Mexico – 2018

Mexico is number two on our list of Eight Most Dangerous Countries for Women Travelers due to its Global Peace Index (GPI) rating of 140 (out of 163), with the GPI’s Mexico report noting that violent crime had increased 15.2 % in 2017, the homicide rate increased 25%, and the government’s capacity to contain the violence is quite weak.

Government Alerts

Most countries warn its citizens against travel to all or most of Mexico.  The Australian government’s smart traveler site recommends using a high degree of caution for travel anywhere in Mexico due to a high level of violent crime and drug related violence. Homicide rates in the states of Baja California Sur and Quintana Roo have risen sharply in recent years, including in areas frequented by tourists.  The US State Department echoes these warning and provides highly specific info of travel threats by state and city.  New Zealand also warns its travelers to beware of the same issues, particularly noting kidnapping, armed robbery, and sexual assault.  They also note that in late February, 2018, an explosive device detonated on a tourist ferry operating between Playa del Carmen and Cozumel, Quintana Roo. The explosion injured 20 people, including tourists. On March 1, 2018 local authorities found an undetonated device on another ferry operating on the same route.

For women, it’s so terrible that women in Mexico City staged a Day of the Dead March carrying photos of their murdered sisters, daughters, and friends to pressure the government to do more to combat the culture of impunity that allows killers to relax since the government doesn’t bother to investigate such crimes.  In fact, the rate of female homicides has more than doubled over the last decade, according to Mexican statistics.  Women aren’t the only victims. At the end of 2017, Mexico had experienced 25,000 homicides, the highest rate since Mexico began keeping statistics.

Pollution is an issue in some areas; for example, Mexico City has such heavy air pollution levels that some residents have lost their sense of smell. As well, there are natural hazards due to the earthquakes in 2017 and February 2018, which caused deaths, damage to infrastructure and interruptions to essential services in the state of Puebla, Mexico City and the states of Morelos, Puebla, Oaxaca, Guerrero, and south of Mexico that are still ongoing issues.  Malaria and Zika virus are widespread throughout Mexico as well as water and food-borne illnesses.

If you still want to go to Mexico, the Aussies have lowered the risk level for travel to the Monarch butterfly reserves in the State of Michoacán, as the reserves are accessed from the State of Mexico and are insulated from the rest of the State of Michoacán.  Also, there are no restrictions on U.S. government employees for stays in the following tourist areas in Jalisco state: Guadalajara, Puerto Vallarta, Chapala, and Ajijic.

Conclusion:  Perhaps you are thinking it would be better to go where a woman can travel freely and safely, if so, please refer to our 10 Safest Countries for Women Travelers, Best Countries in Africa, Best Places in Oceania, Best Countries in South America and Best and Worst of North America.

Photo credit: Rebecca Blackwell/AP, courtesy of The Guardian

Photo caption: Municipal police watch the sunrise as they stand guard on the beach, a day after a deadly early morning shooting, in Playa del Carmen, just south of Cancún, in January 2017

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