World Travel Watch: Mudslides in Guatemala, Bombing in Cancun and More
World Travel Watch: Larry Habegger rounds up global travel news
09.08.10 | 1:41 PM ET
World Travel Watch is a weekly report designed to help you make informed judgments about travel. Conditions can change overnight, so always make your own inquiries before you leave home. The U.S. State Department and embassies or consulates are good places to start.
Guatemala: Mudslides Close Roads Across Country
Mudslides triggered by heavy rains swamped roads around the country and killed dozens, including rescuers trying to dig out victims buried in vehicles. Areas near Solola, Tecpan, Colomba and Antigua were seriously affected. The slides disrupted travel on the Inter-American Highway and more rain was forecast.
India: New Delhi Gearing Up for Commonwealth Games; Oil Spill in Goa
The heaviest monsoon rains in 15 years are slowing preparations for the Commonwealth Games to be held in New Delhi Oct. 3-14. Many of the venues are still under construction or repair, and the road system still has many sections that are poorly maintained. As in all such events where large masses of people gather, security is a concern. There are no specific terrorist threats to disrupt the games, and Indian security forces will maintain a strong presence throughout the competition. The greater threat to visitors will be scam artists and petty thieves who will be especially active in crowded areas. In other news, some of Goa’s best known beaches are being slicked with oil from a spill believed to have come from a cargo ship that passed along the coast. Authorities are working hard to clean up the tar balls before the main tourist season arrives.
Mexico: Bombing in Cancun Bar Outside Tourist Area
The Aug. 31 firebombing of a local bar outside the tourist area of Cancun killed eight Mexican nationals and raised concerns that such incidents could turn the popular resort into another Acapulco, a once-famous tourist area now largely empty of foreign visitors because of drug violence. While tourists can become victims by being in the wrong place at the wrong time, this incident took place where few tourists go and was believed to stem from a case of resisting extortion rather than drug violence. The tourist area of Cancun has remained largely free of the kind of violence that plagues northern Mexico.
New Zealand: State of Emergency in Christchurch for Earthquake Clean-up
A state of emergency is in effect through Sept. 15 in Christchurch as the city recovers from a devastating 7.1-magnitude earthquake that struck Sept. 4 and destroyed hundreds of buildings but caused no deaths. A 5.1-magnitude aftershock rattled the city Sept. 8 and earthquake experts warned that another strong temblor could shake the city in the following days. Authorities asked tourists to stay away until the emergency is lifted and services are restored. The international airport is functioning normally.
Spain: ETA Calls Cease-fire, Political Parties Skeptical
The Basque separatist group ETA declared a cease-fire Sept. 5, but the Basque regional government and others were skeptical that the announcement would mean the end of the group’s violence. Other cease-fires have come and gone, but this one may be different because ETA’s political allies have called for the group to renounce violence, allow international observers to monitor the cease-fire and follow the political process in its quest for an independent homeland. Whether ETA formally ends its attacks on the state, even a temporary cessation is good news for Spaniards and visitors.