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Travel Warning:
Emergency Message for U.S. Citizens: The Security Situation in Mexico 2013 

On July 12, 2013, the U.S. Department of State announced the following message:

State-by-State Assessment:

Below is a state-by-state assessment of security conditions throughout Mexico. The accompanying map will help in identifying individual locations. Travelers should be mindful that even if no advisories are in effect for a given state, crime and violence can occur anywhere.

Aguascalientes: You should exercise caution when traveling to the areas of the state that border the state of Zacatecas, as TCO activity in that region continues. There is no advisory in effect for daytime travel to the areas of the state that do not border Zacatecas; however, intercity travel at night is not recommended.

Baja California (north): Tijuana, Ensenada and Mexicali are major cities/travel destinations in the state of Baja California - see map to identify their exact locations: You should exercise caution in the northern state of Baja California, particularly at night. There were 278 homicides in Tijuana from January to June 2013. Mexicali’s murder rate has climbed from 14.3 per 100,000 in 2011 to 15.8 per 100,000 in 2012. In the majority of these cases, the killings appeared to be targeted TCO assassinations. Turf battles between criminal groups resulted in some assassinations in areas of Tijuana and Mexicali frequented by U.S. citizens. Shooting incidents, in which innocent bystanders have been injured, have occurred during daylight hours.

Baja California (South): Cabo San Lucas and La Paz are major cities/travel destinations in the state of Southern Baja California - see map to identify its exact location: No advisory is in effect.  

Campeche: No advisory is in effect.

Chiapas: San Cristobal de las Casas is a major city/travel destination in Chiapas - see map to identify its exact location: No advisory is in effect.

Chihuahua: Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua City, and Copper Canyon are major cities/travel destinations in Chihuahua - see map to identify their exact locations: You should defer non-essential travel to the state of Chihuahua. In Ciudad Juarez, personal travel by USG employees outside the northeast portion of the city (the area near the Consulate General) is restricted. Although homicides have decreased markedly—from a high of 3,100 homicides in 3010 to 749 in 2012—Ciudad Juarez still has one of the highest homicide rates in Mexico. Crime and violence remain serious problems throughout the state of Chihuahua, particularly in the southern portion of the state and in the Sierra Mountains, including Copper Canyon. U.S. citizens do not, however, appear to be targeted based on their nationality.

Coahuila: You should defer non-essential travel to the state of Coahuila. The State of Coahuila continues to experience high rates of violent crimes and narcotics-related murders. TCOs continue to compete for territory and coveted border crossings to the United States. The cities of Torreón, Saltillo, Piedras Negras, and Ciudad Acuña have seen an increase of violent crimes within the last six months, including murder, kidnapping, and armed carjacking. Of particular safety concern are casinos, sportsbooks, or other gambling establishments and adult entertainment establishments, which USG personnel are not permitted to frequent.

Colima: Manzanillo is a major city/travel destination in Colima - see map to identify its exact location: You should defer non-essential travel to the areas of the state of Colima that border the state of Michoacán, including the city of Tecoman. You should also exercise caution when travelling to other parts of the state, including Colima City and Manzanillo. The security situation along the Michoacan border continues to be the most unstable in the state with gun battles occurring between rival criminal groups and with Mexican authorities. Homicides throughout the state rose sharply from 113 in 2011 to 179 in 2012, according to official Mexican government sources.

Durango: You should defer non-essential travel to the state of Durango, except the city of Durango where you should exercise caution. Cartel violence and highway lawlessness are a continuing security concern. Several areas in the state continue to experience high rates of violence and remain volatile and unpredictable. The Mexican government deployed troops in March 2013 to quell TCO violence in the La Laguna area, which is comprised of the cities of Gomez Palacio and Lerdo in the state of Durango and the city of Torreon in the state of Coahuila. Of particular safety concern are casinos, sportsbooks, or other gambling establishments and adult entertainment establishments, which USG personnel are not permitted to frequent. USG personnel may not travel outside the city of Durango and must abide by a curfew of 1 a.m. to 6 a.m. within a secured venue.

Estado de Mexico: Toluca and Teotihuacan are major travel destinations in Estado de Mexico - see map to identify exact locations: You should defer non-essential travel to the municipalities of Coacalco, Ecatepec, Nezahualcoyotl, La Paz, Valle del Chalco, Solidaridad, Chalco, and Ixtapaluca, which are eastern portions of the greater Mexico City metropolitan area, located just to the east of the Federal District of Mexico and Benito Juarez airport, unless traveling directly through the areas on major thoroughfares. These areas have seen high rates of crime and insecurity. You should also defer non-essential travel on any roads between Santa Marta in the southeast portion of the state and Huitzilac in the state of Morelos, including the Lagunas de Zempoala National Park and surrounding areas.  

