U.S. Embassy Warns About Threat To Mexico Resort Town, Issues Travel Ban

The U.S. Embassy in Mexico City received information about a security threat in Playa del Carmen March 7, leading to a travel ban for U.S. government employees.

Embassy officials did not immediately release details about the threat in the Yucatan resort town, south of Cancun. The report came just as schools and universities prepare for spring break.

playa del carmen photo
Flickr | D-Stanley

Warning Follows Ferry Explosion

The warning came two weeks after an explosion on a tourist ferry in Playa del Carmen injured more than two dozen people, including U.S. tourists, on Feb. 21.

An undetonated explosive device was found on another tourist ferry less than two weeks later.

barcos caribe ferry photo
Flickr | El Coleccionista de Instantes

Employee Travel Ban Amended

On March 9, the travel ban for U.S. employees was amended to only certain neighborhoods within Quintana Roo, including Centro, Calica, Gonzalo Guerrero, Quintas del Carmen, and Villas del Carmen neighborhoods of Playa del Carmen.

The State Department website noted that U.S. citizens should avoid those neighborhoods until further notice as well, and that “U.S. government personnel are authorized to travel to resort areas in Riviera Maya including those near Playa del Carmen that are outside the restricted neighborhoods of this alert.”

The website notes that U.S. government personnel are still prohibited from (and U.S. citizens cautioned against) using ferry services between Playa del Carmen and Cozumel until further notice. Travel to other parts of Quintana Roo “including tourist areas such as: Cancun, Cozumel, Tulum, and the Riviera Maya” is allowed.

Learn more here:

State Department Travel Warning For Tourists

The overall State Department travel warning for non-government American citizens did not change. It remained at Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution for Mexico.

U.S. citizens are warned not to travel to five Mexican states including Colima, Guerrero, Michoacán, Sinaloa, and Tamaulipas.

Anyone traveling outside the U.S. is encouraged to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program.

As Reuters reports, Barcos Caribe, the company that owns the ferry is owned by the former Quintana Roo governor, Roberto Borge, who was recently extradited to Panama to face corruption charges.

Tainted Alcohol Warnings In 2017

Last summer, the State Department urged U.S. visitors to Mexico to exhibit caution when consuming alcohol. The warning came after the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported on the death of a 20-year-old U.S. citizen, Abbey Conner, who was found unresponsive in the pool of a resort near Playa del Carmen. The young woman was eventually transported to the U.S., where she died.

Conner and her brother were both found unresponsive in the resort pool after drinking at the resort bar while on a trip with their family.

After the Journal Sentinel shared Abbey’s story, more than three dozen people came forward to report similar cases of unexplained blackouts at all-inclusive resorts in Mexico. Some reported having had just a drink or two before blacking out.

The State Department decided a formal warning was necessary. It read:

“There have been allegations that consumption of tainted or substandard alcohol has resulted in illness or blacking out. 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.”

Written by Allison Horn for KGTV with additional reporting from Simplemost staff.

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