Tulum is one of the most renowned Mexican beach destinations, popular for its endless beach, the unique Mayan archeological site, but most of all for becoming the preferred destination for trendsetters, artists, entrepreneurs of all sorts, and digital nomads found in Tulum their perfect high-end beach getaway from the city life and workation destination.
But is Tulum safe to travel to Tulum Right now?
!!UPDATE ON TULUM SAFETY!!!I am sad and very sorry to say that due to the recent horrible events in Tulum where people have been harassed or wounded for robbery in daylight, I can’t say anymore that Tulum is a relative place to stay anymore. Such a shame that the authorities cannot get it under control but until then I would suggest you stop reading this post and look for another safer destination in Mexico. There are plenty and as beautiful as Tulum, if not more! I will keep you posted in case things change!
As always, though, safety comes first. And safety in Tulum and in Mexico, in general, has always been a concern for first-time travelers or for anyone who is reading not-very flattering news about safety in Mexico on the TV or the internet.
In this post, I will try to debunk the myth that traveling to Mexico is not safe, in the most unbiased way, considering the real safety issues and how to overcome them.
How safe is Tulum?
I would lie to you if I’d tell you that Tulum has no safety issues at all. The recent episodes of crime are undeniable.
Besides, as soon as the Covid restrictions loosened up, Tulum has become an escape hub for many privileged remote workers who wanted to swap their concrete walls and city confines, with jungle vibes and healthy walks on the beach. Who can blame them?
It would be all ok and absolutely acceptable, if things didn’t go somewhat out of control with people in deny, organizing gatherings and parties just as if a pandemic wasn’t happening.
The situation had to reach its climax with the Art With Me Festival which caused the infection of dozens of participants making Tulum one big pandemic party.
Having said that, though, it doesn’t mean that if you go to Tulum you will get sick, by all means.
It’s all about using the necessary precautions, which are very clear and simple to follow:
- Choose hotels that follow the covid cleaning and occupancy requirements
- Avoid partying
I assure you that despite following these simple rules you can still enjoy Tulum, swimming in the Caribbean sea, taking long walks on the pristine beach, experience one of the coolest Tulum Beach Clubs, also enjoy the delicious restaurants, and take a dip into the sacred Cenotes or exploring other beaches in the Riviera Maya.
There are so many things to do in Tulum that are very safe in many ways.
Is Tulum Safe besides health-related matters?
I mentioned earlier that there has been an increase in cases of crime and although they normally don’t affect tourists, sometimes they do just because they happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Unfortunately, drug-related fights between narco gangs are a thing and now more than ever they are affecting the peacefulness of what was before paradise on earth.
I sadly have to say that Tulum is not what it used to be and although I usually think that change is inevitable, this kind of change is unacceptable.
If you can read Spanish, local news is definitely not inviting when it comes to Tulum chronicles and it seems that it is now not enough to avoid hanging out with the wrong people.
The main road of the town (Avenida Tulum) is busy at all times of the day, even at night it has quite a lively party scene and there are street lights all along the road. But the way things are now I wouldn’t feel safe to hang out at night and sometimes not even in the day.
A few weeks ago, somebody has been robbed of his computers and personal belonging while working at one of the popular restaurants in the Tulum downtown in plain daylight. It’s unfortunate and scary.
If you do go out, just stay on the alert and keep in mind that the further away you get from the main road, the more careful you have to be at night.
Some of the deeper streets don’t have street lights, and you’ll have to walk nearer to the main road even to catch a taxi (Tulum doesn’t have Uber).
There’s the option of renting a bike, and it’s quite useful. A lot of people in Tulum use a bicycle to get around. I still wouldn’t recommend biking around at night, though.
I would choose to stay in one of the beautiful hotels on the beach and just enjoy the peace and tranquillity at night and the beach during the day.
Going around on tours and exploring during the day you should be safe and I hope that will still remain like that.
Also if you are concerned about renting a car, the way things are now, it is MUCH SAFER renting a car than getting a taxi.
Check out my post on renting a car in Mexico for more detailed information.
15 Tulum safety tips
- First things first, follow the social distancing protocols so both you and the people around you can be safe. Wear a mask when you’re in crowded places.
