Government warns travelers heading to Mexico

Posted at 4:03 PM, Jan 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-21 18:33:10-05

Following more violence in Mexico, including the murder of more U.S. citizens, the U.S. State Department has issued new travel warnings for those heading to the country.

More than 100 U.S. citizens have been murdered in Mexico each of the past two years, and several others have been victims of kidnapping, carjacking and robbery by organized criminal groups in various Mexican states. As of the new travel warning issued Tuesday, 21 of the country’s 31 states have advisories.

The last travel warning for Mexico was issued in May of 2015. The new warning can be seen in full here.

Important excerpts from the warning, including how to protect yourself, are below:

  • “U.S. citizens are encouraged to lower their personal profiles and to avoid displaying indicators of wealth such as expensive-looking jewelry, watches, or cameras. U.S. citizens are encouraged to maintain awareness of their surroundings and avoid situations in which they may be isolated or stand out as potential victims.”
  • “Of particular safety concern are casinos, sports books, or other gambling establishments, and adult entertainment establishments. U.S. government personnel are specifically prohibited from patronizing these establishments in the states of Coahuila, Durango, Zacatecas, Aguascalientes, San Luis Potosi, Nuevo Leon, Tamaulipas, Jalisco, Colima and Nayarit.”
  • “There are indications that criminals target newer and larger vehicles, especially dark-colored SUVs. However, even drivers of old sedans and buses coming from the United States have been targeted. While violent incidents can occur anywhere and at any time, they most frequently occur at night and on isolated roads. To reduce risk when traveling by road, we strongly urge you to travel between cities throughout Mexico only during daylight hours, to avoid isolated roads, and to use toll roads ("cuotas") whenever possible.”

Currently, tourist destinations marked as unsafe include:

  • Acapulco (Guerrero)
  • Mazatlan (Sinaloa)
  • Puerto Penasco, also known as Rocky Point (Sonora)

For those planning to visit Mexico in 2016, Cynthia Riggins of Acendas Travel Agency says there are still plenty of resorts that are not only still popular, but safe as well.

"Mexico is very protective of their tourism business, so they've really done a very good job in those tourist areas of keeping it very secure."

Popular, safe resorts include:

  • Cancun
  • Riviera Maya
  • Cozumel
  • Puerto Vallarta
  • Playa Del Carmen

Riggins echoed many of the safety tips listed by the State Department in their travel warning. She encouraged visitors not to travel at night, to keep their valuables hidden and to avoid isolation.