I must admit that I had some of the same thoughts about safety in Mexico before we left. The drug problems are constantly in the news, and whenever we mentioned that we were traveling to Mexico our friends brought up the question of safety (since they read the same newspaper headlines), so I can understand the concern of the family that just canceled. However, just coming back from Oaxaca.....
1. Having spent time on a previous trip with you I knew that you would not lead a tour if you thought there was a safety issue.
2. I felt very safe on our recent trip. Parts of it were fascinating and very different from my day to day experience in Baltimore... but that is the reason I like to travel with you.
3. There are usually 300 murders a year in Baltimore, and that does not keep people from visiting. In fact I felt much safer in Oaxaxa than in going into Baltimore. The general tone in Oaxaca is much gentler, and the people are nicer!
4. I recommend your tours to all of my friends. We had a great time, and I look forward to our next trip.
Dear Fellow Travelers,
A group of 20 and I have just returned from a trip with Traditions Mexico
led by Eric Mindling. We were in the Guadalajara, Tlaquepaque, Lake
Chapala area meeting local artists, exploring the many wonderful shops and
restaurants in Tlaquepaque and attending The Maestros de Arte Feire at Lake
Chapala. The highlight of our trip was visiting the private studios of the
artists in and around the area. I can only tell you that everyone of us
had an absolutely wonderful trip. We felt totally safe and at ease walking
the streets, shopping and eating at night. Our hotel was perfect for us
and we were made to feel welcome by everyone we came in contact with.
When I first planned the trip, I had several questions about the 'safety'
of Mexico. I felt that I had done everything possible to work with the
best guides who would also be very attentive to our safety and as a result,
we had to trust and to believe in the real people in Mexico that we would
be fine. We WERE....Obviously, I nor our guide put us in questionable
areas. The trip was so fabulous, that the group is already planning their
next trip back to Mexico next year and we will be going to the Oaxacan
The decision to travel or not to travel to Mexico lies in your hands, but
you could be missing a wonderful trip filled with wonderful people if you
decide to just stay home.
Jean Z, Travel Agent
Tom and I felt completely safe in Mexico . As Chip Morris said, to be afraid of going to Chiapas is like being afraid of going to Ohio if there is a murder in New York City .
Chiapas, and I’m sure most other places in Mexico , are completely safe; in fact, the US is much more dangerous than most other foreign countries.
I recently returned from a 5-day tour of ceramic folk art with Eric in Guadalajara. Never having been to Mexico before, I wasn't sure what to expect and I was a little nervous about traveling there by myself as a young woman. However, once I was there I realized that my worry had been in vain. Everything was taken care of for me and not once did I feel unsafe. Eric knows Mexico as if he was born there and I knew he had our safety and enjoyment as his topmost priority. In fact, I felt more safe in Mexico than I do in many places in the states. As a group, we encountered zero problems, not even stomach illness. What touched me the most was how friendly and helpful the Mexican people were. One of the staff members at the hotel we were staying at volunteered to take a few of us to a beautiful textile workshop that we had inquired about on his day off. We had a fabulous time and I was so touched by his generosity.
If there is violence happening in Mexico, it was very far away from where we were. I honestly did feel safer there than in certain places even in my own neighborhood.
My family is already planning another trip to Oaxaca with Eric as soon as possible. I do not hesitate going again or bringing my younger siblings with me. The portrayal of Mexico by the media seems lop-sided and grossly inaccurate after my experience there.
I just returned from a magical week in mexico seeing the sights of the region in and around guadaljara. the trip was expertly led by eric and every moment was a treasure. I did not think or worry for a single second about my physical safety or well being. our group confidently walked the streets at night and throughout the day with not a thought of anything other than enjoying the treasures we were seeing and learning about. I cannot recommend eric enough. he is capable, smart, articulate and so well versed in his trade that the trip was effortless. being in a country is far different than reading the American headlines. I trusted that eric’s awareness of the goings on in the region were sound and that proved to be the case. can’t wait to return for another adventure.
laurie s, santa fe, new mexico
I'm so sorry that some people are so convinced that all of Mexico is what you hear on the news.
We were NEVER concerned about our safety--even while confused in the Mexico city airport.
Oaxaca and the countryside was more peaceful than downtown Indianapolis. It appears that away from the border and the tourist resorts Mexican life goes on as always.
Next time I plan to fly Continental direct to Oaxaca.
David is coming this weekend to celebrarte Mona's birthday and combine our pictures---we will do the evaluation also if time permits.
Dear Travelers interested in a good times in friendly Mexico
I have been on 6 or 7 tours with Eric..... several about pottery, textiles and Day of the Dead in Oaxaca and Michoacan. All of these trips have been without a single slip-up, mess-up or any sort of disappointment or inconvenience. . Quite to the contrary all have been FUN!!! educational safe, fine eating, lots of laughter and extraordinary opportunities to meet Mexicans in their homes and at their work. Never did I have a concern for my safety. In fact the group always felt welcome in the towns and in the homes of local Mexicans. I live between Baltimore and Washington D.C.; if you interested in some risky touring i can give you directions to some pretty dangerous areas. Most of the press has focused on the border states. Recent news items have not been about tourists or people outside of the political/drug world. Three scientific studies have shown Mexico to be at the top or near the top of the list of happiest people in the world. The USA and UK are down around 20.
