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Recent news of the kidnaped Americans in Matamoros Tamaulipas is certainly frightening and enough to give any would-be tourist pause when considering driving to Mexico on vacation but if you put things in their proper context it shouldn’t deter you from enjoying your planned vacation in Puerto Peñasco.

First, The State Department’s website has, for decades now categorized Mexico as a place where crime is widespread and common. This has not deterred literally millions of American Tourists each year from having a fabulous time vacationing in Mexico. This description of Mexico as a whole country is an exaggeration. About 1.5 Million Americans live full-time in Mexico and almost all of them would tell you it is a lovely place to live in and in many cases safer than many places in the United States.

Second. Even if you adhere to every word that comes from the State Department’s website they do not discourage you from traveling everywhere in Mexico. Specifically speaking about Puerto Peñasco their website states: “Puerto Peñasco: U.S. government employees may travel between Puerto Peñasco and the Lukeville-Sonoyta U.S. Port of Entry during daylight hours via Federal Highway 8 only.”

I’ve traveled to Puerto Peñasco in the dark many times and it was fine—but—I would encourage anyone going there to do what the State Department advises, that is to say, travel during the day via Highway 8 through the Lukeville port of entry.

I certainly do not dismiss the despicable acts of violence cartel’s have inflicted in many parts of Mexico but saying that all of Mexico is ruled and terrorized by cartels is the same as saying the entire United States is as unsafe as the south side of Chicago—which incidentally you have a 1-20 chance of becoming a victim of violent crime.

Third. The place where the recent kidnappings occurred is in Matamoros, Tamaulipas. More than 1,300 miles away from Rocky Point. It is a known hotbed for cartel activity. I love going to Rocky Point but would not travel there or to Juarez or other places that are known to be truly concerning.

Every year over 1.6 Million tourists travel to Puerto Peñasco. Those who go regularly almost universally will tell you the same thing: Rocky Point is a wonderful, beautiful and safe place to visit.

I have been taking my family to Rocky point for 20 years. My children have grown up going to Rocky Point. The people there are lovely, giving and hard-working. It is safer than most communities in the United States and in my humble opinion, not a place to be afraid to travel.

Follow and respect their laws and you’ll end up going back over and over. Please do not ever take any guns or ammunition across the border or you’ll learn a very hard and expensive lesson.

Other tips when traveling to Rocky Point: Travel during the day, don’t speed through Ajo, or Sonoyta. Avoid rolling stops, and if you are going to rent an ATV please be sober and don’t go crazy. Common sense stuff.

If you were rethinking your travel to Puerto Peñasco because of the recent media coverage—don’t. I hope to see you down there soon when my family and I go enjoy the beach!

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