Is Tulum Safe? Here’s a Comprehensive Safety Guide

Whether the Bohemian seaside town of Tulum is safe or not is not a simple question to answer. While the US Department travel advisory categorizes the state it falls under, Quintana Roo, at level 2, this is not uncommon for many tourist destinations.

I’ve been there a few times, and I can confidently say that it’s no less safe than any European tourist destination such as Paris or London.

While you do have to stay alert and be cautious, I wouldn’t say I felt unsafe. If you are planning a trip to this stunning beachside town, here’s everything you need to know.

Things to Know About Safety in Tulum

beach in tulum

No matter where you travel, you must do some research, especially regarding safety.

While a country as a whole might be deemed as “unsafe” for a visit, there are often specifics about every location that is worth nothing. 

Doing your research will help you stay informed so that you can make better decisions during travel.

After researching Tulum’s safety and actually visiting the city a few times, these are the things I believe every traveler should know. 

Is Tulum Safe for Solo Travelers?

I’ve never felt unsafe traveling alone in Tulum. This beachside paradise is a relatively safe destination for solo travelers to the Mexican coast. I found that the local government is really focused on keeping Tulum a safe tourist destination. 

I would say, though, that it’s best to stay alert and exercise caution—that’s something I recommend for any tourist area. That means keeping your belongings close to you (I prefer a sling bag) and having the embassy numbers on hand. Keep an eye on your drinks, and don’t trust anyone. 

Is Tulum Safe for a Girls’ Trip?

The unfortunate reality is that female travelers will always have more safety concerns than their male counterparts. Yet, I can confidently say that Tulum offers an alluring escape for a girls’ trip.

As a woman who’s roamed these sun-kissed shores, I’ve found that the key is vigilance. Try to follow basic safety protocols. This includes things like not walking alone at night in dark streets and not accepting drinks from strangers. As you would in any nightclub or bar, keep an eye on your drink.

If you’re on a girl’s trip, stick together. Never leave anyone from the group alone, and make sure to stay close to each other at all times. 

Transportation: Are Taxis & Rent a Car Safe in Tulum?

Tourist in a rented car

Taxis are the best (and safest) way to get around the Tulum, and they’re relatively cheap as well. They’re abundant and reliable, but you’ll need to bring your negotiating skills upfront. 

I didn’t like renting cars because I found many rental companies to be scams. The one time I did try renting, it was to go to a cenote that I wasn’t confident in finding a ride back from. So, I researched the rental companies available and decided on the safest bet. (I used Discover Cars, and I was satisfied with their service).

If you aren’t confident driving in a foreign country, I wouldn’t recommend renting. You could easily get lost, and things can easily escalate from there.

Get a taxi, and if you’re comfortable with the driver, take their number. Sticking with the same taxi driver is a safer option than playing taxi driver roulette. That doesn’t mean trusting the driver too much. It just means relying on them to get you to your destinations regularly.

Tulum Crime, Drugs, & Cartels

Behind Tulum’s idyllic facade, the surge in safety incidents casts a shadow.

Cartel presence and issues tied to rapid development have heightened the need for caution. When you step away from tourist hubs, a different reality may emerge. However, most of the drug and gang-related violence never gets to tourists.

The only thing you have to do is stay away from drugs and drug-related activity in Tulum. While such illegal activities are a real concern there, it doesn’t affect the area’s tourism. Staying within tourist areas is a safe bet to keep you away from encountering these problems. 

Is It Safe to Walk in Tulum at Night?

woman walking at night

Nightfall in Tulum paints a different canvas. The vibrant pulse of daytime changes to a quieter rhythm.

Given the amazing nightlife that Tulum has to offer, one common question I get from people planning a visit is: “Is Tulum safe at night?” That’s a good question, and the answer is that it’s generally safe. 

Here’s what I think: Walking alone after dark, while not recommended, isn’t always met with fear. It’s about gauging the surroundings, relying on trusted transportation, and aligning with the pulse of the town.

Yet, the caution flag should always fly high. Nighttime strolls can turn into memorable adventures but demand an extra layer of awareness.

If you are a first-time traveler, maybe skip the nighttime strolls. The same goes for female travelers. But if you’re in a group, there’s no reason not to enjoy Tulum under the night sky,  

Health-Related Matters: Can You Drink Tap Water in Tulum?

tap water

Tap water in Mexico has a reputation for being unclean. You’ve probably heard dozens of stories of people getting the runs because they drank Mexican tap water. The same goes for Tulum. 

During my trips to Tulum, I always made sure to drink bottled water only.

Even filtered water isn’t a good option. I get it; this alluring coastline can get sweltering hot. Sipping on an ice-cold glass of water is great, but you definitely don’t want to risk getting a stomach bug. So, bottled is the best (and only) option, in my opinion. 

A friend of mine always brings some electrolyte packets in case she gets water-related diarrhea from the water. While that’s a good idea, why risk it?

Just make sure you have bottled water on you at all times. A 50-ounce bottle is typically under a dollar, so it’s not that expensive to buy. Especially when going on long excursions, pack an extra bottle because you never know when you’ll be able to buy more water. 

