Both the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs and the Overseas Security Advisory Council released travel advisories for Mexico while University of Connecticut students were on spring break.
One day before break, the advisory was issued at a level four, then changed to level three five days later. According to the Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs, the advisory says to “reconsider travel” due to COVID-19 and the crime and kidnapping that has occurred in popular tourist spots. In Nov. 2021, two vacationers were killed in Tulum, a popular getaway in Mexico, in crossfire by two rival gangs, The New York Times reported.
OSAC listed a number of things specifically for those on spring break to be aware of when traveling to Mexico. Crime, drugs, unregulated alcohol and sexual assault were the top four items listed as potential dangers for U.S. travelers.
“Crime, including violent crime, can occur anywhere in Mexico, 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. See the Mexico Travel Advisory for specific information for each Mexican state. U.S. citizens should exercise increased caution in the downtown areas of Cancun, Playa Del Carmen, and Tulum after dark,” the OSAC reads.
A number of UConn students visited Mexico during break, staying in Cancun and Cabo. Some went through travel agencies like Student Travel Services or Campus Vacations that have agents who are in the area with the travelers, booking outing events and making sure those on the trip have transportation to and from the resort. Others simply found resorts and booked flights on their own.
Bennett Preston, a fourth-semester undecided major UConn student, said he went to Cancun through Student Travel Services with about 30 other students over break.
“I had fun, but I would not go back. I feel like there’s different places that can offer the same amount of experiences without the same danger, so I would not go back. I don’t regret going though,” Preston said.
According to the National Post, this past December, 1,500 military guards were dispatched to the beaches and popular downtown streets of Cancun to protect tourists from drug gangs. Soldiers covered head-to-toe in camouflage uniforms carrying military rifles could be seen walking through crowds of spring breakers going to clubs or lounging on the beach.