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A First-Timer’s Guide to Booking an All-Inclusive Cancun Package

Cancun, a beautiful resort city located in Mexico, is one of the most popular vacation destinations in the world. With its pristine beaches, turquoise waters and vibrant nightlife, it’s no wonder that millions of tourists flock to Cancun every year. One of the best ways to experience Cancun is by booking an all-inclusive package. In this article, we will guide you through everything you need to know about booking an all-inclusive Cancun package.

Inclusive Package?

An all-inclusive package is a type of travel package that includes everything you need for your vacation in one price. This means that your accommodation, food, drinks and certain activities are included in the price you pay upfront. In other words, once you’ve paid for your all-inclusive package, you won’t have to worry about any additional expenses during your stay.

Inclusive Package for Cancun?

Booking an all-inclusive package for Cancun has many advantages. First and foremost, it can save you a lot of money. Since all your expenses are included in the upfront cost of the package, you won’t have any unexpected expenses during your stay. Additionally, all-inclusive packages can be very convenient as they take care of everything from airport transfers to daily activities.

Secondly, booking an all-inclusive package allows you to fully relax and enjoy your vacation without worrying about anything else. You can simply sit back and enjoy the sun on the beach or participate in various activities without having to worry about where to eat or how much money you’ll need.

Thirdly, many resorts offer different types of packages catering to different needs such as family-friendly packages or adult-only packages with various amenities like spa services or golf courses.

Inclusive Package for Cancun

When booking an all-inclusive package for Cancun, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, do your research and compare different packages and resorts to find the one that suits your budget and preferences. Look for packages that include activities you want to do or amenities you want to use such as a spa or gym.

Additionally, check the fine print of the package to ensure there are no hidden fees or restrictions on certain activities or services. It’s also important to check the reviews of the resort before making any bookings.

Finally, consider booking during off-peak seasons when prices are generally lower but the weather is still great.

Booking an all-inclusive Cancun package is a great way to experience this beautiful destination without having to worry about anything else. With everything included in one price, you can fully relax and enjoy your vacation. By following our tips and doing your research, you can find the perfect all-inclusive package that fits your budget and preferences.

This text was generated using a large language model, and select text has been reviewed and moderated for purposes such as readability.


travel alert cancun 2023

Is Cancun Safe to Visit in 2023? Travel Warnings And Safety Tips

Written By: ThePlanetD Team

Updated On: October 14, 2023

We have been to Cancun many times over the years and one of the main questions that we always get is “Is Cancun safe?” Truthfully, the situation has always been fluid and while we have personally felt safe in Cancun, it is important to check your government website warnings, follow basic safety precautions and be aware of your surroundings. Mexico takes its tourism seriously and they want international visitors to continue to spend their dollars so they are working hard to keep Cancun safe, especially in the tourist zones and the tourist hotspots.

Table of Contents

Is Cancun Safe to Visit?

Cancun is located in the State of Quintana Roo which also includes Playa Del Carmen, Tulum, Cozumel, and the Riviera Maya. These areas bring in a lot of dollars into Mexico, and this is certainly one of the safer areas in Mexico especially if you compare it to other states in the country. If you follow these tips; and do your own research, you will find that you will feel a lot safer on your next trip should you choose to travel to Cancun.

Short Summary

  • Cancun is generally safe for travelers but take necessary precautions and take government website travel alerts into consideration.
  • Follow safety tips like avoiding walking alone at night and sticking to well-known establishments.
  • Familiarize yourself with local laws, use reputable transportation services, and opt for filtered water when traveling in Cancun!

Mexico Travel Advisories

For the latest advisory warnings visit th e US State Department’s Website . Right now the State Department website warns that ”  Violent crime – such as homicide, kidnapping, carjacking, and robbery – is widespread and common in Mexico. ” However, when you read further it states, “Exercise Normal Precautions When Traveling To the Yucatan State.

As of August 23, 2023, the US State Department updated their travel warnings for Quintana Roo, which is home to Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and Tulum. It removed the warning about an increased risk of kidnapping but it is still under a level 2 advisory.

Canada currently has a warning of “High rates of violent crime, such as homicides, kidnappings, carjacking, and assaults, including in popular tourist destinations such as the Mayan Riviera (Cancún, Playa del Carmen, Puerto Morelos and Tulum), and Acapulco.” It states that drug cartels have a presence in tourist areas. There has been intergang fighting at establishments frequented by tourists where innocent bystanders have been killed or injured.

Incidents like this can happen in any large city or tourist destination. To put things into perspective, Cancun currently has a crime index of 56.33. When you look at the crime rate in New Orleans, Cancun is much lower than the rating of 67.92. See the comparison here.

Cancun’s Current Safety Situation

Cancun’s security has been under a microscope with incidents of criminal activity that involve tourists. With that, great actions have been taken by the Mexican government to make sure that visitors and citizens are kept safe in Cancun. According to the US State Departments, the Yucatan Peninsula is the safest region in Mexico for Americans in 2023. However, the State Department does have a travel advisory of “ exercise increased caution ” in the state of Quintana Roo.

Crime Rates in Cancun

Cancun has a crime rate that is similar to many major cities in the United States, most of which revolve around drug-trafficking turf wars and gang-related violence. Tourists are rarely the target and if you keep yourself out of trouble. Avoid buying drugs, don’t stay out until the wee hours of the morning and limit your alcohol consumption off the resort. By following common sense safety measures, you can lower your chances of any incident.

Compared to other Mexican cities, Cancun’s crime rate remains relatively low – meaning vacationers shouldn’t be too concerned about any crimes during their visit. But they still should exercise a degree of caution.

Mexican Government’s Efforts

The Mexican government has increased security around Cancun International Airport with the dispatch of extra police forces and protection systems; in order to put a stop to petty crime that mainly targets travelers.

In order to protect Cancun’s standing as a favored tourist spot, the Mexican government has taken extra security steps. These involve greater police presence at popular tourist areas such as resorts within the Hotel Zone , surveillance cameras, and gated entrances for visitors.

Initiatives were also undertaken to reduce corruption among law enforcement in this area, which resulted in numerous police officers being relieved of their posts along with several top-level personnel being removed from office due to misconduct. You can read about it here .

Collaboration between companies operating locally and people working in tourism also supports a safer atmosphere. There are extra tourist police, state police, national guard, and even the Navy patrolling the beaches.

The Hotel Zone

Staying within the Hotel Zone Cancun is one of the safest areas to stay in Cancun. Police patrols, surveillance cameras, and gated resorts all provide an extra layer of security for guests staying at the numerous high-end accommodations in this area. That doesn’t mean you should let your guard down we still recommend that you avoid walking alone at night or in secluded areas.

Cancun is a popular destination for Spring Break and young adults love to hit the clubs of Playa del Carmen or Downtown Cancun partying the nights away. Our advice is to party responsibly. If you decide to go downtown Cancun to party for the night, exercise increased caution if you are going to local bars, stay in groups, don’t over drink, and make sure to use an authorized taxi. It is when you drink too much and let your guard down that you become a target.

Best Practices for Staying Safe in Cancun

When vacationing in Cancun it is important to remember that even though you are enjoying a vacation in popular tourist destinations, that doesn’t mean you let all common sense go out the window. A lot of people tend to think they are invincible on vacation, but this is when things can go wrong. Visitors to Cancun can have a great experience if they use common sense and exercise safety precautions. When visiting Quintana Roo or any other Mexican State, keep a few things in mind.

Cancun Airport Safety

Landing at the airport can be one of your most vulnerable times. The arrivals area is crowded and confusing and you may easily fall for a travel scam. It is at this time that you should exercise caution and think before you accept any rides, offers or help from a “good samaritan”. Despite its relatively low rate of violent offenses, visitors entering through Cancun airport can still fall victim to potential scams such as fake taxi drivers and pickpocketing in crowded locations.

Our safety advice for landing at the airport is to a private transfer in advanc e to your hotel, keep an eye on your valuables, and don’t leave anything unattended. If you need cash, go directly to the ATM, but we suggest bringing American dollars and small bills with you.

Transportation Safety

There are many different ways to get around Cancun. If you want more freedom, we recommend renting a car. We have also taken local transportation without incident. However, if you want to have added safety, booking an organized tour is a good option. You can book a night out bar hopping with a local guide, city tours with a guide and excursions with a guide making it safer to travel.

Taxis and Ridesharing Services

Travelers in Cancun can enjoy secure and reliable transportation options by utilizing authorized taxis or reliable apps like Uber. When getting into a cab make sure to ask them to put on the meter. Also, plan your route ahead of time, and be aware of the approximate costs before setting off so as not to be scammed.

Ridesharing services such as Uber are available in Cancun. But use caution as there have been reports of violence between taxi drivers and Uber drivers due to contract disputes. . If you are staying in a resort, we recommend using the taxi drivers that they have a contract with otherwise, you will have to go off the resort to book an Uber.

Buses and Public Transportation

Cancun’s buses and public transportation are typically reliable, inexpensive, and easy to access for anyone who is looking to discover the city. Public transportation is generally safe, but it is better to not ride public transport alone or late at night.

Rental Cars and Driving Tips

Using a rental car in Cancun can be an ideal way to enjoy the sights and attractions at your own pace. Make sure to book with trusted car hire agencies we use RentalCars.com. You will have to get additional insurance Third Party Liability and Public Liability Insurance are mandatory. And make sure you avoid being on the roads after dark.

By observing these tips people will get all benefits associated with renting cars while feeling safe traveling through Cancun’s streets as well as reveling in views of its glorious bright blue Caribbean Sea.

Food and Drink Safety in Cancun

Food is generally safe to eat in Mexico, especially in popular destinations. Our general rule when eating is that it should be avoided unless it is cooked or able to be peeled. When eating at restaurants, we always look for places that are packed with locals. This was you know it will be fresh. Think about raw foods that would be washed in tap water. When it comes to fruits and vegetables, we don’t eat them unless they are cooked or can be peeled.

Tap Water Safety

Visitors to Cancun should not drink unfiltered tap water, and it is recommended that they stick to bottled water. We like to use a SteriPen so that we don’t contribute to plastic and avoid ice.

Although tests may show local tap water as safe enough for drinking according to regulations, there can still be microorganisms present which could lead to health problems.

Street Food and Restaurant Precautions

We have eaten street food in Mexico and it is delicious, but tourists should still be cautious when choosing where to eat. Don’t eat salad or vegetables that aren’t cooked and make sure the meat is freshly cooked in front of you. You don’t want to eat something that has been sitting in the heat for hours. Select freshly prepared meals, steer clear of uncovered dishes, and go for a well-known, busy place to eat.

Health and Medical Safety in Cancun

When visiting Mexico we highly recommend having travel insurance. Medical emergencies can happen and it is a small price to pay for peace of mind. You may also want to look into what medications and vaccines you need. Make sure that your routine vaccines are up to date and you may consider additional vaccines. Hepatitis A and B are good to get and you may want to update your tetanus. For up to date travel health notices in Mexico, visit the CDC website.

Mosquito-borne illnesses can also be an issue, so pack bug spray and wear lightweight long sleeves if going into the jungle. In case of a medical emergency, there are healthcare services available that tourists can access if required – adding another layer of protection on top of their Mexico travel insurance policy.

Is Cancun Dangerous for Solo Travelers?

Many people travel to Cancun as solo travelers and it is considered generally safe to visit alone. Before traveling, solo travelers should research the area and let people know where they will be. Check in with family and friends back home frequently by providing them with information about where you’ll be going during each part of your journey so they know your whereabouts. By adhering to these basic guidelines for security, an unforgettable trip awaits any adventurous solo traveler who decides to explore this picturesque Mexican destination.

A lot of our recommendations are to not walk alone at night or in secluded areas, so if you are traveling alone, stay in lit areas, don’t stay out too late, and stick with the crowds.

Make sure to choose a safe hotel in a good area, use trustworthy transportation services, and avoid any illegal drugs or areas with high crime. Signing up for local tours can provide additional safety as you’ll be able to go sightseeing in a group with an expert guide. Plus you’ll make friends with some other tourists.

Is Cancun Safe for a Solo Female Traveler?

Cancun is largely considered secure for solo female travelers as well. The same recommendations can be made to avoid deserted areas and walking alone at night and take taxis. Choose safe accommodation, preferably in the hotel zone and use common sense and take extra precautions.

Women are more vulnerable than male travelers and a woman can catch unwanted attention. Don’t go out alone late at night, use trustworthy taxis, don’t wear expensive jewelry, and the hotel room safe for your valuables.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is cancun safe right now 2023.

The US State Department notes that Cancun has friendly locals and is one of the safest areas in Mexico, with a low crime rate. So you can have an amazing experience by planning your getaway to this destination come 2023! Relax knowing you will be safe during your stay here. Making it absolutely unforgettable.

How safe is Cancun for American tourists?

The US State Department has assessed Cancun as being one of the safest places to visit in Mexico, and thus it is Safe for tourists making a trip there in 2023. To ensure you enjoy your time whilst still staying secure, practice caution with regards to where you go, and who you talk to and always be aware of your surroundings; if done so this will help guarantee an enjoyable stay.

Is Cancun safe to walk around?

When visiting Cancun, travelers should always take precautions to remain safe. The Hotel Zone in particular offers a secure atmosphere with numerous all-inclusive resorts, international hotels, and beaches for visitors to enjoy without fear of crime rates that are low outside the hotel zone.

Overall it is possible to have an unforgettable trip when exercising caution and keeping safety measures at hand during your time here, which will result in a rewarding experience.

Is Cancun safe at an all-inclusive?

