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Suzanne Barbezat

Mexico Travel Alert Updated

By February 23, 2009

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The US Department of State has updated the existing travel alert for Mexico, informing visitors of increased violence, particularly along the US border. The alert advises travelers to Mexico to take common sense precautions such as visiting only legitimate business and tourist areas, and avoiding areas where prostitution and drug dealing might occur. Most of the violence that has occurred is due to confrontations between Mexican authorities and drug cartels, and tourists are not specifically targeted, however, it's always a good idea to practice general safety precautions.

Read the complete Mexico travel alert.

Comments
February 26, 2009 at 1:16 pm
(1) mark says:

Suzanne,, Going to Cancun over spring break and my wife is a bit worried over the travel alert. Looks like most of the increased violence is in northern mexico. Any worries going to Cancun? Thx!

February 27, 2009 at 7:18 pm
(2) gomexico says:

Hi Mark,
I’ve responded to your question here: Is Cancun safe?

February 28, 2009 at 8:19 pm
(3) Goldie says:

I am traveling to Ensenada via Cruise boat, and am thinking of going on a excursion to Rosarita, is that safe to do?

March 1, 2009 at 2:50 pm
(4) Kendra says:

We’re supposed to go to Puerto Villarta a week from today. We were planning to take our two young children. Is it safe to go?

March 2, 2009 at 10:00 am
(5) Melissa W. says:

I am going to Playa del Carmen middle of April. Can you please let me know about safety? Can you leave the resort? Having gone to Playa del Carmen for the last 7 years, I’m scared because of all the violence and kidnappings going on. Please advise.

March 2, 2009 at 1:17 pm
(6) gomexico says:

Goldie – Rosarito beach and Ensenada are fairly close to the US border, where most of the increased violence has taken place. That’s not to say you shouldn’t go – plenty of people go and have a great time – but you should practice caution, stay with a group and within the tourist area.

Kendra and Melissa – Puerto Vallarta and Playa del Carmen are tourist destinations that are nowhere near the US border and the situation you will find in those places has not changed substantially due to the drug war. Visiting with kids is fine, as is getting outside of the resort you’re staying in to visit some of the great tourist attractions nearby.

For everyone else who has concerns about different destinations in Mexico, you should take note of the wording of the travel alert issued by the State Department. Nowhere does it say that you should avoid traveling to Mexico. It says that you should practice caution. This means that you should (as you should always when traveling, even in your own country) take general common sense safety precautions, avoid places that are known for prostitution and drug dealing and be aware of your surroundings.

The travel alert states “millions of U.S. citizens safely visit Mexico each year.” The chance that something bad will happen to you during your trip to Mexico is slim, but take precautions to make sure you’re not one of the unlucky few. Mexico has so much to offer, it would be a shame to let fear stand in your way of having a great vacation.

March 2, 2009 at 8:31 pm
(7) lawanda brown says:

Hi traveling to cancun in july my friends are worried about it being safe too go please help

March 2, 2009 at 9:45 pm
(8) Cabs says:

Is Cabo safe? It isn’t that far from the border but it is a tourist destination, so the question still remains.

March 2, 2009 at 11:53 pm
(9) me says:

I am going on a cruise to Ensenada and Cabo this month. I have reviewed the travel alert, and I do not think that there is a significant reason to be worried. As gomexico pointed out, one should ALWAYS use caution while traveling. If you are going to go to places where there are prostitues and drug dealers, then you have to consider danger. So, stay in the large tourist areas and don’t go wandering off into neighborhoods or something, and you will be fine. Plus, if you are going on a cruise, you will be on the boat most of the time, and there is plenty to do on the ship in case you are scared. I am definitely not going to miss my cruise, I am so excited! :)

March 3, 2009 at 12:48 am
(10) Dennis says:

We are planning a family trip to Rocky Point (Puerto Penasco) with the children. Since this will require driving from Tucson to Rocky Point, how safe is the drive?

March 3, 2009 at 12:55 am
(11) gomexico says:

Lawanda – encourage your friends to read this post: Is Cancun Safe?, and follow the links to read what bloggers living in Cancun have to say about safety there.

Cabs – Seen a map of Mexico lately? :) Los Cabos is right on the tip of the Baja Peninsula, that’s over a thousand miles from the U.S. border. No worries!

me – Sounds like you’ve got the right attitude for having a great vacation – enjoy!

Dennis – I’m a little bit more hesitant in your situation. I suggest you contact the U.S. Consulate in Nogales (e-mail: NogalesACS@state.gov) and ask what they think. Since they’re nearby, they’ll be better able to assess the current conditions in the area and advise you. Good luck.

