Isla Mujeres is a small island 8 miles off the Yucatan Peninsula, where the Caribbean sea and the Gulf of Mexico meet. You can reach this island by taking a ferry from Cancun and enjoy an impressive number of beautiful beaches.
Despite being a beautiful island, Mexico’s safety makes many travelers skeptical. So it’s normal to question Is Isla Mujeres safe to visit?
Well, the short answer is, Yes! Isla Mujeres is among Mexico’s safest places, with a safety rating of 80, only 5 points behind Cozumel. Crime is everywhere, and unsocial elements are waiting to spoil the best of moments. But those chances are very slim, and the pros outweigh the cons.
In this article, we’ll walk you through how to be safe in Isla Mujeres, what areas to avoid and a few safety tips to have a really fun vacation.
Is Isla Mujeres Safe?
Mexico has been gaining bad press lately, but Isla Mujeres is pretty safe to visit, regardless of that. If you’re aware of your surroundings, don’t wander in shady places and keep your belongings safe, there won’t be any trouble.
Isla Mujeres is packed with beautiful beaches and shorelines with pristine water, perfect for diving, swimming, snorkeling and sailing. If you ignore petty crimes like pickpockets and overcharged cabs, which happen almost at every tourist place, the island is worth visiting. Not to worry, tourist police and local police keep patrolling the areas.
But due to Isla Mujeres’s close proximity to Cancun, where crime has been increasing, and the police are corrupt, crime has taken root on the island. Recently, six robbers robbed tourists at gunpoint at Isla Blanca beach. Although the island is relatively safer, with Cancun in its rearview, the U.S. state department has released a travel advisory asking tourists to exercise extra caution.
We usually take crime data from Numbeo. However, no data on Isla Mujeres indicates this island’s crime rate is fairly low. That said when visiting Isla Mujeres, consider the safety concerns for the following:
- Local scams
- Selling and using drugs
Areas to Avoid in Isla Mujeres
Isla Mujeres is a small island, roughly 1.7 square miles, surrounded by seawater. Crime is taken seriously, and local authorities heavily patrol the island to keep petty crimes in check.
No cartels or cartel-related crime are on the island, but drugs do slip away from the authorities. Pickpocketing and mugging cases are low, but unfortunately, the only way to avoid them is by being mindful of the surrounding areas.
There are no shady areas on the island to avoid in particular. Though, the eastern part of the Island is rocky and gets bashed with heavy waves. We recommend exercising extra caution.
Safety Tips for Travelers
Even if the crime rate is low, there are still elements that can cause you harm. When in Isla Mujeres, be mindful of the following.
As with Isla Mujeres, tropical regions see some of the highest numbers of mosquitoes, especially during rainy seasons. You wouldn’t want to get sick with Zika, Dengue, or malaria because of mosquito bites.
- Use mosquito repellents
- Cover your body by wearing full-sleeved clothes
- Don’t go near stagnant water areas or dense, bushy areas
- Keep windows and doors closed or use mesh screens
- Don’t go out at dusk or dawn when the mosquitoes are most active
- Stay updated on local news for any mosquito-related news.
Isla Mujeres is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, like Playa Norte. However, hidden behind the beauty lies a deadly creature. If you’re visiting Isla Mujeres during the summer, beware of Jellyfish on the beach. A jellyfish sting can cause severe pain and reaction in some cases.
When swimming or walking, look out for jellyfish and try to avoid them. Some jellyfishes, like Moon jellyfish, aren’t as dangerous as Box jellyfish. It can be hard to distinguish between them, so avoiding them is the best option.
- Avoid swimming in murky and debris-filled waters.
- Keep an ear open for local warnings.
- Wear protective gear like swimsuits.
- Swim near lifeguards
Cases of extreme crimes are rare and local police try to curb criminals as much as possible. However, pickpocketing is still prevalent and can happen to you, especially in crowded areas or when you leave your belongings unattended.
- Keep your wallet safe.
- Don’t flash expensive items like jewelry or watches.
- Don’t show off cash in public.
- Don’t roam in shady places.
- Be mindful of your surroundings.
- Keep important documents like the passport or driving license in a safe place.
Tourist scams are common at tourist places. Sellers trying to sell fake souvenirs at ridiculously high prices, cabs charging more, and expensive tour guides are some of many scams. Try to avoid them.
- Buy souvenirs from legit places.
- Research online for cab fares.
- Explore yourself or get a certified tour guide.
Tap water on Isle Mujeres is clean, but most people drink bottled water. Tap water may cause health problems, and getting sick on vacation is the last you’d want. You can use tap water for bathing or brushing your teeth, but avoid drinking it.
Being a tropical region surrounded by vast bodies of water makes Isle Mujeres prone to hurricanes and floods. Keep up to date with weather reports for extra safety.
In case of any emergency or assistance, call on the following numbers.
- Red Cross: 998 877 0098
- Town Hall Isma Mujeres: 998 877 0307, 998 877 0098
- Civil Protection: 998 867 6800
- Local Police: 877-0082
- Emergency: 066
- Hospital Americano: (998) 884 6133
Cultural Considerations When Visiting Isla Mujeres
Isla Mujeres may be a tourist destination, but it is still home to many people, including Mayan communities. Offending them isn’t a good way to enjoy your trip. When on the island, consider these:
- Avoid taking pictures of local communities, ceremonies, and sacred sites without permission.
- Dress appropriately when visiting religious or sacred places.
- Respect the local festivities and events.
Certain health risks may pose a threat if you’re not careful enough. For example, drinking tap water just anywhere because you’re thirsty can invite diseases like GI problems, diarrhea, stomach aches, and more. Always drink bottled water; it is readily available on the island.
Being on an island, you’ll find plenty of seafood. Eat what you’re sure of, and if you want to try something new, understand the risks. Properly cooked food is the best way to get by. Carry insect repellent, wear full-sleeved clothes and don’t get stung by jellyfish.
Visit the nearest hospital at any sign of weakness, fever, or upset stomach.
The Bottom Line
Isla Mujeres is relatively safe, with very low crime rates, almost no cartel activity, and cases of kidnapping or mugging. If you exercise caution, like being mindful of your surroundings, keeping your belongings safe and traveling low profile without flashing expensive things or money, you’ll be fine.
Don’t walk alone at night, take care of your health, and keep updated on news and weather reports.
FAQs on visiting Isla Mujeres
Is it worth going to Isla Mujeres?
Isla Mujeres is a gorgeous island with pristine blue waters, incredibly beautiful beaches, and flourishing sea life. You can enjoy a calm day on one of the best beaches in the world, Playa Norte. Or go sailing, snorkeling, and sea diving. Just beware of jellyfish.
What is the best month to visit Isla Mujeres?
The best time to visit Isla Mujeres is between January and April. The weather is nice this time around, and it rains very little. If you visit during May-September, you’ll face heavy rain and high humidity.
Is Isla Mujeres a party island?
Isla Mujeres is mostly known for its calmness and serenity, but the nightlife is totally the opposite and suitable for party freaks. There are tons of amazing clubs and bars to enjoy the evening.