Is Cozumel Safe For Tourists To Visit?
Cozumel is one of the most popular places for tourists to visit in Mexico and it is easy to see why. Beautiful beaches, crystal clear waters and amazing food to name a few reasons. Yet people still find themselves wondering, is Cozumel safe?
Well, the short and simple answer is yes.
Cozumel is considered a safe destination for tourists to visit and live in. Especially when you compare it to other Mexican or even Central American cities. We loved our time on Cozumel and didn’t feel unsafe once.
There are, however, still a few things that are good to be aware of and keep in mind when visiting Cozumel (or anywhere really). So I am going to go over everything you might want to know concerning safety in Cozumel and the different ways you can make sure you are fully prepared for your trip.
Most Common Safety Concerns In Cozumel
Firstly, I wanted to address some of the most common concerns people have when asking, is Cozumel safe? We know already that yes, it is considered a safe destination but there are still some really important things to be aware of.
Petty theft and crime
As with most touristy destinations things like petty theft and pickpocketing are always a risk. If you leave your phone unattended on a beach bed, don’t expect it to be there when you get back. Leave valuables on the passenger seat of a rental car then there’s every chance it will get broken into.
So you will be fine as long as you use common sense and look after your belongings.
Violent crimes towards tourists in Cozumel are extremely rare.
Taxi scams and scams in general
Taxis in all of Mexico are generally not to be trusted. However, sometimes they cannot be avoided. Cozumel is pretty small so if you are staying close to the ferry I would strongly advise just walking.
If you do need to take a Taxi then there are a few things you can do to avoid any problems. Firstly, booking one in advance through your accommodation is the best option. Secondly, always agree on the price BEFORE you get in the taxi.
Scooter Rentals scams
Another common scam all over the world and of course occasionally in Cozumel is being blamed for damage when renting scooters. Always take photos and videos before you set off, in front of the rental shop, preferably with them watching you do it. That way if they try anything you can put a pretty quick stop to it.
We had this almost happen to us in Cozumel. We hired a scooter to visit the other side of the Island. We took photos before we set off and once we got back the guy from the shop started inspecting the scooter and began to complain about a scratch on the side.
It was a tiny scratch so he was just hoping to get lucky but we stopped him and showed him the photos we took and there was the scratch.
Lastly, we were warned by the owner of our accommodation to stay on the main roads with our scooter. There is just one road that goes around the island but there is a smaller cycle path next to it.
As tempting as it may be to hop over onto the smoother and smaller ‘road’, don’t do it. It is for bicycles only and the police are actively looking for tourists using this path so they can issue fines. Some rental shops may even suggest you use it, just ignore them.
Other than we didn’t encounter any other type of scam during our stay in Cozumel.
Of course, scooter accidents can happen anywhere but they are a high risk in Cozumel due to uneven roads and inexperienced riders.
Many tourists love the idea of hopping on a scooter and enjoying the freedom, And while I agree it is super fun it can also be risky if you are not sensible.
Always wear a helmet and remember that loose gravel on roads is asking for an accident.
While they are uncommon, Natural disasters can happen. Cozumel is after all in a hurricane zone. While the last Hurricane to hit Cozumel was Hurricane Wilma in 2005, that doesn’t mean it won’t happen again anytime soon. Although we hope it doesn’t.
To be on the safe side you should always keep an eye on weather forecasts and government travel advice before visiting.
Drug Cartels and Gangs
When we think of Mexico, we naturally think of drug cartels and gangs. Though this may be true for many parts of the country, luckily Cozumel is a little safe-haven away from all of that.
Largely unaffected and with no active drug cartels you can rest assured knowing that you are in paradise. However, it is still always wise to exercise caution in any part of the country at night time and avoid walking alone.
If you are also visiting Tulum make sure to read our safety guide as it is slightly different there especially where drugs and gangs are involved.
Dive and snorkel incidents
Cozumel is a huge hub for diving and water sports, as such there comes an increased risk of incidents.
Although they are still rare and mostly occur when people ignore safety advice, they can still happen. If you are new to diving, then check out our guide for beginner divers in Cozumel.
Remember when joining and group activity such as diving or a snorkelling trip, to always listen carefully to the safety briefings and instructions. Also don’t forget to let the tour guide know if you may need any extra help.
If you plan to go it alone then ask first if it is safe to do so because the waters around Cozumel are known to have strong currents.
When we went diving in Cozumel all of our dives were drift dives where the current just sweeps you along the reef from one end to the other. It is a fantastic way to dive but I can imagine it being a little less fun if you went for a snorkel and looked up to see you’ve been washed 200M down the beach.
Also, remember when in the sea to stay away from any coral. Not only because we need to be very careful not to damage them but also because they can be very sharp and cause injuries if you rub against them or stand on them.
Tropical diseases and health concerns
Although Cozumel is relatively safe when it comes to tropical diseases and illnesses there are a few things to be extra aware of when visiting;
Mosquito-born diseases are unfortunately a risk due to the tropical climate and annoying abundance of mosquitos. Always check with your doctor before you travel and seek their advice for best practices while you are away.
