Places the U.S. Government Warns Not to Travel Right Now

You may want to reconsider traveling to these countries right now.

Do Not Travel to These Countries

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Crime, civil unrest and terrorism are common risk factors for countries that end up on the State Department's "Do Not Travel" advisory list.

In 2024, tourism across the globe is “well on track” to return to pre-pandemic levels, according to projections by UN Tourism.

Global conflicts and natural disasters , ranging from a series of coups across Africa to catastrophic earthquakes in the Middle East affected international travel patterns throughout 2023. Still, international tourist arrivals reached 87% of pre-pandemic levels in 2023, according to estimates by UN Tourism .

In January 2024 alone, about 4.6 million U.S. citizens left the country for international destinations, 17% higher than the same month in 2019, according to the International Trade Administration . But some destinations warrant more caution than others.

On Oct. 19, 2023, following the outbreak of war between Israel and Gaza and flaring tensions in the region, the U.S. State Department issued a worldwide caution advisory due to “increased tensions in various locations around the world, the potential for terrorist attacks, demonstrations or violent actions against U.S. citizens and interests.” Prior to this update, the most recent worldwide caution advisory was issued in 2022 after a U.S. strike killed Ayman al-Zawahiri, Osama bin Laden’s successor as leader of Al Qaeda, causing “a higher potential for anti-American violence.” The worldwide caution advisory remains in effect.

The U.S. State Department also issues individual travel advisory levels for more than 200 countries globally, continually updating them based on a variety of risk indicators such as health, terrorism and civil unrest. Travel advisory levels range from Level 1, which means exercise normal precautions, to Level 4, which means do not travel there.

About 10% of countries – 19 total – have a Level 4: “Do Not Travel” advisory as of Mar. 4. In Level 4 countries, the U.S. government may have “very limited ability” to step in should travelers’ safety or security be at risk, according to the State Department. Crime, civil unrest, kidnapping and terrorism are common risk factors associated with Level 4 countries.

So far in 2024, the State Department made changes to the existing Level 4 advisories for Myanmar, Iran and Gaza, and moved Niger and Lebanon off of the Level 4 list.

Places With a Level 4 Travel Advisory

These are the primary areas the U.S. government says not to travel to right now, in alphabetical order:

Jump to Place: Afghanistan Belarus Burkina Faso Central African Republic Myanmar (formerly Burma) Gaza Haiti Iran Iraq Libya Mali Mexico North Korea (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) Russia Somalia South Sudan Sudan Syria Ukraine Venezuela Yemen

Afghanistan: The Central Asian country is wrestling with “terrorism, risk of wrongful detention, kidnapping and crime,” according to the State Department. U.S. citizens are specifically at risk for wrongful detention and kidnapping. In 2022, the government reinstituted public floggings and executions, and women’s rights are disappearing under Taliban control. The U.S. Embassy in Kabul halted operations in August 2021. Since the Taliban took control , many forms of international aid have been halted . Meanwhile, in 2023, some of the year’s deadliest earthquakes killed more than 2,400 in Afghanistan while the country continues to face a years-long extreme drought.

Belarus: Belarus, which shares a western border with Russia and a southern border with Ukraine, has been flagged for “Belarusian authorities’ continued facilitation of Russia’s war against Ukraine, the buildup of Russian military forces in Belarus, the arbitrary enforcement of local laws, the potential of civil unrest, the risk of detention, and the Embassy’s limited ability to assist U.S. citizens residing in or traveling to Belarus.” The U.S. Embassy in Minsk halted operations in February 2022.

Burkina Faso: Terrorism, crime and kidnapping are plaguing this West African nation. Terrorist attacks may target hotels, restaurants and schools with little to no warning, and the East and Sahel regions of the country are under a state of emergency. In late November 2023, hundreds died in clashes between state security forces and rebels near the country’s border with Mali. In June, more than 2 million people in Burkina Faso were displaced due to “violence linked to al-Qaida and the Islamic State group.”

Central African Republic: While there have not been specific incidents of U.S. citizens targeted with violence or crime, violent crime and sudden closure of roads and borders is common. The advisory states that “Embassy Bangui’s limited capacity to provide support to U.S. citizens, crime, civil unrest, and kidnapping” is a factor in its assessment. Recent data from UNICEF suggests the country has the worst drinking water accessibility of all countries in 2022.

Myanmar (Formerly Burma): Armed conflict and civil unrest are the primary reasons to not travel to this Southeast Asian country, which experienced a military coup in early 2021. Limited health care resources, wrongful detentions and “areas with land mines and unexploded ordnance” are also listed as risk factors. After Ukraine and Israel, Myanmar had the highest conflict-related death toll in 2023.

Gaza : Hamas, a foreign terrorist organization as designated by the State Department, controls much of the Gaza Strip, which shares borders with both Israel and Egypt. On Oct. 7, 2023, Hamas fighters broke across the border into Israel, killing hundreds of civilians and soldiers in a brazen attack that stunned Israelis. On Oct. 10, Israel hit the Gaza Strip with “the fiercest air strikes in its 75-year conflict” according to Reuters . The conflict has since escalated into war between Israel and Hamas, with regular Israeli airstrikes leading to extensive civilian casualties in Gaza. As of mid-December, nearly 85% of Gaza’s population were displaced from their homes, according to UN estimates . The region continues to face shortages of food , water, electricity and medical supplies , with conditions deemed “far beyond a humanitarian crisis.” The State Department warns of terrorism and armed conflict within Gaza’s borders.

Haiti: In July 2023, the Department of State ordered all non-emergency U.S. government personnel and family members to leave the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince in response to the increased risk of kidnapping and violent crime in the country , as well as armed conflict between gangs and police. The travel advisory states that cases of kidnapping “often involve ransom negotiations and U.S. citizen victims have been physically harmed during kidnappings.” The travel advisory also states that “U.S. citizens in Haiti should depart Haiti as soon as possible” given “the current security situation and infrastructure challenges.” A series of gang attacks in late September 2023 caused thousands to flee their homes, and many aid groups have been forced to cut or suspend operations amid escalating violence in recent months.

Iran: Terrorism, kidnapping and civil unrest are risk factors for all travelers to Iran, while U.S. citizens are specifically at risk for “arbitrary arrest.” U.S.-Iranian nationals such as students, journalists and business travelers have been arrested on charges of espionage and threatening national security. Executions in Iran rose sharply between 2021 and 2022, bringing the country’s total to nearly 580 people over the year, according to a report by Amnesty International released in May 2023.

Iraq: The State Department cites “terrorism, kidnapping, armed conflict [and] civil unrest” as cause for the country’s Level 4 distinction. Iraq’s northern borders, and its border with Syria, are especially dangerous. Since the escalation of conflict in neighboring Israel in October, there has been an increase in attacks against Iraqi military bases, which host U.S. troops and other international forces. In October 2023, non-emergency U.S. government personnel and eligible family members were ordered to leave the U.S. embassy in Baghdad.

Libya: Following the end of its dictatorship over a decade ago, Libya has been wrought with internal conflict between armed groups in the East and West. Armed conflict, civil unrest, crime, kidnapping and terrorism are all risk factors. U.S. citizens have been targets of kidnapping for ransom, with terrorists targeting hotels and airports frequented by Westerners. The U.S. Embassy in Tripoli halted operations in 2014. In mid-September 2023, floods, which some say were intensified by climate change , killed thousands in eastern Libya. Clashes between armed factions escalated across the country in the latter half of 2023, including in the capital city of Tripoli and in Benghazi.

Mali: After experiencing military coups in 2020 and 2021, crime, terrorism and kidnapping are all prevalent threats in this West African landlocked nation. In July 2022, non-emergency U.S. government employees and their families were ordered to leave the country due to higher risk of terrorist activity. A U.N. report in August 2023 said that military groups in the country, including both Mali security forces and possibly Russian Wagner mercenaries, were spreading terror through the use of violence against women and human rights abuses. Democratic elections were supposed to occur in February 2024, but Mali’s military junta postponed the plans indefinitely. In December, the U.N. officially ended a decade-long peacekeeping presence in the country, which had been among the agency’s deadliest missions, with hundreds of the mission personnel killed since 2013.

Mexico: Each state in Mexico is assessed separately for travel advisory levels. Six of the 32 states in Mexico are designated as Level 4: Colima, Guerrero, Michoacan, Sinaloa, Tamaulipas and Zacatecas. Crime and kidnapping are listed as the primary risk factors throughout the country. Nearly 112,000 people were missing across the country as of October, a number the U.N. has called “alarming.”

North Korea (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea): U.S. passports are not valid for travel “to, in, or through” this country, home to one of the world's longest-running dynastic dictatorships. The travel advisory states that the Level 4 distinction is due to “the continuing serious risk of arrest and long-term detention of U.S. nationals.” In July 2023, a U.S. soldier fled across the border into North Korea, where he is believed to be in North Korean custody, the first American detained in the North in nearly five years. He was returned to U.S. custody in September 2023.

Russia: The travel advisory for Russia cites its invasion of Ukraine , harassment of U.S. citizens by Russian government officials and arbitrary law enforcement as a few of the reasons for the Level 4 designation. Chechnya and Mount Elbrus are specifically listed as Level 4 regions. Terrorism, civil unrest, health, kidnapping and wrongful detention are all noted as risks.

Russia Invades Ukraine: A Timeline

TOPSHOT - Black smoke rises from a military airport in Chuguyev near Kharkiv  on February 24, 2022. - Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a military operation in Ukraine today with explosions heard soon after across the country and its foreign minister warning a "full-scale invasion" was underway. (Photo by Aris Messinis / AFP) (Photo by ARIS MESSINIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Somalia: A severe drought resulting from five failed rainy seasons in a row killed 43,000 people in 2022, and caused a famine amid conflict with Islamist insurgents . Violent crime is common throughout Somalia , pirates frequent its coast off the Horn of Africa, and medical facilities, where they exist, have limited capacity. Crime, terrorism, civil unrest, health and kidnapping are all risk factors. In January 2024, some passengers aboard a U.N.-contracted helicopter were taken hostage by al-Shabaab militants after the vehicle crashed in central Somalia.

South Sudan: Crime, kidnapping and armed conflict are the primary risk factors for South Sudan, which separated from Sudan in 2011, making it the world’s newest country . Weapons are readily available, and travelers have been victims of sexual assault and armed robbery.

Sudan: The U.S. evacuated its embassy in Khartoum in April 2023, and the country closed its airspace due to the ongoing conflict in the country, only permitting humanitarian aid and evacuation efforts. Fighting has escalated in the region between two warring generals seeking to gain control after a military coup in 2021 ousted the country’s prime minister. Civil unrest is the primary risk factor for Africa’s third largest country by area. Crime, terrorism, kidnapping and armed conflict are also noted. The International Criminal Court began investigating alleged war crimes and violence against African ethnic groups in the country in 2023. Millions have fled their homes due to conflict, and the U.N. has said its efforts to provide aid have been hindered by a lack of support, safety and resources. As recently as December 2023, the United Nations warned of catastrophic famine , with millions of children at-risk for malnutrition .

Syria: The advisory states that “No part of Syria is safe from violence,” with terrorism, civil unrest, kidnapping, armed conflict and risk of unjust detention all potential risk factors. U.S. citizens are often a target for kidnappings and detention. The U.S. Embassy in Damascus halted operations in 2012. Fighting in neighboring Israel has escalated since October, and the conflict has spilled over into Syria, where the U.S. has carried out air strikes following drone and rocket attacks against American troops in Syria and Iraq, triggered by the Israel-Hamas war.

Ukraine: Russian setbacks in their invasion of Ukraine buoyed hopes in Ukraine in 2023. However, Ukraine is a Level 4 country due to Russia’s invasion, with crime and civil unrest also noted as risk factors. The country’s forces shot down two Russian fighter jets on Christmas Eve 2023, in a move Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said “sets the right mood for the entire year ahead.”

Venezuela: Human rights abuses and lack of health care plague this South American nation, which has been in a political crisis since 2014. In 2019, diplomatic personnel were withdrawn from the U.S. Embassy in Caracas. Threats in the country include crime, civil unrest, kidnapping, wrongful detention and poor health infrastructure.

Yemen: Six of the nine risk factors defined by the State Department – terrorism, civil unrest, health risks, kidnapping, armed conflict and landmines – are all present in Yemen. Despite private companies offering tourist visits to the Yemeni island of Socotra, the U.S. government argues those arranging such visits “are putting tourists in danger.” Civil war and cholera are also both present throughout the country. The U.S. Embassy in Sanaa halted operations in 2015. The country has experienced a relative lull in the civil war fighting, but as peace negotiations have gotten traction, flare ups in the fighting have jeopardized progress. Most recently, the U.S. and U.K. have carried out a series of airstrikes in the country, targeting Iran-backed Houthi sites.

Other Countries to Watch

Since Jan. 1, the State Department has updated travel advisories for 17 different countries as well as for the West Bank and Gaza, adding information about specific regions or risk factors, or simply renewing an existing advisory. Travel advisory levels can change based on several factors in a nation, such as increased civil unrest, policies that affect human rights or higher risks of unlawful detention.

The State Department has given about 25 countries an assessment of Level 3, meaning it recommends people “reconsider travel” to those destinations.

On Oct. 14, one week after the deadly Hamas attack on Israel, Israel and the West Bank were both moved from Level 2 to Level 3, while Gaza remains at Level 4. The region’s travel advisory was updated in November to reflect travel restrictions for certain government employees who have not already left the area, and it was updated again on Jan. 3.

Following the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war in early October, the U.S. State Department raised Lebanon ’s travel advisory level from a Level 3 to a Level 4 level due to “the unpredictable security situation related to rocket, missile, and artillery exchanges” between Israel and Hezbollah or other militant groups. In December, the U.S. Embassy in Beirut returned to normal staffing and presence, and on Jan. 29, the country was moved back to Level 3. Crime, terrorism, armed conflict, civil unrest, kidnapping and unexploded landmines are listed as the country’s primary risk factors. However, the country’s borders with Syria and with Israel, as well as refugee settlements within Lebanon, are specifically noted as Level 4 regions.

China became a Level 3 country in late 2020, with an update in December 2022 citing “the surge in COVID-19 cases, arbitrary enforcement of local laws, and COVID-19-related restrictions” as the reason for the advisory. In June 2023, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) was moved from the Level 3 to the Level 2 list, but travelers are still advised to be cautious in the area due to “arbitrary enforcement of local laws.” Meanwhile, Macau remains at Level 3.

Following an attempted coup in August 2023, Niger was elevated to Level 4 in August and the Department of State ordered all non-emergency U.S. government personnel and family members to leave the U.S. Embassy in Niamey. In early January 2024, the overall risk level for the country was lowered back to Level 3. Despite the new classification, the State Department still asks non-emergency government personnel and eligible family members to depart the country.

In mid-December 2023 there was an explosion at Guinea’s main fuel depot which has since affected access to health care and basic goods and services. The country was subsequently designated a Level 3 nation after having previously been Level 2. Concerns about civil unrest, health, crime and fuel shortages impacting local infrastructure were listed as the primary risk factors contributing to the change.

Several Level 3 countries are among the worst countries for human trafficking, as designated by the State Department’s annual Trafficking in Persons Report . Level 3 countries on this list include Papua New Guinea, Guinea Bissau, China and Chad. There are also nine Level 4 countries designated as among the worst for human trafficking: Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran, Myanmar, North Korea, Russia, Syria, South Sudan and Venezuela.

Over 70 countries are currently at Level 2, meaning the State Department recommends travelers “exercise increased caution” when traveling to those destinations.

Botswana became the newest Level 2 country on Feb. 26 after having previously been Level 1, with crime noted as the primary risk factor.

France, which saw nationwide protests throughout 2023, has civil unrest and terrorism noted as risk factors for its Level 2 status, and Sweden’s Level 2 status is associated with risks of terrorism.

The Level 2 travel advisory for the Bahamas was updated in January to reflect water safety concerns. The advisory warns that “activities involving commercial recreational watercraft, including water tours, are not consistently regulated” and notes that government personnel are “not permitted to use independently operated jet-ski rentals on New Providence and Paradise Islands.” It also warns visitors to be mindful of sharks, weather and water conditions. The advisory also says that crime is a primary risk factor with gang-on-gang violence contributing to high homicide rates in some areas. Visitors are asked to “be vigilant” and to not physically resist robbery attempts.

Bangladesh 's Level 2 travel advisory was updated in October 2023 to add a note about the country’s general election , which took place Jan. 7, 2024. The advisory states “demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence.” The U.S. has since claimed the country’s election was not free nor fair.

In November 2023, several Level 2 travel advisories were updated with new cautionary information. The advisory for Ghana was updated to reflect threats against LGBTQI+ travelers specifically, noting “anti-LGBTQI+ rhetoric and violence have increased in recent years.” Meanwhile, the advisory for South Africa was updated in February to note that routes recommended by GPS may be unsafe with higher risk for crime.

Turkmenistan was moved off of the Level 2 list to become the newest addition to the Level 1 list on Jan. 22, meaning normal precautions are recommended but there are no risk factors causing travelers to practice increased caution.

The State Department asks travelers to pay attention to travel advisory levels and alerts , review country information pages for their destinations and read related country security reports before going abroad.

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Is It Safe to Travel to Mexico? Here’s What You Need to Know.

A spate of incidents, including a kidnapping and the death of two Americans near the border, have prompted travel warnings from the U.S. government.

travel level mexico

By Elisabeth Malkin and Isabella Kwai

Two Americans found dead after they were attacked and kidnapped near the border. Airports shuttered amid gang violence in Sinaloa. Turmoil among taxi drivers in Cancún.

A number of recent security incidents have raised concerns about the risks of traveling to Mexico, where more than 20 million tourists flew last year to visit the country’s beaches, cities and archaeological sites, or to obtain health care .

