Is it safe to travel to Mexico? Here’s what you need to know.

Success in tackling drug violence in Quintana Roo follows a similar improvement in Los Cabos a few years ago, when US authorities also worked with local officials in Baja California Sur state. The The murder rate went up in Los Cabos in 2017 amid antitrust wars, and while tourists were not targeted, that year police chased gunmen into the lobby of a luxury hotel in San Jose del Cabo and a two-headed cooler was left in a tourist area.

Even in states with very high crime rates, tourist areas have generally been spared. A haven for US retirees, San Miguel de Allende is an island of relative peace in a state, Guanajuato, ravaged by antitrust violence.

The Pacific coast state of Jalisco, home to the resort town of Puerto Vallarta, scenic tequila country and the cultural and gastronomic attractions of the state capital Guadalajara, is also the center of operations for the extremely violent Jalisco New Generation Cartel. The cartel’s focus of violence is in the countryside; Puerto Vallarta and its northern beaches, including exclusive Punta Mita peninsula and surfer hotspot Sayulita, are all booming — and despite drug sales, cartel control seems to limit open conflict.

Mexico City has become a magnet for digital nomads and short-term visitors, and concerns about violence there have receded. The city’s police have been successful in reducing violent crime, particularly homicides, and the number of homicides has almost halved in the past three years.

Street crime is still a problem almost everywhere, especially in larger cities and in crowded areas. Kidnapping and car theft are a risk in certain regions, and many businesses supplying tourists face threats of extortion. While tourists may be unaware of the underlying criminal forces, their power sometimes spills out to the public in spectacular displays of violence.

The attack in Matamoros is just the most recent example. Mexican border towns, which have long faced waves of violence, are not typical tourist destinations, although Americans often cross the border to visit family, seek cheaper health care, or dine out.

Three airports in the state of Sinaloa, including the beach resort of Mazatlán, were shut down January 5 amid gang violence after Mexican security forces arrested Ovidio Guzmán López, a son of Joaquín Guzmán Loera, the crime boss known as El Chapo, who is serving a life sentence in the United States states. A cluster bullet fired by armed cartels firing at a Mexican military plane as it landed at the state capital’s Culiacán airport cut through Aeromexico plane prepares for departure to Mexico City. No one was injured and the plane returned to the terminal. Is it safe to travel to Mexico? Here’s what you need to know.

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