Sorry, but Mexico is not safe.
There has been a lot of press going on here in Mexico. I mean A LOT since I have arrived. As soon as I entered the country there was an advisory for the state of Mexico… and the state I’m staying in is on that list: Quintana Roo.
After being here for a week, met some friends and we decided to walk down 5th Avenue to grab dinner. It was strange… yellow tape (as you see in movies) blocking off the section of 5th Avenue and Calle 22nd. It was dead silent. We took a moment to quickly and quietly get through the crowd and the yellow tape. As soon as we passed the area, we took a good moment to look at each other. It was eerie.
We didn’t talk about it at all that night. We didn’t want to know.
Mind you, I’ve never been near or in a crime scene such as this. The next day, it turns out it was a shooting at a fashion clothing store. I expected as much since it was quiet.
The next day, reports come out clarifying the incident that recently just happened on the infamous, bustling streets of Quinta Avenida. The owner of the shop was shot in the head, however, is alive. Yes it is scary, yes it happened, yes it was nerve wrecking to be so close to all the tourism around here. The great news? No one else got hurt. In fact, I don’t think I have even heard of tourists being targeted during these gang related violence. Probably the most unfortunate event are tourists witnessing these events.
Few days later, another incident. Not as bad as the shooting, just a robbery of a jewelry store. A lot of things are going on. As the high season kicks in, there will be less activity. That is what I hear and I hope so.
My family’s concerns
My family recently contacted me a couple of hours ago to warn me of this incident. Apparently they are behind the game. They have expressed their concerns and I did my best to reassure them.
They don’t agree with me.
It is easy to not agree with something somewhat grim and what government tries to tell you.
What irritates me the most? They are not here to understand the situation. Media will always take a big part of current events and manipulate stories in their favor. It is easy to believe what you want to hear and more so to prove one’s opinion is right.
I have done my research prior to Playa del Carmen. I have friends here, locals, who are more aware of the situation than the media presents itself. A few things I want my family to understand, trust me. Trust me that I know what I am doing. I am smart. I understand my instincts. I don’t involve myself in situations that could put me into a position of danger.
How this changes my living arrangements.
Nothing. Absolutely nothing. I actually feel quite safe here in Playa del Carmen. Although, it is good to remind one self that incidents happen. There are bad incidents near everyone. How we handle ourselves is another story. How we choose to educate ourselves is a start.
- Do not do drugs.
- Do not talk to people who are doing drugs.
- Do not associate with anyone you might suspect to be part of gang related activities.
Stay alert at all times. Trust your instincts. Listen to the locals.
Use your country’s travel advisory as a tool but not your only source. For my fellow USA travelers: US Passport & International Travel.
If you have family or friends here, contact them to clear the air of the situation here in Playa del Carmen or any part of the Rivera Maya.
Don’t know anyone? Easy. There are Facebook groups to get you in touch with local news, talking to locals and expats to understand the safety here.
At the end of the day it is up to the traveler how to proceed, but as always proceed with caution. There is never one destination or place that will be completely safe.
To those who are concerned and thinking of their travels: Buena Suerte.
To those here in Mexico: Bienvenidos a México!
Lastly to my family and friends: since I am posting this, I’m alive. :)