When it comes to booking an all-inclusive holiday in Cancun, you can be confident that the resort is secure. Most properties have measures such as security guards with firearms to make sure visitors feel safe during their stay.

With some planning and investigation beforehand, travelers will be able to enjoy a stress-free break away from home in one of Mexico’s picturesque cities.

Is it still safe to travel to Cancun right now?

With care and knowledge of local customs, Cancun is an excellent destination for travelers that remains relatively secure. Hence, caution and respect should be exercised in order to make sure a safe journey is had while visiting the area.

In conclusion

Cancun is an attractive tourist destination to visit, offering a secure holiday when the appropriate steps and precautions are taken. Staying up-to-date on safety updates, bearing in mind some basic security tips, staying up to date on current Mexico travel warnings, and keeping any dangers that may arise at bay will enable travelers to enjoy Cancun fully without worry.

So get ready for your trip by packing all you need (including sunscreen) for what promises to be an unforgettable experience – complete with sand, sunshine, and of course memories galore!

Plan Your Next Trip to Cancun With these Resources

  • Mexico City: Best Things to do in Mexico City for an Epic Trip
  • Cancun: 21 Amazing Things To Do In Cancun
  • Cancun: Where To Stay In Cancun: Best Hotels And Areas For Every Budget
  • Playa Del Carmen: 29 of Best Things to do in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico
  • Yucatan Peninsula: 23 Amazing Things To Do In Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula
  • Tulum: 23 Best Things To Do In Tulum
  • Puerto Vallarta:
  • 23 Best Beaches In Mexico
  • Best Mexican Dishes: 27 Most Popular Mexican Foods

Travel Planning Resources

Looking to book your next trip? Why not use these resources that are tried and tested by yours truly.

Flights: Start planning your trip by finding the best flight deals on Skyscanner

Book your Hotel: Find the best prices on hotels with these two providers. If you are located in Europe use Booking.com and if you are anywhere else use TripAdvisor

Find Apartment Rentals: You will find the cheapest prices on apartment rentals with VRBO . 

Travel Insurance: Don't leave home without it. Here is what we recommend:

  • Allianz - Occasional Travelers.
  • Medjet - Global air medical transport and travel security.

Need more help planning your trip? Make sure to check out our Resources Page where we highlight all the great companies that we trust when we are traveling.

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About ThePlanetD Team

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travel alert cancun 2023

U.S. Embassy & Consulates in Mexico

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Event:   Spring Break 2023

Location:   Mexico

Travel Smart – Be Informed:  Each year, thousands of U.S. citizens visit Mexico during spring break.  While the vast majority travel safely, visitors should consider the following factors when planning their vacation or traveling throughout Mexico:

  • Crime:  Crime, including violent crime, can occur anywhere in Mexico, including in popular tourist destinations.  Travelers should maintain a high level of situational awareness, avoid areas where illicit activities occur, and promptly depart from potentially dangerous situations.  See the  Mexico Travel Advisory  for specific information for each Mexican state.  U.S. citizens should exercise increased caution in the downtown areas of popular spring break locations including Cancun, Playa Del Carmen, and Tulum, especially after dark.
  • Drugs:  Drug possession and use, including medical marijuana, is illegal in Mexico and may result in a lengthy jail sentence.  U.S. citizens have become seriously ill or died in Mexico after using synthetic drugs or adulterated prescription pills.
  • Unregulated Alcohol:  Unregulated alcohol may be contaminated, and U.S. citizens have reported losing consciousness or becoming injured after consuming alcohol that was possibly tainted.
  • Pharmaceuticals:   Counterfeit medication is common and may prove to be ineffective, the wrong strength, or contain dangerous ingredients.  Medication should be purchased in consultation with a medical professional and from reputable establishments.
  • Sexual Assault:  U.S. citizens have been victims of rape and sexual assault.  Perpetrators may target inebriated or isolated individuals or may employ drugs that alter the victim’s physical or mental state.
  • Drowning:  Some beaches have strong undercurrents and rip tides.  Beaches may lack lifeguards, warnings, or signs of unsafe conditions.
  • Medical Emergencies:  An illness or accident could result in the need to seek medical treatment or hospitalization in Mexico.  Private hospital prices can be higher than those in the United States.  Many facilities require payment (sometimes only in cash) either before providing treatment or before discharging a patient.
  • Guns and Ammunition:  All guns and even small amounts of ammunition are illegal in Mexico.  Firearms and other weapons violations may result in lengthy jail time.
  • Arrests:  Drunk and disorderly behavior, public urination, and open alcohol containers in vehicles are illegal in Mexico.  If you break Mexican law, you can be arrested.
  • Immigration:  Violating the terms of your stay in Mexico can result in steep fines and detention.

Actions to Take:

  • Read the  Mexico Travel Advisory  and  Country Information Page  for details on travel throughout Mexico, including entry requirements.
  • Enroll your trip in the State Department’s  Smart Traveler Enrollment Program  to receive up-to-date information on safety conditions in Mexico and to help the U.S. Embassy contact you in an emergency.
  • Call 911 in an emergency.  Although there may be English-speaking operators available, it is best to seek the assistance of a Spanish speaker to place the call.
  • Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage in Mexico or purchase travel insurance that covers you in Mexico.  Seek coverage that includes medical evacuation.  Confirm costs of medical treatment in advance, when possible.
  • Avoid strong currents and do not swim after drinking or when warning flags note unsafe conditions.
  • Drink responsibly and always watch your drink.  If you begin to feel ill, seek medical attention immediately.  Report cases of suspected unregulated or contaminated alcohol to the Mexican Federal Commission for the Protection against Sanitary Risk (COFEPRIS) via email at  [email protected] ,  file a report online  via the COFEPRIS website, call the COFEPRIS call center at +52 (55) 5080-5200, or visit a COFEPRIS office to report.
  • Know your drinking companions and stay in a group of friends who have your safety in mind when you are in clubs and bars, out walking in dimly lit areas, or in a taxi at night.  Obey Mexican law and remember Mexican laws may differ from U.S. laws.
  • Regularly monitor your credit or debit card accounts to ensure there are no unauthorized transactions.  Limit the amount of cash you carry in public, exercise caution when withdrawing cash, and avoid ATMs in isolated or unlit areas.
  • Be aware of your safety and protect your personal possessions when using public transportation.  Use radio taxis or those from “sitio” taxi stands.  Application-based car services such as Uber and Cabify are available in many Mexican cities, and generally offer another relatively safe alternative to taxis.
  • Keep your friends and family back home informed of your travel plans, especially if traveling alone.
  • Consider downloading the “Guest Assist” application on your smart phone if traveling to Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Tulum, Cozumel, or other areas in the state of Quintana Roo.  The Mexican government provides information on emergency services and assistance for tourists via the app and their  website .
  • Keep your passport and entry permit in a safe place.  Confirm the date you must depart Mexico.
  • See our  advice for cruise passengers , particularly those with underlying health conditions.
  • Contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate if you need assistance.


Contact Form

U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Mexico

From Mexico: (55) 8526 2561

From the United States:  +1-844-528-6611

Department of State – Consular Affairs:  +1-888-407-4747 or +1-202-501-4444

Mexico Country Information Page

U.S. Passports

Smart Traveler Enrollment Program

Traveler’s Checklist

Department of State on  Facebook  and  Twitter

U.S. Embassy in Mexico on  Facebook  and  Twitter

From the United States: 1-844-528-6611

playa del carmen sandy beach with palm trees at sunset

Is Cancun Safe? Mexico Travel Warnings in 2023

travel alert cancun 2023



If you’re thinking about a vacation and wondering, “Is Cancun Safe?” … the short answer is: the Yucatán Peninsula, including Cancun, Tulum, and the Riviera, is the safest area of Mexico in 2023, according to the US State Department. 

You’re advised to “Exercise Increased Caution” in Cancun’s home state of Quintana Roo, which is generally good advice to follow no matter where you travel.

As a comparison, France, the United Kingdom, Italy, Germany, and Spain all fall under the same travel advisory category from the US State Department .


Each year, a violent event seems to take place somewhere in Mexico, which draws a lot of our attention. It often prompts the US State Department to reiterate its travel advisories for Americans heading south of the border.

Of Mexico’s 32 states , the US State Department maintains its “Do Not Travel” advisory for six of them.  They include the states of Sinaloa and Tamaulipas, where the kidnappings of four Americans occurred in March of 2023.   They’re marked in red on the State Department map below:

state department mexican travel advisory

Is it Safe to Travel to Mexico?

The kidnapping of four Americans south of the border near Brownsville, Texas, in early 2023 again raised concerns about whether it’s safe to travel into Mexico.

The US State Department’s travel advisories for much of Mexico remain heightened for Americans heading south of the border.

This is nothing new.

In addition to the six states listed as “Do Not Travel” by the State Department, seven states are categorized as “Reconsider Travel.” They’re color-coded orange on the map, and include the state of Sonora, which is south of Arizona and home to Rocky Point on the Sea of Cortez .

What it’s Like to Drive Across the Mexican Border

You can check out this video we made, showing exactly what a border crossing is like, if you’ve been thinking about driving south from Arizona to Rocky Point, Mexico :

Is Cancun Safe?

The Yucatán Peninsula is the safest region in Mexico for Americans to visit in 2023, according to the US State Department.

According to the US State Department, Americans should “Exercise Increased Caution” in the state of Quintana Roo, which is good advice for any destination.

The State Department also indicates: the Yucatán is a safe area for Americans to drive across, especially during daylight hours, as long as we take reasonable precautions.

That gives us the “green light” to leave the resorts on the beaches to explore the area’s other natural wonders, like the sinkhole swimming holes known as cenotes:

oxman cenote valladolid

I’m always interested to read the government’s warnings, and they’re really designed with safety in mind. Still, I find them overly broad.

For many areas in Mexico, the advisories come with a warning, reminding us that crime and violence can occur anywhere, at any time, even in the resort areas. But the idea applies if you were going to New York City.

The bottom line for travelers: read the advisories, learn the facts, and make a personal decision that’s right for you and your comfort level. If you only feel safe at an all-inclusive resort, that’s great! There are plenty to choose from 😀

As for the official (yet broad) advice offered by the US State Department for Cancun:

“Exercise increased caution, especially after dark” and “remain in well-lit pedestrian streets and tourist zones.”

Violence in Cancun

December of 2021 brought a string of violence to a couple of the resorts around Cancun.

In 2022, Mexican authorities started off the year by installing a new security force designed to protect and comfort tourists.   It’s somewhat jarring to see the patrols on the beach, but again: it’s all in the name of safety.

is mexico safe

With tourism accounting for 9% of Mexico’s GDP before the pandemic, the safety of tourists is top-of-mind for the government.

Americans are flying to Cancun in huge numbers, despite ongoing safety concerns and a spike in flight prices.

Nearly five-million international tourists flew to Mexico in the first month of 2023, which is 32% higher than January of 2022, and 13% higher than January of 2019 (before the pandemic).

Tourists Killed in Cancun

Whenever tourists are killed in Mexico, it makes headlines here in the US.

In 2021 and 2022 a small number of American and Canadian tourists were killed when they were caught in the crossfire between Mexican drug cartels, after rival, competing dealers showed up to deliver drugs at results.

In 2021, a shootout in a resort lobby, which killed a German tourist and a Canadian tourist, made international headlines.   They were, tragically, caught in cartel crossfire.  

The details of the murders of two Canadians on the Riviera in early 2022 remain murky.

The Canadians were killed in a seaside hotel, south of Playa del Carmen. Mexican officials say the victims, in their 30s, were targeted because of cartel-related debts.  They made a series of arrests, linked to the murders.

Two more Canadians were found murdered in an apartment in Playa del Carmen in the summer of 2022. Mexican authorities said one victim was wanted for fraud.

They used the circumstances as further evidence that tourists who aren’t involved in trafficking or any kind of criminal activity, have nothing to worry about.

A Safety Warning for Americans in Cancun

American (and Canadian) tourists become victims of crime in Mexico when they get caught up in cartel activity.

The cartels are active around the popular resort areas along the Mexican Riviera, because they have clients at the resorts. 

Hotel staff will tell you: they often have guests who ask for drugs, and expect the staff to help them get cocaine or any number of drugs.    

It can be a lucrative side hustle for hotel workers to assist in illicit trades.  That said, I have to say: the overwhelming majority of hotel staff are beyond friendly and helpful, and not interested in any kind of criminal activity whatsoever.

Crime in Cancun

The crime in Cancun is usually, or actually almost always, drug-related.

Otherwise, you should protect yourself from pickpockets and other scams you can expect to encounter in Barcelona, Rome, and other cities around the world.

I also consider bribery a crime, and it’s a sad reality that some Mexican police are prone to making false arrests to bribe tourists out of their cash. My direct experience with this is down below.

With that in mind, if you rent a car and venture off on your own, you should take extra precautions to avoid prolonged contact with Mexican Police.

What Mexico is Doing to Keep Cancun Safe

Mexican authorities created Operation “Safe Beach,” or “Playa Segura” in 2022.

The Mexican government sent thousands of special forces to the resort areas along the Mexican Riviera, including Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and Tulum.

travel alert cancun 2023

After several shootings, including two at beach resorts in Tulum and Cancun, Mexico’s National Guard deployed nearly 1,500 troops to patrol the region as part of something they labeled a “Tourist Security Battalion.” 

is cancun safe on the beach

The mayor of Cancun, who seems genuinely interested in boosting security, helped roll out a splashy PR campaign, including dramatic videos set to music.

