Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico - On November 15, 2018, the U.S. State Department issued an updated travel advisory for some parts of Mexico. This Public Announcement advises United States citizens on security situations in Mexico that may affect their activities in certain parts of the country.
But most popular tourist areas are still considered safe, including resort regions such as Cabo San Lucas, San Jose del Cabo and Puerto Vallarta. The popular tourist destination of Quintana Roo, with its resorts in Cancun, Cozumel, Playa del Carmen, Tulum and the Riviera Maya, is also exempt from the extreme warnings.
"Exercise increased caution in Mexico due to crime," reads a statement on the State Department's website, which includes an interactive travel advisory map that shows you where it is safe to travel - and where it is not.
The State Department warns against traveling to the following areas due to crime:
"The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in many areas of Mexico as travel by U.S. government employees to these areas is prohibited or significantly restricted," the State Department advisory says.
For those who decide to travel to Mexico, the State Department offers these tips:
Use toll roads if possible and avoid driving alone or at night. In many states, police and emergency services are extremely limited outside the state capital or major cities.
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.
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.
To read the U.S. Department of State's full Mexico Travel Advisory Report, issued on November 15, 2018, click HERE.
Though most all of Mexico's beach resort areas are excluded from the updated travel warnings, as in any city, to ensure a safe visit, tourists need to take reasonable precautions. Puerto Vallarta resident and Casa Cupula Hotel owner Don Pickens makes the following recommendations:
1. Do not go out with unnecessary jewelry, cash, credit cards or valuables. Take only what you need and keep the rest locked in a secure hotel safe.
2. Do not invite strangers to your room, especially when you do not know the person, are alone, and if your valuables are not secured. If you must, register guests at your hotel or condo, and/or ask for and take photo copies of IDs. Escort the individual off the premises, don't let them wander among other rooms or condos and put others at risk.
3. When you go out at night, bring only your ID and the necessary cash, not a wallet full of cash and credit cards ripe for pickpocketing in your back pocket. Don't flash your money around. Don't leave cameras, smart phones or wallets unattended.
4. When you go out, or return home, late at night, take a taxi regardless of the distance to your lodgings. Do not walk home late at night, inebriated, in dark areas with uneven sidewalks and expect good things to happen. You wouldn't do this at home, where you know your surroundings, so don't do it when you travel and are unfamiliar with the language, customs and laws. Don't use or carry drugs on the street, be drunk in public, urinate on the streets or otherwise break the law as in any other city.If everyone uses these reasonable safety precautions they will find Puerto Vallarta a safe and welcoming destination.