Monday, March 11, 2013

Is Mexico Safe?

Marvel or Death-trap?
             Cholula (Puebla) church built on top of pre-Columbian pyramid  
 Before I left for a recent trip to Puebla, Mexico (a place rich in colonial history and treasures),   I was surprised at the warnings i got from friends in the U.S. "Take care of yourself", "You are going through Mexico City by yourself?" (I had to transfer from plane to bus in the absolutely world-class airport there).  Now, you have to realize that I live part of the year in a US city that has recently received the dubious honor of being named the nation's murder capital.  So, I pointed that out to both of them and went about packing my bags.

Recent research has shown that most of the areas that are home to the colonial cities of Mexico are safer than many US cities. Case in point- Merida, the capital of Yucatan.  During visits there I have felt completely comfortable walking around there day and night by myself- and I am a card-carrying "Gringa", complete with long blonde hair.  But, don't take my word for it.

Here are a few facts (taken from the San Francisco Chronicle's "Five Safest Places in Mexico") :  At only 1.1 deaths per 100,000, he state of Tlaxcala, a richly historic area, is rated as Mexico's safest state followed by the Yucatan at 1.3 per 100,000.  Up next is Puebla at 1.85 per 100,000. This is an area with 2,600 historic buildings,  a wealth of archaeological sites and nonstop festivals.  Queretaro has just 2.02 deaths per 100,000.  For additional assurance I would recommend going on-line and checking out the murder rates in major US cities for comparison.

Perhaps I am a fool, but I feel comfortable driving around the Yucatan, which is near my home base of Akumal, by myself day or night- much more so than in my own US city.  So, if media exposure has been holding you back from the wonderful world of Colonial Mexico,
perhaps my blog can help you reconsider.  Sure there are parts of Mexico that are genuinely dangerous, but those are in limited areas, generally near the frontier with the US, and can be avoided.   

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