Ahead of the spring break holiday, a popular time for American tourists to visit the country, the U.S. Embassy issued a travel alert , urging visitors to exercise caution by avoiding dangerous situations and drinking responsibly, among other recommendations. “Crime, including violent crime, can occur anywhere in Mexico, including in popular tourist destinations,” the alert said. And the State Department has warned tourists to steer clear of six states, including the state of Tamaulipas, where the recent kidnapping occurred — and to exercise increased precautions in other popular destinations like Playa del Carmen, Cancún, Tulum and Mexico City.

An overwhelming majority of visitors enjoy a safe vacation in Mexico, and tourists are largely sheltered from the violence that grips local communities. But the attack and kidnapping of four Americans in the border city of Matamoros, two of whom were later found dead, along with recent disorder in Cancún and violence in early January that forced the closure of three airports in northwest Mexico, is prompting questions about whether the country’s broader unrest is spilling into other destinations.

What happened on the border?

On March 3, four Americans from South Carolina traveling in a white minivan crossed the border from Brownsville, Texas, into the city of Matamoros, in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas. One of the Americans was scheduled for cosmetic surgery.

Soon after the Americans crossed the border, gunmen fired on their vehicle and then abducted the group in a pickup truck. Officials later said that two of the group were found dead at a rural location alongside the other two, who had survived.

The Americans were attacked as a result of “confusion,” according to Irving Barrios, the state prosecutor in Tamaulipas. Matamoros has a long history of violence and highway shootouts, though that reputation has partially subsided in recent years. Then, in late February, one gang moved into the city to wrest control of drug sales from another, said Eduardo Guerrero, the director of Lantia Intelligence , a security consulting company in Mexico City.

“There are places in the country where the situation can change abruptly from one week to another,” he said. While the motives in the attack remain unclear, the Americans had “very bad luck,” Mr. Guerrero said, because they likely stumbled into a battle between the two gangs.

What happened earlier this year in Cancún?

Uber has been challenging the taxi unions for the right to operate in Cancún and won a court decision in its favor on Jan. 11. The ruling infuriated the powerful unions, which are believed to have links to local organized crime figures and former governors. Taxi drivers then began harassing and threatening Uber drivers.

The conflict generated widespread attention after a video of taxi drivers forcing a Russian-speaking family out of their rideshare car went viral, and after unions blocked the main road leading to Cancún’s hotel zone. That prompted the U.S. Embassy in Mexico to issue a security alert .

Mr. Guerrero said that the authorities will try to negotiate some kind of compromise, but there was a probability of more violence ahead.

Have authorities curbed violence that might affect tourists?

As a rule, criminals in Mexico are careful not to kill tourists, Mr. Guerrero explained, because doing so “can set in motion a persecution that can last years,” the consequences of which can be “very dissuasive,” he said.

But the rule doesn’t always hold. And in two popular destinations for foreign tourists — Los Cabos , at the tip of the Baja California peninsula, and the Caribbean coast — local and state officials have recently sought help from the United States to take on organized crime that threatened to drive off tourists.

A spasm of violence at the end of 2021 and early 2022 rattled the tourist industry along the Riviera Maya, the 80-mile strip of Caribbean resorts south of Cancún. Two visitors were killed in crossfire between local gangs in Tulum; a gunfight on a beach in Puerto Morelos sent tourists running for cover into a nearby hotel; a hit man gained entry to a luxury hotel in Playa del Carmen and killed two Canadian tourists believed to have links to organized crime.

The federal government sent National Guard units to patrol the beaches, and Quintana Roo state authorities asked U.S. law enforcement agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Drug Enforcement Administration, to provide intelligence, Mr. Guerrero said. Local authorities, flush with tourism revenues, invested in the police, which is typically the weakest link in Mexican law enforcement.

The joint approach led to a lull in gangland gun battles in Quintana Roo’s tourist areas, and experts say that drug sales to meet foreign demand no longer take place on the street, although they are continuing more discreetly.

The success in tamping down drug violence in Quintana Roo follows a similar improvement in Los Cabos a couple of years ago when U.S. authorities also collaborated with local officials in the state of Baja California Sur. The murder rate soared in Los Cabos in 2017 amid cartel wars, and although tourists were not targeted, that year police chased gunmen into the lobby of a luxury hotel in San José del Cabo, and a cooler containing two heads was left in a tourist area.

What about tourist areas in other states?

Even in states where crime is very high, tourist areas have generally been spared. San Miguel de Allende, a haven for U.S. retirees, is an island of relative peace in a state, Guanajuato, that has been riddled with cartel violence .

The Pacific Coast state of Jalisco, home to the resort of Puerto Vallarta, picturesque tequila country and the cultural and gastronomic attractions of the state capital, Guadalajara , is also the center of operations of the extremely violent Jalisco New Generation Cartel . The cartel’s focus of violence is in the countryside; Puerto Vallarta and the beaches to its north, including the exclusive peninsula of Punta Mita and the surfers’ hangout of Sayulita, are all booming — and, despite drug sales, the cartel’s control seems to limit open conflict.

Mexico City has become a magnet for digital nomads and shorter term visitors , and concerns about violence there have receded. The city’s police force has been successful in reducing violent crime, particularly homicides, and the number of killings has been cut almost in half over the past three years.

Are there any other safety concerns?

Street crime is still a problem almost everywhere, especially in bigger cities and crowded spaces. Kidnapping and carjacking are a risk in certain regions and many businesses that cater to tourists operate under extortion threats. While tourists may not be aware of underlying criminal forces, their power sometimes spills out into the open in spectacular shows of violence.

The attack in Matamoros is only the most recent example. Mexican border cities, which have long endured waves of violence, are not typically tourist destinations, although Americans often cross the border to visit family, seek out cheaper health care or dine at restaurants.

Three airports in the state of Sinaloa, including the beach destination Mazatlán, were closed on Jan. 5 amid gang violence after Mexican security forces arrested Ovidio Guzmán López, a son of Joaquín Guzmán Loera, the crime lord known as El Chapo, who is serving a life sentence in the United States. A stray bullet fired by cartel gunmen shooting at a Mexican military plane as it landed at the airport in the state capital, Culiacán, clipped an Aeromexico plane preparing to take off for Mexico City. Nobody was hurt and the plane returned to the terminal.

In August, gunmen positioned burning cars and buses to block roads around Guadalajara in response to a military raid on a meeting of criminal bosses. In October, a local politician was shot and killed in an upscale steakhouse in suburban Guadalajara as terrified diners crawled to safety.

Pierre de Hail, the president of Janus Group Mexico, a risk management company in Monterrey, is skeptical that security has improved. “There is too much random risk,” he said. “It’s all about being in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

What precautions should tourists take?

Mr. de Hail recommends researching the resort and news from the area you’re visiting. The U.S. State Department provides state-by-state information about travel risks in Mexico. As of early March, the department had issued its strongest possible warning — Level 4: Do Not Travel — for six states, including Tamaulipas and Sinaloa. Quintana Roo and Baja California Sur are at Level 2, indicating that visitors should exercise increased caution. (By comparison, the same Level 2 advisory is applied to France and Spain.)

The Matamoros incident shows how violence can flare up in places that have been quiet recently. Mr. Guerrero suggests searching on the internet before traveling for news of recent outbreaks.

Mr. de Hail also suggests buying travel insurance in case of a medical emergency or theft, and recommends that tourists keep a low profile to avoid attracting attention, he said, warning that it is easy to misread situations.

As anywhere, common sense should prevail, Mr. de Hail said: Don’t wear expensive watches or jewelry, and avoid dark and deserted places. He recommends making a copy of your passport, remaining alert while walking home at night and not leaving your drinks unattended. “I have had numerous cases of people asking for help because they were extorted coming back from bars,” he said.

He added: “If you’re staying in a place that has a report of strikes or demonstrations, don’t go there. You’re a fish out of water.”

Follow New York Times Travel on Instagram , Twitter and Facebook . And sign up for our weekly Travel Dispatch newsletter to receive expert tips on traveling smarter and inspiration for your next vacation. Dreaming up a future getaway or just armchair traveling? Check out our 52 Places to Go in 2023 .

Isabella Kwai is a breaking news reporter in the London bureau. She joined The Times in 2017 as part of the Australia bureau. More about Isabella Kwai

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U.S. Issues Travel Warning for Mexico Ahead of Spring Break

The warning is asking travelers to “travel smart” and “be informed."

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The United States is warning travelers heading to Mexico to be aware of their surroundings ahead of the spring break holiday season.

The warning , which was issued this week by the U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Mexico, reminds travelers to “travel smart” and “be informed” as “thousands of U.S. citizens visit Mexico during spring break” each year. The embassy continued that “while the vast majority travel safely,” visitors should be aware of issues with crime, drugs, unregulated alcohol, drownings, and more. 

“Crime, including violent crime, can occur anywhere in Mexico, including in popular tourist destinations. Travelers should maintain a high level of situational awareness, avoid areas where illicit activities occur, and promptly depart from potentially dangerous situations,” the embassy warned. “U.S. citizens should exercise increased caution in the downtown areas of popular spring break locations including Cancun, Playa Del Carmen, and Tulum, especially after dark.”

The warning also reminded American travelers that drug possession and use is illegal in Mexico, including medical marijuana. It also advised that unregulated alcohol may be contaminated, that counterfeit medication is common, and that guns are illegal in Mexico.

When it comes to the country’s popular beaches, the embassy reminded travelers some beaches may have strong rip tides and “may lack lifeguards, warnings, or signs of unsafe conditions.”

The U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Mexico issued a similar spring break warning last year .

The U.S. Department of State classifies different states in Mexico under different warning levels. While travelers can “exercise normal precautions” when traveling to the Campeche and Yucatan states, the State Department warns them to “exercise increased caution” when heading to places like Baja California Sur (where Los Cabos is), Mexico City, and Quintana Roo (where Cancun is) due to crime.

The State Department also asks American travelers to “reconsider” going to the state of Jalisco, which is home to popular destination Puerto Vallarta , due to the danger of crime and kidnapping.

The State Department recommends Americans who do travel to Mexico keep people at home informed of their travel plans and enroll in the department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to both receive alerts and make it easier to locate them if an emergency occurs.

Travelers heading to international destinations can view all current travel advisories on the State Department's website at .

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Mexico Traveler View

Travel health notices, vaccines and medicines, non-vaccine-preventable diseases, stay healthy and safe.

  • Packing List

After Your Trip

Map - Mexico

Be aware of current health issues in Mexico. Learn how to protect yourself.

Level 1 Practice Usual Precautions

  • Dengue in the Americas February 28, 2024 Dengue is a risk in many parts of Central and South America, Mexico, and the Caribbean. Some countries are reporting increased numbers of cases of the disease. Travelers to the Americas can protect themselves by preventing mosquito bites. Destination List: Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, French Guiana (France), Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique (France), Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Saint Barthelemy, Saint Martin, Turks and Caicos Islands (U.K.)
  • Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever in Mexico December 11, 2023 There have been reports of Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF) in people traveling to the United States from Tecate, in the state of Baja California, Mexico.
  • Salmonella Newport in Mexico September 08, 2022 Some travelers who have spent time in Mexico have been infected with multidrug-resistant (MDR) Salmonella Newport.

⇧ Top

Check the vaccines and medicines list and visit your doctor at least a month before your trip to get vaccines or medicines you may need. If you or your doctor need help finding a location that provides certain vaccines or medicines, visit the Find a Clinic page.

Routine vaccines


Make sure you are up-to-date on all routine vaccines before every trip. Some of these vaccines include

  • Chickenpox (Varicella)
  • Diphtheria-Tetanus-Pertussis
  • Flu (influenza)
  • Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR)

Immunization schedules

All eligible travelers should be up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines. Please see  Your COVID-19 Vaccination  for more information. 

COVID-19 vaccine

Hepatitis A

Recommended for unvaccinated travelers one year old or older going to Mexico.

Infants 6 to 11 months old should also be vaccinated against Hepatitis A. The dose does not count toward the routine 2-dose series.

Travelers allergic to a vaccine component or who are younger than 6 months should receive a single dose of immune globulin, which provides effective protection for up to 2 months depending on dosage given.

Unvaccinated travelers who are over 40 years old, immunocompromised, or have chronic medical conditions planning to depart to a risk area in less than 2 weeks should get the initial dose of vaccine and at the same appointment receive immune globulin.

Hepatitis A - CDC Yellow Book

Dosing info - Hep A

Hepatitis B

Recommended for unvaccinated travelers younger than 60 years old traveling to Mexico. Unvaccinated travelers 60 years and older may get vaccinated before traveling to Mexico.

Hepatitis B - CDC Yellow Book

Dosing info - Hep B

CDC recommends that travelers going to certain areas of Mexico take prescription medicine to prevent malaria. Depending on the medicine you take, you will need to start taking this medicine multiple days before your trip, as well as during and after your trip. Talk to your doctor about which malaria medication you should take.

Find  country-specific information  about malaria.

Malaria - CDC Yellow Book

Considerations when choosing a drug for malaria prophylaxis (CDC Yellow Book)

Malaria information for Mexico.

Cases of measles are on the rise worldwide. Travelers are at risk of measles if they have not been fully vaccinated at least two weeks prior to departure, or have not had measles in the past, and travel internationally to areas where measles is spreading.

All international travelers should be fully vaccinated against measles with the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, including an early dose for infants 6–11 months, according to  CDC’s measles vaccination recommendations for international travel .

Measles (Rubeola) - CDC Yellow Book

Rabid dogs are commonly found in Mexico. However, if you are bitten or scratched by a dog or other mammal while in Mexico, rabies treatment is often available. 

Consider rabies vaccination before your trip if your activities mean you will be around dogs or wildlife.

Travelers more likely to encounter rabid animals include

  • Campers, adventure travelers, or cave explorers (spelunkers)
  • Veterinarians, animal handlers, field biologists, or laboratory workers handling animal specimens
  • Visitors to rural areas

Since children are more likely to be bitten or scratched by a dog or other animals, consider rabies vaccination for children traveling to Mexico. 

Rabies - CDC Yellow Book

Recommended for most travelers, especially those staying with friends or relatives or visiting smaller cities or rural areas.

Typhoid - CDC Yellow Book

Dosing info - Typhoid

Avoid contaminated water


How most people get sick (most common modes of transmission)

  • Touching urine or other body fluids from an animal infected with leptospirosis
  • Swimming or wading in urine-contaminated fresh water, or contact with urine-contaminated mud
  • Drinking water or eating food contaminated with animal urine
  • Avoid contaminated water and soil

Clinical Guidance

Avoid bug bites, chagas disease (american trypanosomiasis).

  • Accidentally rub feces (poop) of the triatomine bug into the bug bite, other breaks in the skin, your eyes, or mouth
  • From pregnant woman to her baby, contaminated blood products (transfusions), or contaminated food or drink.
  • Avoid Bug Bites

Chagas disease

  • Mosquito bite


  • Sand fly bite
  • An infected pregnant woman can spread it to her unborn baby

Airborne & droplet

Avian/bird flu.

  • Being around, touching, or working with infected poultry, such as visiting poultry farms or live-animal markets
  • Avoid domestic and wild poultry
  • Breathing in air or accidentally eating food contaminated with the urine, droppings, or saliva of infected rodents
  • Bite from an infected rodent
  • Less commonly, being around someone sick with hantavirus (only occurs with Andes virus)
  • Avoid rodents and areas where they live
  • Avoid sick people

Tuberculosis (TB)

  • Breathe in TB bacteria that is in the air from an infected and contagious person coughing, speaking, or singing.

Learn actions you can take to stay healthy and safe on your trip. Vaccines cannot protect you from many diseases in Mexico, so your behaviors are important.

Eat and drink safely

Food and water standards around the world vary based on the destination. Standards may also differ within a country and risk may change depending on activity type (e.g., hiking versus business trip). You can learn more about safe food and drink choices when traveling by accessing the resources below.

  • Choose Safe Food and Drinks When Traveling
  • Water Treatment Options When Hiking, Camping or Traveling
  • Global Water, Sanitation and Hygiene | Healthy Water
  • Avoid Contaminated Water During Travel

You can also visit the Department of State Country Information Pages for additional information about food and water safety.

Prevent bug bites

Bugs (like mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas) can spread a number of diseases in Mexico. Many of these diseases cannot be prevented with a vaccine or medicine. You can reduce your risk by taking steps to prevent bug bites.

What can I do to prevent bug bites?

  • Cover exposed skin by wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and hats.
  • Use an appropriate insect repellent (see below).
  • Use permethrin-treated clothing and gear (such as boots, pants, socks, and tents). Do not use permethrin directly on skin.
  • Stay and sleep in air-conditioned or screened rooms.
  • Use a bed net if the area where you are sleeping is exposed to the outdoors.

What type of insect repellent should I use?

  • FOR PROTECTION AGAINST TICKS AND MOSQUITOES: Use a repellent that contains 20% or more DEET for protection that lasts up to several hours.
  • Picaridin (also known as KBR 3023, Bayrepel, and icaridin)
  • Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) or para-menthane-diol (PMD)
  • 2-undecanone
  • Always use insect repellent as directed.

What should I do if I am bitten by bugs?

  • Avoid scratching bug bites, and apply hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion to reduce the itching.
  • Check your entire body for ticks after outdoor activity. Be sure to remove ticks properly.

What can I do to avoid bed bugs?

Although bed bugs do not carry disease, they are an annoyance. See our information page about avoiding bug bites for some easy tips to avoid them. For more information on bed bugs, see Bed Bugs .

For more detailed information on avoiding bug bites, see Avoid Bug Bites .

Some diseases in Mexico—such as dengue, Zika, leishmaniasis, and Chagas disease—are spread by bugs and cannot be prevented with a vaccine. Follow the insect avoidance measures described above to prevent these and other illnesses.

Stay safe outdoors

If your travel plans in Mexico include outdoor activities, take these steps to stay safe and healthy during your trip.

