As spring break planning heats up, incidents of violence in Mexico continue to make news — leaving travelers to wonder whether a perennially popular destination is safe to visit.
A rash of recent headlines proclaimed that the U.S. State Department was warning against visiting Mexico leading up to the busy vacation season. Although the department has “do not travel” warnings in place for six states, a representative told The Washington Post that it has not updated its travel advisories for Mexico since October.
The U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Mexico have, however, issued a handful of security alerts since January for Ciudad Juárez and several cities in Sinaloa and Quintana Roo states. Reuters reported that an Aeromexico plane was struck by gunfire in early January; the Culiacán airport closed because of violence following the arrest of alleged fentanyl trafficker Ovidio Guzmán, son of Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán.
“In light of widely publicized security incidents in popular tourist destinations, please remember that all destinations have some level of risk,” a Jan. 23 alert about taxi disputes in Cancún notes. “Violent crime — such as homicide, kidnapping, carjacking, and robbery — is widespread and common in Mexico.”
A California public defender died in January at a resort in Baja California in what local authorities characterized as a fall from the third floor of the hotel. His family has questioned that ruling, the Orange County Register reported, pointing to analysis of the autopsy that showed injuries inconsistent with a fall.
The United States, of course, has its own problems with violence; mass shootings have averaged more than one a day in 2023, and homicides reached their highest levels in decades over the past few years. Other countries, including Canada, Germany and Australia, routinely warn their citizens about gun crime when traveling to the United States.
Through November of last year, more than 30 million U.S. citizens traveled to Mexico, an increase of 18 percent from the previous year, according to data from the U.S. Department of Commerce. Here’s what government, security and travel experts say visitors should know.