And this guy comes out with a machete out of the woods
just out of nowhere. Hola amigos! Jim and May here
from Spanish and Go and we're coming at you from Guanajuato,
Mexico. A Level Two on the U.S. State Department travel advisory
But why do we mention that? Well, because there's a question
we get asked all the time. Is Mexico dangerous?
So, after years of living and traveling in Mexico we feel
very qualified to answer that question.
So in this video we're going to give you nine tips for
traveling safely through Mexico. Emecemos. Drugs.
These are all things that people tend to associate with Mexico.
But why? If you come to Mexico are you going to get kidnapped
or murdered? The reality of the situation is quite
different than what the media often portrays.
The U.S. State Department has a travel advisory scale
level which goes from one to four. Number four being do not
go there. And there's five states in Mexico which are in
the four level which are. Colima,
Sinaloa, and Tamaulipas. And from those five states we
have visited three and I have from one of them. I am from
Colima. And Colima is now supposedly the most dangerous
place in Mexico right now.
And Colima is actually where we've spent the most time in
Mexico. We've even hitchhiked there and we're still alive.
So we've traveled all over Mexico flying, taking trains,
driving for hours, and have we ever felt unsafe May?
Not really. We know that most of the violence here in Mexico
is related to cartels so if you're coming to Mexico
and you have no plans of buying or selling drugs you are doing
a lot already to protect yourself from crime.
That's right. Crack is whack. Stay away from the drugs you're
probably going to be fine.
So we have nine tips that we want to share with you.
These are things that we do all the time to stay safe here in
So tip number one driver only during the day. We are very
strict about this. We make sure that if we're going to be
traveling by car that we only drive during the day.
We take buses at night occasionally. But if we're
driving you don't want to find yourself driving along a highway
somewhere only to be stopped by some nefarious criminals.
We've heard of this happening. People get stopped
on the highway sometimes especially when they're
vulnerable. And when are you most vulnerable? At night.
On top of that I'd make sure that you take a toll road
whenever possible day or night. That's going to make sure
that there's some check points in between the cities
that you're driving through that kind of help make sure
that there's not anything fishy going on. Usually with those
checkpoints they can kind of monitor what's going on on
The second tip we have for you is to never put all your money
in one spot and also never have too much money on you.
So all we do is that if we have our things at the place we're
staying we leave some — most of the money —
we'll leave it there. And we only go out with just what we
need for the day. If we're going out for lunch and then we know
maybe we want to go to a museum or something. We only have
enough for each day with us.
Number three try to blend in. You don't want to go to a place
where the average income is twenty thousand dollars
a year and you come in with an Apple Watch and your
computer and all of these things that most people in the area
don't have. You want to fit in and be modest.
If you're standing out and wearing really nice clothes
and carrying and flashing nice technology and cash
on you it's going to make you more of a target.
We like to visit less touristy places and places like Colima
where my mother in law lives sometimes I'm one of the few
gringos in the city and I stand out. I notice that people are
noticing me. I already stand out just because I have light skin.
I don't need to draw extra attention to myself and I'm not
afraid in Colima. But I would recommend in general
if you're visiting a place especially a less touristy place
to just do your best to blend in.
Tip number four is take only authorize taxis.
Nowadays there’s other services like Uber or Chauffeur Pro or
Lyft in some cities in Mexico. But there are places where
the only option you have sometimes is to take a taxi.
And what we do whenever we have to take a taxi is that we buy
a ticket at a kiosk or we look for the sito de taxi which is
the place where all the taxis are gathered.
They're like waiting in and for the next person to come.
So when you buy a ticket or when you take a taxi from the sitio
you are making sure that these taxi is not a pirata.
That it has permits. That it’s a legal taxi to be offering
their services. So we like to buy tickets for taxis
because there's usually set prices for each destination.
So it's really helpful to be able to confirm the price
of your trip before you get in the taxi.
And remember in Mexico — don't usually tip taxi drivers.
So if you want to know more about tipping in Mexico check
out our video about that. Number five. If you can avoid it
try not to go alone. And if you do go alone try to only
walk around places where it's well lit and there's people
around. This will help you stay a little safer than if you're
alone and potentially more of a target to somebody else
who wants to come along and do harm or rob you.
Whatever the case may be. In my case we used to live
in Playa del Carmen for a while and back then we didn't have
internet at our apartment. So I'd often go to the cyber
cafe to do some work. And I would walk home often at night.
And usually this wasn't a problem. But one night
I was sexually assaulted by a prostitute. No joke.
It wasn't anything violent and I was able to walk away kind of
laughing about the matter. But yeah, a prostitute did
grabbed me by the crotch trying to convince me for their
services and I walked home pretty quick after that to see
Feeling dirty and used. And this may sound
like if you're a guy you could be like great,
yeah I want that to happen, or I don't know.
But sometimes these sexual workers are professional
So you do have to be careful.
Oh yeah that happened your friend Matt.
Yep, our frien — our friend Matt the Expert Vagabond.
He had his phone stolen from. In Playa.
In — in Playa del Carmen. He was able to get it back
though. He realized before the phone was gone for good.
Chased down the sex worker and got his phone back.
So stay vigilant and try not to go alone.
And the next tip number six we have for you is to trust your
instincts. Sometimes you feel like a weird vibe or something
is telling you that you shouldn't be in that place.
Don't even think about it. Just. Grab your stuff; go somewhere
else. We have been in situations where we are taking pictures
or we're about to play the drone and something tells us that we
shouldn't be doing that and we don't think about it twice.
