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Is Tulum Safe? Travel Tips and Main Safety Concerns

Tulum is a popular spot for tourists looking for a mix of history, culture, and relaxation, thanks to its beautiful waters, ancient ruins, and laid-back atmosphere. However, behind the beautiful exterior, there is a common concern that many people have: Is Tulum safe?

Tulum, located on the Caribbean coast of the Yucatán Peninsula, features beautiful beaches, dense jungles, and the famous Tulum Ruins with a view of the turquoise sea. People love the eco-friendly resorts, cenotes, and lively nightlife that attract visitors. But like any beautiful place, hidden dangers are waiting in the sunny spots.

tulum ruins and caribbean beach
How dangerous Tulum is depends on several factors, however, we also want to remind you that Tulum is not a hostile place, most of the people and places are friendly and welcoming

Is Tulum Safe?

Yes, Tulum is safe to visit. Despite what a lot of people say that safety in the area has been downhill it still is a secure and tranquil destination, ensuring that visitors have a pleasant and unforgettable time. But Tulum also has its share of safety concerns that could impact your trip.

Just like any other destination, Tulum has its fair share of challenges and risks. You might have come across some not-so-great stories about safety concerns in Tulum, like crime, scams, health issues, and natural disasters.

And the truth is, those happen but are easy to avoid, just follow your common sense, stick to tourist spots, avoid dangerous or sketchy areas, and don’t walk around at night.

Dangerous Places to Avoid

  • Beaches at Night: While Tulum’s beaches are stunning and safe during the day, it’s best to avoid them at night.
  • Unlit Streets: Stick to well-lit, busy streets, especially at night. Some parts of Tulum are not as well-lit or as busy as the tourist areas, making it risky to walk around after dark.
  • Remote Ruins: While the ruins in Tulum are a must-see, stick to the well-traveled paths. Remote ruins can be dangerous.

How to Stay Safe

  • Travel in Groups: There’s safety in numbers. Try to travel in groups, especially at night, and stick to well-known tourist areas.
  • Stay in Tourist Areas: The tourist areas in Tulum are generally safe and well-patrolled. Staying within these areas can help you avoid potential dangers.
  • Use Reputable Transportation: When traveling, use reputable transportation companies. Be cautious of unofficial taxis.

Here are a few of the main tips:

Tourist Areas

The primary tourist spots in Tulum, like the Hotel Zone and Playa Paraiso, are usually considered safe and you should worry about other than the sunburns.

Also, feel free to check out the Tulum Ruins during the day without any significant worries, but try to avoid most of those places at night, don’t wander around aimlessly.

Be aware that petty theft can happen, so make sure to watch your belongings.

Nightlife and Partying

The nightlife in Tulum is vibrant, featuring beach clubs and mezcal bars. Although most people have a good time, drinking too much alcohol can result in dangerous situations.

It’s best to stick with well-known places and travel with a group, avoid going to sketchy areas for fun, and don’t stay alone and drunk at night.

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Transportation

Tulum could benefit from a more reliable public transportation network, it’s not the best and I recommend you avoid it.

It’s pretty standard and a better option to rent a car or take taxis. Be careful when driving, especially after dark. It’s best to choose official services over unmarked taxis.

Drug-Related Issues

Drug-related issues are a concern for the Yucatán Peninsula. Although Tulum is not a hotspot for drug cartels, you need to stay alert. You may get drugs offered, and stay alert and don’t let go of your drink.

Make sure to steer clear of any illegal activities and stay alert to what’s happening around you.

Safety Tips for Each Zone or Touristic Area in Tulum

Tulum Town

Tulum Town, also referred to as Tulum Centro or Pueblo, serves as the urban and commercial hub of Tulum. This area is home to many locals who live and work here, offering a range of shops, restaurants, bars, and services.

Also, it’s here where you will find many budget and mid-range accommodation choices, along with the bus station and main taxi stand.

Tulum Town is a vibrant and colorful destination, offering a chance to immerse yourself in the local culture, connect with fellow travelers, and meet expats.