March 3, 2009 at 9:35 am
(12) Rosa says:

I AM GOING TO PUERTO MORELOS IN APRIL. I AM STAYING AT AN ALL INCLUSIVE HOTEL. IS IT SAFE?

March 3, 2009 at 4:26 pm
(13) Kimberly says:

My husband and I are planning to drive from Corpus Christie to La Pesca in a couple of days. Is this something we should rethink?

March 3, 2009 at 7:50 pm
(14) Rosa says:

Is Rosa again. I am going to the NH Cancun hotel in Puerto Morelos for my honeymoon. I want to know if it is safe to walk around or should be stay inside the hotel at all times.

March 3, 2009 at 10:49 pm
(15) Jane says:

My Husband and I are driving to San Felipe through Mexicali with two other families for vacation on the beach is it safe? We are concerned due to the recent news and warnings..
Thanks

March 4, 2009 at 3:51 pm
(16) Sandra says:

I’m getting married in Puerto Vallarta in June, and some of my guest are concerned about all the media coverage on toursim attacks in Mexico.. can you provide me some useful websites on safety traveling in Puerto Vallarta that i can share with my guest? THank you!

March 4, 2009 at 5:27 pm
(17) Clinton K. says:

Hi Suzanne,

My friends used to go camping on secluded beaches about 200 miles south of San Felipe. They enter through Mexicali and go down the Mexican 5. We want to do a similar trip in April. Is it still safe to do something like that, and if so what precautions should we take.

March 4, 2009 at 10:22 pm
(18) Stacey says:

Going to Hidden Beach in Mexico in mid April. I am not sure where our hotel is to the cities of trouble. I think it is in Riviera maya-is it safe???

Stacey

March 5, 2009 at 5:10 pm
(19) Paula says:

Hi. I am going to mexico in about twenty days, with my parents and boyfriend. We are a little worried about all the violence happening there. so do you have any more advice for travelling?

March 5, 2009 at 11:34 pm
(20) Suzanne says:

Rosa – Puerto Morelos is fine. Do not stay in your hotel! You should get out and see some of the area. You’ll find some ideas here: Cancun Day Trips.

Kimberly and Jane – If you’re driving in border areas, drive during the day and stay on the main roads and you shouldn’t encounter any problems.

Sandra – I suggest you get in touch with the folks at VisitPuertoVallarta.com, I’m sure they’ll be able to inform your wedding guests about the situation there. Good luck – and an early congratulations for your wedding.

Clinton – Are you going with someone who is familiar with the area? If so, they probably know the situation with regards to safety. If not, you might want to stay in more populated areas and not camp on secluded beaches. You can get more information from the Baja California tourist board through their website Discover Baja California.

Stacey – your biggest concern should be the SPF factor of your sunscreen. Enjoy your nacation! ;)

Paula – you don’t mention where you’re going in Mexico. It’s a big country and conditions may vary. As I’ve said, most of the violence is taking place in specific areas along the US border. Follow the general safety precautions and tips for a safe spring break and you should have a great holiday.

March 8, 2009 at 12:30 pm
(21) Jess B. says:

I’m going down to Cabo for spring break and I know its not anywhere near the boarder, but I’m a little concerned about the drive from the airport to where I’m staying. My sister told me its about an hour drive to our resort, Cabo Azul. Should I be concerned at all if anything were to happen in between the time I leave the airport to when I arrive at the hotel?

PS: still trying to convince my parents that where I’m going is safer than other areas. What should I tell them?

March 8, 2009 at 3:10 pm
(22) T says:

I was curious who was doing the murders, the cartel or the military? I will be going to Cancun this next week which will make my 6th time there. I have never once had an issue there, and since I smoke weed, have never had an issue with finding some down there to increase my relaxation. Should I, not be searching for my usually substance down there in fear of getting shot by the military?

March 9, 2009 at 9:00 am
(23) Lynn says:

Hi Suzanne,
I was wondering about the safety of the border town of Acuna. My college-aged child is going there on a mission trip with the church that she is attending. Thanks for your input.

March 9, 2009 at 4:40 pm
(24) mary says:

my husband is traveling to Los Mochis Sinaloa. Is it safe to take the bus? Or drive?

March 10, 2009 at 1:51 am
(25) Steven says:

I agree with Jess B. We are planning on going to Cabo end of March and a little concerned with A) travel to and from airport and B) going out for dinner (early evening). Can walk places on public streets at night? Is it safe? Sure, far from the border but we are still concerned.

March 11, 2009 at 4:13 pm
(26) Eva says:

Jess B., We were in Cabo last year. The drive from the airport to your hotel is long, but not really in an area of concern for violence. Be prepared for desert vistas and not much else. But do be aware of whom you choose as your driver! If you have transportation provided by the hotel, you will be fine. If you plan to choose a cab driver at the airport, I’d suggest you make other arrangements.

