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ezpz

San Miguel, Guanajuato, Zacatecas

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I have been to each of these lovely small cities with tour groups and would like to return on my own.  I have gone alone to San Cristobal and Oaxaca (by air) and had a great time.  I speak Spanish and like to connect with the locals and do my own thing at my own pace.  I now have a car and was thinking about driving to the 3 above locations - alone, for lack of an ideal travel partner.  Question: How safe is it these days?  I'm not a Fraidy Cat but I'm not stupid either.  Have any of you actually seen or experienced negative situations in any of these places?  Gracias!

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I was just in San Miguel and Zacatecas. Saw/heard nothing out of the usual. Haven't heard of anything that would keep me out of Guanajuato either.

 

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Just be warned that all of those places are at a higher altitude and will be much colder than here if you're thinking about doing the trip soon. Personally, I'd do the trip no sooner than March.

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Guanajuato City is peaceful, the local govt upped security recently due to the death of a coed in her apartment. Peaceful, but large protests about the investigation brought on an awareness of further need for security regarding stalkers etc. lots of uniforms walking beats in pairs. 

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8 minutes ago, zerbit said:

Guanajuato City is peaceful, the local govt upped security recently due to the death of a coed in her apartment. Peaceful, but large protests about the investigation brought on an awareness of further need for security regarding stalkers etc. lots of uniforms walking beats in pairs. 

At this time, the State of Guanajuato, the city of Celaya and others nearby, are the most dangerous in all of Mexico. Does that mean it is unsafe for you to go there. No one can guarantee your safety if you do. That has to be a decision you make based upon the best Current Information you  can get, not on someone else's opinion. It is easy to give advise when it is not your life that matters.

 

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True, it is not easy to give advice but the cartels are everywhere including here. I would advise caution if you tend to be out and about from 10 pm to 6 am which is when a lot of drug activity takes place. Usually when the sun comes out, the undesirables crawl back under their respective rocks. There are exceptions of course.

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ezpz-  Not a fraidy cat but not stupid either is a fine combination for safe travel. Speaking the language is a big bonus.

I have heard about problems around Celaya as well as an area on the way to San Cristobal that should be avoided.

But there's no guarantees that life is safe, anywhere, anytime. Some car could run you down a block from your home. Go, have a good time.

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10 hours ago, HookEmHorns said:

At this time, the State of Guanajuato, the city of Celaya and others nearby, are the most dangerous in all of Mexico. Does that mean it is unsafe for you to go there. No one can guarantee your safety if you do. That has to be a decision you make based upon the best Current Information you  can get, not on someone else's opinion. It is easy to give advise when it is not your life that matters.

 

I currently live in Guanajuato City overseeing the construction of a home. I walk the streets and alleys and have no qualms doing so. As a state capital and a world heritage city, we have layers of police presence, both on foot and in vehicles. 
Celaya is about 60 miles away, further than say Brentwood from South Central LA. But to each his / her own. 

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1 hour ago, zerbit said:

I currently live in Guanajuato City overseeing the construction of a home. I walk the streets and alleys and have no qualms doing so. As a state capital and a world heritage city, we have layers of police presence, both on foot and in vehicles. 
Celaya is about 60 miles away, further than say Brentwood from South Central LA. But to each his / her own. 

And we have lived in Guanajuato for several years and the presence of police and federales has never been anywhere like it currently is. Robbery, stalking and murders are at all time highs, in the city and through out the State. The State is the current "murder capital" of Mexico. This can be verified is you are interested in facts. I cannot say to visit it is safe for anyone, nor can you. As I said before, it is easy to say an area is safe for someone else to visit when you are not concerned with YOUR own welfare, and the life is that of someone you do not know. Everyone must make their own decision based , not on hearsay, not on opinion, but verifiable facts. 

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Guanajuato state has a lot of problems. I work for a school that works withartisans and we sent a representative to speak with artisans.. Before our representative arrived the artisans checked with the city where the school is headquartered. THey spoke to a person who did not know about the school and when our representatve arrived the police was waiting for her.. There are lots of people who are afraid in the state and they are Mexicans who have nothing to do with drugs but are afraid of kidnapping and extortion. So far the foreiigners are safer..hope it last..

I would visit the area I want to visit ..just be aware that bad things can happen anywhere. and Guanajuato and Zacatecas are on the list of where the bad things can happen but then so is Jalisco...

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Hola Amig@s,

Thanks for your comments.  In my travels in MX I have never come across a single shady or scary character.  I have encountered, as a rule, really friendly nice people, often out with their kids.  I wouldn't be out late anyway.  I'm more concerned with driving between here and there although the roads seem  mostly like a very safe toll road.  I have very good radar for people in my surroundings.  But. I would have to get up to speed with the tunnels in GTO 😃

 

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7 hours ago, HookEmHorns said:

And we have lived in Guanajuato for several years and the presence of police and federales has never been anywhere like it currently is. bery, stalking and murders are at all time highs, in the city and through out the State.

