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Is Cancun safe right now? A thorough guide on safety in Cancun

Cancun is right now one of the most popular Mexican destinations but is Cancun safe right now? I am sure you are wondering and not only because of the recent health emergency.

So in this post, I’ll try to answer this question for you in the most comprehensive way.

The short answer is yes, otherwise Cancun International Airport wouldn’t have got almost 7 million arrivals in the first quarter of 2022. Crazy! Of course, not all of them stayed in Cancun but it gives you an idea.

Playa del Carmen and Tulum also get a great portion of the tourism, but nothing like Cancun.

Cancun is one of the most popular beach resorts in Mexico that attracts tourists from all over the world but especially from the US.

There is a lot to enjoy and so many things to do in Cancun and the city is basically developed with tourism in mind.

Couple that with the miles upon miles of beautiful white sand of the Cancun beaches, and it easily becomes one of the best vacation spots in the world.

But is Cancun safe to travel to right now? Read on to find out.

view from Playa Chack Mool
Cancun Playa Chaac Mol
Table Of Contents
  1. How safe is Cancun?
  2. 15 safety tips for traveling to Cancun
  3. Download your free PDF guide here ▼
  4. How not to get sick in Mexico
  5. Is Cancun safe right now to travel alone?
  6. What are the safest places to visit in Cancun?
  7. Is it safe to visit outside the hotels in Cancun?
  8. Is Cancun safe for female travelers?
  9. Cancun Safety FAQ
  10. ✨ Mexico Travel Planning Guide ✨
  11. Isabella, author, editor, and founder

How safe is Cancun?

If you want a short answer, Cancun is generally a relatively safe city. The crime rates are much lower than in many other places in Mexico.

The government of Mexico tries as much as possible to make Cancun a safe place for tourists also because tourism is the biggest source of revenue for this area.

However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take any precautions and can go everywhere when you’re in the area. There are some areas where you should stick to. I will tell you more later on in the post.

On the pandemic front, Cancun is relatively safe. Back when the pandemic initially started, it was one of the first cities in the world to adopt the hygiene and safety protocols suggested by the World Travel & Tourism Council.

The hotels still follow strict disinfection mask requirements and social distancing protocols.

Also, you should know that the few episodes of violent crime that sometimes occur, are due mainly to cartel drug trafficking disputes and they don’t really involve tourists.

The Mexico travel advisory on the US Government page invites US Citizens to “exercise increased caution”, which I agree with but, as I said already, almost like everywhere in a foreign country.

So if you were planning on visiting Cancun, you have a green light from me!

However, I would suggest you follow the below safety tips, which are basic common-sense rules that you should follow, whether you are going to visit Cancun, Mexico City, or any other places in Mexico, and probably every time you are in a foreign country.

aerial view of the coast in Cancun - is Cancun safe right now?

15 safety tips for traveling to Cancun

Here are some Mexico travel safety tips about Cancun that you should observe if you want to have a seamless vacation in the Mexican paradise.

1. Never travel without travel insurance

First thing first, make sure you have good health insurance because healthcare in Mexico is really expensive for tourists.

There are travel insurance options that cover covid treatments, but please make sure you read all the clauses before purchasing one. I normally use Safetywing or WorldNomads.

Both are great but serve different kinds of needs. So make sure you read through what’s included and what’s not.

For example, Safetywing is charging as little as 25 USD for full coverage for a week, and the daily rate decreases as you add more days, up to 42US$ for a month’s coverage.

That’s really little money if you think about all the peace of mind it gives you.

World Nomads is a little more expensive but it also gives you the options to include more items and situations in the insurance coverage, for example, diving, hiking, or your tech devices. But it’s still affordable considering everything it includes.

I assure you that traveling anywhere knowing that for anything that happened you are completely covered and refunded for the expenses it gives you tranquillity big time!

When I was in Peru I had to go to the hospital multiple times for a stomach bug ( I think) I had World Nomads at the time and they refunded me immediately.

