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

current cancun travel advisory

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. 

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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. 

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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.

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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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Is Cancun Safe for Travel in 2024? What Every Traveler Should Know

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As we move into 2024 and people are planning their holiday and NYE travel, the question remains: is Cancun safe, and how safe will your family be if you decide Cancun will be your holiday destination?

This is the million-dollar question, as Cancun is the top destination for many U.S. travelers, but violent crime is soaring in certain areas because tourists are buying drugs from Mexican drug dealers.

While Cancun is a popular tourist destination with heavily patrolled areas and resorts, there are instances of petty crime like pickpocketing and scams, but I personally have never felt unsafe in Cancun.

For years, I wouldn’t travel to Mexico because the U.S. media painted this horrific picture of Mexico, and I always wondered if Cancun is safe to travel.

I believed Mexico was dangerous; I would be killed, kidnapped, and held for ransom by the cartel because of both the Cancun Travel Advisory and the Mexico Travel Advisory that the U.S. Government issued.

If Mexico was all that dangerous, people indeed wouldn’t keep returning year after year to a dangerous country, now would they?

Yes, Cancun is Safe. To address safety concerns, it’s crucial to start with crime statistics.

Recent data paints a nuanced picture of Cancun’s safety landscape. Like many tourist destinations, Cancun experiences crime, but understanding the specifics is key.

The overall crime rate in Cancun has shown fluctuations, with local authorities implementing measures to address safety concerns.

The links in this post may be affiliate links.  That means that if you click them and make a purchase, this site makes a commission.  It will have no impact on the price you pay or the experience of your purchase.

View my Google Webstory on Cancun Safety.

current cancun travel advisory

Is Cancun Safe Right Now?

Cancun is located in the State of Quintana Roo, which also includes Playa Del Carmen, Tulum, Cozumel, and the Riviera Maya. It is not far from Puerto Vallarta and Isla Mujeres.

These areas bring in a lot of dollars into Mexico, which is undoubtedly one of the safer areas in Mexico, especially if you compare it to other states in the country. 

According to the US State Department, Cancun is a welcoming community and stands out as one of Mexico’s safest regions, characterized by its minimal crime rates.

While many people worry about cartels or criminals preying on tourists in areas like Cancun or Mazatlan, there are much more common risks for travelers, like not using your common sense and buying drugs in a foreign country.

If you can’t spend the weekend in another country without smoking weed, you should probably be checking yourself into rehab instead of traveling to Cancun.  

Most of the tourists that have been killed in Mexico are due to them buying drugs from the cartel because they were too afraid to fly with weed , so someone thought it was a good idea to buy drugs in a foreign country.

Short Summary:

  • Cancun is generally safe for travelers, but taking necessary precautions is essential.
  • Consider checking government website travel alerts for updated information on safety in Cancun.
  • Follow safety tips, such as avoiding walking alone at night and staying in well-known establishments.
  • Familiarize yourself with local laws to ensure a smooth and trouble-free experience.
  • Opt for reputable transportation services, and be cautious about your surroundings.
  • Choose filtered water to stay hydrated and healthy during your travels in Cancun.

Mexico Travel Advisory

For the latest Cancun Travel Advisory and Warnings, visit the US State Department’s Website. Right now, the State Department website warns that ” Violent crime – such as homicide, kidnapping, carjacking, and robbery – is widespread in Mexico.” However, when you read further, it states, “Exercise Normal Precautions When Traveling To Cancun.

Latest update

As of August 23, 2023, the US State Department updated their Mexico travel warnings for Quintana Roo, which is home to Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and Tulum. It removed the warning about an increased risk of kidnapping but it is still under a level 2 advisory.

There’s still a high rate of violent crime in Mexico, especially after dark. Kidnapping and extortion are serious risks.

Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions

Level 2: Excercise Increased Caution

Level 3: Reconsider Travel

Level 4: Do Not Travel

Mexican Military & Police Called In To Help Protect Tourists In Cancun

The deployment of the Mexican military to safeguard tourists in Cancun has been a crucial measure to ensure the safety and enjoyment of travelers visiting this popular destination.

Cancun’s stunning beaches and vibrant nightlife make it a magnet for tourists from around the world, but it also faces security challenges.

With the Mexican military’s presence, tourists can feel reassured, knowing that dedicated personnel are committed to maintaining a safe environment.

These troops work in collaboration with local law enforcement agencies to deter criminal activity, such as drug-related violence and theft, and to provide a sense of security to visitors.

Their presence not only protects tourists but also supports the local economy by maintaining Cancun’s status as a premier vacation spot.

How is The Mexican Government Keeping Cancun Safe?

The Mexican government employs a multi-faceted approach to ensure the safety of Cancun’s residents and visitors.

Law enforcement agencies work diligently to maintain a strong presence throughout the city, regularly patrolling popular tourist areas and collaborating with local businesses to enhance security measures.

Specialized tourist police units are dedicated to assisting and safeguarding visitors, providing a reassuring presence for international travelers.

Additionally, investment in modern surveillance technologies and communication systems aids in swiftly monitoring and responding to incidents.

Community policing initiatives foster a sense of trust and cooperation within the local community, while public awareness campaigns educate tourists about safety measures.

By adopting these comprehensive strategies and continuously addressing security concerns, the Mexican government is committed to preserving Cancun as a safe and inviting destination for all.

Cancun Travel Advisory Fact vs. Fiction

There are more than 40,000 police officers stationed throughout all of Quintana Roo which means Cancun’s safety is important to the country.

If you get up and go to the grocery store every day, run at your local park, or even go to a concert, you should always take precautions no matter the destination.

Are you worried about traveling to Chattanooga, Houston, Chicago, New Orleans, or Memphis? All of these cities have a higher crime rate than Cancun.

The Mexican Tourism Authority and the government want you safe because tourism is Mexico’s number 1 revenue generator and they have pointed to the low number of victims of crime compared to the 28 million American tourists who travel to Mexico each year. 

Know that Cancun is safe and keep these numbers in mind when planning your vacation for spring break and summer travels for 2024.

As I stated earlier, Cancun is safer than most of America’s biggest cities. If you are not worried about traveling within the U.S., especially with the current racial tensions, you should be asking if Cancun is safe.

You take road trips with the family to cities like St. Louis, New Orleans, and Kansas City without giving it a second thought, so do not allow the media to make you believe Mexico is unsafe. 

Cancun Crime vs. United States Crime

Mexico is statistically much safer than the United States.

So why is the U.S. State Dept. sending out Travel Alerts, calling Mexico “A Failed State”, and saying that ALL parts of the country (including popular tourist resorts like Puerto Vallarta and Cancun) are now unsafe for travel?

They also fail to mention that most of that violence is drug traffic-related or that you could count the number of tourists who are affected by it on the one hand.

Did you know that, according to the FBI , an estimated 15,241 persons were murdered in the U.S. in 2009 111 U.S. citizens were killed in Mexico last year, and almost all of them were involved in illicit drug trafficking, gun-running, or smuggling people across the border to/from the U.S?

Imagine 111 people out of the nearly 8 million visitors (about 1 million of whom make Mexico their full-time home). Do you know who else had 111 murders in one year?

Well, Boston for starters. Then there was Las Vegas. And Orlando. And Indianapolis. Is the State Dept. advising tourists to stay away from those places?

Statistically speaking, U.S. travelers are safer in Cancun than they are in most U.S. cities, despite media sensationalism.

Cancun currently has a crime index of 55.82. When you look at the crime rate in Memphis, Cancun is much lower than the rating of 76.27.  See the comparison here.

How to Deal with Police Extortion in Cancun

We’ve all heard the stories about the corrupt cops south of the border. With stories ranging from extortion to kidnapping, the police in Mexico and the rest of Latin America do not have the best reputation.

Police extortion of tourists detained for minor offenses is often a problem, and there have been some grotesque incidents.

However, the authorities cracked down hard and dismissed hundreds of officers, including some top officials. They claim the problem is under control.

If you are stopped for a traffic violation in Mexico, you will be asked for your driver’s license, vehicle registration, and proof of insurance . You will also be told what you did wrong.

 Of course, in the U.S., we would then be issued a ticket requiring us to pay a fine or appear in court later.

If it is a minor infraction, don’t bribe them; even so, they may ask for some money; the amount depends on the seriousness of the infraction; if you pass a red light, it is better if they only give you the traffic ticket,

If you drive without a license, the car must be impounded and the fine is higher; in that case, I suggest you offer 200 pesos (if you look Mexican) if you are blond with blue eyes, maybe about 500 pesos.

If you drink alcohol in the street, the fine is 1500 pesos or 24 hours of jail; you will probably have to pay your full fine.

Those are the most common crimes a police officer can pull you over;, if you steal or kill, the amount will be considerably higher.

The key is to remain calm and accept your mistake, and when it is inevitable that they take you to jail, then subtly offer the bribe, it is like a negotiation: start with a low amount, and they will go up to agree on an amount.

Cancun’s safety has been in the spotlight lately due to a few incidents, but rest assured, the Mexican government is stepping up to keep everyone safe.

Good news—according to the US State Department, the Yucatan Peninsula (where Cancun is) is the safest spot in Mexico for Americans this year.

Remember, though, that there’s an “exercise increased caution” advisory for Quintana Roo, where Cancun is located. Stay aware and enjoy your trip!

Is the Hotel Zone Safe in Cancun

The Hotel Zone in Cancun is generally a haven for sun-seekers!

Crime rates in the Hotel Zone are lower than in many major U.S. cities. The local authorities and tourist police keep a vigilant watch, and hotels often have security measures in place.

Still, like anywhere else, it’s wise to keep an eye on your belongings, avoid wandering into dimly lit areas at night (unless you’re on a stargazing mission), and maybe limit your tequila intake to a reasonable level.

So, while Cancun’s Hotel Zone is mostly about sipping margaritas and catching waves, stay sun-kissed, not sun-missed, by staying aware and soaking up the fun responsibly.

current cancun travel advisory

Transportation Safety in Cancun

As I stated earlier, taxis in Cancun can generally be considered safe. Still, please understand that if you get into an unauthorized taxi and they attempt to rip you off because of a broken meter or some other nonsense, it will be tough not to become a victim.

Here are some tips to keep in mind when using taxis in Cancun:

  • Use Official Taxis : Opt for official taxis from reputable companies whenever possible. These taxis are usually well-maintained and regulated by authorities, which can enhance your safety.
  • Authorized Taxi Stands : Use designated taxi stands, such as those at airports, hotels, and popular tourist areas. Avoid hailing taxis from the street, as this can sometimes lead to encountering unlicensed or unregulated drivers.
  • Negotiate Fare or Use Meters : If the taxi doesn’t have a meter, agree on the fare before starting the ride. In taxis with meters, ensure the meter is running and insist on its use to avoid overcharging.
  • Share Your Location : Ensure someone knows your whereabouts and the taxi’s license plate number before entering. You can also share this information with a friend or family member.

Keep in mind you will need pesos to pay, and you will need the exact amount because taxi drivers will not make changes, so remember to have plenty of small bills.

Also, the standard Mexico tipping rate is 15-20%.

Taxi & Rideshare Services

Getting around in Cancun is relatively easy and convenient, with various transportation options available for both locals and tourists.

While the city has a reliable public transportation system, many travelers prefer the flexibility of ride-sharing services like Uber, which I highly recommend vs. using a taxi, so click here to download the mobile app today.

Uber rideshare offers the convenience of door-to-door transportation and often has competitive pricing compared to traditional taxis.

If you opt for traditional taxis, ensure that the taxi is authorized and uses a meter to avoid any pricing disputes because there will be hell to pay if you get in an unauthorized taxi.

But use caution as there have been reports of violence between taxi drivers and Uber drivers due to contract disputes.

Safety Tips Renting cars

Want to cruise around Cancun on your terms? Renting a car is the way to go! Check out cool rides on discovercars. com—they’ve got the hookup. Just a heads up, snag extra insurance— Third Party Liability and Public Liability Insurance are a must.

Oh, and the rule of thumb: stick to daylight driving, roads get a bit tricky after dark!

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

The recent deaths of six Americans from carbon monoxide poisoning in two separate incidents are putting a spotlight on the risks of staying in an Airbnb or hotel that might not have the appropriate safety measures in place. 

Three guests staying at an apartment in Mexico City booked through Airbnb are believed to have died from carbon monoxide poisoning last month, Bloomberg reported.

Families of three  Americans who died from carbon monoxide poisoning  in a rented residence in Mexico City ahead of Dia de Los Muertos – or Day of the Dead – celebrations identified them as two New Orleans teachers and the owner of a Virginia Beach-based candle business.

Another group of American tourists in May d ied of the exact cause  at a Sandals Resort in the Bahamas. 

Symptoms of CO poisoning include headache, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, weakness, chest pain, and confusion, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

More than 400 people die in the U.S. from accidental CO poisoning each year, and another 50,000 people visit the emergency department with carbon monoxide poisoning. 

Travelers Diarrhea

Travelers’ diarrhea or Montezuma’s revenge , is an intestinal infection that occurs from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.

Food handlers who do not wash their hands after they use the bathroom can transmit the infection to people who consume the contaminated food.

You should never drink unfiltered tap water in Mexico. The best way to avoid traveler’s diarrhea or Montezuma’s revenge is to stick to bottled.

If you’re staying at one of the many luxury resorts in Cancun, you should be fine and will not have to worry about getting sick from the water.

The typical symptoms of traveler’s diarrhea include:

  • Abrupt onset of  diarrhea
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Urgent need to have a  bowel movement
  • Malaise (weakness or discomfort)
  • Explosive and painful gas
  • Stomach c ramps
  • Loss of appetite

Safest Areas for Tourists in Cancun

If you do not go to crime-ridden areas in your city, do not go into crime-ridden areas when you travel.  While the crime rate is increasing in Mexico, so is the crime rate in the United States!

The Mexican government wants to keep tourists safe by providing extra security in touristy areas to ensure travelers are safe, and you will not have to ask if the Cancun Travel Advisory is necessary.

The safest area to stay in Cancun is still the Hotel Zone , a 13-mile stretch of beautiful white-sand beaches with luxury hotels and resorts for families and couples alike.

Be aware that there has not been any violence within the Hotel Zone – Violence has occurred outside the Hotel Zone and along with other famous vacation spots, which have caused many hotels and resorts to tighten their security.

Where to be Cautious in Cancun

Now that we have discussed the safest areas in Cancun for tourists, here is a list of places you should avoid when traveling to Cancun or, at a minimum, be mindful of your surroundings:

  • Downtown Cancun – Cancun is exceptionally safe, and downtown Cancun is no different, so there is no reason to be afraid but be extra diligent and precautious if you are traveling outside of Cancun at night and always notify someone of your location if you are traveling alone. 
  • Shopping in Cancun – If you are like me, you love shopping and exploring the local markets, but please take proper precautions. Do not flash money, wear expensive jewelry, and keep your purse closed because pickpocketers will watch and wait to make their move.
  • Surrounding To wns– Plenty of surrounding neighborhoods and towns are highly safe and perfect for day trips, including Guanajuato , San Cristóbal de las Casas , and Oaxaca City . 
  • Renting a car in Mexico –  While you should always take precautions while driving in a foreign country, there’s no need to be fearful of driving in Cancun or renting a car. 
  • I rented a car on my last trip and felt highly safe, so there is no need to worry, but the U.S. State Department advises using toll roads when possible and avoiding driving alone or at night.

If you rent a car in Cancun don’t forget to  buy your Mexico car insurance!

Is Cancun Safe for a Solo Female Traveler?

The excellent news is Cancun is pretty chill and safe for female travelers. Stick to the classics—no deserted spots or late-night solo walks.

Grab a cab if you’re out and about after dark. Book a hotel in the hotel zone for that extra safety vibe. Remember, common sense is your best friend—especially when packing flashy jewelry.

Keep it low-key, roll with trusted taxis, and keep your expensive jewelry in the hotel safe.

Keeping Cash Safe in Mexico 

Withdrawing cash: Use ATMs in daylight hours and choose ATMs located in areas with plenty of other people around or use ATMs inside shopping malls.

Carrying cash: Don’t carry large amounts of cash on your person. If you see something you want to buy and you don’t have the cash, a small deposit will always secure the item . Leave excess cash credit/debit cards you don’t expect to need at the hotel.

Bank-card cloning/skimming: Bank card (Debit or Credit Cards) cloning (or skimming) is an issue in Mexico.  Never leave bank cards out of your sight.

If your card has a “chip and pin” ask waiters at bars and restaurants to bring the payment terminal to your table and cover your hand as you enter your PIN.

If the terminal is not portable, or your card does not have “chip and pin” technology, take your card to the cashier to pay: do not allow attendants to take it out of sight. 

If you are paying for fuel at gas stations with a card, we recommend you only use a credit card (not a debit card) and be extra vigilant, as gasoline stations are rife with skimmers.

