Picture yourself strolling along the sandy shores of the Caribbean Sea, exploring ancient Mayan ruins, and immersing yourself in vibrant Mexican culture – that’s the allure of Tulum, at least it was for us. But amidst the excitement of planning your dream vacation, safety concerns may arise. Fear not, traveler! This comprehensive guide will address all your safety questions and provide valuable tips for a secure and unforgettable trip, including answering the question: “Is Tulum safe?”
Is Tulum Safe To Visit?
Tulum is generally safe for tourists but, like any destination, it’s essential to stay informed about the current safety situation and exercise caution during your visit. Let’s dive into the details, so you can confidently enjoy all the beauty and adventure that Tulum has to offer, knowing that you’ve considered the important aspect of “Is Tulum safe?”
- Tulum is considered safe for tourists, but exercise increased caution. The US State Department currently states to Exercise Increased Caution When Traveling To Quintana Roo State due to crime. So always check before travel for updated information.
- Solo travelers should take safety precautions and choose secure accommodations & transportation options.
- Follow food/drink safety guidelines, and emergency preparedness resources, and get travel insurance to ensure a safe trip!
Tulum Travel Advisories
Nestled in Mexico’s Quintana Roo state, Tulum is a picturesque gem on the Caribbean coast, easily accessible from Cancun International Airport. Known for its warm, tropical weather year-round, Tulum entices visitors with its stunning beaches, historical sites, and vibrant atmosphere.
Although Tulum is considered safe for tourists, there is a warning of crime on government websites. So staying vigilant and maintaining awareness of your surroundings is encouraged during your stay. Keep up-to-date with the latest travel advisories and public health information, and be particularly mindful of crime.
Additionally, the U.S. The State Department has issued a strong warning to travelers who are planning to visit the Quintana Roo region; they have advised that increased caution should be exercised due to high crime rates in the area.
Canada Travel Advisory for Mexico
The Canadian Government website currently states: “There are high rates of violent crime, such as homicides, kidnappings, carjacking, and assaults, including in popular tourist destinations such as the Mayan Riviera (Cancún, Playa del Carmen, Puerto Morelos, and Tulum), and Acapulco. Criminal groups and drug cartels are present in tourist areas. Inter-gang and cartel fighting has taken place in restaurants, hotels, and nightclubs frequented by tourists.“
Gangs and Drug Cartels have been a problem in Tulum, but they are usually not aimed at tourists. However, some tourists have been caught in the crossfire. There is an added police force in Tulum to maintain order. Remember, tourism is a huge part of Mexico’s economy, and the government wants tourists to feel safe and secure so they are doing as much as they can to combat the cartel.
So, now that we have the warnings and advisories listed, let’s start talking about Tulum.
Tulum’s Current Safety Situation
While Tulum remains a popular tourist destination, its safety situation has shifted since 2017, with an increase in crime rates. Incidents like the shooting of two women at a resort in October serve as a reminder that Mexico’s safety should not be taken for granted. In response to the rise in crime, the Mexican government has deployed additional National Guard forces to maintain order and security when cartel tensions escalate.
Despite these concerns, Tulum’s allure hasn’t waned, and thousands of tourists continue to flock to its breathtaking beaches and ancient ruins each year, making it one of the popular tourist destinations. Staying informed about the current safety situation and following safety tips is key to ensuring a secure and enjoyable visit to this captivating destination.
Transportation in Tulum – From the Airport
When booking your trip to Tulum, book with a reputable hotel and take their shuttle from the airport. We also recommend booking a private driver to take the fear and hassle out of landing. You can book an airport transfer in advance where the driver will meet you at arrivals with your name on a sign and take you safely to your hotel.
If renting a car, make sure to rent from a well-known company and purchase insurance. You can compare car rental prices for Tulum here. As a visitor, maintaining vigilance and heightened caution is advised, especially concerning transportation safety. When it comes to ensuring your safety in Tulum.