  • Stay alert to changing weather conditions and adjust your plans if conditions become unsafe.
  • Prepare for activities by wearing the right clothes and packing protective items, such as bug spray, sunscreen, and a basic first aid kit.
  • Consider learning basic first aid and CPR before travel. Bring a travel health kit with items appropriate for your activities.
  • If you are outside for many hours in heat, eat salty snacks and drink water to stay hydrated and replace salt lost through sweating.
  • Protect yourself from UV radiation : use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15, wear protective clothing, and seek shade during the hottest time of day (10 a.m.–4 p.m.).
  • Be especially careful during summer months and at high elevation. Because sunlight reflects off snow, sand, and water, sun exposure may be increased during activities like skiing, swimming, and sailing.
  • Very cold temperatures can be dangerous. Dress in layers and cover heads, hands, and feet properly if you are visiting a cold location.

Stay safe around water

  • Swim only in designated swimming areas. Obey lifeguards and warning flags on beaches.
  • Practice safe boating—follow all boating safety laws, do not drink alcohol if driving a boat, and always wear a life jacket.
  • Do not dive into shallow water.
  • Do not swim in freshwater in developing areas or where sanitation is poor.
  • Avoid swallowing water when swimming. Untreated water can carry germs that make you sick.
  • To prevent infections, wear shoes on beaches where there may be animal waste.

Leptospirosis, a bacterial infection that can be spread in fresh water, is found in Mexico. Avoid swimming in fresh, unchlorinated water, such as lakes, ponds, or rivers.

Keep away from animals

Most animals avoid people, but they may attack if they feel threatened, are protecting their young or territory, or if they are injured or ill. Animal bites and scratches can lead to serious diseases such as rabies.

Follow these tips to protect yourself:

  • Do not touch or feed any animals you do not know.
  • Do not allow animals to lick open wounds, and do not get animal saliva in your eyes or mouth.
  • Avoid rodents and their urine and feces.
  • Traveling pets should be supervised closely and not allowed to come in contact with local animals.
  • If you wake in a room with a bat, seek medical care immediately. Bat bites may be hard to see.

All animals can pose a threat, but be extra careful around dogs, bats, monkeys, sea animals such as jellyfish, and snakes. If you are bitten or scratched by an animal, immediately:

  • Wash the wound with soap and clean water.
  • Go to a doctor right away.
  • Tell your doctor about your injury when you get back to the United States.

Consider buying medical evacuation insurance. Rabies is a deadly disease that must be treated quickly, and treatment may not be available in some countries.

Reduce your exposure to germs

Follow these tips to avoid getting sick or spreading illness to others while traveling:

  • Wash your hands often, especially before eating.
  • If soap and water aren’t available, clean hands with hand sanitizer (containing at least 60% alcohol).
  • Don’t touch your eyes, nose, or mouth. If you need to touch your face, make sure your hands are clean.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Try to avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • If you are sick, stay home or in your hotel room, unless you need medical care.

Avoid sharing body fluids

Diseases can be spread through body fluids, such as saliva, blood, vomit, and semen.

Protect yourself:

  • Use latex condoms correctly.
  • Do not inject drugs.
  • Limit alcohol consumption. People take more risks when intoxicated.
  • Do not share needles or any devices that can break the skin. That includes needles for tattoos, piercings, and acupuncture.
  • If you receive medical or dental care, make sure the equipment is disinfected or sanitized.

Know how to get medical care while traveling

Plan for how you will get health care during your trip, should the need arise:

  • Carry a list of local doctors and hospitals at your destination.
  • Review your health insurance plan to determine what medical services it would cover during your trip. Consider purchasing travel health and medical evacuation insurance.
  • Carry a card that identifies, in the local language, your blood type, chronic conditions or serious allergies, and the generic names of any medications you take.
  • Some prescription drugs may be illegal in other countries. Call Mexico’s embassy to verify that all of your prescription(s) are legal to bring with you.
  • Bring all the medicines (including over-the-counter medicines) you think you might need during your trip, including extra in case of travel delays. Ask your doctor to help you get prescriptions filled early if you need to.

Many foreign hospitals and clinics are accredited by the Joint Commission International. A list of accredited facilities is available at their website ( ).

In some countries, medicine (prescription and over-the-counter) may be substandard or counterfeit. Bring the medicines you will need from the United States to avoid having to buy them at your destination.

Malaria is a risk in some parts of Mexico. If you are going to a risk area, fill your malaria prescription before you leave, and take enough with you for the entire length of your trip. Follow your doctor’s instructions for taking the pills; some need to be started before you leave.

Select safe transportation

Motor vehicle crashes are the #1 killer of healthy US citizens in foreign countries.

In many places cars, buses, large trucks, rickshaws, bikes, people on foot, and even animals share the same lanes of traffic, increasing the risk for crashes.

Be smart when you are traveling on foot.

  • Use sidewalks and marked crosswalks.
  • Pay attention to the traffic around you, especially in crowded areas.
  • Remember, people on foot do not always have the right of way in other countries.


Choose a safe vehicle.

  • Choose official taxis or public transportation, such as trains and buses.
  • Ride only in cars that have seatbelts.
  • Avoid overcrowded, overloaded, top-heavy buses and minivans.
  • Avoid riding on motorcycles or motorbikes, especially motorbike taxis. (Many crashes are caused by inexperienced motorbike drivers.)
  • Choose newer vehicles—they may have more safety features, such as airbags, and be more reliable.
  • Choose larger vehicles, which may provide more protection in crashes.

Think about the driver.

  • Do not drive after drinking alcohol or ride with someone who has been drinking.
  • Consider hiring a licensed, trained driver familiar with the area.
  • Arrange payment before departing.

Follow basic safety tips.

  • Wear a seatbelt at all times.
  • Sit in the back seat of cars and taxis.
  • When on motorbikes or bicycles, always wear a helmet. (Bring a helmet from home, if needed.)
  • Avoid driving at night; street lighting in certain parts of Mexico may be poor.
  • Do not use a cell phone or text while driving (illegal in many countries).
  • Travel during daylight hours only, especially in rural areas.
  • If you choose to drive a vehicle in Mexico, learn the local traffic laws and have the proper paperwork.
  • Get any driving permits and insurance you may need. Get an International Driving Permit (IDP). Carry the IDP and a US-issued driver's license at all times.
  • Check with your auto insurance policy's international coverage, and get more coverage if needed. Make sure you have liability insurance.
  • Avoid using local, unscheduled aircraft.
  • If possible, fly on larger planes (more than 30 seats); larger airplanes are more likely to have regular safety inspections.
  • Try to schedule flights during daylight hours and in good weather.

Medical Evacuation Insurance

If you are seriously injured, emergency care may not be available or may not meet US standards. Trauma care centers are uncommon outside urban areas. Having medical evacuation insurance can be helpful for these reasons.

Helpful Resources

Road Safety Overseas (Information from the US Department of State): Includes tips on driving in other countries, International Driving Permits, auto insurance, and other resources.

The Association for International Road Travel has country-specific Road Travel Reports available for most countries for a minimal fee.

For information traffic safety and road conditions in Mexico, see Travel and Transportation on US Department of State's country-specific information for Mexico .

Maintain personal security

Use the same common sense traveling overseas that you would at home, and always stay alert and aware of your surroundings.

Before you leave

  • Research your destination(s), including local laws, customs, and culture.
  • Monitor travel advisories and alerts and read travel tips from the US Department of State.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) .
  • Leave a copy of your itinerary, contact information, credit cards, and passport with someone at home.
  • Pack as light as possible, and leave at home any item you could not replace.

While at your destination(s)

  • Carry contact information for the nearest US embassy or consulate .
  • Carry a photocopy of your passport and entry stamp; leave the actual passport securely in your hotel.
  • Follow all local laws and social customs.
  • Do not wear expensive clothing or jewelry.
  • Always keep hotel doors locked, and store valuables in secure areas.
  • If possible, choose hotel rooms between the 2nd and 6th floors.

To call for emergency services while in Mexico, dial 066, 060, or 080. Write these numbers down to carry with you during your trip.

Learn as much as you can about Mexico before you travel there. A good place to start is the country-specific information on Mexico from the US Department of State.

Americans in Mexico have been arrested for purchasing souvenirs that were, or looked like, antiques and that local customs authorities believed were national treasures. Familiarize yourself with any local regulations for antiques and follow these tips:

  • When you are considering purchasing an authentic antique or a reproduction, ask if you are allowed to export these items before you purchase them.
  • If you buy a reproduction, document on the customs form that it is a reproduction.
  • If you buy an authentic antique, obtain the necessary export permit (often from the national museum).

Healthy Travel Packing List

Use the Healthy Travel Packing List for Mexico for a list of health-related items to consider packing for your trip. Talk to your doctor about which items are most important for you.

Why does CDC recommend packing these health-related items?

It’s best to be prepared to prevent and treat common illnesses and injuries. Some supplies and medicines may be difficult to find at your destination, may have different names, or may have different ingredients than what you normally use.

If you are not feeling well after your trip, you may need to see a doctor. If you need help finding a travel medicine specialist, see Find a Clinic . Be sure to tell your doctor about your travel, including where you went and what you did on your trip. Also tell your doctor if you were bitten or scratched by an animal while traveling.

If your doctor prescribed antimalarial medicine for your trip, keep taking the rest of your pills after you return home. If you stop taking your medicine too soon, you could still get sick.

Malaria is always a serious disease and may be a deadly illness. If you become ill with a fever either while traveling in a malaria-risk area or after you return home (for up to 1 year), you should seek immediate medical attention and should tell the doctor about your travel history.

For more information on what to do if you are sick after your trip, see Getting Sick after Travel .

Map Disclaimer - The boundaries and names shown and the designations used on maps do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries. Approximate border lines for which there may not yet be full agreement are generally marked.

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Is Mexico travel safe? What to know about visiting Cabo, Cancun, Playa del Carmen and more

travel level mexico

With its warm climate, beautiful beaches and proximity to the U.S., Mexico is a popular tourist destination for many Americans. But recent incidents may have some people wondering if they should reconsider their travel plans.

Over the past few months, taxi drivers have been harassing Ubers in Cancun  and there was the death of three Americans in Mexico City in October. Now an updated  Travel Advisory warns of crime and kidnapping.

"We get this one a lot, especially by folks who haven't traveled as much, haven't left the country before, or have read stories about 'Mexico being dangerous' but maybe don't recognize it's a large, diverse country, much like ours," Jack Benoff, president of  Vacationeeze , which specializes in destination weddings in Mexico, told USA TODAY. Many of Benoff's clients plan trips to Cancun and Riviera Maya, known for their turquoise beaches and myriad resorts. 

Stay safe while traveling: Here are 17 CIA tips, advice to think like a spy on vacation

Staying safe: US tourists warned about popular Mexico spots plagued by drug cartel intimidation, violence

Learn more: Best travel insurance

The State Department updated the Travel Advisory for Mexico  on Oct. 5, which is done regularly. Several tourist destinations, like Mexico City, Sayulita and Cancun, now have warnings related to cartel-related crime.

"The safety and security of U.S. citizens overseas is one of the department’s highest priorities, and we provide U.S. citizens with relevant information so they can make well-informed decisions before they travel," a State Department spokesperson said. 

Read below to learn more about the Travel Advisory for Mexico's most popular tourist destinations and safety tips for visiting those areas. 

Taxis vs. Uber: US issues Mexico security alert as Cancun taxi drivers block road, harass Uber cars

What is the updated Travel Advisory for Mexico?

Rather than providing one overall assessment for the entire country, each state is assessed individually, because some areas have an increased risk of crime and kidnapping.

► The agency issued a "do not travel to" warning for the Colima, Guerrero, Michoacan, Sinaloa, Tamaulipas and Zacatecas state because of violent crime. 

► A "reconsider travel to" warning has been issued for Baja California and Jalisco, where Puerto Vallarta is.

► Mexico City, Nayarit, Baja California Sur, Quintana Roo and Oaxaca are issued an "exercised increased caution when traveling to" warning. Baja California Sur is home to Cabo San Lucas, San Jose del Cabo and La Paz. In Nayarit, many tourists visit the surf town Sayulita. Quintana Roo is home to Cancun, Tulum, Riviera Maya, Cozumel and Playa del Carmen. Surfers also like to visit Puerto Escondido in Oaxaca. 

Travelers can "exercise normal precautions" when traveling to Yucatan, which includes the popular attraction Chichén Itzá. Yucatan state is right above Quintana Roo, where people should be more cautious because of crime and kidnapping, according to the State Department.

Protecting the sharks: Mexico indefinitely bans great white shark cage-diving at this tourist hotspot

'A terrible tragedy': 3 American tourists die of gas inhalation in Mexico City Airbnb

What are some safety travel tips for visiting Mexico?

The State Department has several resources to help keep travelers safe. The agency encourages U.S. travelers to read the entire Mexico Travel Advisory and its Traveler's Checklist , which details more information about traveling abroad.

There is also the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program , a free service for U.S. travelers to receive safety alerts about their destination from the U.S. Embassy in real time.

"Generally speaking, if you're in a resort town and at a reputable location, you're at a much lower risk," travel agent Benoff said.

Most resorts have security guards and gates, so staying on the property is pretty safe. "If you're leaving the resort property, ensure you have the correct address to where you're going and let the front desk know you're leaving and when you plan to return," he said.

"​Use the same safety precautions you would when traveling anywhere."

A few of his top tips include:

  • Don't flaunt cash.
  • Use an ATM inside a bank or resort.
  • Use the safe in your room.
  • Bring two printed copies of your passport and other important documents, like medication or driver's licenses. 
  • Consider t ravel insurance to help protect stolen or lost personal property. 

Kathleen Wong is a travel reporter based in Hawaii. You can reach her at [email protected]

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travel level mexico

Latest update

Exercise a high degree of caution in Mexico overall due to the threat of violent crime.

Higher levels apply in some areas.


Mexico (PDF 1007.79 KB)

Americas (PDF 3.25 MB)

Local emergency contacts

Fire and rescue services, medical emergencies.

Call 911 or go to the hospital.

Call 911 or go to the local police station.

Advice levels

Exercise a high degree of caution in Mexico overall.

Reconsider your need to travel to Michoacán (except Morelia and Lázaro Cardenas and the Monarch butterfly reserves), Sierra Madre Occidental Mountains in southern Chihuahua and the states of Guerrero (including Acapulco), North-eastern Sinaloa, North-western Durango, South-eastern Sonora (except for the Chihuahua-Pacific Railway), Tamaulipas and Zacatecas.

Reconsider your need to travel to:

  • Michoacán (except Morelia and Lázaro Cardenas and the Monarch butterfly reserves)
  • Sierra Madre Occidental Mountains in southern Chihuahua
  • Guerrero State (including Acapulco)
  • North-eastern Sinaloa State 
  • North-western Durango State
  • South-eastern Sonora State (except for the Chihuahua-Pacific Railway)
  • Tamaulipas State, and
  • Zacatecas State.

due to high levels of violent crime (including kidnapping and extortion) and their volatile security situation.

  • Avoid protests and large public gatherings. These can become violent. It's against the law for foreigners to participate in political activity. 
  • Mexico has a high risk of violent crime, including murder, armed robbery, sexual assault and kidnapping. Don't travel at night outside major cities. Drug-related violence is widespread.
  • Kidnapping and extortion are serious risks. Don't draw attention to your money or business affairs. Only use ATMs in public spaces and during the daytime.
  • Stop at all roadblocks, or you risk getting killed.
  • Hurricanes and earthquakes are common in Mexico. Local authorities will direct you to your nearest shelter in the event of a hurricane. Know the earthquake safety measures where you're staying.

Full travel advice: Safety

  • Malaria and Zika virus are risks in Mexico. If you're pregnant, ask your doctor about the risk of Zika virus before you travel.
  • Mexico has insect-borne diseases, including dengue fever, chikungunya, Chagas disease and leishmaniasis. Ensure your accommodation is insect-proof. Use insect repellent.
  • Parts of Mexico are at high altitudes. Air pollution can also cause health issues, particularly over winter (December to February). Talk to your doctor before you travel if you have heart, lung or breathing issues.

Full travel advice: Health

  • Smoking, including vaping, is banned in all public places in Mexico, including beaches, parks, hotels and restaurants. Importing electronic cigarettes and vaping devices is also prohibited. You may be fined or arrested.
  • Some activities are illegal for foreigners in Mexico. These include political activity, driving without insurance, and failing to report a road accident. Ensure you understand and follow local laws.
  • Possessing or exporting ancient Mexican artefacts and carrying firearms or ammunition without a permit are also illegal. Apply for a firearm permit at a Mexican embassy or consulate before you arrive.
  • Although same-sex marriage is legal in Mexico, some parts of the country are conservative. LGBTI travellers should consider limiting public displays of affection.

Full travel advice: Local laws

  • If you're visiting for 180 days or less as a tourist, you'll receive a visa on arrival. To avoid being detained or deported, you must complete an online Multiple Immigration Form (FMM) and obtain a QR code. 
  • Make sure immigration officials stamp your passport on arrival, as this will state the number of days your visa will be valid. Entry and exit conditions can change at short notice. You should contact the nearest embassy or consulate of Mexico for the latest details.
  • To cross the land border between Mexico and the US, you must provide a verbal attestation for your reason for travel. Make sure you receive an entry stamp in your passport. 
  • Periodic closures of Mexico's land borders with Guatemala and Belize may occur. Check with local authorities before crossing the border or taking a flight.
  • If you're taking public transport or taxis, use only first-class buses and official registered taxis. Use ride-share services where possible instead of taxis. Crime levels on intercity buses are high, especially after dark.

Full travel advice:  Travel

Local contacts

  • The  Consular Services Charter  tells you what the Australian Government can and can't do to help when you're overseas.
  • To stay up to date with local information, follow the Embassy's social media accounts: ( Facebook ), ( X )
  • The  Australian Embassy in Mexico City  can provide consular assistance by email, phone, or appointment.
  • You can also  contact the Australian Consulate in Cancún  for limited consular assistance.

Full travel advice: Local contacts

Full advice

Violent crime, violent crime.

Mexico has a high risk of violent crime, especially after dark.

Murder, armed  robbery ,  sexual assault  and  kidnapping  are high risks. These crimes can occur at tourist spots and resorts.

