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State Department slaps 5 Mexican states with 'do not travel' advisory

State Department slaps 5 Mexican states with 'do not travel' advisory

The U.S. State Department is warning Americans about traveling to five Mexican states.

"Violent crime, such as homicide, kidnapping, carjacking, and robbery, is widespread", the advisory said.

The advisory includes the state of Tamaulipas, Sinaloa, Colima, Michoacan and Guerrero.

The State Department had previously discouraged travel to all or part of the five states' territories but the new warnings are sterner, placing the drug- and crime-plagued states on the same level warning level as Somalia, Yemen, Syria or Afghanistan.

In a statement, Mexico's Tourism Ministry noted that more than 28 of its most popular tourism destinations for global travelers have no restrictions.

However, at least two Mexican resorts - Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo and Acapulco - are in a do-not-travel state, Guerrero, and a year ago, the State Department extended a total ban on personal travel by USA government personnel there.

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The advisory adds that "there are no US government restrictions in tourist areas in Baja California, which includes: Ensenada, Rosarito and Tijuana". The destination made an appearance for the first time in a U.S. State Department travel warning in August and responded with an aggressive and multipronged security action plan, which includes the construction of a marine base that is due to open next year and an expanded surveillance network.

Clashes between rival drug gangs contributed to a record number of murders in Mexico past year, according to official data, dealing a fresh blow to President Enrique Pena Nieto's pledge to bring gang violence under control with presidential elections due in July 2018. At least two resorts - Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo and Acapulco - were in Gurrero.

For Baja California Sur, outlined in yellow - the color code for Level 2 - the State Department suggested travelers "exercise caution in the state capital of La Paz" and said that the state registered its highest homicide rate since 1997.

While high-profile killings in certain hot spots have gotten media attention, Mexico's homicide rate is actually closer to the middle of the pack than the top, compared to other nations in the hemisphere. This is the area where the popular twin resorts of Los Cabos are located.

"We are going to keep working very hard in 2018 to make sure that Los Cabos continues as a safe destination", Esponda said.