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Old 09-09-2017, 08:51 AM   #21
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I drove down to Mexico, two months ago to a small village on the main land. No issues, I call friends in Mexico, every week. Both Gringos and nationals. They don't have a problem. Keep your nose clean, pay attention to your surroundings, I don't think you'll have much of a problem. If your sailing to Baja Sur, know where to buy fuel & drop the hook. The Sea of Cortez, both the main-land and Baja is great fishing and diving. Like my Granny used to say, "if you can't stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen."
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Old 09-09-2017, 09:50 AM   #22
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I hope OK. We are heading there this winter.
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A fellow N60 owner Cameron is a Mexico veteran. His interesting Nordhavn is named Shipfaced (guess the dinghy name). If you don't already know him suggest you contact him for insights.
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Old 09-09-2017, 10:02 AM   #23
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I have been wintering and traveling in Baja for over 10 years, I have had no problems (once I get through LA!) I live in a small town, not in a major resort style place.

The locals are some of the best people I've ever known anywhere. Can't drive or ride in town with both hands, always waving/waving back at somebody I know (small hazard.)

Known hazards are driving hwy 1 at night and weekends, mainly because of limited sightlines and high percentage of impaired drivers (liters of Tecate in their lap.) And in my case, inland flooding from hurricane rain events.

I keep the door at my casita closed otherwise the cactus wrens hop right in looking for bugs and poop on the floor. Never had an issue with intruders.

I'll be going back in a couple months, done with winters up here for this lifetime. Baja is not for everybody, but for me, the place and the people there have been more than good for me. It is visiting another planet in the Pacific time zone.

I think the state dept warnings are valid for the bigger cities and at night. To me, it is sorta like running my boat: I don't do much of that at night and I've been told where there are hazards I need to avoid by chart/tide and weatherman.
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Old 09-09-2017, 10:35 AM   #24
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I used to go there in the 70-90's for 1 week surf trips but have not been back. The last time (20 years ago) involved a cop grabbing me by the waist of my pants and placing me under arrest. No, I was not drunk, or causing any issues. It was a shakedown. I get it, it can happen anywhere and the U.S has its share of lousy cities. Have not been back since. With that said, I would like to make the trip to Ensenada, and possibly farther. Monitoring the situation.
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Old 09-09-2017, 10:36 AM   #25
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We currently sit in San Diego, waiting for the Mexico Gates to open in November.

So, here's my moral dilemma: my crew doesn't read TF, and most likely won't be aware of the warning. Do I a) make a Skipper's Decision to proceed, or b) open the topic up to the crew for debate ? :-)
I would present the information but in terms of what to do and what not to do in the various countries. Primarily it's daytime, groups, stay in tourist areas and near the marina/resort. That puts you at minimal risk. Mexico or the other countries on down are not the places to go walking around the countryside at night alone or to anchor out alone in a peaceful isolated anchorage.

So, a security advisory so to speak. Do's and don't's.
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Old 09-09-2017, 11:07 AM   #26
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For many people considering this issue, their opinion depends heavily on their personal experience. If they have traveled in Mexico without problems and don't know anyone who has experienced a problem, there is often a strong inclination to believe it is "safe". Most times for most people, there won't be a problem.

There was a recent LA Times article (9/01/17) about the crime increase in Cabo. The info provided by the Cabo police cited an increase in homocide investigations of 1000% over the past 5 years. The number of murders in Cabo this year is 8 times the rate (per capita) of Los Angeles. I think it might be safe to assume that their are more unreported murders in Cabo than in LA, making the difference in murder rates even more dramatic.

The other big issue (maybe bigger) that makes Mex a less desirable destination is that police corruption is widespread and systemic. Sadly, the cartels have heavily infiltrated local police (in many areas of Mex) and the officer that answers your distress call may be on the wrong side. That is in addition to the shakedown culture that has existed (and been tolerated) throughout Mexico for decades, where the local police are underpaid and supplement their income through forced bribes. The Federales are much more legit and that is why they are so active in the fight now.

Most Mexican citizens are wonderful and the country would be my favorite destination without these problems. Everyone gets to make their own choices. Many decide to tolerate the additional risk involved in visiting, but you are only lying to yourself if you argue that the crime and violence is not a real problem.
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Old 09-09-2017, 11:24 AM   #27
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Here's a key part of the Cabo discussion:

While most of these homicides appeared to be targeted, criminal organization assassinations, turf battles between criminal groups have resulted in violent crime in areas frequented by U.S. citizens. Shooting incidents, in which innocent bystanders have been injured, have occurred during daylight hours.


