The killing of three Americans last weekend in the Mexican border town of Ciudad Juarez, across from El Paso, Texas, has prompted the U.S. State Department to issue a travel warning for Americans traveling to Mexico, especially border towns and some other parts of Mexico which have experienced increases in drug-related violence in recent weeks. Universities, colleges, and local governments around the world are warning students to be cautious when traveling to Mexico for spring break, in addition to the general State Department precautions about travel to Mexico during spring break. The US State Department has singled out certain well-know destinations, like Cancun and Tijuana as well as border towns Matamoros and Nuevo Progresso, only 30 to 45 minutes south of South Padre Island, Texas, a popular spring-break destination. Spring breakers are being told not to cross the border into Mexico, and “Parents should not allow their children to visit these Mexican [border] cities because their safety cannot be guaranteed,” said an official with the Texas Department of Public Safety. Unnecessary travel should be avoided in three troubled states, Durango, Coahuila and Chihuahua, according to the U.S. Embassy.
In the meantime, however, the State Department has not issued new advisories regarding travel to Mexico’s southern resorts, despite the drug-related murders of 17 people in Acapulco over the weekend. In any event, tens of thousands of people traveling to Mexico over spring break may have to take extreme precautions in the aftermath of the latest developments. Nevertheless, beach resorts or historical regions in Mexico like Riviera Maya, Los Cabos, and Puerto Vallarta, are still considered safe places to go, as the State Department’s warning has been mostly focused on border towns.The State Department acknowledges that millions of U.S. citizens safely visit Mexico each year, and points out common-sense precautions are the best way to avoid dangerous situations. Like visiting any other city, U.S. citizens traveling throughout Mexico should exercise caution in unfamiliar areas and be aware of their surroundings at all times.
If U.S. citizens find themselves in any legal trouble, they should contact the closest U.S. Consulate. U.S. consular officials in Mexico can visit detained American citizens, provide information about the Mexican legal system, and provide a list of Mexican attorneys, among other assistance. Registration with the U.S. Embassy or Consulate is available and encouraged, as it makes your presence and whereabouts known in case a consular officer must contact you in an emergency.