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Mexico Travel Getting a Bad Rap

Mexico travel is getting a bad rap right now for a multitude of reasons and much of it isn't warranted.
13 years ago, September 29th 2009 No: 1 Msg: #87812  
I feel it is important for me to write a little about what I feel to be an unfair treatment about Mexico in the news.
Tourism is the 3rd largest part of our economy, and many people depend on tourism and foreign investment.
Recently, Mexico has suffered a trifecta of bad press resulting in a huge drop in tourism revenue. I would like to address these issues one by one, separate the facts from the myths and hopefully inspire some people to travel south.
First - The swine flu. Let's be clear about this. It's the flu, nothing more. This may be a shock to some people, but over 100,000 people die every year from the flu (mostly in tropical climates) Maybe it sounds scary, but putting a name like 'swine' in front of 'flu' doesn't make it any more dangerous than your normal flu. If you are considering not traveling to Mexico because of this, just think - would you cancel a trip to Europe because you heard people were getting the flu? It sounds exotic, it sounds scary (which is why the media picked up on it) but it's all hype.
Second - The drug related violence. This is a bigger problem, and one that Mexico will have to address in a serious way very soon. However, if you watch the news you are left with the impression that the whole country is erupting in uncontrollable violence. This is not true either. The violence is segregated to isolated areas (like the border towns) and in no way are tourists or foreigners being targeted. On the contrary, the tourist destinations have so far resisted the influence of the cartels because of the availability of legitimate jobs. Typically the drug trade takes root where economic conditions are depressed and people are forced to deal in contraband.
Third - the economic downturn/crisis. This was unavoidable, at least from Mexico's standpoint. Naturally tourism will become depressed in a recession and many people who would have otherwise traveled to Mexico now cannot afford to. Nevertheless, this has had 2 positive affects for people now considering going south. Hotels are running at very low occupancy rates, so they are desperate for clients. Many hotels are running specials, just call and see what they can do for you. Also, the historically strong Peso has devalued 30%!f(MISSING)rom it's high last August - which means 30%!o(MISSING)ff everything in the country.
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13 years ago, September 30th 2009 No: 2 Msg: #87899  
Hello Francesca 😉

I feel it is important for me to write a little about what I feel to be an unfair treatment about Mexico in the news.

What happens is what gets reported in the news(by reputable news bodies at least). I dont think Mexico should take it personally.


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13 years ago, October 5th 2009 No: 3 Msg: #88347  
Thank you Francesca, I love it, we really need it down here !

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13 years ago, October 22nd 2009 No: 4 Msg: #90197  
I totally agree. The US media is crushing a lot of family businesses for no reason. I actually just did an article about it at http://travelmexicoblog.com/?p=49. Reply to this

13 years ago, October 22nd 2009 No: 5 Msg: #90214  
Hello Chase 😊

I think it may be an exaggeration to say Mexico is perfectly safe. The US media are not the only ones reporting about drugs cartels, shootings..... Though, I dont think Mexico is dangerous enough to avoid.

But, no matter how many reports come out about something, there are always people who deny that there is anything happening......

Mel Reply to this

13 years ago, October 22nd 2009 No: 6 Msg: #90234  
Agreed, and I am in no way saying (as acknowledged in the article) that these things are not happening, but, instead, that it is crucial to look at where they are happening (in terms of shootings) and the actual dangers, statistically (when it comes to swine flu), before publishing broad, and scary, travel warnings. Reply to this

13 years ago, October 22nd 2009 No: 7 Msg: #90236  

...and scary, travel warnings.

Warnings about death and disease are always going to be scary. We do have a right to know about these things though.

...where they are happening ...

The news reports do say where in Mexico the incidents have happened.

I think, in the interest of a patriotic or nationalist defense of a country, some would like to insist/demand that all news articles end with, ''this is happening in every country''. But, the reality is that some things are happening more and sometimes a lot more in some countries than others. If a news body did not give out the reports or stated that these things happen in all countries to the same level, I for one would not trust their information, because it would simply be unrealistic.
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13 years ago, October 22nd 2009 No: 8 Msg: #90354  
Again, addressed in the article. Obviously, we need news. But, prime example, two canadians were just murdered in Vallarta. The media jumped all over it leaving many very frightened. The reality of the situation was that they were heavily involved in trafficking cocaine to Canada. Yes, you can randomly get killed anywhere. Is it important to know that two people were murdered - of course. Is it also important to know that they were murdered because they were involved in the illegal drug trade - of course. Does the media fill everyone in on that detail - maybe a few local newspapers, but definitely not Fox news. Reply to this

13 years ago, October 22nd 2009 No: 9 Msg: #90360  
I dont think the international media is picking on Mexico. Why would they? Reply to this

13 years ago, February 4th 2010 No: 10 Msg: #102379  
I don't think it's the flu that's the problem. There is corruption in Tulum. The OchoTulum hotel was illegally seized. Travelers should boycott Ana y Jose and S&S Hip Hotels. Please support safe tourism and not greed and corruption. Reply to this

13 years ago, April 5th 2010 No: 11 Msg: #108046  
well i just can say.. Mexico is the best for many thigs..

