USA issues warning for popular Mexican tourist city

Saul Bowman
March 9, 2018

Playa del Carmen is considered a security threat to USA citizens, with US officials issuing a travel alert after undetonated explosive devices were found on a ferry that operates between the Mexican resort town and Cozumel a week after a ferry explosion in late February.

On Wednesday, Mexican officials said Playa del Carmen is safe despite the US security alert.

It adds that the USA consular agency in Playa del Carmen "will be closed until further notice".

The alert comes as many Canadians and Americans head south for spring break and just weeks after at least 25 people were injured when an explosion ripped through a ferry in Playa del Carmen.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauret said in a statement that all travelers should check before they travel.

According to the advisory, Canadians are advised to exercise a high degree of caution when visiting all parts of Mexico "due to high levels of criminal activity, as well as demonstrations, protests and occasional illegal roadblocks".

This popular tourist destination has been under heightened alert after two un-detonated explosive devices were found attached to a tourist ferry, Barcos Caribe II, by Mexican law enforcement in Cozumel on March 1.

The travel advisory was issued Thursday, one day after the United States issued a warning to citizens about a possible security threat in the coastal resort town.

Initial reports had indicated the explosion was caused either by a gas leak or engine failure, but a security alert posted on the U.S. Embassy website the blast was caused by an explosive device. Travelers should contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate if they need assistance.

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

Last summer, the department also cautioned vacationers to be careful when drinking alcohol in Mexico.

The state government also stressed the safety of the destination, noting that President Enrique Peña Nieto is scheduled to visit Playa del Carmen today for an ocean conservation conference, the Associated Press reported. It warns that some areas are experiencing violent crime such as homicide, kidnapping, carjacking, and robbery. "Shooting incidents injuring or killing bystanders have occurred".

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