Valuable documents:  Keep your valuab le travel documents (especially your passport) safe; passport theft is rising worldwide, including in Mexico.

Store cash and other valuables in your hotel room’s safe , the hotel’s safety deposit box or purchase your safety diversion tool.

Dress down: Avoid walking around dripping jewelry, showing off expensive watches and other expensive fashion items.

ATM refills: When stand-alone ATMs are being re-filled, you might see armed guards surrounding them.

We recommend you find another ATM instead of waiting around for it to be filled: it can take up to an hour for a machine to be re-filled and tested before it becomes operational.

current cancun travel advisory

Book Tours through a Reputable Tour Company or Hotel

Booking excursions through resorts in Mexico removes much of the stress of vacation planning. Travelers can land in Cancun or Tulum and float directly onto a beach beside the bright blue Caribbean Sea.

No need to worry about things to do in Puerto Vallarta; just wait to be swept into the ocean on a catamaran or jet ski, or go swimming with the sharks.

This is all possible with proper excursion planning . However, book the wrong excursion , and those stress levels may double.

Spanish Travel Phrases You Must Know

I highly suggest taking a few Spanish lessons and learning some key phrases if traveling to Cancun.  Learning Spanish is not required, but learning a few critical Spanish phrases is beneficial. 

It will help your trip go on without a hitch and keep you safe. 

Are Mexico Resorts Safe

As I stated earlier, there have been incidents of carbon monoxide poisoning at resorts, which have left some potential visitors with questions and doubts regarding the safety of hotels in Mexico.

Staying Safe at Mexico Resorts:

  • Research and Choose Reputable Resorts : Before booking your stay, research the resort’s safety record, reviews, and certifications. Look for resorts prioritizing guest safety, regularly inspecting their facilities, and maintaining proper ventilation systems.
  • Carbon Monoxide Detectors: Pack a portable carbon monoxide detector or inquire whether the resort provides them in guest rooms. These devices will alert you to high levels of carbon monoxide and provide an early warning in case of a leak.
  • Familiarize Yourself with Resort Safety Measures: Upon arrival, take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with the resort’s emergency procedures, including evacuation routes, fire exits, and safety guidelines. Ensure you know how to report any concerns about gas appliances or ventilation to the appropriate resort staff.
  • Keep your valuables safe: For added peace of mind, consider purchasing a diversion device to keep your valuables safe like a clothes hanger, Coke can, lint roller , and even a bible that all doubles as a safe.

Safest Hotels in Cancun

The safest area to stay in Cancun is still the Hotel Zone, a 13-mile arc of beautiful white-sand beaches lined with luxury resorts.

Many hotels are all-inclusive and discourage non-guests on the property, and high-end resorts tend to have robust security.

Avoid staying or partying in downtown Cancun, where most of the recent violence has taken place.

Best and Safest Resorts in Cancun

Cancun is known for both mega resorts and luxury boutique hotels with multiple restaurants, bars, and nightlife activity. So if you're looking for a getaway I have visited Cancun's best hotels so you will know where to stay for your ultimate vacation to Cancun!

current cancun travel advisory

Canopy by Hilton Cancun La Isla, Mexico Hotel

The Canopy by Hilton hotel overlooks the Nichupté Lagoon and the Caribbean Sea. They are a three-minute walk to La Isla Entertainment Village with premier shopping and dining options. Access to Mandala Beach Club is easy with a five-minute drive and Tulum is just 130 kilometers away. Enjoy multiple bars and unwind at our rooftop fitness center and outdoor pool. WiFi’s on us.

current cancun travel advisory

The luxurious, 260-room Le Blanc Spa is the best (and priciest) adult-only all-inclusive in town. It stands out for its gorgeous white-sand beach in the heart of the Hotel Zone, decadent spa (guests get free access to the hydrotherapy area), stunning pools (two with swim-up bars), and especially its pampering service, from the butlers who will unpack your clothes to the pool attendants who will provide cool towels for your eyes. It has a hip, gorgeous aesthetic throughout the entire pristine white property, and the modern, bright rooms have two-person whirlpool tubs; most have either ocean or lagoon views.

current cancun travel advisory

Excellence Playa Mujeres

This adult-only luxury resort offers a nice all-inclusive experience with tons of variety -- multiple dining options, several beautiful pools, a gorgeous spa, and dozens of wonderful activities. The rooms here are large and contemporary, with large modern bathrooms, Jacuzzis, and high-end amenities such as big flat-screen TVs, free Wi-Fi, and iPod docks. Some have a large rooftop terrace with a private plunge pool with ocean views.

current cancun travel advisory

Be Tulum Lifestyle Luxury Hotel, Private Villas & Spa.

Be Tulum – a luxury lifestyle Hotel Spa & Private Villas inspired by the rustic charm and raw natural beauty of the Mayan Riviera.

Uniquely built by the sea-cliffs, Tulum is located in the Yucatán Península in the state of Quintana Roo, southeastern México, on the northern border of the biosphere reserve of Sian Ka’an.

current cancun travel advisory

Kin Sol Soleil

Kin Sol Soleil is a charming home in the tradition of the Mexican haciendas where handmade hospitality, personal service and privacy are unsurpassed. The elegant simplicity of the beautiful natural setting is enhanced with native thatched roofs, glowing mahogany, bamboo-filtered light, colorful fabrics, original art, voluptuous gardens, gourmet cuisine and warm smiles.

current cancun travel advisory

Renaissance Cancun Resort & Marina

Situated in an exclusive area in Zona Hotelera, the all-new Renaissance Cancun Resort & Marina is a scenic haven in a lively travel destination. Find respite in your waterfront accommodations with refined design elements, contemporary essentials, luxury amenities and inspiring views of the city and shimmering bay. Stay within steps of the beach in the Cancun entertainment zone near Marina Town Center Mall, Isla Mujeres and popular shops, restaurants and pubs in downtown.

  • Best Cancun San Lucas Adults-Only (Splurge):  Le Blanc Resort Cancun
  • Best Cancun Hotel (Splurge):  Turquoize at Hyatt Ziva Cancun – Adults Only
  • Best Luxury Cancun Hotel:  Esperanza, Auberge Resorts Collection

Best Time to Travel to Mexico

Because Mexico is a big country, deciding when and where to travel depends on the weather, which area you visit, and if you are going on a Girls’ Trip in Los Cabos or a family vacation in Cancun.

The southern part of Mexico has a rainy season, which generally starts in May and until October. Don’t worry; it only rains briefly, and the sun will return .  

If you want to travel in the more fabulous season, book your trip from December to February when it is cooler.

I suggest traveling to Mexico between December and April when the temperatures are more comfortable and the humidity is not at an all-time high.  

If you go to Cancun in the shoulder season or the less-popular months, you will be less likely to be a victim of pickpockets and scammers. 

Mexico Travel Insurance

I think most people have questions about where to go for medical care in an emergency. First, I should note that if you’re on spring break, chances are slim that you’ll need emergency care.

Still, better safe than sorry! The good news is that some of the most beautiful cities in Mexico—like Cancun and Playa del Carmen—also happen to be home to some of the best hospitals and clinics in Latin America.

I can’t say this enough, but please get insurance when traveling to Mexico! Even if you only go on a short trip, you should always travel with insurance.

Have fun while visiting Mexico ,   but take it from someone who has racked up thousands of bucks on an insurance claim before; you need it.

Make sure to get your insurance before you head off on an adventure!  I highly recommend Travelex Insurance.

✈️ Get Travel Insurance NOW! Travelex Is my preferred Insurance

Top things to do in cancun.

Ruins in Cancun

The Conclusion: Is Cancun Safe for Travel

Yes, Cancun is safe!

There is no doubt that there has been horrible violence in Mexico due to drug wars between warring factions, but that violence has, for the most part, been in isolated areas. 

Of course, there are certain areas to avoid in Cancun, but it is no different than being in your hometown, where crime is restricted to certain areas. 

Please DO NOT allow the U.S. media to shape your thoughts and views of Cancun because they are misleading and wrong!  

So prepare for your trip by packing all you need, including sunscreen, a bathing suit , flip-flops, and sunglasses.

Ready to plan your trip? Grab my  FREE  Vacation Planner to help you plan your trip in the time it takes to watch your favorite TV show!

If you would like to donate to  Passports and Grub click here!  

Travel Guide

Additional Articles For Exploring This Big Ole World

Best Things To Do In Cancun

Is Puerto Vallarta Safe?

How Safe is Cabo San Lucas 

Have you allowed the Cancun travel warning to affect your travel decisions, and are you still wondering if it is safe to travel to Cancun?

I would love to hear your thoughts on whether is it safe to travel to Cancun and how you feel about the Mexico travel warning so leave me a comment on Facebook ,  Twitter , or  Instagram.

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56 comments.

These are some great tips for traveling to Cancun. I’ve never been there, but it’s on my bucket list. I have been to Cozumel and didn’t have any problems.

I haven’t been to Cancun but I’d still visit. I don’t drink so I would stay away from that since I’ve heard about people get sick and dying after drinking.

I haven’t been to Cancun and I can’t say its high on my list right now but this is great information. I think with everything going on in the world, everyone is a little skeptical on traveling outside of the country

Mexico is still on my list of places to experience. I have seen beautiful pictures and I want to go see it for myself.

Los Cabos and Cancun are my favorite and its expensive to get there.

Ironcially I am in Mexico right now in Playa Del Carmen so not too far from Cancun. Great info because there was a travel advisory by Trump but glad it isnt on high alert.

We have been to Cancun 14 times …Never an Issue ,we will be back there in march… can’t wait… Just like Anywhere else,if you are looking for trouble,you can find it.

Although I haven’t been to Cancun;however, I do want to visit Tulum, – I’ve learned to take heed with the travel advisories. You have a lot of helpful pointers too.

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I am from Norway and LOVED our stay in Cancun summer 2019. We met only lovely people and beautiful destinations! I would recommend everyone seeing cancun, it is really breathtaking!

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My Wife and I have traveled to Cancun with our teenage son and have never had any issues. We have been to Hotel Row, Playa del Carmen, Playcar, Tulum and Puerto Morelos. We always rent a car and have even driven 2 1/2 hours from Cancun to Valladolid Yucatan Mexico. “Great Cenotes in this area” We are going back this April 2021, but we are going to Island hop! Isla Holbox, Isla Mujeres, Isla Cozumel and we will be taking a4 hour day trip to Bacalar, Quintana Roo! We Were in Puerto Morelos for 4th of July week 2020 and were in Huatulco, Oaxaca September 2020 for our 20th Anniversary! We rented a car as always. One thing I can tell you is that in Cancun they are taking this pandemic seriously! The hotels, the tours, the restaurants, the stores and the malls are temperature checking, mandating the use of the mask, making you disinfect your shoes and handing out sanitizer before they allow you in. They are also taking the safe distancing seriously, unlike here in the US where we have these conspiracy theorists that claim the virus is a hoax. We not only feel safe in the Riviera Maya, but we also appreciate that the people there are keeping us visitors and themselves safe!!! Thanks for this page to help fellow travelers to discover the truth about Mexican travel. By the way, if in your Naivety, you like to get drunk, search for illegal substances and women? If the bad guys don’t get you first, the undercover Mexican drug enforcement officers will take you down…

Wonderful advice! What company do you recommend for car rentals? I am trying to book a trip to Cancun with my family for the holidays. Any tips for booking affordable stays or Air BNB’s would also be gladly appreciated!

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Great Information You Shared.

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My just-graduated-college son and several of his friends are literally flying to Cancun this morning on a trip planned months back by one of the kids’ uncle who is a professional travel agent. I panicked at the State Dept update but felt much better after reading beautifully researched and well written and informative website : THANK YOU!!! I am worried post trump that people in Mexico who are rightly upset with America (since we elected — did we? really? — a racist reality tv show guy to run our country and at least he got us all talking about how things need to change) might look at my son who is a large white male and make inaccurate assumptions about him and his views based on his large white maleness. I am aware that my Black-mom friends/colleagues/patients have been dealing with people making inaccurate assumptions based on appearance for lifetimes longer than I have, and I have a whole new appreciation of that experience and how unsettling it is. We raised our son to be antiracist, not really knowing that word yet, 22 years ago, but aware because we could see what has needed to change in this country since America began with a massive blind spot as the the difference between our words “liberty and justice all” and our actions, and my hope and expectation is that my large white male son bears the responsibility to help create that Love-Thy-Neighbor world we all want for ourselves and one another, or so I choose to believe and so I believe God wants us all to have. I don’t know why I’m oversharing like this except I’ve been up since 4 and maybe had too much coffee? My son texted to say they’re off to Mexico, I looked on the State Dept website again, saw the update, freaked out, googled feverishly, found this page, and feel much better, and appreciate this information so much, and now want to quit worrying and jump on a plane and have fun and Be The Change. thank you and sorry for oversharing and God Bless!

No worries whatsoever! Mexico is extremely safe and I just purchased my ticket for Cabo yesterday. I have never encountered any issues while traveling to Mexico. I’m sure your son will be safe and please keep me posted

Umm no. Let’s not bring politics into this, My wife is Mexican. From Cancun I’m a gringo. I’m from Missouri. . We live back and forth. Is this Cancun safe? Don’t ever say politics ever…. It has nothing to do with politics.

I just returned from Cabo and Cancun within the last 3 months. I have been traveling Mexico for years with both my friends, husband, daughter and solo. I have never once encountered criminal activity. Not once have I felt threatened, not once have I been robbed, Not once have my credit cards been stolen but guess where all of the things have happened? Right here in Tennessee!

I took my daughter to Cancun when she graduated college. The hotel was rated 5 star. I was aware of my surroundings at all times. Having lived in Tijuana for over 6 months in the late 70’s. What can I say, it was my rebellious years. Anyway, my daughter had the best time of her life. When she heard me speak Spanish, she hugged me and said “Mom, you amaze me.” I have been to Cancun and Playa del Carmen several times since then. With someone and mostly by myself. I even had a medical procedure done in Cancun. My advice is be able to understand Spanish. At least the basics. Be respectful of the people waiting on you. Remember to tip those waiting on you. A dollar tip will get you better service.

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I loved this guide, it was the first I read and helped me get over all the negative news about mexico. I kept coming back to your great advice throughout my visit of this amazing country, so a huge thank you for inspiration!

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Thank you! I was reading this article and I found very useful information above there.

Thank You! It’s actually a cool and useful piece of information. I’m satisfied that you simply shared this helpful information with us.

This blog was a lot more beneficial for me than I could have thought. It is informative and enlightening, as it gives exact and explanatory guidance and direction.

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It was the first guide I read and helped me overcome all the negative news about Mexico. As I toured this incredible country, I kept returning to your great advice, so thank you for inspiring me!

Thank you ! very very helpful … but do you know anything about what recently occurred may 7th, 2022 ?

Wow I will share this article to my friends, I seem to know more things after reading it, it was very helpful, I hope you will make more good articles like this.

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This is really nice. I would like to thank you for the information that you gave to us.

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My advice is only go to safe areas for tourism. https://sites.google.com/view/metroidfusionrom

While it’s important to stay informed about safety when traveling, it’s worth noting that millions of tourists visit Cancun and the Riviera Maya each year without any issues. While there have been reports of increased crime, it’s crucial to exercise caution, stick to well-traveled areas, and stay aware of your surroundings. Consulting official advisories, using common sense, and following basic safety guidelines can help ensure a safe and enjoyable trip. It’s always a good idea to stay informed and make decisions based on your own comfort level. Happy travels!

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While it’s important to stay informed about safety when traveling, it’s worth noting that millions of tourists visit Cancun and the Riviera Maya each year without any issues.

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In my personal experience, 99 out of 100 times, such a holiday goes without much trouble. But that one time that it doesn’t go as it should be, you want to be as prepared as possible. I think everyone who’s planning to visit Cancun should read this. Great job!

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Is Cancún safe to visit right now? Here are 3 important advisories to know before visiting.

  • If you're planning a trip to Cancún, Mexico, be aware of COVID-19, safety, and weather advisories.
  • Keep reading for important details as you prepare to explore Cancún, Mexico.
  • Visit Insider's hub for travel guides, tips, and recommendations .

Insider Today

Cancún is a lovely place to visit any time of year, but knowing what to expect in terms of the weather, COVID-19 restrictions, and general safety will help ensure your vacation goes as seamlessly as possible.

Here are some advisories to keep in mind:

The best time to visit Cancún in terms of weather is during the winter and spring when you'll find nearly perfect weather almost every day. This is peak season, however, so expect larger crowds and higher room rates at this time.

Costs and the number of visitors dip during the summer when it's still lovely, but more hot and humid.

Autumn is the rainy season, aka "hurricane season," in Cancún. While actual hurricanes can happen, it's more likely that you'll experience some rainfall during your stay. Luckily, rainstorms in Mexico tend to be short, and clear skies usually always follow.

