Staying Safe in Baja Good information and common sense...

Old 02-18-09, 12:06 AM   #1
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Join Date: 02-09-09
Location: San Quintin
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Default How Safe is Baja?

Is Baja a Safe Place to Visit / Stay?
That question could never be answered with an absolute yes or no any more than one could declare New York, Los Angeles or Miami as 'Safe". Yes, the Mexican government is cracking down on the drug cartels and much of that ongoing battle has received a lot of coverage abroad. The northern border areas have been the center of a lot of that violence; a reality that any traveler to Baja cannot ignore. Tourists are very rarely targeted in this drug war and unless you are involved somehow in the sale or purchase of drugs and/or weapons you stand little chance of falling victim to that violence. Foreigners face a bigger threat of falling victim to car thieves and other petty theft.

Here are some tips:
Always park in a safe, secure place. Pay the few bucks for off-street, well lit secure parking.
Lock your car and don't leave any valuables in plain view (computer/camera/purse)
Know where you are - don't venture off on explorations into areas you don't know.
Avoid carrying a lot of cash and don't flash your money.
If you use an ATM, avoid strangers who offer to "help you".
Don't do drugs. Don't buy drugs. Don't sell drugs. Don't "hang out" with anyone involved with drugs.
Have fun. Have a drink or two. But don't get drunk out in clubs or public.
Public nudity is against the law. You will go to jail - naked. Not a fun time.
If it is illegal north of the border it is probably illegal south of the border. Don't do it.

Can I drink the water?
Mexico’s tap water is considered unsafe for consumption. If you need to drink tap water, it is advisable to boil the water prior to drinking it. The locals do not drink the tap water themselves so you’re not going “local” when you do this. In addition, there is a Mexican federal law stating that restaurants must serve purified, "drinkable" water, tested free of contaminants both for drinking and for ice. Most hotels in northern Baja also provide bottled or purified water in guest rooms and popular international brands of bottled water are available for purchase virtually everywhere.

Can I eat the food?
Yes, you can safely eat most food if the restaurant establishment is legitimate, of which most in tourist areas are. When in doubt, ask the server if they add a lot of 'picante" or "chile" to the dish. be careful when purchasing food from street carts. They are popular but you will notice that there is usually no sink. Some of them use hand sanitizers, etc to keep a clean cart and work place. Just use caution and common sense.

Can I bring my children to Rosarito?
Absolutely! Baja is a big playground and like any other place you travel to - keep them close and ALWAYS in eyesight.

What if I get sick?
There are many modern hospitals and numerous doctors in northern Baja. You will easily find a doctor who speaks English and ambulance / helicopter transportation to the United States is available in emergencies.

Are there ways for me to get transportation to an Emergency Room in the USA?
Emergency Ambulance Transfer Service to the U.S. can be arranged through Medic One Medical: within Baja: 01(800) 027-3320, in the USA (888) 901-7037 and (619) 247-6768. Further assistance can be obtained from the Baja California Visitor Assistance Hot Line 078.

When I am out drinking in the club atmosphere, what should I be aware of?
"Smart drinking" is always recommended when visiting bars or nightclubs: always be aware of what you are being served and never leave your drink unattended. Use common sense and enjoy the experience of Mexico and Baja California. It's illegal to drink on the streets or in your car in Mexico.
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