State Dept. Lifts Caution Against Using Cozumel Ferries

The State Department and U.S. Embassy in Mexico City have lifted an advisory against using the ferries between Playa del Carmen and Cozumel, Mexico. Elsewhere in Mexico, the State Department has issued a number of updated travel advisories. The advisory had been issued amid an ongoing investigation into a February 21 explosion onboard a Barcos Caribe ferry.

The Embassy’s update cited new security procedures in the tourist areas of Playa del Carmen in the Quintana Roo. U.S. government personnel are now permitted to travel to all parts of Playa del Carmen, as well as to use the ferry services.

Quintana Roo, and Mexico overall, are listed by the State Department as Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution, out of a possible four, according to the State Department’s latest Mexico travel advisory, due to high crime. Travelers are still advised to be aware of their surroundings and exercise increased caution, as well as to purchase travel insurance that specifically covers them in Mexico and includes medical evacuation insurance.

The State Department has also issued a number of new Level 4: Do Not Travel advisories, its highest possible level. In addition to a previously issued Do Not Travel advisory for the state of Guerrero, which includes Acapulco, travelers are now advised not to travel to the states of Colima, Michoacán, Sinaloa and Tamaulipas. In Sinaloa, U.S. government travel is still permitted in the historic town center of Mazatlan, as well as direct routes to and from these locations and the airport or the cruise ship terminal. The following states are under a Level 3: Reconsider Travel advisory: Chihuahua, Coahuila, Durango, Estado de Mexico, Jalisco, Morelos, Nayarit, Nuevo Leon, San Luis Potosi, Sonora and Zacatecas. Tourist areas in those states, such as Puerto Vallarta and Riviera Nayarit, are exempt from restrictions on travel by government employees.

Meanwhile, state officials in the Riviera Maya are continuing to work to beef up security arrangements following the February 21 ferry explosion. Most recently the legislature is working to make passenger lists mandatory for all ferries between the Playa del Carmen mainland and Cozumel, Riviera Maya News reports. All ports in Quintana Roo are also working to have the more stringent International Ship and Port Facility Security Code (ISPS) protocol in place within six months.

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