Cancún also has what's called "sargassum season," when brown seaweed covers the otherwise gorgeous beaches. This happens between April to August, and it's typically worse the further south you go, like in Playa del Carmen and Tulum. To avoid sargassum during this time of year, stick to Cancún, or even better, head a bit north to Costa Mujeres, or across the way to Isla Mujeres, both of which saw some of the lowest numbers of sargassum over the past couple of years.

Currently, Mexico does not require visitors to be vaccinated or show proof of a negative COVID-19 test upon arrival . While it's possible that this rule may change given future variants of the virus, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has previously gone on the record to say that it won't.

"As for Mexico, we won't require such types of proof whatsoever. I want to be very clear about that," he said during a press conference  in August 2021.

Mask policies vary among resorts, which set their own standards. While some resorts are mask-optional, the majority require guests to wear them while indoors and/or when moving through outdoor public spaces (like on your walk from the lobby to the pool). Resorts typically have their COVID-19 health and safety policies listed on their websites, should you want to confirm yours in advance.

While Mexico does not require proof of a negative COVID test to enter, you will likely need one before your return to your home country. Foreign health insurance is not accepted as payment for any type of COVID test, so be prepared to pay out of pocket.

A rapid antigen test will likely run you between $20 to $40 and a PCR test may cost between $100 and $200. They are widely available at local pharmacies (though call or stop by in advance to make sure), and the majority of resorts will have them available on-site, often at a discounted rate or for free, depending on your reservation. It's a good idea to find out in advance whether this service is available where you're staying, so you can budget your time and finances accordingly.

General safety

I believe that anyone that tells you to "never leave the resort" for fear of danger is sadly misguided. While a few street smarts are required, I've always found the city of Cancún to be extremely friendly and welcoming to visitors, and there are scores of wonderful activities and sites on Boulevard Kukulcán and beyond that are worth discovering. Do keep in mind that while front-of-house hospitality staff is usually fluent in English, not everyone you encounter will be. Brushing up on your Spanish in advance of your visit is helpful; a simple "gracias" can go a long way.

There have been recent reports of drug-gang-related shootings in the area . This violence has been targeted at specific gang members, and not at tourists. That said, to ensure safety in wake of the incidents, the Mexican government deployed 1,500 National Guard members to patrol the beaches and prevent further conflict. Don't worry about this impacting your vacation. In my opinion, the guards are hardly noticeable, save for the occasional photo op of someone on the beach in a full uniform.

View Insider's comprehensive guide to visiting Cancún .

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Cancun Airport >> Covid-19

COVID-19 AT CANCUN AIRPORT

Coronavirus is a large family of viruses that cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases. The COVID-19 epidemic was declared by the WHO as a public health emergency of international concern on January 30, 2020.

Due to this situation, all over the world had to adapt to new sanitary protocols, including the airport which is giving passengers measures to prevent the spread of the virus such as completely sanitized Cancun Airport Transportation units, health distance, Covid testing at each terminal, and more. So if you are about to visit Cancun stay with us here we'll give you all the information you need concerning Covid-19 at Cancun Airport and on the destination in general.

MANDATORY COVID TEST FOR USA CITIZENS

The US government has announced the new travel restrictions. On January 12, 2021, CDC issued an Order requiring all air passengers arriving in the US from a foreign country to get tested before their flight departs and to provide proof of the negative result or documentation of having recovered from COVID-19 to the airline before boarding the flight. This Order came into effect on January 26, 2021.

Read our last blog post:  Covid tests in Cancun and surroundings 

Covid Testing Cancun Airport 

Due to the recent travel restrictions in different countries, Cancun International Airport makes available Covid-19 tests for all the passengers that need them. 

covid testing units cancun airport

Mobile Units 

  • There are available modules at terminals 2,3 and 4 to get tested. 
  • These mobile units are operating from 6:00 am to 9:00 pm. 
  • Antigen tests 17 USD, $290 MXN (30 minutes results)
  • PRC tests $2000 Mexican pesos (24-48 hours results)
  • No need to make an appointment
  • You will receive your results through email

We highly recommend you to take the test with enough time before your departure flight as you are not the only passengers that need to get tested. We also invite you to check if your hotel is offering these Covid-19 tests. If you want to get all the information about labs, hotels, and more places to get the proof please read our last post. Covid-19 tests in Cancun and Surroundings . 

cancun airport covid testing

SANITARY PROTOCOLS AT CANCUN AIRPORT

Cancun Airport has implemented strict safety measures for all travelers. We recommend you watch this video, you can find the new protocols at the Airport.

RISK FACTOR IDENTIFICATION QUESTIONNAIRE IN TRAVELERS

You must fill out your questionnaire before your arrival, it is needed for every flight you take. Your Airline might ask for it too, be prepared and click on the image to get it.

covid19 questionnaire cancun airport

COVID-19 AT CANCUN AND RIVIERA MAYA

Covid-19 cancun and riviera Maya

Like many other countries in the world, Cancun is carrying out all the sanitary measures to prevent the spread of the virus. Masks are mandatory in most of the places indoors, you must use hand sanitizer all the time, as well as the health distance. Many hotels and restaurants have limited capacity, they are currently working by bookings to guarantee visitors' health.

Depending on the state traffic light is the capacity permitted at establishments, we just switch to green in the traffic light which means that the risk of contagion is minor (Oct 2021).

Although, all the hotels are open, as well as tours, activities, shopping centers, restaurants,  Mayan ruins, and more services. This is the same for Isla Mujeres, Puerto Morelos, Cozumel, and Playa del Carmen.

Since travel planning nowadays is a sensitive route to take , we would like to highlight that Mexico is completely open to tourism, with  no mandatory 14-day quarantine  for any nationality entering the country.

UPDATED INFORMATION ON COVID-19

To be sure you are getting official information about Covid, we recommend you to go official websites

covid-cancun

Click here to get official numbers about Covid-19 in Quintana Roo

GUEST ASSIST FOR TOURISTS

Guest Assist provides assistance and guidance to national and foreign tourists who visit the state of Quintana Roo, particularly those in situations where their wellbeing or belongings are affected. We highly recommend you to download this app is available for Android and iOs. Click here for Guest Assist .

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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.

current cancun travel advisory

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

Open Up Your World

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52 Places:  Why do we travel? For food, culture, adventure, natural beauty? Our 2024 list has all those elements, and more .

Is Cancun Safe to Visit in 2024? Travel Warnings And Safety Tips

Written By: ThePlanetD Team

Updated On: January 7, 2024

We have been to Cancun many times over the years and one of the main questions that we always get is “Is Cancun safe?” Truthfully, the situation has always been fluid and while we have personally felt safe in Cancun, it is important to check your government website warnings, follow basic safety precautions and be aware of your surroundings. Mexico takes its tourism seriously and they want international visitors to continue to spend their dollars so they are working hard to keep Cancun safe, especially in the tourist zones and the tourist hotspots.

Table of Contents

Is Cancun Safe to Visit?

Cancun is located in the State of Quintana Roo which also includes Playa Del Carmen, Tulum , Cozumel, and the Riviera Maya. These areas bring in a lot of dollars into Mexico, and this is certainly one of the safer areas in Mexico especially if you compare it to other states in the country. If you follow these tips; and do your own research, you will find that you will feel a lot safer on your next trip should you choose to travel to Cancun.

Short Summary

  • Cancun is generally safe for travelers but take necessary precautions and take government website travel alerts into consideration.
  • Follow safety tips like avoiding walking alone at night and sticking to well-known establishments.
  • Familiarize yourself with local laws, use reputable transportation services, and opt for filtered water when traveling in Cancun!

Mexico Travel Advisories

For the latest advisory warnings visit th e US State Department’s Website . Right now the State Department website warns that ”  Violent crime – such as homicide, kidnapping, carjacking, and robbery – is widespread and common in Mexico. ” However, when you read further it states, “Exercise Normal Precautions When Traveling To the Yucatan State.

As of August 23, 2023, the US State Department updated their travel warnings for Quintana Roo, which is home to Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and Tulum. It removed the warning about an increased risk of kidnapping but it is still under a level 2 advisory.

Canada currently has a warning of “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.” It states that drug cartels have a presence in tourist areas. There has been intergang fighting at establishments frequented by tourists where innocent bystanders have been killed or injured.

Incidents like this can happen in any large city or tourist destination. To put things into perspective, Cancun currently has a crime index of 56.33. When you look at the crime rate in New Orleans, Cancun is much lower than the rating of 67.92. See the comparison here.

Cancun’s Current Safety Situation

Cancun’s security has been under a microscope with incidents of criminal activity that involve tourists. With that, great actions have been taken by the Mexican government to make sure that visitors and citizens are kept safe in Cancun. According to the US State Departments, the Yucatan Peninsula is the safest region in Mexico for Americans in 2024. However, the State Department does have a travel advisory of “ exercise increased caution ” in the state of Quintana Roo.

Crime Rates in Cancun

Cancun has a crime rate that is similar to many major cities in the United States, most of which revolve around drug-trafficking turf wars and gang-related violence. Tourists are rarely the target and if you keep yourself out of trouble. Avoid buying drugs, don’t stay out until the wee hours of the morning and limit your alcohol consumption off the resort. By following common sense safety measures, you can lower your chances of any incident.

Compared to other Mexican cities, Cancun’s crime rate remains relatively low – meaning vacationers shouldn’t be too concerned about any crimes during their visit. But they still should exercise a degree of caution.

Mexican Government’s Efforts

The Mexican government has increased security around Cancun International Airport with the dispatch of extra police forces and protection systems; in order to put a stop to petty crime that mainly targets travelers.

In order to protect Cancun’s standing as a favored tourist spot, the Mexican government has taken extra security steps. These involve greater police presence at popular tourist areas such as resorts within the Hotel Zone , surveillance cameras, and gated entrances for visitors.

Initiatives were also undertaken to reduce corruption among law enforcement in this area, which resulted in numerous police officers being relieved of their posts along with several top-level personnel being removed from office due to misconduct. You can read about it here .

Collaboration between companies operating locally and people working in tourism also supports a safer atmosphere. There are extra tourist police, state police, national guard, and even the Navy patrolling the beaches.

The Hotel Zone

Staying within the Hotel Zone Cancun is one of the safest areas to stay in Cancun. Police patrols, surveillance cameras, and gated resorts all provide an extra layer of security for guests staying at the numerous high-end accommodations in this area. That doesn’t mean you should let your guard down we still recommend that you avoid walking alone at night or in secluded areas.

Cancun is a popular destination for Spring Break and young adults love to hit the clubs of Playa del Carmen or Downtown Cancun partying the nights away. Our advice is to party responsibly. If you decide to go downtown Cancun to party for the night, exercise increased caution if you are going to local bars, stay in groups, don’t over drink, and make sure to use an authorized taxi. It is when you drink too much and let your guard down that you become a target.

Best Practices for Staying Safe in Cancun

When vacationing in Cancun it is important to remember that even though you are enjoying a vacation in popular tourist destinations, that doesn’t mean you let all common sense go out the window. A lot of people tend to think they are invincible on vacation, but this is when things can go wrong. Visitors to Cancun can have a great experience if they use common sense and exercise safety precautions. When visiting Quintana Roo or any other Mexican State, keep a few things in mind.

Cancun Airport Safety

Landing at the airport can be one of your most vulnerable times. The arrivals area is crowded and confusing and you may easily fall for a travel scam. It is at this time that you should exercise caution and think before you accept any rides, offers or help from a “good samaritan”. Despite its relatively low rate of violent offenses, visitors entering through Cancun airport can still fall victim to potential scams such as fake taxi drivers and pickpocketing in crowded locations.

Our safety advice for landing at the airport is to a private transfer in advanc e to your hotel, keep an eye on your valuables, and don’t leave anything unattended. If you need cash, go directly to the ATM, but we suggest bringing American dollars and small bills with you.

Transportation Safety

There are many different ways to get around Cancun. If you want more freedom, we recommend renting a car. We have also taken local transportation without incident. However, if you want to have added safety, booking an organized tour is a good option. You can book a night out bar hopping with a local guide, city tours with a guide and excursions with a guide making it safer to travel.

Taxis and Ridesharing Services

Travelers in Cancun can enjoy secure and reliable transportation options by utilizing authorized taxis or reliable apps like Uber. When getting into a cab make sure to ask them to put on the meter. Also, plan your route ahead of time, and be aware of the approximate costs before setting off so as not to be scammed.

Ridesharing services such as Uber are available in Cancun. But use caution as there have been reports of violence between taxi drivers and Uber drivers due to contract disputes. . If you are staying in a resort, we recommend using the taxi drivers that they have a contract with otherwise, you will have to go off the resort to book an Uber.

Buses and Public Transportation

Cancun’s buses and public transportation are typically reliable, inexpensive, and easy to access for anyone who is looking to discover the city. Public transportation is generally safe, but it is better to not ride public transport alone or late at night.

Rental Cars and Driving Tips

Using a rental car in Cancun can be an ideal way to enjoy the sights and attractions at your own pace. Make sure to book with trusted car hire agencies we use RentalCars.com. You will have to get additional insurance Third Party Liability and Public Liability Insurance are mandatory. And make sure you avoid being on the roads after dark.

By observing these tips people will get all benefits associated with renting cars while feeling safe traveling through Cancun’s streets as well as reveling in views of its glorious bright blue Caribbean Sea.

Food and Drink Safety in Cancun

Food is generally safe to eat in Mexico, especially in popular destinations. Our general rule when eating is that it should be avoided unless it is cooked or able to be peeled. When eating at restaurants, we always look for places that are packed with locals. This was you know it will be fresh. Think about raw foods that would be washed in tap water. When it comes to fruits and vegetables, we don’t eat them unless they are cooked or can be peeled.

Tap Water Safety

Visitors to Cancun should not drink unfiltered tap water, and it is recommended that they stick to bottled water. We like to use a SteriPen so that we don’t contribute to plastic and avoid ice.

Although tests may show local tap water as safe enough for drinking according to regulations, there can still be microorganisms present which could lead to health problems.

Street Food and Restaurant Precautions

We have eaten street food in Mexico and it is delicious, but tourists should still be cautious when choosing where to eat. Don’t eat salad or vegetables that aren’t cooked and make sure the meat is freshly cooked in front of you. You don’t want to eat something that has been sitting in the heat for hours. Select freshly prepared meals, steer clear of uncovered dishes, and go for a well-known, busy place to eat.

Health and Medical Safety in Cancun

When visiting Mexico we highly recommend having travel insurance. Medical emergencies can happen and it is a small price to pay for peace of mind. You may also want to look into what medications and vaccines you need. Make sure that your routine vaccines are up to date and you may consider additional vaccines. Hepatitis A and B are good to get and you may want to update your tetanus. For up to date travel health notices in Mexico, visit the CDC website.

Mosquito-borne illnesses can also be an issue, so pack bug spray and wear lightweight long sleeves if going into the jungle. In case of a medical emergency, there are healthcare services available that tourists can access if required – adding another layer of protection on top of their Mexico travel insurance policy.

Is Cancun Dangerous for Solo Travelers?

Many people travel to Cancun as solo travelers and it is considered generally safe to visit alone. Before traveling, solo travelers should research the area and let people know where they will be. Check in with family and friends back home frequently by providing them with information about where you’ll be going during each part of your journey so they know your whereabouts. By adhering to these basic guidelines for security, an unforgettable trip awaits any adventurous solo traveler who decides to explore this picturesque Mexican destination.

A lot of our recommendations are to not walk alone at night or in secluded areas, so if you are traveling alone, stay in lit areas, don’t stay out too late, and stick with the crowds.

Make sure to choose a safe hotel in a good area, use trustworthy transportation services, and avoid any illegal drugs or areas with high crime. Signing up for local tours can provide additional safety as you’ll be able to go sightseeing in a group with an expert guide. Plus you’ll make friends with some other tourists.

Is Cancun Safe for a Solo Female Traveler?

Cancun is largely considered secure for solo female travelers as well. The same recommendations can be made to avoid deserted areas and walking alone at night and take taxis. Choose safe accommodation, preferably in the hotel zone and use common sense and take extra precautions.

Women are more vulnerable than male travelers and a woman can catch unwanted attention. Don’t go out alone late at night, use trustworthy taxis, don’t wear expensive jewelry, and the hotel room safe for your valuables.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is cancun safe right now 2024.

The US State Department notes that Cancun has friendly locals and is one of the safest areas in Mexico, with a low crime rate. So you can have an amazing experience by planning your getaway to this destination come 2024! Relax knowing you will be safe during your stay here. Making it absolutely unforgettable.

How safe is Cancun for American tourists?

The US State Department has assessed Cancun as being one of the safest places to visit in Mexico, and thus it is Safe for tourists making a trip there in 2024. To ensure you enjoy your time whilst still staying secure, practice caution with regards to where you go, and who you talk to and always be aware of your surroundings; if done so this will help guarantee an enjoyable stay.

