Travel Warnings Issued for Mexico, but Don’t Cancel Your Vacation Yet

The U.S. State Department has issued a newly expanded travel advisory for Mexico. Now, it warns against travel to the Caribbean state of Quintana Roo — which includes popular destinations like Tulum and Cancun, stating safety concerns related to local incidents of violence. 

The State Department produces information on travel to every country in the world — if you know where to look for them (, they’re fantastically helpful. They are detailed and clear: “Bombings have occurred at Russian government buildings, airports, hotels, tourist sites, markets, entertainment venues, schools, residential complexes, and on public transportation (subways, buses, trains, and scheduled commercial flights),” reads the Russia fact sheet. 

Select countries earn an advisory or warning: Alerts are for “short-term events we think you should know about when planning travel to a country.” (Think: hurricane season.) Warnings are worse: “We issue a Travel Warning when we want you to consider very carefully whether you should go to a country at all.” The Mexico advisory fits into the second category and drills down into the state of each Mexican state. Of new concern is the advisory for the Caribbean coastal state of Quintana Roo: “Turf battles between criminal groups have resulted in violent crime in areas frequented by U.S. citizens.” This includes Tulum and Cancun, two of the country’s most popular destinations for Americans. 

Nervous travelers may want to consider heading instead to Mexico City — a culturally rich, fascinating destination in its own right; there’s no restriction to travel there. Or they may decide to ignore this particular warning. The entire continent of Europe is currently under a terror-centric alert that’s set to expire on September 1 (but may well be extended, especially following last week’s truck attack in Barcelona.) On the other hand, the alert (and warning) regarding travel to North Korea is probably very, very sensible. 

We live in a dangerous world, at home and abroad. One thing to keep in mind: the countries that have advised their citizens how to travel within the U.S. And violence in Mexico is more complicated than a single consular sheet can relay. Perspective, in these cases, is everything.