On Wednesday, January 10, 2018, the U.S. State Department released the highest-level alert of “Do not travel” warnings to American citizens. They listed five Mexican states which have the highest crime levels dealing with the ruthless drug cartels which would put visitors in the highest possible danger.

The level of the State Department travel advisory alert, a danger level-4 risk, matches the same level travel advisory given for war-torn countries such as Yemen, Syria, and Somalia, Fox News reported.

Mexican States at Level-4 status

The five Mexican states, out of thirty-one States In Mexico, are Sinaloa, Colima, Michoacán, and Guerrero on the Pacific Ocean coast and the state of Tamaulipas, which borders the United States and the Mexican state of Sinaloa.

While the US has designated the entire country as a level-2 alert rating, meaning to exercise caution, having a level-4 is the highest in terms of “potential danger”. The State Dept. added an additional eleven Mexican states with a level-3 warning that includes most suburbs of Mexico City, Jalisco, Puerto Vallarta resorts, and lakeside communities of Ajijic and Chapala. The alert is alerting citizens to “reexamine” their travel plans. However, the travel advisory does not limit U.S. government staff from lodging in Puerto Vallarta, Guadalajara, Ajijic or in Chapala.

Rounding out the remaining states with a level-3 travel advisory warning includes the states of San Luis Potosi, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo Leon, Sonora, Durango, and Zacatecas.

Mexican government’s response

Mexico’s governmental tourism department was not available for comments about the travel advisory alerts by the U.S. State Department. However, the government's Mexico Tourism Board did say said that the tourism destinations have been expressly recorded as having no travel limitations, in relation to key resorts such as Huatulco, Cancun, and Puerto Vallarta.

Nevertheless, two resorts that prohibit U.S. government personnel to visit are both Acapulco and Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo.

Due to the travel restrictions, several of those Mexican states have been hit hard financially due to the on-going drug turf wars and the rise of murder rates. The Jalisco “New Generation” Mexican Drug Cartel, for example, in Colima has increased that state’s murder rate and now has the highest murder rate at 83.3 murders per 100k inhabitants from Jan.

to Nov. 2017.

Rodrigo Esponda, director of the tourism board in Los Cabos, Mexico stated that although crime has not increased there, tourism has risen by sixteen percent and hotel occupancy by eighteen percent last year. At the same time, he stated that local government officials are working to increase security and want to do whatever they need to do to keep Los Cabos, Mexico, safe for tourists and hopefully, no serious travel advisory's will be needed. Enrique De la Madrid, Mexico’s Tourism Secretary stated that what they are being challenged by, is witnessing criminal activity in areas such as La Paz and Cancun, which they didn’t have to worry about before.

On New Year’s Eve (Dec. 2017), Fox News reported an Imperial Beach, California city official was murdered while he was vacationing in Mexico’s resort town of Zihuatanejo area and witnesses say he was chased and shot by gunmen during an attempted robbery, most likely by members of a Mexican drug cartel.