Is Cancun safe to walk around?

When visiting Cancun, travelers should always take precautions to remain safe. The Hotel Zone in particular offers a secure atmosphere with numerous all-inclusive resorts, international hotels, and beaches for visitors to enjoy without fear of crime rates that are low outside the hotel zone.

Overall it is possible to have an unforgettable trip when exercising caution and keeping safety measures at hand during your time here, which will result in a rewarding experience.

Is Cancun safe at an all-inclusive?

When it comes to booking an all-inclusive holiday in Cancun, you can be confident that the resort is secure. Most properties have measures such as security guards with firearms to make sure visitors feel safe during their stay.

With some planning and investigation beforehand, travelers will be able to enjoy a stress-free break away from home in one of Mexico’s picturesque cities.

Is it still safe to travel to Cancun right now?

With care and knowledge of local customs, Cancun is an excellent destination for travelers that remains relatively secure. Hence, caution and respect should be exercised in order to make sure a safe journey is had while visiting the area.

In conclusion

Cancun is an attractive tourist destination to visit, offering a secure holiday when the appropriate steps and precautions are taken. Staying up-to-date on safety updates, bearing in mind some basic security tips, staying up to date on current Mexico travel warnings, and keeping any dangers that may arise at bay will enable travelers to enjoy Cancun fully without worry.

So get ready for your trip by packing all you need (including sunscreen) for what promises to be an unforgettable experience – complete with sand, sunshine, and of course memories galore!

Plan Your Next Trip to Cancun With these Resources

  • Mexico City: Best Things to do in Mexico City for an Epic Trip
  • Cancun: 21 Amazing Things To Do In Cancun
  • Cancun: Where To Stay In Cancun: Best Hotels And Areas For Every Budget
  • Playa Del Carmen: 29 of Best Things to do in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico
  • Yucatan Peninsula: 23 Amazing Things To Do In Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula
  • Tulum: 23 Best Things To Do In Tulum
  • Puerto Vallarta:
  • 23 Best Beaches In Mexico
  • Best Mexican Dishes: 27 Most Popular Mexican Foods

Travel Planning Resources

Looking to book your next trip? Why not use these resources that are tried and tested by yours truly.

Flights: Start planning your trip by finding the best flight deals on Skyscanner

Book your Hotel: Find the best prices on hotels with these two providers. If you are located in Europe use Booking.com and if you are anywhere else use TripAdvisor

Find Apartment Rentals: You will find the cheapest prices on apartment rentals with VRBO . 

Travel Insurance: Don't leave home without it. Here is what we recommend:

  • Allianz - Occasional Travelers.
  • Medjet - Global air medical transport and travel security.

Need more help planning your trip? Make sure to check out our Resources Page where we highlight all the great companies that we trust when we are traveling.

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Another new warning on travel to Mexico just ahead of spring break

Clint Henderson

As tens of thousands of Americans prepare to spend spring break in Mexico, there is yet another new warning for tourists.

The U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Mexico issued a travel alert warning Americans about high levels of crime and the dangers of spiked alcohol, illicit drugs, fake prescription drugs and more.

The alert reads, in part:

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. ... 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.

Additionally, the bulletin cautions people to be aware that U.S. citizens have been the victims of rape and sexual assault: "Perpetrators may target inebriated or isolated individuals or may employ drugs that alter the victim's physical or mental state."

The new alert also warns tourists about the danger of illegal drug use in Mexico, "U.S. citizens have become seriously ill or died in Mexico after using synthetic drugs or adulterated prescription pills."

According to the embassy, counterfeit medication is common and could contain dangerous unregulated ingredients.

It comes just days after the state of Texas issued an unusual travel warning for Mexico , saying it's too dangerous to visit for spring break this year. That warning came on the heels of the U.S. Department of State reiterating its calls for caution on travel to Mexico.

The Texas Department of Public Safety urges residents to avoid the country because of drug cartel violence and other crime.

"Based on the volatile nature of cartel activity and the violence we are seeing there, we are urging individuals to avoid travel to Mexico at this time," DPS director Steven McCraw said in a statement.

The State Department also recently renewed its warning to Americans on travel to Mexico. The U.S. government advises Americans to either skip Mexico trips, reconsider travel or at least use extra caution when traveling to parts of the country because of the potential for violence.

"Violent crime — such as homicide, kidnapping, carjacking, and robbery — is widespread and common in Mexico," reads the advisory from the U.S. Department of State. Currently, a travel advisory is in place for 30 of Mexico's 32 states.

Related: Cancun travel advisory over taxis

The advisories come as we learn of violence that involved Americans in Matamoros, a town in Mexico near the Texas border.

Current US State Department advisories

The State Department breaks down its Mexican risk assessment on a detailed, state-by-state basis.

current cancun travel advisory

Six Mexican states have a "Do not travel" warning: Colima, Guerrero, Michoacan, Sinaloa, Tamaulipas and Zacatecas.

Related: The difference between CDC and State Department travel warnings

Seven states are under a "Reconsider travel" advisory, including Baja and Jalisco – home to the popular destination of Puerto Vallarta .

Another 17 states get an "Exercise increased caution" advisory, including Baja California Sur – home to the popular resorts of Cabo San Lucas — and Nayarit, where you'll find Riviera Nayarit. Mexico City is also included in that category.

The state of Quintana Roo on the Caribbean side of Mexico is also in the "Exercise increased caution" category due to crime and the potential for kidnapping. Quintana Roo includes Cancun , Playa del Carmen and Tulum . It's a region that's generally considered safe for foreigners and is certainly popular for leisure travel.

Campeche and Yucatan are the only states that aren't under any special advisory for U.S. travel.

Mexico travel safety tips

The State Department suggests visitors review personal security plans, be aware of their surroundings, pay attention to local media and immediately call Mexican 911 in case of any issues.

The government also suggests Americans should register with a local Mexican consulate or embassy before they travel to Mexico through the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program.

For its part, the Mexican government insists Mexico is safe for travelers.

"There is no problem in traveling safely in Mexico," President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said in a news conference this week .

Bottom line

current cancun travel advisory

While headlines like travel warnings can be scary, remember that millions of tourists visit Mexico every year without ever encountering problems.

In this environment, however, it is probably best to be prepared and use common sense. Of course, that remains true when traveling to any foreign destination.

  • How to stay in Cancun on points and miles
  • Everything you need to plan the perfect Mexico getaway
  • 14 of TPG's favorite Mexico points hotels
  • Best times to visit Mexico
  • 13 things to know about Global Entry

Caution October 19, 2023

Worldwide caution, update january 10, 2024, information for u.s. citizens in the middle east.

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Travel Advisory August 22, 2023

See state summaries.

Reissued after periodic review with general security updates, and the removal of obsolete COVID-19 page links.

Country Summary: Violent crime – such as homicide, kidnapping, carjacking, and robbery – is widespread and common in Mexico. The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in many areas of Mexico, as travel by U.S. government employees to certain areas is prohibited or restricted. In many states, local emergency services are limited outside the state capital or major cities.

U.S. citizens are advised to adhere to restrictions on U.S. government employee travel. State-specific restrictions are included in the individual state advisories below. U.S. government employees may not travel between cities after dark, may not hail taxis on the street, and must rely on dispatched vehicles, including app-based services like Uber, and regulated taxi stands. U.S. government employees should avoid traveling alone, especially in remote areas. U.S. government employees may not drive from the U.S.-Mexico border to or from the interior parts of Mexico, except daytime travel within Baja California and between Nogales and Hermosillo on Mexican Federal Highway 15D, and between Nuevo Laredo and Monterrey on Highway 85D.

Read the  country information page  for additional information on travel to Mexico.

Do Not Travel To:

  • Colima state  due to  crime  and  kidnapping .
  • Guerrero state  due to  crime .
  • Michoacan state  due to  crime  and  kidnapping .
  • Sinaloa state due to  crime  and  kidnapping
  • Tamaulipas state  due to  crime  and  kidnapping.
  • Zacatecas  state due to  crime  and  kidnapping .

Reconsider Travel To:

  • Baja California  state due to  crime  and  kidnapping .
  • Chihuahua state  due to  crime  and  kidnapping .
  • Durango state  due to  crime .
  • Guanajuato state  due to  crime and kidnapping .
  • Jalisco state  due to  crime  and  kidnapping .
  • Morelos state  due to  crime .
  • Sonora state  due to  crime  and  kidnapping .

Exercise Increased Caution When Traveling To:

  • Aguascalientes  state due to  crime .
  • Baja California Sur state  due to  crime .
  • Chiapas state  due to  crime .
  • Coahuila state  due to  crime .
  • Hidalgo state  due to  crime .
  • Mexico City  due to  crime .
  • Mexico State  due to  crime .
  • Nayarit state  due to  crime.
  • Nuevo Leon  state due to  crime  and  kidnapping .
  • Oaxaca state  due to  crime .
  • Puebla state  due to  crime  and  kidnapping .
  • Queretaro state  due to  crime .
  • Quintana Roo state  due to  crime .
  • San Luis Potosi state  due to  crime and kidnapping .
  • Tabasco state  due to  crime .
  • Tlaxcala state due to  crime .
  • Veracruz state  due to  crime .

Exercise Normal Precautions When Traveling To:

  • Campeche state
  • Yucatan state

Visit our website for  Travel to High-Risk Areas .

If you decide to travel to Mexico:

  • Keep traveling companions and family back home informed of your travel plans. If separating from your travel group, send a friend your GPS location. If taking a taxi alone, take a photo of the taxi number and/or license plate and text it to a friend.
  • Use toll roads when possible and avoid driving alone or at night. In many states, police presence and emergency services are extremely limited outside the state capital or major cities.
  • Exercise increased caution when visiting local bars, nightclubs, and casinos.
  • Do not display signs of wealth, such as wearing expensive watches or jewelry.
  • Be extra vigilant when visiting banks or ATMs.
  • Enroll in the  Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)  to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Follow the Department of State on  Facebook  and  Twitter .
  • Follow the U.S. Embassy on Facebook and Twitter .
  • Review the  Country Security Report  for Mexico.
  • Mariners planning travel to Mexico should check for U.S. maritime  advisories  and  alerts , which include instructions on reporting suspicious activities and attacks to Mexican naval authorities.
  • Prepare a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the  Traveler’s Checklist .
  • Visit the CDC page for the latest travel health information related to your travel. 

Aguascalientes state – Exercise Increased Caution

Exercise increased caution due to crime.

Criminal activity and violence may occur throughout the state.

There are no restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees in Aguascalientes state.

Baja California state – Reconsider Travel

Reconsider travel due to crime and kidnapping.

Transnational criminal organizations compete in the border area to establish narco-trafficking and human smuggling routes. Violent crime and gang activity are common. Travelers should remain on main highways and avoid remote locations. Of particular concern is the high number of homicides in the non-tourist areas of Tijuana. Most homicides appeared to be targeted; however, criminal organization assassinations and territorial disputes can result in bystanders being injured or killed. U.S. citizens and LPRs have been victims of kidnapping.

U.S. government employees must adhere to the noted restrictions:

  • Mexicali Valley:  U.S. government employees should avoid the Mexicali Valley due to the heightened possibility of violence between rival cartel factions.  The boundaries of the restricted area are: to the east, the Baja California/Arizona and Baja California/Sonora borders; to the south, from La Ventana (on Highway 5) due east to the Colorado River; to the west, Highway 5; and to the north, Boulevard Lazaro Cardenas/Highway 92/Highway 1 to Carretera Aeropuerto, from the intersection of Highway 1 and Carretera Aeropuerto due north to the Baja California/California border, and from that point eastward along the Baja California/California border.
  • Travelers may use Highways 2 and 2D to transit between Mexicali, Los Algodones, and San Luis Rio Colorado during daylight hours. Travelers may also use Highways 1 and 8 to transit to and from the Mexicali Airport during daylight hours.  Travel on Highway 5 is permissible during daylight hours.

There are no other travel restrictions for U.S. government employees in Baja California state. These include high-traffic tourism areas of border and coastal communities, such as  Tijuana ,  Ensenada , and  Rosarito .

Baja California Sur state – Exercise Increased Caution

There are no restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees in Baja California Sur state.

Campeche state – Exercise Normal Precautions

Exercise normal precautions.

There are no restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees in Campeche state.

Chiapas state – Exercise Increased Caution

There are no restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees in Chiapas state.

Chihuahua state – Reconsider Travel

Violent crime and gang activity are common. Most homicides are targeted assassinations against members of criminal organizations. Battles for territory between criminal groups have resulted in violent crime in areas frequented by U.S. citizens and U.S. government employees, including restaurants and malls during daylight hours. Bystanders have been injured or killed in shooting incidents. U.S. citizens and LPRs have been victims of kidnapping.

U.S. government employee travel is limited to the following areas with the noted restrictions:

  • Ciudad Juarez:  U.S. government employees may travel to the area of Ciudad Juarez bounded to the east by Bulevar Independencia; to the south by De los Montes Urales/Avenida Manuel J Clouthier/Carretera de Juárez; to the west by Via Juan Gabriel/Avenida de los Insurgentes/Calle Miguel Ahumada/Francisco Javier Mina/Melchor Ocampo; and to the north by the U.S.-Mexico border.  Direct travel to the Ciudad Juarez airport (officially called the Abraham González International Airport) and the factories located along Bulevar Independencia and Las Torres is permitted.  Travel to San Jerónimo is permitted only through the United States via the Santa Teresa U.S. Port of Entry; travel via Anapra is prohibited.

U.S. government employees may only travel from Ciudad Juarez to the city of Chihuahua during daylight hours via Federal Highway 45, with stops permitted only at the Guardia Nacional División Caminos station, the Umbral del Milenio overlook area, the border inspection station at KM 35, and the shops and restaurants on Federal Highway 45 in the city of Ahumada.

  • U.S. government employees may travel between Ciudad Juarez and Ascension via Highway 2.
  • Nuevo Casas Grandes Area (including Nuevo Casas Grandes, Casas Grandes, Mata Ortiz, Colonia Juárez, Colonia LeBaron, Paquimé and San Buenaventura):  U.S. government employees may travel to the Nuevo Casas Grandes area during daylight hours via Mexico Federal Highway 2, and subsequently Federal Highway 10, to Nuevo Casas Grandes.  Employees are permitted to stay overnight in the cities of Nuevo Casas Grandes and Casas Grandes only.
  • City of Chihuahua:  U.S. government employees may travel at any time to the area of the city of Chihuahua bounded to the north by Avenida Transformación; to the east by Avenida Tecnológico/Manuel Gómez Morín/Highway 16/Blvd.José Fuentes Mares; to the west by the city boundary; and to the south by Periférico Francisco R. Almada.
  • U.S. government employees may travel on Highways 45, 16, and 45D through the city of Chihuahua and to the Chihuahua airport (officially called the General Roberto Fierro Villalobos International Airport). 
  • U.S. government employees may travel to Santa Eulalia to the east of the city of Chihuahua, as well as to Juan Aldama via Highway 16 to the northeast.
  • U.S. government employees may travel south of the city of Chihuahua on Highway 45 to the southern boundary of Parral, including each town directly connected to Highway 45, including Lázaro Cárdenas, Pedro Meoqui, Santa Cruz de Rosales, Delicias, Camargo, Ciudad Jiménez, and Parral itself.
  • U.S. government employees may only travel on official business from the city of Chihuahua on Highway 16 to Ciudad Cuauhtémoc bounded by Highway 21 to the north and east, Highway 5 to the west, and Bulevar Jorge Castillo Cabrera to the south. 
  • Ojinaga:  U.S. government employees must travel to Ojinaga via U.S. Highway 67 and enter through the U.S. Port of Entry in Presidio, Texas.
  • Palomas:  U.S. government employees may travel to Palomas via U.S. highways through the U.S. Port of Entry in Columbus, New Mexico, or via Highway 2 in Mexico.

U.S. government employees may not travel to other areas of Chihuahua, including  Copper Canyon .

Coahuila state – Exercise Increased Caution

Violent crime and gang activity occur in parts of Coahuila state. 

U.S. government employees must adhere to the following travel restrictions:

  • Zaragoza, Morelos, Allende, Nava, Jimenez, Villa Union, Guerrero, and Hidalgo municipalities : U.S. government employees may not travel to these municipalities.
  • Piedras Negras and Ciudad Acuña:  U.S. government employees must travel directly from the United States and observe a curfew from midnight to 6:00 a.m. in both cities.

There are no other restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees in Coahuila state.

Colima state – Do Not Travel

Do not travel due to crime and kidnapping.  

Violent crime and gang activity are widespread. Most homicides are targeted assassinations against members of criminal organizations. Shooting incidents between criminal groups have injured or killed bystanders. U.S. citizens and LPRs have been victims of kidnapping.  

