US State Department Issues New Travel Warning For Tijuana And Baja California


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Travelers have been warned to reconsider travel, the government is concerned about crimes and kidnappings in the region

People Shop Below Colorful Hanging Flags in Tijuana, Mexico

The U.S. Department of State issued a new travel warning for US citizens visiting Tijuana and Baja California. The update comes after recent cases of kidnapping and violence in the region.

The amendment has been made just two weeks after the Bureau of Consular Affairs of the United States announced that it lowered travel advisory for Mexico from “Level 4: Do not travel”, to “Level 3: Reconsider Travel”.

Tijuana beach near US border

The government is concerned about rising crime and recent kidnappings which include homicide cases and violent aggressions. The official publication states: “Transnational criminal organizations compete in the border area to establish narco-trafficking and human smuggling routes.  Violent crime and gang activity are common. Travelers should remain on main highways and avoid remote locations.”

Many Americans have been traveling in the past few weeks to Tijuana also for cheaper gas prices, as Los Angeles Times reported. Those visiting the region, even for a short period of time, should stay aware and follow the State Department’s recommendations. 

Risks For Travelers In Tijuana

According to the information shared by the US Department, the highest concern is addressed to non-tourist areas of Tijuana, where a high number of homicides have been reported recently. The government explained that most homicides have been targeted, but bystanders can be injured or even killed in territorial disputes between criminal organizations. 

It has also been disclosed that citizens and lawful permanent residents in the United States have been victims of kidnapping. 

Mexican Municipal Police patrol the USA and Mexico border wall.

The president of Tijuana’s Chamber of Commerce, Jorge Macías Jiménez, has made declarations to Fox 5, after the US Government shared this update: “The warning is mostly for areas where tourists wouldn’t go in the first place, it won’t harm tourism or the commercial sector.” 

Macías Jimenez considers that the warning shouldn’t frighten tourists and said: “I do advise people to use caution since there are areas where criminal disputes sometimes result in injuries or even death of bystanders, but that’s only if you venture into non-tourist areas.” 

Travel Considerations And Recommendations

The US Department of State also shared recommendations and advice and requested US government employees to adhere to the restrictions. These are the current considerations regarding Baja California:

  • Avoid Mexicali Valley: the agency urges Americans to avoid this area due to the “heightened possibility of violence between rival cartel factions”. 
  • Travelers can use Highways 2 and 2D —during daylight hours—  to transit between Mexicali, Los Algodones, and San Luis Rios Colorado. Also during the daytime, visitors can use Highways 1, 8, and 5.
  • Reconsider Travel to Baja California: the government urges US citizens to especially avoid non-tourist areas.

Travelers must read and understand the information published on the government’s official website when visiting Mexico. General Mexico Travel recommendations include: 

  • Do not transit between cities during nighttime. Travelers shouldn’t hail taxis on the street, it is better to rely on dispatched vehicles, app-based services and regulated taxi stands.
  • Avoid traveling alone, especially in remote areas.
  • Do not travel to Colima, Guerrero, Michoacan, Sinaloa, and Tamaulipas states due to crime and kidnapping.
  • Reconsider travel to Baja California, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Durango, Guanajuato, Jalisco, Mexico, Morelos, Nayarit, Sonora, and Zacatecas states due to crime and kidnapping.
  • Increase caution when traveling to Aguas Calientes, Baja California Sur, Chiapas, Hidalgo, Nuevo León, Oaxaca, Puebla, Querétaro, Quintana Roo, San Luis Potosí, Tabasco, Tlaxcal, and Veracruz states and Mexico city due to crime and kidnapping.
  • Review the US Embassy’s, CDC, and Crime and Safety Reports’s webpages regarding Mexico.
  • Exercise increased caution when visiting local bars, casinos, or nightclubs.
  • Keep family and traveling companions informed of the location and travel plans.
  • Follow the US Department of State and the US Embassy on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Avoid wearing watches or jewelry, since these are considered signs of wealth.

Read More:

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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling.  Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories

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