This is such a controversial topic in the travel world right now. If you pay any attention to the news, you’re probably aware of the storm that has been brewing in the Yucatan Peninsula (not literally).
If not, let me fill you in: A family from Pewaukee, WI (near and dear to my heart) went on a vacation to Cancun, Mexico in January. They had just arrived at their resort and were discussing dinner plans and all agreed to meet in the lobby in about an hour. The two kids (20 & 22 at the time) were in the pool having a few drinks. They were suppose to meet their parents at an agreed upon time for dinner. As time ticked by, the parents grew worried and started asking the front desk where their children could be. Come to find out, both kids were in the hospital as they were found unconscious, face down in the pool. The young daughter, Abbey, ended up passing away while her brother, Austin, nearly drowned in the pool next to her. He suffered an injury to his forehead and a severe concussion. He doesn’t remember what happened (Full Article Here).
Well–if that isn’t horrifying, I mean how many times have you gone to an all inclusive and this didn’t even cross your mind in your wildest imagination. I had so many questions after reading about this, as did everyone else:
- How much did they actually drink?
- How did none of the pool staff see this going on? If you have ever been to an all-inclusive resort, there is no way you could be drinking at a swim up bar and end up face down in the water without ANYONE seeing anything.
- Who is hiding something?
- Wait, couldn’t they just be dehydrated? I mean, a long day of traveling mixed in with young people who might not be able to control their alcohol consumption and the sun doesn’t make for a good combination.
- Could the media just be blowing this out of proportion? You know how it is…
- I even found myself saying things like “that could happen anywhere, you have a higher chance of getting struck by lightning than this happening on a trip to Mexico”
But what really caught my attention is the copious amount of people who have stepped forward with their story after finding out about this. It’s like the thing with Bill Cosby–if one person admitted he raped them, they COULD be making it up. But when HUNDREDS of people step up and say a similar thing happened to them, something is for sure happening.
Take for example, Kathy Daley age 53, who went to Cancun on a family vacation who had been careful to stick with water throughout the day to stay hydrated. The group she was with decided to have a shot of tequila she didn’t care for the shot so when they decided to have a second, she declined. She bartender offered her a mixed drink and the next thing she remembers is being in the hospital, vomiting and disoriented.
That is just one example out of the HUNDREDS of people who have mentioned similar incidents happening to them. Check out the stories from the site “Mexico Vacation Awareness” Here.
Clearly something is VERY wrong.
Not if it makes anything easier, the US issued a Mexico Travel Warning earlier this week warning citizens of US of the risk of traveling to certain parts of Mexico due to increased criminal activities such as kidnapping, homicide and violent crimes. A test run by the Mexican government has found no indication of tainted alcohol however this article published by Time magazine states that the 2017 report from Euromonitor International said up to 36% of alcohol consumed in Mexico is illegal and that Mexican authorities have seized 10,000 gallons of illegal alcohol this month in Cancun and Playa del Carmen.
So–where do I stand as a travel agent?
First of all, as my parents always told me, no matter WHERE you are. You should ALWAYS be aware of your surroundings, ESPECIALLY when traveling. I don’t think this comes as a surprise to many people. Is it unfortunate if you go to an all inclusive where you have already paid upfront for all the food an alcohol that you can’t enjoy a few drinks? Yes–very much so. But your life is worth it.
Is it safe to go to Mexico? Hmm…well. I went to Mexico last year while many of these incidents were happening, was drinking and didn’t experience any problems. There are MILLIONS of people who have gone to Mexico this past year and haven’t had anything go wrong. Does that mean you will be ok? There are NO guarantees. Would I recommend going there? Not at this time.
What if I already have a trip booked to Mexico? PLEASE be extra cautious of your surroundings. Maybe even make the decision to NOT drink while there. If you just can’t help yourself, stick with beer or wine instead of a mixed drink (most of the tainted alcohol found is tequila which is unfortunate to not be able to drink it while in MEXICO).
What if I don’t care and really want to go anyway? (Because, you can find GREAT deals until this blows over). See above–we urge you not to drink alcohol. I also recommend you purchase travelers insurance with your trip. This will help with any medical costs that you could incur while traveling and give you some peace of mind.
All in all–I strongly recommend you wait to take a trip to Mexico until these underlying issues have been resolved. Your life is precious and worth it. There are many other affordable locations to go in the Caribbean that are just as accessible, within the same price point and that are on incredible beaches. I want you to be worry-free. I want you to be safe. I want you to come back home and rave about your incredible vacation.