Home » Blog » Posts » Mazatlán is Safe – An Open Letter by Foreign Expats to the Cruise Industry

Mazatlán is Safe – An Open Letter by Foreign Expats to the Cruise Industry

by Craig Zabransky on January 26, 2012

I am often asked if Mazatlán is safe? Is Puerto Vallarta safe? Is Mexico safe? I am not going to sugar coat the facts, but I often think people don’t realize all the facts. The resort areas in Mexico are safe for tourists to visit.

I was recently interviewed on Cruise Radio pertaining to the port of Mazatlán and explained my take on its safety. You can listen to the episode here. But in talking to the Cruise experts I learned about the drastic change to the industry and how those changes might affect a community. So I was happy to see that a group of foreign expats from both the US and Canada decided to frame and send an open letter to the Cruise industry. Below is that letter.

Cruise Ships on the Mexican Pacific...

(the letter)


*Cruise Lines International Association [CLIA]

*Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association [FCCA]

FROM: Concerned Foreign Residents of Mazatlan

SUBJECT:  Mazatlan Remains A Premier Destination For Pacific Cruises –SPECIAL REQUEST

On behalf of thousands of Americans and Canadians living in Mazatlan, Mexico, we are writing to request your assistance in dispelling certain myths regarding the safety of foreigners in Mazatlan.  We are deeply troubled by the perpetuation of these myths by some members of your association, as exemplified in a December 2011 statement issued by Holland America to travelers, which states in part, “Due to guest safety concerns the call to Mazatlan has been replaced with an additional day in Puerto Vallarta with an overnight on board ship.”  Of course, we are equally concerned by the ongoing distortions and amplification by the North American media when reporting events in Mazatlan.

We understand that some of your members, including Holland America, have already begun making arrangements to return to Mazatlan in late 2012 and early 2013.  We applaud this return; however, by emphasizing sensational warnings, like the one above, then delaying their return to Mazatlan by a year, these companies are denying their patrons a unique travel experience.  This action, in turn, makes it difficult for the city, its businesses, and citizens, to maintain the infrastructure required to effectively support cruise-goers.

We realize also that your members, just like those associated with any other industry, need to make decisions based on customer demand and other important factors.  Our concern is that distorted claims that Mazatlan is unsafe, serve to undermine demand, not only among cruise patrons, but tourists overall.  The perception, not only affects the businesses that serve these visitors, but denies foreign residents, like us, the pleasure of drop-in visits from many of our friends cruising the Pacific.

As part of the recent production of a U Tube Video, producers sought responses among the foreign community in Mazatlan to the question, “Is Mazatlan safe to visit?”   From the input received and our own perceptions, we are able to conclude the following:

  • Is there violence in Mazatlan?  Of course there is, but no more than the major cities cruise guests hail from or most of the ports of call your members currently serve.  In fact, the peace and serenity of Mazatlan are among the many reasons close to eight thousands North Americans choose to spend a good part of their year here.
  • Is the violence in Mazatlan targeted toward tourists?  Absolutely not.  The U.S. State Department website notes that violence is primarily between criminal organizations and occurs outside of tourist areas.  Our collective experience in going about our daily business also supports this conclusion.
  • Is there petty theft in Mazatlan?  Yes there is.  Just as in other large cities, visitors and residents alike are encouraged to take basic precautions. And, in fact, the State and local governments have instituted an enhanced permanent Security Plan of which no doubt you have been informed.

Mazatlan is called the “Pearl of the Pacific” for a reason.  It offers unique opportunities for visitors to enjoy genuine Mexican hospitality and culture, including beautiful beaches, delicious cuisine and superior art and jewelry. Besides 20 excursions dedicated to cruise passengers, Mazatlan hosted, in 2011, more than 40 annual events, including the international Carnival, several professional golf and fishing  tournaments, International Motorcycle Week, The Great Pacific Marathon, etc.

As residents of Mazatlan, we want to reassure travelers that our beautiful city is not only safe, but also a “must see” Pacific Coast destination.  So, we request that you please forward this letter to the appropriate contacts at your member institutions.

In sum, we appreciate the numerous factors that your members must consider when deciding ports of call.  We simply ask that you assist us in educating these members on the facts regarding traveler safety in Mazatlan, and the adverse impact that unsubstantiated statements can have on our community.

We should also emphasize that this letter has in no way been initiated or endorsed by any Mexican organization, or authority.   As we hope you can see, our message to you is a heartfelt reflection of concern, by the foreign residents in Mazatlan.


*Foreign Residents of Mazatlan

(close letter)

*I left off the specific email names and addresses of the addressed and senders to allow for privacy. But I did think it was very interesting that the expat community understands the impact the cruise industry has on a city, its people and the community. A community they now call home.

A special thanks to Jimm Budd a columnist from the Reforma paper in Mexico. He shared the letter with me and keeps a pulse on the Mexico Tourism industry. You can visit Jimm on Facebook and also at his travel site.

Photo: by Craig Zabransky



Craig travels around the world to write tales of travel aimed to encourage and inspire others to take and make adventure in their life. And after calling Mexico home for over a year, it secured a special place in his heart. He continues to return often and often considers it his second home. You can find more of his travels on his Stay Adventurous site and follow him on his Twitter: @stayadventurous..
Craig Zabransky
View all posts by Craig Zabransky
  • https://twitter.com/#!/VisitaMazatlan Lourdes T

    Nicely done. I agree with everything mentioned in this letter. I hope the powers that be realize that our town has as many flaws as any other city, but that it also offers a variety of activities as well as history. However, I also believe that our corresponding authorities need to do a little bit of work in our city, such as better facilities, maintenance, more security, etc. We need to improve. And we need to love Mazatlan.

    • http://www.stayadventurous.com/ Craig Zabransky

      @Lourdes, a history, yes… the history is definitely one of the true charms of Mazatlan… But I am fan, and frankly I do love Mazatlan. I posted the letter so perhaps a few others will realize what you wrote.
      stay adventurous, Craig

  • http://davidkrug.org David Krug

    As someone who calls Mexico home most of the year. I totally second this!

    • http://www.stayadventurous.com/ Craig Zabransky

      Thanks David. I was disappointed not to connect last time I was in Mazatlan….hopefully next time amigo.
      stay adventurous, Craig

Previous post:

Next post: