Is Tulum Safe? Let’s dive into the top tips, tricks and ways to avoid scams and petty crime in Tulum.
Located on the Caribbean coast in Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula, Tulum is one of Mexico’s hottest and trendiest destinations. Known for its stunning beaches and a wide array of archaeological sites dating back to ancient Mayan civilizations, this place that many call paradise has a heck of a lot to offer.
With a the brand new Tulum Airport currently in the works, this once small village is now expecting to receive millions more tourists than it already receives on an annual basis.
The recent safety concerns in Tulum for tourists stem from a wide variety of reasons. In particular, the area has seen an increase in crime due to drug-related activities and organized criminal groups operating within Mexico’s borders.
This safety guide is designed to help you understand Tulum’s safety related issues and make your trip a fun, safe and memorable one.
Is Tulum Safe for Tourists in 2023?
Yes, Tulum is a very safe destination for tourists and Mexican nationals. That said, it’s important to always be aware of your surroundings after dark.
While its the Mexican government’s responsibility to make this tourist destination safe to keep local businesses alive, it’s always easier said than done. The last thing Mexico wants is increased crime rates that cause tourism numbers to decline.
To avoid this, the Mexican government is doing its best to ensure tourist safety this year with increased police presence and patrols in both Tulum town and the beach road (Tulum Hotel Zone).
The UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) has requested travelers to stay in busy areas, avoid walking on dark streets and alleyways after sunset and have someone know your location at all times. Keeping all this in mind will help make Tulum a safe place to visit.
What is the safest part of Tulum?
The safest part of Tulum is the hotel zone which stretches a length of 9.3 miles (15 km) and is full of a wide variety of beachfront hotels to choose from.
The Tulum Hotel Zone is a well-lit, populated part of Tulum, with a low chance of pickpocketing and robberies. If you can find good, reasonably affordable accommodation in this area, you won’t have to worry too much about security, especially during the daylight hours.
Is Cancun safer than Tulum?
Generally speaking Tulum and Cancun are both relatively safe places to visit but there are some major differences that really set these destinations apart.
- Cancun is much larger than Tulum and is an actual city with a hotel zone.
- Cancun generally attracts spring breakers and families to its hotel zone full of all-inclusive beachfront resorts while Tulum attracts a more alternative, remote worker, hippy-chic type of vibe. The cool type of people that you’d also find in places like Medellin. Tulum itself can be described as burning man mixed with an overly expensive tropical beach destination.
Recent drug-cartel related crimes have led to shootings in both the areas of Playa del Carmen and Tulum. The cartels never target tourists directly, but unfortunate incidents of them being caught in crossfires have been reported.
It’s important to understand that if proper precautions are taken, both Cancun and Tulum can be very safe for travelers to enjoy.
In order by safest to least safest:
- Playa del Carmen
Fun Fact: Merida is one of the safest cities in all of Mexico and is safer than all of the destinations mentioned above.
Is it safe to walk around Tulum at night?
It’s not recommend to walk around Tulum at night, especially alone. Walking along major roads and avenues where tourists are is very safe but you should exercise caution when walking home late at night.
Pickpockets and thieves are very common on isolated, dark streets of Tulum, looking to rip off drunk tourists on their way home after a night out on the town.
If you do happen to get held up at knife or gunpoint, it’s always best to hand over everything they ask for rather than resisting.
4 Safety tips While Staying in Tulum
1. Leave Your Valuables at Home
Flashing expensive items could attract the attention of the wrong sort of people. Plan your financial expenses on a daily basis and do not keep too much cash on you. Keep your electronics, passport, or any other valuables locked up at home before you leave.
2. Learn the Local Language
Before visiting any place, it is a must to always learn at least a few basic words of the local language, so learn some Spanish, too! It will help you find the right kind of people during your trip, and help you immediately address any pressing concerns that you may have.
3. Download an Offline Navigation App
It is very common to lose your network connection or struggle with weak Wi-FI while traveling, so it’s always recommended to have an offline map downloaded to your phone in case you get lost.
4. Trusted transportation
Tulum can be an expensive city to reach and to move around if you’re having to negotiate with taxis. Your best bet would be to check TripAdvisor forums or Tulum Facebook Groups to find reputable taxis that locals and expats recommend in the groups.
Common Scams and Crimes to Look out for
The crime rate has been on the rise in Tulum since the past few years due to the growth in drug-related activities. These drug-related crimes are not directly aimed at tourists, but you should still be wary of them.
Do not use street ATMs in Tulum as they have usually been tampered with. Always go for legitimate bank ATMs, so you don’t have to face any financial upset during your tour.
Try to find basic street laws of Quintana Roo and stick to them. The Tulum police have been reported to bribe foreigners from time to time. While driving, keep within the speed limit, and never carry drugs.
Renting a car in Tulum can be a difficult process in Tulum as many rental companies do not disclose their actual rates and tourists get ripped off through hidden costs (insurance rates or damage costs). We recommend booking your Tulum rental car here.
If you’re planning on using a taxi in Tulum, try to find a trustworthy taxi driver that you can rely on during your visit instead of having to negotiate with each and every taxi you take.
The spiking of drinks in Tulum has been widely reported in bars and nightclubs. This can lead to petty theft and more serious robberies. You may lose your phone or wallet. Be sure to keep an eye on your drink at all times, and do not accept food or drinks from strangers.
Keeping the above in mind will not only keep you safe, but also let you enjoy the secure parts of this beautiful destination without the stress and anxiety that comes with exploring a new foreign place.