Just Wanderlust Blog » A discerning, food-loving, & culturally curious road warrior seeks the world's beautiful and bizarre destinations.

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Are Cancun, Cabo, and Puerto Vallarta Safe To Visit?

(A rare quiet moment on the beach in Cabo)

A lot of visitors find this blog when they are looking for advice on choosing among Cancun, Cabo, or Puerto Vallarta for their next Mexico vacation.  Some find this blog when they are trying to figure out if Mexico is safe to visit.  I wanted to address that here because I think the safety in Mexico is so misunderstood so here it goes: Cancun, Cabo, and Puerto Vallarta are all ridiculously safe!   They are all safer than many cities in the US.  In fact, millions of people visit Mexico every year and they come back safely.  These three popular tourist destinations, especially, are safe for couples, families, children, babies and even safe if you’re traveling solo.  The only caveat is, stay in the tourist zone!  

In fact, Mr. T and I travelled to Cabo at the height of the “Mexico Travel Advisories” a few years ago and upon walking around the city, we were astonished that everything felt just as safe as it’s always felt.  We asked the ex-pats living there if tourism had suffered at all as a result of the negative press and they said it perfectly, “Barely.  The people who have always come here still do.  They know it’s safe here and they come year after year.  But it is nicer that it’s quieter here.”  See?  Totally kosher to go to these popular Mexican destinations.

Where I would NOT go, however, is anywhere near the border of Mexico and the US.  I’d avoid Juarez like the plague since it suffers from one of the highest murder rates anywhere (although this has improved over the years) – you can thank the violent Mexican gangs for that one.  It’s the horror stories from Juarez that’s giving Mexico it’s bad rep.  But, to say you’re not going to Mexico because of dangers in Juarez is like saying you’re too scared to visit San Francisco because there are murders in Chicago…which, by the way, had 530+homicides in 2012!  With stats like that, we should all be scared to go to Chicago.

Anyway, I love Mexico and have been a long time fan of Cancun, Cabo, and Puerto Vallarta.  I’ve been to each city at least twice and will continue to go whenever I want a quick getaway.  The only time I will think twice before going to those cities is when the official US Travel Warning on Mexico advises against it.

Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, my final message for all you lucky soon-to-be vacationers in Cancun, Cabo, or Puerto Vallarta is to relax and get packin’!  Don’t forget to bring the SPF and a cute bathing suit, and get ready to get your margaritas on!

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Susan Bush - February 18, 2017 - 8:47 am

I live in the suburbs north of Chicago and feel compelled to update your readers on the alleged “dangers” you write about regarding traveling in Chicago. The vast majority of the murders occur in neighborhoods that tourists are unlikley to visit. The rest of the city is safe, friendly and spectacularly rich with culture, architecture, great dining venues and world class museums. I urge you to amend your postion, or better yet, come visit Chicago to see our fantastic city for yourself!

It would also be great if you dated your posts.


JustWanderlust - February 21, 2017 - 4:36 pm

Hi Susan – I have been to Chicago many times (at least once a year if not more) and am a big fan of Chicago! You are right that the touristy areas of Chicago are totally safe and the dangers happen in the neighborhoods most wouldn’t go to. My point in mentioning Chicago in the post was that just because there are stats saying a place is “bad” (or that a lot of murders take place there) doesn’t mean you should avoid the country it’s in altogether. Chicago was just an analogy about the safety of going to Mexico. Also, to take it a step further, specific to Chicago, I wouldn’t avoid Chicago either. Despite the homicide rate, I’ve never once felt unsafe there nor thought twice about visiting. I just wouldn’t go to the areas that are “sketchy”.

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