Is Cancun Safe For American Tourists


Cancun is a top tourist destination that attracts millions of visitors every year due to its beautiful beaches, golf courses, and luxury resorts. However, there have been concerns about safety in the area due to an increase in violent crime, mainly driven by the demand for drugs from tourists.

The U.S. State Department has issued an updated travel advisory for U.S. tourists traveling to Mexico, warning of the widespread and common occurrence of violent crimes such as homicide, kidnapping, carjacking, and robbery in the country. However, it is essential to note that these incidents mostly occur in specific areas and not necessarily in Cancun or the Riviera Maya.

Regarding safety in Cancun, it is generally safe for visitors. The resort city has a strong police presence and security measures in place to ensure the safety of tourists. However, it is advisable to take precautions, such as staying in well-lit areas, avoiding walking alone at night, and not flashing valuable items in public.

Solo travel is generally safe in Cancun, but it is crucial to exercise extra caution when traveling alone. Women, in particular, should be careful and avoid walking alone at night.

Beach safety is also essential in Cancun. Visitors should pay attention to warning flags and signs, especially during hurricane season. It is also advisable to avoid swimming alone or after consuming alcohol.

Carbon monoxide poisoning has also been a concern in Mexico, including Cancun. Visitors should ensure that their accommodations have carbon monoxide detectors and that any fuel-burning appliances are adequately ventilated.

In conclusion, Cancun is generally safe for visitors, but it is essential to take necessary precautions and be aware of potential safety risks. It is advisable to stay informed about the latest travel advisories and exercise caution when traveling alone, swimming in the ocean, and using fuel-burning appliances.

When it comes to safety in Cancun, there are several aspects to consider. These include:

  1. Is Cancun Safe to Visit? Cancun is generally a safe tourist destination, with a strong police presence and security measures in place. However, it’s essential to exercise caution and be aware of potential safety risks.
  2. Travel Warning Cancun Mexico The U.S. State Department has issued an updated travel advisory for Mexico, warning of the widespread occurrence of violent crimes such as homicide, kidnapping, carjacking, and robbery. However, these incidents mostly occur in specific areas and not necessarily in Cancun or the Riviera Maya.
  3. Solo Travel Solo travel is generally safe in Cancun, but it’s important to exercise extra caution when traveling alone. Women, in particular, should be careful and avoid walking alone at night.
  4. Beach Safety Visitors should pay attention to warning flags and signs on the beach, especially during hurricane season. It’s also advisable to avoid swimming alone or after consuming alcohol.
  5. Carbon Monoxide Safety Carbon monoxide poisoning has been a concern in Mexico, including Cancun. Visitors should ensure their accommodations have carbon monoxide detectors, and fuel-burning appliances are adequately ventilated.
  6. Frequently Asked Questions It’s common for travelers to have questions about safety in Cancun. Some frequently asked questions include whether it’s safe to use public transportation, how to avoid scams, and whether it’s safe to drink the water. It’s important to do research and take necessary precautions to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip.


Traveling to Mexico can present risks for tourists, but concerns about cartels or criminals targeting visitors in popular tourist destinations like Cancun or Mazatlan are not the most common. A more common risk is not using common sense, such as buying drugs in a foreign country. It’s essential for travelers to stay informed about potential safety risks and take necessary precautions to avoid them.

If someone can’t spend a weekend in another country without using drugs like weed, it may be more prudent for them to seek help instead of traveling to a destination like Cancun. A significant portion of American tourists who have met with fatal incidents in Mexico were found to have purchased drugs from cartels because they were apprehensive about flying with weed. Therefore, it’s essential to exercise caution and avoid such risky behavior.

When readers ask about the safety of traveling to Mexico, the answer is generally positive, provided one avoids trouble. It’s crucial to stay informed about potential safety risks and take necessary precautions to stay safe while traveling.

It’s important to emphasize that buying drugs in a foreign country can be incredibly risky, and travelers should avoid engaging in such behavior. One must understand the potential consequences and not act as victims when things go wrong. It’s crucial to exercise caution, stay informed about potential risks, and take necessary precautions to stay safe while traveling abroad.

When traveling to Mexico, tourists need to be wary of scams, pickpocketing, price gouging, and taxi drivers attempting to take advantage of visitors. However, incidents of violent crime, such as the shooting of a tourist in Tulum, should not be ignored. In this particular case, the victim refused to hand over his expensive watch and was shot by the robbers, who were armed with guns.

