Photo of a snake and drugs.
Drug tourism is deadly in Mexico. CC by illuminating9_11/Flickr

Tourism is a vital source of income for nations worldwide. Because Americans love to vacation in México, the NAFTA partner enjoys the economic boon without having to give up any of its own jobs to el Norte.To most tourists, a vacation in México means a luxury beachfront resort. Reuters reports that the latest brand of Mexican excursion is far off the beaten path, however. “Danger tourism” that takes thrill-seekers into the maelstrom of sex, drugs and open violence of the current drug war is all the rage.

Danger tourism is not your father’s Mexican vacation

The majority of México vacation fans aren’t paying to be mugged and abused, but some adrenaline junkies want to see the México that exists outside of resorts. Specialty travel agencies give tourists the opportunity to watch Zapatista rebels work. Or, for those who prefer human trafficking and sex trade, there are places to see that, too. The Tepito black market on the back streets of México City waits. Cesar Estrada of Universal Travel told Reuters that such excursions are becoming more popular with time, despite the good chance of robbery at gunpoint.

“We tell visitors to dress simply. If they want pictures, our guides take them discreetly,” Estrada told Reuters.

‘Real’ México for real tourists

It costs about 200 pesos ($ 15) to hire a guide to run a tourist through the exact same experience as illegal migrants, complete with nighttime travel over dusty roads, sagebrush, bear traps, rivers and more. Food, water and other creature comforts are not allowed. Tourists make a run for the border at full speed, for those who lag behind are picked up by fake immigration trucks in violent fashion.

México and economic prosperity?

Danger tourism is still a bit of a wild card for México’s economy, according to Reuters. México’s economy is 9 percent tourism-based, which is significant. Danger tourism, by definition, is a part of that — unless you’re a tourist on the wrong end of a bullet, of course.



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