Criminals posing as police officers have committed sexual assault, extortion and robbery. They may drive fake police cars.

Gangs have attacked travellers after they've changed money at airports.

To protect yourself from violent crime:

  • avoid travelling at night outside major cities, including on major highways
  • monitor the media for new safety risks
  • don't change large amounts of money at the airport

Crime on intercity buses and highways is common in Mexico.

Thieves have robbed tourists on buses along the Pacific Highway, including from Acapulco to Ixtapa and Huatulco.

Violent carjackings have increased. The northern borders and along the Pacific coast are high-risk areas.

Criminals have attacked tourists on toll roads and highways. The Sonora, Sinaloa, Tamaulipas and border regions are high-risk areas.

Organised crime groups have targeted large campervans and SUVs travelling in and out of the United States.

To reduce the risk of crime when travelling by road:

  • use ride-share services where possible instead of taxis
  • use official taxis from airports and pre-pay your fare at an official taxi company booth in the airport terminal
  • use radio taxis or taxis at assigned stands (sitios), especially in Mexico City
  • use first-class buses
  • only travel during daylight hours and allow enough time to get to your destination before dark
  • drive via toll roads (cuota)

Watch out for drink and food spiking, which can occur in bars, clubs and restaurants. You're at higher risk of sexual assault and theft if you get drugged.

Drug and gang violence

Violent crimes related to the drug trade are widespread in Mexico.

Shoot-outs, grenade attacks and car bombings have occurred in public places.

Targeted attacks have increased on the military, government officials and journalists.

You may become a victim of violence directed against someone else.

Federal police and the military use roadblocks and random vehicle checks to deal with drug-related violence.

Drug cartels set up unofficial roadblocks in the northern areas of Mexico to obstruct military and police movement.

Stop at all roadblocks, or you risk getting killed. Comply with the instructions given.

Risks are higher in those areas most affected by drug-related and gang violence, including:

  • Northern border states – Baja California, Sonora, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo Leon and Tamaulipas
  • Pacific coast states – Colima, Guerrero, Jalisco, Michoacán, Nayarit and Sinaloa
  • Central region states – Guanajuato, Durango, San Luis Potosi and Zacatecas
  • State of Mexico and the State of Veracruz on the Gulf coast
  • Major cities along Mexico's border with the United States – Tijuana, Ciudad Juarez, Nuevo Laredo, Matamoros, Nogales, Piedras Negras and Reynosa

State of Guanajuato

Violence and drug cartel activity are on the rise across the State. 

Gang members are known to erect roadblocks on major highways. Murders, including mass killings, occur regularly. 

Even as a tourist, you risk getting caught up in violence inadvertently. 

Avoid known hot spots such as Acámbaro, Celaya, Irapuato, León, Salamanca, Silao and Santiago. 

State of Guerrero

The violent crime rate remains high, and the security situation is volatile.

Violent criminal gangs are more active in rural areas than cities.

Acapulco has high levels of violent crime, such as murder and shootings. The resort city is unsafe, especially outside tourist areas.

Crime risks are lower in the tourist areas of Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo and Taxco and on the toll road to Taxco than in other parts of Guerrero.

Protesters can disrupt toll booths along the road to Taxco, causing delays.

State of Michoacán

Many 'self-defence' groups have formed in the State. They are unpredictable, and the security situation is volatile.

Security near the Monarch butterfly reserves, including on the border with the State of Mexico, has deteriorated due to cartel activity.  

Crime is lower in Morelia city.

State of Tamaulipas

Tamaulipas has widespread criminal activity linked to drug trafficking. Kidnapping and extortion are also common.

State of Quintana Roo

Violent crimes related to the drug trade have occurred in tourist areas of Quintana Roo, such as Cancun, Tulum and Playa del Carmen. Shoot-outs have occurred in public places, injuring or killing tourists.

State of Zacatecas

Zacatecas has widespread criminal activity linked to drug trafficking. Violence is increasing due to clashes between competing drug cartels. Kidnapping and extortion are common.

Other violent areas

High levels of violent crime and lawlessness occur in:

  • the Sierra Madre Occidental Mountains in southern Chihuahua State
  • north-eastern Sinaloa State
  • north-western Durango State
  • south-eastern Sonora State

Organised crime gangs operate in these regions. The Chihuahua-Pacific Railway is less affected.

The State of Mexico has a high level of violent crime. Murder,  assault , armed robbery, extortion and kidnapping are common.

According to Mexican Government statistics, Baja California Sur and Quintana Roo have reported significant increases in drug-related violence, particularly murder. The states with the highest homicide rates are Baja California Sur, Colima, Quintana Roo, Morelos, Zacatecas, Guanajuato, Baja California, Chihuahua, Michoacan and Sonora.

To reduce your risks if travelling to violent areas, stay in:

  • tourist areas
  • well-known and well-frequented public areas with good access to safe transport in the evenings

To protect yourself from crime in violent areas:

  • avoid road travel, especially at night
  • avoid isolated locations
  • pay close attention to your personal security
  • stay alert to possible threats around you
  • follow the advice of local authorities
  • monitor the media for safety or security risks

Other crime risks

Petty crime.

Petty crime, such as pickpocketing and bag-snatching, is common. Take care on public transport, at tourist spots, airports, hotels and bus stations.

Thieves often work with or pose as taxi drivers. Be aware travellers have been robbed when using taxis hailed from the street. 

More information:

  • Preventing crime and petty theft

Cyber security 

You may be at risk of cyber-based threats during overseas travel to any country. Digital identity theft is a growing concern. Your devices and personal data can be compromised, especially if you’re connecting to Wi-Fi, using or connecting to shared or public computers, or to Bluetooth.

Social media can also be risky in destinations where there are social or political tensions or laws that may seem unreasonable by Australian standards. Travellers have been arrested for things they have said on social media. Don't comment on local or political events on your social media.

  • Cyber security when travelling overseas

Kidnapping is a serious risk in Mexico. It's common in rural and inland areas.

Some victims claim police officers are involved in their kidnapping.

Express kidnappings target travellers on metro and public transport in Mexico City. Kidnappers force victims to withdraw funds from ATMs before they are released.

Virtual kidnappings target people over the phone to extort money. Kidnappers pose as officials or cartel members and demand payments for the release of a family member they have allegedly detained. If you receive a call or message, contact local police.

To reduce the risk of kidnapping:

  • avoid talking about your money or business affairs
  • use ATMs in public places and during daylight hours
  • check for cameras directed at your screen or keyboard if you're using the internet in public
  • avoid giving personal details to strangers online or over the phone

The Australian Government's longstanding policy is that it doesn't make payments or concessions to kidnappers.

Civil unrest and political tension

Demonstrations and protests.

It's illegal for foreigners to take part in political activity in Mexico.

Public protests and events that draw large groups of people can turn violent. They're common and often:

  • disrupt public services
  • cause traffic delays
  • stop movement around affected areas

Protesters may blockade roads.

Public protests in Mexico City are common. Expect protests and potential roadblocks in the states of Oaxaca, Chiapas, Guerrero and Michoacán.

To protect yourself during periods of unrest:

  • check local sources for details of possible strikes or unrest
  • follow advice from local authorities
  • change your travel plans in case of disruptions

Demonstrations and civil unrest

Terrorism is a threat worldwide.

Swimming safety

Even strong swimmers can be at risk from undertows and currents on both coasts of Mexico. Obey the beach warning flags.

Climate and natural disasters

Mexico experiences  natural disasters  and  severe weather , such as:

  • earthquakes
  • volcanic activity

If you're involved in a natural disaster:

  • secure your passport in a safe, waterproof location
  • keep in contact with your friends and family
  • monitor local media and other sources
  • contact your tour operator or airline

Register with the  Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System  to receive alerts on major disasters.

Hurricanes and severe weather

Severe weather occurs in Mexico.

The hurricane season is from June to November. The direction and strength of hurricanes can change with little warning.

Landslides, mudslides and flash flooding can also occur, including in Mexico City.

If there's a hurricane or severe storm:

  • you may get stuck in the area
  • flights could be delayed or suspended
  • flights out may fill quickly
  • adequate shelter may not be available
  • electricity supply, communication networks and transport options may be disrupted. 

To protect yourself if a hurricane is approaching:

  • listen to the instructions of local authorities
  • know the evacuation plan for your hotel or cruise ship
  • identify your local shelter
  • monitor alerts and advice from the  US National Hurricane Center  and local authorities


Mexico experiences earthquakes and tremors each year. Aftershocks are common and can damage already weakened structures.

Earthquakes can disrupt power and communication systems.

Get to know the earthquake safety measures for each place you stay and visit.

Tsunamis may occur in Mexico.

Receive tsunami alerts by registering with the following:

  • Global Disaster Alert and Co-ordination System
  • Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre

If you're near the coast, move immediately to high ground if advised by local authorities or if you:

  • feel a strong earthquake that makes it hard to stand up
  • feel a weak, rolling earthquake that lasts a minute or more
  • see a sudden rise or fall in sea level
  • hear loud and unusual noises from the sea

Don't wait for official warnings, such as alarms or sirens. Once on high ground, check local media.

Active volcanoes include the Popocatepetl and Colima volcanoes.  

Volcanic ash from eruptions of these volcanoes can disrupt domestic and international flights and cause airport closures. Exposure to falling ash and toxic fumes from active volcanoes can also affect your health, especially if you suffer from respiratory ailments.

  • Avoid the affected areas
  • Monitor local media to remain informed
  • Contact your travel agent or airline regarding airport and flight status
  • Be prepared to change your travel arrangements or evacuate the area on short notice
  • Follow the advice of local authorities, including evacuation orders

The  Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System  can give you general volcano alerts.

Travel Insurance

Get comprehensive  travel insurance  before you leave.

Your policy needs to cover all overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation. The Australian Government won’t pay for these costs.

If you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. This applies to everyone, no matter how healthy and fit you are.

If you're not insured, you may have to pay many thousands of dollars up-front for medical care.

  • what activities and care your policy covers
  • that your insurance covers you for the whole time you’ll be away

Physical and mental health

Consider your physical and mental health before you travel, especially if you have an existing medical condition.

See your doctor or travel clinic to:

  • have a basic health check-up
  • ask if your travel plans may affect your health
  • plan any vaccinations you need

Do this at least 8 weeks before you leave.

If you have immediate concerns for your welfare or the welfare of someone you know, call the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 or contact your  nearest Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate  to discuss counselling hotlines and services available in your location

  • General health advice
  • Healthy holiday tips  (Healthdirect Australia)

Not all medication available over the counter or by prescription in Australia is available in other countries. Some may even be considered illegal or a controlled substance, even if prescribed by an Australian doctor.

If you plan to bring medication, check if it's legal in Mexico. Take enough legal medicine for your trip.

Carry a copy of your prescription or a letter from your doctor stating:

  • what the medication is
  • your required dosage
  • that it's for personal use

Health risks

Insect-borne diseases.

Malaria  is a risk in Mexico, particularly in:

  • the State of Chiapas
  • rural areas of Nayarit, Oaxaca and Sinaloa
  • some parts of Chihuahua, Durango and Sonora.

Zika virus  is widespread in Mexico. There's no vaccination for Zika virus.

Read the Australian Department of Health and Aged Care page on  Zika virus  for advice on how to reduce your risk.

If you're pregnant, the department recommends that you:

  • discuss travel plans with your doctor
  • consider deferring non-essential travel to affected areas.

In Mexico, there's also a risk of:

  • chikungunya
  • chagas disease
  • leishmaniasis

To protect yourself from disease:

  • make sure your accommodation is insect-proof
  • use insect repellent
  • wear long, loose, light-coloured clothing
  • consider medication to prevent malaria

Get medical advice if you have a fever, muscle pain, rash or severe headache.

Other health risks

High altitude and air pollution can cause health issues in some regions. Pollution peaks in winter from December to February.

If you have heart, lung or respiratory problems, ask your doctor for advice before you travel.

Foodborne, waterborne and other diseases are widespread. These include:

  • tuberculosis
  • cyclosporiasis

Serious outbreaks sometimes occur.

To protect yourself from illness:

  • drink boiled water or bottled water with sealed lids
  • avoid ice cubes
  • avoid raw and undercooked food, such as salads
  • get vaccinated before you travel
  • avoid contact with dogs and other mammals

If you're bitten or scratched by an animal, get medical help straight away.

Get medical advice if you have a fever or diarrhoea.

  • Infectious diseases

Medical care

Medical facilities.

Private hospitals in Mexico City and other major cities provide a reasonable standard of care. Services are limited in rural areas.

Treatment at private clinics and hospitals is very expensive.

Doctors and hospitals are unlikely to work with your overseas travel insurer. You'll need to pay before they'll treat you, even for emergency care.

You can find hyperbaric chambers in major cities and resort towns where scuba diving is popular.

You're subject to all local laws and penalties, including those that may appear harsh by Australian standards. Research local laws before travelling.

If you're arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you under our  Consular Services Charter . But we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail.

Smoking, including vaping, has been banned in all public places, including beaches, parks, hotels and restaurants. You may be fined or arrested.

Property laws

Property laws and time-share agreements can be complex.

Before you buy or invest in property, do your research and get legal advice.

In Mexico, it's illegal to:

  • conduct political activity, including demonstrations
  • possess ancient Mexican artefacts or export them from Mexico
  • carry firearms or ammunition without a permit, including in Mexican waters
  • drive a car without insurance
  • fail to report a road accident.

If you need a firearm permit, apply at a Mexican Embassy or Consulate before you arrive.

You're responsible for any illegal items found in rented or borrowed vehicles. This applies even if you don't know they're there.

Australian laws

Some Australian criminal laws still apply when you’re overseas. If you break these laws, you may face prosecution in Australia.

Staying within the law and respecting customs

Dual citizenship

Check if being an Australian-Mexican dual citizen may affect your travel.

Always travel on your Australian passport .

Dual nationals

Local customs

Although same sex marriage is legal in Mexico, some parts of the country are conservative.

LGBTI travellers  should consider limiting public displays of affection.

Visas and border measures

Every country or territory decides who can enter or leave through its borders. For specific information about the evidence you'll need to enter a foreign destination, check with the nearest embassy, consulate or immigration department of the destination you're entering. 

If you visit for 180 days or less as a tourist, you can get a visa on arrival. Be aware of the date that's stamped in your passport on arrival, as you may not receive the full 180 days. Your visa will expire on the entry stamp date. This is usually for the amount of time you indicate to the immigration officer that you are staying in Mexico.

To avoid being detained or deported, you'll need to:

  • fill in an online Multiple Immigration Form (FMM) and obtain a QR code
  • make sure your passport is stamped by immigration officials on arrival

You can complete the FMM online before you arrive or on arrival.

If you're entering by road, make sure you get the stamp on your passport at the immigration office  (Instituto Nacional de Migración: Spanish) . These are usually located near, but not directly at, a border crossing.

Present your completed FMM for inspection at immigration if entering by air. You'll need to show it when you leave Mexico.

Border measures

To cross the land border between Mexico and the US, you'll need to verbally provide the reason for your travel.

Periodic closures of Mexico's land borders with Guatemala and Belize may occur. Check with local authorities before crossing the border or travelling by plane.

Confirm your travel and transit arrangements directly with your airline or travel agent. 

Travel via the United States or Canada

If you're  travelling through the US , ensure you meet all current US entry or transit requirements, including if you're transiting through Hawaii. 

If you travel  through Canada , ensure you meet all entry and transit requirements. 

Other formalities

Mexico charges all visitors an immigration fee.

If you arrive on a commercial flight, the cost of your ticket includes the fee.

If you enter by land, the immigration office will arrange for you to pay the fee at a nearby bank. There's no exit tax.

A child under 18 years who's also a citizen or resident of Mexico must carry a  Mexican Minor Travel Consent Form  (Spanish) or a  notarised consent  if travelling with anyone other than their parent or legal guardian. 

You may need a permit if you arrive in Mexico by motor vehicle. Check with the Embassy of Mexico before you travel.

  • Advice for people travelling with children

Some countries won't let you enter unless your passport is valid for 6 months after you plan to leave that country. This may apply even if you're just transiting or stopping over.

Some foreign governments and airlines apply the rule inconsistently. Travellers can receive conflicting advice from different sources.

You can end up stranded if your passport isn't valid for more than 6 months.

The Australian Government does not set these rules. Check your passport's expiry date before you travel. If you're not sure it'll be valid for long enough, consider getting  a new passport .

Lost or stolen passport

Your passport is a valuable document. It's attractive to people who may try to use your identity to commit crimes.

Some people may try to trick you into giving them your passport. Always keep it in a safe place.

If your passport is lost or stolen, tell the Australian Government as soon as possible:

  • In Australia, contact the  Australian Passport Information Service .
  • If you're overseas, contact the nearest  Australian Embassy or Consulate .

Passport with 'X' gender identifier

Although Australian passports comply with international standards for sex and gender, we can't guarantee that a passport showing 'X' in the sex field will be accepted for entry or transit by another country. Contact the  nearest  embassy, high commission or consulate of your destination  before you arrive at the border to confirm if authorities will accept passports with 'X' gender markers.

  • LGBTI travellers

Mexico's official currency is the Mexican Peso (MXN).

Declare amounts over US$10,000 or foreign currency equivalent. Do this on arrival and departure. This covers all forms of currency, not only cash.

US dollars are widely accepted in holiday resort areas. You can't generally exchange Australian currency and traveller's cheques in Mexico.

ATMs are widely available in cities and towns. Take care as credit card fraud occurs.

Carry cash if you're travelling to rural areas.

Most international hotels and tourist facilities accept credit and debit cards.

Ask your bank whether your ATM card will work in Mexico.

Local travel

Driving permit.

You can use your valid Australian driver's licence to drive in Mexico.

Road travel

Vehicles generally don't stop for pedestrians or indicate when they're turning. Intersections can be confusing, with vehicles coming from unexpected directions.

Strict laws cover insurance and reporting of accidents.