HookEm could you tell us how this affects your daily life?

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4 hours ago, ezpz said:

Hola Amig@s,

Thanks for your comments.  In my travels in MX I have never come across a single shady or scary character.  I have encountered, as a rule, really friendly nice people, often out with their kids.  I wouldn't be out late anyway.  I'm more concerned with driving between here and there although the roads seem  mostly like a very safe toll road.  I have very good radar for people in my surroundings.  But. I would have to get up to speed with the tunnels in GTO 😃

 

LOL! My hubby would pull over in the tunnels (they're big) and send me up the stairs to find out where we really were. I felt very much like the groundhog popping out and checking to see if winter would end in six weeks. After frequent visits, we came to the conclusion that it was easier to park the car above ground and take taxi's to wherever we wanted to end up. It's not a big town but, besides the tunnels, there is a lot of uphill walking. Great tours available (at least there used to be) of all the important historical spots. Leon is great for leather stuff and halfway between Leon and Guanajuato is the Cristo del Rey. It is AMAZING and is the geographical centre of Mexico. San Miguel is a little different now but still has the magical, historical downtown. Hot Springs between San Miguel and Dolores Hidalgo. And great pottery and tiles in Dolores and watching the artisans at work... great wood furniture too. We put a lotta miles on our little VW bug. Great memories!

 

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On 12/22/2019 at 2:59 PM, ezpz said:

Hola Amig@s,

Thanks for your comments.  In my travels in MX I have never come across a single shady or scary character.  I have encountered, as a rule, really friendly nice people, often out with their kids.  I wouldn't be out late anyway.  I'm more concerned with driving between here and there although the roads seem  mostly like a very safe toll road.  I have very good radar for people in my surroundings.  But. I would have to get up to speed with the tunnels in GTO 😃

 

Hi ezpz...although I rarely go to San Miguel de Allende, it has been my lot to have gone there three times in the last six months.  People--both Mexican and foreign friends--are talking non-stop about the ongoing violence in that city, in the city of Guanajuato, in Celaya, and in the rest of the state.  The violence isn't about or between small-time retail drug sellers on the street.  It's about three different cárteles fighting for derecho de piso (control of those cities and of the state), and has been escalating since January 2019.  It's commonly reported in the press that the two primary cárteles are Jalisco Nueva Generación and Santa Rosa de Lima.  The extortion of businesses has also gone through the roof, with the cártel Santa Rosa de Lima demanding as much as 30,000 pesos from tortillerías to continue doing business. 

In June of 2019, I happened to be in San Miguel when two separate assassinations took place: one across the street from where friends lived (they have since moved to Morelia, due to the insecurity in SMA), and one on a street near the Centro Histórico, where, as I was being taken through town to the SMA bus station, I actually witnessed SEMEFO (the coroner's department) picking up the body.  

Just two weeks ago, I was on the Primera Plus bus from Morelia to SMA.  As we were approaching Celaya, the bus made a U-turn on the highway and then a long detour around the city.  I was sitting in the seat behind the driver; he kept his window open and shouted (in Spanish) at all cars going the opposite direction, "Don't go that way!  There's big trouble there!  Follow me, I know the safe route to get around it!"  Due to this long detour, we arrived approximately 1.5 hours late into San Miguel.  That evening, I learned when I talked with Mexican friends that there had been an enfrentamiento (gun battle between warring factions of the cárteles) on the bus route.  

This situation is not to be taken lightly.  Driving on a toll road doesn't mean you can blithely assume that you are safe.  I won't tell you that should change your plans, but it's imperative that you know what's actually going on in the entire state of Guanajuato.  You speak Spanish, ezpz; do you also read it?  Google cárteles derecho de piso guanajuato for information in the news media.  Here's a good place to start: https://www.am.com.mx/guanajuato/noticias/Guanajuato-con-mas-asesinatos-en-el-pais-van-2-mil-560-muertos-en-2019-20191020-0028.html

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More Liana..thank you for your realistic and informative post.  About time.  When we lived in San Miguel de Allende ten years ago for three years, there were incidents of violence like my neighbor's home invasion and some street crime. It tended to be hushed up officially for the sake of the Pueblo Magico image.  Now, it's escalated, and people should be aware of the situation.  This country, like most others including the U.S., has it's troubles.  We need not live in constant fear, but we should be alert.

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@More Liana I thought you had moved from Morelia because of the violence there?  I thought you were living in CDMX...are you back in Morelia now?  

If you are in Morelia, what route do you suggest driving from Ajijic?  We have done it in past, but it's been 10 years.  I note that the US State Dept. has a warning for this area:

Within 20 km (12 miles) of the Jalisco/Michoacán border, south of Route 120

 

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Bisbee just stick to the cuotas (15D) and take the main route down from it to Morelia.  It's a wonderful place to visit.  Get a centro hotel and walk/ride the van buses everywhere.