It included officers on the beach, a high-tech command center, and new tactical gear being distributed to law enforcement.

is cancun safe control center

Mexico’s National Guard began an indefinite deployment down the Riviera, from Cancun to Tulum.

Government officials say the mission and its focus will evolve with changing security needs, and serve as a model for deployments to other parts of the country.

is cancun safe national guard

Is Cancun Dangerous?

The locals say: NO!

The “Quality of Life Association” in Mexico regularly asks people who live in different regions how they feel about crime.

In the summer of 2022, the people of Quintana Roo (Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Tulum, and Cozumel) said affordable rent was their main concern.

Truth be told: robberies by common thieves (not cartel-related) ranked second, and concerned 92% of respondents.

Potholes and other problems with the bad streets and sidewalks rounded out the list.

So, at least among the people who live in Cancun, cartel kidnappings and executions aren’t a concern.

Wasn’t There a Cancun Airport Shooting?

 In March of 2022, videos posted online showed passengers at Cancun International Airport panicking and running through the terminal, following reports of ‘shots fired.’

No one was hit.

In fact, Mexican authorities say they found no evidence of gunfire or any kind of explosion.

Members of Mexico’s National Guard, seen on video running upstairs, said they found no evidence of anything nefarious.

In fact, the National Guard said: Their investigation found the “gun shots” were actually three signs falling to the ground after a tourist knocked the over.

How to Stay Safe in Cancun

To be the safest possible, take a hotel shuttle from the Cancun airport directly to your all-inclusive resort, and don’t leave the property for the entirety of your visit.

Again, it’s your own personal choice, and you should do whatever you feel comfortable with. If you have safety anxiety, just enjoy the resort and the beach!  There’s absolutely NOTHING wrong with that.

If you venture out, go with someone else, or better yet- in a group.

If you’re driving, obey all stop signs and speed limits.  In fact, driver slower than the limit.

If possible, travel with someone who speaks Spanish! 

Is Mexico City Safe for Americans?

Mexico City also falls in the “Exercise Increased Caution” travel category, according to the State Department.  They cite “crime and violence,” which you’ll find in any large city in the world.  

Again with Mexico City, the full advisory indicates: most of the crime, aside from petty crime, occurs outside the touristy areas.  

Frankly, the major police presence in Mexico City took me by surprise. The police cruisers, armored trucks, and officers with long-guns were everywhere, especially around the major tourist sites.

zocalo police

As a comparison, France, Italy, Germany, Spain, the United Kingdom all fall in the same category of “Exercise Increased Caution.”  In fact, if you look at the map below, most of Europe is yellow for the same travel advisory given to places like Mexico City and Cancun.

By the way, for Europe, the US State Department cites “terrorist plots and civil unrest,” which are the same risks you’ll run into in any city in the United States.

state department travel advisory for europe

Is it Safe to Drive to Puerto Peñasco?

The State Department lists “criminal activity and kidnapping” as reasons to “Reconsider Travel” to Rocky Point, or Puerto Peñasco .  The state of Sonora is orange, so a color-coded stage more concerning than Quintana Roo’s yellow.

At the same time, their advisory also indicates: the crime happens away from the beachy touristy areas. Americans are advised to drive the highway between Sonoyta and Rocky Point during daylight hours.

puerto penasco sonora mexico sign

I still think Rocky Point is a great destination for families in Arizona, who can easily drive the 3.5 hours south to the beach! It’s home to a growing number of resorts , right along the Sea of Cortez.

Is Puerto Vallarta Safe?

The Mexican state of Jalisco, which is home to Puerto Vallarta, is another state where the US State Department advises Americans to “Reconsider Travel.”

But again, reading deeper into their advisory, most of the concerning crime takes place away from the tourist destinations on the coast.

With that said, it’s not advised to venture east into the rural mountains of Jalisco, or take a road trip 275 miles north up the coast to Mazatlan, which is in Sinaloa. The state of Sinaloa is currently “red” for “Do Not Travel,” according to the US State Department.

Is it Safe to Drive in Mexico in 2023?

In general, if you’re driving in a touristy area and in daylight, it’s safe for Americans to drive in Mexico.

The Yucatán Peninsula is the safest place for Americans to drive in 2023, according to the US State Department. In addition to Cancun and Tulum, it’s also home to Merida, Valladolid, and other beautiful destinations.

It is not safe, according to the US State Department, to drive in other parts of Mexico.

In general, if you rent a car in Mexico, it’s best to follow this advice:

  • Have someone with you who speaks Spanish.
  • Take cash, but don’t store it all in one spot.
  • Never drive with any kind of drugs, including marijuana.
  • Never drive with a gun.
  • Never drive with any kind of ammunition.
  • Drive slowly, and obey speed limits.
  • Try to travel during daylight hours.
  • Expect to have to drive through police checkpoints.

Oddly, my scariest driving experience in Mexico involved the federal police.

is it safe to drive in mexico

Getting Stopped by Mexican Police

Mexican police pulled us over for driving this “suspicious vehicle” (above) on a highway outside of Cancun.  We were driving from Playa del Carmen up to Valladolid, and surrounded by armed officers for nearly an hour.

They concocted three charges: speeding, not stopping at a checkpoint (at which I was literally stopped), and driving a suspicious vehicle (which I had the rental papers for).

At one point, they were taking steps to detain us at the nearby police station and confiscate the “suspicious” Kia we’d rented the day before.  They wouldn’t allow us to show them the rental documents or call the rental company.  Evidence and information were not what they were after, of course.

I’m not sure why it took so long, but eventually, the officers came up with an idea: We could pay the fine right there on the spot! How convenient.

The officer talking to me said two words in English:  “discreet” and “camera.”

He pointed to a surveillance camera behind him, which he clearly did not want to catch our cash exchange.

We settled on 4,000 Pesos (around $200). It wiped our cash reserves out. We counted out a stack of cash to place on the back seat.  Another officer “discreetly” walked around, opened the back door away from the camera, and took the cash.

I was relieved not to have to waste our time at a police station, and run the risk of them stealing any of our equipment.

And from there we happily went on to stunning destinations, like the Suytun Cenote :

suytun cenote valladolid sun beam

Wrap: Is it Safe to Travel to Cancun, Mexico, in 2023?

The bottom line is: there’s always a risk in any kind of travel.  All we can do is arm ourselves with up-to-date information on anything from violence to Covid, and make well-informed decisions for our own individual travel plans.

Based on the tourist loads in Cancun right now, Americans are not scared off by cartel violence: International tourist numbers are up more than 10% over 2019’s numbers!

Check out our other blogs and videos about Mexico:


Jared’s Detours Blog

Click ➡️ Las Palomas, Rocky Point

Click ➡️ 30 Things to do in Rocky Point

Click ➡️ Rocky Point Beaches

Click ➡️ Best Hotels & Resorts in Rocky Point

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Caution November 9, 2023

Worldwide caution, update november 9, 2023, information for u.s. citizens in the middle east.

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Mexico Travel Advisory

Travel advisory august 22, 2023, see state summaries.

Reissued after periodic review with general security updates, and the removal of obsolete COVID-19 page links.

Country Summary: Violent crime – such as homicide, kidnapping, carjacking, and robbery – is widespread and common in Mexico. The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in many areas of Mexico, as travel by U.S. government employees to certain areas is prohibited or restricted. In many states, local emergency services are limited outside the state capital or major cities.

U.S. citizens are advised to adhere to restrictions on U.S. government employee travel. State-specific restrictions are included in the individual state advisories below. U.S. government employees may not travel between cities after dark, may not hail taxis on the street, and must rely on dispatched vehicles, including app-based services like Uber, and regulated taxi stands. U.S. government employees should avoid traveling alone, especially in remote areas. U.S. government employees may not drive from the U.S.-Mexico border to or from the interior parts of Mexico, except daytime travel within Baja California and between Nogales and Hermosillo on Mexican Federal Highway 15D, and between Nuevo Laredo and Monterrey on Highway 85D.

Read the  country information page  for additional information on travel to Mexico.

Do Not Travel To:

  • Colima state  due to  crime  and  kidnapping .
  • Guerrero state  due to  crime .
  • Michoacan state  due to  crime  and  kidnapping .
  • Sinaloa state due to  crime  and  kidnapping
  • Tamaulipas state  due to  crime  and  kidnapping.
  • Zacatecas  state due to  crime  and  kidnapping .

Reconsider Travel To:

  • Baja California  state due to  crime  and  kidnapping .
  • Chihuahua state  due to  crime  and  kidnapping .
  • Durango state  due to  crime .
  • Guanajuato state  due to  crime and kidnapping .
  • Jalisco state  due to  crime  and  kidnapping .
  • Morelos state  due to  crime .
  • Sonora state  due to  crime  and  kidnapping .

Exercise Increased Caution When Traveling To:

  • Aguascalientes  state due to  crime .
  • Baja California Sur state  due to  crime .
  • Chiapas state  due to  crime .
  • Coahuila state  due to  crime .
  • Hidalgo state  due to  crime .
  • Mexico City  due to  crime .
  • Mexico State  due to  crime .
  • Nayarit state  due to  crime.
  • Nuevo Leon  state due to  crime  and  kidnapping .
  • Oaxaca state  due to  crime .
  • Puebla state  due to  crime  and  kidnapping .
  • Queretaro state  due to  crime .
  • Quintana Roo state  due to  crime .
  • San Luis Potosi state  due to  crime and kidnapping .
  • Tabasco state  due to  crime .
  • Tlaxcala state due to  crime .
  • Veracruz state  due to  crime .

Exercise Normal Precautions When Traveling To:

  • Campeche state
  • Yucatan state

Visit our website for  Travel to High-Risk Areas .

If you decide to travel to Mexico:

  • Keep traveling companions and family back home informed of your travel plans. If separating from your travel group, send a friend your GPS location. If taking a taxi alone, take a photo of the taxi number and/or license plate and text it to a friend.
  • Use toll roads when possible and avoid driving alone or at night. In many states, police presence and emergency services are extremely limited outside the state capital or major cities.
  • Exercise increased caution when visiting local bars, nightclubs, and casinos.
  • Do not display signs of wealth, such as wearing expensive watches or jewelry.
  • Be extra vigilant when visiting banks or ATMs.
  • Enroll in the  Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)  to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Follow the Department of State on  Facebook  and  Twitter .
  • Follow the U.S. Embassy on Facebook and Twitter .
  • Review the  Country Security Report  for Mexico.
  • Mariners planning travel to Mexico should check for U.S. maritime  advisories  and  alerts , which include instructions on reporting suspicious activities and attacks to Mexican naval authorities.
  • Prepare a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the  Traveler’s Checklist .
  • Visit the CDC page for the latest travel health information related to your travel. 

Aguascalientes state – Exercise Increased Caution

Exercise increased caution due to crime.

Criminal activity and violence may occur throughout the state.

There are no restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees in Aguascalientes state.

Baja California state – Reconsider Travel

Reconsider travel due to crime and kidnapping.

Transnational criminal organizations compete in the border area to establish narco-trafficking and human smuggling routes. Violent crime and gang activity are common. Travelers should remain on main highways and avoid remote locations. Of particular concern is the high number of homicides in the non-tourist areas of Tijuana. Most homicides appeared to be targeted; however, criminal organization assassinations and territorial disputes can result in bystanders being injured or killed. U.S. citizens and LPRs have been victims of kidnapping.

U.S. government employees must adhere to the noted restrictions:

  • Mexicali Valley:  U.S. government employees should avoid the Mexicali Valley due to the heightened possibility of violence between rival cartel factions.  The boundaries of the restricted area are: to the east, the Baja California/Arizona and Baja California/Sonora borders; to the south, from La Ventana (on Highway 5) due east to the Colorado River; to the west, Highway 5; and to the north, Boulevard Lazaro Cardenas/Highway 92/Highway 1 to Carretera Aeropuerto, from the intersection of Highway 1 and Carretera Aeropuerto due north to the Baja California/California border, and from that point eastward along the Baja California/California border.
  • Travelers may use Highways 2 and 2D to transit between Mexicali, Los Algodones, and San Luis Rio Colorado during daylight hours. Travelers may also use Highways 1 and 8 to transit to and from the Mexicali Airport during daylight hours.  Travel on Highway 5 is permissible during daylight hours.

There are no other travel restrictions for U.S. government employees in Baja California state. These include high-traffic tourism areas of border and coastal communities, such as  Tijuana ,  Ensenada , and  Rosarito .

Baja California Sur state – Exercise Increased Caution

There are no restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees in Baja California Sur state.

Campeche state – Exercise Normal Precautions

Exercise normal precautions.

There are no restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees in Campeche state.

Chiapas state – Exercise Increased Caution

There are no restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees in Chiapas state.

Chihuahua state – Reconsider Travel

Violent crime and gang activity are common. Most homicides are targeted assassinations against members of criminal organizations. Battles for territory between criminal groups have resulted in violent crime in areas frequented by U.S. citizens and U.S. government employees, including restaurants and malls during daylight hours. Bystanders have been injured or killed in shooting incidents. U.S. citizens and LPRs have been victims of kidnapping.

U.S. government employee travel is limited to the following areas with the noted restrictions:

  • Ciudad Juarez:  U.S. government employees may travel to the area of Ciudad Juarez bounded to the east by Bulevar Independencia; to the south by De los Montes Urales/Avenida Manuel J Clouthier/Carretera de Juárez; to the west by Via Juan Gabriel/Avenida de los Insurgentes/Calle Miguel Ahumada/Francisco Javier Mina/Melchor Ocampo; and to the north by the U.S.-Mexico border.  Direct travel to the Ciudad Juarez airport (officially called the Abraham González International Airport) and the factories located along Bulevar Independencia and Las Torres is permitted.  Travel to San Jerónimo is permitted only through the United States via the Santa Teresa U.S. Port of Entry; travel via Anapra is prohibited.