If you drive in Mexico:

  • learn local road use and driving rules
  • keep doors locked and windows up, even when moving
  • use toll roads (cuota) to reduce the risk of crime

If you're a victim of roadside robbery or stopped at a roadblock, do as you're asked.

Driving on rural roads in Mexico is dangerous due to:

  • poor road conditions.
  • pedestrians and livestock on roads
  • inadequate street lighting and signage

Criminals target vehicles, including campervans and SUVs, especially in rural areas.

  • Driving or riding

Use ride-share services, where possible, instead of taxis. If this isn't an option, it's best to use registered official taxis and limousines, preferably arranged through your hotel. To avoid issues:

  • use official taxis from airports
  • pre-pay your fare at an official taxi company booth at the airport
  • use radio taxis or taxis waiting at assigned stands (sitios), especially in Mexico City

Public transport

Crime levels on intercity buses and highways are high, and the risks increase after dark. See  Safety

Use first-class buses.

Women travelling on public transport should be cautious.

  • Transport and getting around safely
  • Advice for women

Check  Mexico's air safety profile  with the Aviation Safety Network.

DFAT doesn't provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths.


Depending on what you need, contact your:

  • family and friends
  • travel agent
  • insurance provider

Always get a police report when you report a crime.

Your insurer should have a 24-hour emergency number.

Consular contacts

Read the Consular Services Charter . It details what the Australian Government can and can’t do to help you overseas.

Australian Embassy, Mexico City

Ruben Dario #55 Corner of Campos Eliseos, Polanco Colonia Bosque de Chapultepec 11580 CDMX Mexico Phone: (+52 55) 1101 2200 Email: [email protected] Website:

Facebook: Australian Embassy, Mexico City

X (Twitter): Australian Embassy, Mexico City

Check the Embassy website for details about opening hours and any temporary closures.

Australian Consulate, Cancún

EDIFICIO GRUPO VIVO Calle Luciernaga esquina con Avenida Politécnico Región 501, Manzana 13, Lote 7 Cancún, Quintana Roo C.P. 77535, México Email:  [email protected]

24-hour Consular Emergency Centre

In a consular emergency, if you can't contact an embassy, call the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on:

  • +61 2 6261 3305 from overseas
  • 1300 555 135 in Australia


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COVID-19: travel health notice for all travellers

Mexico travel advice

Latest updates: Risk levels - updated information on Guerrero State risk level and regional advisory

Last updated: March 28, 2024 15:58 ET

On this page

Safety and security, entry and exit requirements, laws and culture, natural disasters and climate, mexico - exercise a high degree of caution.

Exercise a high degree of caution in Mexico due to high levels of criminal activity and kidnapping.

Guerrero - Avoid all travel

This advisory excludes the cities of Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo, where you should exercise a high degree of caution.

Regional Advisory - Avoid non-essential travel

  • all Chihuahua
  • all Colima, except the city of Manzanillo
  • all Coahuila, except the southern part of the state at and below the Saltillo-Torreón highway corridor
  • all Durango, except Durango City
  • Highway 45 between León and Irapuato
  • the area south of and including Highway 45D between Irapuato and Celaya
  • all Michoacán, except the cities of Morelia and Patzcuaro
  • the Lagunas de Zempoala National Park
  • the municipality of Xoxocotla
  • the area within 20 km of the border with Sinaloa and Durango
  • the city of Tepic
  • all Nuevo León, except the city of Monterrey
  • all Sinaloa, except the cities of Los Mochis and Mazatlán
  • all Sonora, except the cities of Hermosillo and Guaymas/San Carlos and Puerto Peñasco
  • all Tamaulipas
  • all Zacatecas

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Deteriorating security situation in Guerrero State

Hurricane Otis struck Guerrero State on October 25, 2023. The security situation remains volatile and unpredictable after the storm. Damage to transportation and communications networks have left many towns and cities isolated, increasing the risk of criminal and gang activity.

Certain areas are particularly affected by banditry and violence, including:

  • the highway between Acapulco and Zihuantanejo
  • the highway between Acapulco to Chilpancingo

You should avoid all travel to Guerrero State. If you are in Guerrero despite the advisory, you should take necessary precautions to ensure your safety, including:

  • avoid travelling alone or after dark
  • exercise extreme vigilance
  • monitor local media for the latest updates on the situation
  • follow the instructions of local authorities

Levels of crime, particularly violent crime, are high throughout Mexico. Arrest and detention rates are low and don’t deter criminal activity.

Criminal groups, including drug cartels, are very active. ‎Clashes between cartels or gangs over territory, drugs and smuggling routes are common.

In some parts of the country, military, navy and federal police forces have been deployed to combat organized crime and improve security conditions. They maintain a visible presence by:

  • patrolling the streets
  • setting up roadblocks
  • conducting random vehicle checks  

If you plan on travelling to Mexico:

  • remain vigilant at all times
  • stay in tourist areas
  • be very cautious on major highways
  • avoid travelling at night
  • monitor local media closely

If you’re the victim of a crime, you must report it immediately to local authorities. No criminal investigation is possible without a formal complaint. Complaints must be made in person before leaving Mexico. You should hire a local lawyer to represent your interests and follow up on your case after you return to Canada. Failure to do may result in incomplete investigations or long delays in bringing cases to trial.

Violent crime

There are high rates of violent crime, such as homicides, kidnappings, carjacking and assaults, including in popular tourist destinations such as the Mayan Riviera (Cancún, Playa del Carmen, Puerto Morelos and Tulum), and Acapulco.

Criminal groups and drug cartels are present in tourist areas. Inter-gang and cartel fighting has taken place in restaurants, hotels and nightclubs frequented by tourists.

Innocent bystanders have been injured or killed. You may be in the wrong place at the wrong time and become a victim of violent crime.

Border areas often see higher criminal activity and violence, including in rural areas. Confrontations between organized criminal groups and Mexican authorities continue to pose a risk. Shootouts, attacks and illegal roadblocks may occur without warning.

You should travel to Mexico by air to avoid international land border crossings, particularly along the border with the United States, in the following cities:

  • Ciudad Juárez
  • Nuevo Laredo

If crossing an international land border:

  • remain extremely vigilant
  • use only official border crossings

Armed robbery

Armed robbery occurs. Foreigners have been targets of robberies that sometimes involve assault.

Robbers will follow a victim after they exchange or withdraw money at airports, currency exchange bureaus ( casas de cambio ) or ATMs.

  • Stay in hotels and resorts with good security
  • If you are threatened by robbers, stay calm and don’t resist
  • Avoid withdrawing or exchanging money in public areas of the airport

Canadian travellers have been physically and sexually assaulted. In some cases, hotel employees, taxi drivers and security personnel at popular tourist destinations were involved. In some cases, hotel staff are not helpful and try to dissuade victims from pursuing the incident with police.

  • Avoid walking after dark, especially alone
  • Avoid isolated or deserted areas
  • Avoid excessive alcohol consumption

Are you a victim of sexual violence? – Government of Canada and British Embassy Mexico City

Credit card and ATM fraud

Credit card and ATM fraud occurs in Mexico. When using debit or credit cards:

  • pay careful attention when others are handling your cards
  • use ATMs located in public areas or inside a bank or business
  • avoid using card readers with an irregular or unusual feature
  • cover the keypad with one hand when entering your PIN
  • check for any unauthorized transactions on your account statements


Some bars and nightclubs may try to charge exorbitant prices. Discussions about overcharging may lead to threats of violence and security guards may force you to pay. Avoid running a tab or leaving your credit card with bar or restaurant staff.

Overseas fraud

Police officers

Legitimate police officers have extorted money from tourists or arrested tourists for minor offences such as :

  • drinking alcohol on the street
  • urinating on public roads
  • traffic violations

They have requested immediate cash payment in exchange for their release. Travellers driving rental cars have been targeted.

If this occurs:

  • don’t hand over your money or your passport
  • ask for the officer’s name, badge and patrol car number
  • ask for a copy of the written fine, which is payable at a later date, or insist on going to the nearest police station

Virtual kidnappings

Extortion, including virtual kidnappings, is the third most common crime in Mexico. Criminals use a variety of tactics to gather information about potential victims for extortion purposes, including using social media sites or eavesdropping on conversations

In a virtual kidnapping, criminals contact the victim’s hotel room landline and threaten the victim to stay in their room. The criminals then instruct the victim to provide information needed for the caller to use to contact family and friends, to demand the immediate payment of ransom for their release.

  • Don't discuss travel plans, your room number or any other personal information around strangers
  • Never leave your cellphone unattended
  • Ensure your cellphone is password protected
  • Don't divulge personal business details to strangers in person or over the phone or on social media, especially when using hotel phones
  • If you're threatened on the phone or hear screams, hang up immediately
  • When you answer the phone, wait for the caller to speak. If the caller asks who is speaking, hang up immediately.
  • Don’t answer unrecognized or blocked phone numbers
  • Don’t answer hotel landlines


Mexico has one of the highest kidnapping rates in the world. Kidnapping, including virtual and express kidnapping, is a serious security risk throughout Mexico.

Kidnappers target all classes. Canadian citizens and contractors working for Canadian businesses have been kidnapped, mostly in areas that are not under the control of police and security forces.

If you're kidnapped:

  • comply with the kidnappers’ requests
  • don’t attempt to resist

Express kidnappings

Express kidnappings occur in large urban areas. This is a method of kidnapping where criminals ask for a small and immediate ransom.

Thieves most commonly work in cooperation with, or pose as, taxi drivers. They force victims to use their debit or credit card to withdraw money from ATMs in exchange for their release.

  • Use only a reputable taxi company or a trusted ride-sharing app
  • Book taxis through your hotel or an authorized taxi stand ( sitio )

Petty theft

Petty crime, such as pickpocketing and purse snatching, is common in Mexico.

  • Be aware of your surroundings at all times, even in areas normally considered safe
  • Ensure that your belongings, including your passport and other travel documents, are secure at all times
  • Avoid showing signs of affluence, such as flashy jewellery, cell phones, headphones and designer bags
  • Carry only small amounts of money
  • Be cautious when withdrawing cash from ATMs

Home break-ins

Tourists staying in rental homes have been the victims of break-ins and burglaries. Whether you're staying in private or commercial accommodations, make sure you lock windows and doors securely.

Women’s safety

Women travelling alone may be subject to some forms of harassment and verbal abuse.

Some incidents of assault, rape and sexual assault against Canadian women have occurred, including at beach resorts and on public buses. 

  • Exercise caution when dealing with strangers or recent acquaintances
  • Be wary of rides or other invitations

Advice for women travellers

Spiked food and drinks

Never leave food or drinks unattended or in the care of strangers. Be wary of accepting snacks, beverages, gum or cigarettes from new acquaintances. These items may contain drugs that could put you at risk of sexual assault and robbery.

Unregulated alcohol

Some bars, restaurants and resorts have served counterfeit alcohol. Some travellers have reported getting sick or blacking out after drinking alcohol.

  • Be cautious if you choose to drink alcohol
  • Seek medical assistance if you begin to feel sick

Alcohol, drugs and travel

Height standards for balcony railings in Mexico can be considerably lower than those in Canada. Falls have resulted in deaths and injuries.

  • Exercise caution when standing close to balcony railings


Demonstrations take place regularly throughout the country. Protests and roadblocks are common in:

  • Mexico City, including to and from the airport
  • the states of Chiapas, Guerrero, Michoacán and Oaxaca

Such incidents may last a long time, leading to shortages of fresh food, medicine and gasoline.

Even peaceful demonstrations can turn violent at any time. They can also lead to disruptions to traffic and public transportation.

  • Avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
  • Follow the instructions of local authorities
  • Monitor local media for information on ongoing demonstrations

Mass gatherings (large-scale events)

Water activities

Coastal waters can be dangerous. Riptides are common. Several drownings occur each year.

Many beaches don’t offer warnings of dangerous conditions and they don’t always have lifeguards on duty.

Rescue services may not be consistent with international standards.

  • Consult local residents and tour operators for information on possible hazards and safe swimming areas
  • Always obey warning flags at beaches
  • Follow the instructions and warnings of local authorities

Water sports

Tour operators may not adhere to international standards. Many operators don’t conduct regular safety checks on their sporting and aquatic equipment.

Also, Canadians have been involved in accidents where operators of recreational vehicles, such as watercraft, have demanded compensation exceeding the value of the damage caused to the vehicle or equipment.

If you undertake water sports, such as diving:

  • choose a well-established and reputable company that has insurance
  • ensure that your travel insurance covers the recreational activities you choose
  • wear the appropriate safety equipment, such as helmets and life jackets
  • ensure that equipment is available and in good condition
  • don’t consume alcohol before the activity

If in doubt concerning the safety of the facilities or equipment, don’t use them.

Water safety abroad

Adventure tourism  

Outdoor activities, such as white water rafting, kayaking, scuba diving, snorkelling, bungee, zip lining, paragliding, hiking, mountain biking, etc and other adventure activities can be dangerous if unprepared. Trails are not always marked, and weather conditions can change rapidly, even during summer.  

Tour operators may not always adhere to international safety standards. 

If you intend to practice adventure tourism: 

  • consider hiring an experienced guide from a reputable company 
  • obtain detailed information on your activity and on the environment in which you will be setting out  
  • buy travel insurance that includes helicopter rescue and medical evacuation   
  • know the symptoms of acute altitude sickness, which can be fatal  
  • pay attention to the symptoms of dehydration and heatstroke, both of which can be fatal  
  • avoid venturing off marked trails  
  • ensure that you’re adequately equipped and bring sufficient water   
  • stay informed about weather and other conditions that may pose a hazard  
  • refrain from using facilities or equipment if you have doubts on their safety  
  • inform a family member or friend of your itinerary  

Road travel

Road conditions and road safety.

Road conditions and road safety can vary greatly throughout the country.

Road conditions can be dangerous due to:

  • sharp curves
  • poorly marked or hidden road signs
  • construction sites
  • roaming livestock
  • slow-moving or abandoned vehicles

Toll highways are typically safer and better maintained than secondary highways.

Mexican driving styles are very different from those in Canada. Many drivers don’t respect traffic laws, and police don’t strictly enforce these laws. Drivers often drive at excessive speeds and may be aggressive or reckless. Drinking and driving laws are not strictly enforced. Accidents causing fatalities are common. Police don’t regularly patrol the highways.

Roadblocks and checkpoints

Illegal roadblocks and demonstrations are common. Heavily armed gangs have attacked travellers on intercity highways. Criminals especially target sport utility vehicles and full-size pickup trucks for theft and carjacking.

The military searches for drugs and firearms at military checkpoints throughout the country.

  • Avoid road travel at night between cities throughout the country
  • Ensure that you only stop in major centres, at reputable hotels or at secure campsites
  • Keep your car doors locked and the windows closed, especially at traffic lights
  • Avoid hitchhiking which is not a common practice in Mexico
  • Don’t leave valuables in the vehicle
  • Rent cars that don’t have stickers or other advertisements for the rental company on them, as rental cars have been targets for robbery, sometimes using force
  • Ensure operators provide insurance and helmets if renting scooters
  • Travel on toll roads to lower the risk of targeted roadblocks and robberies
  • Never attempt to cross roadblocks, even if they appear unattended

Public transportation

Remain vigilant in airports, at bus stations, on buses and on the metro.

The Mexico City metro is often very crowded and a popular place for pickpocketing. There are metro cars dedicated to women and children during rush hours. They are located at the front of the trains.

The Metrobus in Mexico City, which has dedicated lanes and stops, is relatively safe. There are sections dedicated to women and children at the front of the buses.

The “colectivos” and “pesero” mini-buses that stop when hailed are frequently targeted for robbery.

When travelling to other cities, use bus companies that offer VIP or executive class transportation. These buses only travel on toll roads, which lower the risks of targeted roadblocks and robberies, and follow a speed limit.

Taxis and ridesharing services

Disputes between taxi and ridesharing application drivers may occur, especially in Quintana Roo. They may result in:

  • altercations

Although tourists have not been targeted, you may be caught up in these incidents and harassed or injured. 

In Mexico City, all government-authorized taxis have licence plates starting with “A” or “B.” Taxis from designated stands have both the logo of their company and the plate number stamped on the side of the car. Official taxis in Mexico City are pink and white. Users can validate the pink and white taxis on the CDMX app.

  • Avoid hailing taxis on the street
  • Don't share taxis with strangers

When arriving at an airport in Mexico, pre-pay the taxi fare at the airport (inside or outside the terminal) and ask to see the driver’s official identification. You can also use a ridesharing app to arrange for a pickup at certain airports. Not all airports in Mexico allow ridesharing service pickups.

If you use a trusted ridesharing app, confirm the driver’s identity and the licence plate before getting in the car.

Mi Taxi  – CDMX app (in Spanish)

Cruise ship travel

Plan carefully if you plan to take a cruise departing from or stopping in Mexico.

Advice for cruise travellers

Pirate attacks and armed robbery against ships occur in coastal waters of the Bay of Campeche. Mariners should take appropriate precautions.

Live piracy report  - International Maritime Bureau

We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.

Information about foreign domestic airlines

Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Government of Canada cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.

We have obtained the information on this page from the Mexican authorities. It can, however, change at any time.

Verify this information with the  Foreign Representatives in Canada .

Entry requirements vary depending on the type of passport you use for travel.

Before you travel, check with your transportation company about passport requirements. Its rules on passport validity may be more stringent than the country’s entry rules.

Regular Canadian passport

Your passport must be valid for the expected duration of your stay in Mexico.

Passport for official travel

Different entry rules may apply.

Official travel

Passport with “X” gender identifier

While the Government of Canada issues passports with an “X” gender identifier, it cannot guarantee your entry or transit through other countries. You might face entry restrictions in countries that do not recognize the “X” gender identifier. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.

Other travel documents

Different entry rules may apply when travelling with a temporary passport or an emergency travel document. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.

Useful links

  • Foreign Representatives in Canada
  • Canadian passports

Tourist visa: not required Business visa: required Work visa: required Student visa: required

Required documents

To enter Mexico, you must present a valid passport and a duly completed tourist card (Multiple Immigration Form). Carry documents to prove the purpose of trip, such as hotel or tour booking confirmations, as immigration officers may request them.

