Mexico Safety and Security: On the Coast and in the State Capital of Oaxaca

The southern Mexico state of Oaxaca, its capital noted for the best cuisine in the country, and its central valleys for mezcal production, craft villages and ruins, still gets a bad rap for supposed violence and safety and security concerns. In recent years its pristine beach resorts such as Huatulco and Puerto Escondido have been receiving the brunt of adverse media reports. All this despite the fact that as long as one exercises reasonable precautions, tourists should feel even more secure than in their home cities and towns outside of Mexico.

Oaxaca is by and large a safe state for tourists. Mexican nationals are vigilant and so should be visitors. The former have been taught from a very young age, while the latter need some instruction.

Kidnapping. The bad guys target the wealthy for ransom. While they may not be all that smart, they do know that kidnapping a tourist is no guarantee of a big payday. So they abduct those (mainly women and children) whose families they reasonably assume have significant financial resources. Some people flaunt their wealth by driving Mercedes and wearing flashy gold jewellery. They and members of their families are the targets, not you the visitor. These residents live in large homes in wealthy parts of town. They own very successful retail and wholesale businesses. The proprietor of one well-known construction materials supply chain was kidnapped twice over the course of about 15 years. Presumably that target now has a 24/7 bodyguard.

My wife wanted to buy a Mini Cooper, the only small car she really liked. She wanted a red one. We live in a semi-rural suburb of Oaxaca. Most of our neighbors are of fairly modest means. Why draw attention to us? I suggested a grey Mini, and that the two stripes it comes with be removed by the dealership. While the Mini logo remains, the car is now much more unobtrusive and more or less blends in. And while our house is large, it features traditional construction and is pretty much hidden by large plants which flower year round. It looks modest compared to the modern homes which more recently have been built by a few neighbors; those who park their black SUVs and fancy Audis in their three car garages.

Theft. The 80-year-old upper class mother of a Canadian friend visited Oaxaca. I met with her to advise what to do where and when, and about safety. I suggested that she dress down. She responded that she always does when travelling, despite at the time wearing designer clothes and expensive earrings and necklace. Her male companion and I looked at each other in disbelief.

If a point and shoot will suffice, leave the camera with the $3,000 lens at home. Alternatively, when walking through marketplaces, keep the camera and bag in a non-descript polyurethane bag which you can purchase pretty well all over the state for 5 – 10 pesos. That’s what the locals use when out in the markets shopping. Sure, you’ll still look like a tourist, probably, but will be less likely a target of thieves that the next tourist walking by the scoundrel.

Listen to what the locals tell you. I advised a white American client to not walk through the Central de Abastos Oaxaca market on Saturdays, the busiest market day, because the thieves target passersby, Mexicans as well as foreigners, on that day much more so than the others. A few days later I was speaking to her and she said “I just went to Abastos on Saturday to get my bearings for when I needed to take a colectivo on another day.” She had her gold earrings ripped right out of her ears.

When in marketplaces be particularly careful in crowded areas or if groups of people, even women, appear to be too close to you. In a couple of weekly market towns near Oaxaca, swarmings by women have been noted. You’re brushed up against, and the next thing you know your wallet, purse or passport is missing. Hold your camera and purse snugly in front of you and leave your passport in your hotel room (but keep photos of your tourist card and passport photo page with you). Backpacks are easy targets as well, so if you must, keep it in front of you. For a day excursion, only take as much cash as you could reasonably need, and one credit card. Surely you don’t need your New York drivers’ license with you.

Assaults & Worse. Bad things happen to good people all over the world, all the time, in their home cities and towns. Oaxaca, Huatulco and Puerto Escondido are no different. There are pockets of urban areas notorious for assaults and robberies all over the world, and here is no different. Typically theft is the main motivation, so again, dress down and listen to what residents tell you. Ask about venturing out after dark, and if there are any particular areas which you should avoid day or night. Some areas in and around the city of Oaxaca even have neighborhood watch groups to address recent spates of robberies and thefts. Women and youths seem to be the targets, likely because of a perceived lack of physical strength, and the former where sexual predators are lurking. For this, I suppose type of dress should be a consideration; the less someone considers you provocative, the less likely you will encounter problems. Call me out of touch or sexist if you like, but parts of the world are still rather misogynistic, so heeding a bit of advice may go a long way to avoiding trouble.