U.S. government employees may only travel from Ciudad Juarez to the city of Chihuahua during daylight hours via Federal Highway 45, with stops permitted only at the Guardia Nacional División Caminos station, the Umbral del Milenio overlook area, the border inspection station at KM 35, and the shops and restaurants on Federal Highway 45 in the city of Ahumada.

  • U.S. government employees may travel between Ciudad Juarez and Ascension via Highway 2.
  • Nuevo Casas Grandes Area (including Nuevo Casas Grandes, Casas Grandes, Mata Ortiz, Colonia Juárez, Colonia LeBaron, Paquimé and San Buenaventura):  U.S. government employees may travel to the Nuevo Casas Grandes area during daylight hours via Mexico Federal Highway 2, and subsequently Federal Highway 10, to Nuevo Casas Grandes.  Employees are permitted to stay overnight in the cities of Nuevo Casas Grandes and Casas Grandes only.
  • City of Chihuahua:  U.S. government employees may travel at any time to the area of the city of Chihuahua bounded to the north by Avenida Transformación; to the east by Avenida Tecnológico/Manuel Gómez Morín/Highway 16/Blvd.José Fuentes Mares; to the west by the city boundary; and to the south by Periférico Francisco R. Almada.
  • U.S. government employees may travel on Highways 45, 16, and 45D through the city of Chihuahua and to the Chihuahua airport (officially called the General Roberto Fierro Villalobos International Airport). 
  • U.S. government employees may travel to Santa Eulalia to the east of the city of Chihuahua, as well as to Juan Aldama via Highway 16 to the northeast.
  • U.S. government employees may travel south of the city of Chihuahua on Highway 45 to the southern boundary of Parral, including each town directly connected to Highway 45, including Lázaro Cárdenas, Pedro Meoqui, Santa Cruz de Rosales, Delicias, Camargo, Ciudad Jiménez, and Parral itself.
  • U.S. government employees may only travel on official business from the city of Chihuahua on Highway 16 to Ciudad Cuauhtémoc bounded by Highway 21 to the north and east, Highway 5 to the west, and Bulevar Jorge Castillo Cabrera to the south. 
  • Ojinaga:  U.S. government employees must travel to Ojinaga via U.S. Highway 67 and enter through the U.S. Port of Entry in Presidio, Texas.
  • Palomas:  U.S. government employees may travel to Palomas via U.S. highways through the U.S. Port of Entry in Columbus, New Mexico, or via Highway 2 in Mexico.

U.S. government employees may not travel to other areas of Chihuahua, including  Copper Canyon .

Coahuila state – Exercise Increased Caution

Violent crime and gang activity occur in parts of Coahuila state. 

U.S. government employees must adhere to the following travel restrictions:

  • Zaragoza, Morelos, Allende, Nava, Jimenez, Villa Union, Guerrero, and Hidalgo municipalities : U.S. government employees may not travel to these municipalities.
  • Piedras Negras and Ciudad Acuña:  U.S. government employees must travel directly from the United States and observe a curfew from midnight to 6:00 a.m. in both cities.

There are no other restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees in Coahuila state.

Colima state – Do Not Travel

Do not travel due to crime and kidnapping.  

Violent crime and gang activity are widespread. Most homicides are targeted assassinations against members of criminal organizations. Shooting incidents between criminal groups have injured or killed bystanders. U.S. citizens and LPRs have been victims of kidnapping.  

Travel for U.S. government employees is limited to the following areas with noted restrictions: 

  • Manzanillo:   U.S. government employee travel is limited to the tourist and port areas of Manzanillo.  
  • Employees traveling to Manzanillo from Guadalajara must use Federal Toll Road 54D during daylight hours.  

U.S. government employees may not travel to other areas of Colima state. 

Durango state – Reconsider Travel

Reconsider travel due to crime.

Violent crime and gang activity are common in parts of Durango state.

  • West and south of Federal Highway 45:  U.S. government employees may not travel to this region of Durango state.

There are no other restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees in Durango state.

Guanajuato state – Reconsider Travel

Gang violence, often associated with the theft of petroleum and natural gas from the state oil company and other suppliers, occurs in Guanajuato, primarily in the south and central areas of the state.  Of particular concern is the high number of murders in the southern region of the state associated with cartel-related violence. U.S. citizens and LPRs have been victims of kidnapping.

  • Areas south of Federal Highway 45D:  U.S. government employees may not travel to the area south of and including Federal Highway 45D, Celaya, Salamanca, and Irapuato.

There are no other restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees in Guanajuato state, which includes tourist areas in:  San Miguel de Allende ,  Guanajuato City , and  surrounding areas.

Guerrero state – Do Not Travel

Do not travel due to crime.

Crime and violence are widespread. Armed groups operate independently of the government in many areas of Guerrero. Members of these groups frequently maintain roadblocks and may use violence towards travelers. U.S. citizens and LPRs have been victims of kidnapping in previous years.

Travel for U.S. government employees is limited to the following area with the noted restrictions:

  • Taxco:  U.S. government employees must use Federal Highway 95D, which passes through Cuernavaca, Morelos, and stay within downtown tourist areas of Taxco. Employees may visit Grutas de Cacahuamilpa National Park during the day with a licensed tour operator.

U.S. government employees may not travel to other areas of the state of Guerrero, including to tourist areas in  Acapulco ,  Zihuatanejo , and  Ixtapa .

Hidalgo state – Exercise Increased Caution

There are no restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees in Hidalgo state.

Jalisco state – Reconsider Travel

Violent crime and gang activity are common in parts of Jalisco state. In Guadalajara, territorial battles between criminal groups take place in tourist areas. Shooting incidents between criminal groups have injured or killed innocent bystanders. U.S. citizens and LPRs have been victims of kidnapping.

  • Jalisco-Michoacan border and Federal Highway 110:  U.S. government employees may not travel to the area between Federal Highway 110 and the Jalisco-Michoacan border, nor travel on Federal Highway 110 between Tuxpan, Jalisco, and the Michoacan border.
  • Federal Highway 80:  U.S. government employees may not travel on Federal Highway 80 south of Cocula.

There are no other restrictions on travel for U.S government employees in Jalisco state which includes tourist areas in:  Guadalajara Metropolitan Area ,  Puerto Vallarta (including neighboring Riviera Nayarit) ,  Chapala , and  Ajijic .

Mexico City (Ciudad de Mexico) – Exercise Increased Caution

Both violent and non-violent crime occur throughout Mexico City. Use additional caution, particularly at night, outside of the frequented tourist areas where police and security patrol more routinely. Petty crime occurs frequently in both tourist and non-tourist areas.

There are no restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees in Mexico City.

Mexico State (Estado de Mexico) – Exercise Increased Caution

Both violent and non-violent crime occur throughout Mexico State. Use additional caution in areas outside of the frequented tourist areas, although petty crime occurs frequently in tourist areas as well.

There are no restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees in Mexico State.

Michoacan state – Do Not Travel

Do not travel due to crime and kidnapping.

Crime and violence are widespread in Michoacan state. U.S. citizens and LPRs have been victims of kidnapping.

Travel for U.S. government employees is limited to the following areas with the noted restrictions:

  • Federal Highway 15D:   U.S. government employees may travel on Federal Highway 15D to transit the state between Mexico City and Guadalajara.
  • Morelia:  U.S. government employees may travel by air and by land using Federal Highways 43 or 48D from Federal Highway 15D.
  • Lazaro Cardenas:  U.S. government employees must travel by air only and limit activities to the city center or port areas.

U.S. government employees may not travel to other areas of the state of Michoacan, including the portions of the  Monarch Butterfly Reserve  located in Michoacan.

Morelos state – Reconsider Travel

Violent crime and gang activity are common in parts of Morelos state.

There are no restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees in Morelos state.

Nayarit state – Exercise Increased Caution

Criminal activity and violence may occur throughout Nayarit state.

There are no restrictions on travel for U.S government employees in Nayarit state.

Nuevo Leon state – Exercise Increased Caution

Exercise increased caution due to crime and kidnapping.

Criminal activity and violence may occur throughout the state. U.S. citizens and LPRs have been victims of kidnapping.

There are no restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees in Nuevo Leon state.

Oaxaca state – Exercise Increased Caution

Criminal activity and violence occur throughout the state.

U.S. travelers are reminded that U.S. government employees must adhere to the following travel restrictions:

  • Isthmus region:  U.S. government employees may not travel to the area of Oaxaca bounded by Federal Highway 185D to the west, Federal Highway 190 to the north, and the Oaxaca-Chiapas border to the east.  This includes the cities of Juchitan de Zaragoza, Salina Cruz, and San Blas Atempa.  
  • Federal Highway 200 northwest of Pinotepa:  U.S. government employees may not use Federal Highway 200 between Pinotepa and the Oaxaca-Guerrero border.

There are no restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees to other parts of Oaxaca state, which include tourist areas in:  Oaxaca City ,  Monte Alban ,  Puerto Escondido,  and  Huatulco .

Puebla state – Exercise Increased Caution

There are no restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees in Puebla state.

Queretaro state – Exercise Increased Caution

There are no restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees in Queretaro state.

Quintana Roo state – Exercise Increased Caution

Criminal activity and violence may occur in any location, at any time, including in popular tourist destinations.  Travelers should maintain a high level of situational awareness, avoid areas where illicit activities occur, and promptly depart from potentially dangerous situations. 

While not directed at tourists, shootings between rival gangs have injured innocent bystanders.  Additionally, U.S. citizens have been the victims of both non-violent and violent crimes in tourist and non-tourist areas.

There are no restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees in Quintana Roo state. However, personnel are advised to exercise increased situational awareness after dark in downtown areas of Cancun, Tulum, and Playa del Carmen, and to remain in well-lit pedestrian streets and tourist zones.

San Luis Potosi state – Exercise Increased Caution

Criminal activity and violence may occur throughout the state.  U.S. citizens and LPRs have been victims of kidnapping.

There are no restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees in San Luis Potosi state.

Sinaloa state – Do Not Travel

Violent crime is widespread. Criminal organizations are based in and operating in Sinaloa. U.S. citizens and LPRs have been victims of kidnapping.

  • Mazatlan:  U.S. government employees may travel to Mazatlan by air or sea only, are limited to the Zona Dorada and historic town center, and must travel via direct routes between these destinations and the airport and sea terminal.
  • Los Mochis and Topolobampo:  U.S. government employees may travel to Los Mochis and Topolobampo by air or sea only, are restricted to the city and the port, and must travel via direct routes between these destinations and the airport.

U.S. government employees may not travel to other areas of Sinaloa state.

Sonora state – Reconsider Travel

Sonora is a key location used by the international drug trade and human trafficking networks. Violent crime is widespread. U.S. citizens and LPRs have been victims of kidnapping. Travelers should maintain a heightened level of awareness of their surroundings in all their travels in Sonora.  Security incidents may occur in any area of Sonora.

  • Travel between Hermosillo and Nogales:  U.S. government employees may travel between the U.S. Ports of Entry in Nogales and Hermosillo during daylight hours via Federal Highway 15 only. U.S. government employees may not use ANY taxi services, public buses, nor ride-share applications due to a lack of secure vetting and/or dispatching procedures. Travelers should exercise caution and avoid unnecessary stops as security incidents, including sporadic, armed carjackings, and shootings have been reported along this highway during daylight hours. Travelers should have a full tank of gas and inform friends or family members of their planned travel.
  • Nogales:  U.S. government employees may not travel in the triangular area north of Avenida Tecnologico, west of Bulevar Luis Donaldo Colosio (Periferico), nor east of Federal Highway 15D (Corredor Fiscal). U.S. government employees also may not travel in the residential and business areas to east of the railroad tracks along Plutarco Elias Calle (HWY 15) and Calle Ruiz Cortino, including the business area around the Morley pedestrian gate port-of-entry. U.S. government employees may not use ANY taxi services, public buses, nor ride-share applications in Nogales due to a lack of secure vetting and/or dispatching procedures and the danger of kidnapping and other violent crimes.  
  • Puerto Peñasco:  U.S. government employees may travel between Puerto Peñasco and the Lukeville-Sonoyta U.S. Port of Entry during daylight hours via Federal Highway 8 only. They may not travel on any other route to Puerto Peñasco. U.S. government employees may not use ANY taxi services, public buses, nor ride-share applications in Puerto Peñasco. due to a lack of secure vetting and/or dispatching procedures and the danger of kidnapping and other violent crimes.
  • Triangular region near Mariposa U.S. Port of Entry:  U.S. government employees may not travel into or through the triangular region west of the Mariposa U.S. Port of Entry, east of Sonoyta, and north of Altar municipality.
  • San Luis Rio Colorado, Cananea, and Agua Prieta : U.S. government employees may travel directly from the nearest U.S. Port of Entry to San Luis Rio Colorado, Cananea (via Douglas Port of Entry), and Agua Prieta, but may not go beyond the city limits. Travel is limited to daylight hours only. Travel between Nogales and Cananea via Imuris is not permitted. U.S. government employees may not use ANY taxi services, public buses, nor ride-share applications in these cities due to a lack of secure vetting and/or dispatching procedures and the danger of kidnapping and other violent crimes.
  • Eastern and southern Sonora (including San Carlos Nuevo Guaymas and Alamos):  U.S. government employees may not travel to areas of Sonora east of Federal Highway 17, the road between Moctezuma and Sahuaripa, and State Highway 20 between Sahuaripa and the intersection with Federal Highway 16. U.S. government employees may travel to San Carlos Nuevo Guaymas and Alamos; travel to Alamos is only permitted by air and within city limits.  U.S. government employees may not travel to areas of Sonora south of Federal Highway 16 and east of Federal Highway 15 (south of Hermosillo), as well as all points south of Guaymas, including Empalme, Guaymas, Obregon, and Navojoa.  U.S. government employees may not use ANY taxi services, public buses, nor ride-share applications in these areas due to a lack of secure vetting and/or dispatching procedures and the danger of kidnapping and other violent crimes.