Tourist card

You must obtain a tourist card to enter the country unless you stay in Mexico for less than 72 hours within the northern border zone. 

If you don’t obtain a tourist card upon arrival, you may face:

It is highly recommended to keep your digital tourist card, or tourist card if entered by land, with you at all times as proof of your legal stay in Mexico. You may be asked to show it to Mexican officials when exiting the country or if you are stopped on an immigration check point.

If you are stopped at an immigration check point and you are unable to prove your legal stay, you may be fined, detained or expelled from the country.

Entering by land

If entering Mexico by land, you must stop at the immigration office located at the border to obtain a tourist card, even if not explicitly directed by Mexican officials. Immigration officials will write down on your tourist card the number of days you are allowed to stay in Mexico.  

You may complete the tourist card form online before your arrival. However, you must print the form and present it to the migration official at the port of entry.

Multiple Immigration Form  - Government of Mexico

Entering by air

If entering Mexico by air, you are advised to download your tourist card issued by Mexican officials upon entry.

Depending on your airport of entry:

  • the immigration official will stamp your passport and note the number of days you are allowed to spend in Mexico or
  • you will go through an E-gate kiosk where you will scan your passport and self-register your entry in the country. Only use this option if you are entering Mexico as a tourist.

Once in the country, whether you entered via a E-gate or not, you will be able to access the digital tourist card online. You have 60 days to download it.

If you are unable to show your tourist card or digital tourist card upon departure, you will have to pay for a replacement at the immigration office of any international airport before boarding.

Make sure to plan sufficient time at the airport to obtain a new card in time for your flight.

Portal access for digital tourist card  - Government of Mexico

Length of stay

An immigration official will determine the number of days you can remain in Mexico and note it on your tourist card. The maximum length granted for a tourism-related trip is 180 days; the maximum number of days is not granted by default.

If you're seeking the maximum number of days, you may be required to:

  • explain the purpose of your trip to the immigration official
  • provide details about your trip (accommodations, funds, return flight, etc.)

You won’t be able to request an extension or change the condition of your stay from inside the country.

Canadians travelling to the northern border zone (within 21 kilometres of the U.S. border) for work don’t require a visa for stays of 72 hours or less.

If you require a business or work visa, you should take care of the process yourself. If a prospective employer is processing your visa for you:

  • obtain copies of all correspondence between the employer and Mexican immigration authorities
  • verify that these copies are stamped by the immigration authorities as proof that your papers are being processed
  • request a receipt from your employer for any document that you provide for purposes of obtaining the visa
  • avoid surrendering your passport to your employer

Volunteer, religious, research and eco-tourism activities

You may not be able to undertake volunteer, religious/missionary, research or certain forms of eco-tourism activities while visiting as a tourist. Contact the Mexican Embassy or closest Mexican consulate for information the type of visa required for these activities.

Tourism tax

Most visitors to Mexico must pay a tourism tax.

This fee is normally included in airline ticket prices. Visitors arriving by road or sea will have to pay this fee at any bank in Mexico. There is a bank representative at every port of entry. The bank receipt must be attached to the tourist card for submission at departure.

You don't have to pay this tax if:

  • you're entering by land for tourism purposes, and your stay will not exceed 7 days
  • you're travelling to the northern border zone for less than 72 hours
  • you're travelling to Mexico on a cruise ship

Dual citizenship

If entering and leaving Mexico as a dual citizen, you must identify yourself as a Mexican citizen. You must carry valid passports for both countries.

Laws about dual citizenship

Criminal records

Canadians with a criminal record or a warrant for arrest may be refused entry and returned to Canada or to a third country on the next available flight.

Children and travel

Learn more about travelling with children .

Yellow fever

Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).

Relevant Travel Health Notices

  • Global Measles Notice - 13 March, 2024
  • Zika virus: Advice for travellers - 31 August, 2023
  • COVID-19 and International Travel - 13 March, 2024
  • Dengue: Advice for travellers - 25 March, 2024

This section contains information on possible health risks and restrictions regularly found or ongoing in the destination. Follow this advice to lower your risk of becoming ill while travelling. Not all risks are listed below.

Consult a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic preferably 6 weeks before you travel to get personalized health advice and recommendations.

Routine vaccines

Be sure that your  routine vaccinations , as per your province or territory , are up-to-date before travelling, regardless of your destination.

Some of these vaccinations include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.

Pre-travel vaccines and medications

You may be at risk for preventable diseases while travelling in this destination. Talk to a travel health professional about which medications or vaccines may be right for you, based on your destination and itinerary. 

Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.

Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.

  • There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.

Country Entry Requirement*

  • Proof of vaccination is not required to enter this country.


  • Vaccination is not recommended.

* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.

About Yellow Fever

Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres in Canada

There is a risk of hepatitis A in this destination. It is a disease of the liver. People can get hepatitis A if they ingest contaminated food or water, eat foods prepared by an infectious person, or if they have close physical contact (such as oral-anal sex) with an infectious person, although casual contact among people does not spread the virus.

Practise  safe food and water precautions and wash your hands often. Vaccination is recommended for all travellers to areas where hepatitis A is present.

Measles is a highly contagious viral disease. It can spread quickly from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.

Anyone who is not protected against measles is at risk of being infected with it when travelling internationally.

Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are fully protected against measles.

  Hepatitis B is a risk in every destination. It is a viral liver disease that is easily transmitted from one person to another through exposure to blood and body fluids containing the hepatitis B virus.  Travellers who may be exposed to blood or other bodily fluids (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) are at higher risk of getting hepatitis B.

Hepatitis B vaccination is recommended for all travellers. Prevent hepatitis B infection by practicing safe sex, only using new and sterile drug equipment, and only getting tattoos and piercings in settings that follow public health regulations and standards.

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious viral disease. It can spread from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.

It is recommended that all eligible travellers complete a COVID-19 vaccine series along with any additional recommended doses in Canada before travelling. Evidence shows that vaccines are very effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19. While vaccination provides better protection against serious illness, you may still be at risk of infection from the virus that causes COVID-19. Anyone who has not completed a vaccine series is at increased risk of being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 and is at greater risk for severe disease when travelling internationally.

Before travelling, verify your destination’s COVID-19 vaccination entry/exit requirements. Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are adequately protected against COVID-19.

 The best way to protect yourself from seasonal influenza (flu) is to get vaccinated every year. Get the flu shot at least 2 weeks before travelling.  

 The flu occurs worldwide. 

  •  In the Northern Hemisphere, the flu season usually runs from November to   April.
  •  In the Southern Hemisphere, the flu season usually runs between April and   October.
  •  In the tropics, there is flu activity year round. 

The flu vaccine available in one hemisphere may only offer partial protection against the flu in the other hemisphere.

The flu virus spreads from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Clean your hands often and wear a mask if you have a fever or respiratory symptoms.

Malaria  is a serious and sometimes fatal disease that is caused by parasites spread through the bites of mosquitoes.   There is a risk of malaria in certain areas and/or during a certain time of year in this destination. 

Antimalarial medication may be recommended depending on your itinerary and the time of year you are travelling. Consult a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic before travelling to discuss your options. It is recommended to do this 6 weeks before travel, however, it is still a good idea any time before leaving.    Protect yourself from mosquito bites at all times:  • Cover your skin and use an approved insect repellent on uncovered skin.  • Exclude mosquitoes from your living area with screening and/or closed, well-sealed doors and windows. • Use insecticide-treated bed nets if mosquitoes cannot be excluded from your living area.  • Wear permethrin-treated clothing.    If you develop symptoms similar to malaria when you are travelling or up to a year after you return home, see a health care professional immediately. Tell them where you have been travelling or living. 

In this destination, rabies is carried by dogs and some wildlife, including bats. Rabies is a deadly disease that spreads to humans primarily through bites or scratches from an infected animal. While travelling, take precautions , including keeping your distance from animals (including free-roaming dogs), and closely supervising children.

If you are bitten or scratched by an animal while travelling, immediately wash the wound with soap and clean water and see a health care professional. Rabies treatment is often available in this destination. 

Before travel, discuss rabies vaccination with a health care professional. It may be recommended for travellers who are at high risk of exposure (e.g., occupational risk such as veterinarians and wildlife workers, children, adventure travellers and spelunkers, and others in close contact with animals). 

Safe food and water precautions

Many illnesses can be caused by eating food or drinking beverages contaminated by bacteria, parasites, toxins, or viruses, or by swimming or bathing in contaminated water.

  • Learn more about food and water precautions to take to avoid getting sick by visiting our eat and drink safely abroad page. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
  • Avoid getting water into your eyes, mouth or nose when swimming or participating in activities in freshwater (streams, canals, lakes), particularly after flooding or heavy rain. Water may look clean but could still be polluted or contaminated.
  • Avoid inhaling or swallowing water while bathing, showering, or swimming in pools or hot tubs. 

Travellers' diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.

Risk of developing travellers' diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor standards of hygiene and sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.

The most important treatment for travellers' diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.

Typhoid   is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among children, travellers going to rural areas, travellers visiting friends and relatives or those travelling for a long period of time.

Travellers visiting regions with a risk of typhoid, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation, should speak to a health care professional about vaccination.  

Salmonellosis is a common illness among travellers to this country. It can be spread through contaminated food or beverages, such as raw or undercooked poultry and eggs, as well as fruits or vegetables.

Practice safe food and water precautions . This includes only eating food that is properly cooked and still hot when served.

Pregnant women, children under 5 years of age, those over 60 years of age, and those with weakened immune systems are at greater risk of becoming seriously ill.

Cases of multidrug-resistant (MDR) Salmonella have been reported among Canadian travellers returning from Mexico. These strains of Salmonella do not respond to some of the recommended antibiotics if treatment is needed.

Most people recover on their own without medical treatment and from proper rehydration (drinking lots of fluids).

  • Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.

Travellers with severe symptoms should consult a health care professional as soon as possible.

Insect bite prevention

Many diseases are spread by the bites of infected insects such as mosquitoes, ticks, fleas or flies. When travelling to areas where infected insects may be present:

  • Use insect repellent (bug spray) on exposed skin
  • Cover up with light-coloured, loose clothes made of tightly woven materials such as nylon or polyester
  • Minimize exposure to insects
  • Use mosquito netting when sleeping outdoors or in buildings that are not fully enclosed

To learn more about how you can reduce your risk of infection and disease caused by bites, both at home and abroad, visit our insect bite prevention page.

Find out what types of insects are present where you’re travelling, when they’re most active, and the symptoms of the diseases they spread.

There is a risk of chikungunya in this country.  The risk may vary between regions of a country.  Chikungunya is a virus spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. Chikungunya can cause a viral disease that typically causes fever and pain in the joints. In some cases, the joint pain can be severe and last for months or years.

Protect yourself from mosquito bites at all times. There is no vaccine available for chikungunya.

  • In this country,   dengue  is a risk to travellers. It is a viral disease spread to humans by mosquito bites.
  • Dengue can cause flu-like symptoms. In some cases, it can lead to severe dengue, which can be fatal.
  • The level of risk of dengue changes seasonally, and varies from year to year. The level of risk also varies between regions in a country and can depend on the elevation in the region.
  • Mosquitoes carrying dengue typically bite during the daytime, particularly around sunrise and sunset.
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites . There is no vaccine or medication that protects against dengue.

Zika virus is a risk in this country. 

Zika virus is primarily spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. It can also be sexually transmitted. Zika virus can cause serious birth defects.

During your trip:

  • Prevent mosquito bites at all times.
  • Use condoms correctly or avoid sexual contact, particularly if you are pregnant.

If you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, you should discuss the potential risks of travelling to this destination with your health care provider. You may choose to avoid or postpone travel. 

For more information, see Zika virus: Pregnant or planning a pregnancy.

American trypanosomiasis (Chagas disease)   is a risk in this country. It is caused by a parasite spread by infected triatomine bugs. The infection can be inactive for decades, but humans can eventually develop complications causing disability and even death.

Risk is generally low for most travellers. Protect yourself from triatomine bugs, which are active at night, by using mosquito nets if staying in poorly-constructed housing. There is no vaccine available for Chagas disease.

Animal precautions

Some infections, such as rabies and influenza, can be shared between humans and animals. Certain types of activities may increase your chance of contact with animals, such as travelling in rural or forested areas, camping, hiking, and visiting wet markets (places where live animals are slaughtered and sold) or caves.

Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, livestock (pigs, cows), monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats, and to avoid eating undercooked wild game.

Closely supervise children, as they are more likely to come in contact with animals.

Person-to-person infections

Stay home if you’re sick and practise proper cough and sneeze etiquette , which includes coughing or sneezing into a tissue or the bend of your arm, not your hand. Reduce your risk of colds, the flu and other illnesses by:

  •   washing your hands often
  • avoiding or limiting the amount of time spent in closed spaces, crowded places, or at large-scale events (concerts, sporting events, rallies)
  • avoiding close physical contact with people who may be showing symptoms of illness 

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) , HIV , and mpox are spread through blood and bodily fluids; use condoms, practise safe sex, and limit your number of sexual partners. Check with your local public health authority pre-travel to determine your eligibility for mpox vaccine.  

Medical services and facilities

The quality of care varies greatly throughout the country.

Good health care is available in private hospitals and clinics, but it’s generally expensive. Most private facilities won’t agree to deal directly with medical insurance companies and will require payment with a credit card in advance or a bank transfer/direct deposit.

Mental health services are extremely limited in Mexico, particularly outside of Mexico City. Services and treatment standards may differ substantially from those in Canada.

Medical evacuation can be very expensive and you may need it in case of serious illness or injury.

Make sure you get travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays.

Travel health and safety

Medical tourism

Medical tourism is common in Mexico. Canadian travellers have had serious health complications following cosmetic or other elective surgeries abroad.

Before leaving for medical travel, you should do your research, especially on:

  • the health and financial risks
  • the medical facility where the procedure will be performed
  • language barriers, which can lead to misunderstandings about your medical care and conditions
  • travel insurance that includes coverage for the type of medical procedure you will be undergoing

You should discuss your medical plans with your primary healthcare provider in Canada before travelling. Most provincial and territorial health care programs are extremely limited in their coverage offered abroad.

  • Make sure that the healthcare providers you choose are authorized by the Mexican health authorities
  • Ask to see the credentials of the healthcare providers
  • Obtain a written agreement detailing the proposed treatment or procedure
  • Receiving medical care outside Canada
  • If you become sick or injured while travelling outside Canada or after your return
  • Medical tourism – Government of Mexico (in Spanish)

If you take prescription medication, you’re responsible for determining their legality in Mexico. 

  • Bring sufficient quantities of your medication with you
  • Always keep your medication in the original container
  • Pack your medication in your carry-on luggage
  • Carry a copy of your prescriptions

Medication cannot be sent to Mexico from Canada via courier services.

Many types of medication—both over-the-counter and prescription—are readily available with little oversight. Counterfeit medication is common in certain parts of Mexico. If you need to purchase medication while in Mexico, make sure to get it from a reputable location.

Federal Commission for protection against sanitary risk  (in Spanish)

Air quality in Mexico City

In Mexico City, you may experience health problems caused by high altitude or by air pollution, which is at its peak during the winter months.

Consult your doctor before booking your trip if you have lung, heart or respiratory problems.

Death in Mexico

If you plan to retire or spend long periods of time in Mexico, or travel there for medical procedures, you should:

  • share your plans or wishes with relatives
  • make sure important documents can easily be located
  • make arrangements in case of your death while in the country
  • What if I Die in Mexico? – Fact sheet
  • Death Abroad Factsheet

Keep in Mind...

The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.

Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a   travel health kit , especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.

You must abide by local laws.

Penalties for breaking the law in Mexico can be more severe than in Canada, even for similar offences.

Foreign nationals are often held in pre-trial detention and there can be lengthy delays before a trial.

Many petty crimes (such as public urination, failure to pay a bill or disorderly behaviour) can result in a 72-hour detention by police. Paying a fine can secure an early release from detention.

Detention conditions are below the standards of Canadian prisons.

  • Overview of the criminal law system in Mexico
  • Arrest and detention

Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe. Convicted offenders can expect lengthy prison sentences.

Drugs, alcohol and travel

Smoking is prohibited in all public places except for clearly marked designated smoking areas. This includes but is not limited to:

  • restaurants

You may be fined if you’re caught smoking in public.

Electronic cigarettes

It’s illegal to bring electronic cigarettes/vaping devices and solutions into Mexico.

You could have these items confiscated by customs officials if you have them in your possession. You could also be fined or detained.

It is strictly prohibited to sell or distribute these devices and solutions in Mexico.

Imports and exports

The Mexican government strictly enforces its laws concerning possession, importation and trafficking of firearms.

Anyone entering Mexico with a firearm or ammunition without prior written authorization from Mexican authorities is subject to imprisonment.

It is also illegal to enter the country with certain types of knives.

Importing vehicles and boats

Mexico has very strict rules regarding the importation of foreign vehicles and boats.

You must enter Mexico with the proper import permit and insurance, since it cannot be obtained once you are in Mexico. You may face a fine and have your vehicle seized if you enter Mexico without the proper permit.

You must present a paper document of your vehicle registration to obtain a vehicle importation permit from the Mexican authorities. If you present a digital document of your vehicle registration, your vehicle may be refused entry into Mexico.   

  • Vehicle importation  – Government of Mexico (in Spanish)
  • Temporary vehicle import application system  – Banjército
  • Travelling to Mexico by land  – Mexican Embassy in Canada

Cigarettes and alcohol

If you are older than 18, you are allowed to bring into Mexico up to:

  • 10 cigarette packs
  • 25 cigars or
  • 200 grams of tobacco
  • 3 litres of alcohol and
  • 6 litres of wine

If you bring more alcohol and cigarettes into Mexico than allowed, even if you declare your imported items, you will be subject to a high import fee. You will still be subject to a significant fee if you decide to relinquish your imported items

It’s illegal to possess archaeological artefacts or to export such items from Mexico.

