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Booked a trip to Chapala in Oct - What about recent Travel Advisory?

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Booked a trip to Chapala in Oct - What about recent Travel Advisory?

Post by snaimpally on Thu Aug 24, 2017 4:44 pm

My wife and I (both Canadians who have been living in the USA for the past 20 years) are planning a trip to Lake Chapala in early Oct. to check it out as a possible place to retire to.  Shortly after I booked our tickets and made a reservation at a local BnB, the US State Dept. issued a travel advisory (http://www.al.com/news/index.ssf/2017/08/mexico_travel_warning_state_de.html) stating that:

"Jalisco (includes Guadalajara, Puerto Vallarta, and Lake Chapala): U.S. citizens should defer non-essential travel to areas that border the states of Michoacan and Zacatecas because of continued instability. U.S. government personnel are prohibited from personal travel to areas of Jalisco that border Zacatecas, intercity travel after hours, and from using Highway 80 between Cocula and La Huerta. U.S. government personnel are authorized to use Federal toll road 15D for travel to Mexico City; however, they may not stop in the town of La Barca or Ocotlan for any reason."

The BnB is sending a shuttle to pick us up at GDL (we arrive at 5:00 PM) and drop us off.  We are not planning travel after hours, nor are we planning to use Hwy 80.  I note that I haven't seen any news reports in the last 6 months of increased crime associated with US Tourists in Mexico.  Should we be concerned?  (I am not concerned but wife is).

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Re: Booked a trip to Chapala in Oct - What about recent Travel Advisory?

Post by Carry Bean on Thu Aug 24, 2017 5:06 pm

There's nothing going on in this area at all. Not a thing to worry about.

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Re: Booked a trip to Chapala in Oct - What about recent Travel Advisory?

Post by CanuckBob on Thu Aug 24, 2017 6:05 pm

I just drove from Lake Chapala to Manzanillo at 9:00pm last week. Arrived in Manzanillo at 12:30am. No problem at all and I was amazed at how much traffic there was, particularly tractor trailers.

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Re: Booked a trip to Chapala in Oct - What about recent Travel Advisory?

Post by martygraw on Thu Aug 24, 2017 8:21 pm

CanuckBob wrote:I just drove from Lake Chapala to Manzanillo at 9:00pm last week. Arrived in Manzanillo at 12:30am. No problem at all and I was amazed at how much traffic there was, particularly tractor trailers.


Bob...Manzanillo is thee largest container port in Mexico, lots of tractor trailer traffic 24/7
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Re: Booked a trip to Chapala in Oct - What about recent Travel Advisory?

Post by slainte39 on Thu Aug 24, 2017 9:11 pm

martygraw wrote:
CanuckBob wrote:I just drove from Lake Chapala to Manzanillo at 9:00pm last week. Arrived in Manzanillo at 12:30am. No problem at all and I was amazed at how much traffic there was, particularly tractor trailers.


Bob...Manzanillo is thee largest container port in Mexico, lots of tractor trailer traffic 24/7

And that is in addition to the 10 or 12 trains leaving Manzanillo daily with containers on flat cars, many destined to the US east and south (it is a shorter route than from the US west coast), as well as Cd. Mexico, Monterrey, and Guadalajara, with 30 to 40 million consumers.
China, Japan, India, Korea, as well as other Asian manufacturers are doing well in Mexico.

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Re: Booked a trip to Chapala in Oct - What about recent Travel Advisory?

Post by slainte39 on Thu Aug 24, 2017 9:22 pm

I use 80 frequently and travel through Cocula even when cutting over to Ameca and hiway 70 on a 2 lane connecting road, and haven't seen anything unusual, just the trucks loaded with sugar cane which is the normal heavy and slow traffic.  80 is 4 lane from 54 to Cocula and usually very busy as both Cocula and Ameca are very busy and prosperous agricultural centers.

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Re: Booked a trip to Chapala in Oct - What about recent Travel Advisory?

Post by borderreiver on Thu Aug 24, 2017 9:26 pm

And all those drugs. Party America.

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Re: Booked a trip to Chapala in Oct - What about recent Travel Advisory?

Post by NoVaDamer on Fri Aug 25, 2017 6:17 am

Snaimpally, if you are just visiting Lakeside, there is no news in the DoS travel advisory about which you should be concerned. I used to work for the USG, and you need to understand the purpose of these advisories. The US DoS has an internet page for every country, and it includes any info they receive that might affect US travellers. The USG "errs on the side of caution" so no US traveler can ever say "no one told me." The guidance on travel is binding on USG employees, and you can see in that Mexico notification they are prohibited from certain places. The concern there is a USG employee, perhaps with a security clearance, will wander into harm's way and make life very difficult for the US Ambassador. For example, I recently spent an afternoon in La Barca and Ocotlan, had a nice lunch, toured the plaza, and was not bothered (although I was obviously a gringo tourist). So, you are right to keep up with the US DoS advisories, as they are very current and useful info, but remember, they err on the side of extreme caution.
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Re: Booked a trip to Chapala in Oct - What about recent Travel Advisory?

