Living in Cancun: A Canuck’s Story on Safety for Visitors
I have been asked if it is safe to go to Mexico more times than I can count – by my family, friends and even strangers I meet. My answer is always the same: yes.
Growing up in Canada but spending the last four years in Europe for university, I have been away from the media frenzy about Mexico and I have not been witness to the image that is now strewn across the media weekly. However, whenever I returned home I always witnessed it firsthand. It always shocked me to see; I had been to Mexico countless times and enjoyed the country immensely, never fearing for my safety or feeling uncomfortable. When it came time in my third year of university to choose a destination to do my internship in for 7 months, Mexico came as a natural choice. This however did not mean that it did not come without concerns and questions from my family and friends who had seen the North American media portrayal of the country. I brushed them off and told everyone I would be fine and I would return in 7 months with all body parts intact and only stories of great adventure and fun.
Throughout my 7 months spent in Cancun, Mexico in 2011 I got to experience amazing things; I got to really get to know the area. I spent time in the jungle camping next to a cenote, took part in the spring equinox at Chichen Itza, I went skydiving, bungee jumping and rappelling, I swam with turtles in Akumal and Whale sharks near Isla Contoy in the bluest waters I have ever seen and I ate every type of local Mexican food in the region. There was not at any point where I was ever bored or at a loss of things to do in the region – every week was a new experience and the Mexican people I met were truly some the most wonderful and kindest people I have ever met.
If my love for Mexico wasn’t defined before I went there for 7 months, it only grew once I was there – I returned again early this year to conduct research for my thesis. When I left for Mexico this time, I once again got questions – is it safe? Have you seen the news? Are you sure? This is exactly why I wanted to go back – to show that Mexico is a safe country and although it may have parts that are not safe (like every country), there are so many places that are safe and wonderful to visit. How do I stay safe? Common sense. I am a young, Caucasian female whose Spanglish barely can be understood most of the times, but I used common sense and researched which areas were safe. I spoke to locals, and other foreigners living in the area. Every person who I met was always willing to help me if I was lost or didn’t know which bus to take – people in Cancun especially want to make tourists feel comfortable and safe. Tourism is vital to Cancun especially and people need it to survive. Although the media may depict ONE part of Mexico, it does not highlight the other wonderful and special side. Throughout my time spent in Mexico and the various areas in the country, I have got to experience so many wonderful things and I am so grateful for each memory. If I had to do it all over again, I would – in a heartbeat. Mexico is wonderful country, filled with so many unique and exciting things to do and see and if you travel with common sense, you should not have any problems.
Of course, if you are a tourist only visiting the area for 2 weeks you won’t have time to do everything, but to spend the whole time in your hotel because you are scared to leave – that’s crazy! (Well, with the beaches in Cancun, I do kind of understand lying on the beach all day for 2 weeks ) Cancun is a wonderful location and basis for any holiday – but it is also more than just sun, sea and sand. And it is not is drug-ridden, beheading central either. It is chic. It is adventure. It is family friendly. It is exciting. It is culture. It is AMAZING! The Cancun Zone is a different place from ‘El Centro’ Cancun – but this difference is wonderful one, as the rest of the Mayan Riviera and State of Quintana Roo is.
Fear should not hold back anyone from seeing all that the area has to offer. So do not let the media make your decision to visit Mexico – visit yourself, and see what all the fuss is all about
Growing up in Canada surrounded by different cultures (my parents are from Germany and Denmark) and travelling with my family a lot as a youth instilled travel in me. My passion for travelling stems for this, as I always want to see new places and experience new cultures. My love for travel also pushed me to study Tourism abroad and go (back) to Mexico for my Internship. I have just graduated with a BBA in Tourism Management and am looking forward to starting a career in Tourism and Travel hopefully (and continue to travel of course!) and hopefully one day, return once again to Mexico – my second home! – Follow Rebecca on Twitter: @Rebu23