Cancun and Playa Del Carmen are the most famous touristic cities of the Yucatan peninsula, on the Caribbean Coast. Both cities feature warm crystal blue waters and white-sand beaches next to large resort complexes and an endless offering of restaurants, bars and attractions.
While Mexico has some crime-related issues which often makes the headlines, the Yucatan Peninsula has long been one of Mexico’s (and some say the Caribbean’s) safest areas. The major risks can be scammers trying to rip-off tourists, and petty theft in some parts of the cities.
Wondering how safe is Cancun? SafeAround has compiled information from numerous sources make sure you have a safe trip while in Mexico, and be aware of all potential dangers.
Cancun is divided in two parts : the hotel zone, a 14km strand of hotels, restaurants and beaches on the Caribbean sea; and Downtown Cancun which is a less touristic city center. The beaches are generally very safe, and there are flags indicating the swimming condition in front of every hotel.
There are many day trips from Cancun, like the Isla Murales, the ruins of Tulum, the Chichen Itza Mayan complex or the XCaret eco-park as well as all kind of water sports and diving activities. For those of the less “adventurous” type, there are various malls around the city. Cancun’s only source of revenue comes from tourism, and therefore all is done to prevent crime against tourists: Cancun is safe.
The Hotel Area is safer than Downtown Cancun, which can have some rougher parts with no touristic interest.
There can be some pickpockets in the Mercados (markets) of Cancun, and if you are renting a vehicle be sure not to leave anything of value inside.
Playa Del Carmen: How Safe is it?
Playa del Carmen, about 45 minutes south of Cancun, is a resort town with a village atmosphere and is the gateway to visit the Cozumel Island.
Playa del carmen is very safe, with a large police presence. Still, it is not recommended to venture on the outer parts of the city at night.
Warnings & Dangers
OVERALL RISK: LOW
Cancun and Playa del Carmen are very safe cities within Mexico. With a rating of 44% Mexico, is ranked 114th out of 162 on the ranking of the safest and most dangerous countries.
PICKPOCKETS RISK: LOW
There is nearly no pickpocket risk in Cancun and Playa Del Carmen, but be careful if you go to street markets. A few simple precautions will minimize your chances of being pickpocketed.
MUGGING RISK: LOW
Cancun is a safe city regarding mugging and kidnapping risks, although some areas outside the touristic center are best to be avoided at night.
SCAMS RISK: MEDIUM
As in any touristic place, there may be people trying to scam you in Cancun or Playa del Carmen. Avoid people doing “magic tricks” around touristic area, people offering “free” massages or food samples, locals acting strangely or trying to distract you; and people offering help with your luggage at the airport.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: LOW
Transports and taxis are generally very safe in Cancun and Playa.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: MEDIUM
There can be some occasional natural hazards (geological, meteorological) in Mexico (see the page about Mexico for more advice).
TERRORISM RISK: LOW
Cancun is a very safe city in respect to terrorist threats.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: LOW
Cancun is generally very safe for women travelers.
Avoid Being A Victim! 10 Tips for Your Personal Safety
It is best to carry a small bag across your shoulder or wear a concealed pouch rather than a back pack
Carry as little cash as you can
Don’t keep your wallet in your back pocket
Beware of individuals who act strangely and who try to divert your attention in order to steal your belongings.
Pay special attention while seating on restaurants and café terraces, when you are withdrawing money from ATMs or near tourist attractions
Never keep your mobile phone or wallet on the table of a café or restaurant.
Don’t wear expensive jewellery in an ostentatious way
If an attacker tries to snatch your bag, don’t try to stop them as you will risk being injured
Thieves commonly work near tourist attractions such as museums, monuments, restaurants, hotels, beaches, trains, train stations, airports, subways and target vehicles with non-local license plates.
Most but not all of pickpockets work in groups, often as teenagers
The currency in Mexico is the Mexican Peso or MXN M$. As of June 2016, 1 Us Dollar= 18.6 MXN.
Mexico is an inexpensive country to visit, they are many cheap accommodations for backpackers and those travelling on a shoestring. There are also many options for those who want to spend more money on their trip. Expect to pay from 800 MXN to 2000 MXN per day.