The U.S. Embassy in Mexico City has issued a security alert for a popular tourist destination. The Embassy reports it has “received information about a security threat in Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico. Effective immediately, U.S. Government employees are prohibited from traveling to Playa del Carmen until further notice. The U.S. Consular Agency in Playa del Carmen will be closed until further notice.”
The Embassy is advising travelers to be aware of their surroundings and to exercise caution; as well as to purchase travel insurance that specifically covers them in Mexico and includes medical evacuation insurance. Travelers should contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate if they need assistance.
While Travel Agent has reached out to the Embassy for clarification, further details on the exact nature of the security threat are not available at this time. The alert does, however, follow a previous alert for Playa del Carmen issued March 1 over February’s explosion onboard a Barcos Caribe ferry. According to a statement issued by the Embassy at that time, undetonated explosive devices were found by Mexican law enforcement on March 1 on another ferry operated by the same company.
Following that alert, the Secretariat of Tourism for Quintana Roo argued in a statement provided to Riviera Maya News that Cozumel does not represent any risk to visitors, as the devices were found on a vessel that had been out of service for 10 months and was stationed over 1,000 feet from any dock. The statement also noted that the ferry company had been suspended by the government after February’s explosion.
The State Department’s travel advisory for Quintana Roo, which includes Cozumel and Playa del Carmen, remains at Level 2: Exercised Increased Caution, out of a possible four levels. The State Department reports that there has been an increase in homicide rates over 2016, and that, while most of the homicides appeared to be targeted assassinations stemming from turf battles between rival criminal groups, those clashes have resulted in violent crime in areas frequented by U.S. citizens.