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“We can’t believe you moved to Mexico!”

If I have heard this once I have heard it a hundred times.  From friends, from family, even from other tourists on the plane flying to Mexico on vacations. Everyone believes we live in constant danger from drug cartels, thieves, bandits – you name it. The truth is we have lived in Mexico for five years now and never had any problems at all. Zero!

“How can this be?” people ask, when the newspapers in the U.S. are filled with stories of murders, kidnappings, robberies, etc… Well, it’s like everywhere else in the world – it all comes down to location. I ask my friends if they feel safe living and traveling in the U.S. and of course they say no problem. Then I ask them if that means they would go anywhere at any time in New York City, or Detroit, or Miami. They look at me as if I am crazy and say. “Of course not, that would be stupid. Parts of those cities are very dangerous!”

They are correct. The crime rates in most major U.S. cities are 8 to 10 times higher than in Cancun, or Playa del Carmen, or anywhere in the Yucatan. The violence in Mexico is almost totally in the cities just south of the U.S. where the drug wars are being waged. Plus, even this violence is mostly Mexican against Mexican – one cartel against another. The stories about tourists being killed in Cancun or other tourists zones make good press in the U.S., but they are very rare events. One never sees a story about a tourist killed in New York City. Why? Because violent crime happens there every day and one more person being robbed or killed is not big news. It is only big news if it happens in Mexico.

My wife and I have lived in the Yucatan for five years. My mother has been here – she is 90. My children, brothers and many friends visit us often. We have never had one problem – not ever. We go into town at night – walk the streets – it is quiet and safe. Safer in my opinion than downtown Minneapolis where I used to live. So if you want to visit Mexico – do it! Just use common sense – stay away from the border towns – head to Cancun or Cozumel or Mahahual where we live and enjoy a safe and pleasant vacation. You won’t regret it!

Joe Labore

Joe lives in Mahahual, Mexico with his wife Maureen where he runs one of our very favorite Mexican destinations called Pesca Mahahual. His operation blends a beautifully restored modern Mexican villa with one of the most experienced and skilled guides on the Yucatan. His head guide Carlos Castillo specializes in the waters of Chetumal Bay, the northern flats of Belize and countless tarpon infested cenotes that dot the coastline of the southern Yucatan.

For another take on safety considerations when fishing in Mexico please see fly fishing hall of fame member and full time resident of Mexico, Lani Waller’s post on the subject here: Fishing in Mexico. Is it safe?