Keeping Up with Travel Alerts Regarding Travel to Mexico
The recent headlines are buzzing with the US Department of State’s current travel advisory updates. While some journalists paint an accurate picture, other journalists publish sensationalized and misleading headlines about safety in Mexico. The truth is Mexico’s top vacation destinations are not subject to the US restriction; Cancun, the Mayan Riviera, Puerto Vallarta-Riviera Nayarit, Mexico City and Los Cabos are considered safe vacation hot spots for foreigners.
Last August the US Department of State posted a travel alert which included Quintana Roo and the famous beach destinations Cancun, the Riviera Maya and Cozumel. However, on January 10th the travel alert was updated, revoking the alert for these popular destinations from the list.
The Canadian government has also updated their travel website and lists the following states as “avoid non-essential travel” due to organized crime and targeted violence.
- Nuevo León
*Note that within these states the following cities are not included in the category of “avoid non-essential travel”. These cities are still considered to be safe, popular travel destinations:
- Guaymas San Carlos
- Ixtapa/ Zihuatanejo
The US government added a new four-level rating system for travel advisories to their website:
Level 1 (blue): take normal precautions
Level 2 (yellow): take additional precautions
Level 3 (orange): reconsider the trip
Level 4 (red): do not travel
See the US travel advisory link below to find their full list of Mexican states.
According to this new system, Mexico as a whole is listed at Level 2, which is the same safety category as Spain, Germany, Denmark, Belgium, France and the UK.
It is hard to say whether or not the travel alerts affect tourism in these popular areas as occupancy continues to grow despite the previous travel alert. The General Director of Tourism in Playa del Carmen, Rocío Ocampo Colmenares, reported on the Municipio de Solidaridad website that Playa del Carmen over the Christmas holidays experienced over 95% hotel occupancy rate, in addition to private home rentals, and was expected to exceed 97% over New Years.
When it comes to the US considering Mexico a dangerous country, many will disagree, especially the expats who are living here. The majority of foreign residents living in Mexico feel it is no more dangerous than living in the United States. And depending which state they are from, many claim to feel safer living in Mexico.
Andres Oppenheimer from the Miami Herald is quoted as saying “In fact, many major U.S. cities, including Baltimore, Detroit and Washington D.C., have much higher murder rates than Cancun or Los Cabos. The only thing I would add to the new State Department advisory system is that it should include the United States on its list, and give it a Level 2 “exercise increased caution” label.”
Although Canada and the US warn against traveling to Sonora, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León, Tamaulipas, Sinaloa, and Durango, the UK government travel update only advises to take extra care or extreme care outside tourist areas in these states.