Nearly 3,200 people have been killed in drug-related violence
Note the important part of the quote - drug-related - which has nothing to do with us.
many thousands have died
On average about 16,000 in the US each year for well over 20 years according to the FBI website and the US Dept. of Justice website.
heard the bombs going off as the shrapnel went into the kids legs as they got off the bus
Was that the Boston Marathon you are speaking of? Or when Timothy McVeigh killed 168 and injured almost 800 others in OK City? Which other bombs?
slaughtered for asking for more for their crop
Would this be people involved in the drug business? What does it have to do with tourists?
within our own national forests
As well as our National Parks etc. where both Americans and Mexicans are growing marijuana which consumers in the US buy up as fast as they can grow it.
"It won't happen to us",
Which anyone who pays any attention at all to the news knows happens to someone almost every day in the US.
You can live in fantasyland and denialville
Many people who live in the US do not seem to think there are any very serious problems right here at home. That is certainly denial and fantasy. People who live in glass houses should not throw stones. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone. Before you accuse me take a look at yourself. Get your own house in order. All somewhat famous quotes.
Yes, there is crime in Mexico. Is there anywhere that is without crime? Certainly we are not expected to think the US is crime free - are we? I think perhaps it is time for one of those good old reality checks.
Good luck to you! We live on the border in California and quit crossing over a decade ago. Our Baja 1000 crewfriends lost their rigs, gear and everything but the clothes they were wearing. Over 3200 deaths in 2013 alone, and that's only counting adults. We love Mexico but value our lives more. I was a homeowner in Peru in the late '80s and already know how these folks operate - innocent victims aren't a concern. Living dangerously is not my idea of fun.
When you post these statements it would be greatly appreciated if you would also post the factual reliable sources where this information can be found. We have been visiting Mexico for 40 years and in recent years have spent every winter traveling in Mexico and have not heard about these incidents. Yes, the drug smugglers are at war and are killing each other but this is criminals killing criminals and has nothing to do with tourists. Can you please post where facts about tourists involved incidents can be found. Thank you.
I have tried to understand the "Patriot Act" and do not claim to be any kind of knowledgeable expert. But many of those border people and other LEOs think many of our rights no longer apply if we are suspected of terrorism. Perhaps Tim McVeigh raised the idea that members of the US military might participate in what they call domestic terrorism - a good Christian Catholic soldier. Whatever we might think our rights are - or once were - it may not be a good idea to call attention to yourself at our border these days. These people have a great deal more power than they used to have. Exercising your rights when the agent asking you question could be a bit nervous about who may or may not be involved in terrorism might not be the best plan. We call it the Barney Fife complex when LEOs decide to use their power to make themselves feel powerful. Those who do this are small people trying to be big and have just enough power to make your life difficult for at least an inconvenient amount of time. Right or wrong this just seems to be a fact of life these days. Our experience has been that most of the border people are very polite and friendly. Yes, we get stopped here and there all along the US border. We also get stopped here and there all over Mexico. The world we live in these days is a bit different than our father's world. The rights we might think we have - or had - are not nearly as strong as they used to be.
God love you folks that RV in Mexico. Be a cold day in hell I would endure treatment like that of any kind to visit a location.
The post is talking about US Border Agents - so by that reasoning no one should visit the US?
Here is how Google Translate shows it........
TITLE FOUR CUSTOMS PROCEDURES
CHAPTER III. TEMPORARY IMPORT AND EXPORT.
SECTION ONE. TEMPORARY IMPORTS. I. - GENERAL PROVISIONS.
Folio Previous Folio: 8811 Folio Next
ARTICLE 106. REGIME IS A TEMPORARY IMPORT, THE ENTRANCE TO THE COUNTRY OF GOODS TO STAY IN LIMITED TIME AND WITH A SPECIFIC PURPOSE, PROVIDED THAT BRING THE STRANGER IN THE SAME STATE, BY THE FOLLOWING TERMS:
I. UP FOR A MONTH, THE TRAILERS AND SEMI-TRAILERS, INCLUDING THE PLATFORM ADAPTED TO TRANSPORT AND USED EXCLUSIVELY DESIGNED FOR CONTAINER SHIPPING ALWAYS CARRYING ON HOMELAND THE GOODS THAT THEY HAVE ENTERED THE COUNTRY OR IN WHICH TO CARRY FOR EXPORT.
