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Should Travelers Avoid These 2 Popular Destinations Amid New U.S. Travel Advisories?

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The U.S. State Department just issued new travel advisories to two popular tourist destinations.

Both Jamaica and Colombia were recently elevated to “Level 3: Reconsider Travel” status.

Tayrona National Park Colombia

The State Department has four levels of travel advisories:

  • Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions
  • Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution
  • Level 3: Reconsider Travel
  • Level 4: Do Not Travel

The Level 3 warning is the second-most severe, and it urges American tourists to reconsider their travel plans.

But does that mean you should cancel an upcoming trip to Jamaica or Colombia or avoid planning a future trip there this year?

Here's what travelers should know about these updated travel advisories:

Jamaica Beach

Jamaica Travel Advisory

Jamaica is one of the most popular Caribbean destinations for American travelers. This island paradise is known for its beautiful beaches, affordable all-inclusive resorts, and laid-back attitude.

However, Jamaica's Prime Minister actually declared a state of emergency in 9 out of 14 of the country's parishes in late 2022 due to crime and violence from gangs.

But despite this, Americans continue to flock to Jamaica in record numbers.

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Ocho Rios Jamaica

This is because most travelers are not going to dangerous parts of Jamaica. They are traveling to all-inclusive resorts, which are essentially self-contained bubbles. Even travelers who don't stay in all-inclusive resorts are typically staying in a safer, touristy part of Jamaica.

However, the latest U.S. travel advisory for Jamaica notes that travelers can even be a victim of a crime while staying at an all-inclusive resort.

It also suggests that travelers should avoid popular tourist hotspots like Montego Bay due to an elevated risk of crime and violence.

People enjoy Doctor's Cave Beach in Montego Bay Jamaica on a sunny day.

Colombia Travel Advisory

Colombia is another tourist destination that has been exploding in popularity recently with American travelers.

Travelers love destinations like Cartagena and Santa Marta on the Caribbean coast of the country, while digital nomads and expats have been flocking to cities like Medellin and Cali due to their affordable cost of living and great quality of life.

Panorama Of The Old City Of Cartagena With Skyscrapers And A Modern Development Zone Seen Across The Caribbean Sea, Colombia, South America

However, the U.S. State Department also recently updated its travel advisory for Colombia, urging Americans to reconsider travel to the country due to crime and terrorism.

In particular, the advisory states that travelers should avoid the departments of Arauca and Norte de Santander (both located near the border with Venezuela) and the department of Cauca (a remote region near the border with Ecuador on the Pacific coast.)

None of these departments are popular with travelers and do not include any major tourist destinations.

View of Medellin Colombia

Should You Reconsider Travel?

Based on these travel warnings from the U.S. State Department, it may seem like you should cancel your upcoming trip or avoid planning any travel to Jamaica or Colombia.

While it's true that both countries are struggling with major crime and violence issues that occasionally spill over to tourists, it's unlikely to be an issue.

In both Jamaica and Colombia, the majority of the areas that the State Department cautions against visiting are places that the average tourist would never set foot in. You don't have to write off the entire country as long as you use common sense and take basic safety precautions while traveling.

Aerial View Of Isla Baru, An Island Off The Cartagena Coast, North Colombia, On The Caribbean Sea, South America

An all-inclusive vacation to Jamaica or a trip around Colombia is still safe, and the majority of visitors to either country will not experience any issues.

It's a similar story to Mexico. The U.S. State Department has issued several elevated warnings, and yet American travelers continue to visit the country in record numbers.

While it's important to understand travel advisories and take precautions while traveling, blanket statements to “Reconsider Travel” to an entire country are rarely as black-and-white as they seem.

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