A friend of mine had to cancel her trip to Africa last minute because she got sick and World nomads refunded her the flight tickets and the portion of the trip that she had booked.

That is why I think it’s really worth the money but you should really check what each insurance has to offer.

⬇️ Get your free travel insurance quote on World Nomads ⬇️

⬇️ Get your free travel insurance quote on Safety Wing ⬇️

2. Don’t be naif

Be friendly and smile but make sure to remain alert and aware of your surroundings. If you notice that the people you are talking to are getting too close or ask personal questions don’t be afraid to move away.

Cancun beach playa chaak mol

3. Wonder around but know where you are going

It’s natural to want to wander around and sightsee a little, but don’t do it aimlessly. Always know where you are and where you’re going. Avoid deserted streets, especially at night.

4. Avoid going out at night alone

Try to avoid going out at night if you are alone. Or if you do, try to do so in a group and stick to areas that are crowded and lit.

The only areas that are really safe for tourists to go out at night are the Hotel Zone, malls and Isla Mujeres.

5. Watch out for pick-pocketers

These are everywhere, but especially in Downtown Cancun where there are fewer tourists and we are more in the spotlight. Make sure you keep your personal belonging in a safe place.


Protect your personal belonging from pickpocketers!


6. Be careful when withdrawing cash

Be careful when withdrawing cash at ATMs. Always try to use the ATMs in a bank or a mall. Never use roadside ATMs and most of all at night.

7. Use your hotel safe box

Store your passport in your hotel room’s safe. When you’re out and about, keep a photocopy of the passport with you because the police can legally ask for it. Also, remember to keep the immigration card in the passport and take a copy of that as well, with the entry date and the immigration stamp.

Cancun Lagoon Beach Aerial View

8. Don’t get wasted if you are alone

Drinking is generally a bad idea. But if you have to do so, then drink in moderation unless you’re part of a group that you trust.

9. Don’t flaunt your wealth

Dress plainly and don’t flaunt your wealth. Being flashy is the easiest way to get noticed by criminals. Carry a little bit of cash with you at all times, in local currency (not US$). So that if you encounter criminals, you can give it over without a lot of regrets.

10. Get a local SIM card

Having a local sim card has many advantages. First of all, it allows you to stay in touch with your family and friends but the main reason is that it gives you access to Google Maps, so that you can find your way around easily.

You don’t want to get lost when you don’t know the place, trust me!

You can call a taxi, your hotel or anyone. And all that gives you more security. I always buy a SIM CARD when I travel even if only for a week. It makes me feel like a local and safer.

11. Don’t drink tap water

Tap water in Mexico is not safe to drink. You won’t die if you do, but you will be more exposed to stomach bugs and other unpleasant situations. Also, the tap water seems to have a lot of heavy metals that are not good for your health, and last but not least it runs into old rusty pipes most of the time.

So, all in all, drinking tap water is gross!

But worry not, most of the hotels offer free bottled water in the room and the bathroom for brushing teeth. And you can find bottled water everywhere for purchase.

Even better if you carry your own water bottle to refill, hotels usually have big water tanks (garrafon) for the guest to use and restaurants will be happy to refill your bottle. Here below are the ones I use.

12. Book a safe hotel

If you are concerned about safety in Cancun booking a safe hotel located in a safe area is the wisest thing to do for your peace of mind (I always look for peace of mind, especially when I travel)

The Cancun hotel zone is definitely the safest place for a vacation in Cancun and here below I am sharing my favorite hotels.

Live Aqua Beach Resort Cancun 

Spectacular high-end all-inclusive hotel in Cancun for Adult-only – Expect exceptional service and world-class food and amenities.

Check rates & availability:  Booking.com | Expedia

Secrets The Vine 

Another amazing high-end option Is the AAA Four Diamond Secrets TheVine Cancun Resort & Spa is a  stylish property featuring 6 restaurants, 3an outdoor swimming pools, and a spa.

Check rates & availability:  Booking.com | Expedia

Hyatt Ziva

Great family-friendly hotel on one of the best beaches in Cancun. Hyatt brand is guarantee of great service and spacious stylish rooms.

