Cancun Spring Break Safety: Partying with Marines

Every single year the US and Canadian media start bashing Mexico right around Spring Break. It never fails. This year they grabbed on to a news story about a shooting at a Cancun bar. (Which, by the way, happened in a bad bar in a bad neighborhood and was just bad guys shooting bad guys, nothing to do with tourists or even innocent locals. I understand this kind of stuff happens in every city.)

Anyway, to combat the unsafe image of Cancun that many foreigners now have thanks to inflated media reports, the government has decided to send in the marines to Spring Break.


A little added police presence might be a nice way to help Spring Breakers feel a little safer, but I don’t think anybody feels good when they see dozens (seriously, dozens) of marines in fatigues carrying very, very large guns.

The past few times I’ve been to Party Center, I’ve seen lots of these guys:


I’m sure the city of Cancun has the best intentions here and really does want the tourists to just feel safe. Back in the States, if I were to see a pickup truck filled with men in fatigues and helmets carrying giant guns, I would instantly assume we were in a war zone. Mexico’s different though, and here that’s just how the authorities like to drive around. (I think they think it makes them look cool.)

It’s normal here in Cancun and doesn’t mean anything bad, but unfortunately I don’t think most tourists are used to seeing this:


What do you guys think? Would marines make you feel safer or less safe?

13 thoughts on “Cancun Spring Break Safety: Partying with Marines

  1. Nope not helpful. This is how they scare bad guys as well as tourists. I’ve seen more Marines in Playa de Carmen as well. And big guns and masks are not help in my opinion.

  2. I couldn’t agree more! Nothing says unsafe then a bunch of military standing guard. Way overkill and just freaks other countries out.

  3. Being a frequent traveler to the Riviera Maya, we have become used to seeing this but you are exactly right. A person traveling to Cancun for the first time would see these Marines as being there for a reason. Meaning…it must be dangerous. Will never forget the first time we headed down one of the side streets in party central after exiting a club and seeing 3 men with huge machine guns. My husband grabbed my hand and held me tight as we walked by. We were intimidated and hightailed it to our hotel.

  4. It is being extra cautious on the Mexican government’s part, but it looks intimidating to me. Makes the atmosphere look more dangerous than it actually is. A few police patrols would probably suffice.

  5. I was in cancun for the month of march this year and i am an american citizen. I heard alot of comments on the streets about their presence and there were alot of concerns among the tourists about it. I had read online before going that this was going to be the case so I was aware, but i can say everytime i walked past a group of them I felt very intimadated and walked very quickly past them, I had no reason to I had not done anything wrong but however this is how it made me feel. My husband went up to ask for a picture with a heavy armored police and i was so worried they would arrest him on site for approaching them, however much to my delighted suprise the police was very honored to take his picture with my husband and he would not accept a tip.
    The worse thing that happened to me is I had met a friend in Mexico before my trip on fb and during my 30 day stay he continued to post on my facebook newspaper articles concerning the drug cartel and their horrible actions towards those they were againest on my fb page and this was a mexican citizen! So I have to wonder do some mexicans prefer for the tourists not to come, I had a harder time figuring this out than I did the presence of the military & marines, I was kinda glad to have them since he kept trying to scare me away I guess! So it could go either way depending on the person and the way the media or “friends” portray it to them. But def just as much crime in any major US city if not more and I love the Mexican Riveria and am blessed to be able to visit.

  6. They are there to protect, so why feel intimadated. I guess first timers to Mexico would feel uneasy, but some spring breakers need to be watched! I’m sure drug selling is in high gear this time of year.

  7. I wouldn’t feel uncomfortable about the presence of soldiers in Mexico anymore than I would in the US. Which is to say it’s not a problem for me to see a show of force. What I’d really like to get rid of is the TSA.

  8. I am used to armed police and military personnel in Mexico. I also realize that el Callejon is a hot bed of ilicit activities, but find them positioned right outside a restaurant quite excessive.

    • Melissa, I took the picture from inside an open-air nightclub next to the restaurant with the tables. I got the impression they were trying to stand guard outside the nightclub I was in (Congo) without blocking the entrance, not the place with the tables. I could be wrong, though.

      Either way, still weird haha

  9. Or, you could go with my 5 year-old son’s theory: soldiers and police with big guns are here to protect us against zombies.

  10. Nothing would scare me out of a place faster than all those militants! It really does look like a war zone with them all suited and booted and carrying guns! As you say, the intentions are there, I just think there must be a better way to make the place look and feel safe.

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