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Safety and security in Cancun

Is Cancun safe right now?

Cancun is incredibly safe due to Cancun’s limited access – one entrance, one exit – along with heavy security throughout. The federal police and Navy personnel patrol the beaches, the police and Army monitor the highways and surveillance cameras have been installed at the ferry piers. Government officials also inspect bags and use canines to add another layer of protection to detect drugs and other illegal products. And with spring break bringing more travellers to the region, the local government has added dozens of police vehicles to patrol the area, along with numerous military patrols.

With all of this, it is easy to see why tourism in Cancun and Mexico hasn’t been affected by increasing crime rates globally. In fact, quite the contrary.

39.3 million tourists travelled to Mexico in 2017, and numbers didn’t dip in 2018 with 41.4 million tourists visiting Mexico. The final tourism statistics for 2019 are still yet to be announced, but it is estimated that nearly 44.7 million tourists visited Mexico last year.

When it comes to Cancun itself, Euromonitor International reports that 2016 saw the resort city receive 5.8 million international travellers. The same report expected Cancun to receive 6.8 million travellers in 2017, with a forecast of 7.6 million visitors by 2020 and roughly 9 million by 2025.

What to do before you travel to Cancun

Here are some ideas for planning an unforgettable trip to the famous resort city of Cancun. Some travel tips before you leave for your trip to Cancun:

  • Leave your travel itinerary and contact information with friends and family
  • See your doctor before you leave to ensure you are in good health to travel
  • Take our or check medical insurance to ensure you are covered during your trip
  • Make a list of relevant hospitals and U.S. Embassies in the area (see below for Cancun)

These are precautionary measures that should be taken whenever you travel, not just when travelling to Cancun.

Top tips to stay safe in Cancun

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Just as in any big city or urban area, we’ve seen that there is crime in Cancun. However, the U.S. State Department ranks the risk of travelling to Mexico in the same category as the United Kingdom, Germany and Italy among other famous travel destinations.

So what can you do to ensure you stay safe whilst in Cancun, and any other city for that matter? Here are our top Cancun and Mexico travel tips:

    • If driving – Avoid isolated roads and use toll roads when possible
    • When venturing out of the hotel – Areas to avoid in Cancun normally include that outside of well-occupied tourist zones. However, areas which are deemed safe by either the government or hotels are also ok to enjoy
    • At nighttime – Stay in well-lit tourist areas at night
    • Money– Take money out of ATMs in well-lit tourist areas, from well-known national banks
    • Jewellery – Don’t wear fancy jewellery out
    • Nightlife – If you go out, always keep your drink in your hand
    • Taxis– Never hail a taxi. Let the hotel order you a taxi or call one yourself from a reputable taxi service
    • Scams– Never hand your passport or money to a police officer as they have been known to extort money from tourists. Ask for the officer’s name, badge and patrol car number, as well as a copy of the written fine which is payable at a later date
    • USE COMMON SENSE– If you use common sense, just as you would in any other city, you will have a truly wonderful stay in Cancun!

Cancun’s safest areas

Just as any city, there are areas that are safer than others. The government is providing the necessary security to ensure that the tourism industry in Cancun and Mexico remains strong and travelers are safe. Here are the safe areas of Cancun:

    • Cancun Hotel Zone– Also commonly referred to as the Zona Hotelera Cancun, this area is heavily guarded and practically untouched when it comes to cartel activity. Explore Boulevard Kukulcán which runs through the heart of the Zona Hotelera and offers plenty of fun things to do in Cancun!
    • Cancun Beaches– Again, these are practically untouched by the cartels, especially in the hotel zone. So relax and enjoy the beauty and warmth of the Gulf of Mexico!
    • Isla Mujeres– A gorgeous island just 9 miles off the coast of Cancun, this remains a safe place for travelers to revel in the stunning scenery of the area.
    • Shopping Areas– The nicer malls, especially in and around the Zona Hoterea, are quite safe. One great example is the La Isla Shopping Village.
    • Day Trips– If they are recommended by the government or hotel, then they are safe! Places like Xel-Ha, Xcaret, Chichen Itza and Tulum are wonderful day trips. Take a look at a few cultural experiences in Cancun which are great for the whole family!

Areas to avoid in Cancun

Having mentioned the safer areas of Cancun, below are a few of the areas to avoid in Cancun, or at least take extra precaution when visiting:

    • Downtown Cancun– While primarily safe during the day, be sure to stay in the most touristic parts such as Avenida Tulum and Las Palapas. Do not venture outside the touristy areas, especially at night.
    • Markets– Exploring the famous Mercado 23 and Mercado 28 is certainly ok, but make sure you hide wallets, purses and jewellery as pickpocketing does happen. We also advise staying away from these market areas after dark.
    • Outskirts of Cancun– Our basic advice is don’t venture to the outskirts as that is where you are more likely to find crime. Be sure any excursions or day trips are organized through the hotel and your transport is reputable.
    • Driving– We recommend arranging a driver or trusted taxi, but if you choose to rent a car, then we advise renting one without rental car stickers so that you blend in. Also, avoid isolated roads and driving at night. Take toll roads when possible as they are generally more secure.

Don’t venture into areas outside the zona hotelera after dark. Be smart with your actions and always be aware of your surroundings. We highly advise consulting reception upon arrival to your hotel to ensure which areas you can and cannot travel to during your stay.

What to do in case of an emergency

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We are confident that you will have a safe stay at any of the stunning all-inclusive Cancun resorts, but it’s always comforting to know what to do in case of an emergency:

    • Dial 911 in case of an emergency
    • U.S. Embassy, Consulate General and Consular Agent
      • S. Consular Agency Cancun
        Blvd Kukulkan Km 13
        Torre La Europea, Despaco 301 ZH
        Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico 77500
        Phone: 999-316-7168
      • S. Consulate General Merida (for emergencies)
        Calle 60 No. 338-K x 29 y 31
        Col. Alcala Martin Merida, Yucatan, Mexico 97050
        Phone: 999-942-5700
    • Tourist friendly hospitals in Cancun:
      • Hospiten Hospital Cancun (998-881-3700)
      • Hospital de las Americas (998-881-3400)
      • Hospital Galenia (998-891-5200)
    • Tourist friendly dentists in Cancun:
      • Clinica American Smile (998-887-4521)
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