Guanajuato: San Miguel de Allende and Leon are major cities/travel destinations in Guanajuato - see map to identify their exact locations: No advisory is in effect.  

Guerrero: Acapulco, Ixtapa, Taxco and Zihuatanejo are major cities/travel destinations in Guerrero - see map to identify their exact locations: You should defer non-essential travel to the northwestern and southern portions of the state (the area west and south of the town of Arcelia on the border with Estado de Mexico in the north and the town of Tlapa near the border with Oaxaca), except for the cities of Acapulco, Zihuatanejo, and Ixtapa. In those cities, you should exercise caution and stay within tourist areas. You should also exercise caution and travel only during daylight hours on toll highway ("cuota") 95D between Mexico City and Acapulco and highway 200 between Acapulco and Zihuatanejo/Ixtapa. In Acapulco, defer non-essential travel to areas further than 2 blocks inland of the Costera Miguel Aleman Boulevard, which parallels the popular beach areas. Lodging for USG personnel is limited to the “Hotel Zone” of Acapulco, beginning from the Hotel Avalon Excalibur Acapulco in the north and going south through Puerto Marquez including the Playa Diamante area. Any activity outside the Hotel Zone for USG personnel is limited to the coastal area from La Quebrada to the beginning of the Hotel Zone and only during daylight hours. In general, the popular tourist area of Diamante, just south of the city, has been less affected by violence. Flying into the coastal cities in southern Guerrero remains the preferred method of travel. You should defer non-essential travel by land between Acapulco and Zihuatanejo/Ixtapa, travel to Zihuatanejo/Ixtapa only by air, and exercise caution while in Zihuatanejo/Ixtapa. If travelling by automobile between Mexico City and Acapulco you should exercise caution and travel only during daylight hours on toll highway ("cuota") 95D, staying on the toll road towards the Playa Diamante area and avoiding the highway running through the city of Acapulco. You should also exercise caution in the northern region of Guerrero (the area north of the town of Arcelia on the border with Estado de Mexico in the north and the town of Tlapa near the border with Oaxaca). The state of Guerrero has seen an increase in violence among rival criminal organizations. Acapulco's murder rates increased dramatically since 2009; in response, in 2011 the Government of Mexico sent additional military and federal police to the state to assist State security forces in implementing ongoing operation “Guerrero Seguro” (Secure Guerrero) that focuses on combating organized crime and returning security to the environs of popular tourist areas. Self-defense groups operate independently of the government in the Costa Chica region of eastern Guerrero. Armed members of these groups frequently maintain roadblocks, and although not considered hostile to foreigners or tourists, are suspicious of outsiders and should be considered volatile and unpredictable.  

Hidalgo: No advisory is in effect.  

Jalisco: Guadalajara, Puerto Vallarta, and Lake Chapala are major cities/travel destinations in Jalisco - see map to identify their exact locations: You should defer non-essential travel to areas of the state that borders the state of Michoacán. The security situation along the Michoacán and Zacatecas borders continues to be unstable and gun battles between criminal groups and authorities occur. Concerns include roadblocks placed by individuals posing as police or military personnel and recent gun battles between rival TCOs involving automatic weapons. You should exercise caution in rural areas and when using secondary highways, particularly along the northern border of the state. Except for the areas of the state that border Michoacan, there is no advisory in effect for daytime travel within major population centers or major highways in the state of Jalisco. Intercity travel at night is not recommended. There is no recommendation against travel to Guadalajara and Puerto Vallarta. There is also no recommendation against travel on principal highways in Jalisco between Guadalajara including the portions that cross in to the southern portions of the state of Nayarit.  

Mexico City (also known as the Federal District): No advisory is in effect. See also the discussion in the section on Estado de Mexico for areas within the greater Mexico City metropolitan area.  

Michoacán: Morelia is a major city/travel destination in Michoacán - see map to identify exact locations: You should defer non-essential travel to the state of Michoacán except the cities of Morelia and Lázaro Cardenas where you should exercise caution. Flying into Morelia and Lázaro Cardenas is the recommended method of travel. Attacks on Mexican government officials, law enforcement and military personnel, and other incidents of TCO-related violence, have occurred throughout Michoacán. In the northwestern portion of the state, self-defense groups operate independently of the government. Armed members of the groups frequently maintain roadblocks, and although not considered hostile to foreigners or tourists, are suspicious of outsiders and should be considered volatile and unpredictable. Groups in Michoacan are reputed to be linked to TCOs.  

