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The Cayo Perico Heist is a heist introduced to Grand Theft Auto Online in The Cayo Perico Heist update. The heist's story focuses on the protagonist being contacted by the son of a Mexican crime boss they worked with before, in order to steal problematic documents being held by a prominent drug lord from their island stronghold in the Caribbean. The heist focuses on players scoping out the island for points of interest, entry points both to the island and the victim's compound, and any additional lucrative targets for them to steal.
Unlike other heist missions in GTA Online, The Cayo Perico Heist allows players to approach the heist either in the planned method or doing it differently than intended, as well as handling the mission on their own although securing less of a payout, or working with others, requiring co-ordination between all players, but providing a greater payday for all involved.
— Rockstar Newswire
The Cayo Perico Heist focuses on players conducting a major heist against Juan Strickler, a notorious drug lord known to many as El Rubio, who maintains an island compound in the Caribbean which houses a collection of valuables, is home to a major part of his drug operations, and maintains tight security measures and heavily armed guards, including gunboats, an attack helicopter, and surface-to-air missile turrets. The focus of the heist is to secure a major target being held in a vault beneath Strickler's secure compound and escape with it, using any methods to reach the island and breach into the vault. This includes going in aggressive, using stealth to neutralize hostiles, or conducting subterfuge by using disguises to get around guards. In addition to this, players can also steal additional valuables from secure storage sites, which increase the overall payout of the heist.
The heist may only be initiated when a player is operating as a CEO or VIP Organization or a Motorcycle Club, with the first time playthrough focused on the protagonist conducting the heist to secure documents for Miguel Madrazo, the son of Martin Madrazo, being held by Strickler. The initial job focuses on the players meeting Miguel at the newly opened nightclub, The Music Locker.
— Miguel's text
The player is directed to purchase a Kosatka submarine from Warstock Cache & Carry as a base of operation for the heist, with the intial setup cost and fencing fees covered for the first time, and making use of a beach party organized by Strickler to go undercover to plan the heist. After the first playthrough, the player must pay an upfront fee of $25,000 when initiating another playthrough of the heist, but will focus on stealing valuables being held by Strickler in his vault, using a drug smuggling plane to return to scope out the island.
The heist is divided between three separate strands of missions: Intel, which focuses on scoping out points of interests, the primary target, and any potential secondary loot targets; Prep, which focuses on acquiring the needed equipment to pull off the heist (following on from the idea used in the Doomsday Heist and the Diamond Casino Heist; and the Finale, which focuses on conducting the heist in any arrangement the player decides upon, regardless of how they chose the heist to proceed as upon the planning screen. The Cayo Perico Heist is the first heist in GTA Online that can be completed solo by players, not only in scoping and prep work, but the finale of the heist itself; however, the payout for doing it solo is reduced as a result, as certain secondary targets are held behind locked doors within the compound that require another player to open, limiting access to valuable goods such as gold and paintings unless the heist is played with other players.
The Gather Intel mission is a freemode mission that begins the Cayo Perico Heist, and focuses on scoping out the island for heist by locating a key target, several optional loot items, and important points of interest. To do so, players must visit the island undercover - their first playthrough sees them acting as the tour manager for a prominent DJ who is set to provide music for a beach party, while subsequent playthroughs see players visit the island while disguised as one of its regular drug smugglers.
The mission may be completed entirely solo, and during Invite Only, Friend, and Solo sessions. The mission allows for full exploration of most of the island, though prohibiting players from conducting outright conflict, instead using stealth to avoid detection by guards and security cameras while seeking out important intel and any potential opportunities for the heist. Like the Diamond Casino Heist, the mission is repeatable after the initial run, allowing players to return and scope out any additional points of interest or targets that they missed.
Prep missions are freemode missions that may be completed at any time through the Kosatka's planning screen. These tasks consist of acquiring and preparing equipment necessary for the heist, such as approach vehicles, weapons, and tools. Optional prep missions provide players with the opportunity to sabotage the guards before the heist and make the heist significantly easier, though these may only be done once. Players also have the option to steal the equipment from rival Organizations and Motorcycle Clubs, should they be performing a prep mission.
Prep missions may be completed entirely solo. They may also be completed in Invite Only sessions, Friend sessions, and Solo sessions. No prep missions require taking multiple vehicles or items, eliminating the need to backtrack when playing solo.
Like the Diamond Casino Heist, support crew is available, but instead of taking a cut, they simply require an upfront payment to be used during the heist itself. Instead of supports such as gunmen or hackers, the support crew available in the Cayo Perico Heist provides assistance such as snipers, airstrikes, or reconnaissance drones. Certain supports can only be executed if certain conditions are met, such as disabling air defenses or infiltrating using a specific vehicle.
The Cayo Perico Heist
Unlike previous heists, players are free to complete the Cayo Perico Heist however they please, with de facto "Aggressive", "Big Con", and "Silent and Sneaky" options available to players during the heist. Prep missions may also affect the approach and events of the heist.
The host can make different choices to change the approach vehicles, the entrance and escape points, and the time of day. Unlike previous heists, most of the choices are not locked in and players are free to take any approaches they like on the go, such as choosing a different infiltration or exit point than what's selected.