Those Scary Travel Warnings

The U.S. State Department is constantly vigilant (as constantly vigilant as the three people still working there can be . . .) to protect citizens from violence abroad.  This looks pretty scary! —

But why not hear from actual citizens who actually visit Los Cabos and Cancún.


♦ As an avid traveler, I try to keep up to date on world events and am always looking for interesting places to visit. My husband and I fell in love with Akumal 13 years ago when happenstance brought us there for the day while saying at the all-inclusive Moon Palace in Cancún. I sat having lunch at La Buena Vida and realized that I had found that special tropical paradise I had always dreamed of. My husband practically had to drag me away!

I was a huge reader as a child and had read James Michener’s Tales of the South Pacific. His descriptions of the tropical islands piqued my imagination and I would doodle palm trees in the margins of my school notebooks during the cold, snowy winters in Connecticut. I never really expected to see places like that and, suddenly, there I was: AKUMAL! Not an island, but certainly paradise!

When I read the State Department’s travel warning in August, my first reaction was: “Oh, no … really!?” My heart hurt for my beloved Akumal and the people who would be impacted by this advisory, the lovely citizens of Quintana Roo whose livelihoods depend on the tourist industry. I actually was astonished because I never feel safer than when I am in Akumal.

In the United States, we have unexpected incidents of school shootings, cars driving into crowds of people, parents killing their children and more. You are all aware of the international scene of terrorist bombings and atrocities against humanity. There is plenty of crime where I live in Sacramento, California, and I know not to wander into “iffy” neighborhoods.

The increases in violence that are noted in the travel advisory state that “U.S. citizens have been victims of violent crimes, including homicide, kidnapping, carjacking, and robbery” in Quintana Roo and in Baja California Sur. While this is true, Americans were not being targeted and were innocent bystanders in the midst of a drug cartel turf war. Being in the wrong place at the wrong time can happen anywhere, unfortunately, but I cannot live with the idea that I can never leave my home because of this.

I have been asked frequently what I think about traveling to Mexico now. While this is a very personal decision based on your own comfort level, I truly feel much safer when I go to Akumal, Playa, or Tulum than I do at home! The ocean, the culture, the food, the people are very much worth a trip to my favorite part of the world. So pack your bags and come to Mexico!

– Sharon Gobi 

Sharon Gobi

And more counterpoint, forwarded by John Winkel:

Don’t freak out over U.S. travel warning about Cancún and Los Cabos. Here’s why.









  1. The travel warnings by the US State department must be placed in a broader context. We can all try to compare figures of homicides and other crimes as much as we want, the rates in the US are higher everywhere you look. It is hard to fight politically motivated travel advisories from the US State Department.

  2. I’m curious about how bad the sargassum is right now in August in Half Moon bay. We want to rent there for vacation but I want to at least be able to sit on the balcony and not be fumed out. Not worried about crime.

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