U.S. closes consulate in Playa del Carmen, over 'security threat'

Mexico's Caribbean

The U.S. Embassy said it received information Wednesday about a "security threat" in Playa del Carmen and U.S. government employees are prohibited from going there, but it did not specify the nature of the threat.

A "security threat" has closed the USA consular agency by a major tourist hotspot in Mexico and officials have been told to keep away "effective immediately", following a recent explosion aboard a ferry nearby. "Effective immediately, US government employees are prohibited from travelling to Playa del Carmen until further notice".

Three Canadians were among 26 people injured when an explosion ripped through a tourist ferry in Playa del Carmen as it unloaded passengers on February 21.

The State Department is also recommending travelers purchase travel insurance that specifically covers Mexico and includes medical evacuation insurance.

Still, Mexican officials on Thursday said that Playa del Carmen was safe despite the USA security warning.

According to the embassy's website, travelers should be "aware of their surroundings" and "exercise caution".

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Another explosive device was found on a ferry last week, but did not detonate. A day earlier, a shooting at a music festival in Playa del Carmen left three foreigners and two Mexicans dead.

The U.S. Embassy issued a travel warning for a resort in Mexico following a ferry explosion.

The state government also stressed the safety of the destination, noting that President Enrique Peña Nieto is scheduled to visit Playa del Carmen today for an ocean conservation conference, the Associated Press reported.

The State Department official said Wednesday's security alert for Playa del Carmen is different from a travel advisory and is meant to inform USA citizens "of specific safety and security concerns in a country, such as demonstrations, crime trends, and weather events".

"As the safety and security of our guests and crew is our highest priority, our security department remains in close contact with government and private sources as well as our local agents and tour operators and continues to monitor the situation", Princess Cruises said in a statement last Friday.



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