  • Goods you can bring to Mexico as part of your personal luggage  – Government of Mexico
  • Goods you cannot bring into Mexico  – Government of Mexico
  • Agricultural product restrictions  – Government of Mexico (in Spanish)

Political activity

It’s illegal for foreigners to conduct political activity in Mexico, including participating in demonstrations.

2SLGBTQI+ travellers

Mexican law does not prohibit sexual acts between individuals of the same sex. However, homosexuality is not widely accepted in Mexican society, particularly in rural areas.

2SLGBTQI+ travellers could be discriminated against based on their sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression or sex characteristics. Transgender and gender non-conforming individuals are disproportionately targeted for violence and can face discrimination.

Travel and your sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics

Dual citizenship is legally recognized in Mexico.

If you are a Canadian citizen, but also a citizen of Mexico, our ability to offer you consular services may be limited while you're there. You may also be subject to different entry/exit requirements .

Travellers with dual citizenship

International Child Abduction

The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is an international treaty. It can help parents with the return of children who have been removed to or retained in certain countries in violation of custody rights. The convention applies between Canada and Mexico.

If your child was wrongfully taken to, or is being held in Mexico, and if the applicable conditions are met, you may apply for the return of your child to the Mexican court.

If you are in this situation:

  • act as quickly as you can
  • contact the Central Authority for your province or territory of residence for information on starting an application under The Hague Convention
  • consult a lawyer in Canada and in Mexico to explore all the legal options for the return of your child
  • report the situation to the nearest Canadian government office abroad or to the Vulnerable Children’s Consular Unit at Global Affairs Canada by calling the Emergency Watch and Response Centre

If your child was removed from a country other than Canada, consult a lawyer to determine if The Hague Convention applies.

Be aware that Canadian consular officials cannot interfere in private legal matters or in another country’s judicial affairs.

  • List of Canadian Central Authorities for the Hague Convention
  • International Child Abduction: A Guidebook for Left-Behind Parents
  • Travelling with children
  • The Hague Convention - Hague Conference on Private International Law
  • Canadian embassies and consulates by destination
  • Emergency Watch and Response Centre

There are no clear procedures or regulations about surrogacy in Mexico.

If you're considering surrogacy, seek advice from legal professionals knowledgeable in Canadian and Mexican laws and citizenship procedures.

Identity documents

The names on your identity documents must be identical to those on your birth certificate to obtain official Mexican documents, such as marriage certificates, immigration documents or passports.

Middle names are often left off Canadian identity documents. This has caused significant difficulties for many Canadians. If you plan on residing in Mexico or dealing with the Mexican Civil Registry, obtain a Canadian passport that will meet Mexican requirements.


You should carry photo identification.

Authorities can ask you to show identification and a proof of your legal status in Mexico. They can demand to see your tourist card at any time. You must carry the original at all times. You must carry the original at all times, and should also carry a photocopy of the identification page of your passport.


If you plan on buying property, or making other investments in Mexico, seek legal advice in Canada and in Mexico. Do so before making commitments. Related disputes could take time and be costly to resolve.

Mexican real estate agents are not licensed or regulated.

  • Choose your own lawyer
  • Avoid hiring a lawyer recommended by a seller

Problems with timeshare arrangements occur.

Timeshare representatives may be very persistent. They use pressure tactics and offer free tours, meals, gifts or alcoholic beverages.

It's illegal for timeshare companies to ask you to sign a waiver that prevents you from cancelling a contract. You're legally entitled to cancel a timeshare contract without penalty within 5 working days. Contracts must be cancelled in writing directly with the timeshare company.

Before purchasing a timeshare:

  • gather as much information as possible
  • review carefully the contract; anything not included in the contract will not be honoured
  • provide your credit card only if you are sure you want to make the purchase
  • keep copies of all correspondence

If you suspect a fraud in the real estate procedures, contact the Federal Attorney’s Office of Consumer immediately.

  • Federal Attorney’s Office of Consumer (PROFECO)  – Mexican Government (in Spanish)
  • Should I buy a timeshare in Mexico? - Embassy of Mexico in Canada
  • Should I sell my timeshare in Mexico? - Embassy of Mexico in Canada

Rental accommodations

Rental agreements between two individuals in Mexico are considered a private matter and are not regulated by the government.

If you encounter difficulties with a rental agreement, you must obtain the services of a Mexican lawyer.

You should carry an international driving permit.

International Driving Permit

Auto insurance

Mexican liability insurance is mandatory. Canadian automobile insurance is not valid in Mexico.

You can obtain insurance at the Mexican border. You should obtain full coverage, including coverage for legal assistance.

Automobile insurance is much more expensive in Mexico than in Canada. Many local drivers don’t have any form of car insurance.

If you’re involved in an accident, and you don’t have Mexican liability insurance, you could be prevented from leaving the country until all parties agree that adequate financial satisfaction has been received. If you’re found to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of an accident, or if you don’t have a valid driver’s licence, your insurance will be considered invalid.

If you’re involved in a traffic accident, you may face serious legal problems, including imprisonment. You could be taken into custody until responsibility for the accident is determined and all fines are paid. You must report any accident you’re involved in to the police.

Driving restrictions in Mexico City

The Hoy No Circula (No Driving Today) program restricts some cars from driving in Mexico City and in some municipalities of the State of Mexico, from Monday to Saturday, from 5 am to 10 pm.

You will face driving restrictions depending on:

  • your car’s emission sticker
  • the last digit of your license plate
  • where your license plate was issued

Hoy No Circula program is strictly enforced. You may face heavy fines and temporary confiscation of your vehicle if you don’t comply. Consult the Hoy No Circula calendar before driving.

Electric and hybrid cars are exempted from these restrictions. Gas-fueled cars of a 2008 model or later may obtain a tourist pass valid for selected drive days.

  • Hoy no circula – Government of Mexico (in Spanish)
  • Tourist pass  – Government of Mexico (in Spanish)
  • Ministry of Environment  – Government of (in Spanish)

Buying/selling a vehicle

You must be either a temporary or a permanent resident if you wish to buy a car in Mexico.

It’s illegal to sell your imported vehicle in Mexico. If you do, your vehicle may be seized and you may be subject to a fine and deportation.

The currency of Mexico is the Mexican peso.

In some parts of Mexico, particularly tourist destinations, hotels and other service providers may advertise prices in USD.

There is a limit to the amount of U.S. dollars that residents and foreigners can exchange in Mexico, depending on your immigration status. The rule doesn’t apply to Canadian dollars but some financial institutions, hotels and currency exchange bureaus don’t make the distinction.

When carrying more than US$10,000 or the equivalent in other currencies, cash, cheques, money orders or any other monetary instrument, you must declare the amount exceeding US$10,000. Failure to make this declaration is against Mexican law and often results in detention.

Hurricane Otis

Hurricane Otis made landfall in Acapulco on October 25, 2023, causing significant damage to infrastructure. Avoid all travel to Guerrero state.

There are significant disruptions to the following essential services in Acapulco:

  • transportation, including flights
  • power distribution
  • water and food supply
  • telecommunications networks
  • emergency services
  • medical care, including hospitals.

Latest advisories  – U.S. National Hurricane centre

Mexico is subject to various natural disasters, such as:

  • earthquakes
  • volcanic eruptions
  • torrential rains, floods and mudslides
  • forest fires

In the event of a natural disaster:

  • monitor local news to stay informed on the evolving situation
  • follow the instructions of local authorities, including evacuation orders
  • Secretary of Integrated Risk Management and Civil Protection  – Government of Mexico City (in Spanish)
  • National Center for Disaster Prevention  (CENAPRED) – Government of Mexico (in Spanish)
  • Get prepared

Hurricane season

Hurricanes usually occur from mid-May to the end of November. During this period, even small tropical storms can quickly develop into major hurricanes.

These severe storms can put you at risk and hamper the provision of essential services.

If you decide to travel to a coastal area during the hurricane season:

  • know that you expose yourself to serious safety risks
  • be prepared to change your travel plans on short notice, including cutting short or cancelling your trip
  • stay informed of the latest regional weather forecasts
  • carry emergency contact information for your airline or tour operator
  • follow the advice and instructions of local authorities
  • Tornadoes, cyclones, hurricanes, typhoons and monsoons
  • Large-scale emergencies abroad
  • Active storm tracking and hurricane watches and warnings  - United States’ National Hurricane Center

Flooding and landslides

Heavy rains can cause flooding and landslides. Roads may become impassable and infrastructure damaged.

Earthquakes and tsunamis

Mexico is located in an active seismic zone. Earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions can occur.

A tsunami can occur within minutes of a nearby earthquake. However, the risk of tsunami can remain for several hours following the first tremor. If you’re staying on the coast, familiarize yourself with the region’s evacuation plans in the event of a tsunami warning.

Useful links:

  • National Seismological Institute  – Government of Mexico (in Spanish)
  • Latest earthquakes  - U.S. Geological Survey
  • Tsunami alerts  - U.S. Tsunami Warning System
  • Centre for Studies and Research of Volcanology  - University of Colima (in Spanish)

Forest fires

Forest fires may occur, particularly during the dry season from:

  • January to June in the centre, north, northeast, south and southeast
  • May to September in the northwest

The air quality in areas near active fires may deteriorate due to heavy smoke.

In case of a major fire:

  • stay away from the affected area, particularly if you suffer from respiratory ailments
  • always follow the instructions of local emergency services personnel, including any evacuation order
  • monitor local media for up-to-date information on the situation

Daily report on wildfires – Government of Mexico (in Spanish)

Local services

In case of an emergency, dial 911.

Roadside assistance

The Angeles Verdes is a highway patrol service that provides free assistance on all major toll highways from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

You can download the App on your mobile device.

In case of an emergency, you can also dial 078 or 800 006 8839 (toll-free in Mexico) to reach them.

Consular assistance

Aguascalientes, Chiapas, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Durango, Estado de Mexico, Guanajuato, Hidalgo, Michoacán, Morelos, Mexico City, Oaxaca, Puebla, Querétaro, San Luís Potosí, Tabasco, Tamaulipas, Tlaxcala, Veracruz, Zacatecas.

Campeche, Yucatán, and Quintana Roo north of the municipality of Solidaridad, including Puerto Morelos, Isla Mujeres and Holbox

Baja California, Sonora

For emergency consular assistance, call the Embassy of Canada to Mexico, in Mexico City, and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.

The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad. We take the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provide credible and timely information in our Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad.

The content on this page is provided for information only. While we make every effort to give you correct information, it is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, expressed or implied. The Government of Canada does not assume responsibility and will not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided.

If you need consular assistance while abroad, we will make every effort to help you. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.

Learn more about consular services .

Risk Levels

  take normal security precautions.

Take similar precautions to those you would take in Canada.

  Exercise a high degree of caution

There are certain safety and security concerns or the situation could change quickly. Be very cautious at all times, monitor local media and follow the instructions of local authorities.

IMPORTANT: The two levels below are official Government of Canada Travel Advisories and are issued when the safety and security of Canadians travelling or living in the country or region may be at risk.

  Avoid non-essential travel

Your safety and security could be at risk. You should think about your need to travel to this country, territory or region based on family or business requirements, knowledge of or familiarity with the region, and other factors. If you are already there, think about whether you really need to be there. If you do not need to be there, you should think about leaving.

  Avoid all travel

You should not travel to this country, territory or region. Your personal safety and security are at great risk. If you are already there, you should think about leaving if it is safe to do so.

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travel level mexico

  • Passports, travel and living abroad
  • Travel abroad
  • Foreign travel advice

Warnings and insurance

travel level mexico

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) provides advice about risks of travel to help British nationals make informed decisions. Find out more about FCDO travel advice .

Areas where FCDO advises against all but essential travel

Your travel insurance could be invalidated if you travel against FCDO advice. Consular support is also severely limited where FCDO advises against travel.

State of Baja California

FCDO advises against all but essential travel to the city of Tijuana, except:

  • airside transit through Tijuana airport
  • the Cross Border Xpress bridge from the airport linking terminals across the Mexican-US border
  • the federal toll road 1D and Via Rápida through Tijuana to the border

FCDO advises against all but essential travel to the city of Tecate in Baja California (including roads between Tijuana and Tecate)

Note: FCDO does not advise against all travel or all but essential travel to any part of the state of Baja California Sur.

State of Chiapas

FCDO advises against all but essential travel to within 40km of the Guatemalan border between the Pacific Coast up to and including the border crossing at Gracias a Dio

FCDO advises against all but essential travel on Federal Highway 199 (Carretera Federal 199) between Rancho Nuevo (just outside San Cristobal de las Casas) and Palenque.

State of Chihuahua

FCDO advises against all but essential travel to the state of Chihuahua, except:

  • the city of Chihuahua
  • the border crossing in Ciudad Juárez (accessed by federal toll road 45)
  • federal toll road 45D connecting the cities of Chihuahua and Ciudad Juárez
  • the Copper Canyon rail route to and from Chihuahua and towns immediately on this route including Creel
  • the road from Creel via San Juanito to San Pedro
  • state highway 16 from San Pedro to Chihuahua

State of Colima

FCDO advises against all but essential travel to the state of Colima, except:

  • the city of Manzanillo accessed by sea or air via the Manzanillo-Costalegre International Airport

State of Guanajuato

FCDO advises against all but essential travel to the areas southwest of road 45D.

State of Guerrero

FCDO advises against all but essential travel to the state of Guerrero, except:

  • the town of Zihuatanejo/Ixtapa accessed by air.

State of Jalisco

FCDO advises against all but essential travel to the areas south and southwest of Lake Chapala to the border with the state of Colima.

FCDO advises against all but essential travel to the northern municipalities of:

  • Chimaltitán
  • Hostotipaquillo
  • Huequilla el Alto
  • San Martin de Bolaños
  • Santa Maria de los Ángeles
  • Villa Guerrero

State of Michoacán

FCDO advises against all but essential travel to the state of Michoacán, except:

  • the city of Morelia accessed by federal toll roads 15D, 126 and 43; and the federal toll road 48D between the city of Morelia and the General Francisco Mujica airport
  • the town of Pátzcuaro accessed by federal toll roads 14D and 15 from Morelia, and boat trips out to islands on Lake Pátzcuaro
  • the Federal Highway 15D

State of Sinaloa

FCDO advises against all but essential travel to the state of Sinaloa, except:

  • the cities of Los Mochis and Mazatlán
  • road 32 that runs between El Fuerte and Los Mochis
  • the 15D federal toll road that runs the length of the state
  • the Copper Canyon rail route to and from Los Mochis, El Fuerte and the towns immediately on this route

State of Tamaulipas

FCDO advises against all but essential travel to the state of Tamaulipas, except:

  • the border crossing at Nuevo Laredo accessed by federal toll road 85D from Monterrey
  • Federal highways 80, 81 and 85 between Tampico, Ciudad de Victoria and Magueyes, and the entire area of Tamaulipas south of these highways.

State of Zacatecas

FCDO advises against all but essential travel to the state of Zacatecas.

Find out more about why FCDO advises against travel to these areas .

Volcano Popocatépetl

On 27 February, ash fall from Popocatépetl caused flight disruption, including cancellations at Benito Juarez International Airport in Mexico City.  If you are travelling, you should check your flight status direct with your airline.

Before you travel

No travel can be guaranteed safe. Read all the advice in this guide and any specific travel advice that applies to you: 

  • women travellers  
  • disabled travellers  
  • LGBT+ travellers

Follow and contact FCDO travel on Twitter , Facebook and Instagram . You can also sign up to get email notifications when this advice is updated.

Travel insurance

If you choose to travel, research your destinations and get appropriate travel insurance . Insurance should cover your itinerary, planned activities and expenses in an emergency.

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travel level mexico

This is the Safest City in Mexico in 2024 (According to Experts)

Looking for the safest places in mexico for travelers.

You’re in the right place! I’ve lived in Mexico since 2018, and have traveled to more than half the states in the country — and I’m about to share my knowledge of the safest city in Mexico with you.

It’s Merida, Mexico, which is located in the Yucatan Peninsula. As I lived in Merida for many years , you’re getting my first-hand knowledge here!

This article will highlight everything you need to know about Merida, from the Merida crime rates and statistics, to how to get there, and some things to do in Merida once you arrive.

Think of this as your Ultimate Guide to the Safest City in Mexico — so let’s get to it!

Ultimate Guide to Merida: The Safest City in Mexico

Located in the Yucatan Peninsula, one of the safest parts of Mexico, Merida consistently ranks as the safest place to travel in Mexico — and has for some time.

In fact, Merida is considered the safest place in Mexico to vacation in the entire peninsula.

It is the capital of Yucatán State, which is one of the only two Mexico states that seems to never have any U.S. State Department travel warnings .

Furthermore, many say Merida is definitively the safest place to live in Mexico (or one of the safe places to live in Mexico).

As I lived in Merida for many years, I know this to be true first-hand — but so do many others.

  • In 2019, CEOWorld Magazine declared it the second safest city on the entire Americas Continent.
  • In 2019, Merida was named the Best Small City in the World in the Condé Nast Traveler’s Readers’ Choice Awards.
  • In 2021, CEOWorld Magazine readers also voted Merida #3 on their Best Small Cities in the World list.
  • In 2022, Merida was named the #4 Best City in the World in the Condé Nast Traveler’s Readers’ Choice Awards.

What are the Crime Rates in Merida Mexico?

Wondering, What city in Mexico is considered safest with the lowest crime rate?

When it comes to bigger cities in Mexico with a population of one million-plus, it’s Merida, hands down!

Merida is known as many things, including the Cultural Capital of Yucatan , and the safest Mexican city.

It consistently ranks as both the safest city to visit in Mexico, and safest place for expats to live in Mexico.

As you can see in the infographic above, there’s not much crime in Merida — though of course, crimes of opportunity and petty crimes do happen from time to time.

You’ll want to be mindful of your belongings at all times, just as you would anywhere else. In crowded places, things like pickpocketing can happen, though it’s rare.

Is there a U.S. State Department travel advisory for Merida right now? 

