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Fact from Fiction: Security in Mexico, Sonora and our Region
We would like nothing more than for you to discover and enjoy a true hidden jewel, a fascinating land that is drawing guests from all over the world. Discover what our guests, who visit us from the US (45%), Canada (25%), Europe (20%), Australia and New Zealand (10%), have already found: a land of immense beauty, together with great adventures, service and hospitality. These guests looked past the negative publicity about Mexico and found in our ranch a great adventure travel destination.
There is, we feel, quite a bit of unfair, biased and over-sensationalized news about Mexico, a country roughly the size of Western Europe. What is portrayed, and the reality we in Mexico live in, are almost completely different stories. Mexico has, we feel, been unfairly characterized as an entire nation that is unsafe, when in reality only a couple regions in Mexico are currently experiencing unsafe conditions. Because of this, millions of Americans who would otherwise be traveling to Mexico on vacation are made to feel uncertain about their own tastes and preferences. Our Canadian and European guests, on the other hand, get less negative news about Mexico. Instead of having a great vacation in a great country, they are being needlessly scared off. As with any issue, knowledge is power. Education trumps fear.
We just had to post this article, via The Atlantic's CityLab, comparing the homicide rate for many major American cities with those of the world's highest rated nations. As you will see, many Americans, and tourists, do not refrain from visiting Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, Washington, New Orleans, Baltimore, Detroit, Atlanta, Houston and Phoenix even as their homicide rates, per 100,000 people, are higher than those of Mexico. Americans and tourists to the US do not avoid these cities, or their states, even though they are much more dangerous than Mexico, or our state of Sonora. Fact is, one can be in much more danger in Phoenix than in Sonora, and much, much safer at the Rancho than in Arizona. A little perspective, reason and common sense should rule the day. Click the link below:
Statistic of the Year, courtesy of The Washington Post: Of 2,500 municipalities (what we call counties), only 80, or fewer than 5 percent, have been affected by the drug war, which accounts for only 3 percent of all crime.
If you are still not convinced, take a look at these numbers:
3.4 percent more Americans and 3.7 percent more Canadians visited Mexico in 2011 compared to 2010.
German tourism jumped by 8.4 percent, Argentinean by 23.6 percent and French by 5.8 percent.
In the first half of 2011, 10.3 million Americans visited Mexico. This accounted for 36 percent of all international travel by United States citizens during this time period.
Over the same six months, only 5.2 million Americans traveled to Europe, and 3.2 million visited the Caribbean.
A little perspective, therefore, is in order, and we hope a little objective research will squash any feelings of fear and insecurity potential guests might have as they contemplate a visit to our ranch. Mexico is not a black and white issue, nor is violence and insecurity all-encompassing. Truth is, there is little to fear in our state of Sonora, our border crossing at Douglas, and in our region in general. The trip to the ranch is a pleasure to take. We ask that you objectively look at the facts, do some research into our region, our state and the nation, and not at what is being fed on television or the media, as you make plans to visit our beautiful ranch. (Please enjoy our slideshow below. Photos taken August 28-30, 2011)
Fact is, we want you to visit us and have an amazing time. Likewise, we would never offer our ranch as a travel destination, or claim our region as a safe one, if violence or insecurity was a fact of life. We would never put the safety of our guests in danger. Never. We do not put money over people. That is not how we operate. We have full confidence in our ranch and region, a fact all of our past guests will attest to. In fact, all of our past guests remark how much safer they feel at the ranch than anywhere else. Once at the ranch, you might think you are in Arizona, or New Mexico. You could be anywhere, as there hardly exists any signs that you are in Mexico.
Below are a number of very good links that, hopefully, will shed light on the reality that is Mexico, while at the same time squashing unfair portrayals of a great and safe nation. As we mentioned before, knowledge is power. Please take a few minutes to click and browse through our collection of links.
Tierra Chamahua Eco Adventures is well aware that some potential guests might have concerns traveling into Mexico for fear of violence, harassment and other forms of illicit activities. While we understand your concern, we also feel that this fear and hesitation is, for the most part, unfounded, particularly for the region where we are located. For us in the region and the ranch, fear, insecurity and unsafe conditions are non-issues, just as they have been for decades.
Mexico does indeed have sections of the country that are prone to violence and crime, as do many other countries. However, Mexico is roughly the size of Western Europe, a very large land mass. The now two major violence "hot spots" are nowhere near our ranch. In Mexico, like most nations, violence and insecurity are neither all-encompassing nor black and white. Indeed, it is quite unfair to characterize an entire nation the size of Western Europe under a condemning blanket of violence and insecurity. The insecurity in Mexico, we feel, has been sensationalized and does not reflect reality.
We are quite aware of the ongoing internecine drug war among drug cartels associated with Mexico, and of the government effort to combat cartels, corruption and violence. This violence has subsided dramatically in the last four years. These centers of violence are relegated to two areas, none of which is in or near the state of Sonora. Northeast Sonora, and the region where Rancho Los Banos is located in particular, have not experienced crime or violence or harassment against natives or tourists to even remotely compare with other parts of the nation. Sonora remains at peace and security. Sonora, it should be added, has less violent crime, aggravated assault, rape and homicide rates than Arizona, our American neighbor. Phoenix is a much more dangerous place than our region. Ours is a region hundreds of miles away from the centers of violence.
Like all countries, Mexico has its good sections as well as its bad ones, and fortunately, the area where we are located has not suffered the same fate as other regions. An American citizen is more likely to suffer and act of criminality or violence in his or her own country and city than they are to have a bad experience in and around Rancho Los Banos. The yearly homicide, rape, aggravated assault and felony rates of Mexico are dwarfed by those of the United States, except you hear more about Mexico in the nightly news. Over one million American citizens, as well as several hundred thousand Canadians, Europeans and Latin American ex-pats (and growing) now call Mexico home, many of them retirees, and tens of millions more travel as tourists inside Mexico to all sections of the country.
These millions have nothing but positive experiences while in Mexico, either living in or enjoying their stay without complaint. In fact, not many of these millions of new Mexican residents have left Mexico, and Mexico keeps adding tens of thousands of ex-Pats on a yearly basis. Many of our past guests mention feeling safer at Rancho Los Banos than in their respective cities. These guests, in fact, have volunteered to act as references to any potential guest interested in visiting the ranch. These guests have experienced the trip to the ranch, as well as time at the ranch.
Sections of Mexico do, in fact, sometimes present dangerous situations, as do many American cities and European nations, but it would be an exaggeration and an outright lie to impugn all of Mexico, which is a very big nation, for a few bad apples. We are also of the belief that you find trouble, trouble does not find you. The ongoing drug battle in Mexico is a fight that rarely, if ever, finds innocents killed or hurt. Violence is being committed by criminal gangs on criminal gangs, or criminal gangs on law enforcement, or vice versa. Ordinary citizens rarely, if ever, become targets or are caught in the crossfire. Therefore, the only thing you have to fear is fear itself.
The situation in Mexico's "hot spots" is similar to endemic violence in many of America's urban areas. One would not avoid travel to Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, Dallas, Oakland, Baltimore, Washington DC, New Orleans, Phoenix or New York because of a few "hot spots" that one would never encounter. Folks that live in these cities and their metro areas rarely, if ever, encounter the violence that affects urban zones. Our region is very similar to this situation, though on a national scale. Again, we are the size of Western Europe.A little common sense and perspective always trumps fear.
Please enjoy our movie showcasing highlights of the Rancho, to the music of Linda Rondstadt.
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