Morelos: Cuernavaca is a major city/travel destination in Morelos - see attached map to identify their exact locations: You should exercise caution in the state of Morelos due to the unpredictable nature of TCO violence. You should also defer non-essential travel on any roads between Huitzilac in the northwest corner of the state and Santa Marta in the state of Mexico, including the Lagunas de Zempoala National Park and surrounding areas. On August 24, 2012 two USG employees were injured after being fired upon by Federal Police officers on an isolated road north of Tres Marias, Morelos. Numerous incidents of narcotics-related violence have also occurred in the city of Cuernavaca.  

Nayarit: You should defer non-essential travel to areas of the state of Nayarit that border the states of Sinaloa or Durango, as well as all rural areas and secondary highways. You should exercise caution when traveling to the cities of Tepic, Xalisco, or San Blas. There is no recommendation against travel to the Vallarta-Nayarit area in the southern portion of the state also known as the Riviera Nayarit or to principal highways in the southern portion of the state used to travel from Guadalajara to Puerto Vallarta.  

Nuevo Leon: Monterrey is a major city/travel destination in Nuevo Leon- see map to identify its exact location: You should defer non-essential travel to the state of Nuevo Leon, except the metropolitan area of Monterrey where you should exercise caution. Although the level of TCO violence and general insecurity in Monterrey has decreased within the last 12 months, sporadic gun battles continue to occur in the greater Monterrey area. Adult entertainment establishments and casinos continue to be targets of TCO activity. TCOs have kidnapped, and in some cases murdered American citizens, even when ransom demands are met. TCOs have been known to attack local government facilities, prisons and police stations, and are engaged in public shootouts with the military and between themselves. TCOs have used vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices against military and law enforcement units as well as incendiary devices against several types of businesses. Pedestrians and innocent bystanders have been killed in these incidents. Local police and private patrols have limited capacity to deter criminal elements or respond effectively to security incidents. As a result of a Department of State assessment of the overall security situation, the Consulate General in Monterrey is a partially unaccompanied post with no minor dependents of USG personnel permitted. USG personnel serving at the U.S. Consulate General in Monterrey may not frequent casinos, sportsbooks, or other gambling establishments. USG personnel may not travel outside the San Pedro Garza Garcia municipal boundaries between 1 a.m. and 6 a.m., except for travel to the airport after 5 a.m.  

Oaxaca: Oaxaca, Huatulco and Puerto Escondido are major cities/travel destinations in Oaxaca - see map to identify their exact locations: No advisory is in effect.  

Puebla: No advisory is in effect.  

Queretaro: No advisory is in effect.  

Quintana Roo: Cancun, Cozumel, Playa del Carmen, Riviera Maya and Tulum are major cities/travel destinations in Quintana Roo - see attached map to identify their exact locations: No advisory is in effect.  

San Luis Potosi: You should defer non-essential travel to the state of San Luis Potosi, except the city of San Luis Potosi where you should exercise caution. The entire stretch of highway 57D in San Luis Potosi and portions of the state east of highway 57D towards Tamaulipas are particularly dangerous. A USG employee was killed and another wounded when they were attacked in their U.S. government vehicle on Highway 57 near Santa Maria del Rio in 2011. Cartel violence and highway lawlessness are a continuing security concern. USG personnel may not frequent casinos, sportsbooks, or other gambling establishments and adult entertainment establishments. USG personnel may not travel outside the City of San Luis Potosi and must abide by a curfew of 1 a.m. to 6 a.m. within a secured venue.  

Sinaloa: Mazatlanis a major city/travel destination in Sinaloa - see map to identify its exact location: You should defer non-essential travel to the state of Sinaloa except the city of Mazatlan where you should exercise caution, particularly late at night and in the early morning. One of Mexico's most powerful TCOs is based in the state of Sinaloa. With the exception of Ciudad Juarez, since 2006 more homicides have occurred in the state's capital city of Culiacan than in any other city in Mexico. Travel off the toll roads ("cuotas") in remote areas of Sinaloa is especially dangerous and should be avoided. We recommend that any travel in Mazatlan be limited to Zona Dorada and the historic town center, as well as direct routes to/from these locations and the airport.  

