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Five Mexican states are now considered as unsafe for travel as Iraq, Syria, and Yemen

Five Mexican states are now considered as unsafe for travel as Iraq, Syria, and Yemen
A Mexican Army soldier stands guard at a beach in Acapulco, Guerrero state, Mexico. [Photo: FRANCISCO ROBLES/AFP/Getty Images]

The U.S. State Department has just issued a “Do Not Travel” warning—its highest level of caution—to five states trapped in the middle of wars waged by drug cartels.

The five states are Tamaulipas (on the U.S. border), and Sinaloa, Colima, Michoacan, and Guerrero (on the Pacific coast). Geography enthusiasts will note that this includes many of Mexico City’s suburbs as well as popular resort destinations like Acapulco, Mazatlán, and Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo. The State Department now considers the formerly swanky resort sites as akin to vacationing in Afghanistan. The five states are known as hotspots of drug trafficking routes or drug-crop cultivation sites.

While Mexico as a whole has a Level 2 rating, meaning Americans should “exercise increased caution” because of concerns about crime, Fox News reports that the Mexico Tourism Board released a statement noting that “Mexico’s major international tourism destinations have been explicitly listed as having no travel restrictions.” This includes resort areas like Cancun, Puerto Vallarta, and Tulum, as well as Mexico City and Oaxaca.

The BBC reports that preliminary figures suggest Mexico saw a record number of murders last year.