Warnings and Advisories

Sonora travel advisories and warnings

Sonora Travel Warnings and Advisories

U.S. State Department Mexico Travel Warnings

The latest State Department Mexico Travel Warning was issued in August 2017. Read the travel warning.

There were three Mexico travel warnings for the year 2016, which was unusual. Read more details on the Planet Nogales website about the December 2016 travel warning.

Having returned recently from Southern Sonora, we take issue with the following generally worded, unsubstantiated and uninformed statement:

Due to illegal activity, U.S. citizens should defer non-essential travel to:

  • South of Hermosillo, with the exception of the cities of Alamos, Guaymas and Empalme, and defer non-essential travel east of Highway 15, within the city of Ciudad Obregon, and south of the city of Navojoa.

Undoubtedly this statement was issued because of violence in Ciudad Obregon, which lately can be a dangerous place to visit.

However, the cities of Navojoa and Huatabampo, the beach at Huatabampito and the various Mayo pueblos in the area remain safe, quiet and enjoyable places to visit, and should be added to the exceptions list.

The portion of the travel warning that pertains to Sonora, Mexico is as follows:

Sonora: Nogales, Puerto Peñasco, Hermosillo, and San Carlos are major cities/travel destinations in Sonora – Sonora is a key region in the international drug and human trafficking trades and can be extremely dangerous for travelers. Travelers throughout Sonora are encouraged to limit travel to main roads during daylight hours. The region west of Nogales, east of Sonoyta, and from Caborca north, including the towns of Saric, Tubutama, and Altar, and the eastern edge of Sonora bordering Chihuahua, are known centers of illegal activity, and non-essential travel between these cities should be avoided. Travelers should also defer non-essential travel to the eastern edge of the state of Sonora, which borders the state of Chihuahua (all points along that border east of the northern city of Agua Prieta and the southern town of Alamos), and defer non-essential travel within the city of Ciudad Obregon and south of the city of Navojoa. You should exercise caution while transiting Vicam in southern Sonora due to roadblocks that can be instituted ad hoc by local indigenous and environmental groups. U.S. citizens visiting Puerto Peñasco should use the Lukeville, Arizona/Sonoyta, Sonora border crossing, and limit driving to daylight hours.

Explore-Sonora Travel Advisories

Sonoyta, Sonora

The Lukeville-Sonoyta border crossing is the main port of entry for travelers to the seaside resort city of Puerto Peñasco, Sonora. There have been publicized acts of violence between two warring cartel factions, although none of the events have affected tourists or tourist thoroughfares. Still, we recommend that travelers exercise caution when driving through the area, and avoid the town at night.

Southern Nogales, Sonora

We recommend that if traveling to Sonora by car, enter Mexico via the Mariposa Port of Entry in northern Nogales, Sonora. This allows you to bypass the city.

When crossing the border on foot, avoid traveling alone at night. The tourism, dentistry and shopping area just south of the border is well protected and generally safe, but you must still remain alert and be aware of your surroundings.

Tubutama, Sonora

Since initially issuing this warning we have visited Tubutama and found it to be quiet, if not eerily so. Still, local violence has not occurred for some time, and it is apparent that tour groups will not be targeted when they enter the area.

Here is our original traveler warning:

Some members of this mission pueblo’s local government were assassinated in 2010, and 29 men were killed in a gun battle in the desert near Tubutama. Rumors persist that a revenge action may be in the offing, but at any rate this area, also part of the “Ruta de las Misiones” is not recommended for travel.