post-title Los Cabos Safe – Your burning safety questions asked and answered.

Los Cabos Safe – Your burning safety questions asked and answered.

Los Cabos Safe – Your burning safety questions asked and answered.

Los Cabos Safe – Your burning safety questions asked and answered

Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo, Los Cabos, Baja California Sur, Mexico

México covers 761,000 square miles, and its population numbers more than 110 million strong. Nevertheless, the actions of a relatively small group of people have earned the country a bum rap. This is not to belittle the very real problems that México faces. But these issues are concentrated in specific areas and do not affect the country as a whole. Those of us who know and love Los Cabos understand and appreciate your safety concerns. So we’ve reached out to government officials—both in México and Stateside—to answer your most frequently asked questions.

Article from Los Cabos Magazine, Issue #25, April 2011. By Ashley Alvarado

Q: Is México safe? 

A: While there has been a spike in high-profile, drug-related violence, it’s been generally limited to the Mexican states of Sinaloa and Chihuahua and near the border in Baja California, roughly a thousand miles north of Los Cabos.

The U.S. State Department continues to include México on its list of travel warnings, but also notes: “Resort areas and tourist destinations in México do not see the levels of drug-related violence and crime reported in the border region and in areas along major drug trafficking routes.” They acknowledge that millions of Americans safely visit each year, including more than 100,000 spring breakers. Tens of thousands cross the border daily for school, vacation, or work, and more than 1 million U.S. citizens live in México. In fact, México’s president has declared 2011 the Year of Tourism. He pledges to “work very strongly with international media to show México as it should be shown, a true natural, cultural, and historical beauty.” And, according to the government’s most recent annual tourism satisfaction survey, international visitors gave México an impressive rating of 9.1 on a scale of 1 to 10. Conducted since 2001 by Mexico’s Center of Advanced Tourism Studies, this survey included 26,000 interviews held in 22 beach and tourism destinations.

Q: Is Los Cabos safe?

A: Very. Many Mexican cities and states actually have lower crime rates than their American counterparts. Los Cabos is located in Baja California Sur, one of those states. Its homicide rate is 18 times lower than Miami’s and 26 times lower than Orlando’s. In a December letter, the governor wrote, “It gives me great pleasure to report that Baja California Sur ranked third in the categories of public safety, tourism services, and transportation infrastructure as detailed in the results of a recent study conducted by the Institute of Higher Studies of Monterrey, which evaluated tourism offerings throughout México’s 31 states and Federal District.”

Q: What is México doing to combat the violence?

A: The federal government has engaged in an extensive effort to combat drug-trafficking organizations since 2006. That includes the deployment of military troops and federal police throughout the country.

Q: And at a local level?

A: Despite the  already-low crime rate, local and state officials have continued to focus on ensuring the safety of travelers and residents. In 2008, they overhauled the public safety policy and technology system. The tourist police, Navy, and Port Authority offer a united front against any threats. Daniel Salvador Rodríguez Cortes, the commanding officer of the tourist police, says, “We perform constant monitoring. There is good coordination between the [agencies] to react quickly to an emergency in any area: downtown Cabo San Lucas, the beach, the hotel zone. We track every suspicious person who could be a nuisance or threat to tourists or anyone. And when tourists come visit us from cruise ships, we put officers in different strategic points for added security and confidence, working in collaboration with the Navy and Port Authority.”

Q: Has this worked?

A: Rodríguez Cortes reports there has been a decrease in crime during the last year, and the police have received increased training in emergency preparedness and security.

Q: Will the police understand me?

A: All of the tourist police, who serve both visitors and residents, speak Spanish and English.

Q: How can I reach the police?

A: The tourist police are very visible, and you’re likely to run into them on the streets. In case of an emergency, dial 0-6-6. (updated to 9-1-1)  Update 2017.    Associated Press  – Mexico is finally getting a single, nationwide emergency number like the U.S. has, and the number is 911. In Mexico’s previous system, people often reported police emergencies to one number, and medical or fire emergencies to another.

Q: Is crime prevention the only concern?

A: Absolutely not. The Navy and Port Authority work to ensure that passengers and merchants in the Cabo San Lucas Marina arrive, disembark, and depart safely. A representative says, “This may not seem like a big deal, but following the series of incidents that have occurred in the rest of the country this has revealed Cabo San Lucas as a [reliable port for shipping] and visitors.” But that is not their sole concern. The Mexican Naval Marine base, headed by Admiral Felipe Lozano Armenta, operates search-and-rescue missions in and about Los Cabos. In its arsenal: intercepting patrol and defender boats and helicopters, each manned 24-7 with trained and qualified crews.

Q: Is it safe to drive to Los Cabos?

A: There have been reports of criminals following or harassing travelers near the border. Nonetheless, thousands of drivers—both Mexican and foreign—traverse the Baja Peninsula’s highways daily. If you choose to make the drive south, the State Department recommends you travel on main roads during daylight hours, taking the more secure toll (“cuota”) roads when possible. Those who would prefer to avoid the border can fly directly to San José del Cabo on flights from Alaska, American, U.S. Airways, United, and Virgin America, among others.

Q: How can I stay updated on security issues in México?

A: The State Department encourages travelers to review the U.S. Embassy’s Mexico Security Update ( This includes information about recent incidents that could affect safety.

Article from Los Cabos Magazine, Issue #25, April 2011. By Ashley Alvarado

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