When taking taxis, make sure to book official taxis and do not accept people who approach you offering a ride. Official taxis have specific colors – Cancun and Playa del Carmen are white with green lines and Cozumel, Tulum, and Playa Mujeres, are white with red lines. All official taxis have two license plates on the front and back and there is an identification number on the side.
It is unsafe and unwise to accept transportation offers from illegal ground transportation operators. Be smart, stay safe, and ride responsibly by choosing only authorized providers.
Crime Rates and Security Concerns
Although Tulum is not immune to organized crime and cartel violence, tourists are rarely the target of such incidents. Crime rates in Tulum are moderate, with petty theft and drug-related incidents being the most prevalent concerns for tourists. Let’s make sure you’re safe during your time in Tulum! Here are a few things to keep in mind:
First, try to stay away from isolated areas day or night, especially if you’re alone. If you find yourself in an unfortunate situation where you’re being mugged, don’t retaliate. It’s not worth the risk.
When you’re enjoying the beautiful beaches, remember to keep an eye on your belongings. It’s easy to get swept up in the beauty of your surroundings and forget about your stuff, but it’s much better to be safe than sorry.
And finally, when it comes to ATMs use them during daylight hours at authorized banks. It’s just a little extra precaution to keep you safe during your trip.
Drugs and Alcohol
Illegal drugs can pose a serious problem in Tulum, leading to dangerous encounters with cartels and law enforcement. To protect yourself, never carry drugs and avoid excessive alcohol consumption in public places. Staying alert and making responsible choices will significantly reduce your exposure to potential danger.
Safest Areas and Accommodations in Tulum
The town center, beach resorts, and popular tourist zones are considered the safest areas in Tulum, providing visitors with a secure environment to enjoy their stay. Check out these 11 Best Tulum All-Inclusive Resorts
The hotel zone is generally considered safer than downtown Tulum due to the higher concentration of tourists and increased police presence near the beach. However, both areas offer an array of secure accommodations for visitors to choose from.
When booking a safe place to stay in Tulum, take other travelers’ reviews seriously and pay attention to any common themes regarding the security of your hotel room. By selecting a reputable accommodation, you can further ensure your safety and peace of mind during your visit.
With Tulum Mexico safe, there is a wide variety of accommodations to suit every traveler’s preferences, from hotels with top-notch safety ratings and on-site security staff to rustic bungalows and luxurious villas boasting magnificent Caribbean Sea views.
While transportation in Tulum is largely safe, it is recommended to use reputable taxi services and steer clear of Uber, there have been clashes between taxi drivers and Uber riders. Uber is not available in the area anyway. Uber and other rideshare apps are not operational in Tulum, so relying on local taxi services is your best bet.
Taxis are the most common mode of transportation in Tulum, but be cautious with taxi drivers and use reliable services to ensure your safety. Book a taxi through your hotel and make sure to use official taxis.
When it comes to driving in Tulum, it’s typically safe, especially during daylight hours. Police occasionally set up checkpoints, but as long as you carry your identification, and vehicle registration, and avoid carrying anything illegal, there’s no need to worry. Adhering to these guidelines will help you navigate Tulum safely and comfortably. Compare rental car prices here.
Public transportation, such as the ADO Bus, provides a safe option for tourists traveling between towns, cities, and attractions on the Yucatan Peninsula. By using trusted transportation services you can minimize potential risks and enjoy a hassle-free journey through Tulum and its surrounding areas.
Food And Drink Safety in Tulum
When it comes to food and drink safety in Tulum, there are a few golden rules to follow. First off, you might want to give tap water a miss, and that includes those tempting ice cubes in your margarita. They might carry some uninvited bacteria that can really put a damper on your holiday. Resorts most likely have filtered water, but make sure to ask.
So, stick to bottled or filtered water to keep your tummy happy. There are many options for water purification when traveling. We like to use the SteriPen.
When it comes to food, it’s best to stick to places that are highly recommended. Dining out is a major part of the Tulum experience, with a diverse culinary scene that caters to various tastes and preferences. By choosing reliable food sources and being mindful of food safety guidelines, you can indulge in Tulum’s delicious cuisine without compromising your well-being.