And in Cancun or Riviera Maya can go without problem, is very safe...But as in all parts of the world, we must take care of ourselves
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13 years ago, April 5th 2010 No: 12 Msg: #108047  
Mexico has great destinations,
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13 years ago, April 13th 2010 No: 13 Msg: #108574  
disease are always going to be scary, yeah definitely! Reply to this

13 years ago, April 13th 2010 No: 14 Msg: #108604  
Thanks for raising this issue. I have a lot of experience living and working in Mexico, and I completely agree with you that the place is getting a bad rap. I don't think there's a conspiracy, that the international media "have it in" for Mexico, but bad news sells. How often do you ever hear good news on TV? So when it comes to Mexico almost the only thing you ever hear about is the violence in the border towns.

The truth is that the country as a whole is quite safe. Ordinary common sense and a little advance planning will keep you out of trouble.

This media-generated scare is really unfortunate. Many parts of Mexico rely on tourist dollars...and here I'm not talking just about big hotels but countless numbers of ordinary men and women and their families who work in and around the tourist industry. The other sad result is that the rest of us miss out on the soul-warming experience of getting to know the Mexican people.
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13 years ago, April 13th 2010 No: 15 Msg: #108605  
Use caution when traveling! This is what really happened at Ocho Tulum:

Ocho Tulum, an idyllic 22-room boutique hotel on the coveted Tulum beach developed by Denver businessman Ken Wolf, was illegally seized by armed Mexican state policemen on December 1, 2009, with hotel guests and staff summarily marched out of the property and the facility barricaded.

Without warning, state agents, wearing flak jackets and carrying automatic weapons, brandished a spurious court order of de-possession, flushed guests and workers from the Ocho Tulum (www.ochotulum.com) resort, loaded the hotel furniture and accessories onto two waiting semis, and secured the property with barbed wire.

Ocho staff quickly found similar lodgings in Tulum for the displaced guests, but staff and guests alike remain shocked and horrified by the experience of being escorted out of their upscale holiday retreat by storm troopers.

Wolf subsequently discovered that Carlos Chico, the husband of Ocho’s former attorney — who was fired for unethical practices — executed a phony lease on the Ocho Tulum resort between a corrupt and powerful Mexican family in the neighboring state of Monterrey, the Garze Ponces, as Landlord, and Carlos Chico as the proposed tenant. Chico never played any role in the development or management of Ocho Tulum. The lease was drafted by the Garza-Ponces, even though they never had possession of the land where Ocho is situated. With this unauthorized document – notice of which was never presented to Ocho Tulum owners or management — the Garza- Ponzes went to a Mexican court and received an order of de-possession.

Wolf states that the Garza-Ponces and the owners of a neighboring resort, Ana Y Jose, have spread rumors that the “taking” was due to the fact the owners of Ocho signed a lease with the Garza-Ponces, and then stopped paying rent.

“This is simply not true,” says Wolf. “No one associated with Ocho has ever been in contact with the Garza-Ponces. There was never a lease with the Garza-Ponces. Rent was never paid; in fact, the Garza-Ponces have never attempted to contact anyone associated with Ocho regarding rent.

“The Garza-Ponces never had any interest in collecting rent,” Wolf asserts. “They just wanted to find a way to try and steal the resort. Unfortunately, some Mexicans have the attitude that if they see something owned by foreigners that they would like to possess, they try and figure out a way to steal it rather than purchasing it. In this case, the Garza-Ponces committed a fraud on the courts in Monterey.”

To add insult to injury, Wolf adds, three days after the depossession, the owners of Ana y Jose threw a party at the former Ocho restaurant, with local Tulum officials, including the Mayor of Tulum, celebrating the depossession of American owners.

Closed for a month, the Ocho Tulum re-opened under the name S&S Hip Hotel and is being operated by the proprietors Ana y Jose.

