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Old 16 May 2013
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Drug wars in central america

I have come across a few articles in the british press recently concerning the drug cartels in central america. The newspapers have a favourite hobby of fear-mongering when it comes to foreign countries. I was wondering whether anyone could offer a more reasonable, and more relevant perspective?

Obviously any country has its fair share of danger if you are stupid enough to go looking, but is it really as bad as the news makes out? and apart from San Pedro, does anyone have any recommendations of places to avoid?

I plan to travel two-up with my girlfriend from Guatemala to Costa Rica in july/august. want to make sure we are not putting ourselves in more danger than necessary...!

Here are two of the articles in particular:

Central America's tiny states caught in deadly crossfire of battle with cartels | World news | The Observer

Inside San Pedro Sula – the most violent city in the world | World news | guardian.co.uk
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Old 16 May 2013
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Don't believe everything you read.
If you want me to expand on what it is really like to live in a narco hot zone, let me know.
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Old 16 May 2013
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You yourself provide the basic answer in your third sentence.
I read the two articles you provide and find them to be basically a retstatement of just about every other story on the topic. Slow news day or week and the reporter wanted something to write.
Having visited Central America repeatedly the last 2 decades I can only say , like you did, that if you want to go looking for trouble you can find it. I even make San Pedro Sula and Tegucigalpa ,San Jose, Panama City, Guatemala City,Reynosa,Matamoros et al overnight hotel stops and I remain comfortably i n my room .
Like any large cities,anywhere, there is the caveat that you must be alert for your safety and stay away from neighbourhoods of questionable repute , be ever vigilant for street muggings, and avoid drugs and related activities.These were points of advice long before this drug war business blew up.Simply riding through parts of a city will provide some sense of how the security situation might be- is it upscale businesses , well kept residential or slummy and garbage strewn ?
Stay off the streets walking or riding after dark and you should really have no problems.
Come and enjoy your visit.
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Old 16 May 2013
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Hey man - My girlfriend and I are travelling two up on a v-strom and just arrived in Mexico yesterday after spending 8 weeks riding up from panama (before that we spent 11 months in south america). We were a bit nervous about what to expect in central. I'd say the media generally hypes things up. We didnt have any problems but always talked to the locals before heading off. Honduras felt to us the most sketchy and we were glad we pretty much bypassed it (only did 150km in honduras as we rode up the west side from nicaragua and into el salvador in a day). There were parts of guatemala where the locals strongly advised us not to ride (and even the local moto tour company) - in particular some of the roads around Lago Atitlan which are known to have regular armed hold ups (but even the guide books tell you this). Its fine to visit the lake, just ride to panajachel and take boat trips from there (dont ride the road around the lake).
Enjoy!! And really the biggest worry will be some of the local drivers!
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drugs, safety

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