U.S. government employees may travel to other parts of Sonora state in compliance with the above restrictions, including tourist areas in: Hermosillo , Bahia de Kino , and Puerto Penasco .

Tabasco state – Exercise Increased Caution

There are no restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees in Tabasco state.

Tamaulipas state – Do Not Travel

Organized crime activity – including gun battles, murder, armed robbery, carjacking, kidnapping, forced disappearances, extortion, and sexual assault – is common along the northern border and in Ciudad Victoria. Criminal groups target public and private passenger buses, as well as private automobiles traveling through Tamaulipas, often taking passengers and demanding ransom payments.

Heavily armed members of criminal groups often patrol areas of the state and operate with impunity particularly along the border region from Reynosa to Nuevo Laredo.  In these areas, local law enforcement has limited capacity to respond to incidents of crime. Law enforcement capacity is greater in the tri-city area of Tampico, Ciudad Madero, and Altamira, which has a lower rate of violent criminal activity compared to the rest of the state.

U.S. citizens and LPRs have been victims of kidnapping.

  • Matamoros and Nuevo Laredo:  U.S. government employees may only travel within a limited radius around and between the U.S. Consulates in Nuevo Laredo and Matamoros, their homes, the respective U.S. Ports of Entry, and limited downtown sites, subject to an overnight curfew.
  • Overland travel in Tamaulipas:  U.S. government employees may not travel between cities in Tamaulipas using interior Mexican highways. Travel between Nuevo Laredo and Monterrey is limited to Federal Highway 85D during daylight hours with prior authorization.

U.S. government employees may not travel to other parts of Tamaulipas state.

Tlaxcala state – Exercise Increased Caution

There are no restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees in Tlaxcala state.

Veracruz state – Exercise Increased Caution

Violent crime and gang activity occur with increasing frequency in Veracruz, particularly in the center and south near Cordoba and Coatzacoalcos. While most gang-related violence is targeted, violence perpetrated by criminal organizations can affect bystanders. Impromptu roadblocks requiring payment to pass are common.

There are no restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees in Veracruz state.

Yucatan state – Exercise Normal Precautions

There are no restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees in Yucatan state, which include tourist areas in:  Chichen Itza ,  Merida ,  Uxmal , and  Valladolid .

Zacatecas state – Do Not Travel

Violent crime, extortion, and gang activity are widespread in Zacatecas state. U.S. citizens and LPRs have been victims of kidnapping.

  • Zacatecas City : U.S. government employee travel is limited to Zacatecas City proper, and employees may not travel overland to Zacatecas City.
  • U.S. government employees may not travel to other areas of Zacatecas state.

Travel Advisory Levels

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Passports and Grub

Is Cancun Safe for Travel in 2024? What Every Traveler Should Know

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Is Cancun safe as the year comes to an end and we move into 2024?

That is the million-dollar question as Cancun is the top destination for many U.S. travelers, but violent crime is soaring in certain areas because tourists are buying drugs from Mexican drug dealers.

Cancún and the 81-mile stretch south of Tulum, known as the Riviera Maya, draw 13 million visitors a year to their lush beaches, golf courses, and all-inclusive luxury resorts.

The area accounts for nearly half of Mexico’s tourism revenue. It’s also the scene of an alarming rise in murders, mostly fueled by the demand for drugs from the vacationers themselves.

Once an American tourist is murdered travelers begin questioning is Cancun safe. The stories go on and on about one murder after the other and here recently there has been an uptick in carbon monoxide poisoning in Mexico and specifically in Cancun.

Therefore Cancun’s safety is a concern for many travelers.

While it’s a popular tourist destination with heavily patrolled areas and resorts, there are instances of petty crime like pickpocketing. Travelers should stay in well-known, secure accommodations, avoid isolated areas, and be cautious at night.

Mexico’s government and local authorities make efforts to ensure tourist safety, but it’s crucial to stay vigilant, follow travel advisories, and use common sense.

For years I wouldn’t travel to Mexico because the U.S. media painted this horrific picture of Mexico and I always wondered is Cancun safe.

The links in this post may be affiliate links.  That means that if you click them and make a purchase, this site makes a commission.  It will have no impact on the price you pay or the experience of your purchase.

I believed Mexico was dangerous, I would be killed, kidnapped, and held for ransom by the cartel because of both the Cancun Travel Advisory and the Mexico Travel Advisory 2024 that was issued by the U.S. Government.

If Mexico was all that dangerous people surely wouldn’t keep returning year after year to a dangerous country now would they?

🤔 Wondering what to pack for Cancun?  Yes —  Head here  for everything you need to pack for your next vacation to Cancun and click here for my Travel Safety essentials as well.

travel alert cancun 2023

Is Cancun Safe Right Now?

Cancun, according to the US State Department, is a welcoming community and stands out as one of Mexico’s safest regions, characterized by its minimal crime rates.

Rest assured, your stay will be secure, allowing you to unwind completely. Your experience is bound to be remarkable, creating memories that will last a lifetime if you do not allow fear to hold you back.

Yes, traveling to Mexico can be dangerous but so are other places.

While many people worry about cartels or criminals preying on tourists in areas like Cancun or Mazatlan, there are much more common risks for travelers like not using your common sense and buying drugs in a foreign country.

If you can’t spend the weekend in another country without smoking weed you should probably be checking yourself into rehab instead of traveling to Cancun.  

Most of the tourists that have been killed in Mexico are due to them buying drugs from the cartel because they were too afraid to fly with weed so someone thought it was a good idea to buy drugs in a foreign country

Travel Advisory System Overview

The new Travel Advisory system  replaces the previous “Travel Alert” and “Travel Warning” designations with a four-tiered system.

Countries are rated with a Travel Advisory level number 1 through 4, based on their risk level to U.S. travelers. The level numbers advise the following: Level 1 – Exercise Normal Precautions, Level 2 – Exercise Increased Caution, Level 3 – Reconsider Travel, Level 4 – Do Not Travel.

Countries assigned a Travel Advisory level of 2 or more will also be assigned a risk indicator.

A risk indicator is a letter that represents a specific reason for the Travel Advisory level number. It also gives particular recommendations for U.S. citizens traveling to that country.

A single country can carry more than one risk indicator depending on the stability and security conditions of its regions. Potential risk indicators include C (Crime), T (Terrorism), U (Civil Unrest), H (Health), N (Natural Disaster), E (Time-limited Event), K (Kidnapping/Hostage Taking), O (Other).

But before you go off the deep end and start imagining things that will likely not occur cancel a trip to Mexico Please find out what is real vs. fake about the Mexico travel warnings.

Latest update

Updated: August 23, 2023

Latest update: There’s a high rate of violent crime in Mexico, especially after dark. Kidnapping and extortion are serious risks.

Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions

Level 2: Excercise Increased Caution

Level 3: Reconsider Travel

  • Baja California state (due to crime and kidnapping)
  • Chihuahua state (due to crime and kidnapping)
  • Durango state (due to crime)
  • Guanajuato state (due to crime and kidnapping)
  • Jalisco state (due to crime and kidnapping)
  • Morelos state (due to crime)
  • Sonora state (due to crime and kidnapping)

Level 4: Do Not Travel

  • Colima state (due to crime and kidnapping)
  • Guerrero state (due to crime)
  • Michoacan state (due to crime and kidnapping)
  • Sinaloa state (due to crime and kidnapping)
  • Tamaulipas state (due to crime and kidnapping)
  • Zacatecas state (due to crime and kidnapping)

Mexican Military, Police Called In To Help Protect Tourists In Cancun

The deployment of the Mexican military to safeguard tourists in Cancun has been a crucial measure to ensure the safety and enjoyment of travelers visiting this popular destination.

Cancun’s stunning beaches and vibrant nightlife make it a magnet for tourists from around the world, but it also faces security challenges.

With the Mexican military’s presence, tourists can feel reassured, knowing that dedicated personnel are committed to maintaining a safe environment.

These troops work in collaboration with local law enforcement agencies to deter criminal activity, such as drug-related violence and theft, and to provide a sense of security to visitors.

Their presence not only protects tourists but also supports the local economy by maintaining Cancun’s status as a premier vacation spot.

How is The Mexican Government Keeping Cancun Safe?

The Mexican government employs a multi-faceted approach to ensure the safety of Cancun’s residents and visitors.

Law enforcement agencies work diligently to maintain a strong presence throughout the city, regularly patrolling popular tourist areas and collaborating with local businesses to enhance security measures.

Specialized tourist police units are dedicated to assisting and safeguarding visitors, providing a reassuring presence for international travelers.

Additionally, investment in modern surveillance technologies and communication systems aids in monitoring and responding to incidents swiftly.

Community policing initiatives foster a sense of trust and cooperation within the local community, while public awareness campaigns educate tourists about safety measures.

By adopting these comprehensive strategies and continuously addressing security concerns, the Mexican government is committed to preserving Cancun as a safe and inviting destination for all.

Is the Hotel Zone Safe in Cancun

The Hotel Zone in Cancun is generally a safe haven for sun-seekers!

Crime rates in the Hotel Zone tend to be lower than in many major U.S. cities. The local authorities and tourist police keep a vigilant watch, and hotels often have security measures in place.

Still, like anywhere else, it’s wise to keep an eye on your belongings, avoid wandering into dimly lit areas at night (unless you’re on a stargazing mission), and maybe limit your tequila intake to a reasonable level.

So, while Cancun’s Hotel Zone is mostly about sipping margaritas and catching waves, stay sun-kissed, not sun-missed, by staying aware and soaking up the fun responsibly.

Cancun Travel Advisory Fact vs. Fiction

There are more than 40,000 police officers stationed throughout all of Quintana Roo which means Cancun’s safety is important to the country.

If you get up and go to the grocery store every day, go running at your local park, or even go to a concert you should always take precautions no matter the destination.

Are you worried about traveling to Chattanooga, Houston, Chicago, New Orleans, or Memphis? All of these cities have a higher crime rate than Cancun.

The Mexican Tourism Authority and the government want you safe because tourism is Mexico’s number 1 revenue generator and they have pointed to the low number of victims of crime compared to the 28 million American tourists who travel to Mexico each year. 

Know that Cancun is safe and keep these numbers in mind when planning your vacation for spring break and summer travels for 2024.

As I stated earlier Cancun is safer than most of America’s biggest cities and if you are not worried about traveling within the U.S., especially with the current racial tensions you should be asking if Cancun is safe.

You take road trips with the family to cities like St. Louis, New Orleans, and Kansas City without giving it a second thought so do not allow the media to make you believe Mexico is unsafe. 

Cancun Crime vs. United States Crime

Mexico is statistically much safer than the United States.

So why is the U.S. State Dept. sending out Travel Alerts, calling Mexico “A Failed State”, and saying that ALL parts of the country (including popular tourist resorts like Puerto Vallarta and Cancun) are now unsafe for travel?

There has been a lot of news coverage about violence in Mexico. But very little of it notes that Mexico is a HUGE country with thirty-one states (+ the Distrito Federal).

They also fail to mention that most of that violence is drug traffic-related, or that you could count the number of tourists who are affected by it on one hand.

Did you know that, according to the FBI, an estimated 15,241 persons were murdered in the U.S. in 2009 111 U.S. citizens were killed in Mexico last year, and almost all of them were involved in illicit drug trafficking, gun-running, or smuggling people across the border to/from the U.S?

Imagine 111 people out of the nearly 8 million visitors (about 1 million of whom make Mexico their full-time home). Do you know who else had 111 murders in one year?

Well, Boston for starters. Then there was Las Vegas. And Orlando. And Indianapolis. Is the State Dept. advising tourists to stay away from those places?

Meanwhile, nearly 1,000 U.S. citizens died in Puerto Rico, but did anybody raise a red flag about that? The State Department can’t issue a Travel Warning, because it is not a foreign country

How big is your own city when compared to Mexico? Here are the annual numbers of MURDERS, given by MSA (or Metropolitan Statistical Area)

  • Atlanta – 325
  • Baltimore – 298
  • Boston – 111
  • Dallas/Ft. Worth – 310
  • Detroit – 447
  • Houston – 462 
  • Indianapolis – 111
  • Jacksonville, FL – 120
  • Kansas City – 163 
  • Las Vegas – 133 
  • Los Angeles – 68 
  • Miami-Boca Raton – 377
  • New Orleans – 252 
  • New York City – 778
  • Orlando – 111
  • Philadelphia – 436 
  • Phoenix – 302 
  • San Francisco – 392 
  • St. Louis – 210 
  • Washington, DC – 325 

To put things in perspective, consider that the murder rate in Mexico’s Yucatan State is 2 per 100,000.

That is about the same as Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. Or Evansville, Indiana. Mexico City’s murder rate is 8 per 100,000, despite being the second-largest city on the planet. That is on par with Albuquerque.

