It’s that time of year when Canadians book our annual trip to Mexico and this is what we hear: Why are you going to Mexico? Why not somewhere safe? We worry about you. Is it safe where you’re going?
Regardless of news reports, many Canadians still travel to tourist-friendly resorts like Cancun or Yucatán, where they enjoy a warm, safe holiday free from the grey, wet Vancouver weather.
Other smart sun-seeking Canadians — often retired or semi-retired baby boomers — faithfully return to Mexico every year, decade after decade, to idyllic surroundings that are not all-inclusives.
There are a number of reasons why we choose to go when the media says it’s dangerous.
Here’s one: A friend and her family recently returned from a trip to Hawaii for a family wedding. She freely admits that Hawaii is idyllic, but they couldn’t figure out what was missing. After they arrived home it struck them — there were no Mexicans!
Aside from the dependable temperature, blue sky and sunshine from November through April, the Mexicans seduce us with their friendly, fun-loving family-centered culture, and those same people desperately need our tourist dollars. It’s sad that fear, caused by careful documentation by the media, makes visitors shy away.
Our favourite place is Zihuatanejo, a friendly fishing town nestled in a protected bay, next door to the purpose-built resort of Ixtapa (on the West Coast, south of Puerto Vallarta and north of Acapulco). Since its discovery in the 1970s, tourism is more important to Zihua’s local economy now than fishing.
Each year we return to a small Mexican hotel with a colourful market within walking distance where the locals shop for everything from savoury barbecued pork and warm tortillas, fresh prawns, mahi-mahi and mole sauce, to beef tenderloin, household goods, baking, handbags, trinkets and clothing.
We cook in or walk about town in the evening to enjoy one of many good restaurants. We may stroll the large public arts-and-crafts market or watch a basketball game in the town centre, or sip lattes before hitting the beach for a personally crafted margarita nightcap.
During our stay, it’s handy to fly out of the Zihuatanejo-Ixtapa airport to explore Mexico City (a 45-minute flight away) for a few days, or maybe take a five-hour bus ride north to the charming historical mountain town of Patzcuaro (founded in the early 1300s) with its Spanish colonial architecture, artisans’ studios and good shopping.
Earlier this year, we headed to the airport to pick up some intrepid relatives arriving from bitterly cold Ottawa. They joined us in Zihua based solely on our description and photos included in our annual Christmas letter.
They had read about the dangers of travel in Mexico, but on our recommendation, they discovered it only takes a little forethought and common sense to stay perfectly safe in most Mexican towns and resorts.
We frequently read about all the homicides in the Lower Mainland Vancouver, but we still choose to live here. Given the news stories, Vancouverites should be scared to go out at night, but common sense tells us we are safe. It’s the same in many places in Mexico.
Source: The Vancouver Sun
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