- Health insurance is extremely important. You never know when you might get sick, and the hospitals in Mexico are very expensive for tourists. So get good health insurance before traveling. I normally use Safetywing or WorldNomads. Both are great but serve different kinds of needs. So make sure you read through what’s included and not.
- Choose a hotel or accommodation that follows covid safety protocols.
- Stay away from drugs and drug-related activities. Tulum is a safe town for tourists and incidents of violent crime here are few and far in-between, especially compared to the rest of the country. But when violent crime does happen here, it’s usually related to drugs.
- If you’re traveling solo, avoid going to secluded places at night.
- Bicycling is pretty tempting when you’re in Tulum, but avoid bicycling around at night. Take a taxi if you’re alone.
- Try to stay in Tulum town or one of the resorts at the beach. The accommodations and hotels in town and the beach have plenty of tourists like yourself so you’ll have company.
- Avoid flaunting your wealth. Petty crime is an issue almost everywhere in the world, and Tulum is no different. Keep your valuables locked away in the safe in your hotel room.
- Try to avoid overdrinking as much as possible. When you do drink, try to do it in a group of people you trust, do so in moderation, and always keep an eye on your drinks to make sure no one spikes them.
- If you’ve been drinking, avoid swimming entirely; whether it’s at the swimming pool or at the beach.
- Tulum has a really good party scene and they’re quite fun. However, try to be alert while you have fun at those parties, especially when you’re alone. (Avoid that in Covid time)
- Watch your surroundings when withdrawing cash from an ATM. Avoid doing so at night or in deserted areas (in the Chedraui supermarket you have plenty of choice of ATM Machines and it’s safe).
- Be mindful of whom you trust. A lot of the time scammers rely on your trust to con you out of your money.
- If you’re going to the beach at night, stay in front of a hotel with security.
- Keep your passport in your hotel room’s safe. But carry a photocopy of your passport everywhere you go; you never know when you might need it.
- Beware of the taxi drivers. The majority of them are real scammers charging you outrageous rates, just because you are a tourist, and “so rich” (in their mind) and so they think they have the right to rip you off. So make sure you negotiate the rate before getting in the taxi and if you don’t agree with the rate just say no and call another one. There are still a few honest drivers around.
Is Tulum safe to travel alone?
Thousands of tourists travel to Tulum every year and it’s become a very popular tourist destination. A lot of these tourists do travel alone and have a blast here.
In fact, because of its laidback nature, I’d say Tulum is even safer than Cancun. In fact, it made it to the top spot in the US News list of the best places to visit in Mexico.
You do have to take some extra precautions when you’re alone, though.
Be careful when going out at night. Avoid walking on deserted stretches of the beach or on deserted roads.
Always take a taxi to your destination and back to your hotel. Most importantly, don’t ride a bicycle at night. Biking at night would mean that you’d be traveling alone and some of the roads on Tulum have little to no street lights.
If you go to a restaurant as a solo traveler, you should be aware that almost all restaurants allow hawkers to come in and try to sell you stuff.
You’ll encounter this quite often. While this is not an issue in and of itself (they’ll go away if you tell them no), they’re often accompanied by their children. These children go around picking pockets and stealing unattended things.
➢ Do I need travel insurance in Mexico? Yes, you do! I can never stress enough what a lifesaver it can be in unexpected situations. Although I hope I never need it, it gives me peace of mind to know that whatever happens I am covered. I have been using Safety Wing and I find it quite fair, covering a lot for its pricing level. Depending on your needs or you can compare different insurance companies on this useful site, TRAVEL INSURANCE MASTER. Make sure you read carefully what’s included before making the purchase. If you are undecided yet you can read my post on the best travel insurance for Mexico for more clarity.
What are the safest places to visit in Tulum?
All of Tulum is safe for tourists. The town itself sees the most activity, and you’ll be safe here on the main roads because they’re all well-lit and have plenty of pedestrian traffic (most of them tourists).
Due to the partying scene, you’ll find people around at all hours of the day and night.
In case you want to visit the beach, or if you’re staying at the beach, you can easily go on a bike during the day. There’s plenty of activity, the beach hotels are always thriving. Just avoid biking back at night and always take a taxi.
