Is CANCUN Safe Right Now? Travel Advisory 2024

Cancun is a safe destination to visit with friendly residents and a low crime rate compared to other Mexican cities. While most visitors have no problems, there are a few dangerous places near Cancun.

Stick to well-populated locations like downtown Cancun and the hotel zone unless traveling with an approved tour or informed locals. The hotel zone is the safest area of Cancun. Here you will find a 13-mile circuit of stunning white sand beaches surrounded by resorts and hotels.

Suggested: Cancun Sargassum Daily Updates + Beach Photos

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Areas to Avoid in Cancun

When visiting Cancun, it is generally advised for travelers to stay within tourist areas, including gated resorts, certain shopping zones, and locations with tourist attractions.

However, there are specific neighborhoods known for higher crime rates that should be avoided such as Bonfil, Tres Reyes, Santa Cecilia, and Valle Verde. These areas have been identified as hotspots for criminal activities, including higher instances of homicides and robberies.


January 31, 2024: Cancun tourist boat accident leaves 4 dead

Four people died when a boat named “Diosa del Mar” (Goddess of the Sea) sank between Cancún and Isla Mujeres. The boat, carrying 17 Mexican tourists along with the captain and a helper, was traveling from Cancún to Isla Mujeres, a popular tourist destination about 3.5 miles offshore. The incident occurred while returning from a restaurant visit on the island. Rescue operations were conducted by local agencies, the Mexican Navy, and Quintana Roo’s civil protection department, with several passengers requiring hospitalization.

  • January 1, 2024 – Quintana Roo authorities issued a safety warning for tourists following five drownings in the area. Quintana Roo authorities have issued a warning during the current winter holiday season after five drownings occurred in the state’s beaches. Julio César Gómez Torres, the Secretary of Citizen Security, emphasized the need for caution, especially for both residents and tourists, urging them to follow lifeguard instructions and respect beach hours to prevent further incidents.
  • September 13, 2023 – Playa del Carmen issues warning to tourists due to passport theft. Playa del Carmen, a well-known tourist hotspot on Mexico’s Caribbean coast, has issued a warning to its visitors due to an increase in the number of reported incidents of passport theft.
  • August 11, 2023: Continued Security Concerns as Another Vehicle Attacked While Transporting Tourists in Cancun – Based on statements from legal representatives, two taxi drivers were arrested in Cancun, Mexico, due to their involvement in an assault on a vehicle that was transporting foreign tourists.

Official Travel Advisories

U.S. Travel Advisory

As of the most recent update (August 22, 2023), the U.S. Travel Advisory for Cancun, Mexico, is at a Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution.

This Level 2 advisory suggests that travelers should be cautious and aware of potential risks when visiting Cancun. While Cancun is a popular tourist destination known for its beautiful beaches and vibrant nightlife, visitors need to stay informed about local conditions and exercise prudence in their travel plans.

Canada Travel Advisory

The Canadian government advises exercising a high degree of caution when traveling to Mexico, including Cancun, due to high levels of criminal activity and kidnapping.

UK Travel Advisory

The UK Government’s travel advice for Mexico, including Cancun, emphasizes caution due to risks of violent crime and kidnapping in various states. While the advisory doesn’t specifically mention Cancun, it advises against all but essential travel to certain parts of Mexico. The guidance includes general safety tips, health advice, and information on travel insurance.

Common scams to avoid in Cancun in 2024

cancun coast

Here are some tips on how to prevent tourism scams in Cancun in 2024:

Picture Scam

When a local asks you to take their picture, it’s a common scam in Cancun, Mexico. They hand you their camera and asks you to take their picture. When you return the camera, they intentionally drop it and accuse you of breaking it and demand payment. Please do not photograph anyone (unless you are sure they are not locals).

Taxis Overcharging

When taking a cab in Cancun, always request that the meter be turned on. It’s also a good idea to plan your route before getting in the cab so you know how long the ride will take.

Friendly ATM Helper

Someone approaches you at a Cancun ATM cash machine to assist you in avoiding local bank fees. Their ultimate goal is to scan your debit or credit card with the card skimmer in their pocket and then watch you enter your pin information so they may drain your account later.

“Friendly” Bar Friends

Beware of the following scam if hooking up is something you plan to do while visiting Cancun, Mexico. Two amiable girls (or guys) will strike up small talk and give the impression that they are interested in the same things. After that, they’ll propose getting a drink and offer you to join them in a nearby bar (which they are partners with). You’ll end up spending five to ten times as much after a few drinks. There are a few things you can take to protect yourself from falling for this tourist fraud in Cancun. You may start by suggesting the bar.  Be sure to request the bar menu when you arrive, to check the prices.

Bird Poop Scam

Your natural reaction when someone puts a piece of white paste on your shoulder while you are walking the streets of Cancun is to look up and think it’s bird poop. Suddenly, a “nice” local offers to help you clean it up while cursing the birds for making such a mess. They help you clean up, but they also steal from you.

Please politely decline any “help” from locals who rush to your aid unless it is an emergency. Keep everything you own hidden, preferably with your money and credit cards in an inside pocket.

Guessing Game Scam

While strolling through the streets of Cancun, Mexico, you come across a man holding three boxes, with a throng of onlookers attempting to determine which box the ball is placed in. When someone in the group correctly guesses the solution, the man awards him with cash as a prize. They repeat this with a different group member and get the same response. More and more people are drawn by the ruckus to this charitable street performer. An innocent bystander from the crowd is then invited to make an estimate. The group rapidly pickpockets them for any valuables while they are focused on where the ball is.

Safety Measures To Keep in Mind When Visiting the Cancun Area

  • Share your vacation plans with your travel companions and family at home. Send your GPS location to a friend in case you get separated from your travel group. If you are traveling alone and taking a cab, take a picture of the cab’s number and/or license plate and text it to a contact.
  • Use toll roads whenever possible and do not drive at night or alone. In many states, police presence and emergency services are severely limited outside the state capital or major cities.
  • Use extreme caution when entering local bars, clubs or casinos.
  • Do not flaunt your wealth by wearing expensive jewelry or watches.
  • When using an ATM or visiting a bank.
  • To receive alerts and help rescuers find you, sign up for the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).
  • Follow the U.S. Department of State on Twitter and Facebook.
  • Follow the U.S. Embassy on Twitter and Facebook.
  • Read the country security report for Mexico.
  • Create an emergency plan. Review the travel checklist.