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Is it safe to travel to Cancun? Shooting leaves one dead in Mexico’s Caribbean resort

As more deadly violence hits the region around Cancun, here is the latest advice for tourists visiting the Mexican resort

<p>A member of the newly created Tourist Security Battalion of the National Guard stands guard at a beach in Cancun (Photo: AFP via Getty Images)</p>

A member of the newly created Tourist Security Battalion of the National Guard stands guard at a beach in Cancun (Photo: AFP via Getty Images)

One person has been killed and six others were injured on Friday (6 May) in shootings on a main boulevard in Mexico’s resort of Cancun, authorities said.

A suspect had been detained in relation to the attack in the Caribbean coast city, which did not take place in the resort’s hotel zone, according to prosecutors in the coastal state of Quintana Roo.

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The shootings occurred on an avenue lined with restaurants and bars further inland.

Is it safe to travel to Cancun?

The shootings are the latest instance of violence that has damaged Cancun’s reputation as a laid-back holiday destination.

Mexico is a popular hoiday destination, with over 500,000 British nationals visiting the country every year.

However, the gang-related violence that blights much of the country has affected the popular Cancun area in recent months.

In March, tourists were sent scrambling by loud bangs heard at the international airport in Cancun.

Flights were suspended for almost three hours after authorities received reports of gunshots at the airport. Videos posted on social media showed travellers rushing out of a terminal.

Members of the newly created Tourist Security Battalion of the National Guard patrol a beach in Cancun (Photo: AFP via Getty Images)

The National Guard said later there was no evidence of any gunshots having been fired, and said the bangs may have occurred after someone knocked over three free-standing vertical display stands in the terminal.

Also in March, authorities found four bodies dumped in undergrowth in Cancun, and said they were part of a total of 13 murders committed by the Jalisco cartel in the resort since September.

Most of the bodies were found in vacant lots or houses.

The Caribbean coast, Mexico’s top tourism money-maker, has been hit by rampant violence.

In January, prosecutors said the killing of two Canadians near Cancun was motivated by debts between international gangs apparently dedicated to drug and weapons trafficking.

In late October, further south in Tulum, two tourists – one a California travel blogger born in India and the other German — were caught in the apparent crossfire of rival drug dealers and killed.

What is the Foreign Office advice on Mexico?

The UK Government’s advice on the Foreign Office website for Brits considering travel to Mexico, and Cancun in particular, states: “The Mexican government makes efforts to protect major tourist destinations like Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Cozumel, Los Cabos, Puerto Vallarta and Nuevo Vallarta.

“However, since the beginning of 2021, there have been several clashes between rival criminal gangs in popular tourist destinations in Cancun and surrounding areas. Two foreign tourists were killed in Tulum, more tourists were injured during a shoot out in Puerto Morelos, and most recently there was a shooting in a hotel in Playa del Carmen in locations popular with tourists.

“There is currently an increased police presence in the Cancun area, including in the hotel zone. While tourists have not been the target, anyone in the vicinity of an incident could be affected.

“If you are visiting any of these areas, you should monitor local advice, remain vigilant and follow the advice of the local authorities and your tour operator.”