30 August 2011

Christine Delsol of the San Francisco Chronicle asked recently, “Quick – which national capital has the higher murder rate: Mexico City or Washington, D.C.?”

If you happen to base your answer on recent headlines and news coverage, your answer will probably be Mexico City. But in fact, Mexico City’s drug-related-homicide rate per 100,000 population was one-tenth of Washington’s overall homicide rate in 2010. These kinds of statistics continue to justify Mexico as a safe travel destination by and large, but are ignored by the mainstream media.

While parts of Mexico are indeed plagued with drug-related violence, these parts have been well-publicized and are easy to avoid, as the article relays. On the flip-side,

“More than 95 percent of Mexico’s municipalities are at least as safe as the average traveler’s hometown. Yucatan state, for example, had 0.1 of a murder for every 100,000 people in 2010 – no U.S. tourist destination comes close to that. Most cities in central Mexico, outside of the scattered drug hot spots, have lower murder rates than Orlando.”

As Delsol points out, while it’s fairly clear what travelers should do when visiting Mexico – fly (don’t drive) across the border directly to safe regions, it seems that tourists would rather just write the country off as a whole, than bother with figuring out which places to avoid – even if it means writing off great vacation spots and even greater discount deals.

If you happen to be that type of traveler, read the full article here for some excellent Mexico safety tips and travel suggestions.