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OceanBreeze1 Jan 21st, 2014 07:44 AM

Mexico: Help Me Get Over My Fears!
Ok....I will say it. Mexico scares me. Why am I nervous about going to Mexico? Because of:

1. The high crime rate that typically appears to involve unprovoked attacks on tourists.

2. The high rate of illness from food and water.

There! I have said it!

Yet my fears seem to be unfounded because hundreds of thousands of people enjoy Mexico every year. So, I need to get over my fears. Can you help me do that?

My family wants a spectacular beach holiday and Mexico seems perfect ( except for my hesitation as outlined above). If you agree, can you pls suggest what part of Mexico would be best for a beach holiday for us? Looking for luxury property/resort. Golf would be nice, but not essential, for this trip.



OceanBreeze1 Jan 21st, 2014 07:48 AM

Oops! Wrong board.
Can somebody pls tell me how to move this thread over to the Mexico Forum? Or, leave this one here and also post it on Mexico Forum? Would like to hear what Carib posters have to say.


virginia Jan 21st, 2014 08:02 AM

i went to maya riveria with my best friend & her 80 year old mom. we rented a house on a quiet beach. also rented a car & went everywhere. we usually only drove during daylight. had no issues & never felt nervous or threatened in any way.
the west coast of mexico and border towns are where most of the crime is. maya riveria has an extremely low crime rate!!
re water: only drink bottled and if you're out ask to make sure ice cubes are made with bottled water.
lots of golf courses in the area but i don't play so don't know much about them.
for tons of info look at

OceanBreeze1 Jan 21st, 2014 08:21 AM

MR sounds good.
What about Playa del Carmen in general?

Odin Jan 21st, 2014 08:46 AM

I've never understood the fear of going to Mexico. Sorry to say it, but this fear only seems to be from Americans, yet the US is very scary in places. I had this comment about going to Mexico from the shuttle bus driver from our hotel at Miami airport, asking where we were going, when we said Mexico he said it was dangerous. Quite frankly I didn't think Miami was all that safe.
It was our first trip to Mexico last year and we rented a car and drove all over, including from PDC to Chichen Itza. We used credit cards all over, we didn't get sick and had no issues (except a small one when we paid cash for gas). We drove at night and down dark unlit unmade roads with giant potholes the size of a small car. We went to restaurants where we appeared to be the only non locals.
There is crime all over the world, if I paid too much attention to it I would never leave the house.

KVR Jan 21st, 2014 08:58 AM

We have been going to Mexico since 2000 almost once per year. We have are next trip already booked for May. Mostly the Carribean side, put have been to the Pacific side twice. Your fears are unwarranted and the news media hypes up the issues for ratings, not because they are true.

The Playa del Carmen/Rivera May area of Mexico is great for a first trip. I would suggest getting a resort close to 5th Avenue for a first timer. There are lots of resort in that area that are out in the middle of nowhere.

In 10+ trips, we have never gotten sick. Most issues of illness are due to people over indulging in food and alcohol in the hot sun and not keeping hydrated enough.

For a family vacation check out the Iberostars and Barcelos AI resorts.

When you post this on the Mexico forum you are going to get a lot of flack from the Mexico lovers. Be prepared and don't get your feelings hurt. It's a very sensitive issue to many.

I do agree that there is more crime issues in the US than in that area of Mexico. There are many states I would never touch foot in again. I go to Mexico almost every year.

suze Jan 21st, 2014 09:38 AM

OB1- I've been to Mexico 24 times. Mostly to Puerto Vallarta but also to La Paz and Cabo on the Baja once each. I usually travel solo (female). I have never once had a bad experience.

<<The high crime rate that typically appears to involve unprovoked attacks on tourists.>>

That statement is simply not true. The crimes you hear about most in the media are Mexican/Mexican and involved the drug cartel. I don't know of anyone who was ever involved in an "unprovoked attack" as a tourist.

suze Jan 21st, 2014 09:41 AM

There's no way for you to move a thread (only Fodor's editors can do that). But you can start a new one on the Mexico forum if you want to.

OceanBreeze1 Jan 21st, 2014 09:58 AM


Given KVR's warning, perhaps it's best to just keep my Mexico thread here! ((h))

I do not mean to offend anybody. In fact, I have stated that my fears appear to be unfounded. I just need some reassurance.


suze Jan 21st, 2014 10:01 AM

Well you can read on the Mexico forum without posting. People ask this question ALL the time. And all the Mexico regulars can do is continuously reassure the newbies that it is not a concern.

