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Mexican Volcanoes...drug war danger

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Mexican Volcanoes...drug war danger

Postby Matt Lemke » Mon Jan 02, 2012 12:41 pm

Hi everyone,
I'm climbing Pico de Orizaba and Iztl in mid-March by flying into Mexico City
and taking the charter buses to the town at the base of Orizaba.
We are staying at the SummitOrizaba place and climbing the mountain using their shuttle service.

We are then heading over to Iztl to climb that peak before heading back to Mexico city on the bus for our flight home.

My questions are:
How much danger are we in with regards to crossing paths with drug trafficking? Is this not of any concern as
most of this activity is mostly in northern Mexico near the USA border?
Also, does anyone know who we can contact in case we are in need of emergency assistance (ie. broken leg, appendicitis, etc.)?
Is there anyone in Mexico that is similar to a reliable SAR service we see in the USA?
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Re: Mexican Volcanoes...drug war danger

Postby JB99 » Mon Jan 02, 2012 12:56 pm

Matt Lemke wrote:My questions are:
How much danger are we in with regards to crossing paths with drug trafficking? Is this not of any concern as
most of this activity is mostly in northern Mexico near the USA border?
Also, does anyone know who we can contact in case we are in need of emergency assistance (ie. broken leg, appendicitis, etc.)?
Is there anyone in Mexico that is similar to a reliable SAR service we see in the USA?


I would not be concerned at all about crossing paths with drug traffickers, unless you are planning on trafficking drugs while you are there. The same dangers that apply in any big city will apply in Mexico City, but the drug traffickers aren't (likely) going to add to that in any way unless you are involving yourself with them. That said, you won't even really be in Mexico City it sounds like aside from when your flight arrives, and the bus takes you straight from the airport. We also felt just fine in Mexico City, including walking around some at night looking for taco carts.

I'm not sure about SAR services, someone else might chime in. You also might email SummitOrizaba and see if they know.
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Re: Mexican Volcanoes...drug war danger

Postby The_Godfather » Mon Jan 02, 2012 1:15 pm

I would not be concerned at all about crossing paths with drug traffickers, unless you are planning on trafficking drugs while you are there.


+1 - you won't have issues, I'm certain of that.

For Sars I haven't heard of any agency like that, but others may know.

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Re: Mexican Volcanoes...drug war danger

Postby centrifuge » Mon Jan 02, 2012 1:22 pm

I agree with the above statements regarding Drug Trafficking and danger around that. Regarding the SAR aspects, the assumption I make when I travel outside of the US to climb is that if I get hurt, I am on my lonesome with my friends and/or any other climbers out there who may be predisposed to assisting. I have used a Spot, but really thats more to let my family at home know I am safe than anything else. There are some international rescue groups you can buy insurance for but they are pricey to say the least but they will actually come in and extract you. I remember reading about them when I was planning my trip to Ecuador last year but can't remember enough details to be helpful.
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Re: Mexican Volcanoes...drug war danger

Postby cheeseburglar » Mon Jan 02, 2012 1:43 pm

I've heard the local guides have some sort of SAR organization. Not sure of the details. The only reason I heard about it was that I asked El Oso about climbing Popocatapetl. He thought that was a bad idea and gone up on Popo on a SAR type mission.
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Re: Mexican Volcanoes...drug war danger

Postby Gabriel » Mon Jan 02, 2012 2:09 pm

I'm writing from Puebla. Almost no chance of problems unless you are trying to get involved in that line of work. This area is safer than Denver. It amazes me that these type of questions continue to come up on this site. Come down and enjoy the culture, cuisine and mountaineering.

G

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Re: Mexican Volcanoes...drug war danger

Postby CO Native » Mon Jan 02, 2012 3:41 pm

If you're concerned about rescue you should consider getting a SPOT beacon and adding the GEOS Search and Rescue service. It covers you for up to $100K of rescue expenses internationally. If you activate your SPOT anywhere in the world they will coordinate with whatever local agency they think is best for your rescue or even hire a private SAR contractor to provide rescue if there is no adequate local rescue organization or if local authorities don't have the necessary resources.
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Re: Mexican Volcanoes...drug war danger

Postby PJMiller » Mon Jan 02, 2012 5:41 pm

I feel safer in Mexico then downtown Denver. Just as an FYI, you may want to look into travel insurance, mostly for the medical coverage. When we travel outside of the U.S., I purchase the stuff. It would cover medical costs and most transport back to the U.S. If you can afford it, check out Access America or Travel Guard. We end up getting the best coverage and spend a couple hundred bucks.