Statistically speaking, U.S. travelers are safer in Cancun than they are in most U.S. cities despite media sensationalism.

Getting Around Cancun

Getting around in Cancun is relatively easy and convenient, with various transportation options available for both locals and tourists.

While the city has a reliable public transportation system, many travelers prefer the flexibility of ride-sharing services like Uber which I highly recommend vs. using a taxi so click here to download the mobile app today.

Uber rideshare offers the convenience of door-to-door transportation and often has competitive pricing compared to traditional taxis.

If you opt for traditional taxis, ensure that the taxi is authorized and uses a meter to avoid any pricing disputes because there will be hell to pay if you get in an unauthorized taxi.


As I stated earlier taxis in Cancun can generally be considered safe, but please understand that if you get into an unauthorized taxi and they attempt to rip you off because of a broken meter or some other nonsense it will be extremely hard not to become a victim.

Here are some tips to keep in mind when using taxis in Cancun:

  • Use Official Taxis : Whenever possible, opt for official taxis from reputable companies. These taxis are usually well-maintained and regulated by authorities, which can enhance your safety.
  • Authorized Taxi Stands : Use designated taxi stands, such as those at airports, hotels, and popular tourist areas. Avoid hailing taxis from the street, as this can sometimes lead to encountering unlicensed or unregulated drivers.
  • Negotiate Fare or Use Meters : If the taxi doesn’t have a meter, make sure to agree on the fare before starting the ride. In taxis with meters, ensure that the meter is running and insist on its use to avoid overcharging.
  • Share Your Location : Make sure someone knows your whereabouts and the taxi’s license plate number before getting in. You can also share this information with a friend or family member.

Keep in mind you will need pesos to pay and you will need the exact amount because taxi drivers will not make changes so remember to have plenty of small bills.

Also, the standard Mexico tipping rate of 15-20%.

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

The recent deaths of six Americans from carbon monoxide poisoning in two separate incidents are putting a spotlight on the risks of staying in an Airbnb or hotel that might not have the appropriate safety measures in place. 

Three guests staying at an apartment in Mexico City booked through Airbnb are believed to have died from carbon monoxide poisoning last month, Bloomberg reported.

Families of three  Americans who died from carbon monoxide poisoning   in a rented residence in Mexico City ahead of Dia de Los Muertos – or Day of the Dead – celebrations identified them as two New Orleans teachers and the owner of a Virginia Beach-based candle business.

Another group of American tourists in May d ied of the same cause  at a Sandals Resort in the Bahamas. 

Symptoms of CO poisoning include headache, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, weakness, chest pain, and confusion, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

More than 400 people die in the U.S. from accidental CO poisoning each year, and another 50,000 people visit the emergency department with carbon monoxide poisoning. 

Travelers Diarrhea

Travelers’ diarrhea or Montezuma’s revenge is an intestinal infection that occurs as a result of eating or drinking contaminated food or water.

Food handlers who do not wash their hands after they use the bathroom can transmit the infection to people who consume the contaminated food.

You should never drink unfiltered tap water in Mexico. The best way to avoid traveler’s diarrhea or Montezuma’s revenge is to stick to bottled.

If you’re staying at one of the many luxury resorts in Cancun you should be fine and will not have to worry about getting sick from the water.

The typical symptoms of traveler’s diarrhea include:

  • Abrupt onset of  diarrhea
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Urgent need to have a  bowel movement
  • Malaise (weakness or discomfort)
  • Explosive and painful gas
  • Stomach c ramps
  • Loss of appetite

Safest Areas for Tourists in Cancun

If you do not go to crime-ridden areas in your own city do not go into crime-ridden areas when you travel.  While the crime rate is increasing in Mexico so is the crime in the United States!

The Mexican government wants to keep tourists safe by providing extra security in touristy areas to ensure travelers are safe and you will not have to ask if the Cancun Travel Advisory is necessary.

The safest area to stay in Cancun is still the Hotel Zone which is a 13-mile stretch of beautiful white-sand beaches with luxury hotels and resorts for both families and couples alike.

Be aware that there has not been any violence within the Hotel Zone – Violence has occurred outside the Hotel Zone and along with other popular vacation spots which have caused many hotels and resorts to tighten their security.

Where to be Cautious in Cancun

Now that we have discussed the safest areas in Cancun for tourists here is a list of areas you should avoid when traveling to Cancun or at a minimum be mindful of your surroundings:

  • Downtown Cancun – Cancun is extremely safe and downtown Cancun is no different so there is no reason to be afraid but be extra diligent and precautious if you are traveling outside of Cancun at night and always notify someone of your location if you are traveling alone. 
  • Shopping in Cancun – If you are like me you love shopping and exploring the local markets but please take proper precautions do not flash money, wear expensive jewelry, and keep your purse closed because pickpocketers will be watching and waiting to make their move.
  • Surrounding Towns – There are plenty of surrounding neighborhoods and towns that are extremely safe and perfect for day trips including Guanajuato , San Cristóbal de las Casas , and Oaxaca City . 
  • Renting a car in Mexico –  While you should always take precautions while driving in a foreign country, there’s no need to be fearful of driving in Cancun or renting a car. 
  • I rented a car on my last trip and felt extremely safe so no need to worry at all but the U.S. State Department advises using toll roads when possible and avoiding driving alone or at night.

If you decide to rent a car in Cancun don’t forget to  buy your Mexico car insurance!

Keeping Cash Safe in Mexico 

Withdrawing cash: Use ATMs in daylight hours and choose ATMs located in areas where there are plenty of other people around or use ATMs situated inside shopping malls.

Carrying cash: Don’t carry large amounts of cash on your person. If you see something you want to buy and you don’t have the cash, a small deposit will always secure the item . Leave excess cash credit/debit cards you don’t expect to need at the hotel.

Bank-card cloning/skimming: Bank card (Debit or Credit Cards) cloning (or skimming) is an issue in Mexico.  Never leave bank cards out of your sight.

If your card has a “chip and pin” ask waiters at bars and restaurants to bring the payment terminal to your table and cover your hand as you enter your PIN.

If the terminal is not portable, or your card does not have “chip and pin” technology, take your card to the cashier to pay: do not allow attendants to take it out of your sight. 

If you are paying for fuel at gas stations with a card, we recommend you only use a credit card (not a debit card) and be extra vigilant as gasoline stations are rife with skimmers.

Valuable documents:  Keep your valuable travel documents (especially your passport) safe; passport theft is on the rise worldwide, including in Mexico.

Store cash and other valuables in your hotel room’s safe , the hotel’s safety deposit box or purchase your own safety diversion tool.

Dress down: Avoid walking around dripping jewelry, showing off expensive watches, and other expensive fashion items.

ATM refills: When stand-alone ATMs are being re-filled, you might see armed guards surrounding them.

We recommend you find another ATM instead of waiting around for it to be filled: it can take up to an hour for a machine to be re-filled and tested before it becomes operational again.

travel alert cancun 2023

How to Deal with Police Extortion in Cancun

We’ve all heard the stories about the corrupt cops south of the border. With stories ranging from extortion to kidnapping, the police in Mexico and the rest of Latin America do not have the best reputation.

Police extortion of tourists detained for minor offenses is often a problem and there have been some grotesque incidents.

The authorities cracked down hard, however, and dismissed hundreds of officers, including some top officials. They claim the problem is under control.

If you are stopped for a traffic violation in Mexico, you will be asked for your driver’s license, vehicle registration, and possibly proof of insurance . You will also be told what you did wrong.

 Of course, in the U.S. we would then be issued a ticket that requires us to pay a fine or appear in court at a later date.

If it is a minor infraction don’t bribe them, even so, it is possible that they ask for some money, the amount depends on the seriousness of the infraction, if you pass a red light it is better if they only give you the traffic ticket

If you drive without a license, the car must be impounded and the fine is higher, in that case, I suggest you offer $ 200 pesos (if you look Mexican) if you are blond with blue eyes maybe about $500 pesos

If you are drinking alcohol in the street, the fine is $ 1500 pesos or 24 hours of jail, you will probably have to pay your full fine.

Those are the most common crimes for which a police officer can pull you over, obviously, if you steal or kill, the amount will be considerably higher

The key is to remain calm and accept your mistake and when it is inevitable that they take you to jail then subtly offer the bribe, it is like a negotiation, start with a low amount and they will go up to agree on an amount.

How Not to Deal with Corrupt Mexican Police

 don’t be a tough guy.

This is the worst thing that you can do.  If you act tough and get angry and make threats, the officer will simply arrest you for being disorderly or assaulting him or her, etc.

This is a very big no-no. Towing your car is technically something that the officer can’t do, even though they will threaten it, but if you give them enough of a desire to cause you harm they will absolutely find a way to make it happen.

While most officers will not do anything illegal beyond soliciting bribes for traffic violations, they most certainly can act above the law when they really want to.

Don’t give them a reason to want to, because you will not win. Having your car towed (and potentially never seeing it again) is a lot more expensive than paying him one hundred bucks.

Book Tours through a Reputable Tour Company or Hotel

Booking excursions through resorts in Mexico takes away a lot of the stress of vacation planning. Travelers can land in Cancun or Tulum and float directly onto a beach next to the bright blue Caribbean Sea.

No need to worry about things to do in Puerto Vallarta; just wait to be swept into the ocean on a catamaran , or jet ski, or go swimming with the sharks.

This is all possible with proper excursion planning . However, book the wrong excursion and those stress levels may just double.

Spanish Travel Phrases You Must Know

I highly suggest taking a few Spanish lessons and learning some key phrases if you are traveling to Cancun.  It is most definitely not a requirement to learn Spanish but it is beneficial to learn a key few Spanish phrases. 

It will help your trip go on without a hitch and keep you safe. 

Are Mexico Resorts Safe

As I stated earlier there have been incidents of carbon monoxide poisoning at resorts, which have left some potential visitors with questions and doubts regarding the safety of hotels in Mexico.

Staying Safe at Mexico Resorts:

  • Research and Choose Reputable Resorts : Before booking your stay, research the resort’s safety record, reviews, and certifications. Look for resorts that prioritize guest safety, regularly inspect their facilities, and maintain proper ventilation systems.
  • Carbon Monoxide Detectors: Pack a portable carbon monoxide detector or inquire whether the resort provides them in guest rooms. These devices will alert you to the presence of high levels of carbon monoxide and provide an early warning in case of a leak.
  • Familiarize Yourself with Resort Safety Measures: Upon arrival, take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with the resort’s emergency procedures, including evacuation routes, fire exits, and safety guidelines. Ensure you know how to report any concerns about gas appliances or ventilation to the appropriate resort staff.
  • Keep your valuables safe: For added peace of mind, consider purchasing a diversion device to keep your valuables safe like a clothes hanger, Coke can, lint roller , and even a bible that all doubles as a safe.

Safest Hotels in Cancun

The safest area to stay in Cancun is still the Hotel Zone, a 13-mile arc of beautiful white-sand beaches lined with luxury resorts.

Many hotels are all-inclusive and discourage non-guests on the property, and high-end resorts tend to have robust security.

Avoid staying or partying in downtown Cancun, where most of the recent violence has taken place.

Best and Safest Resorts in Cancun

Cancun is known for both mega resorts and luxury boutique hotels with multiple restaurants, bars, and nightlife activity. So if you're looking for a getaway I have visited Cancun's best hotels so you will know where to stay for your ultimate vacation to Cancun!

travel alert cancun 2023

Canopy by Hilton Cancun La Isla, Mexico Hotel

The Canopy by Hilton hotel overlooks the Nichupté Lagoon and the Caribbean Sea. They are a three-minute walk to La Isla Entertainment Village with premier shopping and dining options. Access to Mandala Beach Club is easy with a five-minute drive and Tulum is just 130 kilometers away. Enjoy multiple bars and unwind at our rooftop fitness center and outdoor pool. WiFi’s on us.

travel alert cancun 2023

The luxurious, 260-room Le Blanc Spa is the best (and priciest) adult-only all-inclusive in town. It stands out for its gorgeous white-sand beach in the heart of the Hotel Zone, decadent spa (guests get free access to the hydrotherapy area), stunning pools (two with swim-up bars), and especially its pampering service, from the butlers who will unpack your clothes to the pool attendants who will provide cool towels for your eyes. It has a hip, gorgeous aesthetic throughout the entire pristine white property, and the modern, bright rooms have two-person whirlpool tubs; most have either ocean or lagoon views.

travel alert cancun 2023

Excellence Playa Mujeres

This adult-only luxury resort offers a nice all-inclusive experience with tons of variety -- multiple dining options, several beautiful pools, a gorgeous spa, and dozens of wonderful activities. The rooms here are large and contemporary, with large modern bathrooms, Jacuzzis, and high-end amenities such as big flat-screen TVs, free Wi-Fi, and iPod docks. Some have a large rooftop terrace with a private plunge pool with ocean views.

travel alert cancun 2023

Be Tulum Lifestyle Luxury Hotel, Private Villas & Spa.

Be Tulum – a luxury lifestyle Hotel Spa & Private Villas inspired by the rustic charm and raw natural beauty of the Mayan Riviera.