II. UP TO SIX MONTHS IN THE FOLLOWING:
A) THE PLACING THE ABROAD, IF THEY ARE USED DIRECTLY OR PERSONS WHOSE RELATIONSHIP WITH LABOR EXCEPT For vehicles.
B) THE GOODS PACKAGING ALWAYS ON HOMELAND CONTAINING THE GOODS THAT THEY HAVE BEEN INTRODUCED IN THE COUNTRY.
C) THE CAR OF FOREIGN DIPLOMATIC MISSIONS AND CONSULAR OFFICES AND HEAD OR REPRESENTATION OF INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS, AS WELL AS OF OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES OF THE MEXICAN FOREIGN SERVICE, FOR DIPLOMATIC IMPORT DUTY, PROVIDED THAT MEET REQUIREMENTS POINT BY SECRETARY RULES.
D) THE SAMPLE SAMPLE OR INTENDED TO RELEASE GOODS, IF YOU MEET THE REQUIREMENTS RULES POINT BY SECRETARY.
E) THE CAR, AS THE SEA IMPORT WITH HOUSE MADE BY MEXICANS ABROAD laboring BE CREDITED OR ABROAD FOR A YEAR OR MORE, CHECK YOUR QUALITY THROUGH IMMIGRATION OFFICIAL DOCUMENTATION THAT AUTHORIZED FOR SUCH PURPOSE AND TRY TO EVERY SINGLE VEHICLE IN TWELVE MONTHS. IN THESE CASES, THE SIX MONTHS computed MULTIPLE INPUT AND OUTPUT IN MADE WITHIN TWELVE MONTHS FROM FIRST ENTRY. THE VEHICLES MAY BE CONDUCTED IN TERRITORY BY IMPORTING YOUR SPOUSE, YOUR ANCESTORS, DESCENDANTS O BROTHERS ARE LONG AS PERMANENT RESIDENT ABROAD OR BY AN ALIEN MIGRANT WITH QUALITY LISTED IN SUBSECTION A) OF SECTION IV THIS ARTICLE. WHEN DRIVEN BY A PERSON OTHER THAN THE AUTHORIZED, INVARIABLY MUST TRAVEL ON BOARD VEHICLE IMPORTER. VEHICLES COVERED THIS SUBSECTION SHALL MEET THE REQUIREMENTS TO INDICATE THE RULES.
III. - UP TO ONE YEAR, WHEN NOT TRY TO THOSE SHOWN IN FRACTIONS I AND IV OF THIS ARTICLE, AND WHENEVER eligible ESTABLISHING CONTROL REGULATION IN THE FOLLOWING:
A) THE CONGRESS INTENDED TO CONVENTIONS AND INTERNATIONAL.
B) THE INTENDED FOR CULTURAL OR SPORTING EVENTS, SPONSORED BY PUBLIC ENTITIES, OR FOREIGN NATIONAL AND BY PRIVATE UNIVERSITIES OR ENTITIES, DEDUCTIBLE DONATIONS RECEIVE AUTHORIZED BY THE TERMS OF THE LAW OF INCOME TAX.
C) OF THE EQUIPMENT, PROPS AND OTHER EQUIPMENT FOR THE FILM, WHENEVER USED IN THE FILM INDUSTRY AND INPATIENT BE HELD FOR ABROAD. IN THIS CASE IS ESTABLISHED WITHIN ONE YEAR WILL EXPAND MORE.
D) THE TEST VEHICLE, PROVIDED THAT THE IMPORT BE HELD BY AN AUTHORIZED MANUFACTURER, LIVING IN MEXICO.
E) THE GOODS PROVIDED BY THE INTERNATIONAL CONVENTIONS OF MEXICO TO BE PART, AND WHICH ARE FOR OFFICIAL USE OF FOREIGN DIPLOMATIC MISSIONS AND CONSULAR WHEN RECIPROCITY.