I also suggest on top of that to always use LOTS of mosquito repellent.
Another health risk is the drinking water. It is not advisable to drink the tap water on Cozumel so always drink filtered water.
We travelled with Water-To-Go filter bottles and they are AMAZING. they meant we could drink water from any tap, river, stream etc and it would always be clean for us to drink.
The last major issue for tourists is dehydration. It is very hot which is perfect for a vacation but this means we have to drink a lot more water than we are used to, to stay hydrated.
The last thing you want at the start of your vacation is heat stroke!
Is Cozumel Safe – Good To Do Before You Visit
While you are still in the planning stages of your trip or vacation here are 3 things that its good to think about.
1 – Check your Government travel advice
Before any international trip, it is always a good idea to check your local government’s website to see what their travel advice for your destination is. Each country may give slightly different advice and it is important to follow the advice of the country you are from.
Currently while writing this, Cozumel is totally safe to travel to according to both sites (this can change at any time, so still check for yourself too) but the UK site was a great example of why you should check. At this moment in time, there is a warning about a hurricane due to pass over part of Mexico.
Now wouldn’t something like that be handy to know before you get there?
2 – Get your travel insurance
Another really important part of planning any trip is to make sure you get travel insurance ASAP! This is a lesson I have learnt the hard way.
Sometimes things happen outside of your control thanks to things like the weather and your travel plans get changed or even cancelled. I have lost thousands over the years from leaving it too late to get my insurance.
Well no more!
And I really don’t want you to end up in those situations either so do yourself a favour and get covered. It also gives you so much peace of mind while you are away.
There are loads of great companies out there, but we personally recommend SafetyWing.
3 – Look into booking a group tour if you are still unsure
As much as we prefer to travel independently, I can absolutely see the benefits of joining a group trip. Especially if it is to visit somewhere that you are a little nervous about.
Group trips can be a really good way to meet other like-minded people and have some new friends to enjoy your vacation with. They are also a great way to take a lot of the stress and hassle out of travel because you have someone else do all the booking and planning for you.
Is Cozumel Safe For Solo Travellers
The short and long answer is YES, Cozumel is safe for solo travellers to visit, including solo female travellers.
It is wise to stay aware of your surroundings as always and avoid walking alone at night but crimes against tourists are very low.
Cozumel is a great place to visit as a solo traveller. The locals are friendly, the island has loads to do and plenty of hostels, bars and cafes to meet other travellers.
For solo travellers, we also highly recommend visiting Holbox Island for a more relaxed vibe.
Is Cozumel Safe – FAQs
Now that I have covered all of the most pressing concerns around the topic of; is Cozumel safe? It is time to answer some more common questions people have about visiting the Island.
Is Cozumel Worth Visiting?
Absolutely! We loved our time on Cozumel and were very sad to leave. It is a small island with lots of life and energy. It has some amazing beaches and beach clubs as well as a great town full of bars and restaurants.
The main attraction to Cozumel for us was definitely the water. The diving around the Island is amazing!
Cozumel is super easy to get to and get around once you are there so if you have the time I would recommend adding a visit to your Itinerary.
Can you drink the water in Cozumel?
It is not advisable to drink tap water on Cozumel. The locals may be able to because they have stronger stomachs than us but unless you want to spend your vacation with an upset tummy (at the least) then I highly recommend getting yourself a filter bottle.
That way you will be able to drink any water without having to worry and you will save yourself a tonne of money not having to buy bottled water. Not to mention all the plastic you will be saving.
Is it safe to eat in Cozumel?
It is not only safe to eat in Cozumel it is strongly advisable, otherwise, you would have a miserable time.
The food standards are great on the Island and Mexican food is some of the best we have had on our travels. So make the most of your time there and try all of the local goodies.
I can highly recommend a visit to a restaurant called Sol de Maple for some of the most amazing vegan Tacos!
Is it safe to swim in the sea around Cozumel?
It is relatively safe to swim in the sea around Cozumel as long as you are sensible. Cozumel is known to have pretty strong currents so you should always check with someone who knows the area if it is safe to swim.
Generally sticking to the shallows by the sea should be fine just keep an eye out for boats and coral beds. The corals can be very sharp and cause some serious damage if you brush against them or stand on them.
It is also just best practice to always avoid touching corals to help preserve them.
Whether or not it is safe to swim will also heavily rely on where on the island you are. For example along the coast on the west of the island, you will find all of the resorts with calm, beautiful sandy beaches, whereas, on the east coast facing out into the open ocean, you will find much rougher seas more suited to surfing professionals than casual swimming.
If you are not a strong swimmer then I would advise against swimming out to see anywhere in the world, including Cozumel.
Are there any dangerous animals in Cozumel?
As much as I don’t like to label any animals as dangerous because relatively speaking they usually are not much danger to us at all. However, there are a few species that can be found on and around the island that are worth keeping in mind.
We spotted some Crocodiles along the east coast of the island in the mangroves, so I would stick to the beaches and main paths.
