Dispatch ATMEX: The REAL Danger of Mexico

I recently was a hosted attendee at ATMEX – Adventure Travel Mexico.

Adventure Travel Mexico 2013


ATMEX is in its second year and—as far as I’m concerned—it’s the best option for any agent looking to get a taste (or rather, a mouthful) of adventure travel in Mexico. And, uh, by the way? There is TONS of adventure in Mexico. I had no idea.

At ATMEX, you get to experience the activities, meet the companies behind the activities, and network your brains out. It’s pretty fantastic.

You also get to jump off waterfalls if you so desire. I desired.

waterfall jumpingshots

How Dangerous Is Mexico, Really?

There are a lot of different angles I could have taken when writing this article. Maybe a story covering some of the niches of the agents I had met?

Or, I could have told you about some of the sessions I attended at the conference. Including one with a short stint where the presenter pretended to be a kitty:

ATMEX 2013 presentation

And I’d happily recount some of the amazing tours I was able to participate in (waterfall jumping, whitewater rafting, zip lining, scuba).


But, I think more important than any of those is to share my experiences in the lesser-traveled Mexico and how safe I felt.

We weren’t in tourist destinations, we were in off-the-beaten-path destinations doing adventure activities. The states I visited—San Luis Potosí and Veracruz—both had travel warnings issued against them by the US Government. San Luis Potosí (green), Veracruz (pink).


During my nine days cruising around those states, there were only two times I felt like Mexico was dangerous…

Traveler Beware

1.  Consuming Sunscreen Via My Toothbrush


Neither the US nor Mexico state department issued any warning on the danger of mistaking your sunscreen for toothpaste.

I wish they had so I could have avoided the foul taste of SPF 30.

2.  Cankles

Bug spray is important in Mexican jungles.  Equally important is to remember to reapply.

If you choose not to reapply—like a certain someone did—be prepared that you may have a severe allergic reaction to love bites from a jungle insect. This may cause your ankles morph into cankles, and your calves to swell to such a size that you get stuck in your jeans.

I’ll save you the visual of my cankles and instead, I’ll replace it with a more pleasant picture from the trip:

scuba in laguna de la media luna

Scuba Diving with Escuela de Buceo Media Luna

Ahhhhhhh… what a nice, peaceful picture.

Snap out of it. Cankles are serious. No warnings were issued on either side of the border so I’m taking it upon myself to issue this public service announcement: Application and reapplication of bug spray is extremely important in Mexico.

Safety Steph

I think we can see from the examples above that I did not come out unscathed from this trip. But, in terms of dangers from the drug war, I experienced none, zilch. Nor did any of the attendees that went on pre-trips across Mexico, including Ciudad Juarez.

If someone wants to talk about the dangers of Mexico, make sure you stress labeling the toothpaste and packing the bug spray, not drug wars.

PS  – Thank you to Kim and Arleta for taking care of me and to Aarón for bringing me to the doc, translating, and accompanying me to the pharmacy.  You guys are great.  🙂

Photo Credits: Elena del Palacio, Miki Pötsch, Huaxteca, Andrew Haffenden, Ossiel Martinez

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Steph Lee Travel

Hi, I’m Steph! I specialize in working with people looking to start and/or grow their travel agencies. I’ve worked with thousands of agents and helped them learn more about the travel industry… and I’m happy to help you out too. If you’ve found this article helpful, please help give it some love via like/tweet/share or drop us a comment! Learn More About Steph>>

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