U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Bureau of Consular Affairs
This information is current as of today, Fri May 02 2008 08:08:11
GMT-0700 (Pacific Daylight Time).
April 14, 2008
This Travel Alert updates information for U.S. citizens on security
situations in Mexico that may affect their activities while in that
country. This supersedes the Travel Alert for Mexico dated October
24, 2007, and expires on October 15, 2008.
Violence Along The U.S.-Mexico Border
Violent criminal activity fueled by a war between criminal
organizations struggling for control of the lucrative narcotics trade
continues along the U.S.-Mexico border. Attacks are aimed primarily
at members of drug trafficking organizations, Mexican police forces,
criminal justice officials, and journalists. However, foreign
visitors and residents, including Americans, have been among the
victims of homicides and kidnappings in the border region. In its
effort to combat violence, the government of Mexico has deployed
military troops in various parts of the country. U.S. citizens are
urged to cooperate with official checkpoints when traveling on Mexican
Recent Mexican army and police force conflicts with heavily-armed
narcotics cartels have escalated to levels equivalent to military
small-unit combat and have included use of machine guns and
fragmentation grenades. Confrontations have taken place in numerous
towns and cities in northern Mexico, including Tijuana in the Mexican
state of Baja California, and Chihuahua City and Ciudad Juarez in the
state of Chihuahua. The situation in northern Mexico remains very
fluid; the location and timing of future armed engagements there
cannot be predicted.
Armed robberies and carjackings, apparently unconnected to the
narcotics-related violence, have increased in Tijuana and Ciudad
Juarez. Dozens of U.S. citizens were kidnapped and/or murdered in
Tijuana in 2007. Public shootouts have occurred during daylight hours
near shopping areas.
Criminals are armed with a wide array of sophisticated weapons. In
some cases, assailants have worn full or partial police or military
uniforms and have used vehicles that resemble police vehicles.
U.S. citizens are urged to be especially alert to safety and security
concerns when visiting the border region. While Mexican citizens
overwhelmingly are the victims of these crimes, this uncertain
security situation poses risks for U.S. citizens as well. Thousands
of U.S. citizens cross the border safely each day, exercising
common-sense precautions such as visiting only legitimate business and
tourist areas of border towns during daylight hours. It is strongly
recommended that travelers avoid areas where prostitution and drug
Criminals have followed and harassed U.S. citizens traveling in their
vehicles, particularly in border areas including Nuevo Laredo,
Matamoros, and Tijuana. There is no evidence, however, that U.S.
citizens are targeted because of their nationality.
U.S. citizen victims of crime in Mexico are urged to contact the
consular section of the nearest U.S. consulate or Embassy for advice
Crime and Violence in Mexico
U.S. citizens residing and traveling in Mexico should exercise caution
when in unfamiliar areas and be aware of their surroundings at all
times. Violence by criminal elements affects many parts of the
country, urban and rural, including border areas. Though there is no
evidence that U.S. citizens are specifically targeted, Mexican and
foreign bystanders have been injured or killed in some violent
attacks, demonstrating the heightened risk in public places. In
recent years, dozens of U.S. citizens have been kidnapped in Mexico
and many cases remain unresolved. Moreover, new cases of
disappearances and kidnap-for-ransom continue to be reported. No one
can be considered immune from kidnapping on the basis of occupation,
nationality, or other factors. U.S. citizens who believe they are
being followed should notify Mexican officials as soon as possible.
U.S. citizens should make every attempt to travel on main roads during
daylight hours, particularly the toll ("cuota") roads, which are
generally more secure. It is preferable for U.S. citizens to stay in
well-known tourist destinations and tourist areas of the cities with
more adequate security, and provide an itinerary to a friend or family
member not traveling with them. U.S. citizens should avoid traveling
alone as a means to better ensure their safety. Refrain from
displaying expensive-looking jewelry, large amounts of money, or other
Demonstrations occur frequently throughout Mexico and usually are
peaceful. However, even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can
turn confrontational and escalate into violence unexpectedly. Some
deaths occurred during violent demonstrations, including an American
citizen who died in the 2006 violence in Oaxaca. During
demonstrations or law enforcement operations, U.S. citizens are
advised to remain in their homes or hotels, avoid large crowds, and
avoid the downtown and surrounding areas. Since the timing and routes
of scheduled marches and demonstrations are always subject to change,
U.S. citizens should monitor local media sources for new developments
and exercise extreme caution while within the vicinity of protests.
