Paradise remains safe and welcome…

July 11, 2011

I believe the best way to overcome the the negative and sensationalist coverage of Mexico is to hear from Americans and Canadians who actually live in Mexico and hear how their lives have been affected. For an overall majority, their life has not been affected; they continue to live their lives and for them “paradise remains safe and welcoming”. Here’s a piece from a US newspaper, the Bemidji Pioneer.

As a U.S. citizen and former Bemidji resident, now living in beautiful Punta de Mita, Mexico, near Puerto Vallarta, I am saddened by all of the negative media stories about Mexico.
These stories are, in many cases, very misleading. My little piece of paradise remains safe and welcoming, contrary to some media reports. My local friends and neighbors are suffering financially, as these stories continue to be in the news. For those of you who have traveled to Mexico, you know what a lovely and hospitable place most of Mexico is. Yes, there are problems in some areas, just as in many parts of the states. But, we shouldn’t be writing off the entire country. It is a very large and diverse country with wonderful history, beautiful scenery, wonderfully affordable cuisine with fresh seafood and local fruits and vegetables, and hospitable people who love and cherish their families and neighbors. We have felt very welcomed here. I could share many positive stories with you about our life in retirement here in Mexico. I have felt safer here in our little village than I sometimes felt in little Bemidji. Our crime rate here is very low. Please do not buy into the idea that all of Mexico is dangerous. Come on down. Talk to your friends who have been here and they can tell you that this is a delightful place. You will receive a warm welcome.
Shari Seeling Cronk


The Punta Mita Experience

March 26, 2011

This past week has been an active one for the owner/members out in Punta Mita, the gated residential community situated at the far end of the bay about 45 minutes from Vallarta’s airport. For lack of a better term, its referred to as “HOA Week”, as this is when meetings take place for the Master Homeowner’s Association, along with the HOA meetings for many of the sub-developments within Punta Mita. All week long there are special events and cocktail parties. Last night it was the gala dinner for the Punta de Mita Foundation, held at the St. Regis’ Caroline restaurant. It was an amazing event, with people dressed to the 10s – something you don’t often see in this laid-back environment. Do they actually have these clothes in their Punta Mita closets?

At this particular event it was announced that the Foundation was very close to reaching its target goal to fund refurbishing the sports facilities located in Punta de Mita (actually “El Nuevo Corral del Risco”, but that’s a mouthful). The last $27,000 needed was raised during the evening ($45,000 to be exact), meaning this project will now move forward.

Attending many of the events over the week, it was quite obvious that no one was concerned about security, or buying in to how Mexico is being portrayed in the media in the USA and Canada. It was a concern when they first started arriving in November last year, the snowbirds who arrive then and leave again sometime in April or May. And that made sense; they’d been listening to mainstream media’s take on the situation for the past six months. But once they arrived back in Vallarta, they realized the violence they had been reading about was not taking place near their neighborhood, town, and in some cases, not even in their state.

I think the truth, sensibility and rationality is starting to emerge. Its becoming old news, at least for those who are here, experiencing Mexico. They can witness firsthand what the actual situation truly is, rather than buying in to the unjust portrayal of life in this country. People are realizing that there are not chopped off heads regularly rolling down the streets of their town, or people being shot at and killed. And if it is happening, it certainly doesn’t involve anyone they know, or taking place at any place they frequent. The truth is most of the violence is happening between the drug cartels themselves.

There is violence, unfortunately, everywhere. Many of us come from communities which have neighborhoods where you just don’t go, no matter what time of the day. You are asking for trouble if you do so. Well, its the same in Mexico – there are places you are best not to go to, especially at 3:00 in the morning.

Back to Punta Mita, this development has managed to avoid what has happened to many large gated communities back in the USA, in places like Florida, Arizona, Vegas and California. DINE, the developer, has managed to not only maintain the development well, but actually continued to add amenities, such as finishing a second 18-hole golf course, a member’s gymnasium, new tennis club, and a wonderful new addition (adults-area bar) to the resident’s beach club.

Currently there are only about 250 owners in Punta Mita, out of an eventual 1,000. But it hasn’t stopped the developer from providing most of what was initially promised, and certainly hasn’t stopped them from maintaining it extremely well.

What I did hear from owners quite often this past week is they felt these are probably the best years to be in Punta Mita. There’s never a problem getting a golf tee time (you don’t even need one, you just show up), surf spots aren’t that crowded, the beach club is rarely overcrowded and the community is a comfortable enough size with 250 owners that you can really get to know nearly everyone. A lot of new friendships have been created and with this amount of people it allows for quite a lively and vibrant dinner party scene throughout the high season. And what about the construction? There used to be thousands of migrant workers here, huge trucks traveling up and down the highway and dust everywhere from the constant ongoing construction – that’s all gone.

This will pass, however. People will start to understand they’ve been hoodwinked by the media and will return to enjoy what Mexico has to offer; a great, affordable place to escape the winters of the north. Construction will start up once again. Until then, it will be hard on the local economy, the restaurants, realtors, shops and galleries. For those who are fortunate to be able to just enjoy Vallarta and Riviera Nayarit without having to work, enjoy it now before it gets busy again – these are great times to be in Vallarta and Riviera Nayarit!

A Canadian’s take on Mexico

March 20, 2011

The following article was featured in the Star Phoenix, a newspaper in Saskatoon, Canada. Its good to see people providing their own deeper insight into the current situation in Mexico, not just relying on how mainstream media is portraying Mexico but doing their own investigation. Best yet, realizing that what troubles Mexico may have should not in any way stop someone from visiting Puerto Vallarta.

Vamos amigo?
Just after I’d decided to book a one-week, all-inclusive trip to Puerto Vallarta -my first trip to Mexico -the really alarming headlines started to hit fast and furious.
In particular, reports featured the serious escalation in gang violence, particularly in and around Cancun and Acapulco, the alleged gang rape of a Canadian woman by Mexican police and growing scandal over the Grand Riviera Hotel gas explosion.
Canadians were advised to “exercise a high degree of caution due to a deteriorating security situation in many parts of the country.”
But we were headed to the less dangerous West Coast, I told myself. You have to play the odds, right? After all, 1.5 million Canadians visited Mexico last year. And travel advisories have been issued in the past about everything from rental cars in Florida to carjacking “bandits” in Sardinia -although granted, 15 decapitated bodies on a footbridge in one day (in Acapulco) is in a different league.
What can I say: I was sick of winter. And, as it turned out, I fell in love with the country…
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