Travel Warning Raised for Guatemala and Mexico

Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) has advised its citizens to avoid all non essential travel to the tourist area of Tikal, centre of the Mayan pyramid area in the northern part of the country bordering Mexico.  It follows:

OFFICIAL WARNING: Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada advises against non-essential travel to the department of Peten (including the tourist site of Tikal), due to a recent increase in drug trafficking-related violence.

On May 16, 2011, Guatemalan authorities declared a state of emergency in the Peten department following the murder of 27 people in La Libertad, near the Mexico border. The state of emergency is in effect until July 16. Security forces conduct operations against drug trafficking in the department.

The warning is similar to others posted for travel to different parts of Mexico, covering much of the country including tourist areas of the interior and the Pacific coast, where-drug related violence and murders of innocent bystanders is virtually out of control. Similar warnings have been posted by the U.S State Department and the U.K.’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).

What these warnings mean for travelers is that the benefits encompassed by travel insurance bought after these official advisories were posted may be voided. Travelers to those areas should immediately contact their travel insurer to determine their coverage status.

In addition, travelers anticipating trips to Mexico’s Pacific coast, from the tourist areas of Zihuatanejo northward, have been issued an avoid all non-essential travel advisory because of an impending hurricane risk. It follows:

OFFICIAL WARNING: Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada advises against non-essential travel on the coast of Mexico from Zihuatanejo northwestward to La Fortuna.

The U.S. National Hurricane Centre in Miami has issued advisories for Hurricane Beatriz. As changes to the forecast and local conditions are continuous, Canadians should visit the U.S. National Hurricane Center for the latest updates.

Once a hurricane warning has been issued, travel and trip cancellation policy benefits bought after that date are no longer applicable.  If you have any travel scheduled to these areas in the near future, call your travel insurance provider for updates.

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