Crime and Violence

Violence in Chiapas Disrupts Tourism

Source: El País

02/28/2024 (written by cahtoong) – According to El País, the state of Chiapas continues to grapple with issues related to drug trafficking and enduring attacks from the Sinaloa Cartel and the Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generación (CJNG). Due to the escalating violence within the densely populated tourist region of the Lacandona area and the city of San Cristóbal de las Casas, travel companies from France, the United Kingdom, and Belgium have suspended travel to certain regions of Chiapas. This marks a loss of a major source of income for Chiapas, significantly impacting businesses and the local population.

Source: El País

Violence towards Community Members

Based on accounts from ATC Tour Operadores, the tourist presence in the Lacandona region has been significantly impacted by violence. Tour operators have reported incidents where they have taken  tourists to destinations and encountered shootings. In these areas, various organized crime groups are known to extort tour groups, demanding bribes in exchange for safe travel through Chiapas. In addition to these bribes, some tour guides feel  compelled to pay for security guards, and negotiating with the drug trafficking organizations is not an option, as reported by El País. This situation adds an extra layer of financial strain and security concerns for tour operators in the region.

Many citizens have voiced their concerns regarding  the ongoing violent uprising in Chiapas. According to a report from Forbes, the state has been known to under-report crime statistics, with only 9.5% of incidents being officially recorded. In the town of Ocozocoautla, considered one of the so-called Pueblos Mágicos by the Ministry of Tourism, there is a stark contrast between the official image and the reality on the ground. According to reports by El País, the town is plagued by violence. A local resident has highlighted the precarious situation in Ocozocoautla. She advised travelers to ensure the roads are clear by checking social media, as organized crime organizations operate freely in the area.She also shared her own experience with the CJNG, stating that they demanded a monthly bribe of 7,000 Mexican pesos (approximately $400 USD) while also threatening to kidnap her and her family.These situations are unfortunately common throughout Chiapas, with rising cases of homicides  and disappearances. Despite these challenges, authorities are reportedly not responding adequately to address the security issues. The discrepancy between official crime figures further underscores the complexity of the situation.

Effects of Tourism Restrictions on the Economy

In 2022, Chiapas had an influx of 82 million visitors and had earned 27.8 billion pesos from tourism alone, making it the second source of income in the state, just second to Government remittances (Aristegui Noticias). However, rising tension and fears cause the economy in Chiapas to suffer. According to Diario Del Sur, businesses are closing due to the increasing insecurity, as many of them fear that if tourists visit the state, something will happen to them. 

San Cristóbal de las Casas, considered one of the most visited cities in Chiapas, had to temporarily shut down the restaurant at one of its most prestigious hotels due to an influx of insecurity and violence within the city. Based on the account from El Heraldo de Chiapas, the restaurant was losing 15 to 20 thousand pesos a day, due to the lack of sales. The article also discussed that business owners are still trying to promote Chiapas as a tourist attraction, and tour operators are still offering visits to other areas that are considered safer in order to be able to continue generating  revenue from tourism.


Gómez, Alejandro. “Turismo en riesgo: inseguridad y violencia afectan a Chiapas.” Diario del Sur. February 4, 2024.

García, Thiaré. “Ola de violencia en Chiapas afecta al turismo.” El Heraldo de Chiapas. January 28, 2024.

Cid, Alejandro Santos. “El conflicto armado de Chiapas traspasa fronteras y lastra el turismo mexicano.” El País. January 26, 2024.

Viña, Alonso Daniel. “Chiapas, un paraíso el turismo y de violencia para sus habitantes.” El País. July 8, 2023.

Mariscal, Ángeles. “Violencia impacta turismo en San Cristóbal de Las Casas; la ciudad intenta levantarse.” Aristegui Noticias. April 19, 2023.

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