The U.S. Department of State is warning U.S. citizens about the risk of traveling to certain parts of Mexico, following threats due to organized crime. This travel warning replaces the one issued on August 15.
Tourists should note, however, that the main tourist destinations of Mexico, including Baja California Sur (Cabo San Lucas and La Paz), Guanajuato, Guadalajara, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico City, Riviera Nayarit, Oaxaca, Puebla, Quintana Roo and the Yucatan, are not considered dangerous for travel.
"Mexico continues to be a safe destination in general for leisure travelers visiting touristic destinations," Zachary Rabinor, director general for Journey Mexico, tells Travel Agent. "Tourists are not being targeted and the large majority of touristic destinations have no advisories or warnings against visitation. That said, the recent travel warning does a good job of drilling down and outlining the specific risks throughout Mexico and makes sound recommendations about how to manage any security related risks; I believe that many of their suggestions are good advice for travelers visiting many parts of the developing world."
Overall, millions of U.S. citizens safely visit Mexico each year for tourism. That said, the Department of State is urging U.S. travelers to be vigilant when visiting.
Mitch Toren, chief vacation engineer at Trip Guy, tells Travel Agent, "There are no material changes to the warnings as they relate to the major tourist destinations that we send our clients. Just as we advise anyone traveling, it makes sense to be aware of your surroundings. The tourist areas of Mexico continue to be safer than many other top leisure destinations."
The criminal groups that are causing the problems are involved in narcotics trafficking and other illegal activities, and while the Mexican government is working extensively to combat these issues, U.S. citizens have still fallen victim to criminal activity.
"U.S. citizens are encouraged to lower their personal profiles and to avoid displaying indicators of wealth such as expensive-looking jewelry, watches, or cameras. U.S. citizens are encouraged to maintain awareness of their surroundings and avoid situations in which they may be isolated or stand out as potential victims," the warning reports.
"This updated travel warning is all about the northern Mexican border cities/towns," says Robert Whorrall, vice president of sales & marketing for Beach Bum Vacation. "Mexico is a large country and I feel safe in most ares of Mexico, especially Cancun, Riviera Maya, Puerto Vallarta, Cozumel, Isla Mujeres, Cabo San Lucas and Mazatlan. If the news/media/government were to give us warnings on a rash of crimes and other criminal activity in Detroit, MI, would you cancel your trip to California or Indianapolis or Chicago? Of course not. These warnings are to make sure people visiting the affected areas are aware of the issues and can make a decision based on the facts."
Where to Use Caution
The main areas under concern are casinos, sportsbooks or other gambling establishments where there may be heavy cash-flow. The states most in question are Coahuila, Durango, Zacatecas, Aguascalientes, San Luis Potosi, Nuevo Leon and Tamaulipas. Travelers should note that these areas are not tourist destinations.
Travel Agent has reached out to the Mexico Tourism Board and is awaiting a response.
The State Department travel warning is available here.