Travel to Mexico: Use high degree of caution

Along the Puerto Vallarta waterfront
Photo by Sue Frause
In light of a recent violent crime in Mazatlan against a 52-year-old man from Calgary (Canadian man survives shooting in Mexico), I wondered what the Canadian government's position on the continuing violence.

Here's what the Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada has to say about travel in Mexico:
"Canadians travelling to Mexico should exercise a high degree of caution due to occasional demonstrations and protests, high levels of criminal activity and violence throughout the country.

Canadians should be particularly vigilant in northern Mexico and all cities bordering the United States, particularly when travelling to the cities of Tijuana and Ciudad Ju├írez, as firefights between the military and drug cartels can occur without warning at any time. Travellers should monitor local news before travelling to areas affected by turf wars." 
So what about Americans going south of the border? Here's the latest Travel Warning from the U.S. Dept. of State dated March 14, 2010:

"While millions of U.S. citizens safely visit Mexico each year (including tens of thousands who cross the land border daily for study, tourism or business and nearly one million U.S. citizens who live in Mexico), violence in the country has increased. It is imperative that U.S. citizens understand the risks in Mexico, how best to avoid dangerous situations, and who to contact if victimized. Common-sense precautions such as visiting only legitimate business and tourist areas during daylight hours, and avoiding areas where prostitution and drug dealing might occur, can help ensure that travel to Mexico is safe and enjoyable. 
Recent violent attacks have prompted the U.S. Embassy to urge U.S. citizens to delay unnecessary travel to parts of Durango, Coahuila and Chihuahua states(see details below) and advise U.S. citizens residing or traveling in those areas to exercise extreme caution. Drug cartels and associated criminal elements have retaliated violently against individuals who speak out against them or whom they otherwise view as a threat to their organizations. These attacks include the abduction and murder of two resident U.S. citizens in Chihuahua."
As for my travel plans, Mexico isn't on my calendar.

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