Sadly – our time in Mexico has ended, way too quickly. It was a great leg of the journey – wonderful weather and so much to see. I would like to say that we never felt threatened in Mexico in any of the locations that we visited. There is a travel advisory in the border regions including Tijuana, Acapulco, Veracruz and some other areas in Northern Mexico. These cities are experiencing high levels of organized crime violence. The Central and South areas – popular tourist spots are safe. When travelling anywhere – one needs to make smart decisions, and not put yourself in risky situations. The media has created an unnecessary panic amongst travellers denouncing Mexico as a holiday destination. Mexico depends on the tourist trade to sustain their economy, and most residents recognize this.
What was most noticeable to us was the apparent division of social classes in Mexico. There are locals who obviously have money, and then there are the poor. There doesn’t seem to be a middle class. Average minimum wage in Mexico is 55 pesos per day – day not hour. That works out to less than $5 CDN dollars per day regardless of the number of hours worked. Very sad. The people in the service industry are extremely friendly, and so appreciative of the tips they receive.
Only 25% of children in Mexico graduate from high school. Public schools are free to attend and primary education (up to grade 9) is compulsory. The teacher’s union – National Eduction Workers’ Union – is the most powerful union in Mexico. Unfortunately, it is not serving the best interest of its students. Many schools are over crowded, others have no drinking water, and some are lacking teachers. Interesting fact – Mexican teaching positions can be sold or bequeathed by the retiring teacher for up to 100,000 pesos or $7900. Teaching jobs are highly desired, but not always filled with qualified individuals. Many of the unskilled workers try to migrate into the USA for manual labor jobs. Mexico is no longer considered a third world country, but approximately 40% of the population lives below the poverty line. It’s current government isn’t stable enough to encourage foreign investment, and organized crime is a deterrent to potential progress.
My travel advice….if you are looking for a tropical, affordable vacation – consider Mexico. Book a comfortable hotel, and venture out. Eat at neighborhood restaurants and get to know the local people.