We pack our things; we go somewhere else.
Because we know that nobody's going to take better care of us
than ourselves. So make sure you trust your instinct.
Right. There's only really about two times in Mexico where I felt
uncomfortable. Not necessarily unsafe, but uncomfortable.
when we went to see the butterflies. That felt a little
sketchy. It felt like people were watching us.
And not because something bad was going to happen but also
the locals were telling us to be careful. And that made us feel
more… On edge.
Yeah they would look at the car be like, “oh make sure you're
always watching your car because things happen here.”
We would be like “why?” or things like that.
So that made us feel a little weird.
Yeah. And nothing happened but...
OK, I've got one story I can think of one time where I felt a
little unsafe in Mexico. And this lasted maybe two
minutes. I was flying the drone in,
well, near Angangueo when we're going to see the monarch
butterfly sanctuary, and we were just coming back
and I wanted to get a shot of the landscape. And there
was a bunch of woods and I was flying the drone. It was up in
the air and this guy comes out with a machete out of the woods
just out of nowhere. And he said that he was drunk — or no —
He looked — yeah….
Yeah. He said he was hung over. Yeah.
And he needed money to cure his hangover. I don't know what you
buy to cure a hangover. Probably more alcohol.
I don't know.
But he had a machete when he asked me. And so in that moment
I didn't like I had a choice to give them the money he so I
just… “Yeah yeah. Here’s… you want 10 pesos is
20." So, that was the only time I was
a little on edge about my safety in Mexico. But nothing happened.
Number 7: Use your Spanish. Let it be known
that you understand what people are saying around you.
This makes you less vulnerable for pretty obvious reasons.
If you let people know that you understand them
then they're going to be more cautious about trying to plot
against you for any reason. This can be really helpful
in situations where maybe no one wants to take advantage
of you aggressively but maybe financially and you can let
it be known that hey this isn't your first time in Mexico.
Maybe it is. But if you speak Spanish you can reason
with people and let them know that you understand them.
You're there for, you know, well-intentioned reasons.
You're not there to harm anyone or rip anybody off,
and that you want to, you know, make friends and be on good
terms with people. People will respect you more just
because you've taken the time to speak their native tongue.
That being said, what are some useful phrases if you're
in a tough situation or you need to explain something to somebody
or there's some sort of emergency.
Well one of them could be “alguien llame a la policía.”
Again, alguien llame a la polcía.
And that means someone please call the cops.
Another phrase that you could use is — or this is just a
word — “ayuda.” That means help. Ayuda. Something else.
Maybe you need a doctor. So, “Necesito un doctor."
What else is there anybody you can think of?
No traigo dinero. I think that comes in handy a lot
because there's a lot of people asking for money in certain
areas of of Mexico, and just simply saying that kind
of disarms them a little bit from thinking that you're
carrying a load of money.
Yeah, so that is again “no traigo dinero,”
or “no traigo nada,” which can also be understood as “I have
It's not worth it. Don't bother robbing me.
I have nothing. No tengo nada.
Is there any other.
Oh there's plenty of others, but you know, stay tuned
to the channel and will help you out with that.
Tip number 8 is have an emergency contact. If you can
make sure someone knows every step of your travels so a family
member or a friend should have a list of the places you're
going to be visiting. Or also you could have someone track
your location while you're traveling in the country.
This may sound like it's too much, but you have to do
everything to stay safe.
Yeah, especially if you're in an unfamiliar area just send
If you're traveling by yourself too.
Yeah. It's so easy these days to just share your location with
a friend or family member. That way you kind of have
that extra level of security knowing that somebody else knows
exactly where you are. And number 9: make copies of all
of your important documents. I think it's important to have a
copy of your passport, your credit card numbers,
your license, and backup phone numbers.
Emergency contact phone numbers. In fact some of them you should
have memorized, but in case you don't,
at least have a backup somewhere. Either a digital copy
or even a physical copy and both if you can. It's better
to travel with the copy easily accessible and the original
protected. But I also keep a digital copy that no matter
what happens, all of my stuff could be stolen, and then I
would be able to go to a computer somewhere
and access my encrypted information and prove that I am
who I say I am and that I have a valid passport and all of
these things. You also want to make sure that you have your
bank's phone number in case you get a credit card stolen you
can call and cancel that. And one bonus tip related to
that — you can have a copy of your wallet. Just have one
wallet have all of your expired credit cards. I call this my my
dummy wallet. I don't carry it as much these days but there are
certain places where we travel to where I'll have a dummy
wallet. That way if I were to get mugged for some
reason you hand the dummy wallet that maybe has five or ten
dollars in cash in it and some expired credit cards.
Someone will look at that real quick and say “Oh OK,”
and you'll have time to take off. At least that's that's the
hope right. You'll be able to get away fast enough before
they realize that they didn't really get away with much at
So you're feeling nervous about visiting Mexico because of all
the bad things you have seen or heard happening
in the country just follow our guidelines and also use common
Mexico is beautiful. It's full of nice people who want nothing
more than to help you and to make sure
that you have a pleasant experience visiting their
country. Unfortunately just like any other place
in the world there are people who do want to harm you or steal
from you and you just have to be vigilant.
Now thank you guys were watching. Don't forget to like
and subscribe for more travel and Spanish tips.
And remember El Camino es el destino. The journey is the
destination. So we’ll see you soon.