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The US State Department issued a travel warning on Tuesday for Americans visiting certain areas of Mexico. After an increase in violence and drug cartel activity, the US Government put out an official warning to those US citizens who are traveling to the Mexican states of Baja California Sur and Quintana Roo.
The popular Los Cabos is located in Baja California Sur and Quitana Roo includes tourist hotspots like Cancun, Cozumel, Rivieria Maya, Playa del Carmen and Tulum. The advisory cites multiple warnings about the level of violence in these areas stating, “Gun battles between rival criminal organizations or with Mexican authorities have taken place on streets and in public places during broad daylight.”
Although the State Department did not publish the more serious “defer non-essential travel” warning that other states in Mexico have received, the notice did stipulate that tourist areas are safer than other parts of the affected states:
“The Mexican government dedicates substantial resources to protect visitors to major tourist destinations and has engaged in an extensive effort to counter criminal organizations that engage in narcotics trafficking and other unlawful activities throughout Mexico. There is no evidence that criminal organizations have targeted US citizens based on their nationality. Resort areas and tourist destinations in Mexico generally do not see the level of drug-related violence and crime that are reported in the border region or in areas along major trafficking routes.”
According to Bloomberg, Quintana Roo sees 10 million tourists a year and the state has already reported 169 murders in 2017 alone. The murder rate is on track to be the highest in the last 17 years and Baja California Sur has also seen a wave of killings this year. In the first three months of 2017, the state saw a 433% increase in murders over the same time period in 2016. There have been high-profile killings in the regions — five people were murdered in a nightclub near Playa del Carmen and three were killed on a beach near Cabo San Lucas.
The tourism department for Quintana Roo responded to the advisory saying that travelers are “safe and protected;” the Association of Riviera Maya Hotels said violent incidents involving tourists “are extremely rare.”
This new travel warning follows another State Department advisory issued in July which cautioned travelers to be wary when drinking alcohol, citing reports of people blacking out after only a few drinks.
Featured image by STR/AFP/Getty Images.
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