Mexico is one huge country, and there are parts of it that have unrest and problematic political situations. But they are not the beach tourist towns. If you actually carefully read the articles, it is extremely rare for a tourist to have issues of a violent nature. And the rare occasion this does happen, it usually turns out they were into monkey business themselves, not your average tourist on vacation.

suze Jan 21st, 2014 10:19 AM

There's both luxury and golf in Puerto Vallarta.

But the beaches are "nicer" if you go to the "Mayan Riviera" side, since that's the Caribbean Sea instead of the Pacific Ocean.

OceanBreeze1 Jan 21st, 2014 10:23 AM

ok, well, I feel better already.
Checking out MR

suze Jan 21st, 2014 10:26 AM

If you have any specific questions (fears) that come up in your planning, please feel free to ask about things.

There's not much in my life I have more experience with than vacationing in Mexico :-) but I'm a budget traveler, so won't have any specific resort advice or anything. But I can definitely calm our fears about getting around, money, food & water, personal safety, etc. etc.

WWK Jan 21st, 2014 10:32 AM

Hi OceanBreeze1,

I felt exactly the same way about Mexico, until I got talked into a return trip ( visited when I was a kid) about four years ago.

We stayed at LIVE AQUA, an adults-only AI in Cancun. I thought I would HATE Cancun, and didn't. I thought I would HATE AI and didn't.

The property is stunning and immaculate, with six or seven pools, a gym, a spa, some decent/excellent restaurants, quiet stretch of uncrowded beachfront. Take a peek at the room we often reserve ( been there three times now!) The AQUA SUITE. It's huge, with an enormous terrace overlooking the water.

Anyway, we go out a lot when we are there, even though it's AI, because there's an amazing and fun Argentinian steakhouse just down the street. Downtown Cancun isn't that fantastic, but it's easy to arrange almost any excursion you want from the hotel.

We've also gone to Playa Del Carmen, and while I love Fifth Avenue which is where all the restaurants/shops are, I didn't think the beach was as nice as in Cancun.

Hope this helps!

KVR Jan 21st, 2014 11:54 AM

"I thought I would HATE Cancun, and didn't. I thought I would HATE AI and didn't."

Amen! I tell people this ALL of the time. Cancun really gets dissed unfairly. There is lots of things to see and do there. Just don't go during Spring/Easter break when everyone brings their kids and fill up all the AI resorts and you will like it so much better.

AI also gets unfairly dissed. We love them and they ARE less expensive and more convenient then having to eat out every meal. Finding a place to eat, getting and paying for transportation to and from and the cost of food and drinks. Believe me we have done non AI vacations and AI vacations and prefer AI's. We tend to stay at the lower end AI's for breakfast, snacks and drinks. Eat lunch on tours/activities off property and eat a few dinners on property and off property. It's the best of both worlds and doesn't break the bank. We never feel like we wasted our money.

If you are interested I have all our vacation pictures posted. It might give you a good idea of the areas, things to see and do and a peek at some of the resorts.

If you have any questions or need additional information, I would be happy to help. My e-mail is posted in my profile. People e-mail me all the time with questions about Mexico and AI's and I'm always happy to help.

Our pic site:

Click "all" at the top, so you don't have to scroll through multiple pages. We've been traveling for 13 years now. There is over 5,000 pics on our site, but it's all in catagories and organized, so it's not overwhelming.

emd3 Jan 22nd, 2014 08:04 AM

We own a condo in Playa del Carmen a block from the beach on the north end at Coco Beach. It rents solid from November through March, not one week open in that time period in the past 4 yrs. So a lot of people feel safe and enjoy it there.

I have been traveling in Mexico for 35 yrs. Have been to 6 different Mexican states in the last two years. And have spent 14 wks in our condo in the last 3 yrs. I have never had anything dangerous or scary happen. I stay away from the border towns but that is about it for restrictions as a tourist. The Riviera Maya are, Quintana Roo and the Yucatan are very safe, IMO.

If you can't get over your fears, then just don't go. If you can, my guess is you will love it and want to go back.

sunbum1944 Jan 22nd, 2014 08:20 AM

I recently came back from Puerto Vallerta. A friend who came and stayed with me for 10 days had the same fears as you. I think she was really surprised when it was all over that we had not been mugged, or sick- but none of those things happened- not even a single scary incident.
She loved it, had a great time and would go back in a heartbeat.

Go to Mexico and enjoy!

suze Jan 22nd, 2014 08:27 AM

I will pat myself on the back & take a teeny bit of credit for talking sunbum1944 into taking her PV trip!

