Spring break in Mexico: what to know about the “do not travel” warnings

The Texas Department of Public Safety has warned Americans not to spend spring break in Mexico, noting that continued violence poses a significant security threat.

The warning – which comes on top of State Department advisories not to travel to large areas of the country – comes in the wake of the kidnapping of four Americans in Mexico earlier this month. There is a “Level 4: Do Not Travel” advisory for Tamaulipas, the Mexican state the Americans were in when they were kidnapped.

“Drug cartel violence and other criminal activity pose a significant threat to the safety of anyone entering Mexico at this time,” Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCraw said Friday. “We have a duty to educate the public about security, travel risks and threats. Based on the volatile nature of cartel activity and the violence we see within it, we urge individuals to avoid to go to Mexico at the moment.”

The State Department lists five other Mexican states under its Level 4 advisory opinion: Colima, Guerrero, Michoacán, Sinaloa and Zacatecas. There are also seven states under the “Level 3: Reconsider travel” advisory: Baja California, Chihuahua, Durango, Guanajuato, Jalisco, Morelos and Sonora.

“Violent crimes — such as homicides, kidnappings, carjackings, and robberies — are widespread and common in Mexico,” the State Department warns in its advisory. “The U.S. government has a limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in many areas of Mexico because travel by U.S. government employees to certain areas is prohibited or restricted. In many states, emergency services emergency premises are restricted outside of the state capital or major cities.

Mexico is a popular spring break destination this year, according to AAA. Beach vacations are the most popular.

In Mexico, spring break travelers are most likely to visit Cancun, Riviera Maya or Mexico City, according to AAA. These areas are subject to the Department of State’s “Level 2: Exercise extra caution when traveling.”


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