According to statistics, Cancun welcomed 30 million visitors in 2022, which was higher than it has ever been. This isn’t surprising because it really is a breathtaking place. From traditional Mexican cuisine to modern gourmet dining, lively nightlife, and sunny beaches, Cancun has something for everyone.
Shopaholics rave about the city’s variety of malls and boutiques, while adventurers appreciate its diverse wildlife and rich history. If you’re planning to a trip to Cancun, you might be worried about your overall safety, which is a valid concern.
In this article, we’ll give you a complete lowdown on how safe Cancun is, what are some things to consider, and how you can make the most of your trip. Read on to learn more.
Is Cancun Safe to Visit?
Cancun is not immune to occasional incidents of crime. However, it’s generally a safe destination for travelers, all things considered.
It’s true that the city has experienced several incident of crime over the years. But the local government and tourism authorities have taken drastic measures to improve the situation and ensure the overall safety of visitors. Examples include increasing police patrolling in certain areas and implementing new safety protocols. As a result of which, millions of visitors go home with an unforgettable travel experience.
But as we said, crime still exists, so it’s important to remain vigilant and aware of your surroundings.
Crimes in Cancun
The overall crime rate is relatively low in Cancun, especially in tourist-y areas. The city has even experienced some decline in certain types of crimes.
Below are some of the most common crimes in Cancun:
Pickpocketing (Risk: Medium)
Cancun is a bustling tourist destination that is unfortunately no stranger to pickpocketing. It’s one of the most common crimes reported in the city.
Thieves usually operate in areas with high foot traffic, making Downtown Cancun a prime location for pickpockets to strike. These thieves are quick-fingered and can easily distract their targets, making off with valuables like jewelry, watches, and expensive purses before the victim even realizes they’ve been robbed.
To avoid becoming a target, we recommend you leave your valuables in a secure location and only carry what you need. You should also be aware of your surroundings and keep a close eye on your personal belongings.
Women Travelers (Risk: Low)
For women travelers, Cancun is a generally safe destination, with a low risk of harassment or violence. Like any other place in the world, it’s essential to exercise caution and common sense.
When it comes to male attention, it’s a reality that women travelers face everywhere, and Cancun is no exception. Avoiding less populated areas and trusting your instincts are essential to stay safe.
If you ever feel uneasy, join the nearest group of individuals. During the day, it’s safe to wander around, and you’ll find plenty of female travelers, including ones traveling solo. Just be aware of your surroundings, and use the same precautions you would in any other city.
Frauds and Scams (Risk: Medium)
Cancun is also notorious for frauds and scams. During my last visit, I found that scammers usually approach you on the street or call you at your hotel. Then they offer amazing deals on tours or timeshares, only to take your money and disappear.
Be aware of fraudulent charges on your credit card. Always check your statements carefully and report any suspicious activity immediately. In addition, be cautious of individuals posing as police officers or other officials who ask for money or personal information.
These scammers may also try to scam you with magic tricks, free massages, or food samples, but remember the old adage: never take candy from strangers. And if you do encounter a police officer, be prepared for the possibility of being falsely charged with petty infractions or traffic violations in an attempt to extort a bribe.
But this can also be avoided if you remain vigilant.
Drug-Related Crimes (Risk: Low)
Cancun, like the rest of Mexico, has also been affected by drug-related crimes. But the risk is relatively low. Most drug-related crimes occur in isolated areas far away from tourist hotspots.
That’s why it’s important to exercise caution when exploring off the beaten path and avoid any areas that may be associated with drug trafficking. Additionally, it’s best to avoid suspicious individuals.
Robberies and Kidnappings (Risk: Low)
While robberies are a concern across Mexico, including in no-go zones where turf wars can break out, incidents in Cancun are infrequent.
According to the Office of the State Prosecutor, only one kidnapping case was recorded in the entirety of 2022 in Quintana Roo, debunking earlier claims of a high number of kidnappings in the area. This was in February 2022, when a tourist identified as Dustan Jackson revealed that he fell victim to an abduction by a group of men after arriving at a store to buy tobacco in Cancun.
It’s always recommended to exercise caution but also keep these statistics in mind and not let fear prevent you from enjoying all that Cancun has to offer.
Assault (Risk: Low)
Cancun is also low-risk when it comes to assaults — these incidents are quite rare, and you shouldn’t sweat it too much. However, we still recommend you take necessary measure to ensure your safety.