There are no areas to avoid as such, but be wary of going into the residential neighborhoods at night. These neighborhoods can get quite deserted when it’s dark, and, as the area is still being heavily developed, most of them lack streetlights.
It’s fine to visit them during the day. But if you’re staying in one of the accommodations here, opt for a taxi ride at night.
Is it safe to visit outside the hotels in Tulum?
It was relatively safe to visit outside the hotels in Tulum. However, the recent heartbreaking episodes make me think otherwise.
When tourists encountered any safety issues here, it was almost always a petty crime that can happen anywhere in the world.
Nowadays the situation has changed and I would just be more careful whether you are alone or with a group.
If you go out make sure you take some basic precautions. When in doubt, just ask the locals which areas you should look out for and at which times. They’re usually very helpful with safety tips.
The only thing I can point out in this regard is that if you’re staying at one of the hotels on the beach, the road between the beach and the town gets quite empty at night. If, after dark, you feel like traveling to the town or back to your hotel, always take a cab.
Is Tulum safe for female travelers?
The same advice applies to solo female travelers. As a female, just take standard precautions that you’d take anywhere else in the world
You might face a few catcalls from the locals when walking around, but it never goes beyond that. I’m including some extra tips for female travelers below.
Keep your bling in your room
If you have some flashy and expensive jewelry with you when you travel, keep it in your room, and don’t wear it when you’re exploring around the town.
Stay near the main road in town or at the beach resorts
While staying in the residential neighborhoods is fine, you’ll have trouble finding cabs in those areas. Cabs are absolutely essential for you if you want to go anywhere at night, and you’ll be able to find them pretty easily in town and near the beach resorts.
Keep an eye on your drinks
Tulum has a great party scene, and you should partake in it. But if someone comes up to you and offers you a drink, don’t accept it. Get your drinks from the bar yourself and drink in moderation. Never get wasted if you’re not in a group you trust implicitly.
Tulum Safety FAQ
Q. What’s the safest way to get to Tulum?
The best and safest way to get to Tulum is to fly to Cancun International Airport. From there, take the ADO bus direct to Tulum. If you can afford a taxi, it’ll get you to Tulum much faster and it’ll be even safer.
Q. What’s Tulum Weather?
Tulum is in the Caribbean Zone which means tropical weather, warm all year round, with a rainy season from April through November and a dry season for the rest of the year. Hurricanes are a thing, although rare, and most likely to come from September through the end of October. Easter is the most crowded and expensive time of the year followed by Christmas and New Year’s. To learn more you may want to read my dedicated post on the best time to visit Tulum.
Q. Is Tulum a good location for families?
Tulum is a great location if you’re looking for a family vacation spot. If you’re going there with your family, I highly recommend staying at the beach resorts if you can afford them. If you’re there with your partner, there are adults-only hotels at the beach that’ll provide you with quite a romantic atmosphere. If you’re there with your kids, there are kid-friendly options available as well.
Q. What do I need to know before I go to Tulum?
Here are five things you should keep in mind among the most important Mexico Travel Tips before you book your flight:
- Exchange currency at the beginning of your trip, but not at airports. While most shops will accept US$, you’ll have to pay quite a premium for not using pesos. So carry enough pesos.
- Pack plenty of sunscreen. Tulum is quite a sunny town.
- Never drink tap water in Mexico. Always insist on bottled water, and make sure that even your food is cooked using bottled water.
- The best time to go to Tulum is between October and December. The weather isn’t too hot and the town isn’t super crowded. You’ll also find the best prices for a room to stay in during this season.
- Keep your masks with you and take all necessary precautions. The pandemic is still very much ongoing.
Q. What’s the best area to stay in Tulum?
The best areas to stay in are either the town, near the main road or the beach. Do be aware that the beach resorts will be quite expensive when compared to the accommodations in the town.
Q. Can I fly directly to Tulum?
As of now, there are no direct flights to Tulum. You’ll have to get a flight to Cancun or Chetumal and then get a taxi or a bus to Tulum. If you are flying internationally Cancun is the airport you want to land in. However, if you are traveling within Mexico you might want to consider flying to Chetumal and then traveling through Bacalar and Calakmul if you enjoy exploring more off-the-beaten-path places.