The Texas Department of Public Safety warned Americans to skip spring break vacations in Mexico, noting that ongoing violence poses a significant safety threat.
The warning —which adds to State Department advisories not to travel to large swathes of the country — comes in the wake of the kidnapping of four Americans in Mexico earlier this month. There's a "Level 4: Do Not Travel" advisory for Tamaulipas, the Mexican state the Americans were in when they were kidnapped.
"Drug cartel violence and other criminal activity represent a significant safety threat to anyone who crosses into Mexico right now," Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCraw said Friday. "We have a duty to inform the public about safety, travel risks and threats. Based on the volatile nature of cartel activity and the violence we are seeing there, we are urging individuals to avoid travel to Mexico at this time."
The State Department lists five other Mexican states under its Level 4 advisory: Colima, Guerrero, Michoacán, Sinaloa and Zacatecas. There are also seven states under the "Level 3: Reconsider Travel" advisory: Baja California, Chihuahua, Durango, Guanajuato, Jalisco, Morelos and Sonora.
"Violent crime – such as homicide, kidnapping, carjacking, and robbery – is widespread and common in Mexico," the State Department warns in their advisory. "The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in many areas of Mexico, as travel by U.S. government employees to certain areas is prohibited or restricted. In many states, local emergency services are limited outside the state capital or major cities."
Mexico is a popular destination for spring break travel this year, according to AAA. Beach vacations are the most popular.
In Mexico, spring break travelers are most likely to visit Cancun, Riviera Maya or Mexico City, according to AAA. Those areas are under State Department's "Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution When Traveling To" advisories.