Top Five Travel Tips for Cancun Spring Break 2014

Top Five Travel Tips for Spring Break 2014

Top Five Travel Tips for Spring Break 2014

Cancun Spring Break is a heady time in Mexico. Thousands of students from USA descend to Cancun and spill over to Playa del Carmen & Akumal in search of beach, sand and unlimited fun. But alcohol, youthful exuberance, crowds and a foreign land doesn’t mix well. The result is that we read quite a few cases of students  getting in to trouble. Usually Cancun is quite safe for foreigners but being aware and smart is always recommended.

To prevent such unwelcome situations, US State  department has issued a press release – Top Five Travel Tips for Spring Break 2014. (http://1.usa.gov/1kmp1OR)

Here is the complete list

For some college students, Spring Break is a time to bask in the Caribbean sun. Some use their respite from classes to volunteer in a foreign country. Others venture across the Atlantic to embark upon a European adventure or to visit friends studying abroad. Regardless of the destination, the U.S. Department of State encourages students to follow our tips for traveling abroad:

  • Avoid underage and excessive alcohol consumption. “Overdoing it” can lead to an arrest, accident, violent crime, or death.
  • Obey all local laws, and remember they might be different from our own. Don’t carry or use drugs, as this can result in severe penalties. Don’t carry weapons either—some countries have strict laws, and even possessing something as small as a pocketknife or a single bullet can get you into legal trouble.
  • Before you leave for your trip, learn as much as possible about your destination at our website dedicated to student travelers: studentsabroad.state.gov. Here, you can find out about entry requirements, crime, health precautions, and road conditions.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). This program keeps students up-to-date with important safety and security announcements, such as Travel WarningsTravel Alerts, and security messages.
  • Keep in touch with your parents. If you will be without Internet or phone service for a few days, let them know. We receive many calls from parents who fear the worst when they have not heard from their children. In most cases, their child is fine, but has been too busy to check in.

Of course, even well-prepared travelers may face an emergency, like a lost passport or an injury. In those cases, our embassies and consulates are available to help 24/7. Be sure to write down the contact information for the U.S. embassy or consulate in your destination country.

Members of the media who wish to speak about Spring Break travel tips with an official from the State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs are encouraged to contact CAPRESSREQUESTS@state.gov.

Is Cancun Safe for Tourists?

Is Cancun Safe?

Is Cancun Safe?

Recently a worried traveler posted a question on Tripadvisor asking if Cancun, Mexico is a safe place to visit. The traveler plans to visit Cancun with a friend, but her parents are very concerned and keep sending her links of sites showing crime in Mexico. This has gotten her worried to the extent that she is planning to stay within the resort the whole time and not venture out in Cancun! She needs to know, that in terms on safety, if there is any reason to worry at all while visiting Cancun, Mexico.

In reply to this, here’s what some travelers had to say:

Cancun is a whole lot safer than any medium-sized city in the US. Most travelers say that they have been to Cancun several times, never ever felt unsafe and thoroughly enjoyed their trips. In fact, Cancun feels a lot safer compared to the other places that they have visited across the world. Mexico is a huge country. It is absolutely wrong to refer to the entire country as “unsafe”. Read up and be informed. Mexican states like Baja California Sur, Guanajuato, Campeche, Oaxaca, Puebla, Quintana Roo and the Yucatan are very safe and have absolutely no travel advisories issued on them by the US State Department. Cancun is absolutely unaffected by the drug cartels that operate in certain parts of Mexico. The cartel’s do not want attention which is why they stay away from tourist areas like Cancun, Puerto Vallarta etc. Depending on your budget you could either put up in downtown Cancun or in the pricey hotel zone area. Both the options are perfectly safe. To be extra careful, stay in the tourist areas and don’t wander off into unknown areas. Also, leave valuables at home or in your hotel’s safe and do not carry large amounts of cash. Exploring Cancun in a bus is a great adventure and also absolutely safe. Thousands of expats living in Cancun homes can vouch for its safety.

Cancun is as safe as it can be. Choosing to stay within the hotel and not exploring this fantastic town would be a big mistake.

Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/msteinberg/3287978451/player/

Top 8 Safest Places To Visit In Mexico

For all of those living in Playa del carmen or Cancun, Mexico seems to be a perfectly normal and safe place to live. But after news of drug related violence in the country in the recent years, a common question posted by travelers is: ‘Is Mexico a safe country to go to?’ The answer is yes, if you know where to go and do your research well. So before you dismiss a vacation to Mexico this year, take into account our list of the 8 top safest places to visit In Mexico (there are quite a few other contenders as well!), in terms of safety, charm and attractions. Also, none of these 8 Mexican getaways feature on the US State Department’s warning list.

Mexico City

Catedral Metropolitana, Mexico City

Catedral Metropolitana, Mexico City

Loaded with entertainment, plentiful cultural offerings, a bubbling street life, history and an year-round spring-like climate, there is no doubt that Mexico City is one of the most fascinating cities in the world! Twenty years ago, the city was regarded unsafe, but successive local surveillance, like a widespread presence of police and security cameras, has made it safe for residents and visitors. With an increasing population of over 8 million, Mexico City is considered to be the cultural, political as well as the financial capital of Mexico. The tourist attractions of this city are quite different than those offered by the country’s beach destinations. This ancient city has Aztec canals (Check about Xochimilco Cancun Park), pyramids, revived colonial buildings, elegant eateries and a whole lot more. The downtown area, known as Zocalo, is the best place to take in the historic sites and it gives you an idea of the essence of the city. Palacio Nacional (The Presidential Palace) lies on the east side of the Zocalo whereas the Catedral Metropolitana is located on the north. Government offices are located south whereas the west side of Zocalo is lined with jewelry shops and extravagant hotels. The streets are full of vendors selling all sorts of knick-knacks. A conventional Mexican night begins at 10pm, and keeping up with this tradition, Mexico City parties until the wee hours of the morning.