Travel for U.S. government employees is limited to the following areas with noted restrictions: 

  • Manzanillo:   U.S. government employee travel is limited to the tourist and port areas of Manzanillo.  
  • Employees traveling to Manzanillo from Guadalajara must use Federal Toll Road 54D during daylight hours.  

U.S. government employees may not travel to other areas of Colima state. 

Durango state – Reconsider Travel

Reconsider travel due to crime.

Violent crime and gang activity are common in parts of Durango state.

  • West and south of Federal Highway 45:  U.S. government employees may not travel to this region of Durango state.

There are no other restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees in Durango state.

Guanajuato state – Reconsider Travel

Gang violence, often associated with the theft of petroleum and natural gas from the state oil company and other suppliers, occurs in Guanajuato, primarily in the south and central areas of the state.  Of particular concern is the high number of murders in the southern region of the state associated with cartel-related violence. U.S. citizens and LPRs have been victims of kidnapping.

  • Areas south of Federal Highway 45D:  U.S. government employees may not travel to the area south of and including Federal Highway 45D, Celaya, Salamanca, and Irapuato.

There are no other restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees in Guanajuato state, which includes tourist areas in:  San Miguel de Allende ,  Guanajuato City , and  surrounding areas.

Guerrero state – Do Not Travel

Do not travel due to crime.

Crime and violence are widespread. Armed groups operate independently of the government in many areas of Guerrero. Members of these groups frequently maintain roadblocks and may use violence towards travelers. U.S. citizens and LPRs have been victims of kidnapping in previous years.

Travel for U.S. government employees is limited to the following area with the noted restrictions:

  • Taxco:  U.S. government employees must use Federal Highway 95D, which passes through Cuernavaca, Morelos, and stay within downtown tourist areas of Taxco. Employees may visit Grutas de Cacahuamilpa National Park during the day with a licensed tour operator.

U.S. government employees may not travel to other areas of the state of Guerrero, including to tourist areas in  Acapulco ,  Zihuatanejo , and  Ixtapa .

Hidalgo state – Exercise Increased Caution

There are no restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees in Hidalgo state.

Jalisco state – Reconsider Travel

Violent crime and gang activity are common in parts of Jalisco state. In Guadalajara, territorial battles between criminal groups take place in tourist areas. Shooting incidents between criminal groups have injured or killed innocent bystanders. U.S. citizens and LPRs have been victims of kidnapping.

  • Jalisco-Michoacan border and Federal Highway 110:  U.S. government employees may not travel to the area between Federal Highway 110 and the Jalisco-Michoacan border, nor travel on Federal Highway 110 between Tuxpan, Jalisco, and the Michoacan border.
  • Federal Highway 80:  U.S. government employees may not travel on Federal Highway 80 south of Cocula.

There are no other restrictions on travel for U.S government employees in Jalisco state which includes tourist areas in:  Guadalajara Metropolitan Area ,  Puerto Vallarta (including neighboring Riviera Nayarit) ,  Chapala , and  Ajijic .

Mexico City (Ciudad de Mexico) – Exercise Increased Caution

Both violent and non-violent crime occur throughout Mexico City. Use additional caution, particularly at night, outside of the frequented tourist areas where police and security patrol more routinely. Petty crime occurs frequently in both tourist and non-tourist areas.

There are no restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees in Mexico City.

Mexico State (Estado de Mexico) – Exercise Increased Caution

Both violent and non-violent crime occur throughout Mexico State. Use additional caution in areas outside of the frequented tourist areas, although petty crime occurs frequently in tourist areas as well.

There are no restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees in Mexico State.

Michoacan state – Do Not Travel

Do not travel due to crime and kidnapping.

Crime and violence are widespread in Michoacan state. U.S. citizens and LPRs have been victims of kidnapping.

Travel for U.S. government employees is limited to the following areas with the noted restrictions:

  • Federal Highway 15D:   U.S. government employees may travel on Federal Highway 15D to transit the state between Mexico City and Guadalajara.
  • Morelia:  U.S. government employees may travel by air and by land using Federal Highways 43 or 48D from Federal Highway 15D.
  • Lazaro Cardenas:  U.S. government employees must travel by air only and limit activities to the city center or port areas.

U.S. government employees may not travel to other areas of the state of Michoacan, including the portions of the  Monarch Butterfly Reserve  located in Michoacan.

Morelos state – Reconsider Travel

Violent crime and gang activity are common in parts of Morelos state.

There are no restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees in Morelos state.

Nayarit state – Exercise Increased Caution

Criminal activity and violence may occur throughout Nayarit state.

There are no restrictions on travel for U.S government employees in Nayarit state.

Nuevo Leon state – Exercise Increased Caution

Exercise increased caution due to crime and kidnapping.

Criminal activity and violence may occur throughout the state. U.S. citizens and LPRs have been victims of kidnapping.

There are no restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees in Nuevo Leon state.

Oaxaca state – Exercise Increased Caution

Criminal activity and violence occur throughout the state.

U.S. travelers are reminded that U.S. government employees must adhere to the following travel restrictions:

  • Isthmus region:  U.S. government employees may not travel to the area of Oaxaca bounded by Federal Highway 185D to the west, Federal Highway 190 to the north, and the Oaxaca-Chiapas border to the east.  This includes the cities of Juchitan de Zaragoza, Salina Cruz, and San Blas Atempa.  
  • Federal Highway 200 northwest of Pinotepa:  U.S. government employees may not use Federal Highway 200 between Pinotepa and the Oaxaca-Guerrero border.

There are no restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees to other parts of Oaxaca state, which include tourist areas in:  Oaxaca City ,  Monte Alban ,  Puerto Escondido,  and  Huatulco .

Puebla state – Exercise Increased Caution

There are no restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees in Puebla state.

Queretaro state – Exercise Increased Caution

There are no restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees in Queretaro state.

Quintana Roo state – Exercise Increased Caution

Criminal activity and violence may occur in any location, at any time, 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. 

While not directed at tourists, shootings between rival gangs have injured innocent bystanders.  Additionally, U.S. citizens have been the victims of both non-violent and violent crimes in tourist and non-tourist areas.

There are no restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees in Quintana Roo state. However, personnel are advised to exercise increased situational awareness after dark in downtown areas of Cancun, Tulum, and Playa del Carmen, and to remain in well-lit pedestrian streets and tourist zones.

San Luis Potosi state – Exercise Increased Caution

Criminal activity and violence may occur throughout the state.  U.S. citizens and LPRs have been victims of kidnapping.

There are no restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees in San Luis Potosi state.

Sinaloa state – Do Not Travel

Violent crime is widespread. Criminal organizations are based in and operating in Sinaloa. U.S. citizens and LPRs have been victims of kidnapping.

  • Mazatlan:  U.S. government employees may travel to Mazatlan by air or sea only, are limited to the Zona Dorada and historic town center, and must travel via direct routes between these destinations and the airport and sea terminal.
  • Los Mochis and Topolobampo:  U.S. government employees may travel to Los Mochis and Topolobampo by air or sea only, are restricted to the city and the port, and must travel via direct routes between these destinations and the airport.

U.S. government employees may not travel to other areas of Sinaloa state.

Sonora state – Reconsider Travel

Sonora is a key location used by the international drug trade and human trafficking networks. Violent crime is widespread. U.S. citizens and LPRs have been victims of kidnapping. Travelers should maintain a heightened level of awareness of their surroundings in all their travels in Sonora.  Security incidents may occur in any area of Sonora.

  • Travel between Hermosillo and Nogales:  U.S. government employees may travel between the U.S. Ports of Entry in Nogales and Hermosillo during daylight hours via Federal Highway 15 only. U.S. government employees may not use ANY taxi services, public buses, nor ride-share applications due to a lack of secure vetting and/or dispatching procedures. Travelers should exercise caution and avoid unnecessary stops as security incidents, including sporadic, armed carjackings, and shootings have been reported along this highway during daylight hours. Travelers should have a full tank of gas and inform friends or family members of their planned travel.
  • Nogales:  U.S. government employees may not travel in the triangular area north of Avenida Tecnologico, west of Bulevar Luis Donaldo Colosio (Periferico), nor east of Federal Highway 15D (Corredor Fiscal). U.S. government employees also may not travel in the residential and business areas to east of the railroad tracks along Plutarco Elias Calle (HWY 15) and Calle Ruiz Cortino, including the business area around the Morley pedestrian gate port-of-entry. U.S. government employees may not use ANY taxi services, public buses, nor ride-share applications in Nogales due to a lack of secure vetting and/or dispatching procedures and the danger of kidnapping and other violent crimes.  
  • Puerto Peñasco:  U.S. government employees may travel between Puerto Peñasco and the Lukeville-Sonoyta U.S. Port of Entry during daylight hours via Federal Highway 8 only. They may not travel on any other route to Puerto Peñasco. U.S. government employees may not use ANY taxi services, public buses, nor ride-share applications in Puerto Peñasco. due to a lack of secure vetting and/or dispatching procedures and the danger of kidnapping and other violent crimes.
  • Triangular region near Mariposa U.S. Port of Entry:  U.S. government employees may not travel into or through the triangular region west of the Mariposa U.S. Port of Entry, east of Sonoyta, and north of Altar municipality.
  • San Luis Rio Colorado, Cananea, and Agua Prieta : U.S. government employees may travel directly from the nearest U.S. Port of Entry to San Luis Rio Colorado, Cananea (via Douglas Port of Entry), and Agua Prieta, but may not go beyond the city limits. Travel is limited to daylight hours only. Travel between Nogales and Cananea via Imuris is not permitted. U.S. government employees may not use ANY taxi services, public buses, nor ride-share applications in these cities due to a lack of secure vetting and/or dispatching procedures and the danger of kidnapping and other violent crimes.
  • Eastern and southern Sonora (including San Carlos Nuevo Guaymas and Alamos):  U.S. government employees may not travel to areas of Sonora east of Federal Highway 17, the road between Moctezuma and Sahuaripa, and State Highway 20 between Sahuaripa and the intersection with Federal Highway 16. U.S. government employees may travel to San Carlos Nuevo Guaymas and Alamos; travel to Alamos is only permitted by air and within city limits.  U.S. government employees may not travel to areas of Sonora south of Federal Highway 16 and east of Federal Highway 15 (south of Hermosillo), as well as all points south of Guaymas, including Empalme, Guaymas, Obregon, and Navojoa.  U.S. government employees may not use ANY taxi services, public buses, nor ride-share applications in these areas due to a lack of secure vetting and/or dispatching procedures and the danger of kidnapping and other violent crimes.

U.S. government employees may travel to other parts of Sonora state in compliance with the above restrictions, including tourist areas in: Hermosillo , Bahia de Kino , and Puerto Penasco .

Tabasco state – Exercise Increased Caution

There are no restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees in Tabasco state.

Tamaulipas state – Do Not Travel

Organized crime activity – including gun battles, murder, armed robbery, carjacking, kidnapping, forced disappearances, extortion, and sexual assault – is common along the northern border and in Ciudad Victoria. Criminal groups target public and private passenger buses, as well as private automobiles traveling through Tamaulipas, often taking passengers and demanding ransom payments.

Heavily armed members of criminal groups often patrol areas of the state and operate with impunity particularly along the border region from Reynosa to Nuevo Laredo.  In these areas, local law enforcement has limited capacity to respond to incidents of crime. Law enforcement capacity is greater in the tri-city area of Tampico, Ciudad Madero, and Altamira, which has a lower rate of violent criminal activity compared to the rest of the state.

U.S. citizens and LPRs have been victims of kidnapping.

  • Matamoros and Nuevo Laredo:  U.S. government employees may only travel within a limited radius around and between the U.S. Consulates in Nuevo Laredo and Matamoros, their homes, the respective U.S. Ports of Entry, and limited downtown sites, subject to an overnight curfew.
  • Overland travel in Tamaulipas:  U.S. government employees may not travel between cities in Tamaulipas using interior Mexican highways. Travel between Nuevo Laredo and Monterrey is limited to Federal Highway 85D during daylight hours with prior authorization.

U.S. government employees may not travel to other parts of Tamaulipas state.

Tlaxcala state – Exercise Increased Caution

There are no restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees in Tlaxcala state.

Veracruz state – Exercise Increased Caution

Violent crime and gang activity occur with increasing frequency in Veracruz, particularly in the center and south near Cordoba and Coatzacoalcos. While most gang-related violence is targeted, violence perpetrated by criminal organizations can affect bystanders. Impromptu roadblocks requiring payment to pass are common.

There are no restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees in Veracruz state.

Yucatan state – Exercise Normal Precautions

There are no restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees in Yucatan state, which include tourist areas in:  Chichen Itza ,  Merida ,  Uxmal , and  Valladolid .

Zacatecas state – Do Not Travel

Violent crime, extortion, and gang activity are widespread in Zacatecas state. U.S. citizens and LPRs have been victims of kidnapping.

  • Zacatecas City : U.S. government employee travel is limited to Zacatecas City proper, and employees may not travel overland to Zacatecas City.
  • U.S. government employees may not travel to other areas of Zacatecas state.

Embassy Messages

View Alerts and Messages Archive

Quick Facts

Passport must be valid at time of entry

One page per stamp

Yes, if visiting for more than 180 days

See Travelers’ Health section

Embassies and Consulates

EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE FOR U.S. CITIZENS IN MEXICO From Mexico: 800-681-9374 or 55-8526-2561 From the United States: 1-844-528-6611

U.S. Citizen Services Inquiries: Contact Form

U.S. Embassy Mexico City Paseo de la Reforma 305 Colonia Cuauhtémoc 06500 Ciudad de México

U.S. Consulate General Ciudad Juarez

Paseo de la Victoria #3650 Fracc. Partido Senecú 32543 Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua

U.S. Consulate General Guadalajara Progreso 175 Colonia Americana 44160 Guadalajara, Jalisco

U.S. Consulate General Hermosillo

Monterey, Esqueda 141 El Centenario 83260 Hermosillo, Sonora

U.S. Consulate General Matamoros

Constitución No. 1 Colonia Jardín 87330 Matamoros, Tamaulipas

U.S. Consulate General Merida

Calle 60 No. 338-K x 29 y 31 Colonia Alcalá Martin 97050 Mérida, Yucatán

U.S. Consulate General Monterrey

Avenida Alfonso Reyes 150 Colonia Valle del Poniente 66196 Santa Catarina, Nuevo León

U.S. Consulate General Nogales

Calle San José s/n Fracc. Los Álamos 84065 Nogales, Sonora

U.S. Consulate General Nuevo Laredo

Paseo Colon 1901 Colonia Madero 88260 Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas

U.S. Consulate General Tijuana

Paseo de las Culturas s/n Mesa de Otay Delegación Centenario 22425 Tijuana, Baja California

Consular Agencies

Acapulco Hotel Continental Emporio Costera M. Alemán 121 – Office 14 39670 Acapulco, Guerrero Cancun

Blvd. Kukulcan Km 13 ZH Torre La Europea, Despacho 301 77500 Cancún, Quintana Roo

Los Cabos Las Tiendas de Palmilla L-B221, Km. 27.5 Carretera Transpeninsular 23406 San José del Cabo, Baja California Sur

Playa Gaviotas 202, Local 10

Zona Dorada 82110 Mazatlán, Sinaloa

Oaxaca Macedonio Alcalá 407, Office 20 68000 Oaxaca, Oaxaca

Piedras Negras Abasolo 211, Local 3, Centro 26000 Piedras Negras, Coahuila Playa del Carmen Plaza Progreso, Local 33 Carretera Federal Puerto Juarez-Chetumal, Mz. 293 Lt. 1. 77710 Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo

Puerto Vallarta Paradise Plaza, Paseo de los Cocoteros 85 Sur, Local L-7 63732 Nuevo Nayarit, Nayarit San Miguel de Allende Plaza La Luciérnaga, Libramiento Jose Manuel Zavala 165, Locales 4 y 5 Colonia La Luciérnaga 37745 San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato

Destination Description

See the  State Department’s Fact Sheet on Mexico  for more information on U.S.-Mexico relations.

Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

A valid passport book is required to enter Mexico by air, and those attempting to enter at an airport with a U.S. passport card only may be denied admission.

Review the Mexican government’s most current  entry, exit, and visa requirements  ( Spanish only ) or visit the  Embassy of Mexico  in Washington, D.C., for more information.

For travelers entering Mexico by air only, Mexican immigration authorities implemented a process to replace the previous paper Forma Migratoria Multiple or FMM with a Forma Migratoria Multiple Digital or FMMD.  The FMMD process is in place at all 66 international airports in Mexico.  Upon arrival at an airport, Mexican immigration authorities will determine a traveler’s authorized length of stay and either place a date stamp in the traveler’s passport or direct the traveler through a self-service electronic gate (E-Gate) that will generate a printed receipt with QR code. Air travelers who wish to download a record of their FMMD or find more information on the FMMD process may visit the National Migration Institute’s (INM) website .

