Mexico is among the top tourist destinations attracting a flow of approximately 95 million people per year with Cancun and the state of Quintana Roo being visited from half of this number. And yet, Mexico is usually present in the news feeds with turbulent criminal events, in a total contrast with the sunny, pleasant, rich in culture, and summer experience place people from all over the world are choosing for their vacation.
How safe is Cancun and can I wear my jewelry and expensive watch while on a vacation there?
Mexico is the fifth-largest country in America and the 14th largest in the world. It is divided in states which have different crime level. Those hosting spots of tourist interest are the safest ones due to local authorities constantly improving the security measures ensuring spotless vacations for the tourists.
Quintana Roo, the state where Cancun, Tulum, Playa del Carmen, and Isla Mujeres are, is among those with lower crime rate. And yet, basic rules must be taken into account when travelling to Cancun.
Cancun is the main tourist destination for those travelling to this part of Mexico. The city hosts the Cancun International Airport that welcomes all the visitors to the Quintana Roo. The city itself is built on the continent. This is where its citizens live, where their business, shopping centers, education centers are.
The tourist area is concentrated on the beautiful, narrow strip of land that stretches approximately 22km (14 miles) along the coastline of the Yucatan Peninsula. This area is known as La Zona Hotelera or Hotels Zone.
The place, between the Caribbean Sea and the Nichupte Lagoon, offers stunning views over the sea and some of the beaches. It is the safest one, ensuring police presence so tourists can relax undisturbed. This is also where foreign visitors can wear their jewelry and branded watches without being afraid of attacks.
Tourist zones – the safest ones
The Mexican and local authorities are doing their best to keep the tourists safe and happy during their stay. This is the reason the tourist zones are the safest ones.
- Hotel Zone (Zona Hotelera): the Hotel Zone is a well-maintained and heavily guarded area with a strong security presence due to its importance for tourism. It is generally safe for tourists, especially within the premises of reputable hotels and resorts.
- Downtown Cancun (El Centro): downtown Cancun is the city’s commercial and cultural hub. It has a bustling atmosphere and is generally safe during the day. However, it’s advisable to exercise caution at night, stick to well-lit areas, and avoid isolated streets.
- Playa Delfines: Playa Delfines, also known as Cancun’s “Mirador” or viewpoint, is a popular public beach in the Hotel Zone. It’s considered safe, and many tourists and locals visit this beach for its beautiful views and relatively calm atmosphere.
- La Isla Shopping Village: this is a popular outdoor mall in the Hotel Zone. It offers a variety of shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues. It’s generally considered safe, especially during the daytime when it’s more visited.
- Puerto Cancun: located near the Hotel Zone, Puerto Cancun is a gated community that includes residential areas, a marina, a golf course, and shopping centers. It is known for its security measures and is considered relatively safe.
Other destinations in the state of Quintana Roo safe to visit:
- Playa del Carmen: Playa del Carmen is a popular coastal town known for its stunning beaches, vibrant atmosphere, and lively Fifth Avenue (Quinta Avenida). It generally has a safe and tourist-friendly environment, with a strong security presence.
- Tulum: a picturesque town known for its beautiful beaches, ancient Mayan ruins, and bohemian atmosphere, Tulum attracts many tourists, and the main tourist areas are generally safe. However, it’s always advisable to take precautions and avoid isolated areas.
- Cozumel: Cozumel is an island located off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. It is a popular cruise ship destination and offers excellent diving and snorkeling opportunities. The island is generally considered safe for tourists, especially in the main tourist areas and during daylight hours.
- Isla Mujeres: the tiny island located just off the coast of Cancun is known for its pristine beaches, turquoise waters, and relaxed atmosphere. The island has a strong tourism infrastructure and is generally safe for visitors.
- Puerto Morelos: this lovely, quiet fishing village situated between Cancun and Playa del Carmen offers a more relaxed and less crowded atmosphere compared to other tourist destinations in the area. Puerto Morelos is considered safe, and it’s a great place to unwind and enjoy the beach.
Basic precautions to bear in mind
While these destinations are generally safe, it’s important to remain vigilant, practice common sense, and adhere to basic safety precautions:
- stay aware of your surroundings – pay attention to your surroundings and stay alert. Avoid getting too absorbed in your phone or personal belongings, as it can make you an easy target;
- avoid isolated areas at night – stick to busy and well-lit areas with a significant presence of other tourists and locals. Avoid isolated or poorly lit areas, especially at night;
- keep an eye on your belongings – keep your valuables, such as cash, passports, and electronics, secure and out of sight. Consider using a money belt or a secure bag to keep your belongings close to your body. Avoid displaying expensive jewelry or items that might attract attention away from the tourist zones;
- follow any specific safety advice provided by local authorities or your accommodation – If your hotel provides a safe in your room, utilize it to store your valuable items when you’re not using them. This reduces the risk of theft from your accommodation.
When travelling abroad, you should also pay attention to your surroundings in the tourist zones too as minor crimes like robbery can always occur anywhere with relaxed and happy tourists. Not only local criminals represent a challenge to the tourists. The tourists are a target for foreign criminals too.
Universal precautions a tourist must observe when visiting new destinations:
- travel in groups: whenever possible, travel with a companion or in a group. There is safety in numbers, and it can deter potential thieves.
- be cautious of strangers: exercise caution when interacting with strangers, especially those who approach you with unsolicited offers, requests, or overly friendly behavior. Use your judgment and trust your instincts.
- use reputable transportation services: stick to licensed taxis, official transportation services, or reputable ride-sharing platforms. Avoid accepting rides from unofficial or unmarked vehicles.
- research and follow local laws and customs: get familiar with the local laws, customs, and cultural norms of the destination you’re visiting. Respecting the local culture and customs can help you avoid unnecessary attention and potential problems.
- keep copies of important documents: make copies of your passport, identification, and other important travel documents. Store them separately from the originals, so you have a backup in case of loss or theft.
- stay informed: stay updated on any travel advisories or safety warnings issued for the area you’re visiting. Follow the guidance provided by local authorities and your accommodation.
Remember, while it’s important to be cautious, it’s also essential to enjoy your travel experience, especially in beautiful Quintana Roo. By taking sensible precautions and being aware of your surroundings, you can reduce the risk of being a target for theft or other crimes.
Frequently asked questions:
Where in Cancun can I wear my jewelry and expensive watch?
You will feel complete safe if you book your hotel and walk within the limits of Cancun’s Hotel Zone – an area with a surveillance system. The northern part of Cancun as well as the night walks and the less populated streets are not advisable to visit.
Is it safe to leave my watch stored in the hotel room in Cancun?
The hotels within the hotel zone maintain excellent security systems so feel free to use their safe.