Thursday, March 23, 2023

Is it safe to travel in Mexico? What you need to know before spring break.

As spring break planning heats up, incidents of violence in Mexico continue to make the news — leaving travelers wondering if a very popular destination is safe to visit.

A slew of recent headlines announced that the US State Department was warning against visiting Mexico ahead of the busy holiday season. While the department has “do not travel” warnings for six states, a representative told The Washington Post has not updated travel advice for Mexico since October.

The US embassy and consulates in Mexico, however, have issued a series of security alerts since January for Ciudad Juárez and several cities in the states of Sinaloa and Quintana Roo. Reuters reported that an Aeromexico plane was hit by gunfire in early January; Culiacán airport was closed due to violence following the arrest of alleged fentanyl trafficker Ovidio Guzmán, son of Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán.

“In light of the widely publicized security incidents at popular tourist destinations, please remember that all destinations have a level of risk,” notes a Jan. 23 alert about taxi disputes in Cancun. “Violent crime – such as murder, kidnapping, carjacking and robbery – is widespread and common in Mexico.”

A California public defender died in January at a Baja California resort in what local authorities characterized as a fall from the hotel’s third floor. His family has questioned that decision, the Orange County Register reported, pointing to autopsy analysis that showed injuries inconsistent with a fall.

The United States, of course, has its own problems with violence; Mass shootings have averaged more than one per day in 2023, and homicides have reached their highest levels in decades in recent years. Other countries, including Canada, Germany and Australia, routinely warn their citizens about gun crime when traveling to the US

According to data from the US Department of Commerce, by November of last year, more than 30 million US citizens traveled to Mexico, an increase of 18 percent from the previous year. Here’s what government, security and travel experts say visitors need to know.

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