State Department warns of 'security threat' in Mexico's popular Playa del Carmen

March 09, 2018
  • By Theresa Seiger, Cox Media Group National Content Desk
Gabriel Alcocer/AP
Tourists and passengers disembark from a ferry on to the wharf on Playa del Carmen, Mexico, Friday, March 2, 2018. Undetonated explosives were found on another ferry that runs between the Caribbean resorts of Playa del Carmen and the island of Cozumel, authorities said, less than two weeks after a blast shook another ferry plying the same route. (AP Photo/Gabriel Alcocer)

The State Department on Wednesday issued a security alert for a popular Mexican resort city, warning Americans to exercise caution in Playa del Carmen and to buy travel insurance two weeks after an explosion on a tourist ferry injured more than two dozen people.

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Officials told The Associated Press on Thursday that the alert was not related to the explosion, which left 19 Mexicans and at least five Americans injured. Officials did not specify what kind of threat prompted the alert.

"Clearly, there is a threat," State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said Thursday at a news briefing, according to CNN. "We're making Americans aware of that threat so that Americans can protect their own safety and the safety of their families."

In the alert issued Wednesday, officials said U.S. government employees were “prohibited from traveling to Playa del Carmen until further notice.” The U.S. consular agency in the city “will be closed until further notice.”

Playa Del Carmen is popular among tourists. Its beaches and resorts are often a draw for Americans visiting Mexico for spring break, The Washington Post reported.

Canadian officials issued their own travel advisory Thursday, warning Canadians to avoid tourist ferries traveling in the region in the wake of last month’s explosion and the discovery last week of an explosive device on another ferry out of Playa del Carmen.

Officials in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, which includes Playa del Carmen, said in a statement obtained by the AP that despite the warnings, the city is safe.

“We do not know why the U.S. government decided to emit this alert,” officials with the state government said, according to the AP. “All tourism and economic activity in Playa del Carmen continues in a normal manner.”