U.S. issues travel warning for Playa Del Carmen


After the discovery of the two un-detonated explosive devices, the United States Embassy issued a travel alert that prohibited federal employees from using all tourist ferries between Cozumel and Playa del Carmen until further notice.

The U.S. has closed its consular agency in a popular Mexican tourist spot and is barring its employees from traveling there over a "security threat".

The new alert follows another issued a week ago prohibiting USA government personnel from using the ferry service between Playa del Carmen and the island of Cozumel.

In August 2017, the U.S. State Department issued a warning to tourists about cartel violence in the once calm beach resorts of Cancun, Cozumel, and Playa del Carmen.

While the USA alert does not explicitly discourage citizens from traveling to Playa del Carmen, it does tell people to buy travel insurance that specifically covers Mexico and includes medical evacuation insurance.

All tourism and economic activities in Playa del Carmen continue in a normal manner and hotel occupancy at the resort city was at 80 percent, said the statement.

This prohibition applies only to government officials but leisure travelers were urged to be aware of their surroundings and exercise caution while visiting the city. More than 20 people, including foreign travelers, were injured. Local authorities found a second, undetonated device on another ferry on March 1.

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The government of the Caribbean coast state of Quintana Roo said that President Enrique Pena Nieto was scheduled to attend an ocean conservation conference in Playa del Carmen on Thursday. "Contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate if you need assistance".

Earlier this year, the State Department rolled out a new tiered travel advisory system to warn USA citizens of potential dangers while traveling overseas.

"Avoid tourist ferries travelling in the region until further notice, be vigilant, and monitor local media (including social media)", the advisory reads.

The State Department official said Wednesday's security alert for Playa del Carmen is different from a travel advisory and is meant to inform USA citizens "of specific safety and security concerns in a country, such as demonstrations, crime trends, and weather events".

Last summer, the department also cautioned vacationers to be careful when drinking alcohol in Mexico. It warns that some areas are experiencing violent crime such as homicide, kidnapping, carjacking, and robbery.

He said he was just in the wrong place at the wrong time when the shooting occurred, and those kinds of incidents "could really happen anywhere in the world".