Epilogue. The state of Oaxaca is essentially safe and secure for both residents and visitors; men, women and children. If it wasn’t, I and many others who live here but were born and raised outside of Mexico, wouldn’t have elected to uproot and move. For most of us it wasn’t the climate or cost of living, but rather because of lifestyle, the multiplicity of rich cultural traditions, and safety. But we all exercise reasonable precautions, no more or no less than we did in our birth countries.

For visitors, just remember that those who have cautioned that Mexico is unsafe, are probably people who have never visited the country and rely on sensationalistic media reports or paternalistic state department cautions in forming their opinions and providing fodder for their advice.

Visit the Best Places Near Kausani Resorts – More Fun

Kausani, a small but heart-shaped village, is one of the best offbeat hill stations in Uttarakhand. If you want to get lost in the beauty of the Himalaya Mountains and you have some time in which you want to spend a few moments of happiness, then this is the place for you. Our Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi, was not untouched by the beauty of this village and he liked this place so much that he kept the name of this place, ‘Switzerland of India’. Kausani is an ancient Himalayan village, from which there are great views of the Himalaya Mountains, such as Nanda Devi, Trishul and Panchchuli.

So if you make a trip for Kausani then you can stay in best Resorts in Kausani. Below are some famous places of Kausani.

Kausani Tea Estate – Best Place to Visit in Kausani

This is a place where a person is very close to nature and a paradise for tea lovers. Kausani Tea Estate is located 5 km from the main city and it spreads over 208 hectares. This place also arranges for a small tour. Anyone can taste and buy tea with different flavors from there. Apart from this, this is a wonderful place where you can stroll.

Bajjanat Temple

Baijnath temple situated in Baijnath city, 16 km from Kausani, is an important center of religious faith. Built in the 12th century, this temple has a special religious and historical significance in Hindu religion. It is believed that Shiva and Parvati had married at the confluence of Gomti and Ganga River. The city of Baijnath was formerly known as Kartikeyapur, which was the capital of the Katuri dynasty in the 12th and 13th centuries.

Rudradhari Falls and Caves

In Kausani, there are places situated in a location with humble forests of hills and mountains and green terrain fields and forested green forests. This magnificent waterfall can be seen trekking in this beautiful area at Kausani’s hill station. This place is associated with Lord Shiva (Rudra) and Lord Vishnu (Hari). The caves are natural and very impressive; the Shiva Temple located near the waterfall.

Sumitranandan pant museum

Kausani area, Sumitranandan Pant, one of the great Indian poets, was born in Kausani. Sumitranandan was one of the prominent poets of Pant Kavita’s “Chawawadi School”. “Sumitranandan Pant Gallery” is a small museum which includes many awards, drafts and manuscripts written by legendary poet. If you go to Kausani, do not forget to go to the library located in Kausani, because there are some very interesting collections of books in the museum.

The Kot Bhramari temple is also known as “Bhramari Devi Temple” and “Coat of Mai”. It is located on a hill about 20 km from Kausani. According to a famous legend, there is a belief that the great Indian master, Guru Shankaracharya stayed at this place in order to go to Garhwal. Every year in August, a fair is held at a large level, which is known by the name “Nanda Achthi” or “Nanda Raj Jat Naam”.

Lakshmi Ashram: Here is another known ashram, Laxmi Ashram. It is also known as Sarla Ashram. The ashram was constructed in 1948 by a follower of Mahatma Gandhi by Katherine Hulman. Apart from this, Kausani is also the birthplace of famous Hindi poet Sumitranandan Pant. There is also a museum, which is known as Sumitran and Panth Gallery. In this there is a manuscript of poems of this great poet, collection of various works and awards given to them. Every year his birthday is celebrated in the mohammadalhal and a conference is held in his honor.

Trekking: Tourists who like the risks can enjoy trekking (hiking) and rock climbing (rocks climbing) in Kausani. Beautiful Dhogue Trek, Pundari Glacier Trek and Millum Glacier Trek are among the best trekking routes in India. This place is also known for celebrating Makar Sankranti, a festival of Hinduism, which is called Uttaraniyani here.

The Pass of the Oaks – Paso Robles – California

The city of Paso Robles is located in San Luis Obispo County in Central California. Famous for the 200 plus wineries covering over 40,000 acres of planted vineyards, there is a lot more to this unique region than the fermented grapes corked up in a bottle.

