Friday, 9 March 2018

MEXICO: US Issues Travel Alert For Playa Del Carmen

The U.S. Embassy in Mexico has issued a new travel alert for the Caribbean resort city of Playa del Carmen, where an explosion on a tourist ferry injured 26 people last month.

The embassy says in an alert posted on its website that it received information Wednesday about a security threat in that city and U.S. government employees are prohibited from going there.

It adds that the U.S. consular agency in Playa del Carmen will be closed until further notice.

However, Mexican officials insisted Thursday that Playa del Carmen is safe despite the U.S. security alert.

The government of the Caribbean coast state of Quintana Roo said that President Enrique Pena Nieto is scheduled to attend an event Thursday in Playa del Carmen.

The resort is near Mexico's most popular tourist destinations, like Cancun, Cozumel and Tulum.

The U.S. embassy did not specify the threat or say if it was related to the Feb. 21 blast or the subsequent discovery of apparent explosives attached to another vessel.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauret said in a statement that all travelers should check before they travel.

In Mexico alone, we've issued a number of recent security alerts as soon as we received information that travelers should know, the statement said. We encourage travelers to be aware surroundings and exercise caution.

In a previous alert last week the embassy had only barred employees from taking ferries between Playa del Carmen and Cozumel Island.

Playa del Carmen is a city located along the Caribbean Sea in the municipality of Solidaridad, in the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico. It is a popular tourist area in eastern Mexico.

Playa del Carmen features a wide array of tourist activities due to its geographical location in the Riviera Maya.

It has also been the destination of PGA Tour golf tournaments and the set location for various television shows. The town has become one of the fastest to grow in population size in Mexico.

Playa del Carmen is located within the Riviera Maya, which runs from south of Cancun to Tulum and the Sian Ka'an biosphere reserve.

Playa is a stop for several cruise ships which dock at the nearby Calica quarry docks, about six miles (10 km) south of the city.

The Xcaret Eco Park, a Mexican-themed eco-archaeological park, is a popular tourist destination located just south of the town in Xcaret.

In October 2005, Hurricane Wilma passed directly over Playa del Carmen, remaining in the vicinity for two days and causing significant damage and a temporary drop in tourist arrivals.

Most of the damage was relatively superficial and repaired within a few weeks of the storm. Hurricane Wilma arrived from the Caribbean Sea, passing over Cozumel before making landfall in Playa del Carmen.

It then moved north along the Mexican coast, hitting Cancun especially hard.

Originally a small fishing town, tourism to Playa del Carmen began with the passenger ferry service to Cozumel, an island across the Cozumel Channel and a world-famous scuba diving destination.

Playa del Carmen has recently undergone extreme rapid development with new luxury residential condominium buildings, restaurants, boutiques and entertainment venues.

Tourist activity in Playa del Carmen centers on Quinta Avenida, or Fifth Avenue, which stretches from Calle 1 norte to Calle 40.

A pedestrian walkway located just one or two blocks inland from the beach, Fifth Avenue is lined with hundreds of shops, bars and restaurants. There are many small boutique hotels on and just off Fifth Avenue and on the beach.

Playacar is a residential and tourist development in Playa del Carmen just south of the main urban area. Most of the all-inclusive hotels, the aviary and the golf course are located in this development.

There are two phases – phase 1 is mostly residential with a few hotels and some stores, while phase 2 contains the largest all-inclusive resorts as well as the golf course and a significant number of residential properties.

The city is home to Inter Playa del Carmen, an association football club founded in 1999, which competes in the south group of the Segunda Division Profesional, the third tier of Mexican football league system.

The OHL Classic at Mayakoba is a PGA Tour golf tournament held at El Camaleon Golf Club since 2007.

The telenovela Peregrina takes place in Playa del Carmen. The Real Housewives of Vancouver featured Playa del Carmen in two episodes.

The Amazing Race has shot on location in Playa del Carmen. The Celebrity Mole was set in the Playa del Carmen area. UK Reality Series Geordie Shore featured Playa del Carmen.

Playa del Carmen is host to several major annual events. The largest of these was The BPM Festival, a world-famous electronic dance music festival which, up until recently, took place in January each year.

Tourism Observer
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