State Department warns not to travel to certain parts of Mexico, reconsider travel to others

The federal government is reminding travelers to avoid parts of Mexico altogether and reconsider plans to visit other areas due to crime.

The State Department advisory is being shared after four people from the U.S. were kidnapped in Matamoros just after they had crossed the border from Texas. They had traveled to Mexico because one of the people was having cosmetic surgery, officials said.

The Tamaulipas state where Matamoros is located is not a typical tourist destination, travel experts told CNN, and that area has long had a “do not travel” designation.

“To put things in perspective, Matamoros is about 1,360 miles away from Cancun; that’s about the equivalent distance from the Texas side of the border to Chicago, Illinois,” said Zachary Rabinor, founder and CEO of the travel company Journey Mexico.

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The advisory is being shared as the Spring Break travel season begins, CNN reported.

The State Department has six “do not travel” advisories for the following areas, all due to crime and all but one — Guerrero state — due to kidnappings:

  • Colima state
  • Guerrero state
  • Michoacan state
  • Sinaloa state
  • Tamaulipas state
  • Zacatecas state

You should reconsider traveling to the following areas because of crime and kidnapping, the State Department advises:

  • Baja California state
  • Chihuahua state
  • Durango state
  • Guanajuato state
  • Jalisco state
  • Morelos state
  • Sonora state

The State Department said that travel can still occur in the following areas, but increased caution is needed:

  • Aguascalientes state
  • Baja California Sur state
  • Chiapas state
  • Coahuila state
  • Hildago state
  • Mexico City
  • Mexico state
  • Nayarit state
  • Nuevo Leon state
  • Oaxaca state
  • Puebla state
  • Quintana Roo state
  • San Luis Potosi state
  • Tabasco state
  • Tlaxcala state
  • Veracruz state

There are two areas — Campeche and Yucatan states — where the State Department advises travelers use normal precautions when visiting.

If you have to travel to places that the State Department advises against visiting, there are ways to protect yourself, including knowing how the country’s legal system operates and enrolling in the federal government’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, for starters.

For more on what you can do before going to a high-risk area, visit the State Department’s website.

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