Mexico Road Safety: Part I
By Dorothy Bell
Dorothy and Bill Bell have lectured about Mexico Road and RV travel in colleges, RV Shows and private seminars throughout Western Canada and the US. They have traveled to all 31 states over a dozen times and are considered experts on road travel in this amazing country. Visit www.ontheroadin.com to view photos and articles about Mexico.
American and Canadian snow birds are making up their minds on whether or not to drive by car or recreational vehicle to their place in the Mexican sun. However, recent travel warnings by both the Canadian and American governments along with negative media reports have generated a tremendous interest and concern over travel safety issues in Mexico.
Response to our first report on Road Safety in Mexico overwhelmed us. It generated over a thousand inquiries and requests for more detailed information on road safety in Mexico. The following is our best assessment and contains answers to many of the questions that have been posed to us.
Our Current Life
Bill and I live in La Penita de Jaltemba Nayarit. It is a small community an hour north of Puerto Vallarta. The town is predominantly populated by Mexicans and with a very large snowbird community that both fly and drive here annually. There are only a few of us expats that live here year round. Our day to day lives continue much as they have done for the last 5 years; we go to the market, restaurants, and bank as we have always done and we feel very safe.
We differ from most locals and tourists in that we travel by road thousands of kilometers a year in Mexico. Most “gringos” and Mexicans do not. We would hate to stop traveling because we were too scared to do so. It has not reached that point, although I will say that we are significantly more careful than we have been in the last 20 years of traveling in Mexico.
We are retired and make a small income from Mexican Road logs and advertising on our website www.ontheroadin.com. We would leave Mexico in a moment if we thought our lives were in danger, the risk was too great, or the stress was too taxing. We would hate to do this because we love our current life in Mexico; we love the people and culture. Our income is certainly not dependent on Mexico tourism and nothing ties us here except our love for the country and our community.
Mexico is enchanting. It’s not the cost of living that continues to attract us; rather it’s the way of life. We enjoy the warm climate, friends, sand between our toes daily, golfing, fishing and outdoor activities. Our lives are significantly simpler than they were before we retired here seven years ago – less complicated.
We find most Mexicans honest and hardworking. They have a love for family and a love of life. We count many as friends and trusted colleagues. There are bad apples and good apples in any barrel and for the most part they are good.
The country is historically intriguing; we cannot get enough of the pyramids and colonial cities; the pageantry of parades or the small and large fiestas and local celebrations. We envy the Mexicans’ deep family roots and love our family and kids just that much more through their example.
We feel safer in our little town and in most places we visit here than we do when we travel and visit many cities and towns north of the border.
Having said that, we recognize that things have changed in Mexico. The Mexican underworld with all of its horror (and ALL countries have an underworld) is brimming to the surface.
...stay tuned for Part II