US Warns Against Travel To Five Mexican States

The U.S. Department of State launched a color-coded map for Americans to be able to see travel warnings at a glance

The US state department has warned tourists to avoid traveling 5 states in Mexico because of rampant crime levels and gang activity.

Days after Mexico logged its unsafe time in history, the United States asked its citizens to not tour five intensity filled Mexican states, putting them in the very risk class as war-torn Somalia, Afghanistan, and Syria. Of the total 31 states in the country, 11 additional states got a "level 3" warning, which urged people to "reconsider travel" there.

Officials cite continued murder, kidnaping and carjacking related to gang activity as the primary reason for the warning.

The country as a whole had a "level 2" rating, which meant US tourists or travelers should "exercise increased caution".

Most of northern Mexico, including the border states of Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo Leon and Sonora as well as Durango, Zacatecas and San Luis Potosi, are under level 3 warnings.

The level three advisory was offered to most areas in Mexico City, Jalisco (where Guadalajara is located), as well as the Puerto Vallarta resorts and lakeside expat community of Chapala and Ajijic.

However, at least two Mexican resorts - Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo and Acapulco - are in a do-not-travel state, Guerrero, and previous year, the State Department extended a total ban on personal travel by USA government personnel there. Michoacan was so dominated by a drug cartel that vigilantes took up arms in 2013 to drive them out.


Mexico's tourism board has not issued a statement on the upgraded warnings.

Clashes between rival drug gangs contributed to a record number of murders in Mexico a year ago, according to official data, dealing a fresh blow to President Enrique Pena Nieto's pledge to bring gang violence under control with presidential elections due in July 2018.

While the US has discouraged travel to all or some of those states in the past, its new evaluation is sterner, giving the states its highest risk Category 4 warning.

The state with second-highest homicide rate - 61.6 per 100,000 - was Baja California Sur, home to the twin resorts of Los Cabos.

The violence has even encroached on the long-safe tourist havens of Cancun and Los Cabos, where in December the bodies of four men were found hanging from a highway overpass.

"I'm guessing they are breathing a sigh of relief", he said.

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