As one of Mexico’s top vacation destinations, you may be wondering “is Playa del Carmen safe”?
In this article, I break down all you need to know about Playa del Carmen safety, as well as providing a few of my top tips for avoiding trouble.
It’s true that Mexico gets a bad rep, especially in the safety department, but don’t let this stop you from booking your dream getaway!
Mexico is much safer than you may imagine and as a tourist hub, you’ll be just fine in Playa del Carmen, especially if you keep your wits about you and use some of the advice laid out below.
- 1 Quick Answer: Is Playa del Carmen Safe?
- 2 Safety in Playa del Carmen: What You Should Know
- 3 Is Playa del Carmen Safe Right Now?
- 4 Is Playa del Carmen Safe for Female Travelers?
- 5 Is Playa del Carmen Safe for Solo Travelers?
- 6 Is Playa del Carmen Safe for Families?
- 7 Top Tips for Staying Safe in Playa del Carmen
- 7.1 Be aware when wandering around town
- 7.2 Stick with a pal
- 7.3 Don’t wear your best dress
- 7.4 Stay alert at night
- 7.5 Use the safe in your hotel room
- 7.6 Don’t carry tons of cash
- 7.7 Don’t leave your belongings alone on the beach
- 7.8 Watch out for scams
- 7.9 Do not take any drugs!
- 7.10 Monitor Mother Nature
- 7.11 Learn basic Spanish phrases
- 7.12 Purchase travel insurance
Quick Answer: Is Playa del Carmen Safe?
As the star of Quintana Roo, Playa del Carmen is a tourist haven with long stretches of beach, plenty of infrastructure, and nightlife that can’t be matched in other parts of the country.
Near Cancun and a gateway to places like Tulum, Cozumel, and Coba, it’s no wonder why millions of foreigners flock to the Playa del Carmen shores each year, with tourism making up the majority of the local economy.
As such, Playa del Carmen is a relatively safe place to vacation in Mexico as tourists take centerstage here. There’s less violence than in other parts of Mexico and as a tourist hub, there are plenty of measures taken to ensure a safe holiday for all.
This is mostly due to:
- Large resorts with top-notch security – This makes accommodation quite safe for everyone.
- People out all day and night – Since there are fewer quiet or remote areas, you’ll find you’re surrounded by others almost 100% of the time.
- A tourist-driven economy – Because tourism is the largest contributor to Playa del Carmen’s economy, there are strict measures taken to protect visiting foreigners.
Mexico gets a bad name when it comes to crime and violence, but while staying in Playa del Carmen, you have little to worry about, so long as you exercise common sense.
Safety in Playa del Carmen: What You Should Know
The tourism market in Playa del Carmen has absolutely boomed in recent years. While it has always been a dreamy destination, these days it’s actually number three on the list of best places to visit in Mexico.
Playa – as it’s known to locals – is a relatively safe area, with a beach backed by secure resorts and a buzzing town center with plenty of tours and attractions to enjoy during your stay.
However, Mexico in general has seen a spike in crime since 2017 which is further exacerbated by the pandemic. Drug trafficking is rampant, and the violence in Mexico typically surrounds clashes between these gangs.
That being said, this is unlikely to affect you or other tourists, so long as you don’t go seeking out trouble.
Your mom may be warning you of all the horrors that await in Mexico, but the chances of anything bad happening are pretty slim. Simply be mindful of your surroundings and follow the safety tips outlined below… you should be just fine.
Is Playa del Carmen Safe Right Now?
As of right now, the situation in Playa del Carmen is like the majority of the world: wildly uncertain.
While the borders (and beaches) are open and tourists are still welcomed, you’re advised to stay up to date with travel advisories from both your home country and the WHO. Do note that you may face a compulsory quarantine upon your return home.
Many of the resorts around Playa del Carmen have taken additional safety and hygiene measures to combat Covid-19, so if you’re looking for a stress-free stay, a resort may be your best bet.
If you want to minimize close contact with other tourists, you may want to look into Airbnbs in Playa del Carmen, where you can rent an entire apartment or home for yourself to avoid the crowds.
It’s important to keep in mind that since the area is fueled by tourism and there are far fewer travelers due to coronavirus, a lot of locals are out of work. This has led to a rise in street crime and petty theft, with purse snatchings and pickpocketing becoming more likely as people try to get by.
This is easily avoidable so long as you keep your belongings close to you and valuables out of sight. It’s still rare that you’ll be confronted but it’s something to be aware of if you plan on visiting Playa del Carmen at this moment in time.
If petty crime is something you’re concerned about, it’s a good idea to stay at one of the many resorts. Resorts often have top-notch security and so many amenities that it’s unlikely you’ll be spending too much time away from the property.