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Re: Mexican Volcanoes...drug war danger

Postby talamo71 » Tue Jan 03, 2012 4:16 am

To the original poster:

Bad assumption that the 'drug war' is happening only in northern Mexico. This is just one article about drug flow from South
America through the southern border of Mexico:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/americas/in-southern-mexico-a-neglected-frontier/2011/06/20/AGt74KeH_story.html

When I stay in Mexico City, why are there police guards at every block at night around my hotel? Why do I have to get escorted
from my hotel to just a convenience store around the corner at night? I've traveled extensively in the Mexican volcano areas and climbed Orizaba,
La Malinche, etc. I look at those times as youthful adventures, but I don't plan on going back.

Now that I have a family that depends on me, I won't set foot in that country, even Cancun or Baja. I really doubt any travel insurance will cover you
no matter what they say. And a SAR type rescue will never materialize. You're going to a foreign 3rd world country run by drug
cartels. Your local guias will be the ones to handle any emergency. I trusted them even though I had to hire some just to watch
my personal belongings while climbing. Avoid the police, avoid insurance scams, use the bus lines which are very good, watch everything
you eat, and be on guard. You have no right to self defense there. I took less risks there because I had that attitude.

With all that said, you'll have a good time. Good luck. BTW I agree that Puebla is a very cool city. There is an astounding church in the square that
you just must visit.

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Re: Mexican Volcanoes...drug war danger

Postby The_Godfather » Tue Jan 03, 2012 6:21 am

talamo71 wrote:To the original poster:

Bad assumption that the 'drug war' is happening only in northern Mexico. This is just one article about drug flow from South
America through the southern border of Mexico:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/americas/in-southern-mexico-a-neglected-frontier/2011/06/20/AGt74KeH_story.html

When I stay in Mexico City, why are there police guards at every block at night around my hotel? Why do I have to get escorted
from my hotel to just a convenience store around the corner at night? I've traveled extensively in the Mexican volcano areas and climbed Orizaba,
La Malinche, etc. I look at those times as youthful adventures, but I don't plan on going back.

Now that I have a family that depends on me, I won't set foot in that country, even Cancun or Baja. I really doubt any travel insurance will cover you
no matter what they say. And a SAR type rescue will never materialize. You're going to a foreign 3rd world country run by drug
cartels. Your local guias will be the ones to handle any emergency. I trusted them even though I had to hire some just to watch
my personal belongings while climbing. Avoid the police, avoid insurance scams, use the bus lines which are very good, watch everything
you eat, and be on guard. You have no right to self defense there. I took less risks there because I had that attitude.

With all that said, you'll have a good time. Good luck. BTW I agree that Puebla is a very cool city. There is an astounding church in the square that
you just must visit.


its not doom and gloom like you make it seem. you should really go and see that, instead of listening to american news outlets. or if not, the rest of us who do enjoy mexico just have one less tourist. the drug war has been going on for generations, thats not going to change. To say that its so dangerous you can't go to even cancun is absurd. Cancun is the last place you'll see a cartel....its essentially the US with better mexican food.

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Re: Mexican Volcanoes...drug war danger

Postby ThuChad » Tue Jan 03, 2012 7:10 am

talamo71 wrote:To the original poster:

...use the bus lines which are very good...



I agree with the statement about buses. I've been to Mexico 4 times in the last 3 years and never had a problem or saw any violence. I work with several Mexicans that regularly visit family in the not so great parts of Mexico. They tell me the safest way to travel is by bus. A couple of them have been stopped at gunpoint on highways and robbed (they think by low level Zetas) but that was because they were driving nice cars all the way to Aguascalientes. They all drive to US border towns and take buses now.

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Re: Mexican Volcanoes...drug war danger

Postby Gabriel » Tue Jan 03, 2012 8:58 am

Hi,

I've been in the Puebla area for the past 8 days. I spend several weeks down here every year. I suppose you could end up being a victim of a crime, but In my opinion it's less likely in Puebla or Mexico city than in most large US cities, including Denver. Some tips

To get from the airport to Tlachichuca by public transport: After clearing imigration and getting your bags take a right as you leave the bag claim area and follow the signs for buses/local transport. You end up going up a ramp to the second floor. If you need pesos there are ATM machines and exchange counters on the way. The current rate for cash is 13.55, better with an atm, but you pay a 31 peso fee. I always use the ATM. Once in the bus area by one way ticket to Puebla on the Estrella Roja bus line for 210 pesos which includes a drink and snack. If you plan on staying in Puebla go the the 4 Poinente station, if going to Tlachichuca go to Puebla CAPU and transfer to a bus on the Verdes line. To get to Puebla center and hotels a secure taxi cost 57 pesos.

Have fun,

G

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