Is Riviera Maya Safe For Travelers? Essential Tips For 2024

Planning a trip to Riviera Maya? Wondering if it’s safe? You’re not alone!

Whether you’re a family looking for a fun getaway, a solo traveler seeking adventure, or just someone who wants peace of mind, safety is always a top priority.

Riviera Maya is one of my favorite vacation destinations in the world, and let me tell you, safety is never just black and white in Mexico. But for the most part and with good safety precautions, this beautiful region of Mexico is not dangerous!

That is why I’ve written this article on the safety of Riviera Maya, so you can learn more before you book your trip!

How Safe Is Riviera Maya?

Kaan Luum Lagoon Riviera Maya
Riviera Maya is one of the safest parts of Mexico

The safety in Riviera Maya is generally considered good for tourists. There is some chance of petty crime like in most major holiday hotspots, however, the region’s police force ultimately prioritizes tourists’ safety due to the sheer number of visitors in the region and the wider reputation Mexico has for crime as a whole.

The U.S. government has travel to the Quintana Roo state categorized at Level 2, meaning you should exercise increased caution when you visit Riviera Maya. This is due to the criminal activity and violence that can occur in any location throughout Quintana Roo at any time.

Whilst gang-related activity and violence aren’t usually an issue in the Riviera Maya, as it is such a large area of the state, incidents involving tourists have been known to occur, and as a result, you should always exercise caution when out and about.

What Are The Safest Parts In Riviera Maya?

Generally speaking, the smaller towns along the Riviera Maya tend to be the safest. There are fewer tourists in the smaller towns and organized crime groups do not operate here so as a result, there is less crime to be committed.

Speaking from my experience, I would say that the larger towns of Playa del Carmen and Tulum are sketchier, especially at night.

Puerto Morelos is definitely considered a safe destination for tourists to go to in the Riviera Maya. It’s a small, chilled-out town right on the coast, formerly a traditional fishing village where you can still see elements of its maritime heritage today.

You should feel very safe here, as it is a small town with a proper community feel to it, with plenty of happy, smiling faces and people always willing to lend a helping hand.

Cozumel is a safe island in Mexico

Famously one of the stops for large cruise ships, Cozumel is a popular tourist destination on a small underdeveloped island off of the Mexican coast.

Thanks to the fact it is an island, there is very little crime as opposed to other destinations, and people have only ever said good things about the island and how safe it is.

Akumal Beach Turtles Must-See Yucatan
Sea Turtles in Akumal

If you prefer a slower pace of life on holiday and enjoy the peace and quiet, Akumal is known for its safe, laid-back community feeling.

As I have already mentioned, the population of an area is a key factor in how safe it is, and Akumal’s population is minuscule in comparison to Tulum or Playa del Carmen.

You should feel safe walking around Akumal’s streets, and if you’re craving some busy city action, you’re only a 30-minute drive away from the city of Playa del Carmen.  

What Type of Crime in the Riviera Maya Can You Expect?

PLaya Del Carmen places to go in Yucatan
Theft is the most common type of crime in Riviera Maya, especially in touristy areas

There are certain types of crime that you can expect if you’re unlucky enough to be a victim of crime in Riviera Maya. Petty theft is one of the main types, which includes pickpocketing, bag snatching, and theft of personal belongings like your expensive smartphone, sunglasses, or watches.

Depending on where you stay and what type of accommodation you stay in, burglary can also occur out of your hotel room. To prevent burglary from your hotel room, always double-check you lock your door when you leave, close (and lock) all windows, and utilize your room safe for valuables.

Tour operators along the main streets can be a common source of scams, handing over cash for a tour that doesn’t exist, leaving you waiting in your hotel reception with no contact number.

Overcharging at restaurants is another scam employed by deceiving staff, preying on drunk tourists who just pay the bill without even checking it.

Do You Need Travel Insurance For Riviera Maya?

Tulum Ruins December
We highly recommend getting travel insurance for Riviera Maya

Travel insurance is not an entry requirement for Mexico or Riviera Maya, but we highly recommend it. Safety in Riviera Maya is not guaranteed – whether that is from human-to-human crime or natural disasters during the rainy season.

Keep in mind that a lot of the things to do in Riviera Maya are outdoor attractions (cenotes, Mayan ruins, water sports), and accidents do often occur.

So for peace of mind, we highly recommend getting travel insurance for Riviera Maya.

Is Riviera Maya Safe At Night?

Riviera Maya is more dangerous at night than in the day, but still quite safe

Riviera Maya is generally safe at night, especially in busy areas. Still from our experience, it’s important to be cautious to avoid any potential danger, as most crimes happen after dark.

If you plan to go out at night, book a taxi from a reliable company in advance, or at least call one before you head out. It’s risky to be intoxicated and alone, walking in dark streets or alleys, which can be dangerous anywhere in the world, let alone in Mexico.

Whilst the Riviera Maya is generally considered a safe destination, you should always be aware that even in the safest of places there are some bad apples out there looking to take advantage.

Is Riviera Maya Safe For Solo Travelers?

Riviera Maya is safe for solo travelers, in fact, it has a big community of them

Traveling solo can always be a bit daunting, especially when you’re thinking of heading to a country like Mexico. It’s not exactly got the best track record in terms of crime, but don’t let this put you off visiting. The Riviera Maya is perfectly safe for solo travelers so long as you take basic safety precautions, and stay vigilant.

