Don’t drink tap water. Most resorts & large hotels will use purified tap water or offer water bottles. When you’re not on the resort/hotel, stick to tourist focused restaurants, and drink bottled water.
Crime & Safety
You may have read some recent headlines about an increase in violent crimes, so allow me to give you an accurate idea of how safe you’ll be in Cancun, Riviera Maya, or Tulum.
The majority of the violence is gang/cartel related, and it’s aimed at other gang or cartel members. The recent gang related crimes have usually taken place in the parts of town where only the locals go, the cartels don’t target tourists.
When it comes to crime, this part of Mexico is like any other travel destination around the world; petty crimes like pick-pocketing, smash-and-grab, or overcharging are more common than violent crimes. If you’re stepping out of your hotel or resort without a tour guide, practice some common sense and you should be fine.
To give you a comparison, I’ve NEVER been a victim of ANY crimes in my previous trips to Mexico. On the other hand, on a recent trip to Spain, my rental car was broken into. A few years ago in Naples Italy, we were overcharged for a taxi ride, and we’ve avoided several pick-pockets in various European cities. So based on my past experience, I personally feel safer visiting the Riviera Maya than certain parts of Europe.
To help you avoid potential troubles, here are some practical tips:
- Tourist areas are generally very safe- tourist towns in general, or parts of a city that are touristy are actually quite safe. There’s only petty crimes that you need to watch out for, things like pick pocketing or being overcharged.
- Don’t flash your cash- don’t show off expensive jewelry, phones, or any other items of high monetary value.
- Don’t make yourself a target- don’t isolate yourself in areas where nobody else is around (locals or tourists). Don’t get super drunk late at night by yourself.
These may seem like common sense suggestions, but they’re worth mentioning, because I’ve done solo trips to Playa Del Carmen following these suggestions, and had no issues whatsoever. It also gives you a good idea of just how safe Mexico is for tourists, it’s like visiting any other country- if you go looking for trouble, you’ll find it, so just be careful and keep your wits about you, and you’ll be fine.
News reports shouldn’t stop you from visiting this amazing spot. My advice to you is simple: be discreet, practice common sense, don’t go looking for trouble- and you’ll be fine.