Welcome to my Bon Voyage post, I’m still here but frantically getting things ready for my winter break. My Canadian friends are all already there in Puerto Vallarta, and I’m looking forward to kicking up my social life notches, and drinking Margaritas.
I’ve had a few people ask if I’m concerned about some of the recent goings on in Mexico. No. The friction going on there is not in the State of Jalisco where PV is in. It’s funny how some people get a picture in their heads when they hear things on the news before doing their geographical homework. That doesn’t mean that anywhere I travel to, that I’m not being diligent. Yes, Mexico has Cartel, but typically, the big honcho Cartel aren’t looking to disrupt tourism, and their headquarters are in known States that are mostly rated dangerous and at your risk places to visit. It’s the newer, ‘wannabe’ gangs that infiltrate certain places and instigate turf wars that are causing these crime incidences, particularly on the Caribbean side, ie: Cancun and Playa. These gangs emmigrated from further south in Central America. And this isn’t to say I’m okay with Cartel, but some of these Cartel want to keep tourist areas safe because they build and invest there for money laundering purposes. As bizarro as it sounds, it makes me feel safe too, in a strange kind of way.
Mexico is a huge country with over 126 million people. That’s three times the population of Canada, and just over one third the population of the U.S. It’s always important to do our homework on where we are traveling, to keep abreast of travel warnings etc., because people ‘hear’ things, but don’t always put them in perspective. And with this said, we still have to remember we’re tourists and must always keep aware of our surroundings.
Where I’ve been and Why Mexico?
I’ve been to Mexico many times since I was in my early twenties. Back in the 80s, Acapulco was the hot tourist spot of Mexico. And it was great fun and safe. I went there many times in that decade with girlfriends, once with a boyfriend, and later, with my husband. By the early 2000s, we noticed things weren’t feeling the same there and began hearing whispers of a few killings and kidnappings on the news, and we began exploring other parts of Mexico.
We went to Ixtapa, which we loved, Manzanillo, and finally found our new happy spot in Puerto Vallarta. We had our winter vacations there for about five years in a row before we got antsy and wanted to try new places. We started vacationing in various islands in the Caribbean – my favorites being, St. Martin, St. Thomas, and Curacao. And then we became cruisers, which we loved taking every February. We’d spend a week in Fort Lauderdale and go on a two-week Caribbean cruise, and meet up with same friends every year. When my husband’s health issues became apparent, we stopped cruising after 2014. I worried about something happening to him while on ship, and couldn’t live with that. So we talked about where we should start going on land instead. We loved Las Vegas and had gone there many times, as our autumn getaway. But we needed a new winter getaway spot. We loved the desert climate. And we had once taken a helicopter tour from Vegas, over the Grand Canyon, and we decided on that day, that we were going to start spending a chunk of winter in Arizona. We did that for three years and as US politics were heating up, and our Canadian dollar getting crappier, we decided to go back to Puerto Vallarta, because we always enjoyed it there, and it’s guaranteed sunshine. And we rightly assumed after not being there for some fifteen years, how much it was growing. And when I went to book at our favorite hotel for two weeks, air/hotel, all inclusive, the price was almost $9000.00 CAD for two weeks!
That was the beginning of learning about renting a condo instead. My brother had been renting a condo in a beautiful complex right on the beach for less than $3000 US, for a month in PV. I got the details, and we went there and stayed in a different complex, just down the beach from him and had wonderful trips. So economically speaking, I can vacay for two months for what it cost me two weeks in the hotel package deal. Flight is covered with my points card and cost of living there is way cheaper than here in Toronto, so I spend less there than I do staying at home. That is the story of how I ended up in Puerto Vallarta. Right now I have wonderful friends who are already there, and I can’t wait to see what sunshine looks and feels like again. And it’s still a place I can feel my husband there with me. We loved it there.
There are crime hotspots everywhere in the world. Heck there are parts of my own city I wouldn’t venture through to alone. Yes, there are plenty of dangerous places in Mexico. The trick is to learn the safest places and States. Cartel central is in the State of Sinaloa. You may have recently heard of the capture of El Chapo’s son in Mazatlan. Mazatlan is in Sinaloa. There’s one State I have no interest in visiting. If you ever watch Cartel movies/series, you will hear of some of the Cartel infamous places – in the State of Sinaloa, Juarez, in the State of Chihuahua, and some other border towns.
Puerto Vallarta is still touted as one of the safest places to visit in Mexico and to my investigative knowledge, no tourists have been harmed or mamed there. And I much prefer Pacific Mexico to Caribbean Mexico. On the west coast I am 99.9 % guaranteed hot beautiful weather with almost a zero chance of rain. Plus, I find, even though the city has grown so much, adding Costco, Walmart and some fantastic shops, some North American things that North Americans love, that PV still has that Mexican charm and hasn’t gone as Americanized as some other Mexican destinations on the eastern, Caribbean/Yucatan Penninsula side. The added bonus is that I do not need US dollars to stay there. Only the rentals charge in US funds. But our Canadian dollar goes a good way there.
No matter where we travel, we must always be diligent. Saying one wouldn’t go to Mexico because of crime in one State is like saying there’s a shootout in Quebec so don’t go anywhere in Canada, or a shooting in Chicago, so you wouldn’t go to California. Oranges and apples comparison. Also, we have to pay attention to our surroundings wherever we go. Most tourist populated places are known for pickpockets. Awareness of our surroundings is always a good thing. I’m like that in my own city. And petty crime is everywhere now.
So, with that all said, my bags are almost packed, health insurance – check, fifth Covid bivalent booster shot – check, travel anxiety riding high – check, and soon I’ll be walking in flip flops for the bulk of this Canadian winter.
Although I won’t be reading blogs regularly as I normally do, don’t be surprised to find me landing on some of your posts as I randomly get a chance to pop by. I do follow Sally Cronin’s posts while away as I drink my morning coffee, because even though I can’t spend valuable vacation time on all the blogs I follow, I at least feel like I’m staying up-to-date through reading her posts, as Sally is a great sharer to and of our writing community, and it’s my second ‘blog home’. I will also post intermittently on Facebook.
So, happy winter blogging to you all, and I will no doubt, have much to share with you all upon my return.