Uniquely built by the sea-cliffs, Tulum is located in the Yucatán Península in the state of Quintana Roo, southeastern México, on the northern border of the biosphere reserve of Sian Ka’an.

travel alert cancun 2023

Kin Sol Soleil

Kin Sol Soleil is a charming home in the tradition of the Mexican haciendas where handmade hospitality, personal service and privacy are unsurpassed. The elegant simplicity of the beautiful natural setting is enhanced with native thatched roofs, glowing mahogany, bamboo-filtered light, colorful fabrics, original art, voluptuous gardens, gourmet cuisine and warm smiles.

travel alert cancun 2023

Renaissance Cancun Resort & Marina

Situated in an exclusive area in Zona Hotelera, the all-new Renaissance Cancun Resort & Marina is a scenic haven in a lively travel destination. Find respite in your waterfront accommodations with refined design elements, contemporary essentials, luxury amenities and inspiring views of the city and shimmering bay. Stay within steps of the beach in the Cancun entertainment zone near Marina Town Center Mall, Isla Mujeres and popular shops, restaurants and pubs in downtown.

  • Best Cancun San Lucas Adults-Only (Splurge):  Le Blanc Resort Cancun
  • Best Cancun Hotel (Splurge):  Turquoize at Hyatt Ziva Cancun – Adults Only
  • Best Luxury Cancun Hotel:  Esperanza, Auberge Resorts Collection

Best Time to Travel to Mexico

Because Mexico is a big country deciding when and where to travel totally depends on the weather, which area you are visiting, and if you are going on a Girls’ Trip in Los Cabos or a family vacation in Cancun.

The southern part of Mexico has a rainy season which generally starts in May and until October. Not to worry it only rains for a short period of time and the sun will come right back out.  

If you want to travel in the cooler season book your trip from December to February when it is cooler.

I suggest traveling to Mexico between December and April when the temperatures are more comfortable and the humidity is not at all at an all-time high.  

If you go to Cancun in the shoulder season or in the less-popular months you will be less likely to be a victim of pickpockets and scammers. 

Mexico Travel Insurance

I think most people have questions about where to go for medical care in an emergency. First, I should note that if you’re on spring break, chances are slim that you’ll be needing emergency care.

Still, better safe than sorry! The good news is that some of the most beautiful cities in Mexico—like Cancun and Playa del Carmen—also happen to be home to some of the best hospitals and clinics in Latin America.

I can’t say this enough but please get insurance when traveling to Mexico! Even if you are only going on a short trip, you should always travel with insurance.

Have fun while visiting Mexico ,   but take it from someone who has racked up thousands of bucks on an insurance claim before, you need it.

Make sure to get your insurance before you head off on an adventure!  I highly recommend Travelex Insurance.

✈️ Get Travel Insurance NOW! Travelex Is my preferred Insurance

Top things to do in cancun.

Ruins in Cancun

One of the New 7 Wonders of the World, Chichén Itzá is among Mexico’s most visited and iconic archaeological sites . Known for its main central pyramid, this impressive Maya site—once the ceremonial center of the Yucatán—also features temples, ball courts, and a cenote (freshwater sinkhole) ., is one of the  most popular Cancun tours .

There are so many safe activities in Cancun — ranging from the most epic of adventures to simply relaxing and experiencing the cuisine of Cancun.

Swim with Whale Sharks in Cancun (Seasonal)

Between May and September, the world’s largest fish, whale sharks, migrate through Yucatan waters , and can often be spotted off Cancun.

Get the chance to swim with these plankton-loving gentle giants, if enough are found, on this magical tour.

Your package with Viator includes snorkeling gear, water, soft drinks, and a ceviche lunch on Isla Mujeres’ North Beach (Playa Norte): port tax is at your own expense.

Snorkeling in Cancun

This snorkeling tour in Cancun is a great way for first-time snorkelers to earn their fins without dedicating a full day to the process.

Guides work with first-time snorkelers and those with water anxiety to create an unforgettable trip by swimming with sea turtles , exploring an underwater shipwreck and statues, and checking out a reef.

Cancun Travel Resources

If you are here that means you are researching traveling to Cancun. I have created a list of my favorite travel resources to help you book the lowest flight and find the best hotel deals because who doesn’t love a deal?

Flights:  Start planning your trip by finding the best flight deals on  Hotwire

Book your Hotel:  Find the best prices on hotels with Expedia .

Travel Insurance:  Don’t leave home without it. Here is what we recommend:

  • Allianz  – Occasional Travelers.
  • Travelex  – Annual Insurance Plans.

The Conclusion: Cancun Travel Advisory & Is Cancun Safe

Yes, Cancun is safe!

There is no doubt that there has been horrible violence in Mexico due to drug wars between warring factions but that violence has, for the most part, been in isolated areas. 

Of course, there are certain areas to avoid in Cancun but it is no different than being in your own hometown where crime is restricted to certain areas. 

DO NOT allow the U.S. media to shape your thoughts and views of Cancun because they are not only misleading but wrong!  

So get ready for your trip by packing all you need including sunscreen, a bathing suit , flip-flops, and sunglasses.

Ready to plan your trip, grab my  FREE  Vacation Planner to help you plan your trip in the time it takes to watch your favorite TV show!

If you would like to donate to  Passports and Grub click here!  

Travel Guide

Additional Articles For Exploring This Big Ole World

Best Things To Do In Cancun

Is Puerto Vallarta Safe?

How Safe is Cabo San Lucas 

Have you allowed the Cancun travel warning to affect your travel decisions and are you still wondering is it safe to travel to Cancun?

I would love to hear your thoughts on whether is it safe to travel to Cancun and how you feel about the Mexico travel warning so leave me a comment on Facebook ,  Twitter , or  Instagram.

Are you traveling to Cancun in 2024? Leave a comment and let me know!

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These are some great tips for traveling to Cancun. I’ve never been there, but it’s on my bucket list. I have been to Cozumel and didn’t have any problems.

I haven’t been to Cancun but I’d still visit. I don’t drink so I would stay away from that since I’ve heard about people get sick and dying after drinking.

I haven’t been to Cancun and I can’t say its high on my list right now but this is great information. I think with everything going on in the world, everyone is a little skeptical on traveling outside of the country

Mexico is still on my list of places to experience. I have seen beautiful pictures and I want to go see it for myself.

Los Cabos and Cancun are my favorite and its expensive to get there.

Ironcially I am in Mexico right now in Playa Del Carmen so not too far from Cancun. Great info because there was a travel advisory by Trump but glad it isnt on high alert.

We have been to Cancun 14 times …Never an Issue ,we will be back there in march… can’t wait… Just like Anywhere else,if you are looking for trouble,you can find it.

Although I haven’t been to Cancun;however, I do want to visit Tulum, – I’ve learned to take heed with the travel advisories. You have a lot of helpful pointers too.

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I am from Norway and LOVED our stay in Cancun summer 2019. We met only lovely people and beautiful destinations! I would recommend everyone seeing cancun, it is really breathtaking!

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My Wife and I have traveled to Cancun with our teenage son and have never had any issues. We have been to Hotel Row, Playa del Carmen, Playcar, Tulum and Puerto Morelos. We always rent a car and have even driven 2 1/2 hours from Cancun to Valladolid Yucatan Mexico. “Great Cenotes in this area” We are going back this April 2021, but we are going to Island hop! Isla Holbox, Isla Mujeres, Isla Cozumel and we will be taking a4 hour day trip to Bacalar, Quintana Roo! We Were in Puerto Morelos for 4th of July week 2020 and were in Huatulco, Oaxaca September 2020 for our 20th Anniversary! We rented a car as always. One thing I can tell you is that in Cancun they are taking this pandemic seriously! The hotels, the tours, the restaurants, the stores and the malls are temperature checking, mandating the use of the mask, making you disinfect your shoes and handing out sanitizer before they allow you in. They are also taking the safe distancing seriously, unlike here in the US where we have these conspiracy theorists that claim the virus is a hoax. We not only feel safe in the Riviera Maya, but we also appreciate that the people there are keeping us visitors and themselves safe!!! Thanks for this page to help fellow travelers to discover the truth about Mexican travel. By the way, if in your Naivety, you like to get drunk, search for illegal substances and women? If the bad guys don’t get you first, the undercover Mexican drug enforcement officers will take you down…

Wonderful advice! What company do you recommend for car rentals? I am trying to book a trip to Cancun with my family for the holidays. Any tips for booking affordable stays or Air BNB’s would also be gladly appreciated!

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Great Information You Shared.

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My just-graduated-college son and several of his friends are literally flying to Cancun this morning on a trip planned months back by one of the kids’ uncle who is a professional travel agent. I panicked at the State Dept update but felt much better after reading beautifully researched and well written and informative website : THANK YOU!!! I am worried post trump that people in Mexico who are rightly upset with America (since we elected — did we? really? — a racist reality tv show guy to run our country and at least he got us all talking about how things need to change) might look at my son who is a large white male and make inaccurate assumptions about him and his views based on his large white maleness. I am aware that my Black-mom friends/colleagues/patients have been dealing with people making inaccurate assumptions based on appearance for lifetimes longer than I have, and I have a whole new appreciation of that experience and how unsettling it is. We raised our son to be antiracist, not really knowing that word yet, 22 years ago, but aware because we could see what has needed to change in this country since America began with a massive blind spot as the the difference between our words “liberty and justice all” and our actions, and my hope and expectation is that my large white male son bears the responsibility to help create that Love-Thy-Neighbor world we all want for ourselves and one another, or so I choose to believe and so I believe God wants us all to have. I don’t know why I’m oversharing like this except I’ve been up since 4 and maybe had too much coffee? My son texted to say they’re off to Mexico, I looked on the State Dept website again, saw the update, freaked out, googled feverishly, found this page, and feel much better, and appreciate this information so much, and now want to quit worrying and jump on a plane and have fun and Be The Change. thank you and sorry for oversharing and God Bless!

No worries whatsoever! Mexico is extremely safe and I just purchased my ticket for Cabo yesterday. I have never encountered any issues while traveling to Mexico. I’m sure your son will be safe and please keep me posted

Umm no. Let’s not bring politics into this, My wife is Mexican. From Cancun I’m a gringo. I’m from Missouri. . We live back and forth. Is this Cancun safe? Don’t ever say politics ever…. It has nothing to do with politics.

I just returned from Cabo and Cancun within the last 3 months. I have been traveling Mexico for years with both my friends, husband, daughter and solo. I have never once encountered criminal activity. Not once have I felt threatened, not once have I been robbed, Not once have my credit cards been stolen but guess where all of the things have happened? Right here in Tennessee!

I took my daughter to Cancun when she graduated college. The hotel was rated 5 star. I was aware of my surroundings at all times. Having lived in Tijuana for over 6 months in the late 70’s. What can I say, it was my rebellious years. Anyway, my daughter had the best time of her life. When she heard me speak Spanish, she hugged me and said “Mom, you amaze me.” I have been to Cancun and Playa del Carmen several times since then. With someone and mostly by myself. I even had a medical procedure done in Cancun. My advice is be able to understand Spanish. At least the basics. Be respectful of the people waiting on you. Remember to tip those waiting on you. A dollar tip will get you better service.

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I loved this guide, it was the first I read and helped me get over all the negative news about mexico. I kept coming back to your great advice throughout my visit of this amazing country, so a huge thank you for inspiration!

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Thank you! I was reading this article and I found very useful information above there.

Thank You! It’s actually a cool and useful piece of information. I’m satisfied that you simply shared this helpful information with us.

This blog was a lot more beneficial for me than I could have thought. It is informative and enlightening, as it gives exact and explanatory guidance and direction.

  • Pingback: Is Puerto Vallarta Safe? Travel Warnings & Safety [Updated February 2022]

It was the first guide I read and helped me overcome all the negative news about Mexico. As I toured this incredible country, I kept returning to your great advice, so thank you for inspiring me!

Thank you ! very very helpful … but do you know anything about what recently occurred may 7th, 2022 ?

Wow I will share this article to my friends, I seem to know more things after reading it, it was very helpful, I hope you will make more good articles like this.

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This is really nice. I would like to thank you for the information that you gave to us.

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My advice is only go to safe areas for tourism. https://sites.google.com/view/metroidfusionrom

While it’s important to stay informed about safety when traveling, it’s worth noting that millions of tourists visit Cancun and the Riviera Maya each year without any issues. While there have been reports of increased crime, it’s crucial to exercise caution, stick to well-traveled areas, and stay aware of your surroundings. Consulting official advisories, using common sense, and following basic safety guidelines can help ensure a safe and enjoyable trip. It’s always a good idea to stay informed and make decisions based on your own comfort level. Happy travels!

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While it’s important to stay informed about safety when traveling, it’s worth noting that millions of tourists visit Cancun and the Riviera Maya each year without any issues.

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travel alert cancun 2023

  • Destinations
  • Mexico Travel News

travel alert cancun 2023

Is CANCUN SAFE To Visit? Travel Advisory 2023

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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 seaweed forecast

cancun coast


September 13 – 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 .

Although the region is considered one of the safest places in the Riviera Maya, it remains vulnerable to opportunistic thieves who are increasingly targeting valuable identification documents, especially passports.

In recent months, passport theft has been one of the most common crimes affecting tourists in this coastal region. Compared to previous years, there has been a notable increase in such thefts, with identity theft now accounting for a growing share of total criminal activity.

August 11 – 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.

These occurrences represent the most recent events in an ongoing series of car attacks that Medallion Cab drivers attribute to vehicles they suspect of being operated by ride-hailing services like Uber.

“Such conduct won’t be permitted,” according to prosecutors in Quintana Roo.

“Strong action will be taken to ensure that the state is a safe destination for local inhabitants and visitors,” the state prosecutor’s office said in a statement.

June 29 – National Guard being deployed in Cancun to enhance security for tourists this summer 

On Sunday, June 25, National Guard operations began in Cancun, in the southeastern region of the country, with the aim of strengthening security in the main tourist city amid a wave of drug-related violence. 