It’s important to prioritize personal safety while on vacation and avoid carrying expensive items like jewelry and bags that could attract unwanted attention. It’s not worth risking one’s life to show off material possessions while traveling.

For those wondering about the safety of traveling to Cancun, this article provides important information that visitors should be aware of before embarking on their trip.


The U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Mexico recently released a new travel advisory for Cancun and the state of Quintana Roo, warning tourists of a potential conflict between taxi drivers and ride-hailing services. This ongoing battle over lucrative tourist rides has led to physical altercations between medallion taxi drivers and ride-hailing drivers. Sadly, this has resulted in innocent passengers being caught in the crossfire. As a result, visitors may be wondering if it is safe to travel to Quintana Roo.

The US Embassy and Consulates in Mexico have released a travel advisory regarding potential conflicts between ride-hailing services and taxi drivers in Cancun and the Mexican state of Quintana Roo. Previous disputes between local taxi unions and ride-hailing services have resulted in violent altercations, causing injuries to US citizens. Recently, taxi drivers even blocked one of the main roads to the hotel district in Cancun, forcing some travelers to walk or get police escorts. As a precautionary measure, it’s always advisable to check the Travel Advisories for your intended destination before embarking on any trip abroad. The State Department has issued an “Increased Caution” advisory for US citizens traveling to Cancun.

Quintana Roo state – Do not Travel

Location: Quintana Roo, Mexico | Travel Advisory for Cancun, Mexico

Incident: Following recent conflicts involving taxi and ride-hailing drivers in Quintana Roo, U.S. citizens are reminded to refer to the guidance provided on regarding the use of ride-hailing services in Mexico. The guidance states that application-based car services like Uber and Cabify are available in many Mexican cities and generally offer a safer alternative to taxis.

However, there have been official complaints against Uber and other drivers, and past disputes between these services and local taxi unions have occasionally turned violent, resulting in injuries to U.S. citizens. Travelers should remain vigilant, avoid areas where illicit activities occur, and leave potentially dangerous situations promptly. U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents (LPRs) have been targeted for kidnapping.

Although these incidents are not usually directed at tourists, shootings between rival gangs have resulted in innocent bystanders being injured. Additionally, U.S. citizens have been victims of both non-violent and violent crimes in both tourist and non-tourist areas.

Before jumping to conclusions and canceling your trip to Mexico, it’s important to understand the facts about the current travel warnings. The U.S. Department of State website provides the most up-to-date Mexico Travel Advisory, which should be consulted before traveling.

While Cancun is currently included in the State Department’s level 4 travel advisory for Mexico, it is still considered a safe destination for travelers. The advisory suggests exercising increased caution when visiting local bars, nightclubs, and casinos. It also warns against displaying signs of wealth, such as expensive jewelry or watches, and being cautious when using banks and ATMs.

Tourists are encouraged to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive alerts and make it easier to locate them in case of an emergency.


Cancun is a popular tourist destination in Mexico with over 40,000 police officers deployed throughout Quintana Roo to ensure the safety of its visitors, making it one of the safest states in Mexico. These officers are well-trained and better paid, with most of them having attended college and having years of experience in their respective beats. Their minimum salary of $600 USD per month, double that of other departments in Mexico, is further boosted by consistent bonuses, making them more dedicated to fighting crime instead of extorting money from tourists.

It is always important to take precautions while traveling, regardless of the destination. However, compared to several cities in the US, including Chattanooga, Houston, Chicago, New Orleans, and Memphis, Cancun has a lower crime rate. The Mexican government and Tourism Authority prioritize the safety of tourists as it is a major contributor to the country’s revenue, and they point to the relatively low number of crime victims among the 28 million American tourists who visit Mexico each year.

Tourists can rest assured that Cancun is a safe destination and should keep this in mind when planning their Spring Break vacation for 2023.

Compared to many of the largest cities in the United States, Cancun is relatively safe. If you are comfortable traveling within the US, especially given the current tensions related to race and other issues, you should not be overly concerned about whether Cancun is safe.

Many families regularly take road trips to cities like St. Louis, New Orleans, and Kansas City without giving it a second thought, so it is important not to let the media’s portrayal of Mexico as unsafe deter you from considering Cancun as a travel destination.

