Is the Yucatan Peninsula safe for new travelers?
When considering where to take a vacation in the great nation of Mexico, there are multiple choices.
For many, the first idea of where the most popular spots are will most likely be within the Yucatan.
The Yucatan Peninsula, not to be confused with the Mexican province contained within the peninsula, is the prime location for tourism in North America.
Is The Yucatan Peninsula Safe
Many pass through looking for relaxation or a backpacking adventure.
The question that many travelers ask, however, is whether the peninsula is safe. This page is here to tell you what’s what.
Where is Yucatan located?
Situated in the extreme south-east of Mexico, the Yucatán is a very diverse region filled with ancient temples, sprawling jungle and picturesque beaches.
It has its own portion of the Mexican Caribbean at its shores, as well as the Gulf of Mexico stretching along its western coast.
The Yucatán also borders the states of Campeche and Quintana Roo, which between the three make up the “tail” of Mexico.
Its most popular city is Mérida, which is located some 300km away from Cancun, and 1300km from Mexico City.
Is it Safe to Travel to The Yucatan?
What travelers need to remember, is that there are multiple provinces and even nations contained within the peninsula.
Mexican states of Yucatán, Campeche, and Quintana Roo, as well as Guatemala’s Petén Department as well as almost the whole of Belize.
This post covers a more general view of the area as a whole since this was all Mayan hundreds of years ago.
For the most part, this area is very safe, but there are exceptions in certain areas. Let’s look at some safety facts according to recent data.
Yucatan Peninsula Safety Facts
Is The Yucatan Safe to Travel Alone?
The peninsula and the west coast are known as the Riviera Maya are safe to travel alone, if don’t get up to anything illegal/suspect.
If you stay within the confines of the resort and beach areas and trust your instincts, you’ll have a wonderful vacation.
You’ll need to abide by the necessary precautions when traveling to Central America such as don’t go out alone at night, don’t trust in random strangers, don’t flash expensive items, etc.
It helps to know Spanish since Mexicans and Yucatan residents very much appreciate English speakers who learn it as a second language.
💡Smart Travel Tip
Booking excursions, hotels, and bus rides are a lot easier if you know some basic Spanish conversation to be able to negotiate with locals.
However, the area is 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.
The best thing to do is learn the basics if you want to travel alone.
Backpacking The Yucatan Peninsula
For many, backpacking Mexico can be tricky since most of the bordering regions with other countries have a difficult reputation, even in the Yucatan!
However, Yucatan as a region is extremely safe as compared to the rest of Mexico so the border regions here aren’t as bad.
Mexico is an amazing country to navigate, but you definitely need to look up which regions should be avoided when backpacking if you’re to venture outside the peninsula.
Yucatan can be the starting point for many backpackers taking the long route down to Colombia to see all the Central American countries.
Guatemala and Belize are quite easy to navigate if you decide to backpack by bus hopping or with coach rides.
Make sure to book only the safest accredited hotels and hostels too, you don’t want to book the cheapest possible accommodation for budgetary restraint reasons and find yourself in a sticky situation.
Where to Stay in Yucatan
The best city for a stay in the Yucatán is the cool city of Mérida.
Mérida is perfect to base yourself in to visit its ancient ruins, enjoy the city’s nightlife and also some close-by beaches.
See some of the best hotels in the Yucatan that you can stay in.
Nearby Valladolid is another awesome colonial city, which is best for its proximity to the legendary ruins of Chichén Itzá.
It’s also a good area to base yourself in to visit the nearby Cenotes and to also make day trips to the incredible white sand beaches.
Many visitors who are traveling from Cancun to Valladolid will do a full day trip that covers more than one attraction including Chichén Itzá.
Whilst not the most hectic in Mexico, the nightlife in the Yucatán region is pretty varied and is great nevertheless to experience when looking to let your hair down.
The backpacking hub of Mérida is one of the most popular destinations to visit in Mexico and has lots of great options.
La Fundación is a popular place to start, and here you try out a variety of Mezcals and Tequila varieties. Malahat is another good option too.
For a more authentic experience, visit some of the local cantinas for a beer such as Dzalbay and El Porvenir.
Yucatan Peninsula: Travel Safety Tips
Although rules and regulations vary depending on what country you find yourself in, I took the time to select tips that apply to the region.
⤵️ Below are some useful tips to help you on your journey:
Traveling around The Yucatan by Bus
The Yucatan Peninsula has a good road and bus network. Especially great for those embarking on the Gringo Trail and further afield.
There are comfortable, frequent, reasonably priced bus services that connect to all major cities and tourist hotspots.
Most cities and towns 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. Read this guide on bus travel in Mexico for a primer on Mexican bus systems.
Got Travel Insurance for Yucatan?
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Best time to visit Yucatan
The dry season of the Yucatán runs from November until April.
Here, daily average temperatures range from 74-82°F, with highs of up to 95°F and lows of down to 65°F (January is the “so-called” coldest month of the year).
Rainfall ranges from 1-2 inches per each of these months. The contrasting wet season runs from May until October.
Average daily temperatures here range anywhere from 77-84°F, with highs reaching up to a scorching 87°F, and lows of down to 72°F (May is the hottest month of the year to visit The Yucatán). Rainfall ranges from 2-5.5 inches per each of these months.
Is The Yucatan Peninsula Safe?
For the most part, the Yucatan as a peninsular – warts and all, is the safest section of Latin America.
Avoiding certain spots such as some of the border regions between countries is advisable, but other than that, it’s quite safe indeed.
This whole area is very popular with British and American backpackers inspired by media programs such as the Race Around the World.
It’s an area brimming with cenotes, Mayan history, and the best Mexican food in the western hemisphere.
The people are very friendly and the natural wonders are rife. If you have to pick one place in the Americas to explore, make it here. See these other safe places in Mexico before you book your trip.
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