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JudithLynne

Mexico Travel Advisory

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We will be on a Mexican Riviera cruise later this month.  As of 11-15-2018 there is currently a level 4 (the highest level) advisory for travel to Mazatlán, one of our ports:

 

Sinaloa state – Level 4: Do Not Travel

Do not travel due to crime.

Violent crime is widespread. Criminal organizations are based and operating in Sinaloa state.

Travel for U.S. government employees is limited to the following areas with the noted restrictions:

  • Mazatlán: U.S. government employees may travel by air or sea only. U.S. government employees are limited to the Zona Dorada and historic town center, and must use direct routes when traveling to and from those locations and the airport and cruise terminals.

 

Some of us on our small roll call are nervous about this.  One member contacted HAL and got this response:  "No changes to the itinerary or available tour options have been announced at this point, but we do actively monitor the areas that we take our guests with their safety in mind. Should any changes be made in light of the travel advisory, we will notify our guests by email detailing the changes." 

 

Should we be concerned?

 

 

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I just got a STEP program notice of a travel advisory for Spain too - Level Two

 

Heading to the Mexican Riviera myself for the holidays - it will be a great disappointment to miss Mazatlan - one of my favorites.  Thanks for the heads up. Level Four is very serious. But thank goodness the Centro Historico is still okay. 

 

Wonder if this is linked to increased US narco wars and local Sinaloa state in-fighting for new drug lord leadership - the El Chapo trial, as well as the legalization of recreational marijuana in Calif which is now coming to full effect first of the year - intended to cut into the illegal drug trade out of Mexico. So Calif voters were told. Mexican drug lords may be testing the new Mexican president as well. 

Edited by OlsSalt

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No. Just follow the same advice and restrictions as the US Government employees.

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8 minutes ago, JudithLynne said:

We will be on a Mexican Riviera cruise later this month.  As of 11-15-2018 there is currently a level 4 (the highest level) advisory for travel to Mazatlán, one of our ports:

 

Sinaloa state – Level 4: Do Not Travel

Do not travel due to crime.

Violent crime is widespread. Criminal organizations are based and operating in Sinaloa state.

Travel for U.S. government employees is limited to the following areas with the noted restrictions:

  • Mazatlán: U.S. government employees may travel by air or sea only. U.S. government employees are limited to the Zona Dorada and historic town center, and must use direct routes when traveling to and from those locations and the airport and cruise terminals.

 

Some of us on our small roll call are nervous about this.  One member contacted HAL and got this response:  "No changes to the itinerary or available tour options have been announced at this point, but we do actively monitor the areas that we take our guests with their safety in mind. Should any changes be made in light of the travel advisory, we will notify our guests by email detailing the changes." 

 

Should we be concerned?

 

 

As the notice states that government employees can travel is Zona Dorada and historic town center. So as long as you stay on a cruise line excursion or well known local tour companies or in Zona Dorado and historic town center I would not expect an issue.  I would not go an do a taxi at random.

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This is not new to Mazatlan -- just do a ship excursion if you want to something away from the port.

 

I agree -- do not go outside and take a taxi to town.

 

A number of years ago Mazatlan was removed from itineraries.  

 

When we were in 2016 the shop area at the pier had been expanded -- very nice.

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I too will be on  the holiday cruise  that stops here  and contacted the  HAL tour department about the  advisability of taking one of the offered tours that goes  to  settings outside of the " approved zones"  noted in the travel advisory. I was told  as of today  these tours will continue to be offered and  if there is any change either in the itinerary  or the tours offered, an email will be sent out to TA's  and  passengers who booked directly.

 

For those of us who booked through a big box store this could present a problem  as often they receive 1000's of emails and do not guarantee follow- through....(their main downside).

Edited by puli

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We were in Mazatlan for 3 weeks in November.   The only worry I had was the state of the sidewalks.   Keep looking down to avoid tripping.   I felt safe every day.   I've read about not being on the beach at night but that isn't something we would do anyway.   We enjoyed ourselves in the Golden Zone, at the new Aquarium and various restaurants.   There's a large Canadian and American expat community that spends weeks/months there every winter.      