It’s a great starting point to discover the different areas and attractions of Tulum.

Recommendations or things to avoid in Tulum Town:

  • Food drinks are a lot cheaper here than in the beach area, but make sure to avoid walking around late at night.
  • Stick to the main area of the town and avoid getting around to desolate, poorly lit, or sketchy areas.
  • Avoid visiting areas that are not touristic spots.
main street in Tulum town at night
One of the most important things you must consider is avoiding walking alone at night and avoiding poorly lit areas.

Tulum Beach

Tulum Beach, also referred to as Tulum Zona Hotelera or Tulum Playa is the coastal and tourist region of Tulum. This is the prime spot for luxury and eco-friendly accommodations, top-notch dining options, and relaxing spa experiences.

This is the place to be for the renowned Tulum beach clubs, where you can soak up the sun, sand, and sea while enjoying music, drinks, and food.

Also, you may find higher prices here than in town, but still, Tulum Beach is a gorgeous and serene location, perfect for enjoying the breathtaking views, feeling the gentle breeze, and listening to the soothing sound of the waves.

It’s a spot where you can engage in yoga, meditation, and wellness activities, while also immersing yourself in nature.

Some of the best and safest beaches in Tulum are:

Playa Paraiso: Located near the archaeological site, this beach in Tulum is renowned for its beauty and popularity. The beach features soft white sand, clear blue water, and palm trees.

This beach is open to the public and offers rental options for umbrellas and chairs for a fee. There are a couple of bars and restaurants in the area, along with a pier for boat tours and snorkel trips.

Playa Pescadores: Here’s another public and free beach situated near Playa Paraiso. It exudes a rustic and authentic atmosphere, serving as the hub for local fishermen to dock their boats and sell their catch.

This spot is perfect for catching both the sunrise and sunset while indulging in delicious seafood. There are also some shops and stalls available for purchasing souvenirs, snacks, and drinks.

Playa Maya: This beach is privately owned and requires payment for access. It is situated in the heart of the hotel zone. It’s a spot to treat yourself and enjoy, but it does come with a high price tag and is quite exclusive.

To access the beach, you’ll need to reserve in advance and pay a fee, which can vary from 500 to 2000 pesos per person, depending on the season and the services provided.

Playa Pocna: This beach is private and requires payment for access. It is situated at the far end of the hotel zone. This beach in Tulum is known for its vibrant atmosphere and is part of the Pocna Beach Club, a well-liked hotel.

The space is spacious and vibrant, featuring hammocks, swings, volleyball nets, and a stage. There’s also a bar, a restaurant, and a DJ available. It’s a spot for hanging out and having a good time, but it can get pretty packed and loud.

To access the beach, there is a fee ranging from 100 to 300 pesos per person, depending on the season and the service provided.

Recommendations or things to avoid on the beaches of Tulum:

  • Avoid going to remote beaches at night, and avoid public beaches at night.
  • Avoid taking tours from people walking around, it’s best if you book any tour beforehand.
  • Try to leave any valuable items at the hotel, and keep an eye on your stuff while swimming.
  • Always check the weather and the water conditions before going into the ocean
  • Avoid swimming or snorkeling alone or far from the shore
a beach in tulum mexico
Beaches in Tulum are among the best ones in the world, make sure to visit the popular ones and stay away from remote areas.

Tulum Archaeological Site

The Tulum Archaeological Site also referred to as Tulum Ruins or Zona Arqueológica de Tulum, is the historical and cultural hotspot of the area.

You’ll discover the remnants of an ancient Maya city, which dates back to the 13th and 15th centuries. This Maya site in Mexico is known for being well-preserved and impressive, offering a unique view of the Caribbean Sea.

The Tulum Ruins is an intriguing and informative location to explore, offering insights into the history, architecture, and art of the Maya civilization, along with stunning views of the surrounding scenery.

It’s a great spot to snap some awesome photos and videos, capturing the true beauty of Tulum.