To put it simply, most of the criminal activity in Cancun, Quintana Roo, and Tulum involves Americans who are seeking drugs and then end up experiencing negative consequences. It’s hard to understand why anyone would want to purchase drugs in Mexico and then be surprised when something goes wrong. It’s important to note that if you do not actively seek out drugs or drug dealers, you are unlikely to face any problems. However, if you do decide to partake in drug use while on vacation, it’s important to remember that it can have serious and even deadly consequences. So, it’s better to be safe than sorry and avoid any illegal drug activity during your trip.


Despite recent news coverage about violence in Mexico, it is important to note that the country is statistically safer than the United States. The U.S. State Department’s travel alerts regarding Mexico often fail to mention that the country is vast and comprised of 31 states in addition to the Distrito Federal.

While there has been drug-related violence in some parts of Mexico, it is a very small percentage of the country, and tourists are rarely affected by it. The media tends to sensationalize the issue, but it is important to note that Mexico is generally safe for tourists, especially in popular tourist destinations such as Puerto Vallarta and Cancun.

In comparison, the United States had an estimated 15,241 homicides in 2009, far exceeding the number of deaths of U.S. citizens in Mexico. In fact, most of the U.S. citizens who were killed in Mexico last year were involved in drug trafficking, gun-running, or smuggling people across the border. Therefore, it is important to keep these statistics in mind when considering travel to Mexico.

Out of the millions of visitors to Mexico, only 111 U.S. citizens were killed in the country last year, and the vast majority of them were involved in illicit activities such as drug trafficking, gun-running, or smuggling people across the border. To put this in perspective, the number of murders in the U.S. in 2009 was estimated to be 15,241, according to the FBI. Furthermore, other cities in the U.S. such as Boston, Las Vegas, Orlando, and Indianapolis have had similar or higher murder rates than Mexico. Despite this, the State Department is not advising tourists to stay away from those places. In contrast, nearly 1,000 U.S. citizens died in Puerto Rico, but the State Department cannot issue a Travel Warning for Puerto Rico since it is not a foreign country. When comparing the murder rates of different metropolitan areas, one can see the scale of the issue and the fact that Mexico is not an outlier in terms of crime.

  • Atlanta – 325
  • Baltimore – 298
  • Boston – 111
  • Dallas/Ft. Worth – 310
  • Detroit – 447
  • Houston – 462 
  • Indianapolis – 111
  • Jacksonville, FL – 120
  • Kansas City – 163 
  • Las Vegas – 133 
  • Los Angeles – 68 
  • Miami-Boca Raton – 377
  • New Orleans – 252 
  • New York City – 778
  • Orlando – 111
  • Philadelphia – 436 
  • Phoenix – 302 
  • San Francisco – 392 
  • St. Louis – 210 
  • Washington, DC – 325 

To provide context, the murder rate in Mexico’s Yucatan State is comparable to cities like Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, or Evansville, Indiana, with a rate of 2 per 100,000. Mexico City, despite being the second-largest city globally, has a murder rate of 8 per 100,000, which is similar to Albuquerque.

In my previous article, “Is Mexico Safe?”, I highlighted that other countries with similar travel advisories for Cancun, such as the ones listed below, do not deter people from visiting them. Hence, there is no reason to question the safety of Cancun as a travel destination.

  • The Bahamas
  • Jamaica
  • The Dominican Republic
  • Aruba
  • Costa Rica
  • Honduras
  • Guatemala
  • Colombia
  • Brazil


Navigating around Cancun is a breeze, as there are plenty of safe and accessible options available. Walking is a convenient and secure way to get around, but if you prefer not to walk, hiring a bus to transport you and your group between destinations is a great alternative.

It is not recommended to use public transportation, particularly if you are under the influence of alcohol. Beware of strangers offering you a ride, as they may be attempting to scam you.

Taxis are a dependable and safe option. It is recommended to take a taxi with a working meter instead of agreeing to a price beforehand, to avoid any potential attempts to overcharge you at your destination.

It is always safer to stay with your travel companions and avoid splitting up, especially when traveling at night. If you are driving, it is best to do so during daylight hours. Taking a taxi at night is a wise decision, but it is essential to be aware of the areas to avoid in Cancun.


The recent deaths of six Americans due to carbon monoxide poisoning in Mexico City have raised concerns about the safety measures in place at rental properties like Airbnb or hotels. In two separate incidents, three guests staying at an Airbnb in Mexico City and three Americans who rented a residence in the same city for the Day of the Dead celebrations were identified as victims of the poisoning. Among them were two teachers from New Orleans and the owner of a candle business based in Virginia Beach.

