Cancun has long been a popular package holiday destination with Britons, who are excited for the sea, sun and excellent beaches the area has to offer.
However, shocking violence has erupted in the area over the past 36 hours, with 14 murders and five injuries due to gun shot wounds, in six separate instances across the city.
What’s more, over 100 people have been murdered in Cancun since the beginning of the year, doubling the city’s murder rate.
The gang violence, mainly driven by the thriving drug trade, has cast serious doubt over whether Cancun is a safe, family-friendly holiday destination.
The violence is not only isolated to Cancun. Earlier this year, the Mexican city of Los Cabos was named as the world’s most violent city.
Los Cabos, on the southern tip of Baja California, is one of Mexico’s most popular tourist destinations. But it also has a deadly side, with a murder rate of 111.3 per 100,000 residents.
In addition, Mexico’s Acapulco was ranked the third most dangerous city in the world.
This begs the question whether Mexico’s popular tourist hubs are now becoming increasingly violent war zones, run by cartels and gangs.
However, despite the most recent violent outburst in Cancun, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has not yet revised its travel advice.
FCO advice currently states: “Drug-related violence in Mexico has increased over recent years. The violence is concentrated in specific areas, and some regions are almost completely spared. Make sure you research your destination thoroughly.
“The Mexican government makes efforts to protect major tourist destinations like Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Cozumel, Los Cabos, Puerto Vallarta and Nuevo Vallarta and these areas have mostly not seen the levels of drug-related violence and crime experienced elsewhere.
“There is currently an increased police presence in the Cancun area, including in the hotel zone.
“If you’re visiting any of these areas, you should monitor local advice, remain vigilant and follow the advice of the local authorities and your tour operator,” the FCO warns.
Meanwhile, US authorities have issued a ‘Level 2’ warning for Mexico, advising tourists to exercise increased caution.
The U.S. Department of State’s advice for Quintana Roo, the region where Cancun is, reads: “According to Government of Mexico statistics, the state experienced an increase in homicide rates compared to the same period in 2016.
“While most of these homicides appeared to be targeted, criminal organization assassinations, turf battles between criminal groups have resulted in violent crime in areas frequented by U.S. citizens.
“Shooting incidents injuring or killing bystanders have occurred.”
According to the FCO, over 513,800 British nationals visited Mexico in 2016. Most visits are trouble-free.