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U.S. cites crime and kidnapping in latest travel warning for Mexico

The U.S. issued a travel advisory ahead of the Christmas holidays for citizens thinking about vacationing in Mexico.

According to the State Department, the new advisory was needed to warn Americans about crime and kidnapping in Mexico.

“Violent crime – such as homicide, kidnapping, carjacking, and robbery – is widespread,” the State Department said.

The State Department is also setting new restrictions U.S. government employees who “may not travel between cities after dark, may not hail taxis on the street, and must rely on dispatched vehicles, including from app-based services like Uber or from regulated taxi stands.”

“U.S. government employees may not drive from the U.S.-Mexico border to or from the interior parts of Mexico, with the exception of daytime travel within Baja California, between Nogales and Hermosillo on Mexican Federal Highway 15D, and between Nuevo Laredo and Monterrey on Highway 85D,” the department continued.

Where does the U.S. warn citizens about traveling the most in Mexico?

Aguascalientes state – Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution

Exercise increased caution due to crime.

There are no restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees.

Baja California state – Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution

Exercise increased caution due to crime.

Criminal activity and violence occur throughout the state. Particularly notable is the number of homicides in non-tourist areas of Tijuana. Most homicides appeared to be targeted; however, criminal organization assassinations and turf battles can result in bystanders being injured or killed.

Due to poor cellular service and hazardous road conditions, U.S. government employees may only travel on Highway 2D between Mexicali and Tijuana during daylight hours.

There are no additional restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees in Baja California, which includes tourist areas in: Ensenada, Rosarito, and Tijuana.

Baja California Sur state – Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution

Exercise increased caution due to crime.

Criminal activity and violence occur throughout the state, including in areas frequented by U.S. citizens. Bystanders have been injured or killed in shooting incidents related to criminal organization turf battles. Petty crime occurs frequently in tourist areas.

There are no restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees in Baja California Sur, which includes tourist areas in: Cabo San Lucas, San Jose del Cabo, and La Paz.

Campeche state – Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution

Exercise increased caution due to crime. Police presence and emergency response are extremely limited outside of the state capital.

There are no restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees in Campeche state, which includes tourist areas in: Campeche City, Calakmul, Edzna, and Palizada.

Chiapas state – Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution

Exercise increased caution due to crime.

There are no restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees in Chiapas state, which includes tourist areas in: Palenque, San Cristobal de las Casas, and Tuxtla Gutierrez.

Chihuahua state – Level 3: Reconsider Travel

Reconsider travel due to crime.

Violent crime and gang activity are common. The vast majority of homicides are targeted assassinations against members of criminal organizations. Battles for territory between criminal groups have resulted in violent crime in areas frequented by U.S. citizens and U.S. government employees, including restaurants and malls during daylight hours. Bystanders have been injured or killed in shooting incidents.

U.S. government employees may only travel to the following locations within the state of Chihuahua and with the noted restrictions:

Additionally, direct travel to the Ciudad Juarez airport and the factories (maquilas) located along Bulevar Independencia and Las Torres is permitted. Travel to the factory and cattle inspection station in San Jeronimo is permitted only through the United States via the Santa Teresa port of entry; travel via Anapra is prohibited.

U.S. government employees may only travel from Ciudad Juarez to Chihuahua City during daylight hours via Highway 45, with stops permitted only at the Federal Police station, the overlook, the border inspection station at KM 35, and the shops and restaurants on Highway 45 in the town of Villa Ahumada.

Additionally, travel is permitted to factories (maquilas) outside this area via the most direct route. Direct travel to Abraham Gonzales International Airport is also permitted.

Mexican authorities in Chihuahua occasionally operate at a heightened level of security, sometimes referred to as “Alerta Roja” (Red Alert). During those periods, U.S. government personnel must receive prior approval and exercise increased caution when visiting Mexican law enforcement offices or installations.

Travel by U.S. government employees to all other areas of the state of Chihuahua, including Copper Canyon, is prohibited.

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

Coahuila state – Level 3: Reconsider Travel

Reconsider travel due to crime.

