World Travel Watch: Plague in Bolivia and Peru, Warnings in Northern Ireland and More
World Travel Watch: Larry Habegger rounds up global travel news
09.02.10 | 12:09 PM ET
World Travel Watch is a weekly report designed to help you make informed judgments about travel. Conditions can change overnight, so always make your own inquiries before you leave home. The U.S. State Department and embassies or consulates are good places to start.
Mexico: Possible Retaliatory Attacks in Puerto Vallarta
Following the detonation of a hand grenade in a bar popular with locals near, but outside the main tourist area of Puerto Vallarta Aug. 25, the U.S. Consulate General in Guadalajara issued a warning about two other establishments that might be targeted for retaliatory attacks: La Vaquita Grill located at Lazaro Cardenas #567, El Pitillal, Puerto Vallarta, or the Mandala near the corner of Central and Margarita Maza de Juarez. Authorities believe the attack was related to local drug rivalries.
Bolivia and Peru: Bubonic Plague in Border Region
An outbreak of bubonic plague is occurring along the border in the Bolivian province of La Paz and Peru’s Ascope. Bolivia’s health authorities put La Paz on epidemiological alert, with one death and three more suspected cases in the town of Apolo. One person has died and 30 have been affected in Peru.
Nepal: Residents to Block Tourists from Upper Mustang near Tibet
Residents of the former kingdom of Mustang on the border with Tibet vowed to ban tourists beginning Oct. 1 to protest broken promises by the government. Upper Mustang opened to tourists only in 1992 and visitors are required to pay $500 for a pass to enter the region. The locals said the government promised to spend 60 percent of that revenue in the poor area, but has not done so, while the government said it had made no such promise. Travelers to Mustang may be turned back.
Northern Ireland: Tourism Officials Call Australia’s Travel Alert an Overreaction
Australia warned its citizens to be cautious about travel to Northern Ireland because of a series of bombings over the last month and rising sectarian strife. The warning addressed the possibility of being caught in violence directed at others or in demonstrations that become violent. The U.S. State Department’s notice on Northern Ireland also advises travelers to remain alert to their surroundings and to be aware of possible violence during parades, but Northern Ireland Tourism officials stated that such advisories are overreactions and the vast majority of travelers to the province find it to be safe and secure. The political situation has improved dramatically in Northern Ireland in the last few years as the era of the Troubles has passed.
Venezuela: Violent Crime Rate Remains Sky High
Venezuela is facing a crime crisis of such proportions that its murder rate in 2009 was dramatically higher than Iraq’s, a country with a similar population and active war zones. More than 19,000 murders occurred in Venezuela, making it one of the world’s most dangerous countries. Small gangs are responsible for much of the crime, and they are usually well armed and use their weapons at the first sign of resistance. Violent crime occurs throughout the country, with gangs often setting up roadblocks to look like police checkpoints and sometimes impersonating police officers. This type of crime often occurs on the main road to Caracas from the international airport.