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Cancun Latest Destination In The Mexican Caribbean To Improve Security In Tourist Areas

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The latest surge in violence in certain parts of Mexico has sparked an intense debate regarding the country's safety as a tourist destination, especially after four American citizens were kidnapped and two found dead in the small border town of Matamoros.

Mexican Police Officer Patrols Beach, Mexico

Authorities in leading tourist destinations were among the first to react, deploying more law enforcers to critical sites and reminding visitors that events taking place in remote parts of Mexico, such as Matamoros, in no way affect foreigners vacationing in the Mexican Caribbean.

Following in the footsteps of Tulum, neighboring Cancun is now the latest destination in the coastal province to improve security in tourist areas:

Cancun Is Acting Fast And Decisively

Mexican Police Officers Patrolling Playa Del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Spring break is fast approaching, and with a record number of international visitors expected to breeze through Cancun International Airport's brand new e-Gates, top officials in Cancun, as well as the Quintana Roo Government on an extent, are taking no chances when it comes to safety levels.

As reported by Governor Mara Lezama Espinosa, new security measures are being enacted ahead of the peak season, with all three levels of Government involved in ensuring crime levels are kept to a minimum and Americans can enjoy their vacation completely stress-free.

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The Mexican Marina Patrolling The Beach In Isla Mujeres, An Island Off The Coast Of Cancun, Riviera Maya, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Over the last couple of years, Cancun has attracted a significant number of delinquents as a result of its popularity with beachgoers.

Although petty crimes and taxi scams are the most common occurrences affecting tourists, more serious incidents can occur, including shootings.

With that being said, gun violence is extremely limited in the Hotel Zone or the touristy Downtown Cancun, usually taking place in peripheral zones or in instances where foreigners are directly linked to drug trafficking.

In sum, tourists are not the target.

Like any big city, however, including metropolises North of the border, such as New York, Los Angeles, and Detroit, Cancun suffers from higher levels of crime, often as a result of turf wars.

While these are unlikely to lead to major disturbances to daily life, authorities are keen on ramping up security further.

Operation Red Circle

The Governor has stated that they all work ‘daily' in joint actions to reinforce security and guarding of all beaches, ‘with elements of the Navy, National Guard, Tourist Police, and State Police‘ participating.

More importantly, Espinosa detailed a new large-scale operation in the fight against crime:

Aerial View Of Cancun, Quintana Roo, Riviera Maya, Mexico

Dubbed the ‘Red Circle‘, it aims to drastically reduce violence in Cancun in record time.

It will be in progress in several tourist hotspots along the Riviera Maya every day of the week, during the nighttime, from 10 pm onwards, when criminal activity usually intensifies.

Effectively, officers will closely monitor bars, nightclubs, entertainment houses, and other venues and busy areas frequented by tourists.

Additionally, CCTV will be installed in strategic points, and Immediate Attentional Centers (CAIS) will be set up and equipped with security.

People enjoying a cocktail in an outdoor bar at night

Tourists walking Downtown Cancun at night may be alarmed by the presence of armed officers patrolling the streets or inspecting tourists entering and leaving venues, but they have absolutely nothing to worry about:

They are to keep them safe, and the sight of them should, in fact, offer some comfort, as it strongly discourages pickpockets and other criminals from engaging with visitors.

Cancun Is Extremely Safe For American Tourists

Much like the Mexican President, who rebuked Republicans' claims that Mexico is lenient when it comes to crime by stating it is, in fact, ‘safer' than the United States, the State Governor has reaffirmed Cancun is home to ‘safe communities‘, and the improved safety measures ‘will only make it a safer place to be'.

Cancun is indeed one of the safest travel destinations in Mexico, being considered only moderately risky by the U.S. State Department, which advises Americans to exercise ‘increased caution' when visiting.

This might sound concerning, but the same advice applies to several traditionally ‘safe' destinations globally, including France and Germany.

beach and hotels in cancun

Last year, 30 million tourists landed in Cancun, and besides the usual scamming, which you can avoid by following these tips, and the occasional pickpocketing, virtually no American who is not personally linked to drug traffickers was a victim of violent crime.

Cancun is extremely safe, now even more so.

How To Keep Safe Visiting Cancun

This year, 3.8 million travelers have already arrived in the Mayan Riviera between January and February, 830,000 more than in the first two months of 2022.

Tourism is growing, and Quintana Roo officials are aware that, in order to keep the momentum going, they must act fast and incisively to combat crime – and they have done just that.

Colorful Cancun sign

Needless to say, some caution is still advised when traveling in foreign countries where you may be targeted by ill-intentioned individuals:

  • Restrict your movements to tourist zones
  • Stay in well-lit, crowded pedestrian zones
  • Familiarize yourself with local safety rules, as they may differ from those back at hoome
  • Either leave your valuable items at the hotel, or avoid displaying them in public unnecessarily
  • Keep your personal belongings on you at all times
  • Steer clear of the drug subculture of Mexico, as that is likely to get you into trouble with local law enforces who have a zero-tolerance attitude towards, as well as put you in more vulnerable positions
  • Get insured prior to traveling

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Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.


Tuesday 28th of March 2023

It's obvious that American College springbreakers will be a lot safer in Cancún than in any school in the USA