Writing for the last several years about my favorite beach town in Mexico, Puerto Peñasco, has not been without frustration for the truth. This charming little beach town with brilliant blue water and a slower pace of life, has captured my heart.
For the past two years when mentioning with a joyful smile on my face, “I’m going down for the weekend to the beach”, I’m not surprised by the comments and questions of its safety. It stems from the constant barrage of exaggerated news media reporting, negative and false press and news stories that broadcast any incident that happens in Mexico with a gruesome scare tactic twist, never naming the specific city, and to beware of the borders. Crime happens everywhere, this cannot be denied. The negative press stories go viral. The “Top 10 things to do in Rocky Point” get read by a few who love to travel.
Those of us who travel to Rocky Point, and those expats who live here full time, get tired of defending it.
Well, I decided I’m not going to be tired anymore or stop defending it, the warnings are too general, sensationalized and full of untruths not based in reality and they keep coming just when some thought they were over.
With that said, here are 7 reasons to stop listening to the negative press about Mexico, specifically Rocky Point.
- Mexico is a country not a place
Intelligent folks do not go around generalizing entire countries. What if the international press published headlines warning about travel to the entire USA: Don’t travel to the United States of America; there are school shootings, supermarket shootings involving political figures and night club shootings!!. Be warned of the USA! Dangerous! Corrupt!
- Take a step back and look at when the warnings come out. Mark your calendars for the warnings; you’ll soon notice the pattern. Like clockwork, the federal government puts out a new warning every Spring Break. This is the third year in a row when a new warning surfaced immediately before Spring Break. Someone just remarked to me last month, “Wow, a lot of great things are happening in Rocky Point, more people are visiting and the negative press has died down!”, “Wait,” I said “ Spring Break is coming, and up there’s bound to be a new travel warning” ( I hate to be right)…So, watch out for Memorial weekend, there will be a lead story with a new warning, I’m psychic!
- Check their facts. On the Today show last week they ran a lead story regarding the warnings on Spring Break in Mexico, their main story? A student falls asleep on a lounge chair (all night long) and gets badly beaten. Doesn’t sound like a good thing to happen to anyone, (but one question, why are you sleeping on a lounge chair instead of your hotel room in a foreign county in the first place?)Ok, I’m not going to speculate. But when did this happen? Oh, it happened 2 years ago in Cancun, yes TWO YEARS AGO and there is no evidence the drug cartel is involved, the student cannot remember who did it, but they mention the drug cartels with the story. Really? Can’t find any new spring break incidents in the whole country but one from two years ago to use as a lead story on the Today show? Pathetic.
- Honesty and Truth. Are they fair? Do the events reported happen anywhere else? Due to a recent robbery, the travel warning for Mexico now includes Puerto Vallarta as being unsafe. The new warning is due to a Carnival cruise ship robbery 40 miles outside the city, no one was hurt or injured, but there was a robbery and trust me don’t go there. Well, let’s see…have there ever been any cruise ship robberies before? Celebrity Cruise line passengers got robbed last year in Luxury St. Kitts Island. OK, that’s it, knock that island off your travel list, and another incident happened in the Bahamas’ in 2010 so be warned …oh and someone just got robbed at Walt Disney World last week in 2012, you know what that means…no more Mickey.
- Have they been there? Do they visit often? Listen to the people who travel to the place you want to go. With Facebook now having almost 900 million users, Home owners associations, fan groups of Rocky Point and like minded people will tell you their real stories. If their toe has not touched Old Port, Sandy Beach or the Sea of Cortez, how credible are they about Rocky Point? Don’t fall for the “he said, she said” or “I heard from a friend’s friend that…”
- Are they contradictory? Did you know, the governor’s conference was in Rocky Point February 2012 without incident (not a one), and Jan Brewer, Arizona governor owns a condominium in Puerto Peñasco?
- Are they providing accurate statistics? -In the last 6 months, USA Today ran a front page story on Mexican borders, U.S. border cities prove havens from Mexico’s drug violence,- the front page article pointed out the truth of reporting about Mexico borders and the actual factual statistics. The article states, the US people have been blitzed by media to fear Mexico and regard it as unsafe, when in fact, statistics show the crime rate is decreasing and where you live is more likely to have a higher crime statistic than Mexican borders. The article which can be found at www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2011-07-15-border-violence-mainhas graphs and photos. USA Today quotes, “The analysis found that rates of violent crime along the U.S.-Mexico border have been falling for years — even before the U.S. security buildup that has included thousands of law enforcement officers and expansion of a massive fence along the border. “ and “U.S. border cities were statistically safer on average than other cities in their states. Those border cities, big and small, have maintained lower crime rates than the national average, which itself has been falling.”The most eye opening statistics in the article and what I have constantly witnessed quoted by USA today reporters, “The perception of rising violence is so engrained that 83% of Americans said they believe the rate of violence along the southwestern border is higher than national rates, according to a recent USA TODAY/Gallup Poll of 999 adults.” Be warned, you might think outside the box for a minute.
If you have never personally visited Rocky Point and you choose to buy into the negative untruths instead of listening to those who live there full time, vacation there regularly and own beautiful second homes, then I’m done trying to convince you. It’s probably not the place for you. For those who want to be enlightened and enjoy the beautiful Sea of Cortez, try us out for yourself, you be brave and enjoy the ocean…before you repeat the rumors and scare tactics.
I love Puerto Peñasco and feel safer here than in Phoenix, and that’s the fact Jack!