In recent weeks, Mexican National Guard Units have been stationed at the main entrance to the Tulum Archaeological Zone to protect tourists from potential cases of fraud and harassment.
The aim is to prevent people, known locally as “jaladores” or “pullers,” from pestering tourists entering the zone with offers for tours of services.
While tours in the Riviera Maya can be a fantastic way to experience the local culture and see the unique attractions only known to locals, some pullers can be too persistent when selling their services.
In some particularly egregious cases, pullers have gotten into physical fights in front of tourists visiting the archaeological site. In others, pullers have thrown themselves in front of tourist vehicles to prevent them from entering the park.
Some pullers have even been found guilty of fraud. The National Guard arrested seven people for charging tourists $58 USD for bracelets required to enter the site. The actual price is 58 pesos (around $3.30 USD).
After complaints from tourists, authorities dispatched the National Guard to keep the situation under control.
According to Tulum National Park, the National Guard has restricted pullers to their designated area since the beginning of June, ensuring that tourists can enter the grounds on foot or by car.
Now, tourists continue to have the option to seek out local guides to the Mayan ruins, but they are also free to explore on their own without feeling pressured.
Since this spring, the National Guard’s role in protecting tourism and maintaining order in the Riviera Maya has increased significantly.
National Guard Deployed To Beaches
This Spring, a wave of violence in Mexican beach cities pressured the Mexican government to deploy national guard troops to protect the tourism industry.
Mexican Secretary of Defense, Luis Cresencio Sandoval, announced the plan before the Easter holiday, traditionally one of the busiest seasons for tourism in the region.
The actions occurred after the United States Department of State issued an advisory saying, “U.S. citizens should exercise increased caution in the downtown areas of popular spring break locations, including Cancun, Playa Del Carmen, and Tulum, especially after dark.”
While the advisory represents a growing concern on the part of the United States government, it does not discourage travel to the region, as it does with other Mexican states.
Advisories suggesting U.S. citizens “exercise increased caution” are also under effect in popular worldwide destinations such as France and the United Kingdom.
After the advisory, several high-profile incidents brought further attention to the security state in the Riviera Maya.
One such incident was a shooting outside of a popular Cancun hotel that resulted in the deaths of four Mexican nationals.
The Mexican National Tourism Business Council (CNET) responded to the shooting and other instances of violent crime with a call for action.
The CNET asked that the Mexican government “ensure that the country’s tourist destinations be spaces of personal, social, and patrimonial security so that the local population and the national and international tourists can visit.”
As a result, National Guard members were sent across the country to protect tourist areas and key infrastructure points, including in Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and Tulum.
In total, 8,000 soldiers from the National Guard, the Army, and the Marines were sent across the country to prevent violence during the Easter holiday.
The National Guard In Tulum
This is not the first time the National Guard has been called to protect a national park in Tulum.
In April, as National Guard troops began to spread across the country, some elements were sent to the new Jaguar National Park in Tulum.
Inspector General of the National Guard Gabriel Bautista Tapia said authorities “detected people wishing to invade the diverse lands they find in the park to construct buildings. This will not be permitted since this is a protected reserve.”
As the National Guard continues to play an active role in policing Mexico, travelers should not be surprised if they come across military personnel in Tulum or elsewhere in the Riviera Maya.
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