Recommendations or things to avoid in the Tulum Ruins:

  • Don’t visit the ruins at night
  • Book tours beforehand and make sure you do it with a legit operator.
  • You should follow the rules and regulations of the site, and listen to the guides and the staff.
  • Be mindful and avoid touching, climbing, or damaging the structures, or taking anything from the site.
El Castillo in Tulum Ruins archeological site

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Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve

Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, also referred to as Sian Ka’an or Zona de Reserva de la Biosfera Sian Ka’an, is a natural and ecological gem.

Discover a wide range of wetlands, forests, lagoons, reefs, and islands, housing numerous plant and animal species.

This area in Mexico is among the biggest and most significant protected regions, having gained UNESCO World Heritage status back in 1987.

Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve is an amazing and exciting destination to explore the beauty of nature, observe wildlife, and immerse yourself in the natural surroundings. It’s a great spot to both learn about and help with environmental conservation and sustainability, as well as back local communities and projects.

Explore various areas of the reserve, including the Muyil archaeological site, Chunyaxche lagoon, Boca Paila bridge, Punta Allen village, and Ascension Bay.

Recommendations or things to avoid in Sian Ka’an:

  • While you can visit it by yourself I highly recommend you book a tour or a specific activity in the area to get a hold of it.
  • You can camp on the beach area for free, but make sure to do it if there are other tourists, don’t camp alone.
  • Avoid going to unmarked or not visited areas of the park.
  • You should also follow the rules and regulations of the reserve, and listen to your guide and the staff.
  • Be respectful and responsible, and avoid littering, smoking, or playing loud music.
  • Use biodegradable sunscreen and insect repellent, and avoid using plastic or disposable items.
Old bridge in Boca Paila Inlet in the Sian Ka'an near Tulum
Sian Ka’an can be remote and uncrowded, that’s why I highly recommend you visit the area with a guide or a tour.

Cenotes

Exploring cenotes also referred to as sinkholes, is a must-do when visiting Tulum due to their natural beauty and geological significance.

These are underground pools of fresh water, created by the collapse of limestone bedrock, and linked by a system of caves and tunnels. They’re stunning and enchanting spots for visitors to swim, dive, or simply unwind.

Tulum boasts numerous cenotes, with some easily accessible and others tucked away out of sight. Every cenote comes with unique characteristics like shape, size, color, and depth, providing a variety of experiences and activities.

Some of the most famous and popular cenotes in Tulum are:

Gran Cenote: It’s a popular spot in Tulum, being one of the biggest and most visited cenotes, just 4 km away from the town. The water is crystal clear, with a turquoise hue, and a sandy bottom.

In Gran Cenote, there are also numerous caves and tunnels to explore, it’s a fantastic spot for swimming, snorkeling, or diving while taking in the beautiful scenery and wildlife.

You can also find some facilities and services available, including showers, bathrooms, lockers, umbrellas, chairs, and snorkel rentals. It costs 180 pesos per person to enter, and they’re open from 8 am to 5 pm.

Cenote Dos Ojos: Another well-known cenote in Tulum, situated approximately 22 km from the town. The water is crystal clear and blue, with a rocky bottom and plenty of vegetation. There are also multiple caves and tunnels to explore.

It’s a fantastic spot for swimming, snorkeling, and discovering the underground realm. There are several facilities and services available.

It costs 350 pesos per person to enter, and we’re open from 8 am to 5 pm.

Cenote Calavera: This cenote is small and has a unique charm, situated approximately 3 km away from the town. The water is dark and green, with a muddy bottom, and plenty of algae. The cenote is almost underground, and you have a wooden staircase to access it.

It’s a fantastic spot for swimming, snorkeling, or diving, and enjoying some excitement and adventure. There are some services available, including showers, bathrooms, lockers, umbrellas, chairs, and snorkel rentals.

It costs 100 pesos per person to get in, and they’re open from 9 am to 5 pm.

