US Consulate issues warning on Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Tulum

Fran Golden.

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In the wake of the recent killing of two Canadian visitors in an outdoor dining area at a five-star hotel in Playa del Carmen on Jan. 21 and the fatal shooting of a bar manager days later at Mamita’s Beach Club six miles away, the U.S. Consulate General in Merida has issued a security alert for U.S. citizens traveling in the region.

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The Hotel Xcaret in Cancun, Mexico. (Photo courtesy of the hotel)

“In light of recent security incidents and criminal activity in popular tourist destinations including Cancun, Playa Del Carmen, and Tulum, U.S. citizens are reminded to exercise increased caution when traveling to the state of Quintana Roo,” reads the notice on the U.S. Embassy and Consulate for Mexico’s website. “Criminal activity and violence may occur throughout the state, including areas frequented by U.S. citizen visitors.”

The notice suggests U.S. visitors take the following actions:

  • Monitor the local news for updates, follow directions from local officials, and in case of emergency, call 911.
  • Avoid crowds.
  • Be aware of your surroundings.
  • Review your personal security plans.
  • Contact the U.S. Consulate or Embassy if you need assistance.

The alert, posted online on Jan. 25, 2022, does not specifically mention the shooting that occurred Jan. 21 at the Hotel Xcaret in Playa del Carmen, about 45 miles south of Cancun. The gunfire took place near an outdoor dining area, leaving guests scrambling for cover.

The two deceased men had criminal records including drug trafficking charges, according to the Quintana Roo state prosecutor’s office. There have reportedly been arrests in the case.

Located on the Caribbean side of Mexico, Quintana Roo has generally been considered safe for tourists, though there have been several incidents of violence linked to drug groups in recent months. In October, two tourists were killed, and three others injured, in gunfire at a restaurant in Tulum. In November, visitors at the Hyatt Ziva Riviera Cancun in Puerto Morelos scrambled to avoid gunfire during a shootout on the beach.

The Mexican government deployed National Guard troops around the region in an effort to deter such incidents.

Featured image of Cancun by SVongpra/