Is Playa del Carmen safe for travelers?
The Yucatan is Mexico’s most visited region. With popular destinations such as Cancun and Chichen Itza, the ancient wonder of the world, it’s quite a hotbed for visitors and tourists.
Playa del Carmen is the trendy part of Yucatan, with beachside lounges and youthful occupants.
It’s on the Caribbean coastline so the weather is ideal, plus there are ancient ruins nearby that are sights to behold.
Is Playa del Carmen?
Most visitors to Playa del Carmen will visit for the weather and the all-inclusive packages, but independent travel to this area is becoming the new norm.
The packages being advertised within this area are well above most people’s price ranges so more tourists are looking for better rates by traveling independently.
However, most tour operators advise against this in the worry that Mexico is somehow too dangerous for tourists who venture outside of all-inclusive complexes.
As a backpacker in Mexico, however, this will be a breeze for those more accustomed to off the beaten track locations.
Is it Safe to Travel to Playa del Carmen?
It’s incredibly safe to travel to Playa del Carmen since thousands of tourists visit every year.
Cancun is viewed as the tourist capital of Mexico, but Playa del Carmen is a better alternative to its overly touristy neighbor.
See this guide on Playa del Carmen vs Cancun which will help you compare both destinations with a different pair of eyes.
Yucatan as a whole is an amazing place to visit and explore, so visitors shouldn’t be scared to venture out of their complexes, or even buy an all-inclusive package in the first place.
This guide looks at some general safety facts and tips about Mexico.
Safety Facts about Mexico
- According to the UK Government, over 576,971 British nationals visited Mexico in 2017 with most visits being trouble-free.
- Also according to the UK Government, Major tourist destinations like Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Cozumel, Los Cabos, Puerto Vallarta, and Nuevo Vallarta have mostly not seen the levels of drug-related violence and crime experienced elsewhere in Mexico.
- The intentional homicide rate of Yucatan is 3 per 100,000. That’s better than the US homicide rate which is 5.
- Cities such as New York and Chicago have higher crime rates than Yucatan.
Is Playa del Carmen Safe to Travel Alone?
Playa del Carmen is perfectly safe to travel alone.
If you stay within the confines of the beach areas and trust your instincts, you’ll have a wonderful holiday.
You’ll need to abide by the necessary precautions when traveling to Central America such as don’t go out at night, don’t trust strangers, don’t flash expensive items, etc.
It would definitely help if you knew some Spanish since Mexicans very much appreciate English speakers who learn it as a second language.
In many cases, booking excursions, hotels and bus rides is a lot easier when you speak Spanish.
However, the area is quite tourist-centric due to the hub of Cancun so it isn’t as much of a necessity as with the rest of Mexico or Central America.
Just be prepared to pay inflated prices!
This is where knowing some basic Spanish can save you a lot of money.
Backpacking across Mexico can be tricky since most of the bordering regions with other countries have a difficult reputation.
However, Yucatan as a region is extremely safe as compared to the rest of Mexico.
Backpacking Mexico Safety
Mexico is an amazing country to navigate, but you definitely need to look up which regions should be avoided when backpacking.
Yucatan can be the starting point for many backpackers taking the long route down to Colombia via seeing all the Central American countries.
💡Smart Travel Tip
This is the ideal place to start on your trip since it has most of the best sights in Mexico plus it’s so close to Guatemala and Belize.
Playa del Carmen: Travel Safety Tips
The Yucatan region and its many towns and cities are safe compared to the rest of the Central American region, but it will still pay back in dividends if you exercise the right precautions.
Don’t take Yucatan lightly just because it’s the safe area.
Tourists are targeted in all locations around the globe, so keep on the lookout for petty crime.
Here are some tips to help you on your journey:
- Make sure to take sunscreen. This is the hottest region of Mexico and the ocean breeze may fool you.
- If you are a person that suffers from typical culture shock symptoms see our tips on adapting to new surroundings on this blog.
- If you think you’re being overcharged for a taxi, just know that most taxis shouldn’t cost any more than 35 pesos.
- Don’t accept offers of drugs. Not only is it illegal, but it’s dangerous and you’re helping an industry wrought with crime that the government is trying to stop.
- Make sure to use trusted and accredited hotels/hostels. Then once you’ve booked your room, book taxis or buses through the hotel.
- When you want to take expensive equipment such as cameras or smartphones, keep them hidden, locked away and on your person. A PacSafe backpack is ideal for this.
- Keep dummy wallets for pickpockets and keep your money hidden away. Bras, money belts or secret bag compartments will do.
- There is still a risk of contracting Zika virus. Visit travel health pro For more information on this.
- Don’t go where there are few other people in the vicinity; this includes camping in secluded places. A simple rule: if there are families around, you’re probably safe.
- Don’t leave any valuables unattended while you swim. Run-and-grab thefts by people lurking in the woods are a common occurrence.
- Be wary of attempts at credit-card fraud.
When it comes to credit card scams. One method is when the cashier swipes your card twice (once for the transaction and once for nefarious purposes).
It would be best to only use cash, by keeping most in your hotel safe and taking small amounts out with you.
Traveling Around Mexico by bus
I highly recommend you take note of this comprehensive guide to traveling by bus in Mexico for a primer on how the systems work.
The Yucatan Peninsula has a good road and bus network, and comfortable, frequent, reasonably priced bus services connect all cities.
You’ll find that most nearby cities and towns, like Merida for example, all have bus terminals that operate regularly.
If there is no single main bus terminal, different bus companies will have separate terminals scattered around town.
Grupo ADO operates many of the bus lines that you’ll be using.
The collectivos offer a reliable way to get around the Yucatan area.
For example, if you’d like to get from Playa del Carmen to Tulum collectivos can be a safe and economical way for backpackers.
Is Playa del Carmen?
Playa del Carmen and the Yucatan are wonderful places to visit and the crime rates are extremely low.
See this backpacking Mexico guide for exploring this region of Mexico.
The Yucatan is a great place to start your adventure and should be high on your bucket list.
It’s plain to see how easy it is to reach safe spaces in the great Mexican nation.
Cancun is great, but exploring the greater Yucatan area is life-changing.
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