According to Hernández Gutiérrez, the Quintana Roo chief of police, said the gunmen rode jetskis onto the beach and began shooting guns in the air, presumably to scare the tourists away.
After driving away the resort-goers, the men ditched their jetskis, changed their clothes, and fled the area.
The jetskis used by the gunmen have been recovered and seized. There were no apparent injuries from the show of force, which took place at the Oasis Palm hotel.
The resort, which is billed as "100% family-friendly," offers rooms for between $380 to just under $680 a night.
A witness told local news outlet Mileno that he heard from other visitors that the gunmen were "dressed as the military”.
A family from Utah claimed they saw the men fire around 20 shots into the air when they arrived on the beach.
KUTV spoke to witnesses who heard the gunfire from their rooms at the hotel.
"I ran to the balcony to tell them to get down and get to a corridor and get cover. There was panic at the resort, people running and yelling," Zayne Jones, a witness, said. "Luckily nobody got hurt, but it could have gone a different way,' he said. 'Just not a good feeling having your kids out here."
Another witness, Kerry Arms, said people initially were unsure if the incident was some kind of show or demonstration.
I ran to the balcony to tell them to get down and get to a corridor and get cover. There was panic at the resort, people running and yelling.
"There was a delayed reaction for about maybe five seconds, then everybody started scrambling and screaming and crying and running," the witness said.
Violence at popular resorts, particularly in Cancun, have become a growing concern for Mexican authorities. Members of the Mexican National Guard have been deployed to patrol beaches - fully dressed in fatigues and carrying military rifles - to keep an eye on potential criminal activity.
A similar incident occurred on 5 November when a group of cartel gunmen executed a pair of drug dealers from a rival gang on a beach at Puerto Morelos, another popular beach area south of Cancun.
Two weeks prior, a German tourist and a travel blogger from California were killed in another drug related shootout in Tulum.
The area has attracted various drug-dealing gangs who want to control distribution in the lucrative region. As a result, violence has followed.
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