13 Safety Tips for Tulum

So does this mean Tulum is safe for tourists? The truth is, no tourist destination is perfect. This little Bohemian town is safe if you exercise caution and keep your wits about you. Exploring the stunning beaches and bustling markets always comes with the price of being a foreigner. 

I’m not saying that you should cancel your trip. Tulum is definitely worth a visit (or two). But here are a few safety tips I would suggest so that you can feel less concerned when visiting this beautiful paradise

Don’t Walk Around Tulum Alone at Night

I found that Tulum’s transition from daytime charm to nocturnal allure is bewitching, but the veil of night also brings reasons to be cautious. Strolling alone in dimly lit areas might edge into the realm of vulnerability. 

Opt for daylight explorations or group outings, ensuring a secure return to accommodations. Conversing with locals or relying on established transportation services can illuminate safer options for nighttime excursions. As usual, this advice is particularly important for female travelers. 

Book Secure Accommodation

Choosing a sanctuary for repose involves more than aesthetics. Prioritize secure accommodations that are vetted for safety measures.

Although many smaller hotels have a charm factor that I felt was irresistible, some of them looked a little shady.

So try to choose your hotel or stay cautiously. Evaluate reviews online and scope the place out before you decide to stay. I wouldn’t stay anywhere if I had a feeling it was sketchy in any way. 

For example, one cozy little boutique hotel I found was the right price and looked clean. The staff was friendly, but I could see someone scoring drugs in the back. I chose to stay away from that one.

Your accommodation should be a safe place to come back to at night. From well-lit areas to vigilant staff, a safe haven lays the foundation for an enriching Tulum experience.

Keep Your Valuable Items Hidden

valuable travel accessories

Tulum’s allure doesn’t escape watchful eyes. Concealing valuables minimizes attention and serves as an added layer of security.

Stow away electronics, passports, and excessive cash, minimizing visibility and deterring potential theft. Portable safes or secure compartments within accommodations fortify these precautions.

I would once again recommend traveling with a slingback. But I also try not to carry all my cash in one place.

I kept my passport in a secret wallet that goes under my clothes, just in case my sling bag ever got lost. That means that I could always go to the US embassy with my passport if I found myself without access to cash. 

Nothing was ever stolen from me, but I’ve heard stories of some tourists who lost their wallets or phones because they had left them on their tables as they went dancing. 

Buy a Travel Insurance

The unpredictability of travel warrants a safety net. Travel insurance, a guardian angel against unforeseen circumstances, ensures peace of mind while savoring Tulum’s treasures.

You never know when you are going to need it. I’ve had a few friends who accidentally had some of the tap water and ended up getting a stomach bug.

While Medical care in Mexico is cheaper than in the States, travel insurance allowed my fellow travelers to get treated at the hospital of their choice. 

Watch Your Alcohol Consumption

Partaking in Tulum’s nightlife comes with a caveat. Vigilance over drinks counters the threat of spiking. This goes for everyone, but more importantly for female travelers. 

Opting for reliable sources minimizes risks while reveling in the town’s vibe. Also, you don’t want to get too drunk, as this might leave you vulnerable and put you at greater risk. You must remember that it’s crucial to keep an eye on personal beverages during social gatherings.

Stay Away From Prohibited Substances

Tulum’s charm doesn’t excuse indulgence in illegal substances. The allure of exotic locales can often lead to questionable choices. Steering clear kept my exploration of Tulum safe and guilt-free.

Even staying at a hotel with drug-related activity is a big no-no for me. Not only are drugs illegal here, the Mexican drug cartel can be everywhere, so why take the risk and put yourself in harm’s way?

Even if you think you’re in a safe area with other people surrounding you, drug use just invites a lot of unnecessary safety issues, such as:

  • Taking drugs makes you less conscious, so you’d be in a vulnerable position.
  • Drug use is prohibited, and the Mexican police will not tolerate it from foreigners. If you’re caught, you risk going to Mexican jail/prison. You don’t want to go through that experience anywhere, especially in a foreign country.
  • Buying drugs means getting involved in illegal activity, so you can be at risk of violence if a fight breaks out.

Download an Offline Map

online map

We all have Apple Maps or Google Maps on our phones, but you can’t expect to have a strong network connection as you explore the jungle or far away cenotes. 

You can reap the benefit of modern navigation aids while exploring Tulum’s maze of streets and offbeat trails. I found that downloading the map was a convenient solution.

An offline map serves as a digital compass, guiding me on solo ventures and facilitating exploration beyond tourist hubs. This invaluable tool ensures a sense of direction even in remote corners, enhancing safety while traversing less-traveled paths. 

If you can, try getting a paper map too, especially when visiting a remote area. The last thing you want is to run out of battery and have no map to guide yourself back to familiar places.

Check The Weather Forecast

Weather can be a serious concern in this tropical heaven.

Nature’s temperament, especially during Tulum’s hurricane season, necessitates vigilance. Monitoring weather forecasts aids in planning around potential disruptions.

