of the Mexican President himself).
This is why:
How Dangerous Is Mexico?
Earlier this year, Mexico was plagued by new damning reports of rising crime rates across border regions, including a kidnapping case that resulted in the death of innocent U.S. nationals, an isolated incident widely condemned within Mexico and even among gangs.
As expected, however, U.S. media was quick to jump on the anti-Mexico bandwagon, going as far as insinuating authorities were ‘not tough’ on, or even turning a blind eye to crime, promptly refuted by the Mexican President.
In the words of President AMLO himself, Mexico is not only perfectly safe, it is ‘safer’ than the United States – but to which extent was the country’s leading authority correct?
Based on the additional steps to ensure public safety taken by state authorities in Quintana Roo, the most popular tourist destination in the Mexican Caribbean, and the U.S. State Department’s own classification of risks across the zone, his statement may carry some truth.
No Caribbean Destination Is Safer Than Cancun Right Now
In recent months, we have seen a record increase in mobilization of security forces in resort zones up and down the Mayan Riviera.
Cancun, the region’s leading city and its busiest hub, has seen the deployment of additional National Guard officers to keep the beaches and other areas frequented by vacationers crime-free.
As a result, it is no longer a strange sight to spot heavily-armed military and policemen in Cancun.
Now that there is no longer an official ‘low season’ in the Mexican Caribbean, with some resorts reporting occupancy rates of over 80% for the traditionally quiet months of July and August, security was tightened further.
An additional 200 armed officers from the National Guard joined the so-called ‘Tourism Battalion’ in the last few days, proving authorities are working around the clock to ensure tourists feel safe when visiting the leading city in the wider Caribbean.
The Tourism Battalion is a one-of-a-kind initiative, and it serves as proof of Mexico’s commitment to keeping crime under control, as it is said to be a ‘highly specialized unit’ patrolling ‘busy tourist areas’.
To the best of our knowledge, no other Caribbean destination has invested this massively in security and put the well-being of tourists first.
Mexico Is Safer Than Most Latin American Countries
In fact, several sunny destinations have experienced soaring crime rates this year, with Colombia, yet another country to straddle the Caribbean, being added to the State Department’s Level 3 listing. Americans should now reconsider travel.
Cancun is not the only municipality to have bolstered security efforts. Off the mainland, Isla Mujeres has confirmed ‘extensive new police patrols‘ this summer.
Although Mujeres is generally perceived to be safe, the dealing of narcotics remains a big challenge for regional leaders, particularly when young people joining the infamous ‘jungle raves’ are concerned. Still, crime rates are ‘extremely low’ on the island, as reported by The Cancun Sun.
Despite the limited criminal activity, more police are being brought in to ensure robbery rates drop even further.
In a sense, surveillance has never been more robust than it is now in the Mexican Caribbean. Mexico is well aware tourist dollars are the main driving force behind its economy, and the Government has shown resolve in dealing with criminals operating in Quintana Roo.
We could not find the data to support AMLO’s claims – whether Mexico is indeed safer than the U.S. – but based on the available information, we can infer that the risk for tourists is indeed quite low.
This Does Not Mean Crime-Free
Naturally, crime can still occur, as the Mexican Caribbean is a hugely popular destination, and tourist hotspots tend to attract pickpockets and other ill-intentioned individuals, but the risk is no higher than in any other destination that’s been added to the State Department’s Level 2.
For instance, tourists are also advised to exercise greater caution when visiting Paris, France, due to its higher rates of petty crime, violent protests, and the threat of terrorism.
Though the reasons for the Level 2 status may be different, from the U.S. Government’s standpoint, Cancun and Paris – and in fact, any other Level 2 destination – share the same risk levels.
The Mexican Caribbean is truly one of the safest international destinations for Americans this season.
In order to steer clear of trouble when visiting, make sure you leave any visibly expensive jewelry and belongings you don’t need in your hotel safe, never flash large amounts of cash in public, nor leave it on show, and do not leave your stuff unattended at any time.
In other words, general safety advice applies.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com