Vacation Choices: Murderous Mexico or Beautiful Barbados?

Safe, beautiful Barbados

Safe, beautiful Barbados

Mexico Has More Kidnappings Than Iraq or Columbia!

Welcome to Cancun, Mexico – where last week eleven tortured, then decapitated bodies were found in a tourist area. That’s not even counting the four decapitated bodies found in Tijuana earlier this week.

The country’s highest police official was murdered in May and the drug wars have claimed over 2.700 dead this year alone.

So take that Cancun vacation if you want…

… or, you might want to book a nice little hotel in Barbados where you will find that the hotel security staff are not issued machine guns like in Mexico.

Your choice, Mr. and Mrs. American or Canadian tourist…

Will that be murderous Mexico… Drug war terror spreads in Mexico as bodies are dumped in tourist areas

or beautiful, friendly Barbados… Barbados: The best of the West Indies


Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Crime & Law, Traveling and Tourism

31 responses to “Vacation Choices: Murderous Mexico or Beautiful Barbados?

  1. Anon 27

    In the late 80’s, I vacationed in Mexico several times. In light of what has occurred there in the past few years, I would never vacation there again and this has just as much to do with my desire to see tourism in Mexico severely damaged as it does for my concern over personal safety.
    Mexico is a corrupt and lawless country and you have no protection whatsoever from the authorities should something happen to you. These authorities will subvert justice by doing and saying anything to save face. A prime example is how the police n Mexico named two Canadian women as suspects, in the murder of a Canadian couple who were at a resort for the marriage of their son. All evidence at the crime scene was washed away within hours by hotel staff on the orders of the police. They had not one shred of evidence against the two women and lots of evidence that a security guard who worked for the resort was in fact involved but like stubborn little children they continue to stick to the unsupported story that the two Canadian women are responsible.
    Until people stop vacationing in Mexico and hurt the Mexican government in the pocketbook this sort of farcical pseudo-justice will continue.

  2. Sargeant

    Several Canadians have met suspicious deaths in Mexico in recent years including one couple from the Toronto area who were brutally murdered in their hotel room. There have been no arrests as far as I can remember but Mexico is still one of the favourite destinations of many Canadians. If Canadians on holiday in the Caribbean died under the same conditions as they do in Mexico we would have to write off the prospect of there being a market for those tourists. Yet they continue to flock to Mexico because it is cheap, guess you could say so is life……

  3. Straight talk

    Rather than compare Cancun with Barbados, for the budget tropical vacationer, a more realistic comparison would be Cuba, or the Dominican Republic.

  4. Anon 27

    BFP: This link will add further to your story.



  6. Happy To Say

    I sincerely believe that here in BDS we have to take our gloves off and battle it out bear knuckles with destinations such as:
    • Mexico
    • Santo Domingo
    • Central/ South America

    We have the following positives relative to these destinations:
    • Lower incidence of crime (on tourist)
    • A justice system that is in better shape (believe it or not BFP)
    • A less threatening environment – there are few security guards that tote machine guns here in BDS
    • We communicate in English (a Bajan version)
    • Our roads are a lot safer to drive on
    • Lower incidence of food poisoning (I came down with Montezuma’s Revenge in Mexico)

    These destinations have the following advantages relative to BDS:
    • They are generally “cheaper”
    • More things for the tourist to do
    • Culturally more fulfilling – I have been to Mexico (X2)/ Venezuela (X3)/ Cuba (X2)/ Santa Domingo (X5) – and there is more cultural events to attend
    • Food is often more exotic
    • Often “brand names” are found

    In order to market our positives I think that we need to push our positives even if it means portraying a competing destination in a negative light. For starters we can state in our promotional material:
    • Low crime
    • Better hygiene
    • English speaking
    • Safe roads
    • More personalized
    • Better weather (less hurricanes)

    I would show video of a security officer in Mexico carrying a M-16 and one in BDS carrying just a baton. We have to try and move away from the approach where we leave it up to chance regarding the tourist coming to our shores, we have to give them a reason(s) why they should chose BDS vs. other destinations.

  7. Happy To Say

    Believe or not we also have better health care than most of these competing destinations.

  8. Thomas Gresham

    Before I returned to Barbados, I was based in London (mainly) and my work colleagues, those who had been and those who had not, viewed Barbados as a paradise. As a proud Bajan, I did not challenge this perception, though it was tinged with some patronising elements.