March 11, 2009 at 4:20 pm
(27) Eva says:

Steven, Don’t pass up the chance to go out for dinner in the area. We found several excellent restaurants in the area only a few minutes drive from our hotel. Here’s a special hint – I asked a local in the tiny town of Cabo San Lucas (after purchasing something) where he would suggest going for lunch, where he would go himself. He walked us to a tiny restaurant a block away and up some steep stairs. We were the only customers, the view was excellent and the food was delicious and authentic. Practice a few phrases in Spanish and put on your best smile. You’ll have a great time.

March 12, 2009 at 12:41 pm
(28) Kim says:

Family members (15) are going on a cruise to Cozumel and Grand Cayman in June. Some are concerned that we need to cancel because of travel alert. What can you tell me about this area and travel safety? Thanks.

March 12, 2009 at 2:11 pm
(29) Lorie says:

Going on a mission trip to San Luis Rio Colorado Mexico with a group. It is a town on the border but I don’t think there has been violence there. It is not a tourist area. Does anyone know about the safety there?

March 12, 2009 at 8:45 pm
(30) KC says:

What about the killing of a very high standing Mexican military general and his drivers right outside of Cancun? And the chief of Cancun police being taken in on suspicion of involvement with the drug cartels? This just happened in Feb, 2009. How can I possibly feel safe?

March 13, 2009 at 12:36 pm
(31) Skeeter says:

HI, I have looked everywhere for solid information on travel to Mexico and found that you have the most solid info. My question is this: We are leaving Idaho to go to Guaymas Mexico on March 27,2009, We planned on driving all the way through however we are taking our youth group and parents are starting to worry. Can you tell me is this generally safe to do at this time? Or should we make other arrangements like taking the bus over the border? Thank you!

March 14, 2009 at 12:00 am
(32) Patty McMonagle says:

Hi I am going to the royal in playa del carmen, I have just heard of the travel alert and I am a little worried. I do see that the violence is by the border and I am far from there. Do I need to worry? Also I was considering some excursions, like the mayan ruins,is it safe or do I need to stay in my hotel, is shopping on 5th safe. I would appreciate your advise if I should cancel my trip and go sowhere else. thanks!!

March 20, 2009 at 3:27 pm
(33) Christine says:

We are flying into Mexico City and staying in San MIguel de Allende for a week. Please tell us if we should cancel our trip. Thanks!

March 26, 2009 at 8:55 pm
(34) CLEVONE says:

ME AND FRIENDS ARE GOING TO CANCUN IN 10DAYS SHOULD WE CANCEL WE ARE STAYING AT GRAND OASIS PLAYA IS IT SAFE?

March 30, 2009 at 3:33 pm
(35) June says:

I am having a destination wedding in Riviera Maya at one of the Palace Resorts. While we are at the resort, we are also planning to go on several excursions. Should my guests and I be concerned? Thank you!

April 7, 2009 at 10:44 am
(36) Kelly says:

Living in San Diego, I can tell you our talk radio station seem to be the only source who shares with us what is really going on down there. For instance, a priest from Austin, Texas was brutally stabbed and left on a mattress on the side of the highway. Women are raped and men are killed. It is not safe and we are urged not to go. I can’t tell you how many stories I hear each week. These things like cutting heads off, happen in tourist areas and in the middle of the day. You are not really safe anywhere. I am sure no one will believe me and that is fine, but we are able to hear thr truth and the news of these murders on our talk radio station in San Diego. Don’t go.

April 11, 2009 at 1:52 pm
(37) Linda says:

I am going to Ixtapa with my husband, two sons, two grandchildren, and two best friends. We are going in December. Are we to be concerned at an All Inclusive hotel? I don’t know how far Ixtapa is from any border.

April 12, 2009 at 11:34 pm
(38) gomexico says:

Linda – You’ll find a map showing the distance from tourist areas to the border on this website: Mexico Update. The distance from Ixtapa to the US border at Nogales is 877 miles.

For continuing discussion and updates about travel safety in Mexico, please visit our forum: Mexico travel safety.

April 27, 2009 at 9:38 pm
(39) B Hussein Obama says:

Rosa, I’m going to Spain soon and I hear they speak Spanish there, just like I think they speak in Mexico. Is it safe?

May 1, 2009 at 4:30 pm
(40) Sal says:

Trip scheduled to Cabo coming up May 16 for a week. Wodering is with all that’s going on with the swine flu if Cabo is safe…Thanks

May 31, 2009 at 10:09 pm
(41) Jessica says:

We are planning on driving through Mexicali down to San Felipe in June. 2 families (4 adults and 3 young children), 2 cars driving together. We will drive during the day and plan to make no stops once over the border. Is this safe to do? Should we proceed with our plans? Once to San Felipe, what is the best thing to do with children?

