Updated 14 January 2018.
Note: Find road condition updates HERE.
We at Hotel Los Arcos de Sonora understand that many of you have concerns about visiting Mexico and traveling the Rio Sonora to Banamichi. Some news reports would have you believe that the entire country is in the midst of violent criminal activity which is just not the case. The constant drumbeat of stories that all of Mexico is unsafe comes not only from news reports but is amplified by well meaning friends, co-workers and relatives repeating the sensational and negative stories they have heard. While there are serious problems and an uptick in criminal activity, they are limited to a very few geographic locations all far removed from the Rio Sonora.
The latest State Department advisory on Mexico travel seems very dire but a carefull look at the document shows that the major changes are in the “level” system now being used and the actual descriptions of threats overall is little changed from the previous warnings for most areas. The current advisory states that northern Sonora has far less problems than the southern or western part of the state and portions that border the state of Chihuahua to the east. Our part of north central Sonora is safe. There are minor issues in the city of Nogales but these do not effect tourists crossing at the Mariposa Gate, 5 miles west of down town. Crossing at Naco and Agua Prieta is quick and easy and, because they are small towns, there is little activity of any kind and you are quickly onto the federal highway and on your way to Banamichi.
Consider these facts:
- The State Department Advisory in its entirety presents a very different and more less troubling than the clips of information presented in the press reports. As of January 11, 2018, there are specific warnings for some parts of the State of Sonora, specifically the eastern and western borders of the state, far from the Rio Sonora. There are no advisories for the roads to Banamichi, the Rio Sonora area, Banamichi proper or the towns along the Sonora River at this writing.
- The number of foreign tourists in Mexico that die due to any cause in Mexico is minuscule and the numbers are comparable to tourist deaths in the US and Europe.
- The homicide rate in New Orleans, St. Louis, Detroit and Washington D.C. is higher than any city in Mexico including Ciudad Juarez.
- More than a million Americans live in Mexico. There are lots of Canadians and others residing in Mexico too.
- 21 million foreign tourists visit Mexico every year. More than 99.9995% come home safe. Foreign tourism is up year over year and 80 to 85% of tourists to Mexico come from the USA.
- Lynn has been making the drive to and from the US about once every five to six weeks, most often alone, without incident since 2007.
At this time, Banamichi and the Rio Sonora are trouble free. We have lived in Banamichi full time for 10 years and we feel safer here than we do in most cities in the US. The people here are honest, friendly and hard working. They know us and watch out for us and our guests.
Here is what some of our guests say about the issue on the respected travel site Tripadvisor.com
“Please don’t let the media scare you away from the unforgettable experience you will have here. We’ve traveled to the area several times and never once had a problem. In fact, we’ve experienced nothing but courtesy and helpfulness.”
“Don’t let the warnings about Mexico steer you away from this part of Sonora! The Sonoran River Valley is safe, tranquil, and stunningly beautiful”.
“The locals were welcoming and filled with ideas to improve my experience in a place they are clearly very proud of (with reason!). There was no hint of crime, violence, or anything else Americans associate with Mexico.”
We understand that you may have concerns. Check the US State Department web site and call us and we can talk about any questions or issues you might have.
In addition to the State Dept. warnings, this information is based on our personal observations as full time residents of Banamichi Sonora and the accounts of other residents and travelers.
We cannot say that travel to Banamichi is 100% safe 100% of the time any more than we can make that claim for any city or town in the US or the rest of the world. Since much of this page is based on personal observations it should be considered opinion. In these matters the State Department web site should be considered definitive.
Please be aware that the security situation can change at any time and that you are responsible for keeping abreast of the security situation and ultimately responsible for your own safety.
Tom and Lynn Matthews