IV. WITHIN THAT LASTS FOR ITS QUALITY MIGRATION, INCLUDING ITS EXTENSIONS IN THE FOLLOWING:
A) THE VEHICLE OWNED foreigners who THE COUNTRY WITH IMMIGRANTS QUALITY OR NON-IMMIGRANT rentiers, EXCEPT in the case of refugees and asylum seekers, WHENEVER ONE TRY TO VEHICLE.
TOURIST VEHICLES AND VISITORS importing LOCAL THAN EVEN OWNED AND TRY ONE VEHICLE.
THE VEHICLES MAY BE CONDUCTED IN TERRITORY BY IMPORTING YOUR SPOUSE, YOUR ANCESTORS, DESCENDANTS O BROTHERS, EVEN IF THESE FOREIGNERS ARE NOT BY A STRANGER HAVE ANY OF THE MIGRATION QUALITY REFERRED THIS SUBSECTION, OR A NATIONAL , IF THIS LAST EVENT TRAVEL ABOARD THE SAME ANY AUTHORIZED TO DRIVE THE VEHICLE AND WILL MAKE MULTIPLE INPUT AND OUTPUT.
VEHICLES COVERED THIS SUBDIVISION, SHALL MEET THE REQUIREMENTS TO INDICATE THE RULES.
B) THE HOUSEWARES OF HOUSE GUEST PROPERTY USED MERCHANDISE, DISTINGUISHED VISITORS, STUDENTS AND IMMIGRANTS, PROVIDED THEY MEET THE REQUIREMENTS TO INDICATE THE RULES.
V. UP TO TEN YEARS IN THE FOLLOWING:
B) AIRCRAFT AND HELICOPTERS, INTENDED FOR USE IN AIRLINE WITH GRANT OR PERMIT TO OPERATE IN THE COUNTRY, AS WELL AS THOSE OF PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION OF PASSENGERS, PROVIDED IN THIS LAST EVENT PROVIDED IN FEBRUARY OF EVERY YEAR AND IN MAGNETIC MEDIA, INFORMATION RULES THAT POINT BY THE SECRETARY.
C) DEDICATED TO VESSELS CARRYING PASSENGERS, FREIGHT AND FISHING COMMERCIAL VESSELS NAVAL SPECIAL AND APPLIANCES, AND THE RECREATION AND SPORTS THAT ARE BOATS, YACHTS OR TOURIST BOAT OVER FOUR AND A HALF FEET IN LENGTH, INCLUDING TRAILERS FOR TRANSPORTATION, IF YOU MEET THE REQUIREMENTS SET THE RULES.
THE BOATS, SAILING YACHTS TOURIST OR REFERRED TO THIS POINT, WILL BE OPERATING COMMERCIAL REGISTER TO ALWAYS BE A TOURIST MARINA.
D) THE MOBILE HOMES FOR PERMANENT RESIDENTS TEMPORARILY IMPORTED ABROAD, PROVIDED THAT MEET THE REQUIREMENTS AND CONDITIONS SET THE RULES.
THE MOBILE HOME MAY BE CONDUCTED OR CARRIED ON HOMELAND BY IMPORTING YOUR SPOUSE, YOUR ANCESTORS, DESCENDANTS O BROTHERS ALWAYS BE PERMANENT RESIDENT ALIEN OR ANY OTHER PERSON WHEN TRAVELLING ON BOARD THE IMPORTER.
E) RAILWAY CARS.
CAN ALSO MAKE TEMPORARY IMPORT COMPANIES MAQUILA BE PROVIDED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE REGULATIONS AS WELL AS THE COMPANIES WHOSE EXPORT PROGRAMS AUTHORIZED BY THE SECRETARY OF ECONOMY. IN CASES WHERE RESIDENTS dispose LES PRODUCTS COMPANIES STATED BEFORE, AS WELL AS A TRADE COMPANIES THEY HAVE RECORD OF THE MINISTRY OF ECONOMY IS CONSIDERED MADE ON IMPROVED TEMPORARY IMPORT AND EXPORT OF GOODS FROM FINAL alienating ALWAYS EXPECT TO EXPORT CERTIFICATE.