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Be Cautious, be Careful.  DO NOT have wads of cash, open purses.  During the day it is fine to ut and about town.  Taking a sponsored tour will be safe.  

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Use common sense! We take a pulmonia (not the one in the pic), a local open air cab with a VW engine and whole bunch of bells and whistles :classic_wink: to the Zona Dorada, do some shopping, have lunch, and come back via another pulmonia. The drive back and forth along the Esplanade is scenic. The shore excursions are fine also. Enjoy yourselves!

 

Image result for Mazatlan Pulmonia

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Our cruise starts Sunday Dec 9th to the Mexican  Riviera  on Eurodam . Although we knew of past violence in the Mazatlan area ,we  just read these posts . Thanks for the heads up &  because of the potential for problems we will either stay within the port area where  the sales stalls are located or forgo & stay on the ship

 

 It is a shame that it being Dec 12 th  ;which is the Big Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe  we are in Mazatlan & we had planed  to  hire a taxi to go to the Cathedral & then sight see in the area . However ,now that is  cancelled 

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IMO Mexico ports are even less appealing than Caribbean ones.  Mazatlan was dicey fifteen years ago when we did a west coast cruise.  However, seven day cruises are the bread  and butter of mass market lines.  They have to park the ships somewhere.  California departures are accessible to millions and typically,  Mexican cruises are very cheap.  

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We have been to Mazatlan a few times, apart from staying in Puerto Vallarta for some months in wintertime, we never had any problems in either city. Use common sense, leave valuables on board, donot drink too much.  Old town Mazatlan is quite nice, as is the Malecon along the ocean Take one of those Pulmonias, make your price before entering and enjoy Mazatlan.

 

Mcrcuiser indeed too bad you willnot be in Puerto Vallarta December 12. It is amazing to watch the pilgrims singing, some dancing while walking to the church. One of the special moments there.

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Do you think it's safe enough to talk to La Puntilla which is close to the cruise terminal?

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According to the travel advisory there seems to be no reason to avoid Mazatlan's two prime attractions: Centro Historico and the Zona Dorada. There is a beauriful restoration going on in Centro Historico and the Malecon, with wonderful restaurant choices.  Mazatlan is also home to Pacifico beer -one of the best Mexican beers in our opinion. Fresh Mexican cuisine, seafood, restored colonial architecture, lively markets and a delicious light local beer - there is lots to like about a Mazatlan stop. 

 

Following all due caution as the travel advisory recommends, Mazatlan is one of our favorite Mexican Riviera stops. We much prefer the Mexican Riviera for its low key feel, instead of the more typically crime-riddled, over-impacted and generic chain-tourism feel of virtually all the big Caribbean port..

 

We are glad HAL is getting back into the Mexican Riviera. Hope conditions allow this to continue, and keep adding more Sea of Cortez options too. And yes, we do like the west coast departure.

Edited by OlsSalt

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23 minutes ago, scottee said:

Do you think it's safe enough to talk to La Puntilla which is close to the cruise terminal?

 

Talk and walk, yes! :classic_wink: However, a Pulmonia will get you there faster. There is not much to see in the commercial port of Mazatlan, the adjoining major Armada de Mexico naval base, and the neighborhood leading up to La Puntilla, Btw, the majority of the Pulmonias and taxis park inside the gates of the terminal just west of the many shops and the little bar

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We will be on the Dec16 cruise and are not altering our plans at all. The advisory says Zona Dorado Center Historico are OK. Most of us don’t really go anywhere else, do we? We’re taking a pulmonia to Plaza Machado, having some lunch, walking around, and may walk back to the ship. We may also take a pulmonia to Zona Dorado as I have a specific thing I’m looking for. We aren’t going to any sketchy areas. We Never wear jewelry or flash money all over. And it’s daytime! I am not one bit concerned and certainly not about to be scared away. I’m not buying any drugs or looking for any criminal activity. I think we’ll be fine. Actually, I think we’ll all be fine. 