Check rates & availability: Booking.com | Expedia

13. Be aware of the rip tide currents when you go swimming

Cancun beach is one of the most spectacular and the turquoise waters are definitely an invitation to a good swim.

However, don’t be fooled! Unfortunately, these spectacular waters can be dangerous sometimes.

Rip tides are a thing in Cancun and can be fatal.

One time I was swimming with many people around but I couldn’t touch the bottom with my feet and while I was trying to swim towards the shore I couldn’t move forward an inch.

I got scared and waved to the lifeguard who luckily was watching in my direction.

Then I learned that if this happens you need to swim to the side and move out of the current then you will be pushed to the shore by the waves, naturally.

Do not panic and do not waste your energy because that would make things worse.

Here is a definition of a rip tide:  “A rip tide is a localized current that flows away from the shoreline toward the ocean, perpendicular or at an acute angle to the shoreline. It usually breaks up not far from shore and is generally not more than 25 meters (80 feet)”

Rip Current graphic
Photo © Snowbrains.com

You may also like: Mexico travel tips: how to stay safe while traveling to Mexico

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    Is Cancun safe right now to travel alone?

    It’s generally safe to travel in Cancun alone, as long as you follow a few simple rules.

    ✔ Avoid drinking as much as possible. It’s not a good idea to get drunk in general, but especially when you’re alone.

    ✔ Stay in well-populated areas, and avoid deserted streets.

    ✔ Unless you’re part of a group or on a tour, avoid going to the areas around Cancun.

    ✔ It’s thrilling to travel alone. You can do whatever you want, whenever you want. But it’s important that you know your limits. If something feels too dangerous to do alone, listen to your gut feeling.

    ✔ Do plenty of research about which areas and hotels to stay in.

    Hotel Ziva in Cancun Aerial View

    What are the safest places to visit in Cancun?

    There are three places I can heartily recommend as the safest in Cancun. I’ll list them below.

    ✅ The Hotel Zone

    The Hotel Zone (or Zona Hotelera) is, by far, one of the safest areas in Cancun.

    As its name indicates, The Hotel Zone is a long strip along the Cancun beach lined with hotels, most of them all-inclusive.

    It was made especially for tourism although now you can find quite a lot of luxurious residential homes as well.

    Security is also very tight here, as tourism is the biggest source of revenue for Cancun.

    Even at night, you can walk around here, just be careful to stay clear of the secluded areas.

    If you feel like going to the beach, try to do it in front of your hotel and make sure that the hotel security is present.

    You may also like: Where to stay in Cancun: the best hotels for each budget

    ✅ Downtown Cancun

    Downtown Cancun is basically the city center although there is no proper center as you would call it.

    There is no main square, just a few parks and commercial centers, cafes, and residential areas all scattered around the city in a very badly organized plan.

    In short DownTown, Cancun is not an attractive place to walk around, like Puerto Vallarta or Oaxaca for example.

    It is generally a safe area to visit during the day. However, during the night, I would avoid it unless you have your own car and you go straight where you need to go.

    Many restaurants have valet parking which is super safe and saves you from parking in obscure streets.

    If you have to travel from one place to another, whether within Downtown Cancun or outside, always take a taxi. Don’t go anywhere on foot, especially if you’re alone. There is no Uber in Cancun unfortunately.

    Isla Mujeres beach view
    Isla Mujeres beach view

    ✅ Isla Mujeres

    In case you have never heard of it, Isla Mujeres is a gorgeous island situated just off the coast of Cancun. If you’re visiting Cancun, you should definitely visit Isla Mujeres.

    Just like the Hotel Zone is made for tourists, the whole of Isla Mujeres is made for tourists as well.

    As such, there’s plenty of security and it’s very safe. When in doubt, you can always ask your hotel to arrange tours, excursions, or trips for you; the hotel staff does their best to accommodate their guests.

    Make sure you include swimming with whale sharks if you travel in the summer.

