Filed under Mexico | 1 Comment »
We have received a number of inquiries from people who want to know if it is safe to travel to Mexico, specifically to visit the monarch overwintering colonies near Angangueo (El Rosario and Sierra Chincua), Zitacuaro (Cerro Pelon), and Valle de Bravo (Herrada). Most people know of the conflicts among the drug cartels and between the army and these cartels. Most of the violence associated with these conflicts occurs in the Mexican cities and states bordering the United States but some occurs in the states of Michoacan and Mexico, where the overwintering monarchs reside, and in scattered locations along the Pacific coast. It used to be safe to drive into Mexico from the United States and I’ve done it at least 30 times without incident. However, driving into Mexico is no longer safe and should not be attempted. While most of the violence involves cartel members attacking each other and fighting with federal troops, a number of students and visitors to northern Mexico have been killed.
Tours to the monarch overwintering sites are still accepting applications and if you would like to visit Mexico this winter to see the monarchs, we advise you to join one of the tours rather than renting a car. Foreign tourists have not been targeted and traveling in groups should be safer than traveling alone.
Five groups we are aware of (there may be others) that are still booking tours appear below. If you go on one of these tours, please give us a report about your impression of the number and condition of the monarchs and let us know of your experience in general.
Beyond Backyard Adventures – led by Bonnie Chase and Dr. Bill Calvert
Rocamar Tours – led by Paul and Phill Justice
ECOLIFE Foundation tours – led by Bill Toone
Natural Habitat Adventures
U. S. Department of State Travel Warning
The U. S. Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs (travel.state.gov/) provides a lot of good information for those traveling abroad, including a current “Travel Warnings” page. So what exactly is a travel warning?
“Travel Warnings are issued when long-term, protracted conditions that make a country dangerous or unstable lead the State Department to recommend that Americans avoid or consider the risk of travel to that country. A Travel Warning is also issued when the U.S. Government’s ability to assist American citizens is constrained due to the closure of an embassy or consulate or because of a drawdown of its staff.”
On September 10, 2010 Mexico was added to this list which, as of this writing, includes 30 other countries. Please see the Mexico Travel Warning page for complete information.