Violent crime and unpredictable gang activity are common in parts of Coahuila state.

Travel for U.S. government employees is limited to the following areas with the noted restrictions:

U.S. government employees may not travel to other areas of Coahuila.

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

Colima state – Level 4: Do Not Travel

Do not travel due to crime.

Violent crime and gang activity are widespread.

U.S. government employees may not travel to:

In Manzanillo, U.S. government employees are limited to the tourist and port areas.

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

Durango state – Level 3: Reconsider Travel

Reconsider travel due to crime.

Violent crime and gang activity are common in parts of Durango state.

U.S. government employees may not travel to the area west and south of Highway 45.

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

Guanajuato state – Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution

Exercise increased caution due to crime.

Gang-related violence occurs in Guanajuato, primarily in the south of the state, near the border with Michoacán. This violence is often linked to the organized theft of petroleum and natural gas from the state oil company and other suppliers.

There are no restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees.

Guerrero state – Level 4: Do Not Travel

Do not travel due to crime.

Crime and violence are widespread. Armed groups operate independently of the government in many areas of Guerrero. Members of these groups frequently maintain roadblocks and may use violence towards travelers.

U.S. government employees may not travel to the entire state of Guerrero, including Acapulco, Zihuatanejo, Ixtapa, and Taxco.

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

Hidalgo state – Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution

Exercise increased caution due to crime.

There are no restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees.

Jalisco state – Level 3: Reconsider Travel

Reconsider travel due to crime.

Violent crime and gang activity are common in parts of Jalisco state. In metropolitan Guadalajara, battles for territory control between criminal groups take place in areas frequented by U.S. citizens. Shooting incidents between criminal groups have injured or killed innocent bystanders.

U.S. government employees may not travel to:

There are no restrictions on travel for U.S government employees to: Guadalajara Metropolitan AreaRiviera Nayarit (including Puerto Vallarta)Chapala, and Ajijic.

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

Mexico City – Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution

Exercise increased caution due to crime.

Both violent and non-violent crimes occur throughout Mexico City. Use additional caution outside of the frequented tourist areas where police and security patrol more routinely, particularly at night. Petty crime occurs frequently in both tourist areas and non-tourist areas.

There are no restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees.

Mexico state (Estado de Mexico) – Level 3: Reconsider Travel

Reconsider travel due to crime.

Both violent and non-violent crimes are common throughout Mexico state. Use caution in areas outside of the frequented tourist areas, although petty crime occurs frequently in tourist areas as well.

There are no restrictions on travel for U.S government employees.

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

Michoacán state – Level 4: Do Not Travel

Do not travel due to crime.

Crime and violence are widespread in Michoacán state. Travel for U.S. government employees is limited to the following areas with the noted restrictions:

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

Morelos state – Level 3: Reconsider Travel

Reconsider travel due to crime.

Violent crime and gang activity are common in parts of Morelos state.

There are no restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees.

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

Nayarit state – Level 3: Reconsider Travel

Reconsider travel due to crime.

Violent crime and gang activity are common in parts of Nayarit state. U.S. government employees may not travel to:

There are no restrictions on travel for U.S government employees to: Riviera Nayarit (including Nuevo Vallarta, Punta Mita, and Bahia de Banderas), and Santa Maria del Oro.

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

Nuevo Leon state – Level 3: Reconsider Travel

Reconsider travel due to crime.

Violent crime and unpredictable gang activity are common in parts of Nuevo Leon state. There are no restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees.

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

Oaxaca state – Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution

Exercise increased caution due to crime.

U.S. government employees may not travel to:

There are no restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees to other parts of Oaxaca state, which include tourist areas in: Oaxaca CityMonte AlbanPuerto Escondido, and Huatulco.

Puebla state – Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution

Exercise increased caution due to crime.

Gang-related violence occurs in Puebla state, and is often linked to the organized theft of petroleum and natural gas from the state oil company and other suppliers.

There are no restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees.

Queretaro state – Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution

Exercise increased caution due to crime.

There are no restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees.