Recently, there have been several cases of American tourists dying from carbon monoxide poisoning while staying in hotels or vacation rentals. In one incident, three guests who booked an apartment in Mexico City through Airbnb are believed to have died from carbon monoxide poisoning. In another incident, a group of American tourists at a Sandals Resort in the Bahamas also died from the same cause. The symptoms of CO poisoning include headache, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, weakness, chest pain, and confusion, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is reported that over 400 people die each year in the U.S. due to accidental CO poisoning, and an additional 50,000 people visit the emergency department with carbon monoxide poisoning.


CO is an invisible, odorless gas generated when burning fossil fuels such as coal, natural gas, and oil. It is essential to note that accidental CO poisoning can happen when people inhale the fumes produced by household appliances like furnaces, kerosene heaters, stoves, lanterns, and generators. The signs and symptoms of CO poisoning include headache, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, weakness, chest pain, and confusion, as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). To mitigate the risk of CO poisoning, travelers are advised to purchase and bring a CO detector with them for added safety.


Montezuma’s revenge, also known as traveler’s diarrhea, is a common intestinal infection that results from consuming contaminated food or water while traveling.

The infection is usually transmitted through food handlers who fail to wash their hands after using the restroom, leading to contamination of the food they handle. It’s important to avoid drinking unfiltered tap water in Mexico and to stick to bottled water to reduce the risk of infection.

If you are staying at a luxury resort in Cancun, the water is typically safe to drink and should not pose a risk of illness. Nonetheless, it’s always a good idea to take precautions and avoid consuming unfiltered tap water, particularly if you plan to travel outside of the resort.


It is always important to take safety precautions when traveling, whether it is in your own city or abroad. While crime rates may be increasing in both Mexico and the United States, the Mexican government is taking steps to keep tourists safe by providing extra security in tourist areas.

The Hotel Zone in Cancun, a 13-mile stretch of beautiful beaches and resorts, is still considered one of the safest areas to stay. While there have been incidents of violence outside the Hotel Zone and in other popular vacation spots, these occurrences are rare and have had little impact on the millions of American tourists who visit Mexico and Cancun each year.

It is important to note that violence has not occurred within the Hotel Zone. However, many hotels and resorts have increased their security measures in response to violence in other areas.

As long as travelers avoid buying drugs from criminal organizations, they should not have much to worry about when visiting Cancun.


After discussing the safest areas for tourists in Cancun, it’s important to also be aware of areas that may require extra caution or be avoided altogether:

  1. Downtown Cancun – While Cancun is generally safe, it’s recommended to be extra vigilant when traveling outside of the city at night. If traveling alone, always let someone know your whereabouts.
  2. Shopping in Cancun – To avoid pickpocketing, it’s best to not flaunt valuables such as money or jewelry, and keep purses and bags closed.
  3. Surrounding towns – There are many safe and enjoyable neighboring towns for day trips, such as Guanajuato, San Cristóbal de las Casas, and Oaxaca City.
  4. Driving or renting a car in Cancun – It’s generally safe to drive or rent a car in Cancun, but it’s advised to take necessary precautions such as using toll roads when possible and avoiding driving alone or at night.
  5. The U.S. State Department also recommends being cautious while driving in foreign countries. However, personally, the author of the article felt safe when renting a car during their trip.


The police in Mexico and Latin America have a reputation for being corrupt, with stories of extortion and kidnapping being common. While police extortion of tourists for minor offenses has been a problem in the past, the Mexican authorities have taken steps to crack down on corruption, and they claim the issue is under control.

If you are stopped for a traffic violation in Mexico, the police will ask to see your driver’s license, vehicle registration, and proof of insurance. Unlike in the U.S., you may be asked for a bribe instead of receiving a ticket. However, if it is a minor infraction, it is best not to offer a bribe and instead receive a traffic ticket.

For more serious offenses, such as driving without a license, the fine is higher, and you may need to offer a bribe to avoid having your car impounded. The amount of the bribe will depend on the severity of the infraction and your appearance. For example, if you have blonde hair and blue eyes, you may be asked for more money than if you appear to be Mexican.

If you are caught drinking alcohol in the street, the fine is $1500 pesos or 24 hours in jail, and you will likely need to pay the full fine. It is important to remain calm, admit your mistake, and only offer a bribe as a last resort. If you do need to offer a bribe, start with a low amount and negotiate until you reach an agreement.