“The managers of Ana y Jose have, obviously, played a role in the taking of my resort,” says Wolf. “I would ask American tourists to boycott both properties – Ana y Jose and S&S Hip Hotel – not only as a show of support to a fellow American who’s being taken by unscrupulous Mexicans, but also to insure as visitors to Tulum they won’t be abruptly displaced by armed guards.”

Wolf adds that he is not calling for a boycott of Tulum, just the two properties involved in the illegal seizure.

He also warns that he wasn’t the first victim. About 18 months before the seizure of Ocho Tulum, another U.S. citizen found himself in a similar situation. On May 28, 2008, U.S. citizen John Kendall had his two Tulum hotels and three restaurants — Mezzanine, La Zebra and La Pez – taken illegally. That dispute is as yet unresolved and subject to a Mexican legal proceeding.

“Tulum is a wonderful place; that’s why I invested a lot of my money, time and passion there,” says Wolf. “There are several other fine Tulum hotels and resorts where people can discover the wonders of Tulum.”

In the case of Ocho Tulum, neither Wolf nor his attorneys, Teresa Jimenez and Octavio Guitierrez (www.attorneyscancun.com) received forewarning or notice of the impending de-possession. Ms. Jimenez reports that she was called to the site at the time of the seizure by hotel employees. She arrived on site with documentation that the land is properly titled to Kaya’s Maya Resort, with a lease allowing Ocho Tulum to operate its hotel, restaurant, spa and yoga center on the property. The uniformed police were uninterested in the legal status.

The team subsequently filed lawsuits in the Mexican federal court system on Dec. 22—Case 1939/09 to be heard by Federal Judge Arturo Escobedo Ramirez in Quintana Roo.

Word of the seizure spread via the Internet quickly.

“I was stunned and amazed to witness the seizure. We were helpless with no recourse. Jobs were lost going into the holidays and our family is displaced. Nothing about it is good for Tulum and the area in general,” one Ocho employee, who asked not to be identified for fear of retribution, reported.

“This is a scandal,” says Wolf. “Terrifying tourists and tossing American investors out of their private properties is an outrage, and frankly contributes to the world view of Mexico as a country that is out of control.”

In an attempt to intimidate the rightful owners of Ocho out of pursuing their rights to regain control of their resort, the owners of Ana y Jose and the Garza-Ponces have filed criminal charges alleging that Ken Wolf attempted to retake the property on December 11, 2009. Wolf asserts that on that date he was not in Mexico.

Until this seizure, Ocho Tulum ranked as one of the Top Two destinations on Trip Advisor for Tulum. And the venerable “grey lady,” The New York Times, sent out particular praise to Ocho Tulum slightly less than four months before its abrupt forced closure. To read The New York Times review of Ocho Tulum appearing August 9, 2009:


For information on the illegal seizure of Ocho Tulum and the continuing legal struggle contact Teresa Jimenez and Octavio Guitierrez (www.attorneyscancun.com) at or Ken Wolf at .
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13 years ago, April 23rd 2010 No: 16 Msg: #109493  
Wow this is a really sensitive debate... I have been to Mexico many times specifically to Mexico City (one a year b/c I visit family members who live there) Cancun (beautiful location) all through Baja down to Cabo.

I have personally experienced the following in Mexico City: Sitting at a restaurant patio and two gunmen entered. I was with my cousin who speaks Spanish, I do not. Fortunately, they weren't there to rob anyone but to get pay back on the security guard for thwarting their earlier efforts to rob someone. After several heated minutes and thankfully no shots fired (I am a military veteran so thugs waving pistols doesn't really scare me just makes me a little feisty) the police sirens could be heard and the thugs ran away. BUT, here is the thing, everyone of my family members who live in Mexico City have been robbed at gun point at some time, EVERYONE and EVERYONE of their friends. Mexico City can be VERY Dangerous, I would say other cities around the world can be VERY dangerous too, and they are, but Mexico City is dangerous no matter who you are and where you are. Look bad things can happen anywhere but when you have such a huge social class distinction things seem to be more defined... I always have a great time in Mexico. But corruption runs rampant so if you don't know how to be in charge of your environment well things can get sticky.

I would recommend using your common sense when visiting anywhere in the world, don't trust strangers, have fun but keep a keen sense of awareness. For the most part, Mexican people are terrific and like any country there are bad seeds. The border towns do have massive problems with the drug trade and corruption, my advise, don't go to Tijuana or Juarez etc... Cancun, and Cabo are nicer anyways!

Just my two cents!

Cheers and happy travels! Reply to this

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