Two tourists killed at upscale resort in Mexico

Jan 23, 2022

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Two visitors from Canada died after being shot on Friday Jan. 21, 2022, at the five-star Hotel Xcaret in Playa del Carmen, which is about 45 miles south of Cancun. A third tourist was also wounded in the gunfire.

The mid-afternoon incident stemmed from an argument among hotel guests near an outdoor dining area, when one guest with a gun started shooting, leaving tourists scrambling for cover. The gunman, who was seen on video surveillance wearing a light blue track suit, is being sought by Mexican local and federal police.

One person died at the scene and another died at the hospital. A third man was also shot, but survived his injuries. The Quintana Roo state prosecutor’s office said that the two Canadian men killed had criminal records including drug trafficking charges.

This kind of violence is not common in Quintana Roo on the Caribbean side of Mexico where this happened, and it is generally a safe area for tourists. But there have been some incidents there in recent years including the finding of eight bodies in a span of a few days in Cancun in 2018.

There have also been a few more recent violent crimes in the Mayan Riviera region, including an incident in November 2021 when two suspected drug dealers were found dead on a Cancun beach. And the month before that, an American and a German tourist were killed in crossfire between two drug gangs in Tulum.

The U.S. Department of State issued a warning last month to reconsider Mexico. While COVID-19 was the main reason for the the Level 3 warning issued on Dec. 8, 2021, it also noted: “Violent crime – such as homicide, kidnapping, carjacking, and robbery – is widespread and common in Mexico.”

In that warning, Quintana Roo, on the Caribbean side of Mexico where this happened, was in the “exercise increased caution” category. The area, which includes Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Tulum,  is very popular with tourists and is usually safe.

The government is stepping up security in tourism areas to keep visitors protected. In fact, more than 1,400 troops from the Mexican National Guard is now patrolling areas of Quintana Roo.

And most experts agree that Mexico remains safe for tourists. In a Washington Post article, Zachary Rabinor, president and CEO of the travel planning company Journey Mexico, said millions of people visit Mexico every year with no problem, and “There’s violence like this all over the world, including the U.S.,”

Additional reporting by Clint Henderson.

Featured image of The Hotel Xcaret in Cancun, Mexico courtesy of the hotel.

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