Travelers entering Mexico by land should have a valid passport book or card.  If you enter Mexico by land and plan to travel beyond the immediate border area (approximately 12 miles or 20 kilometers into Mexico), you must stop at an INM office to obtain an entry permit (Forma Migratoria Multiple or FMM), even if not explicitly directed to do so by Mexican officials.  INM may opt to allow tourists entry of up to 180 days without a visa or may limit authorized stays to shorter periods at their discretion; visitors should confirm the specific length of authorized stay written on the entry permit (FMM) or by the stamp in their passport. Mexican immigration authorities could ask you to present both your passport and entry permit if applicable at any point and may detain you while they review your immigration status if you are not carrying your passport and proof of legal status in Mexico, or if you have overstayed your authorized stay. Immigration check points are common in the interior of Mexico, including in popular tourist areas far from the border.  

You will also need a temporary vehicle import permit to bring a U.S.-registered vehicle beyond the border zone. These permits are processed through Banjercito and require a deposit that will be refunded once the vehicle leaves Mexico.  For more information, visit the  Banjercito  website ( Spanish only ).

Baja California, Baja California Sur, and Sonora have a “hassle-free” zone that allows cars traveling without an entry permit or car registration within the zone. 

Mexican authorities can impound a vehicle that enters the country without a valid U.S. registration, a vehicle driven by a Mexican national who is not resident in the United States, or a vehicle found beyond the border zone without the temporary import permit.

Mexican law permits Mexican immigration authorities to deny foreigners entry into Mexico if they have been charged with or convicted of a serious crime in Mexico or elsewhere.

Travelers bringing in goods beyond their personal effects worth $300.00 or more must declare those goods with Mexican customs (SAT) Mexican customs  ( Spanish only ) or risk having them confiscated. This also applies to used goods or clothing, including items for donation. U.S. citizens driving such items into Mexico without declaring them or without sufficient funds to pay duty fees are subject to having their vehicle seized by Mexican customs authorities. For further information about customs regulations, please read our  customs information page .

The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents in Mexico.

A parent or legal guardian departing Mexico with minor children should carry a notarized consent letter from the other parent if traveling separately. INM requires at least one parent to complete a  SAM  ( Formato de Salida de Menores, Spanish only ) for all Mexican or foreign minors with Temporary Resident, Temporary Student Resident, or Permanent Resident status departing Mexico alone or with a third party.  Further information about the  prevention of international parental child abduction  is available on our website.

Find information on dual nationality , and customs regulations on our websites. Both Mexico and the United States allow dual nationality.

Safety and Security

Travelers are urged to review the  Mexico Travel Advisory  for information about safety and security concerns affecting the country on a state-by-state basis.

U.S. citizens traveling to and residing in Mexico should not expect public health and safety standards like those in the United States. Even where such standards exist, enforcement varies by location. Travelers should mitigate the risk of illness or injury by taking standard health and safety precautions.

The phone number to report emergencies in Mexico is “911.”  Although there may be English-speaking operators available, it is best to seek the assistance of a Spanish speaker to place the call.

Crime:  Crime in Mexico occurs at a high rate and can be violent, from random street crime to cartel-related attacks. Over the past year, Mission Mexico has assisted U.S. citizens who were victims of armed robbery, carjacking, extortion, homicide, kidnapping, pick-pocketing, and sexual assault. Increased levels of cartel-related violence have resulted in territorial disputes and targeted killings, injuring or killing innocent bystanders. Travelers who find themselves in an active shooter scenario should flee in the opposite direction, if possible, or drop to the ground, preferably behind a hard barrier.

Drivers on roads and highways may encounter government checkpoints, which often include National Guard or military personnel. State and local police also set up checkpoints in and around cities and along the highways to deter criminal activity and enforce traffic laws. In some parts of Mexico, criminal organizations and other non-governmental actors have been known to erect unauthorized checkpoints and have abducted or threatened violence against those who fail to stop and/or pay a “toll.” When approaching a checkpoint, regardless of whether it is official, cooperate and avoid any actions that may appear suspicious or aggressive.

While Mexican authorities endeavor to safeguard the country’s major resort areas and tourist destinations, those areas have not been immune to the types of violence and crime experienced elsewhere in Mexico. In some areas of Mexico, response time of local police is often slow. In addition, filing police reports can be time consuming. See our  Mexico Travel Advisory  for more information.

Demonstrations  occur frequently.  They may take place in response to political or economic issues, on politically significant holidays, and during international events.  Protesters in Mexico may block traffic on roads, including major thoroughfares, or take control of toll booths on highways.  Travelers who encounter protesters who demand unofficial tolls are generally allowed to pass upon payment.  U.S. citizens should avoid participating in demonstrations or other activities that might be deemed political by authorities, as Mexican law prohibits political activities by foreign citizens and such actions may result in detention or deportation.

  • Demonstrations can be unpredictable, avoid areas around protests and demonstrations.  
  • Past demonstrations have turned violent.
  • Check local media for updates and traffic advisories.  

International Financial Scams:  See the  Department of State  and the  FBI  pages for information.  

Internet romance and financial scams are prevalent in Mexico. Scams are often initiated through Internet postings/profiles or by unsolicited emails and letters. Scammers almost always pose as U.S. citizens who have no one else to turn to for help. Common scams include:   

  • Romance/Online dating 
  • Money transfers 
  • Lucrative sales 
  • Grandparent/Relative targeting 
  • Free Trip/Luggage 
  • Inheritance notices 
  • Bank overpayments 

Mexico’s consumer protection agency,  PROFECO  (Procuraduría Federal del Consumidor, Spanish only), can sometimes  provide assistance  (Spanish only) to victims of such scams. In addition, there have been allegations of banking fraud perpetrated by private bankers against U.S. citizens. U.S. citizens who believe they have been victims of fraud can file a police report  file a complaint  (Spanish only) with the Mexican banking regulatory agency, CONDUSEF  (Comision Nacional para la Proteccion y Defensa de los Usuarios de Servicios Financieros, Spanish only), or consult with an attorney.

Victims of Crime:  U.S. victims of sexual assault are encouraged to contact the U.S. Embassy or nearest Consulate for assistance.  Report emergencies to the local police at 911, report crimes already committed to the Ministerio Publico, and contact the Embassy or Consulate at +52-55-85262561.  Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting crimes.

U.S. citizen victims of crime should contact the local authorities to file a Mexican police report before departing Mexico. In most instances, victims of crime will file reports with the Ministerio Publico (equivalent to the office of public prosecutor or district attorney in the United States) and not with police first responders. U.S. citizens should also inform the  U.S. Embassy or nearest consulat e . 

See our webpage on  help for U.S. victims of crime overseas .    We can:

  • help you find  appropriate medical care ,
  • assist you in reporting a crime to the police,
  • contact relatives or friends with your written consent,
  • provide general information regarding the victim’s role during the local investigation and following its conclusion, 
  • provide a  list of local attorneys ,
  • provide information on  victim’s compensation programs in the United States ,
  • provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical support in cases of destitution,
  • help you find accommodation and arrange flights home,
  • replace a stolen or lost passport.

Domestic Violence:  U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence are encouraged to contact the  U.S. Embassy or nearest consulate  for assistance.

Kidnapping:  Mexico experiences very high rates of kidnapping.  If you believe you or your U.S. citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) relative has been kidnapped, please contact the U.S. Embassy or nearest consulate immediately.

Robbery:  Mexico experiences robberies, typically in cities, in which abductors force victims to use their debit or credit card to withdraw money from ATMs in exchange for their release. Perpetrators commonly work in cooperation with, or pose as, taxi drivers. To minimize the risk of such robberies:

  • Only use a reputable taxi company or a trusted ride-sharing app.
  • Book taxis through your hotel or an authorized taxi stand.

Extortion:  Extortion schemes are common in Mexico.  In a typical scheme known as a virtual kidnapping, criminals convince family members that a relative has been abducted, when, in fact, the person is safe but unreachable.  The purported abductors will often use threats to persuade victims to isolate themselves, making communication with family members less likely.  Unable to reach their loved ones, family members often consent to paying the “ransom” demand.  Criminals use various means to gather information about potential victims, including monitoring social media sites, eavesdropping on conversations, or using information taken from a stolen cell phone.  Some of these extortions have been conducted from Mexican prisons.  You can reduce the risk of falling victim to this type of extortion through the following:

  • Do not discuss travel plans, your room number, or any other personal information within earshot of strangers.
  • Do not divulge personal business details to strangers in person or over the phone, especially when using hotel phones.
  • If you are threatened on the phone, hang up immediately.

Sexual Assault:  Rape and sexual assault are serious problems in some resort areas. Many of these incidents occur at night or during the early morning hours, in hotel rooms, on hotel grounds, or on deserted beaches. In some cases, assailants drug the drinks of victims before assaulting them. Pay attention to your surroundings and to who might have handled your drink.

Credit/Debit Card “Skimming:”  There have been instances of fraudulent charges or withdrawals from accounts due to “skimmed” cards. If you choose to use credit or debit cards, you should regularly check your account to ensure there are no unauthorized transactions. Travelers should limit the amount of cash they carry in public, exercise caution when withdrawing cash from ATMs, and avoid ATMs located in isolated or unlit areas.

Alcohol:  If you choose to drink alcohol, it is important to do so in moderation and to stop and seek medical attention if you begin to feel ill. There have been reports of individuals falling ill or blacking out after consuming unregulated alcohol. The Mexican Federal Commission for the Protection against Sanitary Risk,  COFEPRIS  ( Comision Federal para la Proteccion contra Riesgos Sanitarios, Spanish only ), is responsible for inspecting hotels, restaurants, and other establishments for health violations, including reports of unregulated alcohol. Please email COFEPRIS at  [email protected]  for more information or if you wish to file a report. You can file a report online (Spanish only) via the COFEPRIS website, by calling the COFEPRIS call center at 800 033 50 50 (from Mexico) or +52 (55) 5080-5425 (from the United States), or by scheduling an appointment  (Spanish only)  to visit a COFEPRIS office.

There have also been instances of criminals drugging drinks to rob or sexually assault victims. Additionally, if you feel you have been the victim of unregulated alcohol or another serious health violation, you should notify the U.S. Embassy or nearest consulate . You may also contact the U.S. Department of State – Bureau of Consular Affairs in Washington, D.C. at 1-888-407-4747 (toll-free in the United States and Canada) or 1-202-501-4444 (from all other countries).

Drug Smuggling:  Mexican criminal organizations are engaged in a violent struggle to control trafficking routes. Criminal organizations smuggling drugs into the United States have targeted unsuspecting individuals who regularly cross the border. Frequent border crossers are advised to vary their routes and travel times and to closely monitor their vehicles to avoid being targeted.

Tourism:  In major cities and resort areas, the tourism industry is generally well-regulated.  Best practices and safety inspections are regularly enforced.  Hazardous areas and activities are identified with appropriate signage, and professional staff is typically on hand in support of organized activities.  In the event of an injury, appropriate medical treatment is widely available throughout the country.  Outside of a major metropolitan center, it may take more time for first responders and medical professionals to stabilize a patient and/or provide life-saving assistance.  In smaller towns and areas less commonly frequented by foreign tourists, the tourism industry is unevenly regulated, and safety inspections for equipment and facilities do not commonly occur.  Hazardous areas/activities are not always identified with appropriate signage, and staff may not be trained or certified either by the host government or by recognized authorities in the field.  In the event of an injury, appropriate medical treatment is typically available only in or near major cities.  First responders are generally unable to access areas outside of major cities to provide urgent medical treatment.  U.S. citizens are encouraged to purchase medical evacuation insurance. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage .

Since 2016, Mexico has opened seven multilingual Centers for the Care and Protection of Tourists (CAPTA) and Tourist Assistance Centers (CATTAC) in Los Cabos, La Paz, Acapulco, Playa del Carmen, Mazatlan, Ciudad Madero, and Queretaro. These offices have proven helpful assisting U.S. citizen visitors in resolving disputes with merchants and government entities, filing criminal reports, securing needed services, and locating special needs accommodations. 

Local Laws & Special Circumstances

Criminal Penalties:  You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Individuals establishing a business or practicing a profession that requires additional permits or licensing should seek information from the competent local authorities prior to practicing or operating a business.

Furthermore, some laws are also prosecutable in the United States, regardless of local law. For examples, see our website on  crimes against minors abroad  and the  Department of Justice  website.

Arrest Notification:  If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy or nearest consulate immediately. See our  webpage  for further information.

The Mexican government is required by international law to contact the U.S. Embassy or consulate promptly when a U.S. citizen is arrested if the arrestee so requests.  This requirement does not apply to dual nationals.  

Firearms and Other Weapons:  Weapons laws in Mexico vary by state, but it is generally illegal for travelers to carry weapons of any kind including firearms, knives, daggers, brass knuckles, as well as ammunition (even used shells). Illegal firearms trafficking from the United States to Mexico is a major concern, and the Department of State warns all U.S. citizens against taking any firearm or ammunition into Mexico. If you are caught entering Mexico with any type of weapon, including firearms or ammunitions, you likely will face severe penalties, including prison time. U.S.-issued permits allowing an individual to carry weapons are not valid in Mexico.  Visit the Department’s  Traveling Abroad with Firearms webpage .

Vessels entering Mexican waters with firearms or ammunition on board must have a permit previously issued by a Mexican embassy or consulate.

Drugs:  Drug possession and use, including medical marijuana, is illegal in Mexico and may result in a lengthy jail sentence or fines.  

Electronic Cigarettes (Vaping Devices):  It is illegal for travelers to bring electronic cigarettes (vaping devices) and all vaping solutions to Mexico. Customs will confiscate vaping devices and solutions and travelers could be fined or arrested. Avoid delays and possible sanctions by not taking these items to Mexico. 

Real Estate and Time Shares:  U.S. citizens should exercise caution when considering time-share investments or purchasing real estate and be aware of the aggressive tactics used by some sales representatives. Before initiating a real estate purchase or time-share investment, U.S. citizens should consult with a Mexican attorney to learn about important regulations and laws that govern real estate property.

Mountain Climbing and Hiking:  The Mexican government has declared the area around the Popocatepetl and the Colima volcanoes off limits. In remote rural areas, there can be limited cell phone coverage and internet connectivity, and it may be difficult for rescue teams and local authorities to reach climbers and hikers in distress.

Potential for Natural Disasters:  Mexico is in an active earthquake zone. Tsunamis may occur following significant earthquakes. For information concerning disasters, see:

  • U.S. Embassy Mexico City website
  • Civil Protection  ( Proteccion Civil, Spanish only ) provides information from the Mexican Government about natural disaster preparedness
  • U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)  provides general information about natural disaster preparedness
  • U.S. Geological Survey  provides updates on recent seismic and volcanic activity

Storm Season:  Tropical storms in the Gulf of Mexico or along the Caribbean and Pacific Coast between May and November can produce heavy winds and rain. Please visit our  Hurricane Season  webpage for more information.

Spring Break:  Millions of U.S. citizens visit Mexican beach resorts each year, especially during “ spring break ” season. The legal drinking age in Mexico is 18. See the “Alcohol” section above to learn more about the risks associated with drinking, as well as reports of illnesses associated with the possible consumption of unregulated alcohol.

Resort Areas and Water Activities:  Beaches in Mexico may be dangerous due to strong currents, rip tides, and rogue waves. Warning notices and flags on beaches should be taken seriously. Not all hazardous beaches are clearly marked. If black or red warning flags are up, do not enter the water. Strong currents can lead to dangerous conditions for even the most experienced swimmers. U.S. citizens simply walking along the shore or wading have been swept out to sea by rogue waves, and some citizens have drowned or disappeared at Mexican beaches. Avoid the consumption of alcohol while engaging in water activities and do not swim alone. 

Boats used for excursions may not be covered by accident insurance and sometimes lack adequate life jackets, radios, and tools to make repairs.  Participation in adventure sports may not be covered by accident insurance and safety protections and regulations for these activities may differ from U.S. standards.  Visit  our website  and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for more information about adventure travel.

Counterfeit and Pirated Goods:  Although counterfeit and pirated goods are prevalent in many countries, they may still be illegal according to local laws. You may also be subject to fines or forced to relinquish the goods if you bring them back to the United States. See the  U.S. Department of Justice website  for more information.

