As spring break planning heats up, incidents of violence in Mexico continue to make news – leaving travelers to wonder if a perennially popular destination is safe to visit.
A rash of recent headlines proclaimed that the U.S. State Department was warning against visiting Mexico leading up to the busy vacation season. While the department has “do not travel” warnings in place for six states, a representative told The Washington Post it has not updated its travel advisories for Mexico since October.
The U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Mexico have, however, issued a handful of security alerts since January for Ciudad Juárez and several cities in Sinaloa and Quintana Roo states. Reuters reported that an Aeromexico plane was struck by gunfire in early January.
The State Department says Americans should not travel to six states – Guerrero, Colima, Michoacan, Sinaloa, Tamaulipas, and Zacatecas – due to the risk of crime and, in most of those states, kidnapping. The resort town of Acapulco is located in Guerrero, and the cruise port Mazatlán is in Sinaloa.
Officials advise Americans to follow the travel restrictions that are placed on U.S. government employees; for example, government workers are allowed to visit Mazatlán by air or sea but must stay in the town center and the “Zona Dorada,” which includes beaches and resorts.
Officials say tourists should “reconsider travel” to seven other states: Baja California, Chihuahua, Durango, Guanajuato, Jalisco, Morelos, and Sonora.
Most Mexican states have a “Level 2” designation, which means “exercise increased caution” – the same advice given for countries including France, Costa Rica, Italy, Spain, the Bahamas, and the United Kingdom. The 16 states and federal districts where people should exercise increased caution include Mexico City; Quintana Roo – home to popular tourist destinations such as Cancún, Cozumel, and Tulum; Baja California Sur, where Cabo San Lucas is located; and Oaxaca.
Only two states have the lowest-risk designation of “exercise normal precautions”: Campeche and Yucatán.