Sonora: Nogales, Puerto Peñasco, Hermosillo, and San Carlos are major cities/travel destinations in Sonora - see map to identify their exact locations: U.S. citizens visiting Puerto Peñasco should exercise caution and use the Lukeville, Arizona/Sonoyta, Sonora border crossing, in order to limit driving through Mexico. You should defer non-essential travel between the city of Nogales and the cities of Sonoyta and Caborca (which area also includes the smaller cities of Saric, Tubutama, and Altar), defer non-essential travel to the eastern edge of the State of Sonora which borders the State of Chihuahua (all points along that border east of the northern city of Agua Prieta and the southern town of Alamos), and defer non-essential travel within the city of Ciudad Obregon and southward with the exception of travel to Alamos (traveling only during daylight hours and using only the Highway 15 toll road, or "cuota", and Sonora State Road 162). Sonora is a key region in the international drug and human trafficking trades, and can be extremely dangerous for travelers. The region west of Nogales, east of Sonoyta, and from Caborca north, including the towns of Saric, Tubutama and Altar, and the eastern edge of Sonora bordering Chihuahua, are known centers of illegal activity. Travelers throughout Sonora are encouraged to limit travel to main roads during daylight hours.  

Tabasco: Villahermosa is a major city/travel destination in Tabasco -see attached map to identify its exact location: No advisory is in effect.  

Tamaulipas: Matamoros, Nuevo Laredo, Reynosa, and Tampico are major cities/travel destinations in Tamaulipas - see map to identify their exact locations: You should defer non-essential travel to the state of Tamaulipas. All USG employees are prohibited from personal travel on Tamaulipas highways outside of Matamoros and Nuevo Laredo due to the tenuous security situation. In Matamoros, USG employees are subject to further movement restrictions between midnight and 6 a.m. USG employees may not frequent casinos and adult entertainment establishments. Matamoros, Reynosa, Nuevo Laredo, and Ciudad Victoria have experienced grenade attacks in the past year, as well as numerous reported gun battles. Nuevo Laredo has seen a marked increase in the number of murders, carjackings, and robberies in the past year. For example, the numbers of murders are up 92.5% over last year. These crimes occur in all parts of the city at all times of the day. The kidnapping rate for Tamaulipas, the highest for all states in Mexico, more than doubled in the past year. In February 2013, four masked and armed individuals attempted to kidnap a USG employee in Matamoros during daylight hours. All travelers should be aware of the risks posed by armed robbery and carjacking on state highways throughout Tamaulipas, particularly on highways and roads outside of urban areas along the northern border. Traveling outside of cities after dark is particularly dangerous. While no highway routes through Tamaulipas are considered safe, many of the crimes reported to the U.S. Consulate General in Matamoros have taken place along the Matamoros-Tampico highway.  

Tlaxcala: No advisory is in effect.  

Veracruz: You should exercise caution when traveling in the state of Veracruz. The state of Veracruz continues to experience violence among rival criminal organizations. Mexican federal security forces continue to assist state and local security forces in providing security and combating organized crime.  

Yucatan: Merida and Chichen Itza are major cities/travel destinations in Yucatan -see map to identify its exact location: No advisory is in effect.  

Zacatecas: You should defer non-essential travel within the state of Zacatecas to the area bordering the states of Aguascalientes, Coahuila, Durango, and Jalisco and exercise caution in the interior of the state including the city of Zacatecas. The regions of the state bordering Durango and Coahuila as well as the cities of Fresnillo and Fresnillo-Sombrete and surrounding area are particularly dangerous. The northwestern portion of the state of Zacatecas has become notably dangerous and insecure. Robberies and carjackings are occurring with increased frequency and both local authorities and residents have reported a surge in observed TCO activity. This area is remote, and local authorities are unable to regularly patrol it or quickly respond to incidents that occur there. Gun battles between criminal groups and authorities occur in the area of the state bordering the state of Jalisco. There have also been reports of roadblocks and false checkpoints on highways between the states of Zacatecas and Jalisco. The city of Fresnillo, the area extending northwest from Fresnillo along Highway 45 (Fresnillo-Sombrete) between Highways 44 and 49, and highway 49 northwards from Fresnillo through Durango and in to Chihuahua are considered dangerous. Extreme caution should be taken when traveling in the remainder of the state. Of particular safety concern are casinos, sportsbooks, or other gambling establishments and adult entertainment establishments, which USG personnel may not frequent. USG personnel may not travel outside the City of Zacatecas after dark and must abide by a curfew of 1 a.m to 6 a.m. within a secured venue.  

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(Source: U.S. Dept. of State)  

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