US issues Mexico travel warning as spring break looms

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As the spring break vacation looms, the United States (US) has issued another travel advisory for Mexico, in what is becoming an annual tradition. A number of risks were enumerated in this year’s warning, from drink-spiking, to drowning and violent crime.

Violent crime can occur anywhere

With thousands of Americans flocking to Mexico over the spring season, the US Embassy in Mexico recognised that the “vast majority travel safely”. Nonetheless, it went on, “Crime, including violent crime, can occur anywhere in Mexico, including in popular tourist destinations.”

The US State Department is granular in its approach to warning levels about Mexico, which range from 1 to 4. Situational awareness is recommended everywhere. This includes planning routes in advance and letting friends and family know your itinerary in advance. Other advice includes not leaving drinks unattended, staying accompanied and avoiding being alone at night or in taxis.

Normal and increased precautions

At the lower warning levels, visitors to Campeche and Yucatán states are advised to “exercise normal precautions”. Baja California Sur and Los Cabos, Mexico City, Quintana Roo and Cancún are among places that demand “increased caution”.

Things ramp up when it comes to Jalisco state, where the well-known resort of Puerto Vallarta is. Crime and kidnapping are considered enough of a threat that US citizens are advised to reconsider travel plans there.  

Marijuana and guns are illegal

The update includes reminders to US citizens that, contrary to some popular perceptions around spring break and the partying mentality, and contrary to changing laws in some US states, drug use and possession are illegal in Mexico, including for marijuana. US citizens are also reminded not to take any guns with them, as they are also prohibited across the border.

Furthermore, the embassy’s warning tells vacationers to be alert to the risk of alcohol that could be unregulated or contaminated and therefore have unpredictable and dangerous effects.

Smart traveler program

In terms of pharmaceutical drugs, unless “purchased in consultation with a medical professional and from reputable establishments” visitors might not have access to genuine products, the advisory warned, nor access to immediate expert medical assistance in line with “health and safety standards like those in the United States”. This includes in case of emergencies.

One way to reassure loved ones and safeguard in case of problems, the advisory said, is to “Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.”

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