January 10, 2011 – As we sit seaside in Bahia De Los Angeles on the Sea of Cortez enjoying a warm ocean breeze with daytime highs in the mid 20C range (although it is forecast to warm up to 30C this Friday) it is ironic that there are even fewer RVers on Baja then last year. Speaking with some of our competitors and others operating RV Parks and Campgrounds on Baja, they agree that RV tourism is down generally again. Really not surprising given the outlandish warnings of dire consequences by both the Canadian and American Governments of crossing any northern border from the US into Mexico by land. In reality these warnings served their purpose to scare the heck out of potential travelers and keep people away, tragically the foundation of these warnings are in truth baseless and fictional and more about keeping the Snowbird Business in US. When you review our Canadian government’s Travel Advisory you discover they “cut and paste” from the American Travel Advisory, and when I contacted them to verify the statements it contained they could not relate circumstances of “one” incident referred to in their September 2010 warning, not one!
Reality check folks; On New Years Day a law enforcement officer was killed and another police officer injured in a gun battle in a trailer park, where you ask? Matzatlan? Cancun? Perhaps Cabo San Lucas? No, this unfortunate incident happened in a western Ohio trailer park located in Enon Beach in America. Enon Beach acts as a seasonal campground with some summer-only residents and others who live there year-round. Just recently we have heard about the senseless and terrible shooting rampage in Tucson, Arizona where it has been reported that State Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head when an assailant opened fire outside a grocery store during a meeting with constituents, killing at least five people and injuring several others, 20 were shot in total . It was reported that a 9-year-old child and a federal judge were also fatally shot. The shooting comes amid a highly charged political environment in the US that has seen several dangerous threats against lawmakers but nothing that reached the point of actual violence. A San Francisco man upset with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s support of health care reform pleaded guilty to threatening the Democratic congresswoman and her family, calling her directly on March 25 and threatening to destroy her Northern California home if she voted for health care reform. In July, a California man known for his anger over left-leaning politics engaged in a shootout with highway patrol officers after planning an attack on the ACLU and another non-profit group.
Almost one million RVers are currently Snowbirding in the southern US, should they be afraid? The answer; Of course not! Nor should you be afraid to RV in Mexico.
Contrary to what has been reported by many mainstream US and Canadian media outlets, crime is not an all-encompassing problem in Mexico. It is isolated, just as the circumstances I described above and the incidents that happen in my home town of Surrey, BC, Canada. To suggest or state that crime is rampant in Mexico is simply a ridiculous statement. Just like not all the United States or Canada is under a crime siege perpetuated by Organized Crime, neither is all of Mexico involved in a drug war or subject to the violence carried out by drug cartels. Fact: The crime rate in the US and Canada is higher than in Mexico, yes bad things do happen everywhere. The US Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs, confirms “millions of US citizens and other foreigners safely visit Mexico each year. This includes tens of thousands who cross the border every day for study, tourism, prescription drugs, vision care, dental work or business. Over a million Americans and other foreign nationals continue to reside in Mexico and the Mexican government makes a considerable effort to ensure tourists feel safe and comfortable while visiting Mexico. Case in point; when we arrived in Bahia other RVers told us the local teenagers had been getting rowdy on the beach at night, with drinking and partying over the Xmas holidays. When this continued they complained to the local Police. After the complaint we had no more partying on the beach, the local authorities took their complaints seriously and acted to put an end to the rowdy behaviour immediately. If only things worked that quickly at home!
Whether you join an RV Caravan Tour to Baja (there many options and price ranges), travel with another couple who have Baja experience or buy a map and a good Mexico camping book, you really shouldn’t pass up the opportunity to try Baja this winter. It really is a shame not to give Baja a chance, definitely a warmer destination in January and February and an abundance friendly people.