    Isla mujeres island air view

    Is it safe to visit outside the hotels in Cancun?

    As mentioned earlier, Cancun is generally very safe. In fact, if you look at crime statistics, Cancun is safer than a lot of the cities in the US.

    Most of the crimes don’t involve any tourists, and, when they do, they’re usually petty crimes.

    Still, you should be careful when you’re outside your hotel in Cancun and always take plenty of precautions. If possible, have your hotel arrange any tours or excursions for you.

    You can also ask the hotel staff when you’re in doubt about whether an area is safe or not and they’ll tell you.


    You may also want to check out

    Puerto Vallarta vs Cancun: which one is better?
    Cancun vs. Tulum: which one to choose?
    Cancun vs Playa del Carmen: where should you go?


    Is Cancun safe for female travelers?

    It is! I’m a female myself, and I’ve been living in Cancun for years. It is a safe city for female travelers. Just take precautions and use common sense, following the tips mentioned below.

    If you’re traveling alone, it’s totally ok to walk around during the day but make sure you stick to the touristy areas at night.

    Avoid deserted areas at all times and, regardless of which area you’re in, trust your gut feeling. If you feel uncomfortable at any time, just join the nearest group of people.

    Cancun beach sunrise
    Sunrise on the beach in Cancun

    Cancun Safety FAQ

    Q. What are some dos and don’ts in Cancun?

    I’ll list 5 dos and don’ts in Cancun.

    Dos

    ✅ Stay in the hotel zone or in the near Downtown area

    ✅ Cancun is pretty sunny, pack plenty of sunscreens

    ✅ Visit Isla Mujeres

    ✅ Get travel and health insurance before you travel

    ✅ Learn enough Spanish to communicate and understand the basics.

    Don’ts

    🚫 Don’t use the money exchange services at the airport.

    🚫 Don’t carry too much money with you when you walk around and preferably use PESOS. Shops accept US but at a very bad exchange rate (for you)

    🚫 Don’t drink tap water.

    🚫 Be kind and friendly but not naif. If somebody approaches you trust your gut feelings and if you feel uncomfortable move away. Use common sense.

    🚫 When shopping, you can try to bargain although sometimes vendors prefer to miss a sale rather than lower the price. In any case, be aware that souvenir’s prices will most likely be inflated.

    Beach chairs among palm trees on Cancun beach

    Q. Is there Uber in Cancun?

    Unfortunately, there is no Uber in Cancun and anywhere in the state of Quintana Roo.

    Prebook your transfer from Cancun airport for a smooth and worry-free arrival!

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    Cancun airport transfer

    Q. Is it safe to take a taxi in Cancun?

    Yes, it’s generally safe to take a taxi in Cancun. However, if you feel even a little bit uneasy or something doesn’t feel right to you, feel free to refuse the taxi driver and hail another one.

    Also, make sure to agree on the fare beforehand. If you don’t, the drivers demand exorbitant amounts when they get to the destination, and it results in unpleasantness.

    Q. Is Cancun safe to walk in at night?

    If you’re in the Hotel Zone or Isla Mujeres, you can easily walk around at night. However, stick to crowded places and, if you want to enjoy the beach at night, go to the beach that’s right in front of your hotel; make sure that there’s hotel security present.

    Avoid deserted areas and streets at night. If you need to get from point A to point B, take a taxi. Don’t use public transport at night.

    Cancun by night
    Cancun Hotel Zone By Night

    Q. Is there cartel activity in Cancun?

    Cartels are the elephant in the room when it comes to tourism and Mexico. There’s cartel activity all over Mexico and Cancun is no exception.

    You can rest easy, though, because cartels don’t bother tourists. The cartel-related crimes happen between rival cartels, or between drug dealers.

    As a tourist, you won’t be their target, unless you are involved in any drug-related matters.

    Cancun aerial view

    Q. Is Cancun dangerous for tourists?

    So, we’ve come here finally. Cancun is not dangerous for tourists. It’s one of the most popular tourist destinations in Mexico and serves hundreds of thousands of tourists every year (rightly so).