For the most accurate answer, visit the U.S. State Department website to see if they have any current Merida travel warnings.

They usually don’t, but this site is the best way to stay up-to-date with the most accurate information possible regarding Mexico travel advisories.

Merida Mexico Travel Warnings

On the U.S. State Department site , you’ll see each of the 32 Mexico states ranked in one of these four categories:

  • 🛑 Level 4 (Highest Level): Do Not Travel (Highest Level)
  • ⚠️ Level 3: Reconsider Travel
  • ⚠️ / ✅ Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution When Traveling
  • ✅ Level 1 (Lowest Level): Exercise Normal Precautions When Traveling

What state is Merida located in?

Merida is in Yucatan State , which is generally at a Level 1 Warning.

This is the lowest warning level the U.S. State Department issues, and it means “Exercise Normal Precautions When Traveling” — which is what you’d do anywhere.

For perspective, some other Level 1 travel destinations include Australia, Japan, Iceland and Fiji.

Now ask yourself: Would I be scared to travel to Fiji?  How about Australia or Japan?

Of course you wouldn’t — and you might have even laughed at those questions.

So what’s the verdict on Merida Mexico travel safety? In general, Merida is a popular region in Mexico for Americans, as it’s a clean and safe city in the Yucatan.

As with any major tourist town, you will need to exercise some level of caution in Cancun, Mexico — but nothing major.

If you remain aware of yourself, your surroundings and your belongings, you can easily have a safe Cancun trip like the many other visitors just like you.

Merida Travel Guide

Nowadays, this colorful colonial city is fast becoming a top Mexico travel destination . However, there are still many people who don’t know about it.

If you’re one of them, or just need some additional tips on how to visit Merida Mexico like a pro, you’ll find all the info you need below.

Where is Merida Mexico located?

Merida is located in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. This is a three-state region in the southeastern part of the country.

It includes Quintana Roo State (home to Cancun, Tulum and Playa del Carmen), Campeche State, and Yucatan State. Merida is the capital city of this state.

Is there an airport in Merida Mexico?

Yes — Manuel Crescencio Rejón International Airport, better known as Merida International Airport (code: MID), is located near downtown.

The best, safest and most hassle way to get from the airport to your hotel is by booking this Private Merida Airport Shuttle .

  • Merida Airport to Downtown Distance : 5 miles (8 km); 25 minutes
  • Merida Airport to North Merida Distance : 13 miles (20 km); 40 minutes

What are the best things to do in Merida?

There are so many amazing things to do in Merida , which is a great city to explore Mexico’s rich Mayan history and traditions.

Just outside of the city, you have numerous Merida day trips to places like Valladolid and Izamal (two Mexico pueblos magicos ), as well as beaches, ruins and cenotes.

Here are a few articles that will help you discover the must see Merida sites, located both in the city and just outside of it:

  • 15 Amazing Mayan Ruins Near Merida
  • 30 Best Merida Cenotes You Must Visit
  • Best Merida Mexico Beaches in the Yucatan
  • 11 Best Merida to Chichen Itza Tours
  • 12 Top Rated Tours in Merida Mexico
  • Best Museums in Merida Mexico

Safest City in Mexico: Frequently Asked Questions

What is the safest city in mexico.

Merida is regarded as the safest Mexico city, and has been for some time now.

It has low crime rates in all categories, including robberies, burglaries, vandalism, theft, assault, and drug-related crimes.

Which state in Mexico has the lowest crime rate?

There are two: Yucatan and Campeche — According to U.S. State Department statistics, both Campeche State and Yucatan State have the lowest levels of crime in Mexico.

These states are located next to one another in the Yucatan Peninsula. They’re both considered a Level 1 Zone , and neither have any travel advisories.

What is the safest part of Mexico for tourists?

Yucatan Peninsula — According to the U.S. State Department , much of the Yucatan is a Level 1 Zone with no travel warnings.

In a Level 1 Travel Zone, travelers need only exercise “normal precautions” while visiting this popular region of Mexico.

For some time now, Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula has been considered the safest area in Mexico.

🇲🇽 BONUS: It also have some of the best cities in Mexico for travelers, like Tulum , Merida, Valladolid , Cancun , Puerto Morelos, Isla Holbox , Laguna Bacalar , Playa del Carmen , Akumal , and more.

What city in Mexico has the least crime?

Merida — Given the Merida population of about 1 million, it has the lowest crime rates in Mexico per capita of any major city in the country.

What is the safest place to vacation in Mexico?

Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula is always a great option when it comes to safety.

This part of the country has some of the safest resort towns in Mexico , and there are so many great things to do in Yucatan too.

What city in Mexico do most Americans retire to?

Some of the best places in Mexico for retirees include San Miguel de Allende , Puerto Vallarta, Merida , Puebla City and Ajijic on Lake Chapala.

The small town of Ajijic (pronounced ah-he-heek) might not be on everyone’s radar, but it’s a great option when it comes to safe places in Mexico for travelers .

The town sits on Lake Chapala in Jalisco State, and has peaceful vibes. The largest lake in Mexico, Chapala covers an area of 417 square miles (1,080 square km).

Where do most Americans live in Mexico?

There are a few places that are popular for American expats in Mexico, including Ajijic, Los Cabos, Puerto Vallarta, Merida, Playa del Carmen, San Miguel de Allende, and some parts of Mexico City.

🇲🇽 large numbers of americans are moving to mexico

Did you know that American expats are relocating to Mexico in droves ? (As well as Canadians and Europeans!)

According to statistics from Mexico’s Migration Policy Unit, the number of Americans who applied for or renewed residency visas in Mexico surged by an astounding 70% between 2019-2022.

What is the safest city in Mexico for Americans?

Merida — Known as the safest city in Mexico for both locals and visitors, Merida makes a great Mexico travel destination because of its low levels of crime.

What parts of Mexico are safe?

There are many safe places in Mexico, but the State of   Yucatán  has the lowest crime rate according to the U.S. State Department and  Mexico Peace Index .

Yucatan State is famous for  Chichen Itza , one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, and the most famous of all Mexico archaeological sites .

There are also other fascinating historical sites, like Uxmal , Ek-Balam, and Mayapan.

Visitors can enjoy these best beaches in Yucatan on the Gulf of Mexico, like Puerto Progreso, and these stunning Yucatan cenotes (natural jungle pools).

No matter where you’re headed in Yucatan, you can enjoy the region without worry.

Is Mexico safe to travel to right now?

For the vast majority of travelers, yes , it is perfectly safe to visit Mexico.

Of course, you will want to use the same “travel common sense” as you would anywhere else.

While many want a definitive yes/no answer to the question Is Mexico safe for travelers? , there just isn’t one.

That’s because this is a complex question, and the answer is really yes and no .

Yes, Mexico is safe for nearly all travelers; but no, it’s not always safe if you don’t make personal safety your top priority.

As one of the most visited countries in the world, most travelers are safe in Mexico, but you do need to follow common travel safety measures.

In truth, there’s no guarantee of safety anywhere on Earth, but this quote from Carlos Barron, a 25-year FBI veteran, offers some perspective.

Pay extra attention to the phrase: “the numbers game.”

There’s no denying bad things happen in Mexico. However, they are isolated incidents in Mexico much the same as they are isolated incidents in other countries.

Though bad things happen every minute of everyday in the U.S. and most European countries, they are written off isolated incidents.

Most people would call it insane to label the entire country as unsafe because of an isolated incident — but this is often done with Mexico 🤷‍♀️ Why?

🤯 Mexico Saw 66 Million Visitors in 2022

Contrary to often-sensationalized media reports, Mexico gets a bad rap.

However, it’s not totally undeserved, as there are both safe parts of Mexico and unsafe parts of Mexico.

However, American and international travelers still flock to Mexico en masse.

In fact, Mexico is the 7th most visited country in the world, and according to Statista , Mexico was the top travel destination for international travelers in 2021.

So if Mexico was totally unsafe, as many claim, Wouldn’t people just stop going?

As you can see on SECTUR , the Mexican Secretary of Tourism’s site, they most certainly haven’t stopped going.

According to SECTUR, Mexico welcomed an astounding 66 million visitors in 2022 — up 19.3% from 2021.

With such a sinister reputation, and so many people convinced all of Mexico is unsafe for travel, it seems people would want to avoid Mexico at all costs.

However, the numbers show that the exact opposite is true, and that tourists love Mexico now more than ever.

What are the most dangerous cities in Mexico to avoid?

These include some areas in the states of Colima , Sinaloa , Michoacan , Tamaulipas and Guerrero — though not all parts of each state are considered dangerous.

For a guide on which places are safe at this exact moment, which places to avoid in Mexico, and the most dangerous cities in Mexico — consult the U.S. State Department site .

Their guide offers up-to-date information, current Mexico travel advisory info, Mexico travel warnings, safety alerts and advisories to help you make your travel plans.

⚠️ However, keep in mind they evaluate state by state, not city by city, which would makes more sense for travelers since you’ll likely visit just one small area within a much larger state.

For example, Sinaloa is generally considered one of the least safe states in Mexico.

However, the city of Mazatlan in Sinaloa state is one of the most-visited and safest beaches in Mexico .

This particular city is known as one of the safest places for tourists in Mexico. Though it’s located in an “unsafe” state, millions of people visit each year.

Have you registered for the STEP Program yet?

If you’re from the U.S., make sure you enroll in the FREE STEP Program  before your trip. (🇨🇦 Canadians can check out Registration of Canadians Abroad here for a similar program).

The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, or STEP, allows U.S. citizens traveling to Mexico to document your trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

After you’ve registered, the U.S. Embassy or Consulate nearest you can contact you in the event of an emergency, including natural disasters, civil unrest, etc.

STEP can also put you in touch with your family and friends back home, in the event of an emergency while abroad.

They can also shed light on general Mexico travel safety tips, if you’re still in doubt.

Final Thoughts: Safest Cities in Mexico to Visit

Given the negative perception of Mexico as a whole, I hope this article was able to shine a light on the safest city in Mexico.

However, from my personal experience living in Mexico since 2018, there are MANY other safe places in Mexico too.

Now, there are dangerous parts of Mexico and dangerous places in Mexico; but those are small parts of a big country.

I hope hearing stories from actual travelers and Mexico expats like me helps paint a more real picture of the country because I have found most people who say “Mexico is dangerous” — have never even been to Mexico 🤷‍♀️ Go figure!

Ready to book your Merida trip?

Here are some helpful tips and guides to the safest town in Mexico:

  • Book the Best Merida Hotels here
  • Find the Best Merida Tours here
  • For more info, check out Is Merida Mexico Safe for Travelers?

Mexico Travel Planning Guide

Should i buy mexico travel insurance.

YES — With basic coverage averaging just $5-10 USD per day, enjoy peace of mind with a plan from Travel Insurance Master , one of the biggest names in travel insurance. ( Read more )

Can you drink the water in Mexico?

No — You’ll want to buy this Water-To-Go Bottle , which filters your drinking water so you don’t get sick from drinking water in Mexico.

Also, it helps keep you hydrated while traveling Mexico. ( Read more )

Is it safe to rent a car in Mexico?

Yes — Renting a car in Mexico is one of the best ways to see the country! I always rent with Discover Cars , which checks international companies and local Mexican companies, so you get the best rates. ( Read more )

Will my phone work in Mexico?

Maybe — It depends on your company, so check with your provider. If you don’t have free Mexico service, buy a Telcel SIM Card . As Mexico’s largest carrier, Telcel has the best coverage of any Mexico SIM Cards. ( Read more )

What’s the best way to book my Mexico accommodations?

For Mexico hotels, is the best site , but for hostels, use Hostel World . If you’re considering a Mexico Airbnb, don’t forget to check VRBO , which is often cheaper than Airbnb.

What do I pack for Mexico?

Head to the Ultimate Mexico Packing List + FREE Checklist Download to get all the info you need on packing for Mexico.

What’s the best site to buy Mexico flights?

For finding cheap Mexico flights, I recommend using Skyscanner .

Do I need a visa for Mexico?

Likely Not — U.S., Canadian and European Passport holders don’t need a visa for Mexico; but check here to see if you need a Mexico travel visa. Most travelers will get a 180-Day FMM Tourist Visa passport stamp a upon arrival.

Wondering, What's the safest city in Mexico? This article tells you what it is, how to get there, and what to do when you go to this safest Mexico city.

I've been to 35 all-inclusive resorts. Here are 10 mistakes I always see first-timers make.

  • I've stayed at all-inclusive resorts around the world and seen first-timers make the same mistakes. 
  • Don't go overboard on the frozen drinks, and never fill your plate during the first pass at a buffet.
  • Pack an insulated travel mug and check out water-sport rentals and amenities at sister properties.

Insider Today

Vacationing at an all-inclusive resort is very appealing for many travelers — and with good reason.

Being able to budget before you arrive and not having to worry about toting around cash or credit cards can alleviate a lot of travel headaches.

As a travel writer, I've been to dozens of all-inclusive resorts in the Caribbean, Mexico, the Maldives, and more. During my stays, I see guests overlook many details that could make their sojourns much more enjoyable.

Whether you're planning your first trip to an all-inclusive resort or this is already your preferred style of vacation, here are 10 mistakes to avoid:

Not researching before booking

Not every all-inclusive resort is designed equally. Some have gorgeous pools and underwhelming beaches, or vice-versa.

Some cater to families with dedicated kids' and teens' clubs and activities, but others prohibit guests under 18. I've stayed at resorts that run the gamut.

The point is that having everything included in and of itself isn't necessarily enough of an appeal. Think about what you're looking for in a vacation, do your research, and look beyond the slick marketing and touched-up, wide-angle pics on the resort's website.

Overlooking VIP and concierge-level room options

The term "all-inclusive" doesn't mean what it used to.

These days, some resorts offer upgraded rooms and suites in certain areas of the property, with perks that may include butler service and dedicated lounges, restaurants, pools, or beach areas for these VIP guests.

Although spending more for these amenities isn't for everyone, they can bring a sense of luxury and civility to your vacation, especially if you're staying at a crowded resort where guests are forced to set out towels before breakfast to claim lounge chairs.

Not making dinner reservations when you check in

You may have access to a slew of restaurants at your resort, but that doesn't mean you can roll up to the host stand and automatically get a table, especially at peak dinner times (remember, everyone wants 7:30 p.m.).

To avoid disappointment, book tables for the popular spots right after you check in or before you arrive, if that's an option.

Keep in mind that depending on how many nights you're staying, you may be entitled to only a limited number of reservations for the à-la-carte concepts, so choose wisely.

My advice is to prioritize places that serve local cuisine. After all, you can get steak or pasta just about anywhere.

Filling your plate at the buffet before checking out all the options

All-inclusive resorts are often known for over-the-top buffets any time of day, with omelet and freshly-pressed-juice stations at breakfast and salad bars, local specialties, carving stations, and all the desserts at lunch and dinner.

Related stories

Grabbing a plate and reaching for the serving spoons before giving the area a look-see is a rookie move and can also lead to overeating and wasting food.

Each time before tackling a buffet, take a walk around, as options can change not only from meal to meal but daily as well. And make it a point to take a spoonful of something you've never tried.

Forgetting to bring an insulated travel mug

I used to roll my eyes at resort guests who'd tote their travel mugs up to the bar to be filled with their beverage of choice.

I thought they were being overly indulgent and exploiting the concept of "all-inclusive." But now I think they're on to something.

For one thing, insulated tumblers keep drinks colder for much longer and reduce the number of trips to the bar.

Beyond that, they're more environmentally friendly than all those single-use plastic cups. If you're bringing your Stanley and asking the bartender to fill it, though, tip them for going above and beyond.

Not tipping

Speaking of tipping, I'm well aware that some all-inclusive resorts invite guests to "leave their wallets at home."

But unless the property you're staying at has a strict policy against it, small tips can go a long way. Tipping the bartender at a crowded swim-up or lobby bar when you first order, for example, can result in quicker service for your second and third rounds.

If you have a fabulous server at dinner, leaving them some cash on the table is a nice gesture. And don't forget about the housekeeping staff, who keep your room free of sand and endlessly replenish your towels.

Ordering drinks wrong

Not all drinks at all-inclusive resorts are created equally.

Belly up to the lobby bar, which tends to stock top-shelf liqueur. Upgrade your piña colada by requesting it with dark or aged rum instead of white, which gives it much more flavor.

If you see Aperol or Campari on the back bar, you can be sure to get a decent spritz. Craft your own low-ABV libation by asking for sauvignon blanc or rosé mixed with club soda and a dash of simple syrup, garnished with a lemon wedge.

And try the local beer or wine, if it's available.

… and going all in on fruity, frozen drinks

A piña colada is decidedly delicious — I like to have one mid-morning, which I half-jokingly refer to as a "breakfast smoothie."

But if you keep hitting the swim-up bar to order blended concoctions, you're going to end up drinking a zillion calories and probably getting a stomachache or killer hangover to boot.

If you're on a quest to keep the buzz going, maybe mix things up a bit with a spirit mixed with soda water or a wine spritzer. And don't forget to hydrate with actual water to counter the effects of all that heat and sunshine.

Not taking advantage of the amenities at sister properties

Some resorts are part of sprawling complexes with several adjacent properties owned and operated by the same parent company.

If your stay includes reciprocity (such as a "stay at one, play at three" policy), you'll have access to other facilities, including additional pools, fitness centers, beach areas, and restaurants.

Making use of them is a great way to avoid boredom and make it seem as if your vacation includes stays at multiple hotels.

Not using the non-motorized water sports

Although Jet Ski, hoverboard, and parasailing rentals can be pricey, using simpler things such as stand-up paddleboards, kayaks, floats, and even Hobie-Cats are often included in the price of an all-inclusive stay.

Yet I often see them lined up on the beach all day, barely being used.

Sign the waiver, don a life jacket, and give them a try. And if you happen to be staying at a place where these water sports are popular, add your name to the waiting list first thing in the morning.

Watch: Marriott International's Tina Edmundson tells Insider that the travel mindset has changed since the pandemic

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