What Should I Know about Spring Break?

Over 100,000 American teenagers and young adults travel to resort areas throughout Mexico for Spring Break each year.  While most enjoy their vacation without incident, a small number are arrested, become victims of crime, or even die. Using common sense will help you avoid trouble.

Here are some of the basics:

  • You need a passport if you travel by air.  When you enter Mexico the immigration agent will give you the bottom portion of the immigration form you filled out on the plane.  This is your visa.  Do not lose your passport or visa; you’ll need both to leave Mexico.
  • Whether you travel to Mexico by land, air, or sea, you are entering a foreign country and are subject to the laws and regulations of Mexico.
  • Before you leave the United States be sure to activate international roaming for your cell phone so you are able to make and receive calls during your vacation here.
  • Excessive alcohol consumption and unruly behavior can lead to serious problems with Mexican authorities.  Alcohol is involved in the vast majority of arrests, accidents, violent crimes, rapes, and deaths suffered by American students on Spring Break.  Disturbing the peace, lewd or indecent behavior, littering, driving under the influence, drinking on the street or on public transportation, using public transportation without payment, or making obscene or insulting remarks are all considered criminal activities by Mexican authorities.  The importation, purchase, possession or use of drugs can incur severe penalties, including imprisonment without bail for up to a year before a case is tried, and imprisonment of several years following a conviction.
  • Leave your gun, bullets and knives at home.  Mexican law imposes harsh penalties for bringing as few as one bullet across its borders.
  • Read through the Country Specific Information sheet for Mexico at http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/country.html.  There is a wealth of information about everything from water sport safety to renting a car to common scams.
  • Read “Spring Break in Mexico – Know Before You Go!”:


  • Register with us at the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, https://step.state.gov/step/
  • Phone home periodically to let your family know where you are and that you’re ok.

Crimes (to include rape) commonly but not exclusively occur at night or in the early morning hours, and often involve alcohol and the nightclub environment.  It is important to travel in pairs or groups, be aware of surroundings, and take general precautions.  To protect against property crimes, valuables should be left in a safe place or not brought at all.  If you are detained, arrested, or become a victim of a crime, immediately notify the U.S. Consular Agency in Cancun, Playa del Carmen or Cozumel or the U.S. Consulate General in Merida.  Our contact information can be found at http://merida.usconsulate.gov/service.html.

We hope you have a safe and enjoyable vacation!


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