Last but not least, always follow food safety precautions to avoid any unwanted illness. You may also read: Top 10 Tips for Healthy Travel
Beach and Water Safety
Beach and water safety in Tulum involves being aware of potential hazards, such as rip currents and sargassum seaweed. Rip currents are powerful, narrow streams of water that can quickly drag swimmers away from shore. To stay safe, be aware of these currents and follow local guidelines for swimming and water activities.
Sargassum seaweed, a type of macroalgae that thrives in warm waters, has become a nuisance for beach-goers in Tulum. The seaweed accumulates on beaches, emits an unpleasant odor, and can even pose health risks to workers and visitors. While the local community has tried to combat the issue with barriers, it remains a persistent problem in the area. Check out Travel Safety Tips – How to Have a Safe Vacation
Hurricane Season in Tulum
Hurricane season in Tulum, which runs from June 1st to November 30th, is another factor to consider when planning your trip. Staying informed about weather updates and adhering to evacuation orders or warnings from local authorities is essential for ensuring your safety during this period. By taking these precautions, you can fully enjoy Tulum’s beautiful beaches and crystal-clear waters.
Health and Wellness Precautions
To maintain your health and wellness during your Tulum vacation, protect yourself from heat, sunburn, and mosquitoes. I always wear a wide-brimmed hat when sightseeing in hot and sunny places, UV protected and polarized sunglasses, and a water-resistant broad-spectrum sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30. Try to do your tours in the morning or evening and seek out shade during the hottest part of the day to avoid sunburn and heat-related issues.
Mosquitoes can be a nuisance in Tulum, so take measures to keep them at bay. Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants, use insect repellent, and avoid areas with standing water to minimize mosquito bites and protect yourself from potential health risks.
Prior to your trip, ensure all necessary vaccinations are up-to-date and familiarize yourself with any local health advisories. By prioritizing your health and well-being, you can fully enjoy the wonders of Tulum without compromising your safety.
Cultural Sensitivity and Local Customs
Respecting cultural sensitivity and local customs in Tulum is an essential aspect of responsible tourism. Start by learning a few basic Spanish phrases to facilitate communication with locals and demonstrate your respect for their language and culture.
Dressing modestly is another way to show cultural sensitivity, especially when visiting religious sites or attending traditional events.
Understanding local laws and regulations is vital, just like complying with any restrictions on social gatherings, mask-wearing, and social distancing amid the ongoing pandemic. By showing respect for local customs and traditions, you not only foster a positive relationship with Tulum’s residents but also contribute to the preservation of the area’s rich cultural heritage.
Emergency Preparedness and Resources
Emergency preparedness is an important aspect of planning a trip to Tulum or any travel for that matter.
Familiarize yourself with the locations of hospitals, pharmacies, and emergency services, such as Costamed Tulum Hospital and Hospital Amerimed in nearby Playa del Carmen. Knowing where to turn in case of a medical emergency can provide peace of mind during your visit. 911 is the emergency number in Tulum.
Should a natural disaster or other emergency occur, having a plan in place and staying updated about weather conditions and local advisories is crucial. Keep essential items like food, water, medications, and a first aid kit on hand, and obey any evacuation orders or warnings from local authorities.
By being prepared and aware of local resources, you can minimize potential risks and enjoy a safe and memorable trip to Tulum. Don’t forget the most crucial tip: get travel insurance to cover medical emergencies, trip cancellations, and other unforeseen events.
Travel Insurance and Safety Recommendations
Travel insurance is highly recommended for a trip to Tulum or anywhere that you travel. It is a small priec to pay for peace of mind and coverage for medical emergencies, trip cancellations, and other unexpected events that may arise during your visit.
When you’re picking out a travel insurance policy, you’ll want to think about a few things. First off, make sure it covers you if your luggage goes on a separate adventure. You’ll also want to ensure it includes medical evacuations, just in case you need to make an unexpected exit. And don’t forget about trip cancellation cover, because sometimes plans change and it’s good to be prepared for that.