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So to be clear.  Your government has issued the highest level travel advisory for the area.  The advisory is Do Not Travel due to widespread violent crime.  OP's question is "Should they be concerned?"

 

Yes, you should definitely be concerned.  Your government is advising you not to travel there because of concerns for your personal safety.  The fact that others have traveled in the past without incident has absolutely no bearing on the widespread violent crime happening today.

 

We all have to accept personal responsibility for the travel decisions that we make.  We can't hold the cruise lines responsible over our own personal choices. 

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16 minutes ago, dee2673 said:

... The advisory says Zona Dorado Center Historico are OK.

The advisory does not state that at all.  The advisory states that government employees are to "limit" their travel to those areas and must use "direct" routes - most likely government provided transportation or government approved suppliers.

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3 hours ago, Ine said:

We have been to Mazatlan a few times, apart from staying in Puerto Vallarta for some months in wintertime, we never had any problems in either city. Use common sense, leave valuables on board, donot drink too much.  Old town Mazatlan is quite nice, as is the Malecon along the ocean Take one of those Pulmonias, make your price before entering and enjoy Mazatlan.

 

Mcrcuiser indeed too bad you willnot be in Puerto Vallarta December 12. It is amazing to watch the pilgrims singing, some dancing while walking to the church. One of the special moments there.

Some years ago  we were on this type of cruise & we were in PV   on Dec 12th .  During that time there was a dance  show with the locals & the Indians dressed in their native costumes dancing their folk  dances .I cam corded  the entire hour plus . We also visited the Cathedral with all the flowers & saw all the tables with food .It was an amazing sight to see :classic_biggrin:

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5 minutes ago, cbr663 said:

The advisory does not state that at all.  The advisory states that government employees are to "limit" their travel to those areas and must use "direct" routes - most likely government provided transportation or government approved suppliers.

 That’s how I choose to take it. I refuse to live in fear. I will travel by direct route. I will stay in the areas my government says it allows its employees to be in. I won’t be foolhardy but I also won’t be scared away . My choice

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We do not place much stock in State Dept. travel warnings.  We suspect that they are as much CYA as they are real warnings.  

 

It would be interesting to apply the same parameters that the State Dept uses to report out on some US cities.

Edited by iancal

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48 minutes ago, cbr663 said:

The advisory does not state that at all.  The advisory states that government employees are to "limit" their travel to those areas and must use "direct" routes - most likely government provided transportation or government approved suppliers.

 

If it is unsafe for general passengers, HAL  will not dock there. Or specifically advise accordingly.  Stay tuned. Good to have this upfront notice there may be a change in plans. We have been to several ports where we got specific notices to avoid certain specific areas.

 

Lima Peru and Montego Bay, Jamaica most recently.  But shore excursions continued to be offered and private tour or DIY passengers had due notice for their own safety concerns. 

Edited by OlsSalt

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It pays to read the entire travel advisory. It deals with road travel within and through the state of Sinaloa which has been, and is, home to violent drug cartels

 

Sinaloa state – Level 4: Do Not Travel

Do not travel due to crime.

Violent crime is widespread. Criminal organizations are based and operating in Sinaloa state.

Travel for U.S. government employees is limited to the following areas with the noted restrictions:

  • Mazatlan: U.S. government employees may travel by air or sea only. U.S. government employees are limited to the Zona Dorada and historic town center, and must use direct routes when traveling to and from those locations and the airport and cruise terminals.
  • Los Mochis and Topolobampo: U.S. government employees may travel by air or sea only. U.S. government employees are restricted to the city and the port, and must use direct routes when traveling between these locations and to and from the airport.