Post by brigitte on Fri Aug 25, 2017 9:08 am

The problems with travel advisory is that they reflect old news, so you know something happened in the past, as a tourist you do not know what and because it happened it does not mean it will happen again or that it will affect you.

A few years ago I was travelling via combis with Mexican friends in Guatemala and my friend got the news from Mexico that Guatemala was very dangerous and not to go there and that Honduras was a no go zone... We were on our way to see the Copan ruins in Honduras and they thought it was a bad idea to go, I told them we had gone that far and would be crazy not to see the ruins.. they agreed to keep going but only if we stayed in Guatemala .so we got to a Guatemala town as close to the border as we could and decided to see the ruins the next day. The hotel was like a jail with metal doors inside covering the outside wooden doors and the streets did not look much better , pick ups were going by with guys with AK 47 types gun. We asked the owner what that was about and he told us the town was very tranquila but that there were lots of narcos around so people carried weapons.. he said those guys were body guards... THe next day we took a combi to Honduras no knowing what to expect and when we go to the little town Copan las Ruinas we found a dream little town with red roof tiles , , everything was super nice , the place was right out of a poster.. the ruins were safe and the army was in the jungle around making sure everyone was safe.. so everything was fine, we had a great time and were sorry we did not spend the night in Honduras.. you just never know I a sure other parts of Honduras are not as picture perfect but this one struck us as pretty funny, her we were in a jail like hotel in Guatemala fearing to go into Honduras..

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Re: Booked a trip to Chapala in Oct - What about recent Travel Advisory?

Post by Clete on Fri Aug 25, 2017 10:12 am

The corridor between Cocula and La Huerta is pretty hot right now. I know of several ionstances where innocents have had serious problems. Sometimes it is only a wrong place, wrong time occurence but the "wrong place" in this case can be avoided. Unless you need to take 80 I certainly would avoid it and that is a route I have driven well over 100 times. If you need to travel to the coast IMO it is far safer to go through Colima. And don't stop in Tecoman. That is an area to be avoided. Which is no big deal, the place is butt ugly and you won't miss anything.

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Re: Booked a trip to Chapala in Oct - What about recent Travel Advisory?

Post by Lady Otter Latté on Fri Aug 25, 2017 12:16 pm

You have lived in the United States for 20 years. I can assure you the odds of being a victim of random violence by strangers is A LOT less here.
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Re: Booked a trip to Chapala in Oct - What about recent Travel Advisory?

Post by Trailrunner on Fri Aug 25, 2017 12:57 pm

hahaha Clete, Tecoman.
We are normally safe here at the lake and I haven't heard of any serious cartel action lately in the area
However, a friend of mine was an eyewitness (standing 15th away) to an assassination in Joco a couple of weeks ago. He was not threatened.
I'd rather be here this weekend than in Crissy Field in San Francisco where the white supremacists are scheduled to shoot it out with the drag queens!
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Re: Booked a trip to Chapala in Oct - What about recent Travel Advisory?

Post by Trailrunner on Fri Aug 25, 2017 7:31 pm

Prayer dudes cancelled the rally.
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Re: Booked a trip to Chapala in Oct - What about recent Travel Advisory?

Post by CanuckBob on Sat Aug 26, 2017 7:34 am

Clete wrote:The corridor between Cocula and La Huerta is pretty hot right now. I know of several ionstances where innocents have had serious problems. Sometimes it is only a wrong place, wrong time occurence but the "wrong place" in this case can be avoided. Unless you need to take 80 I certainly would avoid it and that is a route I have driven well over 100 times. If you need to travel to the coast IMO it is far safer to go through Colima. And don't stop in Tecoman. That is an area to be avoided. Which is no big deal, the place is butt ugly and you won't miss anything.

Thanks for the heads up Clete. We have to go look at a mine very near La Huerta on Monday.

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Re: Booked a trip to Chapala in Oct - What about recent Travel Advisory?

Post by Clete on Sat Aug 26, 2017 1:30 pm

CanuckBob wrote:
Clete wrote:The corridor between Cocula and La Huerta is pretty hot right now. I know of several instances where innocents have had serious problems. Sometimes it is only a wrong place, wrong time occurence but the "wrong place" in this case can be avoided. Unless you need to take 80 I certainly would avoid it and that is a route I have driven well over 100 times. If you need to travel to the coast IMO it is far safer to go through Colima. And don't stop in Tecoman. That is an area to be avoided. Which is no big deal, the place is butt ugly and you won't miss anything.

