Forget rock climbing or white water rafting. We can instead have a thrilling vacation by hitting some prime violence-ridden spots in Mexico.

Pristine beach complete with cross in Tulum, Mexico/Ryn Gargulinski

Four headless bodies hanging from a bridge on Sunday made for a glorious tourist trap in the sweet town of Cuernavaca, a soothing resort a mere 45 minutes from Mexico City, according to an Associated Press report.

The four men had been recently kidnapped and their mutilated bodies left with a note from a notorious drug kingpin warning folks not to support his competition.

The corpses dangled upside-down from their bound ankles.

Cuernavaca, capital city of the state of Morelos, is also known as “The City of Eternal Spring,” thanks to its balmy clime with a yearlong temperature averaging about 68 degrees Fahrenheit.


If we go west, young man, we can hit Acapulco and Zihuatanejo, both in the state of Guerrero.

Palm tree in Tulum, Mexico/Ryn Gargulinski

We don’t have to go into the beauty or popularity of Acapulco, the TV show “The Love Boat” always did that for us.

Zihauatenejo went one better than TV, meriting a mention as an absolutely dreamy getaway in the movie “The Shawshank Redemption.” It also boasts an old world charm and lack of view-blocking skyscrapers.

Trek down to any city in the state of Guerrero and we have the added excitement of its numerous carjackings or perhaps ending up like a U.S. citizen from Georgia.

He was found shot dead in his car on the highway between Acapulco and Zihauatenejo. No further details were immediately available, so we have no notion of a motive.

The border region is especially exciting, says the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs.

The U.S. Embassy’s July warning cautions to “defer unnecessary travel to Michoacán and Tamaulipas, to parts of Chihuahua, Sinaloa, Durango, and Coahuila, and to advise U.S. citizens residing or traveling in those areas to exercise extreme caution.

Tulum, Mexico/Ryn Gargulinski

“More than half of all Americans killed in Mexico in FY 2009 whose deaths were reported to the U.S. Embassy were killed in the border cities of Ciudad Juarez and Tijuana.”

Tool around the entire country and we may get a glimpse of more gang violence.

More than 22,700 people have been killed in slayings related to the drug war since 2006, when measures were stepped-up to combat it.

Some folks may say, pshaw, the drug-related killings only involve those in the trade.

If people are not buying, selling, using or otherwise dabbling in drugs, some note, folks are totally safe while traveling.

We want to believe that. Mexico has so many positive things to offer: pristine beaches, stunning sunsets and sunrises, bright purple jellyfish, wildly colorful art and excellent deals on silver jewelry.

But sometimes the sand of those pristine beaches is pocked with footprints of the armed guards patrolling it at dawn.

Jellyfish in Tulum, Mexico/Ryn Gargulinski

At least that should make us feel safer. Or does it?

“Millions of U.S. citizens safely visit Mexico each year,” notes the Bureau of Consular Affairs.

“Resort areas and tourist destinations in Mexico do not see the levels of drug-related violence and crime reported in the border region and in areas along major drug trafficking routes. Nevertheless, crime and violence are serious problems. While most victims of violence are Mexican citizens associated with criminal activity, the security situation poses serious risks for U.S. citizens as well.”

Is a pristine beach worth the risk? Send us a postcard and let us know.


Groovy beach scene in Tulum, Mexico/Ryn Gargulinski

What do you think?

When was the last time you went to Mexico?

Did you have any particularly negative – or positive – experiences?

Are you scared to go to Mexico or is all the hype just a bunch of bull?