The small but increasingly popular tourist destination of Bacalar has announced a huge increase in police presence for the already extremely safe up-and-coming town.
A total rise of 200 law enforcement elements is being added, no small number considering the relatively minor population of 40,000 found there.
Positive Tourism Makes Recruitment Difficult
Perhaps one of the most positive faces of this announcement for locals is the fact authorities are recruiting from outside the municipality.
Tourism has been handled well here, and it’s a struggle to recruit police officers in the town thanks to the higher wages to be found working directly for the tourism industry.
For travelers who are conscious about the knock-on effect their presence naturally has on any community, this fact is a welcome positive from their visit.
How Safe Is Bacalar?
Anytime an increase in police is announced it naturally raises some questions, the most important being; Is the reasons police are being increased because of higher crime?
In the case of Bacalar, the short answer is no. There hasn’t been any notable increase in crime in the already safe destination. While no specific reasoning has been given, it’s assumed that this increase is in line with the huge change the approach to security has seen in the whole state of Quintana Roo.
A State-Wide Change In Attitude
Across Quintana Roo, which is the state home to Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Tulum, and smaller Caribbean destinations like the beautiful Bacalar, a huge change in policing has taken place recently.
Before, the approach to security for both travelers and locals would be best described as reactionary. A crime happens in an area more than once, so the authorities would act. This isn’t a strange response; this form of policing is common around the world.
But, it was allowing crime to always stay one step ahead of the authorities; by the time a response was in place, the offending parties could just move on to another area.
Admittedly, not much of a deterrent.
Looking at the state of Quintana Roo now, the situation has completely changed. Almost weekly, new initiatives are announced, and not a reaction to threats, but in anticipation of them.
Policing has switched to preventative; instead of responding to things as they happen, the authorities are proactively strengthening the security in important destinations, districts, and even individual streets before anything negative can happen.
Many readers may be unaware of Bacalar, and they’d be forgiven for that; after all, this small town is still firmly placed in the hidden gem category.
Currently, it isn’t the easiest destination to reach for travelers already weary from their flight from the U.S., but that is about to change in a few short months once the long-awaited Tren Maya (Mayan train network) goes into service.
The journey, on a good day, from Cancun Airport to Bacalar can take 4.5 hours, easily getting up to 6 hours if traveling during peak hours. With the Tren Maya that will be cut to just 2 hours, and with a lot more comfort than the famously rough roads found in rural Mexico.
To put that into perspective, on a day of bad traffic the journey from Cancun Airport to the Hotel Zone can take the same amount of time. This means the more relaxed and authentic south of the state will soon be just as easy to visit for travelers as the hustle and bustle of Cancun.
Why Its Popularity Is Exploding
Travelers are becoming more and more adventurous with their destination choice, a trend that has grown ever since Tulum staked its claim as the hottest new small destination in the world.
The popularity of Tulum led many to wonder: what other treasures are waiting in the Mexican Caribbean?
With a beautiful freshwater lagoon hugging this magical town and a wealth of nature and almost non-existent crowds, Bacalar is far from a boring choice and fully deserving of its blossoming popularity.
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