YOU WILL ALLOW THE TEMPORARY IMPORT GOODS TO MAINTENANCE AND REPAIR OF THE GOODS IMPORTED UNDER THIS ARTICLE IS ALWAYS THE SAME INCORPORATED AND NON CAR OR TRUCK, IN ACCORDANCE WITH REGULATION ESTABLISHING.
OFFICIAL FORM USED TO PERFORM TEMPORARY IMPORT OF GOODS IDENTIFIED IN THIS FRACTION, safeguard YOUR STAY IN HOMELAND AUTHORIZED BY THE TERM, AND MULTIPLE ENTRIES AND EXITS OVER THAT TERM engaged. THE PERIOD COVERED BY THIS AUTHORIZATION may be extended FRACTION, CAUSE THERE WHEN PROPERLY JUSTIFIED.
THE GOODS THAT HAVE BEEN TEMPORARILY IMPORTED UNDER THIS ARTICLE, SHALL RETURN TO EZXTRANJERO on schedule, OTHERWISE, WILL UNDERSTAND THAT THE SAME ARE ILLEGALLY IN THE COUNTRY, HAVE ENDED FOR TEMPORARY IMPORT REGIME WERE INTENDED TO .
We have not been to Algodones but we have been getting our dental work done in MX for many years - and we know lots of other people who get their teeth taken care of in MX. We found the most modern and up to date dental office we have ever seen or heard of in Palomas,MX and also a dentist way down in Valle de Juarez - all are very well trained and experienced and knowledgeable in the latest techniques and materials. If we ever have had a problem they have no problem taking care of the problem at no cost. For serious dental work we know of people who take "dental vacations" flying to MX and staying in a hotel because the cost is so much lower than the US that even with the cost of transport the savings are significant. Doctors in MX are just as well trained and experienced as doctors in the US - some even better than in the US. We know people who have had work done in Algodones but I would have to ask them specific details and they are no available at the moment. I am sure others on the forum will know more. As in the US it is a good idea to check with others about the experience they had at specific doctors offices because they are not all perfect.
I think maybe the main question here is whether the new road will be open? As with all things in Mexico the answer is probably "manana" - which means they expect it to be done but until it is actually done no one actually knows for sure when it will be done. We are all keeping our hopes up and maybe someone will report here as soon as it does open. We have heard only small parts of it are open - and those are the parts that weren't that bad - the bad parts are still a work in progress. See the links above to learn what we know at this point.
I wish I had an answer for this and have been trying to get one but get no reply.
I met people at Roca Azul who had a blue dish about 18" dia. They said they went into Jocotepec and found a guy who provided the dish and set up the system for about $20US. They now pay about $20 a month. It is a Mexican service and most channels are in Spanish but there are some US channels in English.
I have no idea what this is or what channels can be found. I have asked and get no answer. People left Roca Azul and have been to other locations in MX and still get TV.
Hard to believe but this is what they told me.
My point and my purpose on any forum is that a forum is about people asking general questions of the entire forum and other forum members answering those questions for the entire forum. Someone asked about using Telcel and all the members of the forum are trying to help answer the question and related questions about using Telcel. To me that is what a forum is about. Not everyone knows how to find previous posts or that there may even be previous posts. Many questions are asked hundreds of times on forums by hundreds of people seeking the same advice. We try to help people to understand how these things work in anyway we can. That is why I visit forums. I am very sorry if anyone thinks I am not here trying to be helpful and cooperative.
I will post a couple of links about the new Durango-Mazatlan Highway. The last I heard it is not open yet and the opening date keeps changing. These links will get you started learning about the route and you can Google for more using some of the words you find on these web links as well as words like "devil's backbone".
. . . http://highestbridges.com/wiki/index.php?title=Baluarte_Bridge . . .
. . . http://highestbridges.com/wiki/index.php?title=DurangoMazatlanHighwayTour . .
Keep asking questions about everything you can think of related to Mexico.
I checked Netflix and found this.....