Exercise caution and avoid situations that may put you at risk. Be aware of your surroundings, especially when walking alone or in less crowded areas, and avoiding excessive alcohol consumption.
Natural Disasters (Risk: Low)
Although Cancun’s hurricane season runs from June to November, with a greater chance of storms in August and October, only two hurricanes have occurred in the last 30 years, and both were relatively mild.
Additionally, while flooding and mudslides can occur during the rainy season, transportation is usually not significantly disrupted. The risk is very low, and you don’t need to worry about it. However, it always helps if you’re up-to-date on the weather conditions and follow any instructions or warnings from local authorities.
Areas to Avoid for Safe Travel in Cancun
There are some areas in Cancun that are considered relatively high-risk.
The downtown area is considered a bit risky, particularly during night. It can be very crowded and chaotic, making it easy for pickpockets and other criminals to take advantage of you. You may also encounter street vendors who are aggressive in their sales pitches, which can make you feel uncomfortable and vulnerable.
El Crucero, which is located near the bus station, is also notorious for crimes. This is also often targeted by thieves and pickpockets. You’re better off avoiding this area, especially if you’re alone alone.
In general, you should also avoid taking unlicensed taxis, particularly in less populated areas. If you need to take a taxi, make sure it’s an official taxi with a registered license plate.
In addition, it’s recommended to avoid any suspicious activities and stick to well-known areas. If you’re unsure about a particular area or activity, it’s best to err on the side of caution and avoid it altogether.
Safety Tips for Travelers
To ensure a safe trip to Cancun, travelers should take the following precautions:
- Avoid high-risk areas, particularly at night
- Use taxis or private transportation services instead of public transportation
- Keep valuables such as passports, cash, and electronics in a safe or secure location
- Stay alert and aware of your surroundings
- Be cautious when using ATMs, especially at night
- Avoid excessive alcohol consumption, as it can impair judgment and increase the risk of becoming a victim of crime
In case of an emergency, travelers can contact the following:
- Ambulances: 065
- Tourist Police: 01 (998) 885 2277
- Bureau of Customs: 998 886 0073
- Fire Department: 998 884 1202
- Local Emergencies: 060
- General Hospital: 998 884 2967
- Visitors Bureau and Public Relations: 998 881 2800
- National Emergencies: 911
Cultural Considerations When Visiting Cancun
When visiting Cancun, it’s important to respect the local culture and customs. Mexicans are known for their hospitality and friendliness, but you should be aware of certain cultural norms, such as dressing modestly when visiting religious sites and avoiding public displays of affection.
It’s also important to be mindful of the language barrier, as many locals may not speak English fluently.
For someone visiting foreign land, keeping healthy is important. You should especially be mindful of the risk of foodborne illness and mosquito-borne diseases such as dengue fever and Zika virus.
Drink bottled water and avoid eating street food, as it may not be properly prepared. You should take precautions to avoid mosquito bites, such as wearing long sleeves and using insect repellent.
FAQs on Visiting Cancun
Is it safe to drink tap water in Cancun?
No, it’s not recommended to drink tap water in Cancun. Stick to bottled water, which is readily available in stores. It’s also advisable to avoid using tap water when brushing your teeth. And we recommend you to be cautious when consuming drinks that may have been prepared with tap water, such as ice cubes in juices.
Many reputable hotels and restaurants in Cancun have their water purification systems, so you may want to ask the staff before consuming any water or drinks in there.
What should I do if I become a victim of crime in Cancun?
If you become a victim of crime in Cancun, you should report the incident to the local police as soon as possible. The emergency number in Mexico is 911, and English-speaking operators are available.
It’s also recommended that you contact your embassy or consulate for assistance. Keep all important documents such as passport and identification safe and secure at all times.
Is Cancun safe for girls?
Cancun is generally safe for girls. However, as with any destination, it’s important to take basic safety precautions, such as staying in well-lit and populated areas, not traveling alone at night, and being aware of your surroundings.
Girls should also be cautious when interacting with strangers and avoid sharing personal information with them. It’s recommended to travel with a group or a trusted companion for added safety.
Overall, Cancun is a relatively safe destination for travelers, with a low crime rate in tourist areas. However, it’s still essential to take basic safety precautions and be aware of common scams and crimes, as well as areas to avoid.
By following the safety guidelines above and being aware of your surroundings, you can enjoy a safe and memorable trip to Cancun.