Quintana Roo state – Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution

Exercise increased caution due to crime.

Criminal activity and violence, including homicide, occur throughout the state. Most homicides appear to be targeted; however, criminal organization assassinations and turf battles between criminal groups have resulted in violent crime in areas frequented by U.S. citizens. Bystanders have been injured or killed in shooting incidents.

There are no restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees in Quintana Roo state, which include tourist areas in: CancunCozumel, Isla Mujeres, Playa del CarmenTulum, and the Riviera Maya.

San Luis Potosi state – Level 3: Reconsider Travel

Reconsider travel due to crime.

Violent crime and unpredictable gang activity are common in parts of San Luis Potosi state. There are no restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees.

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

Sinaloa state – Level 4: Do Not Travel

Do not travel due to crime.

Violent crime is widespread. Criminal organizations are based and operating in Sinaloa state.

Travel for U.S. government employees is limited to the following areas with the noted restrictions:

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

Sonora state – Level 3: Reconsider Travel

Reconsider travel due to crime.

Sonora is a key location used by the international drug trade and human trafficking networks.

U.S. government employees traveling to and from Hermosillo may travel between the border crossing points of DeConcini and Mariposa in Nogales only during daylight hours and only on Highway 15, including stops at restaurant/restroom facilities along Highway 15.

U.S. government employees may travel to Puerto Peñasco via the Lukeville/Sonoyta crossing during daylight hours on Federal Highway 8, or by using Federal Highway 15 south from Nogales and east via Federal Highway 2 and State Highway 37 through Caborca during daylight hours. U.S. government employees may also travel directly from the nearest U.S. Ports of Entry to San Luis Rio Colorado, Cananea, and Agua Prieta but may not go beyond the city limits without official Consulate Nogales clearance.

U.S. government employees may not travel to:

In addition, U.S. government employees may not use taxi services in Nogales.

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

Tabasco state – Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution

Exercise increased caution due to crime.

There are no restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees.

Tamaulipas state – Level 4: Do Not Travel

Do not travel due to crime and kidnapping.

Organized crime activity – including gun battles, murder, armed robbery, carjacking, kidnapping, forced disappearances, extortion, and sexual assault – is common along the northern border and in Ciudad Victoria. Criminal groups target public and private passenger buses as well as private automobiles traveling through Tamaulipas, often taking passengers hostage and demanding ransom payments. Heavily armed members of criminal groups often patrol areas of the state in marked and unmarked vehicles and operate with impunity particularly along the border region from Reynosa northwest to Nuevo Laredo. In these areas, local law enforcement has limited capability to respond to crime incidents. There are greater law enforcement capabilities in the tri-city area of Tampico, Ciudad Madero, and Altamira, which has a lower rate of violent criminal activity compared to the rest of the state.

U.S. government employees may only travel within a limited radius between the U.S. Consulates in Nuevo Laredo and Matamoros and their respective U.S. Ports of Entry. U.S. government employees may not travel between cities in Tamaulipas using interior Mexican highways and they must observe a curfew between midnight and 6:00 a.m. in the cities of Matamoros and Nuevo Laredo. U.S. government employees can travel between Nuevo Laredo and Monterrey only during daylight hours on Highway 85D.

Visit our website for Travel to High-Risk Areas.

Tlaxcala state – Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution

Exercise increased caution due to crime.

There are no restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees.

Veracruz state – Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution

Exercise increased caution due to crime.

There are no restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees.

Yucatan state – Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution

Exercise increased caution due to crime. Police presence and emergency response are extremely limited outside of the state capital.

There are no restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees in Yucatan state, which includes tourist areas in: Chichen Itza, Merida, Uxmal, and Valladolid.

Zacatecas state – Level 3: Reconsider Travel


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Reconsider travel due to crime.

Violent crime and gang activity are common in parts of Zacatecas state. U.S. government employees may not travel to the zone south of Highway 45 and west of Highway 23. U.S. government employees may not travel to the entire municipality of Fresnillo, though they may transit both highways through Fresnillo without stopping.

There are no other restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees.