While countries closed borders during Covid-19, Mexico stayed open. The country experienced record tourism levels in response. Now, the world is reopening again, and Mexican tourism has more than one problem.

Not only do people have more choices about where they can go, they have to decide whether it’s safe to visit Mexico right now, amid rampant gun violence in tourism hot spots.

If you’re thinking about Mexico, here’s an overview of where the violence has been taking place and a list of amazing spots all around Mexico where things might be a bit calmer.

Violence In Mexico: Where It’s Happening

Even with every country in the world open, there are plenty of reasons to make Mexico a top choice. It’s got pretty much everything.

Some of the world’s best beaches, check. Cuisine with as much variation as one could ever dream of, also check. And then there’s the scenic land, the history, the people and the incredible hotels.

Mexico has always battled with some level of violence in areas not widely frequented by tourists, as a result of ongoing cartel issues, but things have taken an unfortunate turn recently, straight out of the Netflix series ‘Narcos Mexico’.

In an event which is still unfolding, there were scenes of panic yesterday as news of either an explosion, or gunshots at Cancun International Airport made headlines. It’s not the only recent event to rock the Cancun and greater Quintana Roo area.

Quintana Roo Has Been Most Impacted By Violence

Unfortunately, the greater Quintana Roo area has experienced a series of worrisome events, involving gangland shootings in areas of heavy tourism. In one instance, there was a shooting involving 15 gang members on a beach outside a major US hotel chain in Cancun, which left two drug dealers dead.

In another, two tourists were left dead after senseless shooting at an upscale resort in Playa Del Carmen. Dating back as far as 2018, the US State Department began issuing travel alerts for the area, after a series of unexplained explosions.

At the time, violence was largely outside of hotels and tourist centric areas, and was primarily gang on gang violence. Unfortunately, these turf wars have grown and more bold tactics are being deployed.

Which Tourism Destinations Are In Quintana Roo?

It’s worth noting that Quintana Roo set tourism records this year, and though recent incidents are justifiably worrying, an overwhelming majority of people have enjoyed entirely uneventful trips, with all the joys Mexico brings.

Quintana Roo is the wider tourism area that’s made up of: Playa Del Carmen, Cancun, Tulum, the islands of Cozumel and Isla Mujeres, among others. Most local violence has taken place in either Cancun or Playa Del Carmen in recent months.

Other areas of Mexico have experienced more stability, but that’s caveated by the fact that cities are cities. Mexico City is an incredible destination for any visitor, but like any other city in the world, there’s an element of crime. It’s no different in New York.

Mexico Is Huge: You’ve Got Choices

With a Gulf and a Pacific Coast, Mexico is massive. It stretches from the southern edge of California down to Central America, which if you look at a map — is massive.

What I’m trying to say, is that there are an enumerable amount of other choices in Mexico, if you are put off by recent violent incidents in the Quintana Roo area. For any Mezcal fans, Oaxaca is amazing. For outdoorsy types, Monterrey and the Highlands around Mexico city are stunning.

There’s even a tequila train, which for $160 will get you buzzed between Guadalajara and a town quite literally named Tequila. Statistically, travel to Mexico remains as safe as it’s ever been, and shootings happen pretty much everywhere at some point. Still, the boldness of recent attacks drifting into tourist areas is reason for concern.

If you do have concern, there’s plenty of other Mexican destinations to explore, some will offer far more authentic, laid back and unique experiences. Mexico is huge. Mexico is wonderful and a little creativity can solve any woes.

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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