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Cancun means ‘snake pit’ in Mayan, and the earliest explorers here were almost undone by the swarms of biting mosquitoes and other insects plus the prevalence of poisonous snakes.

The planned tourist city was created with filled in sand. The earliest Spanish explorers said it was a nightmare, and their diseases managed to kill off far more natives than their swords.

One French scientist said that the average Mayan’s intestines were like a museum of microbes. So many tiny bacteria that would in the years to come make many visitors sick.

The Mexican government’s planned city in 1971 had few models in those days…one was Brasilia, the capital built in the distant jungle and spurned by nearly everyone in Brazil who wanted to stay in Rio. Fortunately, Cancun has not suffered such a fate, and today more than one million people live here.

Mexico has battled an image problem in 2009, with terribly high murder rates along the border, and an out-of-control drug cartel that spares no one. But as we were told again and again by people in tranquil Yucatan, these problems, while serious, are thousands of miles up north. Here, more than 90 percent of the locals are working in the tourist business and that means that most speak English and are happy to help out gringos they meet on the street or on the beach.

Meeting the Mayans in the Yucatan

An recent article in (February 2009) in the New York Times scared a lot of people because the reporter maintains that there are drug fighting soldiers carrying out operations right near the beach bars.

Despite this, I maintain that most of the problems in the drug war involve drug dealers fighting cops and other drug dealers. And that tourists are still safe here in Cancun and the Yucatan. READ MORE

   

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