Mexico Travel Warning

The U.S. State Department has issued detailed warnings about travel to Mexico. Fortunately there is a carefully worded prelude that serves as a kind of disclaimer to keep some of the graphic warnings in perspective:

“Millions of U.S. citizens safely visit Mexico each year for study, tourism, and business, including more than 150,000 who cross the border every day. The Mexican government makes a considerable effort to protect U.S. citizens and other visitors to major tourist destinations, and there is no evidence that Transnational Criminal Organizations have targeted U.S. visitors and residents based on their nationality. 

Resort areas and tourist destinations in Mexico generally do not see the levels of drug-related violence and crime reported in the border region and in areas along major trafficking routes.”

The travel warning contradicts itself by listing all kinds of frightening crimes and then announcing that a large part of most warning areas (specifically tourism areas) is not part of the advisory described. Some of the content is constructive, but most of what we need to know is in the disclaimer above: 1) U.S. visitors are not targets and 2) Tourism areas are relatively safe.

Dangerous possibilities are presented in graphic detail despite a high level of improbability for any vacationing U.S. national not involved in drug trafficking. There are even warnings about kidnapping, even though the rate of kidnapping is dramatically higher in Canada than it is in Mexico and no such warning exists for Canada.

There are constructive comments that could apply to apply to travelers anywhere: A logical way to reduce your chances of being victimized is to “lower your profile and avoid displaying any evidence of wealth that might draw attention.” And like everywhere else in the world where there is violence to protect drug interests – including the United States– stay away from areas with drug and gang violence.

The most recent State Department advisory on Mexico is available here: 

U.S. State Department Advisory

  • For emergencies involving U.S. citizens in Mexico, contact The U.S. Embassy in Mexico City at Paseo de la Reforma 305, Colonia Cuauhtemoc 
  • Phone from the U.S.: 011-52-55-5080-2000; Within Mexico City: 5080-2000 
  • Long distance within Mexico 01-55-5080-2000.  
  • You may also contact the Embassy by e-mail at: ACSMexicoCity@state.gov 
  • The Embassy's internet address is http://www.usembassy-mexico.gov/