 

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How does crime that is hushed up officially become so well known to some people, like posters on this board?    And how is it "officially" hushed up? By Cabildo proclamation? By a proclamation of the Governor?  Do the police or criminals contact private citizens and tell them to "hush op"?

I guess we are lucky to have posters who are so well informed that they get confidential and restricted information that no one else knows about because it is hushed up.?

Or maybe it is a little more known than they think and not so "hushed up".  How can you hush up something without putting some teeth into enforcement.

GET REAL!!!!!

 

 

 

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Slainte:   Got the tone of that...no problem, but I'll give it a straight answer anyway.  Hushed up: when you hear directly from others you know about crimes which happened to them, but those events are never reported in the news.  Good enough?

Teeth into enforcement?  You're can't be serious if you've lived here for years.

🤣

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1 minute ago, gringal said:

Slainte:   Got the tone of that...no problem, but I'll give it a straight answer anyway.  Hushed up: when you hear directly from others you know about crimes which happened to them, but those events are never reported in the news.  Good enough?

Teeth into enforcement?  You're can't be serious if you've lived here for years.

🤣

Where/how do you believe local crime should be reported?  

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5 hours ago, Xena said:

Where/how do you believe local crime should be reported?  

Exactly. the police or no one else in government, calls newspapers or tv stations, to report crime and no one is prohibiting media from reporting it. Are you watching Mexican TV or reading Spanish language newspapers?  Or are you waiting for More Liana to report it?  You seem to be finding out some way or the other.

I´m not saying the crimes are not happening, what I am saying is that "they are tended to be hushed up OFFICIALLY" is an urban legend or myth that wont die, and that is an opinion from someone who has "lived here for years".  In fact, I happen to know several people who work for, and have good positions with several media outlets.

Teeth into enforcement…...I´m talking about enforcing your so called "Official Hush Up" policy, which doesn´t exist, but I´m sure you know people who have been officially gagged   :017:

What "tone" do you want me to have when I disagree with you?  I got your tone as well and I´m giving you a straight answer.

 

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26 minutes ago, slainte39 said:

Exactly. the police or no one else in government, calls newspapers or tv stations, to report crime and no one is prohibiting media from reporting it. Are you watching Mexican TV or reading Spanish language newspapers?  Or are you waiting for More Liana to report it?  You seem to be finding out some way or the other.

I´m not saying the crimes are not happening, what I am saying is that "they are tended to be hushed up OFFICIALLY" is an urban legend or myth that wont die, and that is an opinion from someone who has "lived here for years".  In fact, I happen to know several people who work for, and have good positions with several media outlets.

Teeth into enforcement…...I´m talking about enforcing your so called "Official Hush Up" policy, which doesn´t exist, but I´m sure you know people who have been officially gagged   :017:

What "tone" do you want me to have when I disagree with you?  I got your tone as well and I´m giving you a straight answer.

 

Slainte, when violence dramatically increased early this year in San Miguel de Allende, a regidor in SMA's city government publicly asked residents (a) not to talk about it and (b) to act as if cártel violence was not happening---so that tourism would not decrease.  In this particular instance, it's not an urban legend or myth.  This is just one of many news reports about it, in which the mayor of SMA finally recognizes this currently year-long terrible violence:  https://www.milenio.com/policia/san-miguel-allende-alcalde-reconoce-inseguridad-municipio  

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10 hours ago, Bisbee Gal said:

@More Liana I thought you had moved from Morelia because of the violence there?  I thought you were living in CDMX...are you back in Morelia now?  

If you are in Morelia, what route do you suggest driving from Ajijic?  We have done it in past, but it's been 10 years.  I note that the US State Dept. has a warning for this area:

Within 20 km (12 miles) of the Jalisco/Michoacán border, south of Route 120

 

Bisbee Gal, I moved to Mexico City in 2011 and lived there for 8 years.  I moved back to Morelia nearly a year ago.   

If you want to come to Morelia, do as Mainecoons suggests: drive the cuota until you reach the salida a Salamanca/Morelia.  Follow that to Morelia.  If you need hotel recommendations, PM me--and let's get together while you're here.

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10 hours ago, gringal said:

More Liana..thank you for your realistic and informative post.  About time.  When we lived in San Miguel de Allende ten years ago for three years, there were incidents of violence like my neighbor's home invasion and some street crime. It tended to be hushed up officially for the sake of the Pueblo Magico image.  Now, it's escalated, and people should be aware of the situation.  This country, like most others including the U.S., has it's troubles.  We need not live in constant fear, but we should be alert.

Gringal, the violence in SMA and the entire state of Guanajuato has nothing to do with home invasions and street crime.  And San Miguel de Allende is not a Pueblo Mágico; that title was taken away from the city in 2008.

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