The U.S. Embassy in Mexico has issued a security alert for the popular tourist destinations of Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and Tulum due to significant increases in crime rates over the last year which have led to increased violence including homicide. The embassy is advising anyone traveling through these areas not to go out at night or walk alone as they could be targeted by criminals who are operating with impunity largely because law enforcement agents cannot provide effective coverage throughout all hours of operation

The “is it safe to travel to mexico right now” is a question that has been asked for many years. The US Embassy in Mexico has issued a security alert for Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Tulum.

US Embassy Issues Security Alert for Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Tulum

Following the fatal January 21 shooting of two Canadian tourists at a five-star hotel in the Playa del Carmen area and the murder of a beachfront bar manager mere days later and less than six miles away, the U.S. Embassy & Consulates in Mexico last week issued a special security alert for American citizens traveling to Quintana Roo.

“In light of recent security issues and criminal activity in prominent tourist locations such as Cancun, Playa Del Carmen, and Tulum, U.S. residents are advised to exercise heightened vigilance while going to the state of Quintana Roo,” the advisory warns. “Criminal activity and violence are possible across the state, including regions visited by U.S. citizens.”

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The notification makes no mention of the shootings that occurred last week, the first of which occurred in an outdoor dining area at Hotel Xcaret in Playa del Carmen, a popular beach resort 42 miles south of Cancun. According to The Points Guy, the state prosecutor’s office in Quintana Roo revealed that the two Canadians slain in the event both had criminal histories, including drug trafficking charges.

Visitors from the United States are advised to take the following steps, according to the special bulletin:

— Keep an eye on local news for updates, follow local authorities’ instructions, and dial 911 in an emergency.

– Stay away from crowds.

— Pay attention to your surroundings.

— Go through your personal security preparations one again.

— If you need help, contact the United States Consulate or Embassy.

It also offers useful links for individuals considering a journey south, such as the State Department’s ‘Smart Traveler Enrollment Program’ (STEP), a free program that allows U.S. citizens overseas to get safety and security updates from the closest U.S. embassy or consulate in their destination. Enrollment in the program also allows the US embassy to contact passengers and provide help in the event of an emergency while they are abroad.

Puerto Morelos, Quintana Roo, Mexico (Foto: de Miguel Discart/Flickr) Puerto Morelos is located in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo. (Flickr picture by Miguel Discart)

What Was the Cause of This Warning?

While Quintana Roo and its popular tourist destinations have traditionally been considered safe, a series of violent events in recent months linked to drug gangs (along with ongoing COVID-19 concerns) prompted the US State Department to raise its travel advisory for Mexico to ‘Level 3: Reconsider Travel’ and advise visitors to ‘Exercise Increased Caution’ when visiting.

Two tourists were murdered and three others were seriously wounded when they were caught in the middle of a gunfight at a restaurant in Tulum in October. The Cancun Sun stated that the organization behind it claimed it was a message that “they are serious about companies paying extortion demands in return for safety.” Four Americans were wounded in November when they were caught in the crossfire of opposing drug gangs on the beach in Puerto Morelos, just outside the Hyatt Ziva Riviera Cancun resort.

México lideró, de 2018 a 2021, la Comisión Interamericana de Turismo de la OEA. (Photo: via Quintana Roo Tourism Board). Hotel Zone in Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico. (courtesy of the Quintana Roo Tourism Board)

Then, in December, gunmen on jet skis opened fire on a beach in the Cancun Hotel Zone’s Playa Langosta. Local police stated no one was hurt when the “unidentified gunmen shot into the air, then abandoned their jet skis, changed into civilian clothing, and left,” according to the New York Post.

Soon after, Governor Carlos Joaquin Gonzalez of Quintana Roo announced the formation of a special police force, the ‘Coordination Group for Quintana Roo’s Peace and Security,’ to beef up security ahead of holiday tourism. In January, the ‘Tourist Security Battalion of the National Guard,’ consisting of almost 1,500 personnel, was sent to continue patrolling the area and protecting the public.

Visit mx.usembassy.gov for additional details.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it safe to travel from Cancun to Tulum?

A: Yes, you should be safe.

Is Cancun safe right now?

A: Cancun is considered safe for tourists.

Is it safe to travel to Tulum Mexico right now?

A: This is a question without an answer. Theres currently no way to know if its safe in Tulum, Mexico

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