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What Mexican drug war? Spring-break students defy travel warnings.

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Yet this year many colleges felt obligated to educate students about the underbelly of all the fun. California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, for example, sent a warning to its student body last Monday, ahead of their spring vacation. "We understand that a number of our students travel to Mexico each year for spring break. This year, increased violence plagues the region," it warned, urging students to leave their full itineraries at home with families in friends.

That warning specified trouble spots, mostly near the border and hundreds of miles from techno parties and beach volleyball. Tour agencies and Mexican tourism officials are trying to reiterate that distinction. "We understand violence is happening, but some [places] are 2,000 miles away, and if students use common sense safety tips, it can be an enjoyable experience," says Patrick Evans, of STA Travel, one of the world's largest student travel agencies. He says they have not had any more cancellations this year than in previous ones.

STA Travel did, however, cancel a bus tour that crossed the border of Texas and headed down the Pacific coast to the resort town of Mazatlán.

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