    In fact, if you look at the crime statistics, Cancun is safer than most US cities! I, myself, have lived in the city for years without any issues.

    That being said, you have to remember that you’re in Mexico at all times. Take plenty of precautions. The safety tips I’ve mentioned above are just some of the precautions you need to take. Trust your gut feeling, and if anything feels unsafe just bail out of there.

    As long as you are careful, you have nothing to worry about in Cancun. I highly recommend visiting it (and Isla Mujeres). Happy traveling!

    Punta Cancun nichupte lagoon overview
    Cancun blue sea

    ✨ Mexico Travel Planning Guide ✨

    👉 Do I need travel insurance to travel to Mexico?

    I would do it if I were you. You never know what can happen and know that no matter what, you will be covered with any expenses will give you peace of mind, and make your travel worry-free. You can check out SafetyWing which I have used and find it affordable and comprehensive and also Travel Insurance Master which is great because you can insert all your information and what kind of insurance you need and their system will pull out the best insurance for your need.

    🚰 Can I drink tap water in Mexico?

    No, you can’t! Maybe in some areas or in some homes where they have installed water filters but to be on the safe side, I would say, never drink tap water in Mexico. Carry a water bottle with you and fill it up where you find available potable water sources. Most of the hotels have those.

    🚗 Is it safe to drive in Mexico?

    The short answer is: depending on where you are. Although in general if you stick to the main roads and don’t drive at night you should probably be safe. In lesser tourist areas you should probably check the local news to stay up to date. Driving in the Yucatan Peninsula is easy everywhere, even at night, although I would still avoid it. I usually use Discover Cars because the site offers the options to compare prices among different car rentals and you can add their own full coverage.

    Read more on my guide on Renting a car in Mexico.

    📱 Will my phone work in Mexico?

    It will probably work, especially if you have a European or US phone, but your roaming rates may be to the stars (check with your SIM provider). Even if have an affordable international rate, you will be much better off by buying a Mexican SIM Card. It’s cheap, easy to set up, and it will keep you connected with your friends, family, and, more important, google Maps so you will never get lost!

    🤕 Is it safe to travel to Mexico right now?

    The short answer is, yes it is. However, there are parts of Mexico that are indeed troubled and you should avoid for now, and others that are super safe and easy to travel around.

    Regardless of where you are you should always use some common sense rules such as, never flaunting expensive clothing, accessories, electronics, or money and keeping a low profile.

    Read more on my detailed guide on safety in Mexico. If you are traveling to a specific destination I have got you covered as well:

    💉 Do I need any vaccine to travel to Mexico?

    No, there is no vaccine requirement (of any kind) to travel to Mexico

    🇲🇽 Do I need a visa to travel to Mexico?

    If you are coming from the US or Europe you don’t need a VISA to enter Mexico. Once you get in you need to fill out a form that you need to keep with you until you leave. If you don’t have it you will pay a fine.

    Although the tourist visa for US and European travelers used to be 6 months long which you could easily renew by leaving the country for a couple of days and going back, nowadays they have been stricter. You may be asked how you would sustain your living and other similar questions. Sometimes they even ask you to show your credit cards.

    It seems odd but they can do that. If you intend to stay longer than a usual couple of weeks’ vacation time, just be honest and explain your plans. If you are not from the US, check this site to see if you need a visa

    💸 Where do I find the best travel deals for Mexico? 💸

    A trip to Mexico can be expensive if you love to travel with all the comforts (like I do). There are a few tricks that will help you find the best deals. Here are my tips:

    👉 DON’T travel in the high season, which is Holy week, Christmas and winter in general, and August.
    👉 Book months in advance to find early booking discounts
    👉 Use aggregators such as Discover Cars to find price comparisons and VRBO for vacation rentals!
    👉 Look for packages flights+hotels on Expedia or Skyscanner as usually, that’s where the best deals are.
    👉 Check on Booking.com or Hotels.com for hotel deals

    Happy travels!!