While American travelers are enjoying or getting ready for spring break travel, the government of the United States has just issued a travel warning for one of the top destinations this season: Mexico.
The U.S. State Department shared on Monday an official travel warning addressing multiple concerns, recognizing safety threats, and sharing advice related to current events.
The document published on the website of the U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Mexico explains to travelers the main factors to consider when planning travel to this country, including risks of crime, drugs, assault, medication, and other warnings like drowning and arrests.
A list of actions to take when traveling to Mexico—like reading the Mexico Travel Advisory page, recommendations for safety applications that travelers can download, and general warnings— has also been included.
Considering top spring break destinations, authorities have specifically addressed locations like Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and other popular beach destinations in the Quintana Roo region.
Just a few weeks ago, the U.S. The State Department issued a special travel advisory for U.S. citizens visiting Cancun related to disputes and violent incidents between taxis and Uber drivers in the region.
While American authorities warn travelers about travel to Mexico, the Mexican government assures tourists that Mexico is a safe destination.
Considering the current situation in Mexico, there are new updates for tourists. Here’s what travelers should know about this recent travel advisory shared by the American government:
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Factors To Consider When Traveling To Mexico
The U.S. government states that most visitors travel safely in Mexico —Cancun is still considered a safe destination for many travelers— but those planning a trip to this country should bear in mind multiple factors.
Regarding safety, travelers are encouraged to maintain high levels of awareness and avoid risky situations since crime (including violent crime) can occur even in popular tourist destinations like Playa del Carmen, Cancun, and Tulum, especially after dark.
U.S. citizens have also been victims of assault, and lonely or drunk travelers have been targeted.
Authorities also remind travelers about illegal actions and behaviors in Mexico and that Mexican law is different from American law, and travelers should keep this in mind.
The document highlights that guns and ammunition are illegal, as well as drug possession—including medical marijuana—, public urination, and drinking and driving. Those who violate these terms can be arrested.
U.S. citizens are warned about consuming drugs or unregulated alcohol as travelers have been injured by contaminated alcohol, synthetic drugs, and adulterated prescription pills. Counterfeit medication has also been reported. Travelers should consult with medical professionals and buy medicine from reputable establishments.
In case of emergency or need for medical attention, the document mentions that private hospitals might be more expensive in Mexico than in the United States and that payment in cash might be required. This is one reason it is always good to buy travel insurance.
Concerning natural factors, it warns about rip tides and strong undercurrents, as well as a lack of security measures and lifeguards. Drowning has been considered a relevant factor of risk for visitors.
Travelers are advised to respect legal terms of stay as well with regards to visas, as violating those terms can result in detention or fines.
Actions For Travelers
After taking into consideration all risks, travelers are also encouraged to take action. The U.S. government recommends:
- Reading the Mexico Travel Advisory page, and the country information page.
- In case of an emergency, call 911
- Purchase travel insurance that covers Mexico or make sure that health insurance covers the destination.
- To receive updates and relevant information on safety in Mexico, travelers should enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program.
- Drink responsibly, and don’t leave drinks unattended. Travelers must seek medical attention if they feel ill and report to the Mexican Federal Commission for the Protection against Sanitary Risk (COFEPRIS) in case of alcohol contamination.
- Stay in groups of friends and know your drinking companions, especially at night and at clubs and bars.
- Monitor credit cards to confirm all transactions are correct, bring limited cash, and be careful when withdrawing money from ATMs.
- Keep family and friends informed of travel plans.
- Download the “Guest Assist” application when traveling in the Quintana Roo region for relevant updates, information, and assistance for travelers.
- Keep passports safe.
- Travelers can Contact U.S. Embassy or Consulate if they need assistance.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com