If you will be solo traveling in Riviera Maya, a good idea is to always stick to populated and busy areas. These areas will usually always have more security or police keeping an eye on things. It’s a similar situation for your accommodation too. Female solo travelers should do some research and pick well-reviewed hotels and hostels to stay in.

Avoiding alcohol is also a great tip, though I know this is not always possible or suitable, especially if you enjoy socializing over a few drinks with your new friends. If you do choose to indulge, make sure you always keep your drink close and don’t drink until you lose awareness.

Are Taxis Safe In Riviera Maya?

Licensed taxis are generally quite safe in Riviera Maya

Taxis are generally safe in Riviera Maya because most of their business comes from foreign tourists. The taxi companies don’t want to risk upsetting customers, as that would have a big impact on their reputation and future business.

It’s always wise to exercise caution when you get a taxi in an unfamiliar area or if you’re traveling alone. Your hotel can arrange a reliable taxi for you if needed. Before getting into the taxi, always agree on the fare to avoid any surprises.

The taxis in the Riviera Maya region do not have meters, so pre-agreeing a rate before you get in is an absolute must. The last thing you want is for taxi drivers to overcharge you and become aggressive as a result.

Safety In Riviera Maya During Hurricane Season

Hurricane Tulum
Hurricane season is dangerous in Riviera Maya

Hurricane season in the Riviera Maya generally runs from early June right through to November, peaking between August and October.

You should plan your trip to the region outside of these months because the threat of hurricanes in this region is very real and very serious. Mother Nature is no joke, and the sheer force of hurricanes can be utterly devastating.

Usually, your hotel and resort will keep guests well informed in the event of sudden bad weather and they will have a strict emergency procedure in place if the worst was to happen.

Don’t rely on the hotel staff for your safety though, you should always check the weather forecasts and keep an eye on hurricane alerts from local authorities.

If you will be in the Riviera Maya during this time, you may want to consider taking out travel insurance that pays out for cancelations or delays in the event of a hurricane. This can often be the source of worry, so having that protection will give you peace of mind that things can be taken care of.

When you arrive at your hotel or resort, if the staff does not mention any evacuation procedures to you when you check in, it’s worth asking for yourself. If your life could potentially be at stake, it pays to err on the side of caution.

Essential Riviera Maya Safety Tips

  1. Keep your belongings close – Always keep your belongings close. Ensure your bag is always zipped up and not open, and avoid having your expensive watch, smartphone and sunglasses out for people to snatch.
  2. Only use reputable services – You should only use trusted taxi companies in the Riviera Maya, or at the very minimum, only get in a taxi from the street if you feel comfortable enough to do so. Your hotel will be able to give you good advice on taxis.
  3. Keep well informed on weather forecasts – Check the weather when you wake up each day just for peace of mind that there is no chance of a developing hurricane.
  4. Respect Beach Flags – Always pay attention to the flags on the beach indicating water conditions. There are strong currents that can drag you far out to sea if you are not careful, and many beaches do not have lifeguards.
  5. Always stick to well-traveled and touristy areas at night – You don’t want to find yourself wandering down dark side streets in Mexico, especially if you are solo traveling. 

Is it Safe to Travel from Cancun Airport to Riviera Maya?

Outside Cancun Airport

Yes, it is generally considered safe to travel from Cancun Airport to the Riviera Maya. If safety is your priority, you should always pre-book your airport transfer ahead of time through a reputable public transportation company.

It is actually illegal for Cancun taxis to travel into the Rivera Maya and wider Quintana Roo region, and vice versa.

Once you arrive at Cancun International Airport, the first thing you’ll notice in the arrival hall is the sheer number of people trying to get you into their taxi, asking where you are going, etc.

To avoid all of this headache after a presumably long flight, pre-book your transport so you can meet your contact and whisk you away.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Riviera Maya Safe to Walk Around?

Yes, Riviera Maya is safe to walk around, as long as you stay in touristy areas and resorts. However, it is important to exercise extra caution when walking around at night since that is when most of opportunistic crimes occur.

Is The Tap Water Safe In Riviera Maya?

Tap water is not safe to drink in Riviera Maya, unless you are somewhere with an efficient water filtration system. However, in general, avoid tap water and stick with bottled water. If you are just brushing your teeth, then tap water is fine.

Is Riviera Maya Safe for Families?

Riviera Maya is generally considered a very safe destination for families. The region has plenty of family-friendly activities, resorts, and attractions. But as with any foreign travel destination, it’s important to be mindful of safety precautions and be aware of your surroundings.

Is Riviera Maya Safe from Cartel?

Mexico has experienced issues with drug cartels, but the areas frequented by tourists in Riviera Maya are generally not directly affected by such activities. That is not to say that it is 100% safe, because no destination is.

Is Riviera Maya Safe for Solo Female Travelers?

Riviera Maya is typically safe for solo female travelers and many women travel here alone without any issues. However, it is important to stay in well-reviewed accommodations, use reputable transportation services, and avoid traveling alone at night in unfamiliar areas

Final Thoughts

As you can see, safety in Riviera Maya is not bad at all. That is because this is one of the most touristy areas in Mexico, and the government is trying its best to make sure its safe for everyone so travelers keep coming back!

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