    However, I noticed over the years these same people who raved about Barbados began spending more vacations in Thailand, Dubai, India, Seychelles, Mauritius etc. These places were even further to get to than Barbados, but the big difference was price per service quality. For $150 in Asia (taxes included) you can be treated and eat like a King, in Barbados, you could get a massage in the Sandy lane spa…..The other differences were perceived things to do. I often met people who said they wouldnt go becuase they were not a “beach person”.

    So, I would have said we need to do a lot more to raise our service levels to Asian standards and we need to promote more than our beaches. But I do like the suggestion above of a picture of a Barbadian “Bobby” on the beat and an armed Mexican police officer as a good start.

  9. crossroads

    If we are not carefull, soon we will join them. I found it intresting when I read in one of our local papers, a court report about two young men who were fighting at a social event. The paper quoted that these men were from two gangs The Crips and The Bloods. Never before have I seen mention of these two particular gangs in the press with regards to local crime. Check out the poster for the dub fete in the press today. Our justice system needs to get it together fast.

  10. Thomas Gresham


    Agreed 100%. And if we develop a reputation for violence it will be hard to recover. We will get pressure for all-inclusives in the tourism sector and the economic linkages from tourism will drop, our economy will suffer, probably adding fuel to the fire.

  11. The scout

    I think the police force in Barbados is too soft on this devient behaviour. I was at Bushy Park yesterday and the smell of marijuana was so strong in the air almost everywhere I went. Plus the large amount of fights some between bajans and guyanese. I promised myself never to go back to any such place where a crowd congregate. If this type of behaviour is allowed to grow in this country, we would soon be seeing less ans less tourist in this country. Incedentally, at Bushy Park yesterday, there were many tourist and police presence.

  12. Hants

    Barbados cannot compete on price with the above mentioned destinations because they have very low capital costs based on ridiculously low wages.

    Indian labour in Dubai. Haitian labour in the Dominican.

    Barbados has to focus on keeping the country safe and improving the quality of the Tourist experiance on the Island.

    We also have to understand that the majority of Tourists want the basics. A “nice” hotel room,great beach, quality food and great service.

    In the 30 years I have spent in North America, I have never met a single person who asked about a Cultural or eco tourism experiance.

    It is always about the Hotels,beaches,Dining and Duty Free shopping.

    I believe in diversifying your product but you also have to improve on what is already existing.

  13. crossroads

    I too was at Bushy Park and I have seen persons openly baging and selling Marijuana in plubic view. The presence of the police was seen but made no difference to those who took part in such activity. I wonder if there were any undercover officers at the location.

  14. Anon27

    Let me give you an example of the “authorities” in Mexico. One time I was staying in Acapulco and had occassion one night, with a local, to visit a bar in the hills. Everyone was having a good time until a group of uniformed officers entered with some local ladies of the night. These officers were clearly drunk in uniform and were each swigging from bottles of Johnny Walker.
    I asked my friend if this was a common occurence and he replied “you haven’t seen nothing yet” and that I should prepare myself to make a hasty departure. He no sooner had made that statement than one of the officers, who it turned out was The Chief of Police for Acapulco, pulled out his gun and proceeded to fire it into the ceiling.
    Needless to say, we beat a hasty retreat.
    I know that Bajans have some very valid complaints about the RBPF but Mexico is far worse.

  15. I really don’t know if Barbados is a safe country to vacation in, but I know first hand that Mexico IS NOT! My son died tragically in Cancun last year. Since his death I have made it my priority to educate people about the many unknown dangers of vacationing in Mexico. Please visit: http://WWW.MEXICOVACATIONAWARENESS.COM

  16. Hants

    Barbados is a safe vacation destination.

    More that 500,000 tourists visit Barbados every year.

    Nuff said.

  17. Thomas Gresham

    Hants said: “Barbados cannot compete on price with the above mentioned destinations because they have very low capital costs based on ridiculously low wages”

    Well, I think you mean low labour costs not capital costs.

    We dont have an option of not competing we have to compete. The way you compete with something cheap is to offer better quality. Relative to the rest of the world our service is expensive and not particularly high quality. To compete you could lower wages – which I would not recommend – or raise service quality. We do not have an option of not competiting.

    Safety is a competitive advantage, especially versus Mexico and Jamaica, but Dubai, Sechelles, Mauritius do not have a security problem either, and it is this “top end” that we need to focus on (though not exclusively) when our small size limits “quantity”.

    We cannot focus on the tourists who want the basics, because they will not pay our wages, our costs and taxes to get them when they can get the basics elsewhere. When you are a high cost producer you have to offer more. Our “more” may not be culture, though Crop Over and the Jazz Festival this year were great quality, but it could be some combination of safety, peace, beautiful environment and high quality service. This means investing in the environment, law and order, and training.

