Is Cancun Safe? Travel Tips To Avoid Crime

Is Cancun Safe: As one of the most popular coastal resort towns along the Riviera Maya, Cancun is much-loved by tourists for its Mayan ruins and near-perfect beaches. The town gained popularity in the 1970s and has continued to be a premier travel destination for visitors from all over the world. Besides the beaches and history, another reason many people flock to Cancun is for the nightlife and party atmosphere. Where parties happen, trouble can often follow which leaves many asking, “is Cancun safe?” 

Is Cancun Safe? The Honest Answer

Cancun is Known for its Beauty, but is the City Safe?
Cancun is Known for its Beauty, but is the City Safe?

A party atmosphere often means people engaging in risky behaviors like binge drinking or taking illegal drugs. Both of these activities cause people to let their guards down and be more lax in their approach to their personal security. The influx of partygoers can increase the incidence of drug dealing and thereby cartel activity, which is where the real danger lies. 

The most common “crimes” tourists fall prey to are price hikes, scammers and petty theft. No city in the world can ever be considered truly safe, Mexico is still considered a developing nation so incidences of crime tend to be higher than would be recorded in developed countries. 

In recent years, the cartels have been trying to push their way into resort towns to sell their product to a larger client base within the Yucatan Peninsula. However, crime rates in Cancun continue to be lower than neighboring towns. With that being said, Cancun has experienced an upswing in gang-related crimes but they are never aimed at tourists and most often happen outside the main tourist areas in the town. Crimes tend to occur on the outskirts of town where tourists are unlikely to venture. No governments have issued any travel warnings to the area either. 

Safe Places To Visit in Cancun

How to Stay Safe on your Trip to Cancun
How to Stay Safe on your Trip to Cancun


El Centro is the lively town centre in Cancun where most of the locals reside. Because of this you’ll find the best authentic restaurants downtown along with interesting curio shops and boutiques. 

Isla Mujeres 

This island paradise is a short 20-30 minute ferry ride from Cancun and just never disappoints! The idyllic island boasts some of Mexico’s most spectacular beaches, adventure parks and even a turtle sanctuary. Splash around in the turquoise waters and explore everything this beautiful tropical paradise has to offer on an exciting day tour

Do’s and Don’ts To Avoid Crime in Cancun

Is Cancun Safe? Safety Tips for your Next Trip
Is Cancun Safe? Safety Tips for your Next Trip

Asking, “is Cancun safe?” really depends on a number of factors. Cancun can be perfectly safe for a tourist who uses good judgment by avoiding sketchy areas, planning ahead and being aware of their surroundings. It can be the opposite for a careless student engaging in reckless behavior over Spring Break. Safety comes down to using common sense, much like visiting any new place or city when traveling. These are some common sense tips you can apply to stay safe in Cancun. 

  • Avoid walking around at night: if you’re staying in the hotel district at night, then walking around at night is perfectly safe due to the presence of security and lots of people. Walking around deserted streets or other areas in town by night is not advisable and it is encouraged to take a taxi to your destination instead. 
  • Be wary of night time beach visits: it is ok to walk along your hotel’s private beach at night but even then swimming is not advisable. There will not be lifeguards on duty and if you run into trouble while swimming, nobody is there to help you or can see you struggling. 
  • Avoid areas off the beaten path: while it might sound adventurous and fun to explore areas on the outskirts of town or in the countryside, this is where the gang violence tends to occur. To avoid being caught up in any trouble, it is always safest to avoid these areas entirely. 
  • Keep an eye out for petty theft: street crime and petty theft happens in every city. From pickpocketing, to swiping your phone out your bag, keep a close eye on your belongings and don’t flaunt your valuables. 
  • Withdraw cash carefully: when withdrawing cash from ATMs, stick to doing so inside a bank or mall as opposed to on the streets. Even still, be aware of who is watching you and keep your ATM pin and cash concealed. 
  • Keep a copy of your passport with you: the police can ask for this at any time, so keep it on you to avoid trouble. 
  • Avoid drugs: the charge for drug related offenses holds a 25 year sentence. In addition, taking drugs makes you a target for crime. 
  • Avoid overdrinking: if you’re out and about completely wasted, you make yourself a very easy target for criminals. 
  • Book tours through the hotel: don’t fall for scammers offering tours at prices that are too good to be true…because they are! It’s safest to book your tour through your hotel or through reputable tour companies that have good track records and reviews. 
  • Keep an eye on weather warnings: hurricane season lasts from June to October so if you visit during those months be prepared for last minute weather alerts and potentially dangerous weather conditions. 
  • Design an itinerary: Cancun really is not the place to wander around aimlessly, you could wander into the wrong people in the wrong area. Preparing an itinerary beforehand is a great way to make sure everyone gets to do and see all the things they wanted to while in Cancun. Researching the areas and attractions will also help you be more aware of your surroundings and therefore more secure. 

With buses and taxis being completely safe and reliable to use while visiting Cancun, there is no reason to wander around at night and potentially get yourself into trouble. Applying common sense to situations such as remaining in touristy areas, being alert and avoiding risky behaviors like drug-use, can make Cancun a very safe vacation destination for solo travelers, female travelers and families alike. 

See Also:

What to Pack for Cancun: 19 Best Items to Bring

Cancun vs Puerto Rico: Which Is Better?


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