Oaxaca

Mazunte beach, Oaxaca

Mazunte beach, Oaxaca

Though it encountered severe political disturbances in 2006, the city of Oaxaca has recovered completely and today is regarded as a safe area for travel. Oaxaca has the vivacious vibe of a small Mexican town coupled with a rich cultural history. Visitors can expect to be pleasantly surprised with the spontaneous fiestas on the streets. Oaxaca also offers stunning Pacific beaches with world-famous surfing opportunities, an acclaimed art scene, beautifully designed laurels and an interesting shopping scene. For some exceptional finds, head to the street markets of Oaxaca that sell everything from unique crafts and artwork to mouthwatering Oaxaca chocolate and mole sauces! The city also boasts of an impressive range of cuisine and accommodations, from classic and economical to contemporary and stylish.

Merida

Paseo de Montejo, Merida

Paseo de Montejo, Merida

One of the safest and cleanest cities in Mexico, the colonial city of Merida is located four hours inland from Cancun. With its many hotels and restaurants, hidden courtyards, tropical gardens, cultural attractions and lively shopping scene, Merida is not just an underestimated additive to a beach vacation, but is a destination in its own right. The city looks and feels the best on weekends, when the historical center – a setting of 17th-century cathedrals made from Mayan bricks – shuts out all vehicles and transforms into this lively place with open-air stages, taco stands and much life. Merida is encircled by world-famous Mayan ruins, including Chichen Itza, which is 74 miles to its east, Uxmal, which is 50 miles southeast and Dzibilchaltun, which is just nine miles away.

Todos Santos

Surfing in Todos Santos

Surfing in Todos Santos

Near the southern tip of Baja California, the tiny Mexican town of Todos Santos is a haven for surfing, fresh seafood and ravishing scenery along the Pacific Ocean. There are a good deal of places here to have a drink in a laid-back sort of a way, so enjoy your beer against the gorgeous setting of golden sand beaches and the serene, turquoise waters. A couple of hours from Cabo, this easygoing, little beach town also has a thriving art scene. With splendid beaches and tiny taco stands, Todos Santos is safely secluded from any sort of crime or violence negating the question, “Is Mexico safe?”. For your next Baja trip, if you wish to escape the crowds, live off the grid, have the most genuine experience, but still be on the beach, Todos Santos would be worth considering.

San Miguel de Allende

San Miguel de Allende

San Miguel de Allende

Located in Central Mexico, San Miguel de Allende is a stunner, without any traces of drug violence. A Unesco World Heritage site since 2008, the magical town of San Miguel de Allende does not have gorgeous beaches like the other popular Mexican resorts of Cancun, Cozumel, or Los Cabos, but has that something to make tourists fall head over heels in love with it! So much so, that most visitors decide to revisit the place while many others plant to settle here permanently! No wonder then that expats contribute to 20 percent of the town’s population.

This irresistible city, famous for its rose-tinted turrets, is full of pretty guesthouses, handicraft shops, 17th-century churches and botanic gardens. San Miguel de Allende’s snug lifestyle, cobblestoned appeal, splendid restaurants, perfect weather, intriguing architecture and a healthy art scene make it extremely easy for newcomers to settle in also contribute to making vacationers have a fantastic time.

Puebla

Puebla, Mexico

Puebla, Mexico

A 2-hour drive from Mexico City is Puebla, a colonial wonder city, long known as one of the safest cities of the country. Loaded with cathedrals, monasteries, forts, battlefields and a magnificent museum displaying ancient artifacts, Puebla is famous for its culinary contributions and its ‘talavera’ pottery. History- lovers will be delighted to visit the city’s architectural marvels. The publicly accessible bell tower of Puebla Cathedral, at 226 feet, is the tallest bell tower in Mexico and is filled with historic frescoes and offers an extensive view of the city. Other colonial churches to visit in Pueblo’s center include the Temple of San Francisco and the Temple of Santo Domingo. Must-see museums include the Museo Amparo and the Museo Poblano de Arte Virreinal. (for more museums in Mexico, click here)

Playa del Carmen

Undeniably the most chic and popular spot on all of the Yucatan Peninsula, Playa del Carmen is most famous for its beaches, shopping and nightlife. Quinta Avenida or the 5th Avenue is this touristy town’s main street and is lined with shops, bars, restaurants, nightclubs, entertainment, take-away tacos and vendors selling souvenirs and knick-knacks. Just a short walk from the main beach, this area bounces back to life after sunset. You can dance the night away in one of Playa’s nightclubs, have a quiet drink in one of the lounges, bargain with the vendors or just stroll around doing some people watching. The reefs of this town are excellent, and offer good diving and snorkeling opportunities. The town is conveniently located and allows easy access to Cozumel, Tulum, Coba and other praiseworthy destinations.

Guanajuato

Museo de las Mumias, Guanajuato

Museo de las Mumias, Guanajuato

A small and safe colonial city with a thriving cultural scene, Guanajuato is brimming with character. 30 minutes from León’s Bajio Airport, Guanajuata is a ravishing hill town featuring magnificent 16th-century cathedrals, brightly colored homes on steep hillsides and tree-lined plazas. This city is best known for its Festival Cervantino – a 3-week long international arts festival held every October, featuring world-class opera, music, dance, theatre, orchestras, mariachis, street performance, visual art and films. Another must-see in Guanjuato is the Museo de las Mumias, a museum at the city cemetery, which exhibits approximately 100 mummies.

Photos: flickr.com/photos/gameoflight/8772009444/
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