Thanks for the heads up Clete. We have to go look at a mine very near La Huerta on Monday.

A very few years ago, a friend of my son, the son of acquaintances of ours, was working for a mine in the area. The story that was told was the local "quasi-government" was shaking down the owners for either a percentage or to sell them the mine. The owners said no. The young friend left work one day with a co-worker. They were intercepted by some bad guys and the young man has never been seen since. I know of others that leased their land there to a mining company that was actually owned by a cartel. Something bad happened and the judiciales showed up to interrogate our friends.

And last but not least, the son of our insurance agent in Guadalajara went to Casimiro Castillo to pay the property taxes on land in the area that had been in the family for years. They had also been "asked" to sell but refused. Apparently someone in the catastro tipped off the cartel, the son was intercepted outside of a grade school in broad day with witnesses all around and never heard from since. His father pushed hard on the State authorities in the area to investigate. He was told to forget it (or else) because the police in the area were all working for the cartel. He hired a private investigator, knows exactly who was responsible but basically can do nothing about it. His and his wife's lives have obviously been turned upside down. Same for the parents of the other young man. Tragic to say the least.

All of the people in this post were not involved in any illicit activity.

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Re: Booked a trip to Chapala in Oct - What about recent Travel Advisory?

Post by Trailrunner on Sat Aug 26, 2017 2:12 pm

Thanks, Clete, feel so bad for those families. I don't know how you get past that in your life.

GR reporting a double murder in SJC. Looks like MX is heating up again.
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Re: Booked a trip to Chapala in Oct - What about recent Travel Advisory?

Post by snaimpally on Sat Aug 26, 2017 6:54 pm

Thanks very much for all who responded. I wasn't worried, but wanted to check because my wife was a bit nervous. Heck, we lived in a suburb of Dallas for 10 years - every day there were reports of murders and other crimes but we never saw or heard anything.

Hope to see at least some of you - we will be there Oct 2-9 and are staying at Casita Montana.

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Re: Booked a trip to Chapala in Oct - What about recent Travel Advisory?

Post by gringal on Sun Aug 27, 2017 10:43 am

Just a thought from a long term resident of Ajijic: If you have never stayed in the area, Casita Montana is located in a strip mall on the main street going through the area and there will be nonstop traffic going right in front of the place, includng heavy vehicles carrying building materials.
For peace, quiet and some lovely views, I'd recommend looking a little further. When I had to stay somewhere due to house renovations, I stayed upstairs with a lake view (directly on the lake) at Nueva Posada.
There are others equally removed from the traffic. Many fine restaurants within easy walking distance in that area.
Hope you have a good stay, wherever you are. Welcome!

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Re: Booked a trip to Chapala in Oct - What about recent Travel Advisory?

Post by slainte39 on Sun Aug 27, 2017 1:46 pm

I think they "are staying", not looking for, accommodations for one week.
You make a deal, you make a deal.

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Re: Booked a trip to Chapala in Oct - What about recent Travel Advisory?

Post by gringal on Sun Aug 27, 2017 3:07 pm

slainte39 wrote:I think they "are staying", not looking for, accommodations for one week.
You make a deal, you make a deal.

Depends on the deal. If they're stuck, well, that's the deal.

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Re: Booked a trip to Chapala in Oct - What about recent Travel Advisory?

Post by snaimpally on Tue Aug 29, 2017 6:09 pm

gringal wrote:Just a thought from a long term resident of Ajijic:  If you have never stayed in the area, Casita Montana is located in a strip mall on the main street going through the area and there will be nonstop traffic going right in front of the place, includng heavy vehicles carrying building materials.
For peace, quiet and some lovely views, I'd recommend looking a little further.  When I had to stay somewhere due to house renovations, I stayed upstairs with a lake view (directly on the lake) at Nueva Posada.
There are others equally removed from the traffic.  Many fine restaurants within easy walking distance in that area.
Hope you have a good stay, wherever you are.  Welcome!

Thanks for the advice. I did speak to Ann and asked for a quiet suite so I think we have a room that is NOT facing the street but rather facing the back. I put a deposit down, though our trip is still far enough away that I could get it back. We travel with ear plugs now - we visited San Francisco a few years ago and stayed at a boutique hotel. Several times every night, we would hear a fire truck, so we got ear plugs.

I will check Nueva Posada out. This is our first trip to Chapala. Assuming all goes well, we will come back next year for an extended stay to make sure. We may make a trip to find a rental property for our extended stay (I prefer to rent for a year before buying).

Thanks for the welcoming comments! I did a LOT of research and Chapala seems to have just about everything we are looking for.

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Re: Booked a trip to Chapala in Oct - What about recent Travel Advisory?

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