If you travel around the country, the French, Belgian, Swiss and Canadian authorities recommend doing so with”the greatest of caution depending on the States“. A piece of advice that is to be taken seriously since violent acts, robberies, kidnappings and missing people or even murders are unfortunately no urban legend, as can be seen daily in the news. However, it is important to take things with perspective. The violence is limited to certain regions or cities that are best to simply avoid. Moreover, it is worth mentioning that with a minimum of precaution, tourists and travelers moving around Mexico aren’t more at risk than in a European country or North American city. There is no need to become paranoid, as aggressions in France and robberies in Barcelona also happen.
Knowing where to go
The French General Consulate, whose mission is to protect and assist its nationals, has made available to travelers a map, including a “risk map” established by the Ministry of Foreign affairs. That map shows four different levels of risk: green, yellow, orange, red. “Given the natural disaster risk (earthquake or tornado), the green level of normal caution does not exist in Mexico, explains the general consul Gérald Martin. The safest states are therefore highlighted in yellow, where enforced caution is recommended”. The yellow zone in question covers more than half the territory and includes in the South the touristic areas of Quintana Roo, Yucatan, Chiapas, Oaxaca, and Tabasco. It covers the center states of Puebla, Tlaxcala, Querétaro, Jalisco, Colima, Aguascalientes, Zacatecas, and San Luis Potosí. Lower California is also considered a safe area, with the exception of the border city of Tijuana. It is important to note that the state of Veracruz, in yellow, has now been categorized as orange (not recommended) on the north of the coast between Tuxpan and Tampico. The archeological site El Tajin is not concerned.
The city of Cuernavaca in the State of Morelos is also recommended against.
The states of Sonora, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Sinaloa, Durango and Nayarit are “to be avoided except for crucial reasons” and the states of Tamaulipas and Nuevo León (with the exception of Monterrey) “ are strictly recommended against”. Some big cities in the north such as Ciudad Juarez or the Gómez Palacion/ Torréon conurbation are also in red. The authorities highly recommend avoiding main roads in these areas.
Le Guerrero in orange and the Michoacán turning red
While considered touristic regions, those two states have experienced a rise in violence in the last few years due to drug trafficking. The Ministry added the following concerning Michoacán: “ Due to the sudden worsening of public disorder in the state of Michoacán and to the current security forces operations, it is now highly advised to avoid going to the south of the state starting in the city of Uruapan (known as “Tierra Caliente”) all the way to the coast”. The north of the state of Michoacán and its capital Morelia are still orange (not recommended except for crucial reasons). The situation is barely better in le Guerrero, in orange. However, the touristic cities of Ixtapa and Acapulco are two notable exceptions still in the yellow zone.
The French General Consulate in Mexico sends a reminder that “ any French citizen, especially if traveling alone, should make him or herself known”. The Canadian authorities strongly recommend “going to Mexico by plane to avoid land frontier posts leading to potentially dangerous regions”. And the Belgian diplomacy concludes: ” When specific security measures are adopted, travels in Mexico are usually without major problems”.
Jean-Marie Legaud (for le Petit Journal de Mexico)
You can find this article in French here
Translated by Florence Razé
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