Cancun and Cabo: Behind the headlines

Updated: Aug 26, 2017 12:00 PM
(Source: AP) (Source: AP)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

Two of the most popular destinations for travelers from Arizona - and across the country - have been in the news quite a bit recently. And, well, let’s be honest - not for the most flattering of reasons.

You may have seen last week’s splashy headline, touting seizures of “10,000 gallons of tainted alcohol” from a large distributor’s warehouse in Cancun, followed by a “raid” of the beach mecca’s most popular bars and nightclubs. And new this week, we’ve been bombarded with headlines about an update to the US State Department Travel Warning regarding Cancun and the uber popular Los Cabos area.

[RELATED: US warns travelers about tainted alcohol in Mexico after blackouts reported]

[RELATED: Possibly tainted alcohol in Mexico leads to travel warning]

So what does this mean for you while you plan your next vacation? In all sincerity...not much.

Look past the “10,000 gallon” headlines and you’ll see the alcohol was confiscated from a warehouse due to incomplete “chain of custody” paperwork, meaning the possibility existed, however small, the cases of liquor could be untested as to the strength of the product or past the “best if served by” date. Several - far from all - of the “raided” bars were closed down for sanitary reasons - leaks from coolers, trash containers not being covered, etc. - rather than nefarious ones, and a few more had out-of-date alcohol on their shelves, which could indeed have possibly made someone sick.

Tales of tourists getting sick or blacking out after drinking in Mexico are not new - or even uncommon. I speak from first-hand experience when I say the sun in the Yucatan is unlike anything I’ve experienced, even with growing up in Arizona. “Strong” is too mild a word for it, and adding in the Caribbean humidity ramps up the effects even more. If you’re not careful, it doesn’t take long before you’re possibly feeling dizzy or sleepy.

Does this mean you should take Cancun and the Riviera Maya off your list of possible destinations? Absolutely not! Be aware of your alcohol consumption, i.e. everything in moderation. You’ll also want to focus on staying hydrated, be it juices or bottled water, put on sunblock, and consider wearing a hat.The turquoise water, white sand, and stunning Mayan ruins are worth it!

[RELATED: Traveling abroad this summer? Be smart -- and safe]

[MORE: Travel blog]

As for the updated State Department travel warning, read it - even after the publicized incidents involving organized crime, the warning doesn’t say “stay home” or “don’t go.” It says be careful, and be aware of your surroundings. Just like you would be if you were going to San Diego for the weekend.

Something not readily apparent when discussing these two popular resort areas is just how spread out they really are. Let’s take Los Cabos, the sister resort towns of San Jose del Cabo, home to the airport, and Cabo San Lucas, home to the glitzy nightlife and truly beautiful rock formations.

Separating these two towns is a 22-mile stretch of beach and rocky coastline known as The Corridor. The recent incident took place near San Jose del Cabo, at least a 30-minute drive from Cabo San Lucas. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t let a police incident in Long Beach dissuade me from heading to Anaheim for a Disney weekend.

The distances in the Cancun area, also scene of some fairly recent police incidents, are even greater. From Cancun’s famed Hotel Zone to the resorts near the ruins of Tulum, the southern most point of the Riviera Maya, is 83 miles - almost a two-hour drive. From the Hotel Zone to the charming town of Playa del Carmen is 46 miles - a similar distance from Peoria to Apache Junction.

Again - I’m not saying ignore the U.S. State Department. Use the travel warnings as just that - one factor among many you’ll consider when choosing your vacation destination. A savvy traveler always does their research and will plan accordingly. 


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Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


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