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Is it safe to travel to Mexico? State Department warns Americans to avoid certain areas

Following the deaths of two Americans in Tamaulipas, US travellers are warned to exercise precaution this spring break.

State Department issues travel warning for Mexico
Julio CortezAP

The United States embassy in Mexico has issued new guidance for Americans considering travel to Mexico in the wake of the horrific kidnapping and murders of a group of US citizens last week.

Four Americans were kidnapped by armed men in the border city of Matamoros, just over the border from Texas. They were held hostage for a number of days and two of them were later found dead. The two survivors have since been found and returned to the US.

In a statement, the US Consulate Matamoros reiterated that Tamaulipas, the north-eastern state in which the tragic incident occurred, is currently classified by the State Department as ‘Level 4: Do Not Travel’.

Americans are advised to:

- Avoid the area

- Be aware of your surroundings

- Seek shelter if needed

- Monitor local media for updates and in case of emergency, call 911

- Review your personal security plans and follow the instructions of local authorities

Is Mexico safe to visit for Americans?

Judging the safety of a travel destination is always a difficult task and one that can never be entirely accurate. However the State Department has advised that spring breakers planning a trip to Cabo, Cancun or Tulum should exercise “increased caution” due to the threat of crime.

Americans are urged to “reconsider travel” to Puerto Vallarta entirely, due to a heightened risk of “violent crime and gang activity”.

State Department spokesperson Ned Price said: “It’s not for me or for the State Department to be prescriptive but ultimately, we want to see accountability for the violence that has been inflicted on these Americans that tragically led to the death of two of them.”

The State Department has, however, issued a list of states in Mexico to avoid. The current Do Not Travel list contains:

- Colima state (crime and kidnapping)

- Guerrero state (crime and kidnapping)

- Michoacan state (crime and kidnapping)

- Sinaloa state (crime and kidnapping)

- Tamaulipas state (crime and kidnapping)

- Zacatecas state (crime and kidnapping)

It also recommends reconsidering travel to Baja California state, Chihuahua state, Durango state, Guanajuato state, Jalisco state, Morelos state and Sonora state.

A statement on the State Department’s Mexico Travel Advisory page warns: “Violent crime – such as homicide, kidnapping, carjacking, and robbery – is widespread and common in Mexico. "