Is Cancun safe to visit right now?

While Mexico’s reputation may be marred by negative press, there is more to tourist hotspots like Cancun than crime statistics. Read on to discover “Is Cancun safe?” (Updated 2022)

Home to the high-rise hotel and beachfront nightclubs, Cancún is a must-visit destination for those looking to live life like there is no tomorrow. Each year tens of millions of tourists flock to enjoy a slice of this Caribbean shoreline. But there is more to this sundrenched corner of Mexico than parties and playa. For a start, Cancún’s foodie scene offers an explosion of Caribbean and Mexican fusion flavors. And, this region was once home to the Mayan civilization who left behind some of the most breathtaking ruins just waiting to be explored. The city of Cancún in the Yucatán peninsula is a treasure trove for paperwhite beaches, tequila, mariachi bands, and Mayan culture. Not to mention it is perhaps the most well-known hedonistic paradise in Mexico. But, the question on everybody’s lips is: Is Cancun safe?

Is Cancun safe?

The short answer to this question is: Yes, within reason. But as with most things in life, it is not black or white. In fact, the grey zone is rather large. This is because, like anywhere in the world, crime is a fact of life. But since Mexico is known for drug cartels and turf wars with tragic ends, it is safe to say that extra precautions must be exercised when traveling to Cancún. Nowhere on earth is 100% safe. Loss of life is both inevitable and tragic, and we want to prevent it from happening prematurely at all costs. However, does this mean we should stay awake 24/7 or never leave our hometowns? Of course not! With a bit of common sense and being aware of the latest Cancun travel warnings, you can rest assured that you will have a safe and successful vacation. 

Make sure you discover the areas to avoid in Cancun before your vacation

Cancun Mexico Safety. Why is this city unsafe?

Chances are that Googling “Is Cancun dangerous?” will pull up all sorts of drug-related crimes. Why? It all started in 2006 when Mexico began an aggressive campaign that targeted many of the country’s biggest drug kingpins. They were either jailed or killed, along with 80,000 other cartel-related members who lost their lives in the process. This led to many of the cartels being fractured and depleted without a leader to provide control and a sense of direction. The result? Crime in Mexico began to increase as the splintered cartels began to diversify their operations and open more turf wars on trafficking routes to the US. With the changing dynamics, Cancun became a target. The cartels realized that tourists are consumers of drugs and prime revenue generators. With the addition of law enforcement widely known to be corrupt, the perfect mix was set in place for the booming Cancun crime rate.

Is it safe to go to Cancun right now?

While Mexico is a popular vacation destination for US tourists, there are still so many areas that are best avoided. Due to recent events, crime in places like Cancun has soared and it now ranks number 6 on the list of most dangerous cities in Mexico (based on homicides per 100,000 residents). And, it is also placed as the 12th most dangerous city in the world. But, how does this compare to the US? St Louis placed 14th in the world on the same list, closely followed by Baltimore, Detroit, and New Orleans. Chances are, we would happily travel to these US cities with the understanding that we need to use common sense and stay away from dangerous areas. Mexico is no different. Between studying the areas to avoid in Cancun and exercising caution, your chances of getting caught in cartel-related violence are slim. 

Is it safe to travel to Cancun?: What the government says

There’s not a more formal, and arguably more accurate source of information regarding international travel advisories than some of the world’s most recognized and reputable governments. Their goal is to advise and aid their own citizens when it comes to world travel and provide accurate warnings concerning safety and security. So, is Mexico safe in general? And is Cancun safe to travel to right now? Below we will take a look at the Mexico travel advisory boards from the United States to see how to travel to Cancun safe and securely.

U.S. Department of State Travel Warnings

Generally when the United States government talks, people listen. So what exactly are they saying about travel to Cancun and the region of Quintana Roo? Taken directly from the U.S. Department of State website, here is the most current Cancun travel advisory from December 2019:

So with Quintana Roo and Cancun at just a Level 2 Advisory, lets explore this interactive map and find out what other nations share this same advisory level according to the U.S. Department of State. As you can see on the interactive map, below are just a few countries which share the same threat level as Mexico:

  • United Kingdom
  • Spain
  • France
  • Italy
  • Germany

How safe is it to travel to Cancun right now? The answer? Use your brain…

It is easy to freak out when reading the gruesome stories documented in the news. But, like with any major city in the world, you have to have your wits about you. A quick Google search of “How to be safe in Cancun” will tell you the basics such as don’t go out at night alone or don’t flash your valuables when in the street. But as tourism begins to return to Cancun after 2020 putting life on pause, it is important to refresh yourself with the top tips on enjoying Cancun safe and securely.

  • If driving, avoid isolated roads, use toll roads, and don’t stop unless you have to.
  • At night stay in well-lit, tourist areas.
  • Take out cash from ATMs from respected banks located in tourist areas
  • Always get your hotel to call a taxi for you. NEVER hail one off the street
  • Never part with your passport or money, not even when a police officer asks. There are many scams used to extort money from travelers. 

Is it safe to travel to Cancun alone?

First of all, you have to ask yourself, “Is Cancun safe?”. Just like any Latin American big tourist city, there are areas of safety and areas which are potentially dangerous. Nowhere is 100% safe. If you plan to travel to Cancun, embrace the experience and go with an open mind. If traveling alone, it is recommended to book a stay in one of the beachfront hotels so that you have a secure base from which to enjoy Cancun sightseeing. Since the tourist hotspots tend to be safe areas in Cancun, solo travelers will have a great time connecting with Mexican culture. Just be sure to let friends or loved ones know your itinerary and maintain contact with people from home so that they know that you are safe. 

Read the latest Cancun safety updates to stay safe while you travel

Is it safe to go out in Cancun?

Apart from the Mayan wonders of Chichen Itza and the natural beauty of Isla de las Mujeres, one of Cancun’s big attractions is its nightlife offering. Infamous for its party culture, there is never a dull moment in this seaside town. But is Cancun safe at night? While it is true that more crimes tend to happen after dark, as a tourist, Cancun still remains relatively safe. For the ultimate Cancun safety tip, just be sure to stick to the main tourist areas. La Vaquita, Señor Frogs, and Congo bar are not to be missed party hangouts and they are all located on the main drag, Boulevard Kukulcan


Is it safe to go to Cancun Mexico right now?

As you can see, Cancun continues to delight tourists with its romantic white sand beaches, Spring break-worthy party scene, and a culturally rich array of sights to see. Is Cancun safe? The bottom line is yes! As long as caution is exercised and you stick to the main tourist route. It is easy to fall into the trap of believing the Cancun Mexico dangerous reputation that it has earned thanks to the media. But, once you see this buzzing town for yourself, you will soon realize that there is so much more to it than cartels and drug-related crime. 

Be sure to stay in the safe areas in Cancun while on your vacation