Netflix: Manage Bandwidth Usage
If you are interested in setting a limit on how much data our service will use, you can adjust your video quality setting. Navigate to Netflix.com/VideoQuality to manage the amount of data you use when playing movies and TV shows on Netflix.
There are 3 settings to choose from:
•Good quality (uses up to 0.3 GB per hour)
•Better quality (uses up to 0.7 GB per hour)
•Best quality (uses up to 1 GB per hour, or up to 2.3 GB per hour if watching HD)
Different regions have different default settings:
•The default setting in the US is “Best”.
•The default setting in Canada is “Good”.
•The default setting in Latin America is “Best
I also check Telcel just to be sure - we already know most of the rates - so the basic HIGH USE is alto30 which is 3Gb for $399MX.
So if you watch a Best quality movie that runs 2 hrs you will use up 2/3 of your $399MX on just one movie. If you watch in HD you will use up almost all your $399MX - or about $30US to watch one movie. Of course you have to add to that what you pay Netflix.
If you set on the lowest setting you could watch about 5 two hour movies for your $30 - then you have to go to Oxxo to reload.
Video streaming of any kind on "Banda Ancha" can add up to quite a lot of cash - and streaming in WiFi is just not fair to others (though I have admitted doing it for one very special program - just once).
To me this is just way too much money to spend for internet use.
I know many will fault me but I buy blackmarket videos at the Tianguis for a little over a dollar each. We also see many TV series seasons such as "Homeland", "Weeds", "Breaking Bad" and many others. We get them months before Netflix gets them. We get some movies before they are in theaters. Yes, I know it is contributing to criminal behavior but the reality of Mexico is that much of what goes on can in some way be some level of criminal behavior. So is what many banks in the US do and I do not support any of them.
I found the ZTE mf60 on Amazon for $90 but don't know if that is a good price. I will have to research into how it works and what we do with Telcel to get it to work.
Sorry for the "snarky" remark which was certainly not intended as such.
Forums are about sharing information with everyone on the forum - we do not PM - we share.
What is the point of going on a forum if you do not want to share and be helpful to others.
Please explain how you get all this stuff in Mexico and how much bandwidth you use. Are you talking WiFi? Telcel Banda Ancha? Cable? Satellite? If this can be easily done we need more details about how to do it. In many places we are lucky if we can get email - be it WiFi or Telcel. Can't imagine how you get all this stuff other than by cable or satellite.
I know that Telcel has MiFi type routers on their website but to get one of their plans you have to have a contract and pay each month. If we are only in Mexico 4 months per year it does not make sense to pay for 12 months per year.
We have a Cradlepoint we used with out original Verizon stick but now we have a Verizon Jet Pack for MiFi so do not need the Cradlepoint. We were told it will not work in Mexico. With Verizon we can put our plan on hold for months at a time and do not have to pay. We are told with Telcel we must pay each month whether we are in Mexico or not - no putting on hold.
Someone says they have a router that works but they do not tell us which one it is. Weird. Not the best advice.
The reason WiFi in RV parks can be slow is because there can be users who use more than their fair share - and streaming video would be the absolute worst offender.
If you have pay for Internet such as Telcel you will use up all you allowance very quickly if you stream video - one movie can use several GB - you would be buying more time every few days.
We have been in RV parks that use satellite for WiFi and if too many users download pictures or stream video the satellite provider has shut them down and no one gets anything.
Until technology moves much further forward watching TV on the internet is only for those who have cable.
We have heard Los Mochis is not the best RV park to stay in. We stay in the Pemex about 5 miles south where they have a fenced lot with security guards and lights - free - but tip the guard - no hookups though.
