Mexico is the number one pick for Americans going abroad. Famous for its golden sand beaches, the warmth of locals, and a rich indo-colonial heritage, it is one of Latin America’s best offers.
Still, one of the main concerns for tourists landing in Mexico is safety.
Although Mexico is a remarkably safe destination, recent reports of drug violence in border areas, and the higher incidence of scamming in tourist hotspots, may have some foreigners off of visiting. Luckily, not all parts of Mexico are faced with security threats: much like the United States, some cities are safer than others.
As the second most popular beach area in Mexico, Los Cabos just happens to be one of the safest destinations for American tourists South of the border:
Los Cabos Is A Level 2 Destination, But What Does This Even Mean?
The kidnapping and murder of American citizens in distant, lesser-known towns in no man’s land between the United States and Mexico has made headlines lately, as did an apparent increase in gang activity in certain spots of the Riviera Maya.
As a result, mass media turned its attention once again to Mexico’s long-standing social challenges.
What they all often fail to collectively acknowledge is how organized crime is also present in other countries, the United States included, and that Mexican authorities have time and again reprimanded and shown zero tolerance towards criminals operating in tourist zones.
As a matter of fact, one of the busiest beach spots in the country, the Pacific gem of Los Cabos, is indisputably safer than average.
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Despite the media outcry and the incendiary commentary of Congresspeople in the States, the available data paints a different, not-so-scary picture: the State Department considers Los Cabos a Level 2 destination, only one level higher of being classed completely safe, and a status shared by a number of European destinations traditionally perceived as low-risk.
The State Department’s advisory system is based on a progressive classification of risk levels, with Level 1 being the lowest, and Level 4 the highest, when travel is strongly discouraged due to serious threats to life or political instability.
Currently, the only Mexican destinations featured on the Level 4 list are the following:
All other states are either on Level 3, where tourists should reconsider traveling to, Level 2, where tourism is not advised against, but some cautions are urged, or Level 1, where normal precautions apply.
It is worth noting a majority of destinations worldwide, at least those most commonly visited by U.S. nationals, has been added to Level 2.
Why Is Los Cabos In Level 2 At All?
As our fellow Cancun Sun writers ponder, the State Department may be simply warning American citizens against a “worst possible scenario”, as opposed to referencing existing, realistic daily risks.
In Los Cabos, for instance, violent crime has dropped year-on-year.
At this stage, we have come to the conclusion that a Level 2 classification is expected of trendy vacation spots such as the Mexican Capes and that the accompanying warning is more general safety advice.
After all, any city highly dependent on tourism, and where tourist dollars are the de facto currency, will attract wrongdoers looking to take advantage of naive first-time travelers. It is hardly alarming.
Level 3 or Level 4 destinations, on the other hand, have more specific advice regarding safety risks, such as Peru’s latest political turmoil or Ukraine’s ongoing battle against Russian invaders. They are normally reflective of a recent disruptive development or serious security threats.
At Level 2, Los Cabos is paired with the likes of France, the United Kingdom, and its sister nation of Spain, where stronger caution is also advised.
Now, it is important to note that the Level 2 classification is attributed on different grounds. For instance, gang violence and scamming are a lot less common in the United Kingdom than it is in Mexico.
Instead, Britain’s Level 2 assigning is largely linked to the threat of terrorism, while in France, pickpocketing in major urban centers seems to be the main issue.
When it comes to Los Cabos, American authorities cite criminal activity and violence, which may occur not only in the resort towns but the entire Baja California Sur.
Nevertheless, a majority of visits to Los Cabos are fulfilled trouble-free, without the worst-case scenario ever coming to fruition.
Other than the State Department’s own favorable listing, a new poll conducted by the Cabo Tourism Board concluded that 90% answered a resounding yes when asked whether they had approved of their vacation or not.
While the study is not focused exclusively on the impact of crime and how it affects tourists, it is a strong indicator of how pleased foreign visitors who have been in Los Cabos recently are with the outcome of their vacations.
The safety perception ratings regularly published by the Mexican Institute of Data Collection are yet another strong indicator that Los Cabos is as safe as a sunny hub of its status can be.
Are The State Department Travel Warnings Accurate?
The State Department has done a laudable job in ensuring Americans are well informed of the risks of traveling abroad, especially during the latest health crisis, but it’s important to reiterate that safety advice, especially relating to Level 2 destinations, is not often indicative of a tourist’s experience.
As stated above, it most commonly presents the worst-case scenario, which is now very unlikely to materialize after local law enforcers ramped up security in critical zones and began cracking down on illegal activities on beaches.
To draw a comparison, while the state of Baja California Sur, where Los Cabos is located, sits at Level 2, the neighboring Baja California Norte, home to Tijuana, is currently at Level 3.
Despite their proximity, the higher levels of crime in the Northern portion of the peninsula, where the other state is located, have not affected Baja California Sur, potentially due to the local Government’s commitment to quashing violence rates and ensuring tourists feel safe when visiting.
Los Cabos is one of the safest destinations for American citizens in Mexico, and it shows through its soaring popularity among sunseekers.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com
Saturday 13th of May 2023
The closer we get to the US border, and the higher the crime. The northern border will be especially dangerous once the U.S. declares some criminal organizations as terrorists groups, which will allow the US to attack Mexico without congressional approval.