Mexico has had a lot of negative publicity lately. It seems as though the United States Government as well as the U.S. news broadcasters and print journalists are doing everything possible to scare away visitors to Mexico! Or perhaps the media is just not reading the State Department’s Mexico Travel Alert carefully because while certain cities and regions are mentioned specifically as being dangerous for tourists, San Miguel and our State of Guanajuato are not mentioned at all.
As a country overall, Mexico remains a safe tourist destination, despite the recent high-profile outbreaks of localized violent crime involving Mexican against Mexican.
Yes, there are problems in Mexico, but the recent incidents have been largely relegated to the areas that have intensive drug trafficking operations. For the most part, these regions are not tourism centers and are concentrated along the U.S. / Mexico border — more than a thousand miles from San Miguel: Tijuana, Ciudad Juarez, Nuevo Laredo and Nogales are among the cities that have seen unusually high rates of violent crime related to the drug industry.
At the root of the current problem are the drug cartels fighting over lucrative trade routes to the U.S., armed with smuggled weapons purchased from the 6,600 U.S. gun shops in the four U.S. border states. People cannot buy guns in Mexico, so the U.S. gun sales are not helping the situation.
In spite of all the recent news surrounding increased violence in Mexico, we want to assure you that traveling to San Miguel is safer than traveling to some parts of the United States. Risk in one area should not preclude travel within the whole country any more than risk in Chicago should preclude visitation to the National Parks of the Southwest or a trip to New York City. Moreover, even within the same state in Mexico, the events and conditions in one area do not create risk for travel within the rest of that state.
It is still tranquil in San Miguel, where some 8,000 of us expats live year-round. It is safe to travel from the airports (either Leon, Queretaro or Mexico City) to San Miguel. Daytrips out of San Miguel are safe. Walking the streets and walking back to your rental house is safe, although you probably will want to exercise general street smarts and take a cab after dark. Remember, San Miguel is a city of 140,000 inhabitants now, and we do have some crimes of opportunity, like purse snatchings and pickpockets. But violent crime is still pretty rare here.
One big plus about traveling to Mexico right now: The U.S. dollar is at an all-time high against the peso. For years it has been 10 pesos to the dollar, but now the value of your dollar is more than 40% greater than it was at this time last year, especially if you eat at our great restaurants or buy in shops here in pesos.
We at San Miguel House Rentals do everything to make your trip as pleasurable – and safe – as possible. We are looking forward to your visit and to assuring that you leave with wonderful memories of San Miguel — and of the real country of Mexico.
For more information on safety:
A Balanced Op/Ed Article about Current Events in Mexico
Another Unbiased Look at Safety Issues in Mexico