The full name of Paso Robles “El Paso de Robles” in English means “The Pass of the Oaks”… which is the essence of this article… passing through to the wonders that surround this enchanted enclave.

A Little Background

Paso, as the locals call it, is a relatively small, farming/ranching town with a population of about 30,000 people and is known for wineries, almond orchards and the production of olive oil, capped off with hot springs which was Paso’s original tourist attraction.

Paso Robles has a vibrant downtown area consisting of exceptional dining options, and eclectic shopping choices with something for everyone’s taste and imaginations. The “Main Street Association” is a very good source of information (PasoRoblesDowntown.Org) with their motto being “Where Everybody Comes Together”… and it is true.

Therapeutic Hot Springs of Paso

As in most travel experiences, it is the journey and the unexpected that leaves an indelible imprint in your memory. In Paso’s case it is the sometime pungent smell of sulfur that adds a little something extra.

The abundant thermal waters are known for their therapeutic and rejuvenate benefits and thus were a major attraction in the very early days of the town’s history.

The Salinan Indian Tribe was the original settlers of this area. In the early 1700s they introduced the newly arrived Franciscan Priests to the beneficial effects of the water. The Franciscan’s subsequently introduced the locals to farming, cattle ranching and… wait for it… wine making and vineyard cultivation.

Hot sulfur springs still flow through Paso Robles and are open to the public in three locations: River Oaks Hot Springs Spa, Franklin Hot Springs as well as in select guest rooms at the Paso Robles Inn.

A Special Treat – The Paso Robles Amphitheatre

The Vina Robles Vineyards and Winery has been in the wine business since 1996 and began hosting an annual Summer Concert Series in 2007. The combination of live music and wine under the stars proved so successful that they decided to create the Vina Robles Amphitheatre in 2013.

The Amphitheatre is one of the largest outdoor venues for arts and entertainment in San Luis Obispo County and offers a concert season that runs from April through November and features top tier acts from around the world and in all genres. The legendary Tony Bennett performing on a warm, starry summer night… 100 feet away… was a magical experience.

There is not a “bad” seat in the house and all at reasonable prices to accommodate everyone’s budget… general admission lawn seating to VIP boxes… all within 150 feet from the stage.

Tin City

When visiting Paso a must-see stop is on the east side of the 101 Highway. A group of entrepreneurial people created a collection of industrial warehouses known as Tin City.

Their objective is to showcase their unique creations such as small-production wineries, breweries, distilleries, cider houses and an amazing pasta factory and their new restaurant. You can watch them make the pasta as you enjoy eating their excellent entrees.

Parking is plentiful and you can easily walk the entire cluster of buildings set up in a two or three block radius. Of course a stop along the way may include an outdoor beer garden serenaded by a local band as you partake in a unique tasting experience.

Excellent Logistical Jumping-Off Point

Located on U.S. 101 and midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco this area makes a great destination for a road trip.

Paso is a strategic jumping off point with easy access to the scenery that made this part of California famous including the unique towns and villages such as Morro Bay, Cambria, Harmony, Cayucos and San Simeon… home of the magnificent Hearst Castle.

A Road Trip Back In History – Hearst Castle

California Department of Parks and Recreation manages more than 280 park units and this palatial property is considered to be one of the crown jewels in the system.

In 1919, Newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst, along with architect Julia Morgan initiated the plans for the construction of a hilltop house on his ranch at San Simeon. With vast sums of money at his disposal, the “house” became a Mediterranean Revival estate which he named “La Cuesta Encantada” (The Enchanted Hill).

The history is also enchanting but by 1947 the project was still not finished. Unfortunately Hearst’s health became an issue and he had to leave his house… all 165 rooms on 123 acres of prime coastline property with gardens, terraces, and pools… but the house became a full-fledged castle all the same.

A picture is worth a thousand words or more in this case… for more insightful information and hopefully a journey to The Enchanted Hill… go to hearstcastle.org

A Road Trip to the Point Piedras Blancas Rookery

Driving five miles north from Hearst Castle, along one of California’s most scenic vistas leads you to a very unique destination and experience… the Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery.

The rookery spreads over 6 miles of shoreline with ample parking and easy access, as well as docents to provide information.

The viewing areas are open every day of the year, are wheelchair accessible, and free. No reservations required.