I am 77 years old, retired from the Smithsonian Institution and Johns Hopkins U. I have traveled the globe and look forward to future tours in Oaxaca, Chiapas and Michoacan with Eric.
If you have any reservations about at trip to Oaxaca or any of Erics tours don't hesitate to contact me.
First I want to thank you and Traditions Mexico for this past months tour which was probably the Best Trip to Mexico we ever had.
My wife, Kris has been to Mexico at least 25 times since her first trip back in the 1970's.
I have visited Mexico 7 times, from our first trip by tour/van to "Batopilas" at the bottom of the Copper Canyon" in the State of Chihuahua to our latest trip this past month with you and our tour group to Oaxaca. In 2009 we were fortunate to be part of your tour group to Michoacan to visit the homes of potters and mask makers and weavers and attend the huge craft fair in the City of Uruopan.
We have visited many places in Mexico, particularly over the past 5 or 6 years, having flown into Verzcruz, rented a car and driven up the Gulf Coast, through the State of HIdalgo to visit a Mexican family, on to Tlaxala for a weeks cooking class where my wife attended class and I drove into town daily to have coffee and sit in the plaza and watch the world go by. In 2008 we booked a boutique hotel in Guadalajara for 11 nights and literally walked that city, they even close the main boulevard (14 miles long) to vehicles on Sunday and "everyone" comes out and pushes the babybuggys, bicycles and makes a family day of it. We have flown to Baja, into Cabo, rented a car to "get out of Cabo" up the coast to Todo Santos, then drove on to La Paz with it's wonderful beaches and restaurants, and then drove further up Baja to Loreto, on to Santa Ignacio Lagoon and stayed in eco-tourism huts and took small guided boats out to see and touch the baby gray whales.
For the 2009 trip to Michocaon Mexico, my wife and I flew in to Mexico City 2 days ahead of your tour and had the wonderful experience of taking a taxi from the airport to the main bus station in Mexico City and then traveled by First Class bus from Mexico City to Morelia. Being in Morelia 2 days by ourselves, we hired a local guide who showed us around town and we walked the streets by ourselves for the better part of those two days. Your tour was fantastic and the other members of the tour group were engaging and I maintain an email relationship with one from Austrialia. At the end of your tour, we returned to Mexico City via First Class bus and stayed several nights at a B&B in the Condessa District, visited all the Frida and Diego museums, houses and gardens, rode the Subway in Mexico City and were probably one of the few non-inhabitants that visited several of the huge public markets which were an absolute kick.
In July 2009, my wife flew back to Mexico City by herself and joined a small tour group that attended a cooking course for a week with a famous Mexican Cooking Chef in the State of Michocoan.
The Traditions Mexico Return of the Souls tour from which we just returned was probably one of the best tours we have had in Mexico. Oaxaca is a large city and the "historic" part of town is very clean and the buildings so colorful with the various shades of oranges and reds and greens. Again, we arrived in town 2 days ahead of the tour and had walked a lot of the town before the tour started. We went out in the evenings for dinners, visited shops that stay open until 9pm, walked many blocks from our B&B. During the day we also made cash withdrawals from ATM machines which are conveniently located throughout the district. We went to the huge public market and were probably the only non-Mexicans in the whole huge market. The markets are one of the most interesting places in Mexican Cities and Villages as this is where the locals all meet and shop. We had wonderful food cooked right in the market and sat at the little tables and ate with the locals. After the Traditions Mexico Tour, we flew in a small plane out to the beach resort city Huatulco to 4 nights at a B&B. We rented a car, drove to many small towns, spent 2 days at the beach with the locals, ate their food and drank their cervazas and had a wonderful time.
As far as safety in Mexico, we have never been in situations where we felt uncomfortable. We do pay attention to where we are and our surroundings, the same as you would do in any large city. My wife got pickpocketed on the Metro in Paris last year....never happened in Mexico and we've been in some pretty big public markets and sat in some large zocalos and plazas and wandered with the masses. Sure, you pay attention and just like visiting cities in the States, there are parts of US cities you just don't go to and the same is for Mexico. But to not even go to Mexico is a shame. The Mexican people are no different than people in the States. Oh, maybe one major exception. When you walk the streets in the Cities and particularly in the small villages in Mexico, you always say Buenos Dias or Buenos Tardes or Buenos Noches. You don't get that in the states.
Probably the scariest part of this recent trip was the midnight BART train ride from San Francisco Airport to Walnut Creek with all the weirdos.
We are looking forward to our next trip to Mexico and hope anyone that is considering traveling to Mexico makes plans also. What the media does not tell you is that the Mexican people are just like people everywhere, they are good, they have great food, they are friendly and they miss you if you do not come and let them show you the real Mexico. And, in our book, Traditions Mexico is the best tour group going. Eric, you know the country, its customs, its crafts, its language, and especially the courtesies of the Mexican people which make it so special to be on your tours.
Bill & Kris M