Cancun Travel Anxiety, anybody? How Panama Jack Helped Manage Mine
Patron Experiences at the Panama Jack Resort Helped Ease my Travel Anxiety
'Latest bloodbath in Cancun involves five bodies stuffed in Car', read a headline in the New York Post, last Friday.
A week prior, it was reported that a lone gunman opened fire from the pristine waters of the Caribbean Sea, taking aim at a vendor on Cancun’s resort coastline. Thankfully, no one was wounded during that round of gunfire, but unfortunately, the list of violent events is far more grave than that. As it stands, the entire state of Quintana Roo-- the state in which Cancun is nestled-- is under heavy scrutiny and strict travel advisory.
Amid the growing string of Cartel murders, with six of the most recent slayings resulting in more than 14 homicides within a 36-hour period, have caused rapid reports concerning U.S. tourism in Quintana Roo, Mexico (more specifically, Tamaulipas, Colima, Guerrero, Michoacán, and Sinaloa) to emerge; resulting in more than 100 Cartel related murders since the start of 2018.
But what does this say about the resort city’s: Cancun, Cozumel, Playa Del Carmen, and Los Cabos? Are they equally unsafe?
Articles urging travelers to avoid the luxurious paradisaic metropolis altogether are steadily mounting, and, while these admonishments to traverse Cancun with extreme caution continue to fuel the “worry-mill”, let’s face it-- we’re still going to go anyway! So, how do we deal? To where do we cast our travel anxieties and worries, and how do we assuage our fears?
HASHTAGS & RESEARCH
You call up your resort, and you demand answers, that’s what! We owe it to ourselves to do the research, ask the tough questions and get the clarity we need to still have a “once-in-a-lifetime” experience.
So here goes...
I did what any millennial would do: scoured social media for hashtags and mentions of my resort. Several awe-inspiring posts surfaced of vacationers having an incredible Mexican holiday, seemingly worry-free. This made me question the whole cartel war entirely. Is this “war” really happening at the rate it’s being reported, or is this the propagated biases of the media? I decided to use my journalistic “Spidey-Senses” and reach out for comment.
I contacted a few recent tourists, as well as the resort my hubby and I will be lodging at-- Panama Jack Cancun, formerly ‘Gran Caribe Resort’-- and asked a few tourist-related safety questions. Although it was a little difficult getting to who I thought would be the “right person” to pursue my line of questioning, I stumbled across a patron named Gabriella Leon. While she couldn’t give me official statements on behalf of my resort, as a local and someone who works in Cancun’s hotel zone, she was able to give me a few thoughtful pieces of food for thought.
WORRY-FREE LOCALS & PATRONS
Recent PJ visitor’s Mani and Darsh of @MDOUTOFOFFICE, are highly regarded social media influencers from Toronto, Canada, and both agree that the violence on streak in Mexico is strictly drug/cartel related, and in no way interfered with their personal holiday.
Mani and Darsh, too, took to social media to assuage their anxieties. “We were leary at first, but when we checked out some of the IG stories on Cancun and Tulum and saw the number of tourists we felt it was fine” Mani and Darsh, said.
Asked if there was a notable amount of security personnel present, they said, “Yes, there was security present on the beach and resort at all times”, they shared. “Yes, it definitely made us worry-free.”
Mani and Darsh are quite the adventurous pair, and while their travels usually include tons of “off the beaten path” escapades, they had to switch that up a bit for this trip. With their safety radars heightened at first, they explored with more caution than usual. However, “we were careful not to go out into lonely streets [at night] but other than that we felt extremely safe.”
In fact, the traveling couple felt so safe in the end, they wondered what all the murderville hyperbole was about. “I would say there is nothing to worry about”, Mani and Darsh said. “We didn't carry anything special, just make sure you have a copy of your passport with you at all times.”
Seems pretty standard for overseas travel precautions to me, don’t cha’ think?
Here are the top five safety takeaways from mine and Gabriella Leon’s conversation--
She let me know that overall, security personnel has increased across the board. She’s observed increased numbers of patrolman on the resorts and beachside.
To assist tourism safety efforts, Mexican Federal Police patrol the beaches across the entire resort coastline.
On most resorts in the hotel zone, security personnel is available for courtesy escorts 24 hours a day.
To avoid sketchy taxi rides and the vulnerabilities of public transportation, she suggests arranging a secure commute with your hotel’s affiliate transportation groups, and the resort provided shuttles.
As an extreme safety measure, try to avoid leaving your resort at night.
Guys, I know it’s a given for us millennials to want to experience the club scene...but at the “possible” expense (*wink*) of my safety….ah...I think I’ll pass! Especially when my resort (Panama Jack) offers a variety of night-life activities on site. With a slew of bars, dance and beach parties, pool bars, VIP lounges, and nightly authentic Mexican shows, I think I’ll be all set on entertainment.
Oh, did I fail to mention the foam parties? Check out one half of @MDOUTOFOFFICE having a blast at a PJ foam party. #CantHardlyWait
Lastly, to bed my safety concerns once and for all, I dug a little deeper for some “official” advisories. An article on USA Today stated that in 2017, the State of Quintana Roo experienced an increase in homicide rates in comparison to 2016, and went on to say that the U.S. Department of State’s website indicates that these events are “targeted criminal organization-related turf battles”. While the U.S. Department of State has issued a Level 2 warning for American tourism in some parts of Mexico (Playa Del Carmen, Cozumel, Tulum and Los Cabos), urging travelers to take heightened safety precautions, Cancun does not fall under the Level 4 warning advisory as other northeastern Mexican states.