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The AARP Speaks About Mexico (In An Extremely Positive Way)

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The AARP Speaks About Mexico (In An Extremely Positive Way)

AARP stands for the American Association of Retired Persons, however that may be a little misleading since you can join the organization at age 50, and many people who us their advice and services are neither members nor retired.

There are more than 35 million members, and the official magazine often has articles regarding the best places to retire. Speaking of which we get questions on this forum from people of all ages about the safety of traveling in or to Mexico.

An article appeared in AARP Magazine, that was very illuminating about the point of Mexico safety in general, and American's being in / living in Mexico specifically. While the thrust of article is about retiring, it actually covers many of the things that get asked here.

I've linked it below, prefaced by a few quotes most germane to this forum:

"Mexico is the undisputed number one destination for American retirees."

"Mexico, however, is also nearly three times the size of Texas, and most of the country is reasonably safe and secure, especially resort areas and tourist destinations."

"The one thing expats most appreciate about life here: the traditional Mexican friendliness."

aarp.org/home-garden/livable-communities/inf…

Edited: 6:33 pm, May 12, 2013
Zihuatanejo, Mexico
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1. Re: The AARP Speaks About Mexico (In An Extremely Positive Way)

It appears it is a 2010 article? Think things have changed a bit?

Mazatlan, Mexico
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2. Re: The AARP Speaks About Mexico (In An Extremely Positive Way)

Not really. I did not see anything that I can see has changed. Did you?

Quilcene, Washington
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3. Re: The AARP Speaks About Mexico (In An Extremely Positive Way)

A lot has changed since 2010.

The US & Canadian media have distorted the truth about safety in Mexico & I am sure people will remember stories of gun fights, beheadings, & kidnappings a lot more than a 3 year old story in the AARPs magazine.

I read someplace that occupancy rates were down over 35% again this past season & the tourist industry is not expecting an upswing for a couple years at least.

Dates that had to be booked months in advance just a few years ago are readily available on last call vacations through RCI now & at very cheap rates.

Edited: 10:11 am, May 14, 2013
Mazatlan, Mexico
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4. Re: The AARP Speaks About Mexico (In An Extremely Positive Way)

What I am referring to as 'not changed' is that life here has changed very little for TOURISTS since that article. Certainly some restaurants have closed. Others have opened. Most of the over priced jewelry stores are closed, but they were very recent additions to Mazatlan anyway. Tourism is down to be sure. But it will return. Narco related murders are still with us, but down from 2-3 years ago. There are now over 100 CCTV security cameras in operation all over the city.

With the MTA volunteers we do get the occasional question about security, but they are quite rare. The people who DO come have realized it was hype. Those that don't come probably still believe it. But the fact is there is simply no correlation to the safety of an Ex-Pat or tourists here to the safety of someone going to a marathon, a parade, a movie theater, etc. in the US. So LIFE, for us here in the Gringo community or the tourists, has not changed.

Saskatoon, Canada
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5. Re: The AARP Speaks About Mexico (In An Extremely Positive Way)

I don't think much has changed since 2010....the drug cartel issues have been going on a lot longer than that now, and Mexico is still the #2 country in the world (after USA) that Canadians travel to by the millions every year. Almost 2 million per year in recent years in fact- out of a population of 33 million, that is a HUGE percentage of us!

it is not at all dangerous for tourists, and most people are smart enough to realize that. An average of 3 out of 100,000 Canadians are victims of violence in some way in Mexico....that is extremely low.

cbc.ca/news/canada/story/2012/03/07/mexico-t…

Edited: 12:15 pm, May 14, 2013
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6. Re: The AARP Speaks About Mexico (In An Extremely Positive Way)

For the locals & expats living there, there probably has not been much of a change in Maz. since 2010 unless of course your job is tourist dependant, then I would think it has probably changed a lot.

Many of the popular restuarants & shops we frequented 3-4 years ago are now empty or in major disrepair & struggling to keep their doors open.

When we were in Maz. a year ago I could have thrown a cat through any wall, roof or ceiling in the original Munchkins, Gringo Lingo wasn't much better nor was Jungle Juice, & Arri LuLu was shut down & boarded up.

The # 1 question asked of us in P.V. last month by locals & tourists alike after saying we visit Mazatlan yearly was "aren't you concerned about the violence"?

As stated, those of us that know the truth about safety in Mexico will continue to vacation there, those that don't probably won't & until they come around; the hotels, resorts, & condos, will continue to be oversold / over built & underbooked.