A few years ago we got our first "stick" at the Telcel in Guaymas. We drove to San Carlos the first day and spent the night - then drove our car into Guaymas after getting directions. The Telcel is easy to find as it is on the main drag and they have a huge blue sign way up in the air over the office - there is plenty of parking in their lot. Just be sure to bring legal documents and computer. When you get there ask for and English speaking agent. Be sure to understand the rules and how to get more time and how to put it on and have them show you what everything on the Telcel window on your computer does and how to check your time etc. If you get a phone you should have them check that too - call and be called etc. The deals they have online are "bajo" "medio" "alto" with a number following depending on what you want. You go to any Oxxo and pay them to put $xxx pesos on the account of the phone number assigned to the SIM in the "stick". When you run out of time - NOT BEFORE - you go to the Message window of the Telcel window and send to 5050 and in the body just type only the deal you want - example - alto30 - and nothing else and send the txt - in seconds you will get a reply that your new deal is active. See more of what I mean as far as "alto30" on the websites I listed above. This all takes getting used to and is confusing at first - which is why I tell everyone to go to Telcel and make sure you understand all the functions etc. before you leave their office. There is a chance Telcel may have some kind of deal going on and they should tell you at the office - we got our stick and 5GB of time (data) for a total of about $25US -- maybe it was even 10GB? But I can't remember. They do have good deals but then if you get to using it a lot additional time starts to add up. Keep in mind that each text you send to Telcel will deplete your account by a pesos so if you have $400 pesos and need a $399 deal and call them once you will only have $399 left and if you have to call again you will only have $398 which is not enough for the $399 deal. You can only buy time in blocks of something like $50 - $100 - $200 pesos - I forget exactly - but you cannot buy $5 or $10 etc. That should get you started and keep you from being too confused.
In other recent stories we have read that the number of acres the butterflies occupy has been dramatically reduced in recent years. They are down to only a few acres. We recently read a book by Barbara Kingsolver called Flight Behavior which takes a different look at the butterfly situation.
Also, please note that when the violence is mentioned they do point out that it has nothing to do with tourists.
There were only a couple of pictures.
Mexico butterfly country: Monarchs by the million
ZITACUARO, Mexico (AP) -- He found the love of his life 2,000 miles from home in a chance encounter that gave him butterflies, and she moved west to be with him. So of course, Jason Skipton told me, there could be no better place to propose marriage than in a swirl of orange and black butterflies that had migrated thousands of miles to mate.
Never mind that that the stunning monarch butterfly sanctuary was in an area of central Mexico contested by drug cartels. When Samantha Goldberger set up her camera and darted to Skipton's side for a Valentine's Day picture, he dropped to one knee and asked for her hand.
"This place is like a miracle. And it is a miraculous thing that took place with us," Skipton said. "No one knows why the monarchs travel so far, or come here to find each other. It is inexplicable."
Indeed, every year, millions of monarchs migrate from the eastern United States and Canada to central Mexico, a journey of 2,000 miles and more into a wooded land under attack by loggers in a region bloodied by drug traffickers. The tiger-striped butterflies arrive in late October and early November to hibernate in fir trees, clinging together like great clusters of fall leaves. Come February, they start to awaken in the warm sun, turn glittering somersaults in search of their mates, and begin to couple.
I had long wanted to see this magical sight, and to hear the delicate music the butterflies make with the fluttering of their wings. As I boarded the bus from Mexico City to Michoacan with my husband and a friend, I wondered what tourists we might encounter in a place both beautiful and beastly. Who had the appetite for travel to central Mexico after the U.S. government warned against non-essential travel to most of the state of Michoacan, where we were headed?
There didn't appear to be other foreigners making the bus trip, a two-hour ride out the Toluca highway and along winding country roads as a subtitled version of the movie "Abduction" aired on TV screens overhead. Our hosts and hoteliers, Pablo and Lisette Span, had told us to buy a ticket at the taxi stand in the Zitacuaro bus station for the 10-minute ride to their Rancho San Cayetano. We did, arriving safe and sound.
Friends told us San Cayetano was one of the nicest and most charming places to stay in butterfly country. It's also one of the priciest, but the manicured grounds are lush and the rooms are cozy, each with a fireplace and woodpile ready to light at night. Although there are individual dining tables, guests naturally mingle and chat so that dinners and breakfasts become rather communal affairs. Pablo Span ate with us the first night and, in his gentlemanly way, tried to set us straight on the violence in Michoacan.
"Around the world, Mexico is synonymous with violence. But the violence is between the cartels fighting each other over territory, or between the cartels and the police and military. It's not against us. Not a single national or foreign tourist has died in the violence," he said.
