Cancun—perhaps one of the most popular destinations for Americans visiting Mexico. Chances are, if you visit, you are in for the time of your life. Still, international travel takes care and preparation. What can you do as a tourist to keep yourself safe in Cancun? Let’s discuss some common-sense safety procedures you can follow during your stay in the area.
At the end of the day, Cancun has some amazing experiences in store. Yet, you need to stay safe whenever you venture out.
Your Safety Remains Your Top Priority
Compared to many Mexican cities, Cancun is a relatively safe area. However, localized crime risks always exist. These might include risks of petty theft, fraud scams and gang violence. Health and environmental hazards exist as well.
Don't consider Cancun a place rife with crime. However, recognize that threats exist. Tourists often encounter harmful situations because they don’t understand safety risks. Therefore, they put themselves in harm’s way by simple ignorance of existing threats. Before traveling, think of the steps you need to protect yourself. You might need to take extra precautions.
Safety at Tourist Destinations
Whenever you head out in Cancun, go prepared. As a tourist, you’ll need to protect yourself and your possessions at all times.
- Leave valuables at your hotel. Jewelry, photo ID, credit cards and cash should go under lock and key. Many hotels provide safes in every room. Others provide deposit services. If you don’t have either option available, hide these items in your suitcase. Store the suitcase in a way where any tampering will prove evident.
- It’s not a good idea to carry significant amounts of money, though you should take both cash and a credit card with you.
- Keep valuables you take with you close to your person. Do not place items like ID, phones and money in your back pocket. Keep them in a front pocket, or in a bag with a shoulder strap. You can also secure these items using a chain.
- Ask your hotel to arrange safe walking routes, taxi and transportation services. Rely on tourist maps and guides to get you where you need to go. Do not venture off the beaten path or try to tour alone.
- While most locals are completely trustworthy, scam artists sometimes prey on tourists. Do not provide personal information to anyone outside of a business establishment.
Recreation and Dining Safety
Cancun offers plenty of nightlife, dining and outdoor activities. Still, use discretion when partaking in leisure activities. While most attractions offer safe environments, you’ll still face safety risks you might not encounter at home.
- Use caution when consuming alcohol or other spirits. If you suspect tampering with your drink, immediately alert a responsible party.
- American tourists should not consume tap water, either for drinking or bathing. Most hotels and restaurants provide bottled water.
- Use caution when consuming raw or undercooked food. Most large dining establishments follow safe preparation rules. However, it’s often best to avoid items not fully cooked.
- When patronizing beaches, use every precaution you would anywhere else. Swim at your own risk, though some hotels do have lifeguards on duty. Do not engage with vagrants or criminals who might prey on beach-goers. Keep your personal items close to your person. Of course, don’t forget to use sunscreen and stay hydrated.
- Red-light districts do exist in this area. It’s often quite unsafe to engage in illicit or illegal activities in this regard. Personal injury or arrest might result. If you ever suspect yourself to be in the presence of these activities, immediately get out.
Besides the local emergency services, hotels often offer security and medical specialists on staff. If you ever experience problems, don’t hesitate to call for help.
To protect yourself in an extra way, invest in travel insurance before your trip. It might cover lost or stolen possessions, cancelled trips or medical emergencies abroad. Given the costs that might occur in an emergency, coverage can provide a cushion. The U.S. Embassy in Mexico can help you in case certain emergencies arise.
Things to See in Cancun
Now that you have safety in mind, you can go out and enjoy some of Cancun’s exciting opportunities. Some of the attractions to visit include:
- The Underwater Art Museum (Musa Museo Subacuatico de Arte): Explore unique, underwater architectural wonders through scuba excursions.
- Avenida Kukulkan: Shops, dining and nightlife line Cancun’s main thoroughfare.
- Chichén Itzá: This is one of Mexico’s premier examples of ancient Mayan culture and architecture.
- Island of Women (Isla Mujeres): Tired of the hectic pace of mainstream beaches? You can visit this sleepy island by way of a ferry ride. It’s known for its scenic preservation and slow pace.
Of course, don’t forget to check out the beaches, water parks, nautical excursions, nightlife and dining in the area. Cancun can be one of the most amazing experiences of your life. With a little attention to safety, your visit will go off without a hitch.