It seems that almost every day in the media there’s a new report of cartel violence in Mexico. The headlines are grisly and often brutal.
It’s hard to know what to do. Do you travel to Mexico, given the reports of violence? Given that Mexico’s an affordable, favorite place to travel for many Canadians, this is a real problem.
Millions of Canadians travel to Mexico every year, and the reports of Canadians being hurt are few. Most of the violence seems limited to the drug cartels.
But is Mexico safe for Canadians?
A great place to get the facts is through Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada’s Travel Report for Mexico.
There are four levels of travel warnings issued by Foreign Affairs Canada:
- Exercise normal security precautions
- Exercise high degree of caution
- Avoid non-essential travel
- Avoid all travel
UPDATED! As of November 15, 2013, Foreign Affairs said to Exercise high degree of caution in Mexico. However, in Mexico’s Northern States, Foreign Affairs has issued an Avoid non-essential travel warning.
Here’s an excerpt taken from the official warning:
OFFICIAL WARNING: Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada advises against non-essential travel to the following northern states: Northern Baja California, Sonora, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León, Tamaulipas, Durango and Sinaloa (excluding Mazatlán), due to continuously high levels of violence linked to organized crime. …. Travel to and in Ciudad Juarez poses particular challenges and requires extreme caution. Canadians required to travel to Monterrey, in the State of Nuevo León, should avoid movement after dark and stay within the suburb of San Pedro Garza García.
Whether to travel to Mexico is a highly personal decision, but, for now at least, information from Foreign Affairs Canada suggests that travel to areas in the far south, like Playa del Carmen and Cancun, is less risky than travel to Northern areas.