Mexico Travel Warning Issued by US State Department

Written by on August 23, 2017 in Travel News

Several major tourist destinations just south of the border are potentially dangerous places, according to a Mexico travel warning issued Tuesday by the US State Department.


“U.S. citizens have been the victims of violent crimes, including homicide, kidnapping, carjacking, and robbery in various Mexican states,” the State Department says.

Beach location with chaise and umbrella for relaxation in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico with mountains in view across the water. (Photo: ©

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. (Photo: ©

Acapulco, Cabo San LucasCancun, Ixtapa and Zihuatanejo, Cozumel, Playa del Carmen, the Mayan Riviera, and Mazatlan are noted as some of the higher profile locations of which to be wary. (CNN may have to rethink the first half of this article.)

You may want to really steer clear of Tamaulipas (which includes Matamoros, Nuevo Laredo, Reynosa, and Tampico).  Armed robbery, carjacking, kidnapping, extortion, and sexual assault are especially problematic. And the number of reported kidnappings in Tamaulipas is among the highest in Mexico.

Mexico City, though, appears to be A-OK and has no warnings attached.

Aerial view of Mexico City Alameda Central Park - Mexico (Photo:

Mexico City (Photo: ©

“The travel warning could deliver a major blow to Mexico’s $20-billion-a-year tourism industry, which represents about 7% of the country’s gross domestic product,” writes Kate Linthicum of the Los Angeles Times. “This year, Mexico is on track to record more homicides than in any year in the last two decades. Rising demand for heroin in the U.S. and power struggles among the country’s top drug cartels, authorities say, have led to an increase in killings in 27 of Mexico’s 32 states.”

Crime in Mexico: A Primer

Not only is the Mexico travel warning a bummer for those wishing visit the affected destinations — but it’s downright terrifying.

“Gun battles between rival criminal organizations or with Mexican authorities have taken place on streets and in public places during broad daylight,” it reads. (Although, really, similar violence occurs in a few major US cities.)

In the state of Quintana Roo (which includes Cancun, Cozumel, Playa del Carmen, the Mayan Riveria, and Tulum), “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. Shooting incidents, in which innocent bystanders have been injured or killed, have occurred.”

No, thanks.

Violent criminal activity in Tamaulipas “occurs more frequently along the northern border and organized criminal groups may target public and private passenger buses traveling through Tamaulipas. These groups sometimes take all passengers hostage and demand ransom payments.”

And did you know the three different types of kidnappings?

Kidnappings in Mexico take the following forms:

Traditional: victim is physically abducted and held captive until a ransom is paid for release.
Express: victim is abducted for a short time and commonly forced to withdraw money, usually from an ATM, then released.
Virtual: an extortion-by-deception scheme where a victim is contacted by phone and coerced by threats of violence to provide phone numbers of family and friends, and then isolated until the ransom is paid. Recently, hotel guests have been targets of such “virtual” kidnapping schemes.

From The United States Department of State’s Mexico Travel Warning

I didn’t know there was such thing as “express kidnapping.” Yeesh.

Will This Affect Your Travel Plans?

Do you have plans to visit Mexico? Will keep, cancel, or alter your trip in any way? Does the Mexico travel warning dissuade you from visiting Mexico or would you still head there anyway? Tell us in the comment section below!

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About the Author

About the Author: Chris Carley is a writer, media consultant, voice over artist, dog owner, husband, and recently became a dad! He loves talking all things points and miles. You'll likely find him in an airport lounge while on a trip that involves the most circuitous route possible leading to his ultimate destination. .


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