Is Playa del Carmen Safe for Female Travelers?
If you’re a female traveler wondering “is Playa del Carmen safe?”, you’re in luck. You should have an easy-going time as a female traveler in this area, with little to worry about in terms of safety.
Just keep these tips in mind and you’ll be groovy.
Read accommodation reviews from other women
To ensure that you’re picking somewhere safe to stay, read lots of reviews from other women before booking accommodation! This will ensure you’re staying somewhere not only safe, but safe and comfortable for women (especially if you’re on your own).
Stick close to bustling areas
You’ll want to hang around town or the main drag of beach while visiting Playa del Carmen. It’s tempting to head off the beaten path, but you don’t want to put yourself in harm’s way by being far from town as a woman on her own. This is especially true at night!
Don’t be flashy
As a general rule of thumb when you are traveling, in order to avoid being targeted, we recommend that you refrain from being flashy. Leave your bling at home and instead, enjoy the beach without the bells and whistles. Traveling with a anti-theft body bag or a bumbag is also a must to avoid your purse getting easily snatched.
Keep your eyes on your drinks and food
Drink spiking is the main safety hazard in Playa del Carmen, especially for women. This shouldn’t scare you but motivate you to be extra mindful when it comes to watching what you consume. Always keep your eyes on your drink or meal and never accept an open drink (beers included!) from anyone.
Take reputable taxis at night rather than walking
If you’re headed home after a fun night out, if you can, walk home with people that you know. Remember, there is safety in numbers. Taxi cabs in playa are a hit and miss so we recommend ordering one from reputable companies.
In Playa, there is an all-female taxi cab company called Taxi Rosa (+52 9841254655) who you can book with in advance. All you have to do is send a whatsapp message and arrange a pickup. Although it is a little bit pricier than usual, we recommend going down this route as an extra precaution.
Is Playa del Carmen Safe for Solo Travelers?
Playa del Carmen is generally quite safe for solo travelers as it’s such a tourist hotspot. If you’re traveling to Playa stag, you’ll find plenty of others in the same position.
As it’s such a lively place, you’ll quickly realize that it’s not only safe to be a solo traveler in Playa del Carmen, but that it’s also super easy to meet other foreigners also on their own.
Here are our top tips for staying safe as a solo traveler in Playa del Carmen.
Stay somewhere close to the action
Whether it’s a hostel, hotel, or an Airbnb, it’s best to be near other tourists in the area rather than far away by yourself. Hostels are great for meeting others, and Airbnbs are awesome picks if you want to have a more authentic local experience. You may even be able to find a deal on a resort as a solo traveler!
Staying close to the action also means you will never have to wander down dark roads on your own to get home at night. Trust me on this one.
Watch what you drink
While Playa del Carmen is party central, if you’re alone, try to avoid getting totally wasted. Being mindful of how much (and what) you drink is the best way to stay safe on a night out. It’s quite easy to take advantage of drunk foreigners who are on their own… don’t be one of the easy targets!
Make some friends
Being a solo traveler is fun, but there’s real power in numbers. Make some friends at a hostel, beach club, or on a tour to have people to spend time with in Playa del Carmen. This way, you’ll never really be all by yourself.
Keep in touch with people back home
Yes, traveling by yourself can be a much-needed break from the people at home but it’s still wise to keep in touch as much as possible. This just lets people know where you are and that you’re safe. If that seems like too much, you can share your location with mom, dad, or your best friend using your smartphone.
There’s not too much to worry about as a solo traveler in Playa del Carmen. Simply use your common sense and avoid dark places at night… You should be just fine.
Is Playa del Carmen Safe for Families?
Playa del Carmen is a safe destination for families and offers fun in the sun, no matter how old you are! There are plenty of kid-friendly activities in the area and you should have no problems when it comes to making sure the little ones are safe and sound.
That being said, there are a few safety tips that will make your vacation a whole lot more enjoyable when it comes to traveling to Playa del Carmen as a family.
Find kid-friendly accommodation
While many resorts in Playa del Carmen are adult-only, there is actually a large handful of ones that are family-friendly! This means rooms that can fit the entire squad comfortably (aka no sleeping on top of each other and privacy for mom and dad) and lots of activities to keep little ones occupied.
From playrooms to kiddie pools to children’s menus and special entertainment, a family-friendly resort is the only way to go if you’re looking for the best hotels in Playa del Carmen.
Take care outside
The biggest hazard to kids in Playa del Carmen is Mother Nature. Make sure that you’ve applied bug spray before heading out to explore local nature, and lather up on sunscreen when you hit the beach or stroll through town. Traffic can also be a hazard in Playa so hand-holding while crossing the street is essential!
