The State Department has issued an updated travel advisory for parts of Mexico. A Level 2 travel advisory remains in place for Quintana Roo, advising visitors to exercise increased caution due to crime.


Earlier this year, the State Department rolled out a new tiered travel advisory system to warn U.S. citizens of potential dangers while traveling abroad. Now, travel advisories range from Level 1 (“exercise normal precautions”) to Level 4 (“do not travel”). Previously, the department had used “travel alerts” for short-term dangers and “travel warnings” for long-term concerns, a distinction that was often confusing.


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There has been an increase in violence in and around Quintana Roo, which is home to popular tourist destinations: Cancun, Cozumel, Playa del Carmen, Tulum, and the Riviera Maya. As you may have seen in the news this past week, as many as eight bodies were discovered in parts of Cancun, although they were found outside of the popular hotel zone. It does appear that the homicides were targeted, criminal organization assassinations, or turf battles between criminal groups. However, shooting incidents injuring or killing bystanders have occurred.


While many news sources have reported that the travel advisory was issued because of the killings in Cancun, a State Department spokesman said Thursday that the updated advisory was related to a security alert by the U.S. Consulate in Ciudad Juarez, in a different state than Quintana Roo.


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If you decide to travel to Mexico, the State Department advises:


Use toll roads when possible and avoid driving at night.

Exercise increased caution when visiting local bars, nightclubs, and casinos.

Do not display signs of wealth, such as wearing expensive watches or jewelry.

Be extra vigilant when visiting banks or ATMs.

Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.

Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter.

Review the Crime and Safety Reports for Mexico.

U.S. citizens who travel abroad should always have a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist.