Cancun and the Mexican Caribbean are poised to be among the most popular international destinations in 2023. Despite rising crime rates and news of bloodshed fueled by cartel violence in parts of Mexico, the Mexican state of Quintana Roo is one of the safest for travelers thanks to enhanced security measures. While organized crime remains an issue, it rarely affects travelers directly, and with thousands of law enforcement personnel looking after tourists, travelers can feel safe about their next Cancun trip.
Recent headlines over carte-related violence in Mexico have led many to question whether Cancun remains a safe destination. Despite the alarming reality elsewhere, Cancun will be one of the safest cities in Mexico for travelers in 2023. Over 30 million travelers flocked to the Mexican Caribbean last year, setting a new all-time record for international arrivals. The upward trend is expected to continue well into 2023 as millions of travelers head south to Cancun’s sun-soaked beaches.
Authorities have stepped up safety measures ahead of the busy winter travel season, with hundreds of troops and specialized anti-drug units deployed across Mexican Caribbean tourist hotspots. The enhanced safety apparatus is designed to deter organized crime and drug traffickers from targeting tourists. Places like Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and Tulum are high-value targets for crime groups and have welcomed the lion’s share of all troop deployments over the past several months.
According to José Pablo Mathey, the secretary for Public Security in Cancun, the town’s officials are always on alert for any disturbances that might affect travelers. In a statement, Mathey added that even though cartel violence is unlikely to impact Cancun, authorities must be prepared for the worst-case scenario. “We are working to deter crime in high-risk areas thanks to our crime prevention units together with our federal and state partners,” he added.
2022 was a successful year for law enforcement in Cancun, with several high-profile arrests. Authorities also confiscated hundreds of weapons and thousands of doses of drugs and other illegal substances. In other parts of the Mexican Caribbean, law enforcement continued to make strides in deterring organized crime, with arrests made regularly in places like Tulum and Playa del Carmen.
In 2023, archeological sites are expected to welcome more travelers than ever before. Chichen Itzá has for long been one of the most visited sites in the area, and authorities recently revealed that more troops would be sent to patrol the historically-valuable location. Meanwhile, the new Maya Train – expected to be complete by the end of next year – will open up several new destinations for travelers to explore, including Ichkaban, an ancient Maya ruin.
The Maya Train is expected to boost tourist numbers massively, further increasing the Mexican Caribbean’s popularity as a beach destination. Last week, officials revealed that the country’s National Guard – a paramilitary organization founded in 2019 – would patrol the new railway system, protecting travelers and valuable infrastructure. Stretching for over 1500 kilometers, the new infrastructure project will connect some of the main destinations in the Mexican Caribbean, including Cancun Airport, Playa del Carmen, and Bacalar.
The Mexican Caribbean state of Quintana Roo is currently under a Level 2 travel advisory according to the U.S. Department of State, meaning that while travel to the sun-soaked region is safe, tourists should exercise increased precaution. Travelers can follow several essential tips to ensure a safe stay, such as avoiding walking alone outside at night. Visitors are also encouraged to stick to touristy areas, avoiding venturing into unknown neighborhoods far from resort areas.
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