 

 

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58 minutes ago, dee2673 said:

 That’s how I choose to take it. I refuse to live in fear. I will travel by direct route. I will stay in the areas my government says it allows its employees to be in. I won’t be foolhardy but I also won’t be scared away . My choice

Your choosing to assume the risk of traveling to an area of violent widespread crime is certainly your choice.  It was incorrect though to state as you did previously that the advisory stated that Zona Dorado Center Historico are OK.  I think it is important to provide clarity around this for others who are reading this thread.

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5 minutes ago, cbr663 said:

Your choosing to assume the risk of traveling to an area of violent widespread crime is certainly your choice.  It was incorrect though to state as you did previously that the advisory stated that Zona Dorado Center Historico are OK.  I think it is important to provide clarity around this for others who are reading this thread.

 

According to the advisory, those two areas are "okay". With due caution noted. Give this a rest. If they later become too unsafe for passengers, the ship will not stop there.  There is zero benefit to a cruise line to drop passengers into officially deemed  unsafe areas.

Edited by OlsSalt

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I believe that you need to read the warnings in their entirety and have an basic understanding of the geography of the area in question.  Pull out, or pull up a map of the area.   Then apply some common sense and do a little independent checking on your own.   In the case of Thailand, Turkey, and Athens warnings we turned to some long term expats who lived in those areas and who posted/answered questions.  

 

Most times the on site information and advice posted was at variance in terms of degree with the cable news outlet reports and to a degree with the State Dept. warnings -especially if one had not read those warnings in their entirely.

Edited by iancal

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Within the last several years we had read that there were cartel  killings in a beach area of Mazatlan 

 

 Being that we do take many Mexican Riviera cruises ,we must be aware & alert  to  the warnings . It is a shame that  both the cruise passengers  & local law abiding citizens have to  suffer because of these criminals :classic_blush:  

Now we are seriously considering doing  the west coast coastal cruises vs future  Mexican Riviera  where the ships stop  in American ports & one port of Ensenada  for a 7 night cruise . Princess does these cruises from San Pedro cruise terminal ;which is near to LA 

 

 

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43 minutes ago, cbr663 said:

Your choosing to assume the risk of traveling to an area of violent widespread crime is certainly your choice.  It was incorrect though to state as you did previously that the advisory stated that Zona Dorado Center Historico are OK.  I think it is important to provide clarity around this for others who are reading this thread.

 

With all due respect, I am not choosing to travel to an area of "violent widespread crime." I'm going to The Zona Dorado and the Centro Historicio which the state department allows it's employees to travel within. I'm good with that

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24 minutes ago, mcrcruiser said:

Within the last several years we had read that there were cartel  killings in a beach area of Mazatlan 

 

 Being that we do take many Mexican Riviera cruises ,we must be aware & alert  to  the warnings . It is a shame that  both the cruise passengers  & local law abiding citizens have to  suffer because of these criminals :classic_blush:  

Now we are seriously considering doing  the west coast coastal cruises vs future  Mexican Riviera  where the ships stop  in American ports & one port of Ensenada  for a 7 night cruise . Princess does these cruises from San Pedro cruise terminal ;which is near to LA 

 

 

 

For the past several years, HAL dropped Mazatlan from its Mexico cruises and curtailed the Mexican Riviera entirely. There were several cartel murders in the Zona Dorada area - nightclub areas frequented by these high rolling narcos.  It took a great deal of local security reassurance for HAL to come back. 

 

You do need to cancel any  future HAL cruises and not just threaten to cancel these cruises, when they do not meet your own safety considerations. You do have choices.  Vacations are meant to be times away from worrying. Just do it.

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Back in January 2011 with an uptick in violent crime in and around Mazatlan, incl. a (one) shoot-out between cartels in the Zona Dorada, several cruise lines (Carnival, HAL, Disney, NCL. Azamara) stopped calling in the Sinaloan city. Those lines returned to Mazatlan in the 2013-2014 time period when the crime situation inside Mazatlan was deemed improved and secure.

 

Cruise line corporate security staff are constantly monitoring passenger/crew safety in many ports around the world and if Mazatlan was deemed unsafe again, they would once again stop calling there. There is violent crime and crap areas in L.A., Chicago, New York, Detroit, Miami, Philly, Toronto, you name it.

