The United States has closed its consular agency in Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, and ordered government employees not to travel to the popular tourist destination due to a security threat.
The U.S. embassy in Mexico City updated its security alert for Mexico yesterday, saying the office will remain closed until further notice after officials “received information about a security threat.”
This prohibition applies only to government officials but leisure travelers were urged to be aware of their surroundings and exercise caution while visiting the city.
The embassy also warned citizens intending to travel to Playa del Carmen that they should purchase travel insurance that offers specific coverage in Mexico and includes medical evacuation.
The new alert follows another issued a week ago prohibiting U.S. government personnel from using the ferry service between Playa del Carmen and the island of Cozumel.
That warning was triggered by an explosion aboard a ferry in Playa del Carmen. More than 20 people, including foreign travelers, were injured. One week later, at least one explosive device was found on another ferry.
Asked about the new alert, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told ABC News that “we take our obligation to provide information to U.S. citizens seriously as evidenced by the clear, timely and reliable safety and security information we release worldwide.”
The U.S. government has offered no details regarding the nature of the perceived security threat, either publicly or to the state government.
Quintana Roo Governor Carlos Joaquín González issued a statement last night in which he played down the security risks and said local officials did not know why the U.S. had barred its employees from visiting the town.
Economic activity and tourism in Playa del Carmen and throughout the state continues as usual, continued the statement. “. . . hotel occupancy is at 80% in the main tourist resorts, and police forces work day and night to guarantee the safety and peace of the people of Quintana Roo and its visitors.”
The state government also stressed the safety of the destination, noting that President Enrique Peña Nieto is scheduled to visit Playa del Carmen today for an ocean conservation conference, the Associated Press reported.