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Puerto Vallarta News NetworkTravel & Outdoors 

New US Travel Warnings Exempt Mexico Tourist Spots

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November 29, 2012

Updated US State Department Travel warnings exempt most Mexico tourist spots. The new reports make few essential changes but give an extremely detailed rundown about what to worry about where.

Mexico - The US State Department has updated its February 2012 travel warning to Mexico, making few essential changes but in an extremely detailed rundown getting even more specific about what to worry about where.

The good news for tourists is that, as in past warnings, most popular areas - including Puerto Vallarta, Riviera Nayarit, Cancun, the Riviera Maya, Mexico City, Los Cabos, San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Merida, Chichen Itza, Huatulco, and Oaxaca - are exempted. Caution is urged at certain places or times outside the tourist zones of Acapulco and Mazatlan, as well as in Cuernavaca.

You can read the text of the travel warning on the State Department website. It says it is designed to "consolidate and update information about the security situation."

Peter Velasco, a State Department press officer, states that the warning was updated because of the department's "no double standard policy," meaning that citizens should get the same updated travel info given government employees. "Obviously, Mexico is a big country," he adds, and "we're trying to make the information as updated, accurate and balanced as possible."

The state-by-state summary opens with a calming statement that "millions of US citizens safely visit Mexico each year for study, tourism, and business, including more than 150,000 who cross the border every day. The Mexican government makes a considerable effort to protect US citizens and other visitors to major tourist destinations, and there is no evidence that Transnational Criminal Organizations (TCOs) have targeted US visitors and residents based on their nationality. Resort areas and tourist destinations in Mexico generally do not see the levels of drug-related violence and crime reported in the border region and in areas along major trafficking routes."

However, it says the criminal groups are battling with each other and the government and that "crime and violence are serious problems and can occur anywhere..." It recommends driving only if necessary, during daylight hours and to use toll roads when possible.

Some cautionary highlights:

1. Be careful in border cities such as Tijuana and Mexicali, especially at night.

2. Defer non-essential travel to the state of Chihuahua, including Ciudad Juarez and the Copper Canyon area.

3. Don't travel unnecessarily to Monterrey and its state of Nuevo Leon, where violence and gun battles occur.

4. Mazatlan is exempt from the travel warning for its state, Sinaloa, but the State Department advises Americans to "exercise caution particularly late at night and in the early morning... We recommend that any other travel in Mazatlan be limited to Zona Dorada and the historic town center, as well as direct routes to/from these locations and the airport."

5. The Nuevo Laredo area has seen armed robberies and carjackings.

6. Guerrero, which includes Acapulco, Ixtapa, and Zihuatanejo, is a trouble spot. In those cities, "you should exercise caution and stay within tourist areas. The popular tourist area of Diamante, just south of the city, has been less affected by violence."

7. In Cuernavaca, "numerous incidents of violence have occurred in the city - a popular destination for US students."

8. Caution is advised in the state of Veracruz.

To read the U.S. Department of State's full Mexico Travel Warning Report, issued on November 20, 2012, click HERE.

BN Editor's note: The good news for all of us here in the Banderas Bay region is that the US State Department's report reads, "There is no recommendation against travel to Guadalajara and Puerto Vallarta..." and "There is no recommendation against travel either to Riviera Nayarit in the southern portion of the state or to principal highways in the southern portion of the state used to travel from Guadalajara to Puerto Vallarta."