The British government is warning tourists in Mexico to be alert to the risk of being caught up in gang-related violence after a recent shooting at a beach resort.
In its updated travel advice, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) warned of increased violence between criminal gangs in and around tourist hotspots on Mexico’s popular Caribbean coast.
It said: “Two foreign tourists were killed in Tulum, more tourists were injured during a shootout in Puerto Morelos, and most recently there was a shooting in the Centre of Playa del Carmen, injuring three.
“There is currently an increased police presence in the Cancun area, including in the hotel zone. While tourists have not been the target, anyone in the vicinity of an incident could be affected.
“If you are visiting any of these areas, you should monitor local advice, remain vigilant and follow the advice of the local authorities and your tour operator.”
After a spate of attacks fuelled by the demand for drugs, the Mexican government is making efforts to protect major tourist destinations like Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Cozumel, Los Cabos, Puerto Vallarta and Nuevo Vallarta.
The FCDO added: “Crime and violence are serious problems in Mexico and the security situation can pose a risk for foreigners. Many Mexican and foreign businesses choose to hire private security.
“You should research your destination thoroughly and only travel during daylight hours when possible. Monitor local media and inform trusted contacts of your travel plans.”
A number of shootings and stabbings involving tourists have been reported in Mexico’s tourist areas, while Mexican officials have insisted that the resorts are safe for the vast majority of visitors.
In June, two Canadians – a man wanted by Interpol on fraud charges, and a woman – were found dead in a Playa del Carmen hotel with knife wounds. The Canadian foreign ministry confirmed the deaths.
In May, one person was killed and six others were injured in shootings on the main boulevard in Cancun.
In January this year, two Canadians were fatally shot and another was wounded at a hotel in Playa del Carmen.
It was later reported that the two tourists that died were responsible for the violence that erupted over international crime-linked debts.
Lucio Hernández Gutiérrez, security secretary of Quintana Roo state, tweeted that the violence broke out after an “argument between hotel guests,” and that Canadian officials told him that both victims had criminal records and that one of their records included drug trafficking.
In December 2021, gunmen on jetskis fired guns near a beach in Cancun. No injuries were reported.
In November, two people – allegedly rival gang members – died in a beach shoot-out in Puerto Morelos.
In October, two female tourists – an Indian-born American travel blogger and a German – were killed in crossfire between two Mexican gang members in a restaurant in Tulum. Two German men and a Dutch woman were also injured.
Following the shootings, president Andrés Manuel López Obrador sent nearly 1,500 members of the armed National Guard to patrol the area.