From strolling along the beautiful beaches to staying in friendly hostels to swimming in natural swim holes, Cancun is the place to be for backpackers. But like any popular destination, safety always springs to mind before you travel.
Before you hop on the plane, you need to know a few safety tips to ensure you have a fantastic trip in Cancun. Continue reading to make sure you’re clued in to essential travel tips for an epic trip to Cancun.
Is Cancun Safe for Tourists?
Cancun is an exciting place full of party lovers, beach bums, and adrenaline junkies. It's a great place to start your backpacking adventure or just take a long vacation by the sea.
Cancun is a safe place for tourists! It welcomes over 6.1 million tourists a year. Before the pandemic, the small area of Cancun was the 44th most visited place in the world!
Popular tourist destinations that mix adventure with beautiful beaches like Costa Rica and Jamaica all have the same thing in common with Cancun. If you stick to the popular tourist areas, you’re more than likely to have a safe vacation.
That being said, if you do your research on places to visit and activities to engage in, you can explore with safety and fun in mind simultaneously.
Cancun Crime Rate
Crime doesn't tend to happen as often in Cancun as it's a hot spot for tourists. However, it does happen in neighboring cities in the Yucatan Peninsula.
Crime and safety concerns in neighboring areas are usually related to drugs, petty crime, and natural disasters. These crimes don’t usually affect tourists.
A good statistic to consider is Cancun's crime rate, which is low in tourist areas. There are many police officers patrolling in the busiest areas, making the crime rate lower. There are still a few things you need to be mindful of when visiting.
Like many other major tourist places, pickpockets are present in Cancun.
Pickpockets tend to be more visible in downtown Cancun. This is because there are fewer tourists in this area. Downtown Cancun is still a safe area to visit and stay in, you just need to be more vigilant with your belongings.
It is essential to keep your belongings in a secure, anti-theft bag when traveling around Cancun.
You may not have considered that the water could be a risk when traveling to Cancun, but you must know what you’re drinking. A lot of the water in Cancun isn't filtered. Unfiltered water can even be served in hostels, restaurants, and bars, so it is important to stay vigilant!
To be safe, always drink bottled water when traveling around Cancun. The water risk also includes the ice that is served with drinks.
Scams happen all over the world! In Cancun, they do happen in tourist areas.
These scams include people giving out free samples, resulting in pressure to buy high-priced goods. So, watch out and try to avoid accepting any free goodies when you're exploring Cancun.
Scams in Cancun can also include police officers. Unfortunately, some police officers try to fine you for petty crimes like traffic violations that you didn’t commit.
The best way to avoid being scammed is to be polite, have a little knowledge of Spanish, and move on quickly!
Natural disasters do affect Cancun during its hurricane season, which is from June to November. These months are when storms usually occur. However, the risk is low for Cancun with the area experiencing just 2 hurricanes in the last 30 years.
There is a higher chance of storms in Cancun from August to October. If you can avoid traveling during these months, your trip to Cancun may be more enjoyable overall!
Is Cancun Safe for Female Travelers?
The simple answer is yes. However, precautions like leaving any valuables at your hostel, staying in tourist areas, and going out with friends at night should be taken.
Strength in numbers at night is not only great fun, but it can also help keep you safe.
What to Avoid in Cancun?
Don’t Take a Taxi From the Airport
The airport is so close to Cancun itself and most hostels and hotels provide a free shuttle. If you’re looking to save some money, take the local buses to get there. It is cheap and quick!
Don’t Buy at a High Price, Get Haggling
When you visit the local markets, don’t be afraid to haggle for a bargain. A lot of the time, the prices are set higher than normal. If you push yourself a little out of your comfort zone and try haggling, you could get yourself a real bargain!
Don’t Book Tours from Stand-Alone Tourist Stands
Many of the stand-alone tourist stands offer fake tickets or extremely high prices. Try not to buy tickets from people who walk up to you in the streets, as their tickets are usually fake.
However, not all of the tourist stands offer fake attraction tickets. Go to reputable sellers that have plenty of pictures of the tour, brochures to take away, and reviews backing up what they’re selling.
You can also book a variety of tours online. By purchasing online, you're more likely to get what you paid for and you can even plan in advance. There are so many different types of tours to book including luxury cruises and adventure tours!
Avoid Cancun During Spring Break
If you’re in Cancun for spring break, expect thousands of partygoers, fully booked accommodation, and high prices. If you want to properly explore Cancun with manageable crowds, travel there from May to November.
However, if you want to be in the action and spend your whole holiday drunk, meeting new people, and having an epic time, then spring break is a once-in-a-lifetime experience in Cancun!
Tips for Safety in Cancun
With a little common sense and these safety tips, you can have a safe stay in Cancun and enjoy this magical destination.
Stay in Safe Areas
The safer areas of Cancun are:
- Zona Hotelera: This tourist area is filled with large hotels and beachfront resorts.
- Downtown Cancun: The budget area, where you will find all the hostels.
- Puerto Juarez: The quieter area, a sleepy seaside town.
- Isla Mujeres: This area offers picture-perfect beaches. However, it’s around 13 km from Cancun.
Store Your Money in a Secure Wallet
A great tip to keep your money safe is to leave the majority of it in a secure wallet in your hostel safe or locker. This is a great place to store your passport, documents, driving license, and any other important items.
Secure Your Bag for Day Trips
You will be out and about exploring Cancun while you're there. There are so many beautiful ruins, hikes, and beaches to explore. You will need a secure bag for your day trips.
A secure bag is essential to avoid those pickpocketers and ensure your belongings are safe on your adventures. Say see ya later to pickpocketers!
Carry a Paper Copy of Your Passport
You will need your passport for hiring things, buying attraction tickets, and proof of identity and age in Cancun. To keep your actual passport safe, it's advisable to take a few paper copies of your passport to use instead of the real one.
Remember to never hand over your passport or driving license in exchange for anything in Cancun!
Stay Away from Drugs
It is common knowledge that Mexico has a high rate of drug activity. It is strongly advised to stay away from any drugs in Cancun.
Drugs are less of a problem in Cancun compared to the rest of Mexico. However, there is still evidence that drug problems can be present in the city. There are much more police patrolling the area to ensure tourists and locals are safe, so you can relax knowing you’re not in the thick of it.
If you take one thing away from this blog, it's to avoid using drugs in Cancun!
Bring a Padlock for Hostels
This is one of my favorite tips!
Having a padlock to lock your hostel locker or safe will add that extra level of security. Locks can be hard to find in Cancun, so make sure you take one with you! If you’re unsure of what to take when backpacking, check out this backpacking packing list.
You can also use this lock on your suitcase for easy storage and extra security.
So, Is Cancun Safe?
Overall, yes, Cancun is safe to travel for backpackers, tourists, and solo adventurers!
This city is packed full of exciting attractions to discover. From historic ruins to delicious Mexican food to some of the best nightlife in the world, you should explore this city with confidence.
If you remember the tips on how to keep safe in Cancun, then you’re onto an unforgettable trip. So pack your bags, grab your mates, and head off to the city of Cancun for unlimited adventures.
What happens in Cancun, stays in Cancun
It's time to plan your adventure in Cancun. Not sure where to start? Let Pilot plan the ultimate trip to Cancun.