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Visit Mexico In December

Donna asks…

MEXICO…..Should I be concerned?

My best friend and I studies our MAs together at Uni, but he has now moved back to his native Mexico. I am planning to go out there and visit him towards the end of November / December. He lives in Mexico City. Living in the UK, and if films such as “Amorres Perros” or “Man On Fire” are anything to go by, Mexico City seems to be portrayed as a particularly dangerous place, but my friend says that it the dangers are exaggerated and I really do want to keep an open mind. I would like to hear from natives of the City, or people who have visited Mexico (City), what has your experience been?

La verdad la ciudad me tiene algo preocupado, pero no se, que piensan? Pueden contestar en ingles o espanol!! Gracias.

Tijuana answers:

I have lived in this city for almost 15 years. It IS a major city and Mexico is still struggling to get out of the third world, so crime is a concern of course. But it is very exaggerated especially by hysterical “gringos” (and Hollywood!)

While I have never been robbed in my 15 years here, my wife (Mexican) has been once in a local taxi, and my brother-in-law was held up at gun point at a traffic light and they took his wallet and his Rolex.

(While I deplore all crime and NEVER like to blame the victims, to drive around Mexico City in a late model Audi with your arm hanging out the window and a gold Rolex on your wrist seems to me to be pushing the bounds of luck, safety AND the good will of the Virgin……)

I first started visiting my wife’s family here about 23 years ago and I can tell you that crime was MUCH worse back then! When someone quotes the crime statistics like “14 kidnappings a day” you also must remember that with 22 MILLION inhabitants, Mexico City, for a few years, was in the running for largest metropolitan population in the world! (I think these days about four to six others have overtaken us, I sure hope so!) But my point is that while you do have to be careful here, Mexico City is nowhere nearly as bad as many other HUGE world cities.

While there is crime, there is LESS crime here than say Rio or Sao Paulo (only about a quarter in fact), less than Buenos Aires, Trenton, Legos and less than Moscow, Mumbai or Karachi, less in fact than many other over-crowded world cities.

Yes we have bad pollution, but thanks to strong government action, that has been on the steady decline for 20 years. Where once we were the worst in the world, Mexico City is no longer even in the top ten.

You write that you have a friend here in Mexico City, That is absolutely the very best way to ensure that you will enjoy a trouble free vacation, that and speaking some Spanish, which I see that you also do!

Look, you are from the UK which as a nation has one of the worst crime rates in the First World! Just don’t do anything here that you wouldn’t do in the back streets of London, Liverpool or Manchester and you’ll be fine! (I have to visit Houston, LA and Miami periodically as part of my work, because I know this city well, I feel MUCH safer here than I do in any of those places…….)

(Look, some Gringo gets blind stinking drunk on “aguardiente,” smokes 10 joints then accepts an invitation from a drug pushing total stranger to go watch a cockfight at 12 midnight 20 miles out of town at an illegal cat house, then he screams “I was robbed, Mexico is SOOOOOO dangerous” …… Get my point?)

Having Mexican friends to look after you is just the very best protection you can have! Come on over, you’ll love it here! Mexico City for all its warts is culturally, racially, historically, musically, culinarily as well as physically: the undeniable “Heart of the Americas” …………….

Laura asks…

Do i need a passport to visit canada from the USA?

Tijuana answers:

Not until the end of this year…

December 31, 2006 – Passport required for all air and sea travel to or from Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean, and Bermuda.
December 31, 2007 – Passport required for all land border crossings, as well as air and sea travel.

Susan asks…

traveling to Mexico for December 12, any tips where to stay?!!?

I want to travel to the basilica de guadalupe for december 12 celebrations with my family. I was wondering where to stay or does anyone have any ideas, we are in a budget of course, but we we where thinking of going to puerta vallarta since the hotels are all inclusive but how far away is Puerta Vallarta away from the Basilica?

thanks and if n e one can give me websites!

Tijuana answers:

Sounds like you have your places crossed up since on a budget you would probably only do one or the other. Basilica de guadalupe is in Mexico City while Puerta Vallarta is a beach town about 12 to 14 hours to the north west of Mexico City and expensive. Mexico City certainly has alot of sites to see but no beach, if you want to visit the Church but also have beach time on a budget, then you might look at flying into Mexico City, picking up a hotel by zona centro so you can visit the nice sites there (Belle Artes, Zocalo etc). Try the Hotel Mission Reforma, 60 dollars a night or Avendia Reforma hotel 35 dollar a night , and then you can rent a hotel taxi to take you to the Basilica de Guadalupe church but if you can figure out the Metro its drops you right in front and costs 20 cents, whereas a taxi is going to run you as tourists up to 50 dollars. Anyway then you can take the bus (5 hour trip) from Mexico City (50 dollars) or a roundtrip on Mexicana airlines, for example (200 dollars) to Acapulco (45 minute flight) and end up staying on a tight budget and accomplishing both seeing the church and beach time.

Metro Map Basilica de Guadalupe is in the upper right corner on the red line (wher it says La Villa Basillica), Centro is by the middle says Belles artes or Zocalo which are both close by to the hotels suggested (Reforma Mission Hotel), you can take the Metro at Belle Artes, Change once to linea 3 North at the Hidalgo Station, and then to Linea 6 at the 18th de Marzo station and then get off at the next station going east (Basillica) and you are a 3 minute walk from the Church. Dont worry the subways all have police at every station and are very safe.


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