OB1- See the thread she started when she was first considering the opportunity and the pros and cons. Lots of good information (and encouragement) there. It's called Solo Travel and it's in the Lounge.

sunbum1944 Jan 22nd, 2014 08:42 AM

Yes Suze- you held my hand from afar! Thanks- am wishing I was back there right now

suze Jan 22nd, 2014 10:06 AM

OB1~ Another idea! Here's a website with a collection of different webcams broadcasting from PV. Maybe by looking at how things actually look there, you will be reassured.

Also using Google Earth you can see lots of different views of an area.

JAGBaja Jan 22nd, 2014 12:45 PM

To help you understand your fear you might want to look at the perspective of the Mexico travel warnings here

I only know Baja very well and would suggest La Paz with minimal golf or the Los Cabos area (Cabo) which has a great deal of luxury accommodations and many golf courses...Buen viaje

Rohelio Jan 22nd, 2014 02:57 PM

Anywhere in the Yucatan Peninsula, A huge area renoun for it's safety and respect towards tourists, and yes that includes the Mayan Riviera...

Rohelio Jan 22nd, 2014 03:03 PM

Should you be interested in more information regarding Playa, go to this internet site : or you can also go to :

suze Jan 22nd, 2014 03:23 PM (another website for the Caribbean side)

hopefulist Jan 23rd, 2014 03:38 AM

My photos with blog and travelogue links on the main page of each collection are below in case you're interested - all my recommendations are embedded there. Check out the 2010 collections for our vacations which we felt were a great balance of adventure, culture, and relaxation.
Happy trails!

OceanBreeze1 Jan 23rd, 2014 07:35 AM

Thanks so much for all your replies and wonderful photos and links! I really appreciate your taking the time to do this.

Heading over to CAA soon to pick up some travel brochures on Mexico....Caribbean side!!! ((h))


volcanogirl Jan 23rd, 2014 09:10 AM

My husband put the ban on us going to Mexico after a co-worker of his got arrested there, but he recently had to go on a business trip, and he came back raving about how great it was.

suze Jan 23rd, 2014 09:37 AM

what'd he get arrested for?

tenthumbs Jan 25th, 2014 11:06 AM

I'm curious, too, volcanogirl....

I haven't been as many times as suze has, but I've made many trips and have never had any problems.

emd3 Jan 25th, 2014 11:55 AM

The police do not arrest tourists or foreign business people for no good reason in Mexico. They need the tourism and the business. I would also be very interested in knowing what he was arrested for.

volcanogirl Jan 25th, 2014 12:13 PM

It was completely his fault. He's a hunter and was carrying bullets in his trunk.

tenthumbs Jan 25th, 2014 03:16 PM

Thanks for clarifying.

RAC Jan 25th, 2014 04:17 PM

Volcanogirl: Mexico is calling to you! You're a short flight away from so much.

WillTravel Jan 25th, 2014 05:49 PM

I've had probably 3 months in Mexico, and in that time, I've had about 3 days of mild food poisoning. That occurred on my last trip to Tulum and Merida, which was my first experience with coastal, tropical Mexico.

WillTravel Jan 25th, 2014 05:51 PM

Anyway, I can't imagine that I would have given up all the enjoyment of art, culture, people, history, and architecture that I have experienced because of a minor bout with food poisoning. I've been to dozens of towns and cities, and any bad experiences have been exceedingly trifling. Probably no other country has given me such an excellent ease/cost/pleasure equation.

jubilada Jan 26th, 2014 05:23 AM

OB1, there are something like 78,000
and Canadian expats living in Mexico, so they apparently feel it is safe enough.

cabron Jan 26th, 2014 07:13 AM

........... and here the kids can go to school without the risk of getting shot ?

suze Jan 26th, 2014 07:39 AM

Well sure, carrying firearms, or even bullets, is not such a great idea!

Fra_Diavolo Jan 26th, 2014 10:51 AM

"there are something like 78,000 [American?] and Canadian expats living in Mexico"

Yet it remains much more exciting, exotic and rewarding than that would suggest!

volcanogirl Jan 26th, 2014 11:46 AM

He said he didn't even realize they were in the trunk, no weapons, but the bullets are a huge no no. It took thousands of dollars to bail him out, and they kept his laptop, cell phone, etc. They had a hard time getting the company car back but eventually did. It was interesting to hear about the inside of Mexican prison!

RAC, yes, very true!

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