Tourists in Mexico urged to use sense on safety


How safe are resorts in Mexican tourist areas?

In the past three months, both Acapulco and Cancun have had sporadic violence and drug-related homicides. However, as in many large American cities, the violence is between gangs and law enforcement and is not in tourist areas. Tourists have not been targeted.

So far this season, thousands of spring-break visitors have poured into Cancun, Acapulco, Cabo San Lucas and Puerto Vallarta as usual, with Mexican authorities stepping up patrols and vigilance to ensure safety in the tourist towns.

Last year, more than 18 million Americans visited Mexico, which is the 10th most popular tourist destination in the world.

A State Department travel alert issued Feb. 20 does not urge travelers to avoid Mexico. It only urges caution and advises against travel to Mexican border towns such as Tijuana, Juarez and Laredo.

In a spring-break advisory, it also advised that travelers to Acapulco be vigilant about personal safety. In Acapulco, where an estimated 22,000 American students are expected this spring, officials are coordinating enhanced security in the tourist zones, according to the Mexico Tourist Board.

Still, the major dangers for tourists to Mexico remain auto accidents, falls, drownings, pickpockets or sexual assaults related to drinking and parties. There were two fatal shark attacks on surfers off the far southern Pacific coast of Mexico last year, according to Britain’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

The State Department urged visitors to avoid swimming in rough surf near Revolcadero Beach in Acapulco or anywhere off the Pacific-side beaches in Cabo San Lucas, due to riptides and undertows.

In an emergency while on vacation, U.S. citizens should contact these American consulates:

• Acapulco: Inside Hotel Continental Emporio, Costera Miguel Aleman 121, Office 14. Telephone: 52-744-484-0300.

• Cabo San Lucas: Blvd. Marina Local C-4, Plaza Nautica, Col. Centro. Telephone: 52-624-143-3566.

• Puerto Vallarta: Paseo de Los Cocoteros No. 85 Sur, Paradise Plaza, Office L-7, Nuevo Vallarta, Nayarit C.P. 63732. Telephone: 52-322-222-0069.

• Cancun: Ocampo No. 305, Col. Centro. Telephone: 52-998-883-0272.