The U.S. Department of State issued a revised travel alert for Mexico today, warning of increased risk in some parts of the country but lifting restrictions on tourism hotspots including Cancún and Los Cabos.
The new warning coincides with the introduction of a four-tier alert system, which aims to simplify and improve communication with U.S. travelers. The overall alert for Mexico was placed at Level 2: Exercise increased caution.
“Violent crime, such as homicide, kidnapping, carjacking, and robbery, is widespread,” the warning says.
A Level 4: Do not travel warning was issued for five states: Colima, Guerrero, Michoacán, Sinaloa and Tamaulipas, including the tourist destinations of Acapulco and Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo in Guerrero and Mazatlán in Sinaloa.
The warning specifies that U.S. government travel in Mazatlán is only permitted in the city’s Zona Dorada, the historic town center and direct routes to and from those locations and the airport or the cruise ship terminal.
A Level 3: Reconsider travel alert was put in place for the states of Chihuahua, Coahuila, Durango, México, Jalisco, Morelos, Nayarit, Nuevo León, San Luis Potosí, Sonora and Zacatecas.
Popular tourism and expat hotspots Guadalajara, Puerto Vallarta, Chapala and Ajijic in Jalisco are not subject to any restrictions.
All other states and the capital Mexico City are subject to the same level 2 advisory that applies to the country as a whole.
The new warning lifts restrictions on travel to tourist destinations in the state of Quintana Roo including Cancún, Cozumel, Playa del Carmen, Tulum and the Riviera Maya.
However, it recognizes that homicides increased in the state in 2017 and warns that violent crime has occurred in areas frequented by U.S. citizens.
Restrictions on travel to tourism hotspots Cabo San Lucas, San José del Cabo and La Paz in the state of Baja California Sur were also lifted.
The advisory again recognizes a homicide increase in the state last year and gives the same warning about violent crime in areas frequented by U.S. citizens.
Ensenada, Rosarito and Tijuana in Baja California are not subject to any restrictions either in the new warning.
Federal Tourism Secretary Enrique de la Madrid said Monday that he was aware that the revamped system was about to take effect.
“In a couple of days, the United States will bring out a new alert with a new mechanism that we will find out more about tomorrow [Tuesday]. We’ve been in contact with the Secretariat of Foreign Affairs and we’ve consulted with the United States government, in particular with the [U.S.] ambassador in Mexico, Roberta Jacobson,” he said.
The tourism secretary said that combating violent crime in tourism destinations remained a priority for the federal government.
“In my judgement, the most important challenge we have in the tourism sector are incidents of insecurity that have now occurred in destinations where they didn’t happen before . . . for example, Cancún, La Paz and Los Cabos,” he said.
“We have to recognize that there is a risk and look at how we can contain the insecurity,” he added.
The new warning also advises people who travel to Mexico to:
• 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 jewelry.
• Be extra vigilant when visiting banks or ATMs.
The full warning can be read here. It replaces the one issued in August last year.