New travel warnings have urged travellers to stay away from certain parts of Mexico due to the very real threat of kidnapping by drug gangs.

The warning which was issued on July 4, came after the arrest of a prominent cartel leader in Mexico, with an advisory warning against potential for confrontations between criminal organizations and Mexican security forces.

Travel advisory stated: "U.S. citizens should expect to encounter increased Mexican law enforcement presence in those areas. Criminal organization assassinations and territorial disputes can result in bystanders being injured or killed."

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Previously, the U.S. State Department had advised against travel to five Mexican states, including Colima, Guerrero, Michoacan, Sinaloa and Tamaulipas.

The advice in places like Baja California Sur, Mexico City and Quintana Roo – all of which are considered Mexico's top tourist destinations – was to simply exercise more caution while visiting.

However, this has now changed with the travel advisory for Baja California being raised to Level 3 and tourists being asked to reconsider their travel due to due to crime and kidnappings.

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Mexico continues to be listed as "Other" as opposed to Level 1-4, with America being advised to review the individual state summaries and advisory levels for latest information on their specific travel destination south of the border.

Officials have warned : "Criminal activity and violence may occur in any location, at any time, including in popular tourist destinations. Travelers should maintain a high level of situational awareness, avoid areas where illicit activities occur, and promptly depart from potentially dangerous situations."

Travel warnings by the US for Tijuana tend to be quite common. Back in March, the state department issued a warning, saying "travelers should remain on main highways and avoid remote locations … of particular concern is the high number of homicides in the non-tourist areas of Tijuana."

Anyone who chooses to travel to the risky areas despite the warning are recommended to:

  • be aware of the surroundings
  • maintain high vigilance and a low profile
  • monitor local media for any updates and dial 911 in case of any emergency
  • review personal security plans and follow the instructions of local authorities

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