The U.S. travel advisory makes a similar point that "attacks on Mexican government officials, law enforcement and military personnel ... have occurred throughout Michoacan."
But like Skipton and Goldberger, the guests we met were not only unfazed by the warnings, they were utterly captivated by the landscape. Another visiting couple, Michael Marez and Grace Buckley of Denver, Colorado, own a vacation house in Mazatlan, have been travelling throughout Mexico for years, and see no reason to stop now. They appeared to subscribe to the idea that violence is relative, noting that more than 1,700 people had been shot to death in the United States since the Newtown school massacre.
"People in the United States are desensitized to what happens in the United States and think what happens in Mexico is so much worse," said Marez. "We hope to avoid being collateral damage anywhere."
"You pay attention," added Buckley. "Sure Mexico has problems. They're sad and awful. But it's a wonderful country."
Rounding out the foreign crowd was a group of Intel employees and their families up from Mexico City. So it seemed the tourist pool, in this corner of Michoacan at least, was made up of expats, old Mexico hands, and hardy adventurers who consider witnessing the miracle of the monarch butterfly migration essential travel. (Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, also made the pilgrimage to see butterflies that weekend, but to the Piedra Herrada sanctuary near Valle de Bravo, in the state of Mexico.)
We opted to go to the reserve closest to San Cayetano called El Capulin, which is technically across the border from Michoacan in the state of Mexico. It is about half an hour's car ride from the hotel to the stables, where we rented some pretty scrawny horses and hired guides for the 1 ½ hour trek uphill to the reserve at a place called Cerro Pelon. It was a rocky, dusty trip and there apparently are easier trails to the Sierra Chincua and the larger El Rosario sanctuaries in Michoacan, but it was well worth the saddle pain.
For here in the forest, I learned the great mystery of the monarchs, which is this: Most monarchs live only four or five weeks, but the generations that make the long migratory journey to Mexico live four or five months. They breed, the females lay their eggs on the road north, and die along with the males. Then, a year and five butterfly generations later, their descendants rely on some kind of instinctive GPS system to migrate south again, returning to exactly the same forest in central Mexico.
How cool is that?
Experts say the numbers of monarchs have been dwindling in recent years thanks to logging, insecticide use and other environmental pressures. We encountered a team of scientists from the World Wildlife Fund of Mexico and the Universities of Georgia and Wisconsin testing butterflies for parasites that attach themselves to the wings like excess baggage and drag the insects down. They found the ophryocystis elektroscirrha parasites on about 10 percent of the butterflies, which only weigh about a half-gram to begin with.
And yet, there are millions of them, flying, diving, sucking nectar from yellow and purple wildflowers, and seeking, like Skipton and Goldberger, the mates of their lives.
Recalling his romantic proposal, Goldberger said she remembers running to Skipton for the picture when "all of the sudden he was down on one knee." It took her a moment to realize what was happening. "It was incredible," she said.
And what did she respond?
If You Go...
BUTTERFLY MIGRATION IN MICHOACAN, MEXICO: Butterfly reserves are open mid-November through March. UNESCO World Heritage site: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1290. Reserves include El Capulin, over the border from the state of Michoacan to the state of Mexico. Entry fee at El Capulin, 35 pesos ($2.75). Horseback riding, 200 pesos ($16.50) and fee for guide, 200 pesos ($16.50) plus tip.
RANCHO SAN CAYETANO: Zitacuaro, Michoacan. Nightly rates, $130 plus 18 percent tax. Can be paid in dollars or pesos but quoted in dollars. Dinner at San Cayetano, 350 pesos ($27.45) plus 15 percent tip. Breakfast, 170 pesos ($13.30) plus 15 percent tip. They also will arrange box lunch tours to the sanctuaries.
I do not always agree with all that is said in these online stories - just post because they are about Mexico. This advice may be common sense anywhere you travel including the US. An example I have used on this forum comes from FBI and US Dept. Of Justice websites where they show all crime statistics for the US over many years. So the example is that there are on average about 38,000 carjackings in the US each year. The warning below is do not drive at night in Mexico. The same might apply in the US. Personally, our reasons for not driving at night in Mexico has to do with topes and cows - not banditos. Banditos can be found anywhere you go anywhere in the world. Mexico may be no better or no worse.
