Trouble in Paradise: The Horrors of Destination Honeymoons

IT’S THAT BRIGHT, GOLDEN SUNLIGHT AT THE END OF THIS CHAOTIC TUNNEL

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The moment brides look forward to, after pulling off the perfect big day, bidding their loved ones goodbye as they set sail for the honeymoon

Passports? Check. Week long supply of “wifey” & “honeymoon vibes” t-shirts packed? Check. White bikini? Got it! You’ll probably pack SPF50 (for the first day) and some emergency Advil or Pepto (just in case your hubby has one too many celebratory Mai Tais) – you’ll make sure you’re traveling prepared. But beyond the valid ID and travel size bottles of shampoo, there’s something you can’t prepare for – something that many families of late travelers wish they would’ve considered.

ABBEY CONNER WAS A 20-YEAR-OLD PUBLIC RELATIONS MAJOR FROM WISCONSIN

In the midst of a brutal winter, Abbey’s family booked a trip to Iberostar Paraiso, a resort in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico. Abbey, 23-year-old brother Austin, her mother Ginny and step-father Bill arrived to the 5 star resort & began to celebrate. The family enjoyed the sun & a few drinks before pairing off. Ginny told her kids to meet back in the lobby at 7:30 p.m. to head to dinner.

Austin said that the siblings decided to hang by the pool and toast a round of shots with some fellow guests from the resort. The last thing he remembers was throwing back the drink – and then darkness.

GINNY WAS GETTING WORRIED WHEN HER CHILDREN WERE NOWHERE TO BE FOUND AND THE CLOCK STRUCK 8:00

A guest had found the siblings face down, passed out in the pool, and called for an ambulance. A hotel manager found Ginny and explained that there had been an accident. Austin was concussed with a large lump on his head, Abbey was brain dead.

Austin stands by the fact that while his sister’s blood alcohol level (.25) was three times the legal limit in Wisconsin, the pair did not drink excessively. ABC News reported that in the past 7 years, Mexican officials have seized 1.4 million gallons of tainted alcohol from resorts, manufacturers and bars. After being flown to a Florida hospital, Abbey was deemed past the point of recovery. On January 12, the Conner/McGowan family made the heart wrenching decision to remove life support. With no other leads on how she ended up with a broken collar bone and a lack of oxygen to her brain, the family has moved forward with suing the resort for serving low quality alcohol, which the venue denies. Since the tragedy, many other families have come forward to tell their similar experiences.

SEXUAL ASSAULTS, ROBBERIES, DEATHS

Many incidents are coming to light after the Conner/McGowan’s family nightmare unfolded. Every time I’ve been asked about honeymooning, someone always says “Cancun/The Bahamas/Jamaica is FINE! Just stay in the resort and you’ll be safe.” It’s obvious that there are parts of Mexico (and all over the world) in which you’d avoid vacationing – but Iberostar Paraiso was a five star resort. After searching other highly rated resorts in Cancun, travel sites like TripAdvisor are LITTERED with poor reviews – not of lazy cleaning services or poor menu options, but sexual assault. See for yourself!

Along with the dangers directly caused by humans, the fear of contracting viruses and flu pandemics (ZIKA, Swine Flu) are also factors newlyweds consider. With new reports of immediate black outs following drinks at Mexican resorts and growing concerns for safety, a decline in international honeymooning is a possibility.

Opting out of a week at Sandals Cancun? Check out this list of USA based get aways

If you’re still considering a honeymoon outside of the United States, I strongly suggest contacting a professional travel agent who will equip you with all the information and safety precautions necessary. Please keep the Conner family in your thoughts & prayers.

. . . 

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(MEDIA: ASHLEE TAYLOR PHOTOGRAPHY, MELISSA JILL PHOTOGRAPHY, ABC 7 NEWS)

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