Spring Break Security Risk in Mexico

March 12, 2018

10 March 2018, 19:12 GMT
Severity: Moderate
Location(s) affected: Quintana Roo, Mexico | Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico | Playa Del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Event Summary

Authorities announced that heightened security measures will be in place in Quintana Roo’s tourist areas until 7 April. Reports indicate that security forces will be conducting increased patrols of beaches and markets in Cancun and Playa del Carmen, as well as the Cancun International Airport (CUN). Additional officers will also be deployed to parts of Cancun’s Hotel Zone, particularly Kukulcán Boulevard. Businesses and tourism activities will continue normal operations.


The security measures are reportedly part of Operation Spring Break, a government initiative aimed at protecting tourists in Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and other popular vacation areas on the Riviera Maya amid escalating violence in Quintana Roo. The US Embassy in Mexico City released a Security Alert on 7 March warning US citizens of an unspecified security threat in Playa del Carmen.  A subsequent alert on 10 March advises all US citizens to avoid neighborhoods including Centro, Calica, Gonzalo Guerrero, Quintas del Carmen, and Villas del Carmen. The homicide rate in Quintana Roo has also been on the rise, and violent incidents have edged closer to tourist areas previously regarded as safe.

The US Embassy has also advised all US travelers to avoid using ferry services between Playa del Carmen and Cozumel. On 1 March, undetonated explosives were found on a ferry operating between Playa del Carmen and Cozumel. The explosives were discovered days after at least 25 people—including two Americans and three Canadian nationals—were injured when an explosive detonated on a ferry in Playa del Carmen on 21 February.


Increased patrols, checkpoints, random searches and travel restrictions should be anticipated; these could result in travel disruptions.

Comply with instructions from the security forces. Carry photographic identification and follow all instructions promptly.

Clients are advised to maintain caution and exercise situational awareness at all times.

Allow for extra time at the airport for check-in and security screening.

Report all suspicious packages or individuals to the relevant authorities.


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