  18. Hants

    Well, I think you mean low labour costs not capital costs.

    OK Thomas.

    What I am trying to say is that building a Hotel in most countries we compete with cost less than building in Barbados.

    I have to admit that I do not know What a Tourist expects from a vacation on a Tropical Island.

    Please enlighten me.

    I keep hearing about diversifying our Tourism product.

    Any suggestions Adrian?

  19. Matallie

    Well done BFP, let us see what the ‘Talk Show Host’ on American TV will say about the endemic crime situation in Mexico. They certainly made a meal of the recent unfortunate situation in Antigua.
    Hands of the caribbean and have a look next door yanks.

  20. Thomas

    Mexico has over 100 million people, its only obvious that kidnapping would be more common there.

    True it may have its share of crime,but i’m sure it has its good share beauty and culture.

    its too easy to point down on other countries just to make ourselves feel better about our own

  21. Thomas Gresham

    Dear Hants,

    One of the best “hotels” I ever stayed in was Amani-i-Khas in India, where the physical infrastructure is a tent that they roll up and put away during the off-season. So no major capital costs there. It was great because the service was out of this world. The minute we arrived, tired and weary from the long drive through the Rajasthan desert, without saying a word, they saw our exhaustion, our kids were gently taken from me, lifted up on to the shoulders of the staff to be fussed over and taken to cook something in the kitchen, we were taken straight to the room without check-in (done later) cool drinks were brought and an exquisite snack. And it continued like that for four blissful days. The service was 2-3 times better than Sandy Lane and for the family, the cost was a third.

    Given our high operational costs what will determine whether we succeed or fail in the long-run is the quality of our service, the way we look after our environment and how safe our visitors feel. Not the capital costs. If we get these three things right we can charge the prices that justify our operational costs, including the capital cost. The good news is that each of these determinants are in our control. The bad news is that it has been so for a while and we have done little about it. Hopefully this will change.

  22. Ihave spent time in Cancun, the DR and Barbados.
    Once upon a time I felt safe in Cancun. in the DR and Barbados.
    Why do I come back to Barbados, despite the rise in serious crime, despite noisy, endangering lives ZR drivers, despite the higher costs?
    Not to mention careless littering.
    I come back for the number of friends I have made over the years and I may be a dreamer but I am hoping that as a small island nation, crime and corruption can be brought under control.
    It takes the dedication of the BFP and BU to get the rest of Barbadians out if their slumber.
    Nothing will change if you shrug your shoulders and say, that’s Barbados.

  23. Adrian Loveridge


    I don’t think we have ever been able to compete on cost.
    There is always somewhere cheaper and in many cases better value for money.
    BUT, we do have strengths, our people and the relative safety of the destination.

    I have said this a number of times, but it is important to remember. We are marketing towards a rapidly ageing population where SAFETY and security is paramount.

    Young people have an almost leeming like desire to explore everywhere in the world.

    More mature visitors ‘find’ somewhere where they feel secure and can relate to the local population. They no longer want unpleasant suprises.

    These are the bedrock of our tourism industry, the repeat guests that return year-after-year and encourage their friends to visit us.

    Secondly, many of the people we are marketing towards are retiring at 60 plus and enjoying a quality retirement life of twenty plus years.
    Yes! they are looking for sun, sea and sand but also interaction with the population and some interest and activity.

    As you know the UK is still our largest market.
    Last year over ONE THIRD of all the holidays booked by Brits included an activity (ie: walking, cycling, photography, architecture, painting etc).

    Heritage tourism will become increasingly important and this is the area, I think we have to concentrate more on.

  24. 329.18

    DON’T fool yourself that we’re all THAT safe – we’re not!

    Just like the recent cold-blooded(head-shots!)Antigua murders at 4:40 a.m.,
    we get our share of random crapola happening here too.

    Crimes of physical attack against tourists/visitors should be punishable by death
    -or 25 yrs. minimum-
    and that includes anything from simple bag-snatching-and-running
    to blood being shed.

    Peter The Coral Man
    shoulda be in the Mental Hospital decades ago
    for his ‘approach’ to tourists in Bridgetown.
    He’s a qualified pest and a national embarrassment.

    The paro’s who sleep on our streets should be taken up and delivered to the Dog Pound or some similar facility.


