Over the weekend, beachgoers in Cancun’s famed Hotel Zone found themselves in uniformed company, with increased police presence appearing as part of the city’s Beach Reinforcement program.

The Tourist Security Battalion is patrolling the sands on ATVs, surveilling citizens and visitors, and performing random inspections in an effort to prevent any criminal activity in the area. Riviera Maya News reported that the police department believes, “police tours on Cancun city beaches are constant and is a way to strengthen social proximity and citizen perception.”


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The creation of a special police force tasked with fortifying safety levels in Quintana Roo’s lucrative tourist areas came after a series of violent incidents started breaking out in the region since October, mainly tied to rivalries between drug groups.

In recent weeks, the U.S. Embassy & Consulates in Mexico issued a special security alert for the state of Quintana Roo, home to such popular tourist destinations as Cancun and nearby Riviera Maya locations, like Cozumel, Playa Del Carmen, Puerto Morelos and Tulum.

“In light of recent security incidents and criminal activity in popular tourist destinations including Cancun, Playa Del Carmen and Tulum, U.S. citizens are reminded to exercise increased caution when traveling to the state of Quintana Roo,” read the cautionary notice. “Criminal activity and violence may occur throughout the state, including areas frequented by U.S. citizen visitors.”

Police, ATVs, quads, vehicles, beach
Police quads on the beach. (photo via kake1967 / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

Taken together with evolving COVID-19 risk levels south of the border, these unfortunate incidents also prompted the U.S. State Department in December to raise its travel advisory status for Mexico to ‘Level 3: Reconsider Travel’, and warn visitors traveling to Quintana Roo, in particular, to ‘Exercise Increased Caution’, due to crime.

In January, the State Department has elevated its Mexico travel advisory to ‘Level 4: Do Not Travel’.

However, with infection rates in the region falling, Quintana Roo’s Governor Carlos Joaquin lowered Cancun’s COVID-19 risk indicator level from ‘orange’ to ‘yellow’ status over this past weekend, just one notch up from ‘green’ on its epidemiological ‘traffic light’ scale.

At ‘yellow’ status, local hotels are permitted to operate at 85 percent capacity; and restaurants, bars and clubs can also fill outdoor or patio spaces to 85 percent capacity, with indoor seating capacity limited to 70 percent.

Overall, Cancun continues to take tourism safety very seriously.

“The safety of our visitors is of the utmost importance, and we are in continuous communications with the government, tour operators, hotel associations and other partners to ensure that all of our destinations are aligned on safety measures,” Dario Flota Ocampo, director of the Quintana Roo Tourism Board told TravelPulse.


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