Faith-Based Travelers:  See the following webpages for details:

  • Faith-Based Travel Information
  • International Religious Freedom Report  – see country reports
  • Human Rights Report  – see country reports
  • Hajj Fact Sheet for Travelers
  • Best Practices for Volunteering Abroad

LGBTQI+ Travelers:  There are no legal restrictions on same-sex sexual relations or on the organization of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, or Intersex (LGBTQI+) events in Mexico. However, due to sporadic reports of violence targeting LGBTQI+ individuals, U.S. citizens should exercise discretion in identifying themselves publicly as LGBTQI+. See our LGBTQI+ Travel Information page and Section 6 of the  Department of State’s Human Rights Report for Mexico  for further details.

Travelers with Disabilities:   Mexican law prohibits discrimination against persons with physical, sensory, intellectual, or mental disabilities.  Social acceptance of persons with disabilities in public is not as prevalent as in the United States.  The most common types of accessibility may include accessible facilities, information, and communication/access to services/ease of movement or access.  Expect accessibility to be limited in public transportation, lodging, communication/information, and general infrastructure in more rural and remote parts of the country, and more common in public transportation, lodging, communication/information, and general infrastructure in major cities.  U.S. citizens with disabilities should consult individual hotels and service providers in advance of travel to ensure they are accessible.

Students:  See our  Students Abroad  page and  FBI travel tips .

Women Travelers:  There were several reports of sexual assault or domestic violence involving U.S. citizen women over the past year. See our travel tips for  Women Travelers .

Excellent health facilities are available in Mexico City and other major cities. Ambulance services are widely available, but training and availability of emergency responders may be below U.S. standards. Injured or seriously ill travelers may prefer to take a taxi to a health provider. Mexican facilities often require payment “up front” before providing medical care, and most hospitals in Mexico do not accept U.S. health insurance. A list of doctors and hospitals is available on the U.S. Embassy or consulate website.

U.S. citizens have lodged complaints against some private hospitals in Cancun, the Riviera Maya, and Los Cabos to include exorbitant prices and inflexible collection measures.  Travelers should obtain complete information on billing, pricing, and proposed medical procedures before agreeing to any medical care in these locations.  Be aware that some resorts have exclusive agreements with medical providers and ambulance services, which may limit your choices in seeking emergency medical attention.  Some hospitals in tourist centers utilize sliding scales, deciding on rates for services based on negotiation and on the patient’s perceived ability to pay.  In some instances, providers have been known to determine the limits of a patient’s credit card or insurance, quickly reach that amount in services rendered, and subsequently discharge the patient or transfer them to a public hospital.

Visit the  U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  website for information on Medical Tourism.

For emergency services in Mexico, dial  911 .  Although there may be English-speaking operators available, it is best to seek the assistance of a Spanish speaker to place the call.

Ambulance services are: 

  • widely available in major cities but training and availability of emergency responders may be below U.S. standards,
  • not present in many remote and rural areas of the country,   
  • not equipped with state-of-the-art medical equipment.  
  • Injured or seriously ill travelers may prefer to take a taxi or private vehicle to the nearest major hospital rather than wait for an ambulance.  

We do not pay medical bills:  Be aware that U.S. Medicare/Medicaid does not apply overseas.  Most hospitals and doctors overseas do not accept U.S. health insurance.  

Medical Insurance:  Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas.  Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See  our webpage  for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage. Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more information on type of insurance you should consider before you travel overseas. 

We strongly recommend  supplemental insurance  to cover medical evacuation as well.

Always carry your prescription medication in original packaging, along with your doctor’s prescription.  Check the Mexican government’s Drug Schedule to ensure the medication is legal in Mexico. 

Vaccinations:  Be up-to-date on all  vaccinations  recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Further health information :

  • World Health Organization
  • U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  (CDC)

Air Quality: Visit AirNow Department of State for information on air quality at U.S. Embassies and Consulates.

The U.S. Embassy maintains a list of doctors and hospitals .  We do not endorse or recommend any specific medical provider or clinic. 

Medical Tourism and Elective Surgery: 

  • U.S. citizens have suffered serious complications or died during or after having cosmetic or other elective surgery.   
  • Medical tourism is a rapidly growing industry. People seeking health care overseas should understand that medical systems operate differently from those in the United States and are not subject to the same rules and regulations.  Anyone interested in traveling for medical purposes should consult with their local physician before traveling and visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for more information on Medical Tourism.  
  • Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for information on Medical Tourism, the risks of medical tourism, and what you can do to prepare before traveling to Mexico. 
  • We strongly recommend supplemental insurance  to cover medical evacuation in the event of unforeseen medical complications.  
  • Your legal options in case of malpractice are very limited in Mexico.  Several foreigners have successfully enlisted the support of  PROFECO  (Spanish only) in order to resolve disputes over medical services.
  • Although Mexico has many elective/cosmetic surgery facilities that are on par with those found in the United States, the quality of care varies widely.  If you plan to undergo surgery in Mexico, make sure that emergency medical facilities are available and professionals are accredited and qualified.  

Pharmaceuticals

  • Exercise caution when purchasing medication overseas.  Pharmaceuticals, both over the counter and requiring prescription in the United States, are often readily available for purchase with little controls.  Counterfeit medication is common and may prove to be ineffective, the wrong strength, or contain dangerous ingredients.  Medication should be purchased in consultation with a medical professional and from reputable establishments.  
  • The Drug Enforcement Agency reports counterfeit prescription pills are sold by criminals on both sides of the border. These pills are sometimes represented as OxyContin, Percocet, Xanax, and others, and may contain deadly doses of fentanyl. Counterfeit pills are readily advertised on social media and can be purchased at small, non-chain pharmacies in Mexico along the border and in tourist areas.  U.S. citizens have become seriously ill or died in Mexico after using synthetic drugs or adulterated prescription pills.
  • U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Food and Drug Administration are responsible for rules governing the transport of medication back to the United States.  Medication purchased abroad must meet their requirements to be legally brought back into the United States.  Medication should be for personal use and must be approved for usage in the United States.  Please visit the U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Food and Drug Administration websites for more information.   
  • Visit the  Mexican Health Department  website (Spanish only) or contact the  Embassy of Mexico  in Washington, D.C., for more information about obtaining a permit to import medicine into Mexico.
  • For a list of controlled substances in Mexico, visit the  COFEPRIS  website (Spanish only) and the  Mexican Drug Schedule  (Spanish only). U.S. citizens should carry a copy of their prescription or doctor’s letter, but it is still possible that they may be subject to arrest for arriving in Mexico with substances on these lists. Note that a medicine considered “over the counter” in some U.S. states may be a controlled substance in Mexico. For example, pseudoephedrine, the active ingredient in Sudafed, is considered a controlled substance in Mexico. For more information, contact the  Embassy of Mexico  in Washington, D.C.

Assisted Reproductive Technology and Surrogacy  

  • If you are considering traveling to Mexico to have a child through use of assisted reproductive technology (ART) or surrogacy, please see our ART and Surrogacy Abroad page . 
  • Surrogacy is legal for foreigners in most of Mexico, in some states surrogacy is either not legal or is not governed by regulation. 
  • If you decide to pursue parenthood in Mexico via assisted reproductive technology (ART) with a gestational mother, be prepared for long and unexpected delays in documenting your child’s citizenship. 
  • Make sure you understand Mexican law, which can vary from state to state and is ambiguous in its treatment of non-Mexican or same-sex intending parents. Mexican courts, for example, may fail to enforce surrogacy agreements between non-Mexican or same-sex intending parents and gestational mothers.
  • Gestational mothers are normally treated as the child’s legal parent with full parental rights in most states. The gestational mother’s name is typically listed on the Mexican state-issued birth certificate.  In Mexico City, the intended parents may be listed on the Mexican birth certificate if they can demonstrate a valid surrogacy agreement was in place regarding the child’s birth.
  • Be aware that individuals who attempt to circumvent local law risk criminal prosecution.  Mexican authorities have made arrests stemming from surrogacy cases.

Carbon Monoxide

  • Many hotels and other lodgings are not equipped with carbon monoxide detectors, even if they contain sources of this potentially lethal gas. U.S. citizens have died as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning throughout Mexico. If your lodging is not equipped with a carbon monoxide detector, consider traveling with a portable one.

Water Quality: 

  • In many areas in Mexico, tap water is not potable. Bottled water and beverages are safe, although you should be aware that many restaurants and hotels serve tap water unless bottled water is specifically requested. Be aware that ice for drinks might be made using tap water.

Altitude: 

  • Many cities in Mexico, such as Mexico City, are at high altitude, which can lead to altitude illness. Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for more information about  Travel to High Altitudes .

Adventure Travel

  • Participation in adventure sports and activities may not be covered by accident insurance and safety protections and regulations for these activities may differ from U.S. standards.  Visit  our website  and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website  for more information about adventure travel.

General Health

The following diseases are prevalent:

  • Typhoid Fever
  • Travelers’ Diarrhea
  • Chikungunya
  • Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
  • Parasitic Infections
  • Chronic Respiratory Disease
  • Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for more information about Resources for Travelers regarding specific issues in Mexico.   

Air Quality

  • Air pollution is a significant problem in several major cities in Mexico. Consider the impact seasonal smog and heavy particulate pollution may have on you and consult your doctor before traveling if necessary.

For further health information, go to:

  Private Residential Treatment Facilities: 

  • These facilities provide care to U.S. citizens throughout Mexico and include child behavior modification facilities, rehabilitation facilities, and assisted living centers. 
  • There is a wide range in standards for education, safety, health, sanitation, immigration, and residency.  Staff licensing may not be strictly enforced or meet the standards of similar facilities in the United States.  
  • The State Department has received reports of abuse, negligence, or mismanagement at some of these facilities. U.S. citizens should exercise due diligence and do extensive research before selecting a residential treatment facility.

Travel and Transportation

Road Conditions and Safety:  Motor vehicle accidents are a leading cause of U.S. citizen deaths in Mexico. If you have an emergency while driving, dial “911.” If you are driving on a toll highway (“ cuota ”) or any other major highway, you may contact the Green Angels ( Spanish only ), a fleet of trucks with bilingual crews, by dialing 078 from any phone in Mexico.  Generally, individuals involved in an accident who do not require immediate medical care should contact their insurance providers, who may come to the site to provide an immediate assessment.

Avoid driving on Mexican highways at night. Travel with a charged and functional cell phone capable of making calls in Mexico. Travelers should exercise caution at all times and should use toll (“ cuota ”) roads rather than the less secure free (“ libre ”) roads whenever possible. Do not hitchhike or accept rides from or offer rides to strangers anywhere in Mexico. Travelers encountering police or security checkpoints should comply with instructions.

Road conditions and maintenance across Mexico vary with many road surfaces needing repair. Travel in rural areas poses additional risks to include spotty cell phone coverage and delays in receiving roadside or medical assistance.

Vehicular traffic in Mexico City is subject to restriction Monday through Saturday, according to the license plate number, in order to reduce air pollution. For additional information, refer to the  Hoy No Circula website  ( Spanish only ) maintained by the Mexico City government. See our  Road Safety Page  for more information.  Also, visit  Mexico’s national tourist office website , MexOnline, and Mexico’s customs website  Importacion Temporal de Vehiculos  ( Spanish only ) for more information regarding travel and transportation.

Traffic Laws:   U.S. driver’s licenses are valid in Mexico. Mexican law requires that only owners drive their vehicles or that the owner be inside the vehicle. Failing to abide by this law may lead to impoundment and a fine equal to the value of the vehicle.

Mexican citizens who are not also U.S. citizens or LPRs may not operate U.S.-registered vehicles in Mexico. Mexican insurance is required for all vehicles, including rental vehicles. Drivers involved in accidents, even minor incidents, may be subject to arrest if they are found to be driving without proper insurance, regardless of whether they were at fault. Driving under the influence of alcohol, using a mobile device while driving, and driving through a yellow light are all illegal in Mexico.

If you drive your vehicle into Mexico beyond the immediate border area (approximately 12 miles into Mexico), you must apply for a temporary vehicle import permit with Mexican customs, Banjercito , or at some Mexican consulates in the United States. The permit requires the presentation of a valid passport and a monetary deposit that will be returned to you upon leaving Mexico before the expiration of the permit. Failing to apply for a temporary vehicle import permit may lead to impoundment and a fine equal to the value of the vehicle. 

Vehicles crossing into Mexico must have a valid license plate and registration sticker. Mexican authorities will often refuse to admit vehicles with temporary or paper license plates. Vehicles with expired registration or unauthorized plates will likely be confiscated and the operator could be charged with a fine equal to the value of the vehicle.

The Mission Mexico Vehicle Recovery Unit  assists with the return of stolen U.S. vehicles recovered by Mexican authorities.

If you have an emergency while driving, dial “911.” If you are driving on a toll highway (“cuota”) or any other major highway, you may contact the Green Angels (Spanish only), a fleet of trucks with bilingual crews, by dialing 078 from any phone in Mexico.  Generally, individuals involved in an accident who do not require immediate medical care should contact their insurance providers, who may come to the site to provide an immediate assessment.

Public Transportation/Taxis:  Security on public buses varies throughout the country but is considered a relatively safe transportation option in Mexico City and other major tourist centers. Passengers should protect their personal possessions at all times as theft is common. Intercity bus travel should be conducted during daylight hours in preferably first-class buses using toll roads.

Robberies and assaults on passengers in taxis not affiliated with a taxi stand (known as “libre” taxis) are common. Avoid taking any taxi not summoned by telephone or contacted in advance, including “libre” taxis. When in need of a taxi, telephone a radio taxi or “sitio” (regulated taxi stand) and ask the dispatcher for the driver’s name and the taxi’s license plate number. Application-based car services such as Uber and Cabify are available in many Mexican cities, and generally offer another safe alternative to taxis. Official complaints against Uber and other drivers do occur, however, and past disputes between these services and local taxi unions have occasionally turned violent, resulting in injuries to U.S. citizens in some instances.

See our Road Safety page for more information. 

Aviation Safety Oversight:  The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of Mexico’s Civil Aviation Authority as not being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Mexico’s air carrier operations. Further information may be found on the  FAA safety assessment page .

Maritime Travel:  Mariners planning travel to Mexico should also check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts .  Information may also be posted to the  U.S. Coast Guard homeport website , and the NGA broadcast warnings .

If you enter by sea, review the Mexican boating permit requirements  prior to travel or contact the  Embassy of Mexico  in Washington, D.C., for more information.

Maritime Safety Oversight:  The Mexican maritime industry, including charter fishing and recreational vessels, is subject solely to Mexican safety regulations.  Travelers should be aware that Mexican equipment and vessels may not meet U.S. safety standards or be covered by any accident insurance.

For additional travel information

  • Enroll in the  Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)  to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Call us in Washington, D.C. at 1-888-407-4747 (toll-free in the United States and Canada) or 1-202-501-4444 (from all other countries) from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
  • See the  State Department’s travel website  for the  Worldwide Caution  and  Travel Advisories .
  • Follow us on  Twitter  and  Facebook .
  • See  traveling safely abroad  for useful travel tips.

Review information about International Parental Child Abduction in Mexico . For additional IPCA-related information, please see the International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act ( ICAPRA ) report.

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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

  • Updated   Dengue in the Americas January 22, 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: Colombia, Costa Rica, French Guiana (France), Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique (France), Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, 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

Recommendations.

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.

Infants 6 to 11 months old traveling internationally should get 1 dose of measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine before travel. This dose does not count as part of the routine childhood vaccination series.

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

Leptospirosis

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

Leishmaniasis

  • 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 ( www.jointcommissioninternational.org ).

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.

Riding/Driving

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 .

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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

Man walking through an airport with his suitcase

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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.

Global conflicts and climate crises , ranging from a series of coups across Africa to earthquakes and floods in catastrophe-prone countries, affected international travel patterns throughout 2023.

Still, international tourist arrivals reached 91% of pre-pandemic levels in the third quarter of 2023, according to estimates by the World Tourism Organization based on travel patterns through September. In December alone, about 6 million U.S. citizens left the country for international destinations, 16% higher than the same month in 2019, according to the International Trade Administration . But some destinations warrant more caution than others.

On Oct. 19, 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 Jan. 29. 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 October 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 hundreds died in clashes between state security forces and rebels near the country’s border with Mali. More than 2 million people in Burkina Faso are 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. On Oct. 20, 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 14 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 again 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.

Sweden is designated a Level 2 country, with terrorism noted as the primary risk factor in the country. France, which saw nationwide protests throughout 2023, has civil unrest and terrorism noted as risk factors for its Level 2 status.

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 upcoming general election Jan. 7, 2024. The advisory states “demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence.”

In November, several Level 2 travel advisories were updated with new cautionary information. The advisory for Ghana was updated in November 2023 to reflect threats against LGBTQI+ travelers specifically, noting “anti-LGBTQI+ rhetoric and violence have increased in recent years.” Meanwhile, the advisory for South Africa now notes 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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  • Destinations
  • Mexico Travel News

current cancun travel advisory

Is CANCUN Safe? Travel Advisory 2024

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Cancun is a safe destination to visit with friendly residents and a low crime rate compared to other Mexican cities. While most visitors have no problems, there are a few dangerous places near Cancun.