    I’d like to inform the myopic
    that there was a serious attack on a cruise-ship tourist
    which took place somewhere near our Harbour’s gates, just after dark
    (I suspect it was along Trevor’s Way -very pleasant during the day, but very dark once the sun goes down-)
    on BOXING DAY 2007.

    I learned the disturbing details via this personal communication below
    from someone who was on the same cruise ship!

    cut & paste.

    “a white english man out walking with his wife near the ship boxing day.
    he was 72 but very fit [looked 60]
    we sat with them one night on(the ship) ‘Ocean Village Two 2’
    -terrible incident.
    a black guy came from behind stole their belongings but then tried stabbing his eyes out
    [lots of stiches]
    one of the crew came to their assistance hearing the commotion and they said the ship was brilliant, sending doctor nurses to get him and patch him up.
    i saw them on the last day and the ship never charged for their care.
    bit worrying eh ——
    nick thought he sounded like a junky. not certain what area it was
    but very close to the ship
    because it was a band member that came to help .
    it wasnt very far and nothing was open, being boxing day.
    and if it was far, the doctor and nurses probably wouldnt have gone.[that was good eh]
    the police were involved but i dont suppose they will catch him.
    how do some turn so bad
    from being those polite immaculate school kids.

    i have to say i have met some wonderful and helpful
    locals in the past
    and we travel all over your lovely island
    always on public transport day and night.
    and always felt safe.
    i hope barbados doesnt go the same way as jamaica in years to come.”


    Ladies and gentlemen:
    I’m fairly sure this delightful event never made the local media.
    The unfortunate victim’s ship sailed away with him on board, nursing his wounds(now his disfigured face!) a few hours later
    and so the matter was easily forgotten – BY US.

    But how many people has the traumatised family told this story to
    after they got back to the UK ?
    I shudder to think.

  25. J

    329.18 wrote at 8:30 p.m. on September 2

    “Crimes of physical attack against tourists/visitors should be punishable by death -or 25 yrs. minimum- and that includes anything from simple bag- snatching-and-running
    to blood being shed.”

    Dear 329.18:

    You do understand do you that most of our visitors come from jurisdictions that have abolished capital punishment for muder and that they would be deeply offended if we imposed capital punishment on bag-snatchers. I doubt that such nonsense would endear us our U.K., U.S. Canadian, European visitors. I doubt that it would make them feel safe and encourage millions of them to come here.

    And if perchance a visitor snatched a local’s bag, or bought a spliff, or failed to pay a hotel, restaurant or taxi, or beat a hotel employee or commited rape, or murder what punishment would you impose on that visitor?

    I am looking forward to your response.



  26. 329.18

    Dear J,
    I was merely making the point that we need to take physical crimes against tourists seriously.
    We all know that Amnesty International and the other bleeding hearts assocs. now controls the law and the world,
    even as it costs us Barbados taxpayers Bds. $35 per prisoner per day,
    it’s better than killing the little darlings,thus culling our species to improve it.

    besides, most tourists don’t know the local law, and care only about their physical safety, as they should.

    have a nice day

  27. J

    Dear 329.18:

    Not so fast.

    Tourists do not have to KNOW the local law. Barbados’ laws come out of the same Judeo/Christian tradition as the laws of Europe and the U.S. and Canada from whence these tourists come.

    Executing murderers will also do NOTHING to “improve the species” as most murderers have already had children by the time they commit murder unless you are suggesting that we kill their innocent children too.

    One Herod killed the innocents about 2 thousand years ago.

    One H*t*er killed J*ws, Romany, homosexuals and others in an attempt to “improve” the world. When of course there is nothing wrong with being a J*w or Romany or homosexual. Hitler finally got the right idea and killed himself. Why don’t you do the same.

    I can’t imagine that you would be willing to kill a Bajan for snatching a tourist’s handbag. But would excuse tourists any crime on the grounds that they “do not know the local law”.

    Stay off this blog until you learn to present a well REASONED argument.

  28. Anon27

    oooooooooo…..La De Dah…you now work for BFP ?

  29. Thomas Gresham

    J, you are quite right.

    Quite apart from the argument about tourists it is worth saying a few things about the death penalty in general. In the US, one of the only developed countries that still permits state executions, up there with China, Saudi Arabia and Iran, the evidence is that US States with the death penalty do not have a lower serious crime rate than those that do not (so there is no deterrence argument), there is a much higher proportion of blacks on death row (and a strong likelihood of racism at work) and there is much evidence before and after executions of wrongful arrests.

  30. Brooke

    That is so beautiful i would love to go there……