For all the hyperbole about travel safety, Mexico is still one of the top destinations for American travelers. Last year, Mexico welcomed 22.6 million foreign visitors; mostly from the U.S. And with the projected end of the Mayan Calendar at year’s end (or beginning of a new era, depending on how you look at it,) even more visitors are expected in 2012.
Like in real estate, the secret to a wonderful family vacation in Mexico is location, location, location.
Cancun is well known as one of the most popular destinations among American travelers, but where else to go in Mexico that’s both safe and worth the trip? I asked Alfonso Sumano, Regional Director for North America of the Mexico Tourism Board, for his best picks for a family vacation in Mexico. Here they are, in no particular order:
1. Ixtapa, Guerrero
Why: Guide to Ixtapa Zihuatanejo, Guerrero
2. San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas
Why: Guide to San Cristóbal de las Casas
3. Mérida, Yucatán
Why: Guide to Mérida, Yucatán
4. México City
Why: Guide to Mexico City
5. Campeche City
Why: Guide to Campeche
6. Valle de Guadalupe, Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico
Why: Guide to Ensenada.
7. Copper Canyon
Why: Guide to Copper Canyon
Why: Guide to Oaxaca.
9. Todos Los Santos, Baja California Sur, La Paz
Why: Guide to La Paz
Why: Guide to Cuernavaca
Travel Tips for Safe Family Travel to Mexico:
- The US State Dept. has issued travel warnings for a number of states in Mexico, but there are quite a few like this one: “Campeche: No advisory is in effect.” To see the state-by-state list go to Travel Warning: Mexico.
- Sign up for the Smart Traveler Program, a free program offered by the U.S. government to ensure that contact information is on hand in case of an emergency.
- Don’t skimp on travel insurance, including medical evacuation coverage.
- Use only the licensed and regulated “sitio” (SEE-tee-oh) taxis. Hotels, clubs and restaurants will summon a sitio taxi upon request.
- At the beach, heed warning flags and wear sunscreen with a high SPF.
- Drink the bottled water, but not the tap water.
- Leave valuables at home or in the hotel safe.
- Carry your passport in a secure pocket or money belt, and have backup copies available.
Images courtesy of Consejo de Promoción Turística de México.