Spring break travel warnings for Mexico: What you need to know

14 March 2023

Editor’s note: This post has been updated with new information.

The state of Texas has issued an unusual travel warning for Mexico, saying it’s too dangerous to visit for spring break this year. It comes just days after the U.S. Department of State reiterated its calls for caution on travel to Mexico.

The Texas Department of Public Safety urges residents to avoid the country because of drug cartel violence and other crime.

“Based on the volatile nature of cartel activity and the violence we are seeing there, we are urging individuals to avoid travel to Mexico at this time,” DPS director Steven McCraw said in a statement.

Last week the State Department renewed its warning to Americans on travel to Mexico. The U.S. government advises Americans to either skip Mexico trips, reconsider travel or at least use extra caution when traveling to parts of the country because of the potential for violence.

“Violent crime — such as homicide, kidnapping, carjacking, and robbery — is widespread and common in Mexico,” reads the advisory from the U.S. Department of State. Currently, a travel advisory is in place for 30 of Mexico’s 32 states.

Related: Cancun travel advisory over taxis

The advisories come as we learn of violence that involved Americans in Matamoros, a town in Mexico near the Texas border.

Current US State Department advisories

The State Department breaks down its Mexican risk assessment on a detailed, state-by-state basis.

Current State Department advisories for some Mexican states. U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT

Six Mexican states have a “Do not travel” warning: Colima, Guerrero, Michoacan, Sinaloa, Tamaulipas and Zacatecas.

Related: The difference between CDC and State Department travel warnings

Seven states have a “Reconsider travel” advisory, including Baja and Jalisco – home to the popular destination of Puerto Vallarta.

Another 17 states get an “Exercise increased caution” advisory, including Baja California Sur – home to the popular resorts of Cabo San Lucas — and Nayarit, where you’ll find Riviera Nayarit. Mexico City is also included in that category.

The state of Quintana Roo on the Caribbean side of Mexico is also in the “Exercise increased caution” category due to crime and the potential for kidnapping. Quintana Roo includes CancunPlaya del Carmen and Tulum. It’s a region that’s generally considered safe for foreigners and is certainly popular for leisure travel.

Campeche and Yucatan are the only states that aren’t under any special advisory for U.S. travel.

Mexico travel safety tips

The State Department suggests visitors review personal security plans, be aware of their surroundings, pay attention to local media and immediately call Mexican 911 in case of any issues.

Meantime, the Texas advisory suggests Americans should register with a local consulate or embassy before they travel to Mexico through the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program.

For its part, the Mexican government insists Mexico is safe for travelers.

“There is no problem in traveling safely in Mexico,” President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said in a news conference this week.

Bottom line

The Arch of Cabo San Lucas in Mexico. GRANDRIVER/GETTY IMAGES

While headlines like travel warnings can be scary, remember that millions of tourists visit Mexico every year without ever encountering problems. In this environment, however, it is probably best to be prepared and use common sense. Of course, that remains true when traveling to any foreign destination.

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