The average cost of travel insurance for an eight-day trip to Tulum is around $157, with prices varying depending on the provider and type of coverage.
We have several articles about choosing and the importance of purchasing travel insurance.
Having a cell phone is a must these days and like most Canadians, if you don’t have a good data roaming plan we recommend using a virtual SIM card. We use Airalo eSim for our data plan. You will have affordable data, be able to make phone calls and use Google Maps.
When traveling to Tulum, leave the expensive jewelry at home. If you do have valuables with you, leave them in your hotel room to avoid petty theft and lock them in your hotel room safe. Don’t carry large chunks of cash. Just carry what you need for the night and leave extra money plus credit cards in your hotel room.
When using ATMs we always go to a bank rather than the generic ATM machines on the side of the street or in a club.
It all sounds like a lot of rules, but most of it is common sense and being aware. With the right safety precautions in place, you’ll be well-equipped to enjoy your time in Tulum.
Solo Traveler Safety in Tulum
Traveling solo in Tulum can be an exciting adventure, but it’s important to remember a few safety tips. Try not to walk alone late at night and be extra aware, especially if you’re traveling between the town center and the beachfront hotel zone.
If you do have to walk alone after dark stick to well-lit streets after dark and stay alert. But taking a trusted taxi is a much better option. Remember, Uber isn’t available in Tulum. Solo female travelers may also want to read: Solo Female Travel: Essential Safety Tips
When it comes to accommodations and transportation, choosing safe options is key. Look for lodgings with good reviews and try to avoid dark alleys or secluded areas when you’re traveling alone day or night.
Always keep an eye on your drinks. Do not put them down or leave them as druggings have occurred. And choose accommodations with positive safety ratings.
Downtown Tulum offers numerous advantages for solo travelers, including lower prices compared to the hotel zone and access to affordable dining options, and a great gym. By following these safety tips and remaining vigilant, solo travelers can confidently explore the wonders of Tulum. Following these tips can help ensure a safe and enjoyable solo trip to Tulum.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Cancun safer than Tulum?
Cancun and Tulum are generally both safe, though Cancun has more mainstream holidaymakers who tend to stay in their hotels.
Is Tulum safer than Cabo?
Tulum and Cabo are both relatively safe places to travel, according to the State Department’s Level 2 advisory. There is no difference in safety between the two destinations.
Why are there so many police in Tulum?
Given the drug-related violence that occurred in the Hotel Zone on August 12th, it’s no wonder Tulum has increased its police presence. This serves as an important reminder of the need for a safe and secure environment for all visitors and residents alike.
Is Tulum safe for solo female travelers?
Generally speaking, Tulum is safe for solo female travelers; however, extra precautions should be taken such as avoiding deserted areas, using trusted transportation at night, and staying in secure accommodations.
Can I drink tap water in Tulum?
It’s not recommended to drink tap water in Tulum due to potential contamination, so it’s best to stick with bottled or filtered water while you’re there. And to even avoid ice in your drinks.
In conclusion, Tulum is a captivating destination that offers a wealth of natural beauty, cultural experiences, and adventure. While safety concerns may arise, staying informed and following the guidelines provided in this comprehensive guide will help you navigate potential risks and enjoy a secure and memorable trip.
It is completely up to you if you decide to visit Tulum, but by being armed with the proper information and taking suitable precautions, you can make an informed decision to decide if Tulum is right for you.
Just remember to stay up-to-date with the current safety guidelines and to follow any local regulations or advisories. And let’s not forget, trust your gut! If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. With these tips in mind, you’ll be able to confidently explore all the wonders that Tulum has to offer.
So go ahead, and immerse yourself in the stunning landscapes, vibrant culture, and unique experiences that Tulum has to offer. With the right precautions and a responsible approach to travel, you’re on your way to creating unforgettable memories in this enchanting corner of the world.