Cancun Safety: Why Visitors Shouldn't Worry

Updated Cancun safety report and why you shouldn't worry despite rising crime rates and discouraging statistics in the state of Quintana Roo.

Cancun Safety: Why Visitors Shouldn't Worry
Cancun. Photo: Flickr

Cancun, despite all the news and rumors, is still the favorite vacation spot for families, couples, groups of friends, and more because of its safety.

Much has been said about Cancun's safety in recent years, worrying travelers to rethink whether or not to travel to this fabulous city. Some of these headlines in the news are confusing because the incidents or events that happen are isolated incidents that occur in the hotel zone without any particular reason against visitors.

For example, there have been many cases of homicides, of which 98% have been related to drug cartels, and with no direct relation to tourists visiting the city. Most of the time the news focuses on the headlines that show what happened in areas away from the hotel zone, and there are very few occasions where they talk about incidents that happen in tourist areas.

Like any other city, you will find the areas far from the center. In this case areas far away from the hotel zone such as those with bad reputations and criminal activities. These colonies are on the outskirts of Cancun and miles away from your place of lodging. Foreigners usually don't go for a ride there. The furthest they go is market 28 and the outlet plazas, both far from the areas mentioned above as dangerous.

Tourist police guarding the safety in Cancun

The Cancun Hotel Zone is one of the safest places to be. The more than 22 kilometers that comprise it, are the place where tourists can be safe all the time because there are five types of security personnel in Cancun, which are described below:

Hotel Security

They are unarmed, but they are prepared to assist in case of a contingency, and since they work and live from tourism, no matter if you are not a guest of their resort, they are always willing to help if necessary.

Cancun is a city whose economy depends 90% on tourism, so the priority will always be to take care of tourists.

Local Police

These members of law enforcement will be in charge of taking care of you at all times. You will see them around the hotel zone in their patrols, or even on bicycles in the center, and the moment you feel unsafe, you should rely on them, and tell them the reason why.

Federal Police

This special force can be seen along Kukulkan Avenue and in the center, aboard their navy blue vans, taking care of the Cancun safety and integrity of everything, not just the tourists.


Since Cancun is a part island and part port, the Navy is the branch of the militia stationed there. If you go to the beach, you will see the soldiers in their characteristic white uniforms, circling the beaches and shopping malls, thus preventing any criminal activity.


Army personnel monitor and patrol the roads between Cancun and Playa del Carmen, having strategic checkpoints, to control any disruptive incidents.

Civil protection in case of natural disasters

The city of Cancun has a great culture of natural disasters, especially hurricanes. When there is the possibility of the impact of the tropical system, the Municipal Operations Center is activated as a basic coordination element for Cancun safety.

The Directorate of Civil Protection carries out preventive actions and preparedness for contingencies and in the presence of an emergency, the Directorate is temporarily restructured in the Emergency Commission, with specialized and specific functions to mitigate the effects of the disaster, put into operation emergency programs, prepare the community and tourists for the impact, act as much as possible during and after any contingency.

Cancun ranks 12th in the Atlantic in impact frequency, with 1 hurricane every 2.57 years or with a 0.39 probability of impact by one cyclone per year.

CCTV monitoring for safety on the streets

The government has installed security cameras outside shopping malls and docks for additional monitoring. There are also police dogs, which can detect strange behaviors. That is why the environmental sanitation tax was implemented because part of the funds collected will be used to provide more tools and better salaries for officials.

In addition to all this, on holiday weekends, efforts to maintain peace and tranquility are doubled, with the hiring and training of more personnel. Dates like Easter, summer, and Christmas are the ones you'll see more staff and less crime.

Is there a travel warning for Cancun?

The U.S. government, each semester releases a list of precautions to take when traveling to other countries abroad.

This table ranges from tiers 1 to 4, with 1 being the normal precautions and 4 not to travel, since it is very dangerous. Cancun and its surrounding cities are classified as number 2, which means that visitors should be cautious when traveling.

  1. Consider the usual when going out alone.
  2. Be aware of your surroundings and your safety, you can go for a walk with your partner, or in small groups of friends.
  3. Reconsider your trip, do it at your own risk, as it is dangerous, if so when you leave the hotel, do it in large groups.
  4. DO NOT travel; it is extremely dangerous, and there is a lot of violence.
Cancun is safe for Americans, informs the consulate. Image: Twitter @Travelgov

Mexico as a country has a tier 2, although some states become tier 3, but none of those near Cancun. Overall within the group of the countries on the list, Mexico ranks 35th out of 80.

There are no travel alerts for Cancun, for employees of any branch of the U.S. government.

Cancun will continue to be a place where you and your family can travel with minimal problems, since the entire economic benefit comes from tourists visiting the hotels, and everyone wants to contribute to keeping it that way, so you can enjoy this Caribbean paradise.

Safety on the streets of Cancun

Cancun is very safe, whether you want to walk on the beach, or the road that runs through the entire hotel zone, which is highly recommended. At no point will you feel the sensation of someone wanting to assault you. But be prepared, since many sellers will want you to buy something from them.

You will always see people walking along the main avenue, although more people walk at night once the sun goes down. If you go on a tour, make sure that the package you buy, comes with transportation included, so they pick you up in the lobby of your hotel and leave you there too.

Rent a car and drive

Yes, you can rent a car, and enjoy controlling your time and the comfort of your family, just be sure to read the fine print in the lease and take care of it as if it were yours. Car dealerships are very strict with units that are damaged.

The U.S. and Canadian driver's licenses are valid in Mexico, but you have to read the traffic regulations; you don't want to get fines when you're on vacation.

Use of public transportation

The use of buses in the hotel zone is safe. It only costs you less than USD 1 per person, the units are well maintained. The vast majority have air conditioning and internet, and some units have a ramp for the disabled. They can take you to market 28 and the mall plazas outlets, just are sure to ask well, where to take the bus back to your hotel.

Swimming on the beach

On all the beaches of Cancun you can swim, from time to time the waves rise, just make sure you know the signs. You will always see flags that indicate if you can swim or not, RED or BLACK flags, you can not swim, YELLOW, are with light currents, PURPLE, is that jellyfish or other marine animals are close, ORANGE that there are very high winds.