US Warns Against Travel To Five Mexican States

The U.S. Department of State launched a color-coded map for Americans to be able to see travel warnings at a glance

A travel warning has been issued by the U.S. State Department against traveling to certain Mexican states.

"The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in many areas of Mexico as U.S. government employees are prohibited from travel to these areas", the advisory read.

Mexico was given a level 2, or "exercise increased caution", putting it in in the same category with France, Spain and the United Kingdom.

Most of northern Mexico, including the border states of Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo Leon and Sonora as well as Durango, Zacatecas and San Luis Potosi, are under level 3 warnings.

A statement from the Secretary of Tourism of Mexico (Sectur) reported that 80 percent of the more popular foreign tourist destinations such as Cancun, Riviera Maya, Los Cabos, Puerto Vallarta-Riviera Nayari and Mexico City were not included in the travel advisory.

The advisories cite drug cartel activity and violent crime, and the Tamaulipas warning was very blunt.

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The advisory also states "there are no US government restrictions for travel in Baja California Sur, which includes the tourist areas of Cabo San Lucas, San Jose del Cabo and La Paz". Michoacan was so dominated by a drug cartel that vigilantes took up arms in 2013 to drive them out.

But the government's Mexico Tourism Board said in a statement that "Mexico's major worldwide tourism destinations have been explicitly listed as having no travel restrictions", apparently a reference to major resorts like Cancun, Puerto Vallarta and Huatulco.

The country witnessed its deadliest year in 2017, registering a record number of murders in its modern history.

The state with second-highest homicide rate - 61.6 per 100,000 - was Baja California Sur, home to the twin resorts of Los Cabos.

The State Department said travelers should use toll roads, exercise caution while visiting bars, clubs and casinos, do not display signs of wealth, and be vigilant when visiting banks or ATM's. "This exception to tourism destinations highlights the fact that the vast majority of crimes in Mexico do not occur in areas frequented by worldwide tourists", the board added.

The MTB said the new system is an improvement based on its organization and simplicity, and noted that the State Department "confirmed that major worldwide tourist destinations in Mexico are safe" and have no travel restrictions.

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