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Cancun Still One Of The Safest Destinations For Americans This Spring

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Following the kidnapping and murder of two American nationals in Mexico recently, the media is once again on high alert.

The entire country is under scrutiny, despite the fact that violence directed at visitors is rare, and unsurprisingly, even the popular sunny destination Cancun couldn't escape it:

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

Being the number one destination for U.S. nationals abroad, Cancun has featured in several doom-and-gloom articles published this week, with Texan authorities going as far as urging citizens to avoid crossing the border altogether for their spring vacations.

But where exactly is crime centered, and how does Cancun fare in relation to the rest of the country?

With the scaremongers out in full force, you may be surprised to know that Cancun is still one of the safest destinations for Americans this spring, regardless of recent incidents. This is why:

Cancun Is Actually Much Safer Than Average

Police patrolling cancun beach with k9 unit

Security is a major concern for travelers going abroad, and Cancun officials are well aware of that, and have taken unprecedented steps to ensure all tourist zones around the city, including nearby towns and resort strips, are low-risk, despite the fact that the vast majority of violent incidents occurring in Cancun are limited to suburban areas and involve gangs.

Despite the bad publicity it has gotten as a result of travel advisories and the exacerbation of the danger risk, as portrayed by the biased media, Cancun is no different than any other major urban center.

Being a big city, it should expect a higher incidence of crime, much like New York, Los Angeles, Houston, or any other U.S. metropolis.

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beach and hotels in cancun

With that being said, one could argue Cancun is actually safer than average. After all, it is heavily policed, and crime is simply not tolerated.

Not only public beaches, pedestrian zones, and shopping centers are protected, but also the internal areas of resorts and leisure complexes where guests are normally lodged.

Over the last year, security was tightened even further, to the point where undercover police, the national guard, and even the military were deployed to certain swimming spots, and patrolling officers became a permanent feature of the sandy banks lining the Hotel Zone.

View Of The Caribbean Sea From A Hotel In The Hotel Zone Of Cancun, Quintana Roo, Riviera Maya, Mexico

While this may be disconcerting for some sunseekers, the presence of law enforcers has contributed to a greater sense of safety in Cancun, while other parts of Mexico, such as Matamoros, where American citizens were kidnapped and killed this month, have been going down a spiral of violence.

Not Cancun or the wider Riviera Maya:

Cancun Is Heavily Policed

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

Staying in any of the resorts, you will notice 24/7 security personnel is present, ensuring that guests are well looked after, and outsiders with malice cannot come in.

As stated by the Cancun Sun, private security is an important industry in Mexico, and the growing competition has influenced security providers to raise their standards significantly.

As police officers patrol tourist hotspots, the resorts' private security take rounds guarding the resort and promptly identifying threats that may endanger the well-being of vacationers. They may not always be able to speak perfect English, but they will still be able to assist you when needed or refer you to the resort concierge when translation is necessary.

Riu Palace Peninsula Resort In Cancun, Mexico

Usually, resort security is required to follow a ‘code system' as well, which means incidents are communicated clearly based on their nature.

This helps the personnel respond quicker and more incisively to any disturbances in the state of peace.

In the event of an in-resort theft, the personnel acts as the first line of investigation, checking all exiting individuals for stolen items, whether it's guests or staff who reported it.

Of course, any such events are very unlikely to happen.

aerial view of cancun hotel zone

In this regard, Cancun is a unique destination among its peers in the ‘sun and sand' category, as they generally do not implement these additional measures.

With such an intense level of surveillance, crime rates tend to be very low in Cancun's Hotel Zone, where a majority of Americans normally stay.

Where Is Crime Centered In Mexico?

No warnings against travel apply to Cancun, and the state of Quintana Roo as a whole is listed by the U.S. Department of State as a Level 2 destination, the same category under which European countries like France, Germany, and Italy are allocated.

A Group Of Mexican Police Officers

Conversely, Mexico's hotspots for crime, or Level 4 states, at least according to the entity, are the following:

  • Colima
  • Guerrero
  • Michoacan
  • Sinaloa
  • Tamaulipas
  • Zacatecas

When crime does occur, it is often linked to organized crime and gang disputes in peripheral zones, even in the aforementioned states – Mazatlan (Sinaloa), for instance, is an increasingly trendy and fast-developing tourism hub.

Hotels in Cancun

In Cancun or elsewhere, criminals know better than to mess with tourists due to the local Government's and the military's reputation for having extreme reactions and a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to crime.

The high level of safety is one of the many reasons why visiting Cancun has been a stress-free experience this winter and will continue to be so during spring.

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This article originally appeared on

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.


Thursday 23rd of March 2023

I disagree. My passport and work computer were stolen in Mexico. At the consulate I met a ton of crime victims. You can’t make a police report over the phone because the tourist police don’t speak English so crime here in my view is pretty bad and cost me a ton of money