'Danger Tourism' Hits Violence-Plagued Mexico

Europeans pay for thrill of slum safaris
By Jane Yager,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 25, 2010 8:41 AM CDT
Another kind of danger for tourists: In this photo taken on June 12, 2009, a tourist sunbathes at the resort city of Cancun, Mexico amidst a swine-flu scare.   (AP Photo/Israel Leal)
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(Newser) – If spending your vacation lounging on a beach sounds boringly safe, Mexico's newest travel trend might be right up your alley. As the escalating violence of the Mexican drug war drives some tourists away, it's drawing others to danger tourism—for example, "safari" tours of a notorious Mexico City neighborhood. The tourists venture among drug dealers and underage prostitutes in an area where many Mexicans are afraid to set foot, Reuters reports.

Many danger tourists are European: One German said she was drawn to the slum safari because "things like this don't exist in Germany." Other danger tours on offer include a nighttime trek through a Mexican state park that simulates the experience of trying to dodge border control while crossing illegally into the US, as well as a visit to leftist rebels in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas.

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