Mar 9, 2009, 10:07 AM
Post #4 of 5
Pez, I live full time in Mazatlan, as do both Dee & Marlene, who are members of MexConnect. We live in various areas of Mzt, so each of us views the living conditions -- and security issues -- through slightly different lenses. Amongst the expats in our community, there are often discussions regarding the reports and warnings being issued by the US media and government. None of us here are living with blinders on; we're all quite aware of the 'drug war', and the violent actions of both the cartels and law enforcement agencies. There have been several murders (of both criminals and police) here in the last year, but no drug-related violence specifically targetting expats or visitors. Our local law enforcement agencies have responded rapidly and effectively in the couple of incidents that have occured, quickly getting things under control. I won't gloss over the reality... the cartels are serious about winning the war against their livelihood, and they are not above 'inviting' law enforcement individuals to join them in the fight, or of killing those persons who decline their invitation. They are not interested in involving tourists or expats, nor the vast majority of the Mexican nationals who aren't already involved in the trade.
I try to read and translate the local Sinaloa news online every day, and I'm also aware of the US media campaign to paint all of Mexico with the same brush of violence and corruption that some of the border areas rightfully deserve. In all honesty, and with 'no bull', I feel that I'm as safe living in Maz, traveling freely throughout the city by bus and taxi, and on foot, as I would in most any other city, using common sense as my guide. I'm cautious when getting money from the ATM machines, and have my wallet set up so that I can get what I need out without showing a wad of cash. I carry my bag slung over one shoulder and across my body when out in public, but that has been my habit for years, and has nothing to do with the drug war. The bus route between my house and several other parts of Mzt takes me through the industrial and commercial fishing district, and I know that I'm as safe as any other passenger.... we're more vulnerable to accidents than to violence. My fellow bus passengers are usually working people going about their daily routines, and I've occasionally been asked where I'm going by people who are concerned that I've gotten on the wrong bus, and am lost. As a tourist, you would have no reason to be anywhere near any of the rougher neighborhoods, so have even less to be concerned about than I have.
As for your safety as a visitor in Mazatlan, I honestly think that you are as safe here as you would be anyplace, as long as you use common sense. Don't wear expenxsive jewelry, flash wads of cash, hand your debit or credit card off to be taken to the cashier in restaurants, keep wallet and bag where you can see them, don't go looking for trouble in any way, and if you are out partying at night, take a taxi back to your hotel rather than walking.
Bring your common sense, suntan lotion, hearty appetite, and camera.... and enjoy Mazatlan! Thee's so much to see and do here... it'd be a shame to let the media keep you from relaxing and enjoying your trip.
Lee's Photos: Beyond the Guardrails