Q: I am a college student in Sarasota, Florida, We’ve got a trip planned out for Oaxaca in March, during spring break. I had half a mind to go, but everyone keeps telling me how dangerous it is.
Fortunately, I happened to have stumbled upon your blog, the one beacon of positive light.
I do wish to ask, what the risk is at this time. We’ll be travelling in a group pf 14 or so, doing the regular tourist routes it seems.
In anycase, I am of Guatemalan decent and speak Spanish well, so I’m not concerned with communication very much.
The blog is very useful as is. I found the recommended materials list for winter months, though I don’t think March will qualify as such.
IF you have any advice whatsoever for students traveling to Oaxaca, I would greatly appreciate it if you shared it with me. Thank you Norma, Fantastic work!
A: Please tell everyone that Oaxaca is probably as safe as any U.S. city, and equally as safe or safer than yours. It is a pedestrian town and people are on the streets strolling through the evening and well into the night. I am in Oaxaca several times a year, just returned after two weeks during the winter holidays and I’m going back again in two weeks for our documentary film workshop. I have never felt at risk or threatened. Of course, I am always aware of my environment and who is walking toward me. I watch my back when withdrawing money at ATMs (just as I would at home in North Carolina). It is important to respect the fact that you are in another country and take notice. You are traveling in a group and if you go out in pairs there should be no problem at all. If your family has concerns, please ask them to read this blog or send me an email. Your school would not be taking you if they felt there was a risk. The fear is being generated by the media focused on the drug wars that are far away from Oaxaca, mostly on the border towns. The fact that you speak Spanish is an advantage. Go … and have a great time.
Another Reader Says: “I appreciate the info about the dance. I’ve just spent a month here studying art, architecture, archeology, dance, food etc. with Dr. Stephanie Wood, Dr. Ron Spores and others. Oaxaca is safe and wonderful and I urge all to come and learn about it. Everyone has been friendly and helpful.”