State Department urges Americans to "reconsider travel" to Mexico
The U.S. Department of State has issued a travel advisory that urges everyone to reconsider travel to Mexico. COVID-19 was cited as the main reason for the Level 3 "reconsider travel" designation. The Dec. 8 advisory also listed an "increased risk of crime and kidnapping in some areas."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has already issued a Level 3 Travel Health Notice for Mexico because of the high level of COVID-19 in the country.
The Dec. 8 State Department travel advisory includes some stark language about safety.
“Violent crime – such as homicide, kidnapping, carjacking, and robbery – is widespread and common in Mexico. The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in many areas of Mexico, as travel by U.S. government employees to certain areas is prohibited or restricted.”
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Since Mexico is such a large country, the State Department breaks down risk assessment on a detailed, state-by-state basis. For example, travelers are currently urged to reconsider trips to Jalisco and Nayrit states, home to the popular destinations of Puerto Vallarta, Punta de Mita and the Riviera Nayarit.
Related: Forget the Maldives: Finding paradise in our own backyard at The St. Regis Punta Mita Resort
Additionally, travelers are urged to "exercise increased caution" when traveling to Mexico City (due to crime and kidnapping). The same proviso applies to the states of Oaxaca and Baja California Sur, due to crime. The latter destination at the tip of the Baja Peninsula is home to Los Cabos.
Related: How to get to Los Cabos on points and miles
The state of Quintana Roo on the Caribbean side of Mexico is also in the “exercise increased caution” category. Home to some of the country's most popular tourist destinations, including Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Tulum, it's a region generally considered safe for foreigners.
Related: What it’s like traveling to the Cancun area during a COVID-19 spike
A recent spate of crime has damaged that perception, however. In an incident last week, gunmen on jetskis started shooting on the beach outside one Cancun resort, sending vacationers scrambling.
In early November, a gun battle left two dead on the grounds of a resort in Puerto Morelos, near Cancun. And in October, a gang shootout killed two tourists at a restaurant in Tulum.
In response to the recent escalation in crime, the government of Quintana Roo has stationed nearly 1500 National Guard troops to patrol tourist areas, including the beaches of Cancun's hotel zone.