Skip to Content

Newly Opened Cancun Restaurants Receive Threat Of Attacks From Criminal Gangs

Share The Article

Tourists Should Treat Fresh Threats With Care

Newly opened Cancun establishments are facing threats of violence from organized criminals in their first weeks of operation. Tourists should heed the warnings and take added care if choosing to visit these businesses.

downtown cancun at night

The threats are the newest in a recent spate of increased criminal activity in the state that places residents and tourists in danger.

In a series of chilling videos posted online, criminals wielding long-barreled weapons made direct threats against multiple establishments, warning them that if they don’t comply with extortion payments, attacks will be launched on the premises.

One restaurant mentioned multiple times is “La Casa de Gary”. The quirky restaurant opened recently and has drawn criticism from locals for its odd appearance. The restaurant is themed around the children’s cartoon SpongeBob Squarepants and features a giant pineapple on its storefront that protrudes out onto the sidewalk. The fruit-shaped obstacle has drawn frustration from drivers and pedestrians who are forced to walk on the road to avoid it.

The other establishment mentioned in the video was “Capri”, also a popular venue for families.

restaurant in cancun

La Casa del Gary has already gone viral, which may be one of the reasons it has come to the attention of the criminals. In the video, the gang threatens to launch an armed attack on the restaurant, regardless of who is on the premises. It is unclear if the gang expects the restaurant to pay for protection or is simply seeking money in return for avoiding attacks.

Possibly, more importantly, La Casa del Gary is at least partly owned by the son of the new Governor of Quintana Roo. Whether this has played a role in the threats made against the businesses is unclear, but politicians clashing with organized crime is a regular occurrence in Mexico.

restaurant in downtown cancun

Threats like these should be taken seriously by tourists. It’s a popular restaurant already, and many are drawn to it with their children, owing to its link to the cartoon. But after several restaurants and bars were ruthlessly attacked in previous weeks, it may be safer to avoid this establishment. The gangs show little concern for those in the establishments at the time and kill with little hesitation.

One brutal Friday night, five Downtown restaurants were attacked by a criminal gang. Two bars, in particular, were attacked by armed assailants within minutes of each other, killing multiple people including a security guard who was executed at point-blank range. Three other buildings were vandalized or set on fire.

cancun area from above

The response of the restaurants in question is yet to be seen. Many businesses have chosen to close instead of facing the threats or losing money to gangs. Even popular restaurants in the Downtown region with positive futures do not see the risk to their staff and customers as worth it. A shooting at a family restaurant like Gary’s is horrifying, and many would fully understand the owners shutting up shop, at least temporarily. Even closing holds a risk for the business as several have seen their premises set alight after doing so.

A solution to the problem is complicated as the influence of organized crime grows in the area, and although tourists generally avoid the issues, visitors are likely to be caught up as collateral damage at some point.

downtown cancun aerial shot

Tourists should take extra care when in the Downtown area especially, and remain aware of their surroundings. Understanding that being involved in one of these atrocities has nothing to do with being a smart traveler – it is simply a case of wrong place, wrong time, and it could happen at any point.

beachside restaurant

The US has already issued updated travel advisories on the area, warning tourists to avoid walking around at night and taking extra care in public places. Tourists are still overwhelmingly safe in Cancun and Quintana Roo, but the risk is most definitely there and rising.

Plan Your Next Cancun Vacation:

Traveler Alert: Don’t Forget Travel Insurance For Your Next Trip!

Choose From Thousands of Cancun and Riviera Maya Hotels, Resorts and Hostels with Free Cancellation On Most Properties

↓ Join the community ↓

The Cancun Sun Community FB group has all the latest travel news, conversations and tourism Q&A’s for the Mexican Caribbean


Subscribe to our Latest Posts

Enter your email address to subscribe to The Cancun Sun’s latest breaking news affecting travelers, straight to your inbox.