Stick to well-populated locations like downtown Cancun and the hotel zone unless traveling with an approved tour or informed locals. The hotel zone is the safest area of Cancun. Here you will find a 13-mile circuit of stunning white sand beaches surrounded by resorts and hotels.

Suggested: Cancun seaweed forecast

LATEST UPDATES / NEWS from CANCUN:

January 1, 2024 – quintana roo authorities issued a safety warning for tourists following five drownings in the area.

cancun coast

Quintana Roo authorities have issued a warning during the current winter holiday season after five drownings occurred in the state’s beaches. Julio César Gómez Torres, the Secretary of Citizen Security, emphasized the need for caution, especially for both residents and tourists, urging them to follow lifeguard instructions and respect beach hours to prevent further incidents. Despite recent criminal incidents in the region, tourist areas have remained relatively peaceful, but authorities are concerned about the safety of beachgoers and swimmers.

September 13 – Playa del Carmen issues warning to tourists due to passport theft

Playa del Carmen, a well-known tourist hotspot on Mexico’s Caribbean coast, has issued a warning to its visitors due to an increase in the number of reported incidents of passport theft .

August 11 – Continued Security Concerns as Another Vehicle Attacked While Transporting Tourists in Cancun

Based on statements from legal representatives, two taxi drivers were arrested in Cancun, Mexico, due to their involvement in an assault on a vehicle that was transporting foreign tourists.

Common scams to avoid in Cancun in 2024

The only disadvantage of traveling is tourist frauds (along with the expenses). It’s bad that many lovely places we visit have a small percentage who live on taking advantage of innocent tourists who come to support their local economy. Cancun, Mexico, is no exception and has its own share of scammers. In 2023, here’s how to prevent tourism scams in Cancun, Mexico.

Picture Scam

When a local asks you to take their picture, it’s a common scam in Cancun, Mexico. They hand you their camera and asks you to take their picture. When you return the camera, they intentionally drop it and accuse you of breaking it and demand payment. Please do not photograph anyone (unless you are sure they are not locals).

Taxis Overcharging

When taking a cab in Cancun, always request that the meter be turned on. It’s also a good idea to plan your route before getting in the cab so you know how long the ride will take.

Friendly ATM Helper

Someone approaches you at a Cancun ATM cash machine to assist you in avoiding local bank fees. Their ultimate goal is to scan your debit or credit card with the card skimmer in their pocket and then watch you enter your pin information so they may drain your account later.

“Friendly” Bar Friends

Beware of the following scam if hooking up is something you plan to do while visiting Cancun, Mexico. Two amiable girls (or guys) will strike up small talk and give the impression that they are interested in the same things. After that, they’ll propose getting a drink and offer you to join them in a nearby bar (which they are partners with). You’ll end up spending five to ten times as much after a few drinks. There are a few things you can take to protect yourself from falling for this tourist fraud in Cancun. You may start by suggesting the bar.  Be sure to request the bar menu when you arrive, in order to check the prices.

Bird Poop Scam

Your natural reaction when someone puts a piece of white paste on your shoulder while you are walking the streets of Cancun is to look up and think it’s bird poop. Suddenly, a “nice” local offers to help you clean it up while cursing the birds for making such a mess. They help you clean up, but they also steal from you.

Please politely decline any “help” from locals who rush to your aid unless it is an emergency. Keep everything you own hidden, preferably with your money and credit cards in an inside pocket.

Guessing Game Scam

While strolling through the streets of Cancun, Mexico, you come across a man holding three boxes, with a throng of onlookers attempting to determine which box the ball is placed in. When someone in the group correctly guesses the solution, the man awards him with cash as a prize. They repeat this with a different group member and get the same response. More and more people are drawn by the ruckus to this charitable street performer. An innocent bystander from the crowd is then invited to make an estimate. The group rapidly pickpockets them for any valuables while they are focused on where the ball is.

Safety Measures To Keep in Mind When Visiting the Cancun Area

  • Share your vacation plans with your travel companions and family at home. Send your GPS location to a friend in case you get separated from your travel group. If you are traveling alone and taking a cab, take a picture of the cab’s number and/or license plate and text it to a contact.
  • Use toll roads whenever possible and do not drive at night or alone. In many states, police presence and emergency services are severely limited outside the state capital or major cities.
  • Use extreme caution when entering local bars, clubs or casinos.
  • Do not flaunt your wealth by wearing expensive jewelry or watches.
  • When using an ATM or visiting a bank.
  • To receive alerts and help rescuers find you, sign up for the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program ( STEP ).
  • Follow the U.S. Department of State on Twitter and Facebook.
  • Follow the U.S. Embassy on Twitter and Facebook.
  • Read the country security report for Mexico.
  • Create an emergency plan. Review the travel checklist.

Current U.S. Travel Advisory for Cancun in 2024

Cancun Wants To Break More Tourism Records, Say Officials

As of the most recent update, the U.S. Travel Advisory for Cancun, Mexico , is at a Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution. This advisory is part of the U.S. Department of State’s ongoing efforts to provide information to U.S. citizens traveling abroad, allowing them to make informed decisions about their safety and security. The Level 2 advisory suggests that travelers should be cautious and aware of potential risks when visiting Cancun. While Cancun is a popular tourist destination known for its beautiful beaches and vibrant nightlife, visitors need to stay informed about local conditions and exercise prudence in their travel plans. The advisory advises travelers to stay in well-traveled areas, be vigilant about their surroundings, and follow local rules and regulations.

It’s worth noting that travel advisories can change over time, so it’s essential for travelers to regularly check for updates before and during their trip to Cancun or any other destination. Staying informed and heeding the advice provided can contribute to a safer and more enjoyable travel experience.

ncesc-geographic-faq

Is there a warning not to go to Mexico?

geographic-faq

Yes, there are warnings and travel advisories for certain areas in Mexico due to safety concerns. It is important to stay informed and exercise caution while traveling to Mexico.

Is it safe to go to Mexico right now?

It is important to exercise caution in Mexico, as there are risks of violent crime, including murder, armed robbery, sexual assault, and kidnapping. While some areas may be safer than others, it is advisable to stay vigilant and aware of your surroundings.

Why is there a travel warning for Mexico?

There is a travel warning for Mexico due to widespread crime, including violent crime, that can occur anywhere in the country, including popular tourist destinations. It is crucial for travelers to maintain a high level of situational awareness, avoid areas where illicit activities occur, and promptly leave potentially dangerous situations.

Is it safe to travel to Cancun right now 2023?

According to the US State Department, Cancun is considered one of the safest places to visit in Mexico. It is generally safe for tourists to travel to Cancun in 2023.

What level of alert is Cancun?

Cancun is currently under a level 2 travel advisory, which suggests that travelers should exercise increased caution while in the area. It is important to remain aware of your surroundings and follow any safety guidelines provided by local authorities.

New warning issued against travel to Mexico: What to know

There have been recent warnings issued regarding travel to Mexico due to safety concerns. It is important to stay informed about the current situation and follow any advisories or recommendations from your government or local authorities.

What parts of Mexico have travel warnings?

There are travel warnings for certain areas of Mexico, including Chihuahua, Colima (except the city of Manzanillo), Coahuila (except the southern part of the state), Durango (except Durango City), Guanajuato, Michoacán (except the city of Morelia), Morelos, and Nayarit, among others. It is advisable to check for updated travel advisories before visiting specific areas in Mexico.

Is it ok to travel to Cancun right now?

Yes, it is generally safe to travel to Cancun at the moment. However, it is important to exercise normal safety precautions and be aware of your surroundings.

Are resorts in Mexico safe 2023?

In general, resorts in Mexico are considered safe for tourists. Most resorts have security measures in place, including security guards and gated entrances. It is still advisable for travelers to take common-sense precautions, such as locking their valuables and being aware of their surroundings.

Is it safe to go off resort in Cancun?

While it is generally safe to venture off the resort in Cancun, it is important to exercise caution and take necessary precautions. Travelers should be aware of their surroundings, avoid isolated areas, and follow any local safety guidelines.

Is Mexico safe for tourists 2023?

Mexico can be a safe destination for tourists, but it is important to exercise caution and be aware of the potential risks. Travelers should take common-sense precautions, such as staying in well-traveled areas, avoiding displays of wealth, and staying informed about the local safety situation.

Where not to travel in Mexico 2023?

Certain states in Mexico have travel advisories cautioning against non-essential travel. These include states such as Chihuahua, Colima (except the city of Manzanillo), Coahuila (except the southern part), Durango (except Durango City), Guanajuato, Michoacán (except the city of Morelia), Morelos, and Nayarit, among others.

What not to do when going to Mexico?

When visiting Mexico, it is important to avoid certain behaviors and take precautions. Some things to keep in mind include not drinking the water, being punctual, not haggling with artisans, carrying cash but not too much, avoiding overindulgence, being cautious when exploring, and carrying toilet paper with you.

What are the Level 4 countries?

L Level 4 countries are those that are issued the highest travel advisory level, which is “Do Not Travel.” Some Level 4 countries include Iraq, Lebanon, Russia, Niger, South Sudan, Somalia, Mali, and the Central African Republic, among others.

Are all inclusive resorts in Mexico safe?

Generally, all-inclusive resorts in Mexico are considered safe for tourists. Most resorts have security measures in place, such as security guards and gated entrances. However, it is still important for travelers to take common-sense precautions and be aware of their surroundings.

Where is the safest place in Mexico?

There are several safe places to visit in Mexico, including Merida, Puerto Vallarta, La Paz, Sayulita, San Miguel de Allende, Huatulco, Puebla de Zaragoza (Puebla City), and Holbox Island, among others. While these places are considered safe, it is always important to exercise caution and follow local safety guidelines.

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COVID-19: travel health notice for all travellers

Mexico travel advice

Latest updates: Editorial change

Last updated: January 29, 2024 10:18 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 and Taxco, 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 city of Morelia
  • the Lagunas de Zempoala National Park and surrounding areas
  • 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 city of 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

Overcharging

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

Kidnappings

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

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 - 31 August, 2023
  • Zika virus: Advice for travellers - 31 August, 2023
  • COVID-19 and International Travel - 31 August, 2023
  • Mpox (monkeypox): Advice for travellers - 4 January, 2024
  • Dengue: Advice for travellers - 22 January, 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.

Recommendation

  • 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.

Identification

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.

Investments

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

In case of a significant fire, stay away from affected areas, particularly if you suffer from respiratory ailments.

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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current cancun travel advisory

U.S. Embassy & Consulates in Mexico

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Event:   Spring Break 2023

Location:   Mexico

Travel Smart – Be Informed:  Each year, thousands of U.S. citizens visit Mexico during spring break.  While the vast majority travel safely, visitors should consider the following factors when planning their vacation or traveling throughout Mexico:

  • Crime:  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.  See the  Mexico Travel Advisory  for specific information for each Mexican state.  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.
  • Drugs:  Drug possession and use, including medical marijuana, is illegal in Mexico and may result in a lengthy jail sentence.  U.S. citizens have become seriously ill or died in Mexico after using synthetic drugs or adulterated prescription pills.
  • Unregulated Alcohol:  Unregulated alcohol may be contaminated, and U.S. citizens have reported losing consciousness or becoming injured after consuming alcohol that was possibly tainted.
  • Pharmaceuticals:   Counterfeit medication is common and may prove to be ineffective, the wrong strength, or contain dangerous ingredients.  Medication should be purchased in consultation with a medical professional and from reputable establishments.
  • Sexual Assault:  U.S. citizens have been victims of rape and sexual assault.  Perpetrators may target inebriated or isolated individuals or may employ drugs that alter the victim’s physical or mental state.
  • Drowning:  Some beaches have strong undercurrents and rip tides.  Beaches may lack lifeguards, warnings, or signs of unsafe conditions.
  • Medical Emergencies:  An illness or accident could result in the need to seek medical treatment or hospitalization in Mexico.  Private hospital prices can be higher than those in the United States.  Many facilities require payment (sometimes only in cash) either before providing treatment or before discharging a patient.
  • Guns and Ammunition:  All guns and even small amounts of ammunition are illegal in Mexico.  Firearms and other weapons violations may result in lengthy jail time.
  • Arrests:  Drunk and disorderly behavior, public urination, and open alcohol containers in vehicles are illegal in Mexico.  If you break Mexican law, you can be arrested.
  • Immigration:  Violating the terms of your stay in Mexico can result in steep fines and detention.

Actions to Take:

  • Read the  Mexico Travel Advisory  and  Country Information Page  for details on travel throughout Mexico, including entry requirements.
  • Enroll your trip in the State Department’s  Smart Traveler Enrollment Program  to receive up-to-date information on safety conditions in Mexico and to help the U.S. Embassy contact you in an emergency.
  • Call 911 in an emergency.  Although there may be English-speaking operators available, it is best to seek the assistance of a Spanish speaker to place the call.
  • Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage in Mexico or purchase travel insurance that covers you in Mexico.  Seek coverage that includes medical evacuation.  Confirm costs of medical treatment in advance, when possible.
  • Avoid strong currents and do not swim after drinking or when warning flags note unsafe conditions.
  • Drink responsibly and always watch your drink.  If you begin to feel ill, seek medical attention immediately.  Report cases of suspected unregulated or contaminated alcohol to the Mexican Federal Commission for the Protection against Sanitary Risk (COFEPRIS) via email at  [email protected] ,  file a report online  via the COFEPRIS website, call the COFEPRIS call center at +52 (55) 5080-5200, or visit a COFEPRIS office to report.
  • Know your drinking companions and stay in a group of friends who have your safety in mind when you are in clubs and bars, out walking in dimly lit areas, or in a taxi at night.  Obey Mexican law and remember Mexican laws may differ from U.S. laws.
  • Regularly monitor your credit or debit card accounts to ensure there are no unauthorized transactions.  Limit the amount of cash you carry in public, exercise caution when withdrawing cash, and avoid ATMs in isolated or unlit areas.
  • Be aware of your safety and protect your personal possessions when using public transportation.  Use radio taxis or those from “sitio” taxi stands.  Application-based car services such as Uber and Cabify are available in many Mexican cities, and generally offer another relatively safe alternative to taxis.
  • Keep your friends and family back home informed of your travel plans, especially if traveling alone.
  • Consider downloading the “Guest Assist” application on your smart phone if traveling to Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Tulum, Cozumel, or other areas in the state of Quintana Roo.  The Mexican government provides information on emergency services and assistance for tourists via the app and their  website .
  • Keep your passport and entry permit in a safe place.  Confirm the date you must depart Mexico.
  • See our  advice for cruise passengers , particularly those with underlying health conditions.
  • Contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate if you need assistance.

Assistance:

Contact Form

U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Mexico

From Mexico: (55) 8526 2561

From the United States:  +1-844-528-6611

Department of State – Consular Affairs:  +1-888-407-4747 or +1-202-501-4444

Mexico Country Information Page

U.S. Passports

Smart Traveler Enrollment Program

Traveler’s Checklist

Department of State on  Facebook  and  Twitter

U.S. Embassy in Mexico on  Facebook  and  Twitter

current cancun travel advisory

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From the United States: 1-844-528-6611

IMAGES

  1. How Safe is Cancun for Spring Break 2022 [Updated November 2021] in

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  13. Spring break travel warnings for Mexico: What you need to know

    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.

  14. Mexico International Travel Information

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  17. U.S. State Department Issues New Cancun Travel Advisory

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  19. Travel Advisory: Update for Mexico

    Actions to Take: Read the Mexico Travel Advisory , including the detailed state summaries and advisory levels for information on your specific travel destination. Read the Mexico country information page . Assistance: Contact Form U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Mexico From Mexico: (55) 8526 2561 From the United States: +1-844-528-6611

  20. Is CANCUN Safe? Travel Advisory 2024

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  21. Is there a warning not to go to Mexico?

    There is a travel warning for Mexico due to widespread crime, including violent crime, that can occur anywhere in the country, including popular tourist destinations. It is crucial for travelers to maintain a high level of situational awareness, avoid areas where illicit activities occur, and promptly leave potentially dangerous situations.

  22. Travel advice and advisories for Mexico

    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.

  23. Mexico Travel Advisory

    Assistance: For Emergency Assistance for U.S. citizens in Mexico, call (55) 8526 2561 from Mexico or 1-844-528-6611 from the United States. The U.S. Embassy in Mexico City is located at: Paseo de la Reforma 305, Colonia Cuauhtémoc, 06500, Ciudad de México. Phone: +52-55-5080-2000, Fax: +52-55-5080-2005.

  24. Travel Alert

    Location: Mexico Travel Smart - Be Informed: Each year, thousands of U.S. citizens visit Mexico during spring break. While the vast majority travel safely, visitors should consider the following factors when planning their vacation or traveling throughout Mexico: