As of November 2017, several nations had issued Travel Advisories to their citizens contemplating international travel. Among these nations were Germany, France, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, Canada and New Zealand. That’s a lot of countries who feel that their citizens could be at risk if they traveled to…….the United States!
That is why I take our own Travel Advisories regarding travel in Mexico with a bag of salt. Not many of us consider checking with, say, the United Kingdom’s local embassy before heading out to the mall. Here in La Paz I see families out walking the malecon (boardwalk), babies in strollers, and their older kids on bicycles. People here know that there is a “drug war” being fought in their town, yet they feel safe taking the family out for a sunset walk along the harbor. Just like we would feel safe taking our grandkids to church.
Should you postpone your visit to Baja due to the potential for a violent encounter? I would say no, fairly emphatically! The people I am meeting here and getting to know are the same as you and I, perhaps even a bit better. They work very hard, are scrupulously honest and would freely give from their meager resources to help someone in need. It is well known that if a North American experiences car trouble along the Baja highway, he is far more likely to have a local stop to help than to have a fellow countryman do so.
And, they need us right now. The tourism economy was just beginning to recover from the global financial downturn of 2008 through 2013 when hurricane Odile ravaged Baja Sur. Their rebound from that storm is a testimony to the tenacity and work ethic of the citizens of Baja. But as soon as the tourism infrastructure was restored, drug violence in Baja began filling the news media to the north. Tourism is down here, and my friends are hurting as a result.
So, if a visit to Baja California is on your Bucket List (and it really, really should be!), and you have a space in your calendar and a balance in your checking account that allows you to do so, please consider joining us for one of our sea-born expeditions in the Gulf of California. Sail with us as we visit the marine parks that are scattered between La Paz and Loreto. Travel overland with us to experience the indescribable moment of physical contact with a baby grey whale, as its’ mother holds it toward us on her rostrum (nose) so we can see one another.
And above all, meet our friends! Celia, Beto, Javier, Celso, and Ricardo. And most of all, our on board guide and naturalist, Carlos, who will be with you from the moment you emerge from the arrivals gate until you walk through the departures doors 12 days later.
Thank you for reading,
The Westward crew; Carlos, Tracie and Bill