Prioritize safety on tours
Looking after little ones is a must on tours and activities. When booking, make sure to note that you have kids accompanying you and ask what safety measures are taken. This is especially important if you’re taking a boat trip… kid-sized life jackets are non-negotiable.
Overall, Playa del Carmen can be quite the family-friendly vacation destination. Keep an eye on the little ones and it should be smooth sailing.
We recommend booking Airbnb Experiences as they are usually composed of smaller groups.
Top Tips for Staying Safe in Playa del Carmen
There are some general tips to keep in mind when it comes to staying safe in Playa del Carmen. Here’s our top advice to remember on your holiday!
Be aware when wandering around town
It always pays to keep an eye on your belongings when you’re out for a stroll in town, no matter where you’re traveling. In Playa del Carmen, make sure that your bag is secured to your body and fully zipped to prevent hands from sneaking in and grabbing valuables.
If you’re worried, you can always bring along a money belt to wear under your clothes. Click the link to see our top recommendations.
Stick with a pal
Using the buddy system makes the most sense, especially when traveling alone in Playa del Carmen. Don’t go wandering around by yourself, especially at night or in more remote locations in town.
Don’t wear your best dress
The bottom line is that looking wealthy makes you a target. The better dressed you are, the more likely you are to attract unwanted attention. This goes for wearing flashy jewellery or any valuables that are visible on your person.
Play it safe and dress down… you’re on vacation after all!
Stay alert at night
If a stranger is getting too cozy with you or becoming extra touchy-feely while out drinking, be mindful of your belongings which they can easily coax from your pockets. You should also be cautious if you bring someone back to your room late at night. Ensure that valuables are locked away so there’s no room for temptation.
Use the safe in your hotel room
Make good use of the safe in your hotel room! Lock away all valuables, including your passport and spare credit cards when leaving the room. If you’re staying in a hostel, definitely pack some padlocks to secure your locker with.
Our biggest tip is to make photocopies of your passport beforehand and carry those around with you instead of the real thing.
Don’t carry tons of cash
If you pull out your wallet to pay for something and it’s brimming with cash, you may run into some trouble. So get in the habit of only carrying small bits of cash and leave the big bills at home. You don’t want to give anyone a reason to rob you!
Don’t leave your belongings alone on the beach
This also goes for restaurants and on tours. Always make sure to keep your belongings on your person, even if you just want to go for a quick dip in the water. If you’re going to bring valuables to the beach, toss them in a high-quality dry bag and bring it in the water with you.
Watch out for scams
As a tourist in Playa del Carmen, you’re naturally susceptible to scams. Rather than falling victim to them, walk around and get a sense of prices before deciding to purchase anything, even tours and taxis! You’ll quickly find that the first price isn’t always the best.
Make sure you don’t leave any valuable items in your car whenever you park up. This includes going to the groceries and tourist attractions.
Do not take any drugs!
This may go without saying, but even if you’re just a little bit tempted, let me assure you that taking drugs in Mexico is just about the worst thing you can do, especially if you’re concerned about safety.
Not only will you be unsure of what you’re getting, but buying drugs introduces you to a crowd you absolutely want nothing to do with. Most of the violence in Mexico surrounds drug trafficking, so believe me when I say that you want to stay as far away from this as possible. Along 5th avenue, a ton of vendors will offer you drugs- just stay away and say no.
Monitor Mother Nature
Mother Nature can come out in full force in Playa del Carmen. Mosquitoes carry the Zika virus, so it’s important that you protect yourself from this with loads of mosquito repellent. The sun is also rather harsh, so extra sunscreen is definitely necessary.
You should also make it a habit to monitor the weather, especially during hurricane season, as you never know what to expect.
Learn basic Spanish phrases
While Playa del Carmen is swarming with tourists, knowing a little bit of Spanish can go a long way. Not only does it give you some street cred with the locals, but it’s a sign of respect to be able to say please, thank you, and some other choice phrases in the native tongue.
Purchase travel insurance
One of the best ways to stay safe in Playa del Carmen is being prepared for anything. Accidents happen and it’s extremely important to be covered in case of one.
It might surprise you how safe Playa del Carmen really is. There’s little to worry about, no matter what kind of traveler you are, especially if you use some common sense.
After reading this article, you should have no problems when it comes to Playa del Carmen safety. Just be aware of your surroundings and mindful of the potential hazards in the area. With these tips, you’ll be just fine.
For more in-depth information on traveling to Mexico, go to our Mexico Travel Tips page!
Planning a trip to Playa del Carmen? Check out these articles!
- Best Hotels in Playa del Carmen, Mexico for Any Budget
- 15 Gorgeous Airbnbs in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico
- 20 Amazing Things to Do in Riviera Maya, Mexico (Don’t Miss Out Any!)
Inspired? Pin it!