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Is Mexico Travel Safe? What To Know About Visiting Cabo, Cancun, Playa Del Carmen And More

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Is Mexico Travel Safe? What To Know About Visiting Cabo, Cancun, Playa Del Carmen And More

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Is Mexico Travel Safe? What To Know About Visiting Cabo, Cancun, Playa Del Carmen And More
Is Mexico Travel Safe? What To Know About Visiting Cabo, Cancun, Playa Del Carmen And More

With its warm climate, beautiful beaches, and proximity to the United States, Mexico is a popular travel destination for many Americans. However, recent incidents may have given them pause to reconsider their travel plans.

In recent months, taxi drivers have harassed Ubers in Cancun and there were three American deaths in Mexico City in October. Now updated travel alerts warning of crimes and kidnappings.

"We get it a lot, especially from people who have rarely traveled, have never left the country, or read 'Mexico is dangerous' stories, but may not realize that this is a large and diverse country. We love you so much," Jared Benoff, a Vacationeeze travel agent who specializes in Mexican weddings, told USA TODAY. Many of Benoff's clients plan trips to Cancun and the Riviera Maya, known for their turquoise beaches and many resorts.

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The State Department updated its travel advisory for Mexico on Oct. 5 and does so regularly. Several tourist destinations such as Mexico City, Sayulita and Cancun now have antitrust crime alerts.

"The safety of U.S. citizens abroad is a top priority of the Department, and we provide U.S. citizens with pertinent information so they can make an informed decision before travel," said a State Department spokesperson.

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Read below to learn more about travel tips for Mexico's top tourist destinations and safety tips for visiting the area.

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What are the updated travel tips for Mexico?

Instead of providing an overall rating for the entire state, each state is rated individually, as some areas are at high risk for crime and kidnapping.

► The agency issued "do not travel" warnings for violent crimes in the states of Colima, Guerrero, Michoacan, Sinaloa, Tamaulipas and Zacatecas.

► "Check Into Travel" notices have been issued for Baja California and Jalisco, where Puerto Vallarta is located.

► Mexico City, Nayarit, Baja California Sur, Quintana Roo, and Oaxaca will receive a "Caution While Traveling" alert. Baja California Sur is home to Cabo San Lucas, San Jose del Cabo and La PaIn Nayarit, many tourists visit the surfing town of Sayulita. Quintana Roo is home to Cancun, Tulum, Riviera Maya, Cozumel and Playa del Carmen. Surfers also love to visit Puerto Escondido in Oaxaca.

Travelers can "take the normal precautions" when traveling to the Yucatan, a popular Chichén Itzá attraction. The state of Yucatan is just above Quintana Roo, where the State Department says people should be very careful due to crime and kidnappings.

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What are the safety tips for visiting Mexico?

The State Department has several resources to keep travelers safe. The agency encourages U.S. travelers to read the Mexico Travel Advice and Traveler Checklist carefully for more information about traveling abroad.

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There's also the Smart Traveler Registration Program, a free service that allows US travelers to receive real-time security alerts about their destination from the US Embassy.

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"In general, if you're at a resort and somewhere that has a good reputation, your risk is much lower," says travel agent Benoff.

Most of the resorts have security guards and gates so staying on the property is quite safe. "When you leave the resort, make sure you have the correct address for where you are going and tell the receptionist you are leaving and when you will be back," she says.

"Use the same safety precautions you would when traveling," adds Benoff.

Here are some of the best tips:

  • Don't brag about money.
  • Use an ATM at a bank or resort.
  • Use the safe in your room.
  • Bring two printed copies of your passport and other important documents such as medication or driver's license.
  • Travel insurance can also protect you from theft or loss of personal property.

Kathleen Wong is a travel writer based in Hawaii. You can contact them at kwong@usatoday.com

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