Back in 2018, I wanted to take a long journey through Central America but I had one concern, namely is Mexico too dangerous to travel to?
To some people this straight away might be seen as a harsh stereotype, however stereotypes often come form some kind of reality, and the fact is, here in the UK, where I live, the only news you ever see out of Mexico is either people trying to get to the United States or drug cartels.
Well despite my initial reservations, I decided to 'YOLO' and go ahead, I went with a fantastic travel company - STA Travel (Now sadly closed down due to COVID-19), and I figured as it was a well known brand across the world with many people taking their journeys, it must be safe. So ahead I went.
I spent the next few weeks travelling through rural Mexico, Guatemala and Belize. What I found is that every single person I met just wanted to make a life for themselves. Many lived hard lives, working on the land, selling fruit at the market or for very little in local industries. Some worked in hotels and restaurants, and they seemed just like regular people. All of my concerns went away and never once during that trip did I feel unsafe (Unlike my time in Cuba).
The only caveat to all this was in the more tourist area of Cancun. Here it still felt safe, but the people were very different. There were market sellers trying to shift knock off goods with high pressure selling, and also some trying to sell 'Charlie' or 'Snow White' - Code words for certain drugs. I guess this is something that happens in all tourist locations, it's certainly not that different to what I've seen in Spanish islands.
Overall, Mexico is a safe and cultured place. The tourist areas are going to be like the tourist areas of any other place like London, Rome, Paris or Lanzarote, but if you want to really meet the real generous Mexican people, I highly recommend you visit the more rural locations. Remember, it would help if you were on a guided tour or spoke Spanish!.