With spring break just around the corner, many San Diego State students may be looking for a quick vacation destination. Luckily for them, Mexico is mere minutes away. Although traveling to this country has become especially controversial after a spike in regional crime and violence, its unaffected charms must not be forgotten. Beyond its outcrops of violence, Mexico remains one of the world’s richest cultural, historical and natural beauties.
Last month, the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs said, “Resort areas and tourist destinations in Mexico generally do not see the levels of drug-related violence and crime reported in the border region and in areas along major trafficking routes.”
The respected travel guide “Lonely Planet” claims the safest places to visit in Mexico are Mexico City, Mérida, Todos Santos, San Miguel de Allende, Huatulco, Playa Del Carmen, Guanajuato and Puebla.
Mexico City is known for its Plaza Garibaldi, which is the home of mariachi music. This plaza is located in the heart of the city and is near museums and other restaurants where travelers can enjoy local tequila. La Casa Azul is located in Coyoacán, one of the 16 boroughs that reside in Mexico City, and is known for being the former residence of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. It is home to a museum that features a collection of clothes and jewelry worn by Kahlo, as well as some of her most honored paintings such as “Long Live Life” and “Frida and the Cesarean.”
Huatulco, a former fishing village, has become a preferred beach resort, boasting miles of sandy beaches. This village offers adventurers the options of snorkeling, diving, kayaking, surfing, cycling, rafting and taking tours of Huatulco’s breathtaking waterfalls and coffee farms.
La Quinta is a region of Cancún that offers tourists a variety of bars, nightclubs and authentic tacos. Playa del Carmen offers direct buses to the Cancún airport as well as to La Quinta, which is worth the visit as it is walking distance from some of Mexico’s clearest waters.
Traveling is always a risk, whether it be in Mexico or any other point across the globe. Travelers must always be cautious, especially when consuming alcohol and walking alone at night.
According to the U.S. Consular Agency, “Alcohol is involved in the vast majority of arrests, accidents, violent crimes, rapes and deaths suffered by American students on spring break.”
It is also wise not to carry an excessive amount of money or wear flashy clothing and jewelry, which attracts attention. The best option is to leave valuables at home.
Those concerned about money should search for all-inclusive deals, which sometimes include airfare, hotel or resort, meals, beverages and other amenities.
“I suggest getting an all-inclusive deal. You don’t have to pay for food or drinks,” integrated marketing and communication senior Jonathan Vu said.
Political science and Spanish senior and Tijuana resident Jessica Ceja recommends traveling with someone who speaks Spanish or is familiar with the area.
Those interested in studying abroad in Mexico can visit the International Student Center for more information. However, be aware many Mexican programs have been suspended because of the CSU Executive Order 998 (3.a) and warnings from the U.S. Department of State Travel.
If studying abroad is not feasible, other traveling options should not be overlooked. The best time to venture to Mexico is near the end of December through Easter, right in time for spring break. For those who decide to travel to Mexico, the advice is simple: take necessary precautions, travel safely, learn, have fun and eat tacos.