June 2, 2009 at 2:25 am
(42) Frank says:

Im not trying to be rude here but you guys are crazy, calm down a little bit. You people talk as if they are killing random people in the streets. The media blows the whole thing out of proportion, i go as near as border towns to as south as Sinaloa (the drug capital of Mexico) and there is nothing out of the ordinary. Sure there are some violent acts but amongst rival cartels, the mexican police enforce as much protection in tourist attractions as they can because of money income. Its ridiculous how people assume that once crossing into mexico they are going to see people being murdered in broad daylight, absolutely ridiculous.

June 18, 2009 at 6:28 pm
(43) Errica says:

I am an american that has been living in Mexico for 3 years now. The media blows everything out of proportion. I have never had any problems or known anyone that has had problems here. The border cities are not so cool.. But there are many cities in the US that aren’t as well. For instance.. When I go to California, I bypass Compton.. Why?? because people get shot there every night. When I am in VA I don’t go to downtown Baltimore or even Washington DC at night. Why?? because people get shot there every night. So when you all come to Mexico.. avoid the city of Juarez. All of Mexico is not a red zone. People are not being shot in the street and we are not all dying from the swine flu. CNN thrives on sensationalizum.. don’t buy in to it!

August 26, 2009 at 5:35 pm
(44) Cordopolitin says:

American father of a Murdered son (IN MEXICO) I have been in Mexico for the last 3 years trying to get some justice as those who murdered him are walking the street freely. What one must understand about ALL of Mexico is there is NO “justice system”, 50% of all GDP is BLACK MARKET thus it is hard to have a drink or sleep or drive or… “visiting only legitimate business” is imposible as 40billion in black market profit is laundered each year useing all forms of business includeing day care centers and hospitals. If you are visiting Mexico you must have a emergency exit plan as you would for Afganistan. Take into consideration what others have said above and look into some intresting numbers such as
Murder rates
death due to preventable causes
Kidnaping (mexico is #1)
Medical Kidnapping (you pay what they want or you dont leave GRINGO)

April 30, 2010 at 5:21 pm
(45) Sandy says:

My husband and I are traveling to the Excellence Playas Mujeres just the north side of Cancun. My mother and sisters are saying not to go due to the increase in kidnappings and violence.

Is this a safe place? Will taking a few excursion away from the Resort be unsafe?

June 29, 2010 at 9:01 am
(46) Mandy says:

I am also going to the Excellence Playa Mujeres in August, has anyone heard anything going on with travelers there?

April 19, 2011 at 4:03 am
(47) jesse james says:

TO ALL U.S. CITIZENS AS MYSELF ,BEWARE !!!! border towns are very very deadly,central parts as well southern parts very ,very deadly,cruise ship destinations are a safe bet. exit at the ports and only shop close by.in other words dont travel to far in.they are just waiting to rob ALL UNITED STATES CITIZENS.SHOP BY YOUR PORT,NEVER MISS DEPARTURE AND,TRUST NO ONE.THEY WILL KILL YOU AND SLEEP WELL AT NIGHT.IF YOU HAVE STREET SMARTS YOU MAY BE O.K..IN OTHER WORDS DONT BE STUPID IN ANY PART OF MEXICO.IM MEXICAN AND IM WARNING ALL MY FELLOW AMERICANS.BE SAFE AND ALERT

April 21, 2011 at 5:56 pm
(48) gomexico says:

I would have to disagree, jesse james. Here’s my take on travel in Mexico; The Reality of Travel to Mexico.

July 28, 2011 at 2:53 pm
(49) Edward Barclay says:

My wife and I were going to retire in Cancun in 2011. Not any more. The ZETAS have taken over the gangs in Cancun and Playa del Carmen and have carved up both cities. Even the locals say that Cancun is not safe.ROBBERIES, EXTORTIONS, ETC. are quite common. Between the 15-19 July 2011 the military stopped a suv outside playa del carmen. Inside-automatic weapons 104000 rounds of ammunition and $100000. US. That was just one incident amoungst others. On the mayan riviera the hotels cannot guarantee your safety outside the resort or on the beach. The cartels have been dropping cocaine on the beachs-one drop,165kilos. Don,t go to mexico-

September 24, 2012 at 3:58 pm
(50) Paulina says:

Hi I was there last weekend and it was super safe, bunch a friends, plus some Australians, we all had a blast. Plus we stayed at a great place we made a reservation online htttp://www.seasidemexico.com

Happy vacations!

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