Here's this story.........
By Katherina Audley
How to stay safe in Mexico
The author offers 9 tips for traveling safely through Mexico.
I fell in love with Mexico the first time I stepped off a plane there in 1998. I've been back many times since then, and I got married there in 2011. As a frequent visitor to Mexico, I am asked repeatedly if it is safe. It is, if you're smart. A bit of preparation and planning before you leave and using your head when you're there go a long way. Here are a few tips on how to stay safe, healthy and relaxed in Mexico.
1. Make copies of your passport.
Keep a copy with you, but keep it separate from your passport. Leave another copy at home in a place where someone you know can access it. Should you lose your passport, a copy will facilitate a quick replacement.
2. Learn your local geography.
Mexico is a big country, roughly the size of Western Europe, and almost all of it remains safe and untouched by the violence that's been in the news. Research your destination and learn about potential safety issues from a credible source. The U.S. State Department's website provides detailed up-to-date safety advisories for the entire country. If you find your destination has safety advisories in effect, travel smart and heed the warnings. For example, if the area has experienced highway robberies recently, use taxis or public transportation instead of a rental car. When you get there, chat with your hotel's owner to get the lay of the land. Ask if there are neighborhoods to avoid.
3. Don't bring bling.
Leave the Rolex at home. There is no need to strip down to a burlap sack, but avoid wearing fine jewelry and keep your camera tucked away when it's not in use. Keep your valuables attached to you when you're walking and in sight even when sitting down to dinner. But, please, forgo the fanny pack. Nothing says "Rob me!" like a fanny pack.
4. Don't be flashy.
When I'm in Mexico, I pay with cash. It saves me international transaction fees and averts potential fraud. ATMs in Mexico usually dispense large-denomination bills. Break your large bills as soon as possible and carry only as much cash as you need each day. Withdraw your cash from brightly lit, well-attended ATMs during daylight hours and keep aware of the people around you before, during and after the transaction. Keep a few small bills in the primary compartment of your wallet and tuck larger bills away or leave them locked in your hotel's safe, along with your passport and credit cards. Small bills prevent egregious shortchanging and are easier for shopkeepers to manage. When you must carry a large amount of cash, use a money belt or hidden pocket. If your credit card is stolen or there are fraudulent charges, contact your bank right away. By reporting your lost or stolen card immediately, your liability should be minimal and usually your card can be replaced within three business days.
5. If you are held up ...
There are bad people everywhere, including in Mexico. Be aware that Mexican bandits may be desperate and easily provoked to violence. If you are the unlucky victim of a holdup, don't resist. Don't look into the robber's eyes. Give up the inexpensive jewelry and the few dollars in your wallet, and let it go.
6. Avoid Montezuma's revenge.
Skip the traveler's trots by staying away from unfiltered tap water, but do stay hydrated. When drinks are served with ice cubes, ask if they were made with purified water (agua purificada).
7. Don't drive at night.
Nighttime is when most carjackings and highway robberies occur. It is also when people, their farm animals and their pets like to congregate on the road to visit and travel between villages. Driving etiquette is different in Mexico and can be especially harrowing at night. When I must travel at night, I leave the driving to a bus or taxi driver and focus on my Hail Mary's. In Mexico City, it is important to take only certified Mexico City taxis. Most restaurant, business and hotel owners will be glad to call one for you.
8. Don't buy drugs.
Buying drugs in Mexico greatly increases your risk for being the victim of a violent crime, and your drug purchase directly supports the drug cartels.
9. Explore the world from a cup-half-full perspective.
Mexicans are some of the kindest, happiest people in the world, and tourism is a primary source of income for many of them. It is important to them that you leave with a favorable impression of their country. That said, there are bad people everywhere in the world, including Mexico. When in Mexico, assume the people you meet are good, kind people who want you to have a great vacation. With a perspective like this, chances are extremely high that this will indeed be the case.