Los Cabos' Rating Changes Under New Travel Warning System

El Arco in Cabo San Lucas
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The State Department’s new system for issuing travel warnings means changes for how Los Cabos and other major tourist areas in Mexico are listed. A State Department official told Travel Agent that all existing information has been converted to the new products under the new travel warning system.

The State Department included Los Cabos, Cancun, and other major tourist areas in Mexico in an updated travel warning issued last August due to rising drug violence. Under the State Department’s new, four-tier travel advisory system, Los Cabos is now listed as Level 2 – Exercise Increased Caution. This level advises travelers to “be aware of heightened risks to safety and security,” in addition to more specific advice for each country provided by the State Department. In the case of Los Cabos, the latest advisory notes that “turf battles between criminal groups have resulted in violent crime in areas frequented by U.S. citizens. Bystanders have been injured or killed in shooting incidents.”

Here’s how the rest of the tourist areas included in the August travel warning are now listed:

Guerrero, which includes Acapulco, Ixtapa, Taxco and Zihuatanejo, is listed as “Level 4 – Do Not Travel.” The State Department warns that armed groups operate independently of the government in many areas of the state, and that members of these groups frequently maintain roadblocks and may use violence towards travelers. U.S. government employees are prohibited from traveling to the entire state, including Acapulco.

Jalisco, which includes Guadalajara and Puerto Vallarta, is listed as “Level 3 – Reconsider Travel.” The State Department says that violent crime and gang activity are common in parts of this state; at the same time, it is not restricting U.S. government employees from staying in the Guadalajara, Puerto Vallarta, Chapala and Ajijic tourist areas.

Quintana Roo, which includes Cancun, Cozumel, Playa del Carmen, Riviera Maya and Tulum, is also listed as Level 2, with the same advice listed as in Los Cabos. U.S. government employees are not restricted from traveling within tourist areas there.

Mexico City is also listed as Level 2, with a message simply to “exercise increased caution due to crime.”

The State Department’s new, four-tier travel advisory system replaces the previous system of travel warnings and travel alerts. The tiers are: Level 1 – Exercise Normal Precautions; Level 2 – Exercise Increased Caution; Level 3 – Reconsider Travel; and Level 4 – Do Not Travel. Each country has an advisory under the new system, and the levels of advice may vary for specific locations within a country. Additionally, U.S. embassies will now issue Alerts regarding specific safety and security concerns in a country, such as demonstrations, crime trends and weather events. These Alerts will replace the current Emergency Messages and Security Messages.

The Mexico travel advisory can be viewed here, and all travel advisories at travel.state.gov.

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