From the travel desk: Except for a few hot spots, Mexico is safe for travel

  • Updated: November 17, 2012 - 1:18 PM

How safe is Mexico for travelers? That depends on where you're headed.

Acapulco and Mazatlan, cities historically on the tourist map, have seen troubling violence related to drug cartels. But in most parts of the country frequented by tourists -- including the Yucatan, which we feature this week -- risk of violent crime is lower than in some U.S. cities (including New Orleans, where I'm visiting this week).

A U.S. State Department warning on Mexico notes that resort areas generally don't see the kinds of drug-related crime that has made headlines in recent years. The warning continues, however, with news of an exorbitant homicide rate, carjackings and gun battles. The Mexican government, it says, has been engaged in an extensive effort to counter drug cartels.

For a look at the warning, head to the State Department website for travelers, at www.travel.state.gov, and search for Mexico.

A visit to the site provides state-by-state details since drug activity in Mexico is focused only on certain areas. Quintana Roo (which includes Cancun), Mexico City and other faves have "no advisory in effect," but travelers to Acapulco should "exercise caution." Beyond the warnings, you can pick up tips about driving and other activities.

You'll learn, for instance, "Rented sports and aquatic equipment may not meet U.S. safety standards or be covered by any accident insurance."

Such news may dampen your spirits for a while, but ultimately it's better to know, even if you ignore that knowledge as you fly over ocean waves on a Jet Ski.

Send your questions or tips to travel editor Kerri Westenberg at travel@startribune.com, and follow her on twitter @kerriwestenberg.

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