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Travel to Mexico over spring break still comes with risk

by Tim Klein

With spring break fast approaching in a few weeks, students will disperse to destinations across the country, or even out of it. However, one popular destination, Mexico, has attracted additional dangers. Places like Cancun have drawn many visitors over spring break; however, in the past year, drug-related violence has erupted. New studies released show that it is unsafe and unwise to venture one mile from hotels or resorts that are typically used during spring break.
Sophomore Lexi Wheeler is planning to go to Mexico over spring break, and she said she is not too worried about the current conflicts affecting the area in which she is staying in Rivera Maya.

“I’m not especially worried about it,” said Wheeler.  “I know that there have been problems there (in Mexico), but I don’t think they’ll be a problem where I’m going.”

According to Wheeler, she is going to Mexico with her friend and their family, who have been to the same place in the past.

“They haven’t had any kind of problem there in the past,” said Wheeler.

Senior Daniel Xu visited Cancun during last year’s winter break. Xu stayed at a resort in Cancun with a few of his friends and said there were few problems on the resort. However, Xu said the resort that he stayed at was very clear with the warnings about straying far from the resort.

“We had this one issue when we were going to go jet skiing, and the person driving us out didn’t have a permit to drive people outside of the resort, so the police stopped him at the gate, and our group decided to head back to the resort after that,” said Xu.

Ready to go: Sophomore Lexi Wheeler prepares for her trip to Mexico by packing her clothes. According to Wheeler, the increasing danger of visiting Mexico won’t prevent her from vacationing there. HAILEY MEYER / PHOTO

According to Xu, the hotel also told him it strongly recommended staying with its programs if he or his friends wanted to go outside of the resort.

“If you don’t feel 100 percent secure with heading out, you probably shouldn’t go out (of the resort) and head out at your own risk. Make sure you have the right people driving you to where you’re going,” said Xu.

Over the past few years, trouble has arisen in Mexico due to the rise of drug cartels. The Mexican government, led by President Felipe Calderon, has supported security forces that have attempted to bring peace in Mexico. One such city, Ciudad Juarez, is widely considered one of the most dangerous cities in North America because of the extreme violence that has occurred there as a result of the drug cartels.  In 2010, 3,111 people were killed in Ciudad Juarez, and 5,000 were projected to be killed in the past year.

Sophomore Josue Martinez, who was born in Mexico City, said his parents worry about the current situation there.

“My parents do talk about Mexico being unsafe.  They say it has been overrun by the drug cartels,” Martinez said. “There are some places that are unsafe.  Some places I would warn people about, but the resorts and hotels are almost always safe as long as you stay near them.”

Hotels and resorts often offer attractions that take guests off of the immediate location itself. According to Xu, there were ATV trips, water parks, sports and Mayan temples that took guests anywhere from 30 minutes to three hours away from the resort itself.

While Xu did not go as far as three hours away, he said he believes the programs should be safe as long as the guests stay with the resort’s guides the whole time. Xu said his parents gave him general warnings about straying too far from the resort. Similarly, Wheeler also said that her father reminds her of the dangers of visiting Mexico, and not to go far from where she is staying.

However, vacationing students should make sure that they know about the dangers of going too far away from their residence areas. Students are recommended to listen to staff at the hotels or resorts that they are staying at, and they should be sure that they pay attention to any warnings that are given to them regarding their safety or travelling.

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