 

Last month, there were several shootings in San Pedro within the jurisdiction of LAPD's Harbor Division. There are some heavily infested gang areas/public housing projects in Pedro and adjoining Harbor City and Wilmington. Yet, San Pedro continues to be the winter season home port of Carnival and Princess cruise lines, and in two weeks HAL's Amsterdam will be calling there upon the conclusion of her Grand Asia/Pacific run.

 

You can choose to stay inside your home with drawn curtains and locked doors and windows, or you can "go places" and use common sense. Your choice :classic_cool:

Edited by Copper10-8

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22 hours ago, Krazy Kruizers said:

This is not new to Mazatlan -- just do a ship excursion if you want to something away from the port.

 

I agree -- do not go outside and take a taxi to town.

 

A number of years ago Mazatlan was removed from itineraries.  

 

When we were in 2016 the shop area at the pier had been expanded -- very nice.

I was on one of those cruises where Mazatlan was taken off the itinerary. It turned out to be a stroke of good luck for us. what happened is that the ship went straight to Cabo. Instead of the usual 1/2 day in Cabo we arrived a day early, and the ship stayed at anchor there all night. We loved spending the whole night there while the ship swung back and forth in the harbor. It was one of the most beautiful night we have ever spent on a ship.

We never cared much for Mazatlan anyway - we usually just stay on the ship that day.

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 With the potential of  the high crime areas in Mazatlan  we would have liked  the Eurodam to spend 2 days in Cabo . on our up coming cruise Dec 9th 

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Gosh, I hope not the following week when we’re onboard. We aren’t leaving the ship on our Cabo day as it felt like a tourist trap and we found it a little generic. 

 

 

 

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While I'm a pretty intrepid traveler, it would give me pause to see that Sinaloa state has a level 4 warning -- that is the same warning given to Afghanistan, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Yemen....

 

It also seems a bit strange to me that many folks would not travel to Turkey (currently Level 3 and has been for a while) due to fears of what could happen, but will go to Mazatlan. (Also find it strange that cruise ships will stop there -- as I've been lectured before by posters about how the ship's insurers will not put the ship or passengers in danger, referring to Level 3 destinations that have been canceled in the past.

 

 

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Several countries - including Canada and Japan - have advised their citizens not to travel to the USA, due to high crime rates and mass shootings.

What's the difference?

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For those who may be not be aware, the US Gov't changed its Travel Advisory rating system earlier this year.  The new 4-Level system is:

 

Level 1:  Exercise Normal Precautions


Level 2:  Exercise Increased Caution


Level 3:  Reconsider Travel


Level 4:  Do Not Travel:  This is the highest advisory level due to greater likelihood of life-threatening risks. During an emergency, the U.S. government may have very limited ability to provide assistance. The Department of State advises that U.S. citizens not travel to the country or leave as soon as it is safe to do so. The Department of State provides additional advice for travelers in these areas in the Travel Advisory. Conditions in any country may change at any time.

 

More information can be found here:  https://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2018/01/276945.htm

 

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18 minutes ago, cbr663 said:

For those who may be not be aware, the US Gov't changed its Travel Advisory rating system earlier this year.  The new 4-Level system is:

 

Level 1:  Exercise Normal Precautions


Level 2:  Exercise Increased Caution


Level 3:  Reconsider Travel


Level 4:  Do Not Travel:  This is the highest advisory level due to greater likelihood of life-threatening risks. During an emergency, the U.S. government may have very limited ability to provide assistance. The Department of State advises that U.S. citizens not travel to the country or leave as soon as it is safe to do so. The Department of State provides additional advice for travelers in these areas in the Travel Advisory. Conditions in any country may change at any time.

 

More information can be found here:  https://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2018/01/276945.htm

 

 

I hope you have cancelled your cruise by now, and booked something more suitable to your own needs.

Edited by OlsSalt

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