US Issues Highest Travel Warning for Five States in Mexico
The US State Department has issued a do not travel advisory for five Mexican states on Wednesday, one of which is a border state.
The five states — which include Tamaulipas on the US border and Sinaloa, Colima, Michoacán and Guerrero on the Pacific coast — are placed on a level 4 warning, which groups them with war-torn countries like Syria, Yemen and Somalia. The advisory cites an increase in criminal and gang activities like homicide, kidnapping and robbery in these states.
Of the 31 Mexican states, half are are considered level 3 or 4 warnings. As of January 10, 11 additional Mexican states received a level 3 warning, which means tourists should “reconsider travel." Those states where Americans are urged to reconsider travel include Chihuahua, Coahuila, Durango, State of Mexico, Jalisco, Morelos, Nayarit, Nuevo Leon, San Luis Potosi, Sonora state and Zacatecas.
As for US government employees, the travel advisory states that there are no restrictions on travel along Route 200 from the Jalisco border to Manzanillo and tourist areas in Jalisco state from Guadalajara, Puerto Vallarta, Chapala and Ajijic. However, US personnel are completely restricted from staying in Guerrero state which includes two popular resorts: Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo and Acapulco. The advisory states that "members of armed groups frequently maintain roadblocks and may use violence towards travelers."
This new travel warning follows two travel advisories issued in July and August, which warned travelers of going to certain tourist spots.The no-travel regions had mostly already lost much foreign tourism.
Colima has seen homicides a rampant increase in crime level as well in recent years due to the growth of a major drug cartel, leaving the state with the highest homicide rate in Mexico, with 83.3 killings per 100,000 residents, according to CBS News. Meanwhile, extensive drug cartels have stricken travel in Tamaulipas, the capital city in Ciudad Victoria and Sinaloa, the capital city in Culiacán.
Note: Although the state department warns travelers to stay away from five states, Mexico as a whole is listed as a level 2 warning, where travelers should "exercise increased caution."
Travelers who are planning to take a trip to Mexico should follow these necessary safety precautions:
- Use toll roads when possible and avoid driving at night
- Exercise increased caution when visiting local bars, nightclubs and casinos
- Do not display signs of wealth, such as wearing expensive watches or jewellery
- Be extra vigilant when visiting banks or ATMs
- Have a contingency plan for emergency situations
H/T: CBS News
Photo: A Mexican federal policeman stands guard near the beach in Acapulco, Mexico; photo by John Moore/Getty Images