With its warm climate, beautiful beaches and proximity to the U.S., Mexico is a popular tourist destination for many Americans. However, recent incidents may have some people wondering if they should reconsider their travel plans.
During the past few months, taxi drivers have been harassing Ubers in Cancun and there was the death of three Americans in Mexico City in October. Now an updated Travel Advisory issued warnings regarding crime and kidnapping.
“We get this one a lot, especially by folks who haven’t traveled as much, haven’t left the country before, or have read stories about ‘Mexico being dangerous’ but maybe don’t recognize it’s a large, diverse country, much likes ours,” Jared Benoff, a travel agent for Vacationeeze, which specializes in destination weddings in Mexico, told USA TODAY. Many of Benoff’s clients plan trips to Cancun and Riviera Maya, known for their turquoise beaches and myriad resorts.
The State Department updated the Travel Advisory for Mexico on Oct. 5, which is done regularly. Several tourist destinations, like Mexico City, Sayulita and Cancun, now have warnings related to cartel-related crime.
“The safety and security of U.S. citizens overseas is one of the Department’s highest priorities, and we provide U.S. citizens with relevant information so they can make well-informed decisions before they travel,” a State Department spokesperson said.
Read below to learn more about the Travel Advisory for Mexico’s most popular tourist destinations and safety tips for visiting those areas.
What is the updated Travel Advisory for Mexico?
Rather than providing one overall assessment for the entire country, each state is assessed individually since some areas have an increased risk of crime and kidnapping.
► The agency issued a “do not travel to” warning for the Colima, Guerrero, Michoacan, Sinaloa, Tamaulipas and Zacatecas state because of violent crime.
► A “reconsider travel to” warning has been issued for Baja California and Jalisco, where Puerto Vallarta is.
► Mexico City, Nayarit, Quintana Roo and Oaxaca were issued an “exercised increased caution when traveling to” warning. In Nayarit, many tourists visit the surf town Sayulita. Quintana Roo is home to Cancun, Cozumel and Playa del Carmen. Surfers also like to visit Puerto Escondido in Oaxaca.
Travelers can “exercise normal precautions” when traveling to Yucatan, where Tulum and Riviera Maya are located. Yucatan state is right above Quintana Roo, where people should be more cautious due to crime and kidnapping, according to the State Department.
What are some safety travel tips for visiting Mexico?
The State Department has several resources to help keep travelers safe. The agency encourages U.S. travelers to read the entire Mexico Travel Advisory and its Traveler’s Checklist, which details more information about traveling abroad.
There is also the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, a free service for U.S. travelers to receive safety alerts about their destination from the U.S. Embassy in real time.
“Generally speaking, if you’re in a resort town and at a reputable location, you’re at a much lower risk,” travel agent Benoff said.
Most resorts have security guards and gates, so staying on the property is pretty safe. “If you’re leaving the resort property, ensure you have the correct address to where you’re going and let the front desk know you’re leaving and when you plan to return,” he said.
“Use the same safety precautions you would when traveling anywhere,” Benoff added.
A few of his top tips include:
- Don’t flaunt cash.
- Use an ATM inside a bank or resort.
- Use the safe in your room.
- Bring two printed copies of your passport and other important documents, like medication or driver’s licenses.
- Travel insurance can also help protect you against stolen or lost personal property.
Source: usa today