New travel warnings to Mexico

State Department Rolls Out New Travel Advisory Program

Mexico's most popular tourist destinations remain safe to visit under the U.S. State Department's new travel advisory classification system, which recommends Americans "exercise increased caution" when traveling to Mexico.

More details about the crime conditions in each state are listed in the advisory.

As a country, Mexico has a level-2 rating, which urges American travelers to "exercise increased caution", however half of the 31 Mexican states have a level 3 or 4 warning.

The "do not travel" warning included the Mexican states of Colima, Guerrero, Michoacan, Sinaloa and Tamaulipas.

But the government's Mexico Tourism Board said in a statement that "Mexico's major worldwide tourism destinations have been explicitly listed as having no travel restrictions", apparently a reference to major resorts like Cancun, Puerto Vallarta and Huatulco.

The advisories named five states on its level four warning, which is the most risky warning that can be issued.

The level three advisory was offered to most areas in Mexico City, Jalisco (where Guadalajara is located), as well as the Puerto Vallarta resorts and lakeside expat community of Chapala and Ajijic.

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The advisory underscored the limitations that the USA government faces in providing emergency services in many areas of Mexico because US government employees are prohibited from traveling to those areas. There are no U.S. government restrictions for travel to tourist areas such as Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo.

USA personnel had previously been allowed to fly to Ixtapa, the last place in Guerrero where they had been allowed to go.

Clashes between rival drug gangs contributed to a record number of murders in Mexico a year ago, according to official data, dealing a fresh blow to President Enrique Pena Nieto's pledge to bring gang violence under control with presidential elections due in July 2018, the report said.

In addition to the level 4 warnings, the State Department singles out 11 states for a level 3 warning, which urges people to "reconsider travel". At least two resorts - Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo and Acapulco - were in Gurrero.

While high-profile killings in certain hot spots have gotten media attention, Mexico's homicide rate is actually closer to the middle of the pack than the top, compared to other nations in the hemisphere.

"I'm guessing they are breathing a sigh of relief", he said.

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