State Department issues warning to spring break travelers to Mexico

(KATU Photo)

Mexico is a popular destination for spring break vacationers, but the U.S. State Department issued a warning this week to be extra careful.

All 31 states in Mexico currently have warnings in place, and five of them are listed as "do not travel" under the Mexico Travel Advisory.

The State Department issued a security alert this week, warning travelers about increased reports of crime, such as homicides, kidnappings and robberies in Mexico.

It also notes “unforeseen problems” like drownings, sexual assaults, and being served unregulated alcohol.

Addie Lindstrom of Addie's You and I travel service in Portland says fewer people are making trips to Mexico.

"Spring break Mexico this year has not been as popular as it has been in past years," said Lindstrom. "If you look at all the people trying to get into the United States, you wonder, should I go there?"

According to a report from Mexico's Secretariat of Security and Citizen Protection, there were 33,341 homicides in 2018 compared to the 28,866 homicides in 2017. That's about a 15 percent increase.

It's forcing David Cecil to change his plans.

"[My wife and I] went to Cancun last year. There was actually a ferry bombing the week before we got there. It loomed over us.

He says he and his wife visit Mexico every year. This year, they're taking a break.

"I was all right with it, but [my wife] was nervous, and if she's nervous, I'm not having a good of a time either. I think we'll have a better time in the Bahamas this year. Maybe we'll go to Mexico next year," said Cecil.

The dangers exist, but Lindstrom says crime will happen anywhere you go -- just be cautious and take everything into consideration.

"It's the same way in Portland or anywhere. So, I think, and there's no rhyme or reason to who [criminals are] hitting," said Lindstrom.

The State Department suggests the following before you travel abroad:

-Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas or purchase travel insurance that specifically covers you in Mexico. Seek coverage that includes medical evacuation. Confirm costs of medical treatment in advance, when possible.

-Avoid strong currents and do not swim after drinking or when warning flags note unsafe conditions.

-Drink responsibly and watch your drink at all times. If you begin to feel ill, seek medical attention immediately. Report cases of unregulated alcohol to the Mexican Federal Commission for the Protection against Sanitary Risk (COFEPRIS) at contactociudadano@cofepris.gob.mx.

-Know your drinking companions and stay in a group of friends who have your safety in mind when you are in clubs and bars, out walking in dimly lit areas, or in a taxi at night. Obey Mexican law and remember Mexican laws may differ from U.S. laws.

-Be aware of your safety and protect your personal possessions when using public transportation. Use radio taxis or those from “sitio” taxi stands.

-Keep your friends and family back home informed of your travel plans, especially if traveling alone.

Contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate if you need assistance,

The agency can be reached at 1-888-407-4747 in the U.S. or from overseas +1 202-501-4444.

What you need to do and where people are traveling instead:


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