The Mexican Constitution prohibits political activities by foreigners,
and such actions may result in detention and/or deportation.
Therefore, U.S. citizens are advised to avoid participating in
demonstrations or other activities that might be deemed political by
For more detailed information on staying safe in Mexico, please see
the Mexico Country Specific Information at:
latest security information, U.S. citizens traveling abroad should
regularly monitor the Department's internet web site at
where the current Worldwide Caution, Travel
Warnings, and Travel Alerts can be found. Up-to-date information on
security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in
the United States, or, for callers from Mexico, a regular toll line at
001-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00
p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal
holidays). American citizens traveling or residing overseas are
encouraged to register with the appropriate U.S. Embassy or Consulate
on the State Department's travel registration website at
For any emergencies involving U.S. citizens in Mexico, please contact
the closest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. The U.S. Embassy is located in
Mexico City at Paseo de la Reforma 305, Colonia Cuauhtemoc, telephone
from the United States: 011-52-55-5080-2000; telephone within Mexico
City: 5080-2000; telephone long distance within Mexico
01-55-5080-2000. You may also contact the Embassy by e-mail at:
. The Embassy's internet address is
Ciudad Juarez: Avenida Lopez Mateos 924-n, telephone (52)(656) 611-3000.
Guadalajara: Progreso 175, telephone (52)(333) 268-2100.
Hermosillo: Avenida Monterrey 141, telephone (52)(662) 289-3500.
Matamoros: Avenida Primera 2002, telephone (52)(868) 812-4402.
Merida: Calle 60 no. 338 k, telephone (52)(999) 942-5700
Monterrey: Avenida Constitucion 411 Poniente, telephone (52)(818)
Nogales: Calle San Jose, Nogales, Sonora, telephone (52)(631) 311-8150.
Nuevo Laredo: Calle Allende 3330, col. Jardin, telephone (52)(867)
Tijuana: Tapachula 96, telephone (52)(664) 622-7400.
Acapulco: Hotel Continental Emporio, Costera Miguel Aleman 121 - local
14, telephone (52)(744) 484-0300 or (52)(744) 469-0556.
Cabo San Lucas: Blvd. Marina local c-4, Plaza Nautica, col. Centro,
telephone (52)(624) 143-3566.
Cancún: Plaza Caracol two, second level, no. 320-323, Boulevard
Kukulcan, km. 8.5, Zona Hotelera, telephone (52)(998) 883-0272.
Ciudad Acuña: Ocampo # 305, col. Centro, telephone (52)(877) 772-8661
Cozumel: Plaza Villa Mar en el Centro, Plaza Principal, (Parque
Juárez between Melgar and 5th ave.) 2nd floor, locales #8 and 9,
telephone (52)(987) 872-4574.
Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo: Hotel Fontan, Blvd. Ixtapa, telephone (52)(755)
Mazatlán: Hotel Playa Mazatlán, Playa Gaviotas #202, Zona Dorada,
telephone (52)(669) 916-5889.
Oaxaca: Macedonio Alcalá no. 407, interior 20, telephone (52)(951)
514-3054 (52)(951) 516-2853.
Piedras Negras: Abasolo #211, Zona Centro, Piedras Negras, Coah., Tel.
Playa del Carmen: "The Palapa," Calle 1 Sur, between Avenida 15 and
Avenida 20, telephone (52)(984) 873-0303.
Puerto Vallarta: Paradise Plaza, Paseo de los Cocoteros #1, Local #4,
Interior #17, Nuevo Vallarta, Nayarit, telephone (52)(322) 222-0069.
Reynosa: Calle Monterrey #390, Esq. Sinaloa, Colonia Rodríguez,
telephone: (52)(899) 923 - 9331
San Luis Potosí: Edificio "Las Terrazas", Avenida Venustiano Carranza
2076-41, Col. Polanco, telephone: (52)(444) 811-7802/7803.
San Miguel de Allende: Dr. Hernandez Macias #72, telephone (52)(415)
152-2357 or (52)(415) 152-0068.