The myth continues & only time & education will change it.

We're working on the education part of the equation, but may run out of time.

Edited: 12:51 pm, May 14, 2013
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7. Re: The AARP Speaks About Mexico (In An Extremely Positive Way)

Much has changed both Mazatlan and Mexico in general during the last three years....especially in the last year. While some people posting on this forum are stuck on dredging up the past, the majority of Americans and Canadians are now much better informed on the violence angle as overblown and having nothing to do with tourists.

Are there some people who still assume the worst when you mention traveling to Mexico? Sure, just as there are always people behind the news curve. However there are several factors showing significant changes in attitude and conditions, so let's talk about that.

Economy - Quite often the US economy leads the way for Mexico, and to much lesser extent Canada. Today things are just the opposite with Canada and Mexico outpacing economic progress of the US. For example the Canadian economy is going well, and it was not affected nearly as much by the serious recession that started in 2008.

The Mexican economy is actually booming, with the middle class growing at an accelerated pace. National tourism has exploded with last year seeing a huge influx of visitors to Mazatlan, and this summer expected to be another big year.

Investment - For several years homes were being developed at significant pace in Mazatlan, and often purchased by people from NOB. Starting around 2010 that dropped to almost no activity at all. The National buyers returned first, with sales starting to pick up last summer. Now the NOB buyers have returned. I talked to a local Realtor yesterday who had two sales just in just the last month alone (one Canadian / One American).

Tourism - As mentioned above the Nationals are flocking to Mazatlan. Soon the toll road through the mountains will be finished and a Mazatlan trip from major cities like Durango and Torreon will be HOURS closer. In the meantime as Rissak mentions Canadians still love their Mexico trips, and American travel to Mexico is hip again. Pick up any People or Us Magazine and you'll see loads of celebrity pictures from Mexican resorts.

Everyone here got a kick out of SunSeeker's posts about her Semanta Santa trip where she rented a condo. What may have been missed is condo rentals have taken off in Mazatlan. Americans and Canadians who stayed away for years are now calling to book again. Many condo owners are already booked and turning away people for months way in the future, like January and February of 2014 !

In the meantime hotel occupancy in Mazatlan is seeing the best overall numbers in several years. That stands to reason when everywhere you look on travel forums like this one, you see people excited about first time trips to Mexico like Chuck A. and Laura B., or going back after a few years absence which several people have written about recently.

The New President - The instillation of new Presidente Enrique Peña Nieto helped things for NOB visitors in a couple of ways. He has toned down the crime fighting rhetoric considerably, and as we all know with regard to tourism that was a perception problem in the first place. Secondly anytime the name of his predecessor was brought up, unfortunately it was attached to the obligatory rehash of the drug war.

Things like the blue shirts, security improvements, and NOB advertising keep the positive feeling moving forward. The improving economy will fill more cruise ship berths, and the improved relations with the port authorities should bring back the ships to Mazatlan. Attitudes are changing fast, and the worst of negative publicity for Mexican tourism is now in our rear view mirror.

Edited: 2:23 pm, May 14, 2013
Saskatoon, Canada
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8. Re: The AARP Speaks About Mexico (In An Extremely Positive Way)

Another reason things might be down in Maz and some other places in Mexico is there are simply more destinations in Mexico to choose from than there was in the past, meaning some of the older standbys might suffer and lose tourists to the 'new' hotspots. Like Huatulco, Nuevo Vallarta, and particularly the every-growing development all along the Mayan Riviera.

I honestly don't buy the old 'evil media' excuse. From what I see the media is reporting the facts- it's just that there are too many ignorant readers.

Those who have always traveled to Mexico and loved it, still do, regardless of the reporting on the cartel violence. The vast majority of those who are scared off by the violence, either never went to Mexico to begin with, or are too skeered to leave their couches.

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9. Re: The AARP Speaks About Mexico (In An Extremely Positive Way)

Also the world economy is still taking a beating. This hurts tourism but isn't mentioned much.

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10. Re: The AARP Speaks About Mexico (In An Extremely Positive Way)

There have been several articles recently in the local papers addressing the DROP in crimes of all types. Some about crime in Mexico in general, and some about crime in Mazatlan and the State of Sinaloa in particular. Here is one of the latest;

mazmessenger.com/2013/…

This is why you don't see a lot of 'Dangers in Mexico' articles in the media now. Very little for them to report and tie in to travel.