Recommendations or things to avoid in the Cenotes:

  • While most cenotes are an attraction now, and you can find services and amenities, access can still be hard for many people.
  • There are many caves and areas in the cenote where the ceiling height is low, make sure to take precautions if you’re claustrophobic.
  • Many Cenotes can get crowded, so, be prepared to find yourself surrounded by other people.
  • You should also be careful with the rocks, the caves, and the tunnels, and avoid getting lost or stuck.
Cenote in tulum
A must-visit, tranquil, and safe place but many Cenotes can be hard to get to, and situated in remote areas, make sure to prepare well for your trip.

What are the main safety concerns in Tulum?

Health Issues:

Tulum is situated in a tropical area, so there are potential health risks like mosquito-borne illnesses, food poisoning, sunburn, dehydration, and heatstroke.

It’s important to adhere to the health protocols and guidelines set by the authorities and take necessary precautions to safeguard yourself and those around you from any issues.

Make sure to pack a first aid kit and some useful medicines.

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Transportation and Road Safety:

Getting around Tulum is a breeze with various transportation choices available, including taxis, buses, colectivos, bikes, and car rentals.

But it’s important to consider the potential challenges of traveling in Tulum, like traffic, road conditions, driving rules, accidents, and tolls.

Stay alert by adhering to transportation and road safety guidelines, try to avoid public transportation and if you’re driving avoid driving in sketchy areas.

Natural Disasters and Weather:

Tulum is a stunning location, but it faces risks from natural disasters like hurricanes, tropical storms, floods, and earthquakes.

It’s a good idea to always check the weather forecast before heading to Tulum and make sure you’re ready for any unexpected situations. In case of an emergency follow the instructions and warnings provided by the authorities, and find shelter and help if necessary.

Crime and Scams:

Tulum is a safe destination, but like any other place, it’s not completely free of crime. In crowded and touristy areas, you might come across minor crimes like pickpocketing, theft, and robbery.

Watch out for scams like overcharging, fake tours, and ATM skimming, particularly in less regulated areas. Stay alert and careful to avoid becoming a target of these crimes and scams.

If you need to use an ATM, make sure to use the ones that are inside a bank, ATMs are located everywhere in Tulum but avoid the ones that are in public areas.

Most crimes in Tulum and the surrounding areas are aimed at locals and related to drugs, cartels, or score-settling, and most of those issues don’t affect tourists.

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FAQ

Is Tulum safe for solo travelers?

Tulum is a pretty safe destination for solo travelers, particularly during the daytime and in touristy spots. It’s a good idea to be careful and not walk alone at night, especially in the less developed areas of town.

You can also consider joining a group tour or connecting with fellow travelers to enhance your experience and safety.

Is Tulum safe for families?

Tulum is an excellent spot for families, providing a wide range of activities and attractions to suit everyone’s preferences. A family can experience the stunning beaches, historic ruins, cenotes, wildlife, and culture of Tulum with your family and friends.

But it’s important to keep in mind the possible risks and make sure to take steps to safeguard your family from health problems, crime, and accidents.

Is safe to drink tap water in Tulum?

It’s best to avoid drinking tap water in Tulum since it may contain harmful bacteria, parasites, and chemicals that could lead to stomach issues and infections.

It’s a good idea to stick to bottled or purified water from a reliable source. Avoid using ice cubes, fresh juices, and salads that might have been washed with tap water.

giant letters in tulum
Tulum has its challenges and risks, but it can be visited and have a great experience, just keep the issues in mind and follow the recommendations.

Conclusion: Should You Visit Tulum?

Yes, just make sure you’re careful and responsible. Tulum is a safe and tranquil destination for tourists, the majority of us enjoy a pleasant and unforgettable time. But it’s important to keep in mind the possible risks and make sure to take necessary precautions to safeguard yourself and those around you.

If you’re seeking a spot to unwind, discover, and enjoy yourself, Tulum is an excellent choice for you. You can explore the beauty and history of Tulum, and fully experience its culture and lifestyle without facing problems, just (can’t stress this enough) stay in well-known spots, and tourist spots and avoid putting yourself in danger.

Disclosure: This blog post may contain affiliate links, which means that I may receive a commission for any purchases made through the links. Your trust is important to us, and we ensure that all products or services we recommend meet or exceed our editorial standards.

Last Updated on February 28, 2024

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