Do cartels own cancun resorts?
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Are The Resorts in Cancún Owned by Cartels?

Cancún is a gorgeous place to visit and take your family for a holiday. The breathtaking view is worth the money, and anyone searching for a great place to unwind should consider Cancún. However, with recent increasing cartel activities within the region, there have been growing concerns regarding the ownership of many resorts in Cancún, with some people believing cartels own them.

There’s no easy way of knowing whether cartel owns the resorts in Cancún, as they wouldn’t go around advertising this. Even if they own the resorts, they’d have to buy them through intermediaries and companies. However, some evidence points to the cartel using some resorts to launder money for their illegal activities. 

That’s not all, as you still need to know how the cartels control Cancún’s economy and whether it’s still safe to visit Cancún, which you will learn if you read on. 

Do Cartels Own Cancún Resorts?

Cartels are organized crime groups participating in illegal drug businesses and other questionable transactions, including kidnapping and human trafficking. Their businesses generate billions of dollars annually, but they can’t take this money to the bank or use it legally. As a result, many of them have turned to invest their fortunes in huge businesses, and they’re very careful not to get caught. 

The hospitality business is very lucrative, and investing in a resort would be a no-brainer for anyone, including the cartels. While there have been questions regarding the ownership of Cancún resorts, it remains widely elusive since no resort has this information on their brochure. Any business known to associate with cartels would go under very quickly, given the reputation these organized groups have. 

It’s not easy to pinpoint which resort is owned by cartels. However, cartels might purchase these resorts through intermediaries and offshore companies that have legitimate dealings. They go through these channels to conceal their involvement, which would jeopardize their business and identity. 

While it’s not easy to say for sure which resort is owned by cartels, there are possibilities that the organized group might be using them to launder money. The management might be doing this willingly or are coerced through intimidation and threats. Also, this remains out of public knowledge, and anyone who might prove to know might attract the full attention and wrath of the cartels. 

How do Cartels Control Cancún’s Economy?

The cartel might not advertise their ownership of Cancún’s resorts, but they own a good number of income-generating establishments in the area. Night clubs, casinos, and spas are among the businesses suspected to be owned by cartels in Cancún, and they include:

  • The City nightclub 
  • Casino Macau
  • BAMBOO hair and spa

These establishments employ hundreds of locals, and they receive a great share of business brought by tourists in Cancún. 

While starting a huge nightclub might prove problematic by attracting unwanted attention from the authority, small and medium-sized establishments don’t attract much attention, making it easy to run and maintain. However, this doesn’t mean that the cartel owns every casino or spar. 

Is it Safe to Visit Cancún?

Despite recent cartel confrontation and rivalry going on near Cancún, authorities have insisted the area is safe to visit, and no danger would befall any tourist. Even so, it’s always best to exercise caution and only go when you’re sure things have cooled off. 

It may come as a shock, but Cancún is considered safer to visit than other cities in Mexico. The crime rate here is relatively low, besides the recent gang-related wars, which the authorities have already dealt with. Even so, make sure you stay within the resort, and if you must get out, avoid going to unfamiliar areas. Consult your tour guide to know the safer areas for you to visit. Also, avoid bringing any expensive valuables that might draw too much attention, such as gold watches and other expensive jewelry pieces. Keep your interaction minimal, and always move in groups. Remember to do the following to stay safe:

  • Always carry small bills when touring the city
  • Don’t take photos of the locals or businesses when in the city
  • Avoid interacting with people who appear hostile
  • Don’t go into strangers’ houses, even when invited

It’s also advisable to know the various emergency services and their numbers while in Cancún. You can find a list of all you need to know about dialing 911 in Cancun here.


Cancún is a great place to visit during holidays, and it has several high-end resorts. It’s difficult to know which resorts are owned by cartels if any, but there have been suspicions that they use them to launder their money. Cartels in Cancún control the economy by owning some establishments like casinos, nightclubs, and spas, which have been known to perform relatively well economically. Cancún is also safe, despite the recent cartel rivalries, but the authority has done a great job to keep the streets safe. Avoid drawing attention to yourself or going to unfamiliar territories while in Cancún. 


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