Basically US Citizens not targets but at risk of being caught in the fire. If we went to Cabo today vs January, 2015, we'd probably stray even less from the marina. I would also use an agent there and discuss security, perhaps even a guide for any tourism. There are no reports I'm aware of there though of boaters being harmed.

It is important to read the latest on every port. The state department regularly updates information. When they say don't go somewhere, don't go. When they say travel only on the toll road, travel only on the toll road.

When you read something like this, then you just don't go to Acapulco. Prohibited gets my attention.

Guerrero (includes Acapulco, Ixtapa, Taxco, and Zihuatanejo): Personal travel to the entire state of Guerrero, including Acapulco, is prohibited for U.S. government personnel. Self-defense groups operate independently of the government in many areas of Guerrero. Armed members of these groups frequently maintain roadblocks and, although not considered hostile to foreigners or tourists, are suspicious of outsiders and should be considered volatile and unpredictable.
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Old 09-09-2017, 12:03 PM   #28
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I wonder how these areas of Mexico compare to oh say, Chicago? The point is common sense but then again there hasn't been much of that sighted in the last 20-40 years.

So the takeaway seems to be: If you are part of the illicit/criminal subset you already understand the higher level of risk you expose yourself and everyone around you to, if not you soon will. If you're a tourist act and behave like one and you'll far more than likely be just as relatively safe as you have always been. If you're a local, expat or dual citizen you where just as aware as the criminals which areas required more vigilance before the advisory was issued.
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Old 09-09-2017, 12:39 PM   #29
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I wonder how these areas of Mexico compare to oh say, Chicago? The point is common sense but then again there hasn't been much of that sighted in the last 20-40 years.

So the takeaway seems to be: If you are part of the illicit/criminal subset you already understand the higher level of risk you expose yourself and everyone around you to, if not you soon will. If you're a tourist act and behave like one and you'll far more than likely be just as relatively safe as you have always been. If you're a local, expat or dual citizen you where just as aware as the criminals which areas required more vigilance before the advisory was issued.
I would say that Chicago has areas that are far safer. On the other hand, Chicago has areas that you'd be unwise to walk through alone or at night. Still, a tourist can explore a large part of Chicago without fear. Probably the difference between most major cities and some of the areas of Mexico. On the other hand, Mexico City doesn't currently have any advisories.

So, perhaps what is different about Mexico right now is that there are many areas that have risks, small to medium sized towns.
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Old 09-09-2017, 01:57 PM   #30
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So the takeaway seems to be: If you are part of the illicit/criminal subset you already understand the higher level of risk you expose yourself and everyone around you to, if not you soon will. If you're a tourist act and behave like one and you'll far more than likely be just as relatively safe as you have always been. If you're a local, expat or dual citizen you where just as aware as the criminals which areas required more vigilance before the advisory was issued.
That's not how the US State Department sees it. Their travel advisories are not directed at cartel members or other drug runners, they are directed at US citizens traveling abroad. I trust their expertise and the statistical evidence that says the danger involved with visiting these locations is high and has increased significantly in the past year.
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Old 09-09-2017, 03:15 PM   #31
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Tom, Don't let John know. He has plans

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Not for another couple years, maybe they will kill each other off by then.
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Old 09-09-2017, 06:20 PM   #32
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Not for another couple years, maybe they will kill each other off by then.
It's actually possible. I grew up in Charlotte NC. Charlotte had the distinction some how as the East Coast Headquarters for both Hell's Angels and the Outlaws. Businesses had to ban Harleys and Harley clothing for customers to still come in. Wilkinson Boulevard was from what I later learned just lined with adult businesses owned by the gangs. Oh, for vacations they went to Myrtle Beach. 1979 was the year that all heck broke lose. A massacre in the headquarters of the Outlaws. Several murders had previously happened but largely ignored by law enforcement as they didn't much care to get involved in the death of a gang member. Now ultimately, before they could get the evidence to convict anyone, they were all dead, but even not convicted many ran, many changed their ways. Essentially all the leaders were either dead, in prison, or hiding. Many took off running out of Charlotte as fast as they could. From those still around a couple of other murders over the next two or three years. Then it was gone.

Most of the time it didn't impact law abiding citizens but if you were somewhere when they decided to fight, you were in trouble. Now, not saying this will happen to Mexico. it's a lot bigger than Charlotte and a lot more violence. But it could.
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Old 09-09-2017, 06:44 PM   #33
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Suggested reading if you want to understand the capacity for violence in Mexico: “God's Middle Finger: Into the Lawless Heart of the Sierra Madre", by Richard Grant.

