Bad news, jet setters: You might want to kiss that luxurious Mexican getaway goodbye. (And book a cheap ticket to Hawaii, instead!)
In a recent travel advisory, the U.S. State Department just issued a major alert to Americans about traveling to our southern neighbor. The advisory updated the government’s warning in December regarding two Mexican states, Quintana Roo and Baja California Sur, which include popular tourist destinations such as Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and Cozumel. While the previous advisory noted only that the areas sometimes lacked cell phone and Internet services, this one warned that local conflict could place American travelers in harm’s way.
“Shooting incidents, in which innocent bystanders have been injured or killed, have occurred” in both states, the government said. “While most of these homicides appeared to be targeted criminal organization assassinations, turf battles between criminal groups have resulted in violent crime in areas frequented by U.S. citizens.”
Turf wars between criminal gangs have resulted in a surge of violence in the regions, the State Department reports. As homicides across the country reach peak levels this year, 169 murders have been reported in Quintana Roo alone.
This all spells bad news for American cruise lines and winter vacation plans. Although the report notes that “resort areas and tourist destinations in Mexico generally do not see the level of drug-related violence and crime” found in regions with major drug trafficking routes, the government says tourists should exercise extreme caution when visiting those regions of the country. Learn how to protect your stuff on vacation, according to security consultants.
Quintana Roo’s Tourism Ministry quickly responded to the advisory, issuing a statement of its own that assures travelers the state is “safe and protected.” The government promised to keep collaborating with federal and U.S. officials on security measures, as well.
Still, if you feel safer keeping your feet on solid (American!) ground, we don’t blame you. We even recommend some of the best island vacations to take without leaving the country.