Awareness of impending weather conditions helped me prepare for anything Mother Nature threw at me, minimizing risks associated with unexpected occurrences.

Avoid The ATMs

woman using atm

I understand that you might be accustomed to paying for everything using your credit card. But here, many establishments are cash-only.

Many tourists tend to worry about carrying lots of cash with them, so they frequently cash out using ATMs. That logic is understandable, but many ATMs in Tulum have reports of fraudulent activity, such as card skimming.

I’ve never heard of anyone getting robbed as they are withdrawing cash, but that’s my own personal concern. If you absolutely need to go to an ATM, only use those from banks you recognize. That reduces the risk of paying insane fees or putting your card at risk of being skimmed. 

Try to Avoid Less Populated Areas

In my explorations across Tulum, I’ve found that while its charm lies in its hidden corners and quieter spaces, venturing into less populated areas demands a bit of prudence.

The pulsating heart of Tulum often resides in its bustling zones, teeming with life, light, and the comforting presence of fellow travelers.

However, the quieter pockets, though alluring with their air of seclusion, might not always offer the same sense of security.

There’s an unspoken safety net in numbers. Places frequented by more tourists tend to have increased vigilance and foot traffic, dissuading potential petty crimes.

In contrast, wandering into less-traversed territories might inadvertently invite a higher risk. While it’s not to suggest these areas are inherently unsafe, a dash of caution could make a world of difference.

This one time when I strayed off the beaten path, enticed by the promise of a hidden cenote tucked away from the crowds. The secluded route, though picturesque, felt somewhat isolated.

That’s when I realized the importance of staying aware of my surroundings, especially in areas where the hum of human activity diminishes.

For a secure jaunt through Tulum’s lesser-traveled lanes, consider sticking to daylight hours. If you must venture into quieter areas, it might be wise to be accompanied by a trusted local guide or a group of fellow travelers. This precautionary measure not only amplifies the experience but also adds a layer of safety.

Learn Some Spanish

Tulum, vibrant and inviting, welcomes travelers from across the globe. Yet, beneath its cosmopolitan surface lies a tapestry woven with the local language—Spanish.

Embracing a touch of Spanish, even the basics, can be a gateway to richer cultural exchanges and, crucially, a tool for navigation and communication.

During my time there, a few Spanish phrases sprinkled into conversations became a bridge, fostering connections and earning smiles from locals.

This town, much like any other, embraces those who embrace its language. Whether negotiating a taxi fare or ordering at a local eatery, even my attempts at broken Spanish were met with warmth and appreciation.

Learning simple phrases like greetings, asking for directions, or expressing gratitude can prove invaluable. It’s akin to unlocking a deeper understanding of the local culture and establishing a rapport with the community. 

Do not Carry Too Much Cash

cash in a wallet

In a world where plastic rules transactions, Tulum retains a fondness for cash in many establishments. Yet, the prospect of carrying wads of cash might stir apprehension among travelers—a sentiment I’ve encountered during my visits.

So, you can try two things. Distribute the cash you are carrying by leaving some back in a secure locker at your accommodation and leaving some with yourself. And if you must use an ATM, opt for one from a bank you know. Also, ensure that while drawing cash, do so in broad daylight in a populated location.

Watch Out for Riptides

The Riviera Maya is adorned with mesmerizing beaches and inviting waters, making it a sanctuary for beach lovers. Yet, beneath the serene facade of the ocean, riptides can pose a hidden danger.

During my strolls along the shoreline, I’ve encountered warning signs about riptides, cautioning against swimming in certain areas.

These swift currents, veiled beneath the waves, can swiftly carry even the strongest swimmers far from the shore. To navigate these waters safely, I always heed the advice of locals and designated beach area warnings.

Opting for swimming spots with lifeguards and flags indicating safe zones is imperative. Keeping a watchful eye on fellow beachgoers and never underestimating the power of the ocean currents is key to a secure beach experience here.


Tulum holds a mesmerizing allure with its enigmatic blend of Mayan heritage and sun-soaked coasts.

While questions about safety persist, my encounters within this coastal haven have painted a nuanced picture. Safety in Tulum isn’t a binary yes or no; it’s a spectrum, a balance between caution and exploration.

Having walked its sandy paths and reveled in its vibrant streets, I’ve learned that safety here demands mindfulness. The idyllic scenes, the turquoise-hued waters, and the bustling markets coexist with an undercurrent of vigilance.

From solo sojourns to girl getaways, each experience etched a narrative of caution laced with wonder. Through encounters with the local tapestry and the hidden cenotes, I’ve found that prudence complements wanderlust. 


Is Tulum safe right now?

Tulum maintains a level of safety for tourists, yet vigilance remains key. Keeping abreast of current travel advisories and exercising caution, especially in certain scenarios, bolsters a secure exploration of this stunning destination.

What is the crime rate in Tulum, Mexico?

The crime rate in Tulum is categorized as moderate. While most visitors experience a safe journey, being aware of their surroundings, adhering to safety tips, and staying updated on safety advisories are integral for a secure visit.