The typical American tourist visiting coastal destinations will never see anything like what's described in Grant's book, but as a frequent visitor, it's good to know what goes on outside the coastal areas that has the potential to spill over....

I visit Guerrero annually and have for the last 20 years. I'll go again this year. Some might prefer Hawaii for example, which to me is a bit sterile, but some place a higher priority on the probability of safety.
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Old 09-11-2017, 12:40 PM   #34
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I have several friends who have built houses outside of Cabo in a gated development called Lighthouse point. They would argue to the bitter end that Mexico is safe and the crime and violence is overstated. They have had the main law enforcement officer come to their houses wearing a machine gun across their chest and ask for "fuel donations." They of course gave the gentleman some money and justified it because the police are so underfunded. They have been shaken down by police on the way down to their houses when driving down. The locals can no longer leave their boats in the water off the beach at night because a few years ago they were all stolen and the engines were cut off the back and then set adrift. There have also been some tourist caught up in the crossfire of drug deals in the area. The people we met while there were amazing and treated us like friends rather than a random tourist and that makes me feel like a hypocrite. Taking everything into consideration my wife and I have taken Mexico off our list unless we are traveling to a specific location with locals or friends that are semi local. I probably would not take my boat down and anchor out of an established marina either. Sadly anchoring out at a remote location in Mexico has been on my list of things to do but I just would not be able to relax.
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Old 09-13-2017, 12:06 AM   #35
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My wife & I have spent about 4 months in Mexico over the past 2 years (Lake Chapala, Puerto Vallarta, Cabo, and Ensenada). We were in PV in 2015 and stopped at a beach side bar just north of the Malecon for a beer. While there, 2 tour busses parked and unloaded the tourists for lunch. One year later, in 2016, we again stopped at the same bar. In the streets on both sides were parked about 2 dozed 4 wheel drive Dodge pick-ups with machine guns mounted over the cabs on roll cages, 2 armored swat vehicles, and several buses - all Federale Army vehicles. The bar owner told us that there had been narco activity in the hills, and the Army had taken over a hotel down the street and was using it as a staging area, and that it was hurting his business badly.
About 2 weeks later when home in the states, we saw in the news that an Army helo had been shot down by the narcos and crashed on the main highway from the PV airport into town.
Other than that, we have always felt safe in Mexico.
Just to let you know, when that happened a huge number of locals partnered with the Mexican marines from the base in town and did a number on the narcos. They haven't been back.
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Old 09-13-2017, 08:04 PM   #36
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Our slip is seven miles north of the Mexican border and we have not been there in over 40 years, thanks to their quaint "mordita" policy.
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Old 09-13-2017, 10:21 PM   #37
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We go to Ensenada a lot, mainly because we have a house there. We have always felt safe in most areas of town, but like any other city in the States, there are areas you just don't go into after dark.

If you do go to Ensenada, ask for directions to Antonio's, best fish tacos I've ever had.
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Old 09-14-2017, 04:09 AM   #38
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Travel advisories shouldn't be taken as a notice to cancel all visits.

To put it into perspective; the Bahamas, France, United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand, Germany, the United Arab Emirates are urging caution to visitors traveling to the United States.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/...ates/88458238/
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Old 09-14-2017, 09:14 AM   #39
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-1

As noted, I don't go down there anymore, but we have plenty of bad areas in the U.S. that I also avoid.

Not sure why a BS wall is being brought up on a boating forum.

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I used to travel to Mexico on business... Acapulco, Cancun, Puerto Vallarta, Zihuatanejo and mainly Mexico City. I didn't really feel safe in any one of them, and that was years ago. You couldn't pay me to go back.

Most of Mexico is fine and there are some fine folks there, and I have friends and acquaintances there.

However, the country is on a different page when it comes to crime and safety. Crime was nuts years ago and often stayed at place with bars on the windows and armed guards. And it's worse now. And the level of safety and concern of life is much lower than the US. I can't understand why anyone would want to go there.... unless they have family there.

Build the wall. Keep them out. They've hurt us enough, and we don't need any more.
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Old 09-14-2017, 03:35 PM   #40
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For what it is worth, Mexico has the same murder rate as Fort Wayne, Indiana. It is lower than 19 U.S. cities. St. Louis has a higher murder rate than every country on the entire planet except for Honduras and El Salvador. You are twice as likely to get murdered in Memphis than in Mexico. I could go on, but....
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