Going Places
8:26 am
Thu March 6, 2014

Mexico Still Safe For Vacationers — If You Know Where To Go

The recent arrest of drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman is the latest volley in Mexico’s war on drug cartels. It’s also a reminder that the country is dealing with problems, including those that could easily scare off visitors.

KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley says sure, there are areas  that are dangerous. But Brumley, who just got back from a vacation in Mexico with his family, adds if you know where to go, it can be safe and enjoyable.

Safety

Border regions with the U.S. tend to be the least safe places, so fly into your destination. Now is not the time to take a road trip into or through Mexico.

The U.S. State Department provides travel alerts and advisories for U.S. citizens. Visit the State Department's website before you book your trip to check on safety in the region you plan to visit.

Destinations

Credit Matthew Brumley

Los Cabos and Todos Santos are great destinations for families. The Welk Resort in Los Cabos has rooms with balconies, full kitchens with a dishwasher and even a washing machine. New rooms are just 30 feet from the sea.

In Todos Santos, try the Hotel California, which is purported to be the inspiration for the song by the Eagles. The Todos Santos Inn is a good choice, too. Michael’s at the Gallery is good for food, as is the Hotel California, Baja Beans Roasting Co. and the Cafe Santa Fe.

Sayulita is a better choice for a romantic getaway or calm retreat. Playa Escondida is on the beach, and the Haramara Retreat is good for yoga. "The best tacos ever” are at El Itacate and El Jakal, says Brumley. 

Getting There

Mexico is less expensive than many other sun-and-sand destinations. Airfare is almost always 20 to 40 percent below Hawaii, for example. Frequent-flier points are easier to use here, too.

Alaska Airlines flies directly from Seattle to many destinations, but is typically more expensive than a US Airways flight through Phoenix, or American through Dallas. Check out kayak.com to explore your options.

One More Thing

Some of the destinations we mentioned are just outside hub cities, like Baja or Puerto Vallarta, and you can get there by renting a car. You’ll see rates that look cheap, until you realize that Mexican car insurance might be mandatory. But buyer beware: Some of the full packages aren’t necessary. Know what you’re buying before you pay.

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Matthew Brumley is the founder of Earthbound Expeditions, which organizes group travel to destinations around the world for various clients, including KPLU. "Going Places" is our new travel segment exploring all aspects of getting from Point A to Point B. Tell us what you think about responsible travel, or suggest topics for future installations of this series. Have a travel hangup or a tip? Let us know in the comments.