In anticipation of the upcoming summer vacations, which are of great importance to the Riviera Maya, authorities at all levels of government are preparing to receive hundreds of vacationers in July and August. 

This situation comes amid the drug-related violence and trafficking that has plagued Cancun, the country’s main tourist destination. 

In April of this year, during Holy Week, gunmen killed four people in the hotel zone, further highlighting the severity of the problem.

Common scams to avoid in Cancun in 2023

The only disadvantage of traveling is tourist frauds (along with the expenses). It’s bad that many lovely places we visit have a small percentage who live on taking advantage of innocent tourists who come to support their local economy. Cancun, Mexico, is no exception and has its own share of scammers. In 2023, here’s how to prevent tourism scams in Cancun, Mexico.

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, in order 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 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.

Why visit Cancun

1. underwater museum.

Visiting the largest underwater sculpture park will be one of your most fascinating experiences in Cancun. The museum displays nearly 500 statues created by Jason deCaires, a British sculptor and other Mexican artists. 

The museum was conceived with the objective to save the coral reef by drawing snorkelers away

2. The cenotes

Cenote Chichen Itza

Jump on a guided tour and come visit this unique geological element of Mexico. The cenotes are natural sinkholes that expose fresh groundwater underneath.

Explore the breathtaking caves and caverns and walk the path that once the ancient Mayas considered the door to the underworld.

3. The Coco Bongo

Better to be vaccinated because it’s going to be crazily crowded inside! 

Ranked as one of the best nightspots in Cancun, Coco Bongo offers a unique show production, a mix of different types of music, and the very latest in audio and video entertainment, and alcohol! Rivers of it.

travel alert cancun 2023

Cancun Sun

U.S. State Department Updates Cancun Travel Advisory & Removes This Warning

By: Author James Chabin

Posted on Published: August 24, 2023

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Last Updated 3 months ago

The United States Department of State has updated its travel advisory for Mexico and the state of Quintana Roo once again. 

The advisory removed a warning about an increased risk of kidnapping in Quintana Roo, which is home to Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and Tulum. 

Aerial view of cancun hotel zone

Quintana Roo is currently under a level 2 advisory, which suggests that travelers exercise increased caution while in the state. 

The advisory states that criminal activity can occur in Quintana Roo at any time or place, including in tourist areas. 

While tourists are rarely the target of violence, United States citizens have been caught in the crossfire. 

beach lookout

The advisory recommends that tourists stay in well-lit areas and maintain situational awareness after dark in Cancun, Tulum, and Playa del Carmen. 

Advice For Travel In Mexico

The Department of State has the following advice for those traveling in Mexico. 

  • Keep your travel companions and family informed about your travel plans
  • If you get separated from your travel group, send a friend your GPS location
  • If you take a taxi alone, take a picture of the taxi number and/or license plate and text it to a friend
  • Use toll roads where possible and avoid driving alone or at night
  • Use caution when visiting local bars, clubs and casinos

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man at night

  • Do not display signs of wealth, such as wearing expensive watches or jewelry
  • Be attentive when visiting banks or ATMs
  • Prepare a contingency plan for emergency situations

Spring 2023 Advisory

During the busy Spring travel season, worries about security in Quintana Roo began to spread to Washington, D.C. 

The Department of State released an advisory saying, “U.S. citizens should exercise increased caution in the downtown areas of popular spring break locations including Cancun, Playa Del Carmen, and Tulum, especially after dark.” 

chairs on beach

The advisory points out the risks of traveling to popular Maya Riviera destinations, but it does not ask that United States citizens reconsider traveling to Cancun or other popular tourist sites. 

The State Department maintains travel advisories for all countries, and many countries popular with tourism share a level 2 advisory, such as the United Kingdom and France. 

Violence in Tourist Areas

Recently, a shooting inside a hotel in the Cancun hotel district demonstrated how violence encroaches on tourist areas in the Riviera Maya. 

Cancun hotel dsitrict

The shooting involved organized crime and was a targeted attack that killed one person, a Mexican national. 

No tourists were harmed in the shooting.

Quintana Roo Governor Mara Lezama met with the Quintana Roo Secretary of Citizen Security and Attorney General to discuss security in Quintana Roo after the shooting.

This incident marked the second time a fatal shooting occurred in the Cancun hotel zone this Spring.

The shooting resulted in the deaths of four Mexican nationals and caused uproar across Mexico and the rest of North America. 

Cancun party area

The Mexican National Tourism Business Council demanded that the Mexican government “ensure that the tourist destinations of the country be spaces of personal, social, and patrimonial security so that the local population and the national and international tourists can visit.”

Government Response

The Mexican government took major action in response to the shooting and other high-profile security incidents across the country.

In preparation for the busy Easter holiday, the government deployed over 8,000 National Guard troops to beach cities nationwide. 

The troops were sent to patrol tourist areas, highways, bus stops, and other locations vital for tourism. 

The largest group of these 8,000 troops were sent to Cancun. 

Local governments have also made efforts to increase security and curb violence. 


In July, National Guard troops stationed in Playa del Carmen were moved to Cancun, prompting Municipal President Lili Campos Miranda to call for reinforcements from the Navy. 

While Playa del Carmen experienced increased violence against locals and foreigners, President Campos Miranda added 20 security elements to the existing security force in the city. 

In addition, Playa del Carmen deploys innovative methods, such as K-9 units , to combat criminal activity.

Plan Your Next Cancun Vacation:

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Is Mexico travel safe? What to know about visiting Cabo, Cancun, Playa del Carmen and more

travel alert cancun 2023

With its warm climate, beautiful beaches and proximity to the U.S., Mexico is a popular tourist destination for many Americans. But recent incidents may have some people wondering if they should reconsider their travel plans.

Over the past few months, taxi drivers have been harassing Ubers in Cancun  and there was the death of three Americans in Mexico City in October. Now an updated  Travel Advisory warns of crime and kidnapping.

"We get this one a lot, especially by folks who haven't traveled as much, haven't left the country before, or have read stories about 'Mexico being dangerous' but maybe don't recognize it's a large, diverse country, much like ours," Jack Benoff, president of  Vacationeeze , which specializes in destination weddings in Mexico, told USA TODAY. Many of Benoff's clients plan trips to Cancun and Riviera Maya, known for their turquoise beaches and myriad resorts. 

Stay safe while traveling: Here are 17 CIA tips, advice to think like a spy on vacation

Staying safe: US tourists warned about popular Mexico spots plagued by drug cartel intimidation, violence

Learn more: Best travel insurance

The State Department updated the Travel Advisory for Mexico  on Oct. 5, which is done regularly. Several tourist destinations, like Mexico City, Sayulita and Cancun, now have warnings related to cartel-related crime.

"The safety and security of U.S. citizens overseas is one of the department’s highest priorities, and we provide U.S. citizens with relevant information so they can make well-informed decisions before they travel," a State Department spokesperson said. 

Read below to learn more about the Travel Advisory for Mexico's most popular tourist destinations and safety tips for visiting those areas. 

Taxis vs. Uber: US issues Mexico security alert as Cancun taxi drivers block road, harass Uber cars

What is the updated Travel Advisory for Mexico?

Rather than providing one overall assessment for the entire country, each state is assessed individually, because some areas have an increased risk of crime and kidnapping.

► The agency issued a "do not travel to" warning for the Colima, Guerrero, Michoacan, Sinaloa, Tamaulipas and Zacatecas state because of violent crime. 

► A "reconsider travel to" warning has been issued for Baja California and Jalisco, where Puerto Vallarta is.

► Mexico City, Nayarit, Baja California Sur, Quintana Roo and Oaxaca are issued an "exercised increased caution when traveling to" warning. Baja California Sur is home to Cabo San Lucas, San Jose del Cabo and La Paz. In Nayarit, many tourists visit the surf town Sayulita. Quintana Roo is home to Cancun, Tulum, Riviera Maya, Cozumel and Playa del Carmen. Surfers also like to visit Puerto Escondido in Oaxaca. 

Travelers can "exercise normal precautions" when traveling to Yucatan, which includes the popular attraction Chichén Itzá. Yucatan state is right above Quintana Roo, where people should be more cautious because of crime and kidnapping, according to the State Department.

Protecting the sharks: Mexico indefinitely bans great white shark cage-diving at this tourist hotspot

'A terrible tragedy': 3 American tourists die of gas inhalation in Mexico City Airbnb

What are some safety travel tips for visiting Mexico?

The State Department has several resources to help keep travelers safe. The agency encourages U.S. travelers to read the entire Mexico Travel Advisory and its Traveler's Checklist , which details more information about traveling abroad.

There is also the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program , a free service for U.S. travelers to receive safety alerts about their destination from the U.S. Embassy in real time.

"Generally speaking, if you're in a resort town and at a reputable location, you're at a much lower risk," travel agent Benoff said.

Most resorts have security guards and gates, so staying on the property is pretty safe. "If you're leaving the resort property, ensure you have the correct address to where you're going and let the front desk know you're leaving and when you plan to return," he said.

"​Use the same safety precautions you would when traveling anywhere."

A few of his top tips include:

  • Don't flaunt cash.
  • Use an ATM inside a bank or resort.
  • Use the safe in your room.
  • Bring two printed copies of your passport and other important documents, like medication or driver's licenses. 
  • Consider t ravel insurance to help protect stolen or lost personal property. 

Kathleen Wong is a travel reporter based in Hawaii. You can reach her at [email protected]

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Is it safe to visit Mexico? What Canadians need to know about the travel advisory update

Elana Shepert

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Canadians dreaming of visiting the sun-soaked beaches of Cancun or Acapulco may want to have a look at the updated Mexico travel advisory before they book a ticket. 

As the second-largest tourist destination for Canadians after the United States, Mexico sees upwards of three million visitors from the Great White North annually. However, there are some areas that have seen increasing rates of violence and crime over the past few years in popular vacation spots. 

The Government of Canada continues to advise travellers to exercise a  high degree of caution in Mexico  due to increased criminal activity and kidnapping.

While many cities across the country are mostly safe to travel to, Global Affairs has warned travellers of increased levels of violence for months, urging tourists to practice vigilance in areas and reconsider or completely avoid travel to particular areas.

As of November 2, 2023, Canada now warns against all travel -- even if it is considered "essential" -- to the Guerrero state due to impacts from Hurricane Otis , which caused the death of dozens of people. Damages to transportation and communications networks have isolated towns and the state is grappling with the threat of "armed violence, banditry, and looting in cities and on roads." 

Certain areas are particularly affected by banditry and violence, including:

  • the highway between Acapulco and Zihuantanejo
  • the highway between Acapulco to Chilpancingo

The Guerrero advisory excludes the popular tourist destinations of Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo and Taxco, but you should exercise a high degree of caution in these areas.

Canada updates its Mexico travel advisory 

In 2022, Canada and its neighbours south of the border issued updated  advisories for parts of Mexico due to violent crime, including homicide, kidnapping, carjacking, and robbery. 

There continues to be high rates of these types of crime in popular tourist destinations such as the Mayan Riviera (Cancún, Playa del Carmen, Puerto Morelos, and Tulum), and Acapulco.

In January 2023, Canada issued a regional warning for the  Sinaloa state after widespread violence broke out following the capture of a prominent drug trafficker. At least two passenger airplanes were hit by gunfire, prompting officials to close three of the airports, including Mazatlán International Airport (MZT).

A regional warning urging Canadians to avoid all "non-essential travel" to the Sinaloa state remains intact, although the resort city of Mazatlan has been excluded from the list of regional advisories. 

Other cities the Canadian government warns against non-essential travel to include: 

  • all Chihuahua
  • all Colima, except the city of Manzanillo
  • all Coahuila, except the southern part of the state at and below the Saltillo-Torreón highway corridor
  • all Durango, except Durango City
  • Highway 45 between León and Irapuato
  • the area south of and including Highway 45D between Irapuato and Celaya
  • all Michoacán, except the city of Morelia
  • the Lagunas de Zempoala National Park and surrounding areas
  • the municipality of Xoxocotla
  • the area within 20 km of the border with Sinaloa and Durango
  • the city of Tepic
  • all Nuevo León, except the city of Monterrey
  • all Sonora, except the cities of Hermosillo and Guaymas/San Carlos and Puerto Peñasco
  • all Tamaulipas
  • all Zacatecas

Travellers should always check the latest advice from the government before they book a ticket from Vancouver to Mexico. They should also purchase a  comprehensive travel insurance policy  when they book their ticket, which will cover the cost of your ticket in case you can't leave due to an unforeseeable medical or other emergency reason. It will also cover incidents like missed connections, baggage interruption and loss, and more. 

Canadian travel advisories that have a "level three" or "level four" warning may be claimed under a trip cancellation and interruption plan. However, travellers can't claim insurance if they booked the flights or accommodation after the advisory was issued. 

Further, Canadians should always register trips that they take  online  before they leave so that the government can contact them in an emergency.

What to do if you need help while you are in Mexico 

In case of an emergency in Mexico, dial 911. 

Contact roadside assistance if you run into an issue on a highway. The Angeles Verdes is a highway patrol service that provides free assistance on all major toll highways from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. local time. 

To contact the Angeles Verdes, download their App  on your mobile device. In case of an emergency, you can also dial 078 or 800 006 8839 (toll-free in Mexico) to reach them.

Canadians in need of emergency consular assistance should contact Global Affairs Canada's Emergency Watch and Response Centre by calling 001-800-514-0129 (toll-free from Mexico only), +1 613 996 8885, by text message at +1 613-686-3658, via WhatsApp at +1 613-909-8881, via Telegram at Canada Emergency Abroad or by  e-mail . 

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