There are also scorpion fish in the sea and these can be pretty nasty if you encounter one and are unlucky enough to get stung. In the unlikely event that this happens, you should seek medical care straight away.
Probably the most ‘dangerous’ animals you are likely to encounter are the dreaded mosquitos!
Is Cozumel safer than Cancun?
Typically yes, Cozumel is safer than Cancun.
Although both are pretty safe for tourists, the more isolated and protected nature of Cozumel, thanks to it being an island, means it is even more sheltered from the drug and gang issues of mainland Mexico.
Is the seaweed issue also in Cozumel?
Cozumel is one of the least affected areas in the Quintana Roo region. This is thanks to its east coast acting as a natural barrier and the west coast where everyone stays, remains perfectly seaweed-free.
Is it safe to walk at night in Cozumel?
Cozumel is a very safe Island and yes you can safely walk at night if you are in a pair or group without a care in the world. However, I would not advise walking around in the small hours of the morning by yourself.
We would stroll along the seafront after dinner in the dark and feel totally safe.
Why is Cozumel so popular?
Cozumel is very popular among tourists thanks to its beautiful beaches, amazing Mexican food and crystal-clear waters that are ideal for diving and snorkelling.
It is one of the safest places to experience some of the Mexican culture and as such it is also a popular stop for cruises.
Is Cozumel safe for cruise passengers?
Yes, Cozumel is perfectly safe for cruise passengers. Everything I have mentioned in this post also applies to people visiting on cruise ships.
The people are friendly, the food is great and the sea is paradise. Get yourselves off that ship and enjoy!
What should you avoid in Cozumel?
The only time I would advise anyone to avoid Cozumel is if they don’t like places that can get crowded or like to explore more off-the-beaten-path destinations. Because let’s face it, Cozumel isn’t exactly a hidden Gem.
It’s a massive great big wonderful Gem but it’s so well known that Thousands of people arrive each day on cruise ships so you don’t exactly have the whole place to yourself.
Usually, we do prefer quieter destinations but we really didn’t mind the people and it never felt too crowded.
It is also not the cheapest destination so if you are on a tight budget then keep that in mind.
Tips for staying safe In Cozumel
By now I hope I have assured you that Cozumel is a safe destination and you don’t have any need to worry as long as you are sensible.
However, I know some people may still need a little more to feel fully at ease so here are a few tips that you can follow to make sure you don’t have any hassle during your visit;
1 – What to do if you feel unsafe
If you feel unsafe in Cozumel you should contact the local authorities using 911 and leave wherever you are immediately. Find somewhere busy like a restaurant or hotel reception and ask for help. Most people are lovely and will be more than happy to help you out.
2 – Don’t drink too much
This should go without saying but if you drink in excess you are always more vulnerable. It is better to stay aware of your surroundings and not drink too much. Check out these drinking laws in Mexico before you go.
3 – Keep your things with you or locked in your room
Make sure to keep valuables locked away in a safe or locker in your room and if you take things out with you for the day then make sure to keep them with you. Don’t leave bags or phones unattended at a table in a cafe and go to the toilet for example, this is like an open invitation to passing opportunists.
4 – Sign up to the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program
If you are a US citizen you can sign up for the smart traveller enrollment program. This is a free US government program that allows people to enter details of their trips so that should they need any help the local embassies will be able to assist you more efficiently.
Other countries may also have versions of this. For example, Guido was able to register with the Dutch embassy in each country we visited so that he received alerts and updates should anything happen and they would know he was in the country should we need to leave in a hurry.
5 – Get the Guest Assist App for the Quintana Roo area
This really handy App has all the necessary information should you need help from police or legal assistance during your stay in the Quintana Roo area. The likelihood is you will not need to use it but just having it downloaded before you go could take a real weight off your mind.
Best Places To Stay In Cozumel
To give you an extra helping hand in planning your trip, I did some research and found some of the best options for accommodation based on different budget ranges but all with excellent reviews.
Budget Option – Bea Rooms and Studios
This is where we stayed during our visit to Cozumel and it was perfect. Within easy walking distance of the ferry but just outside of the busy area of town so it was nice and quiet.
The room we had was huge with great air-con and we had a nice hot private shower. There was also a really nice garden in the centre of the building and a communal kitchen. The owner was also really friendly and gave us some handy tips for exploring the island.
Mid Range Option – Illa Cozumel
This little bit of pure luxury near the centre of town will give you the perfect base to explore the island as well as a little piece of heaven to relax in at the end of the day.
Luxury Option – Hotel B Unique
One word comes to mind when looking at this place…WOW!
It is simply stunning and the reviews confirm it. The infinity pool over the sea and sun deck are just out of this world! Quick someone hold me back or I’m going to end up with another trip to Cozumel just to stay here.
Is Cozumel Safe – Final Thoughts
So there you have it, everything you could need to know about safety in Cozumel and the answer to; is Cozumel safe to visit?
YES! Cozumel is safe.
Now quick go book those flights and have the best time. We hope you love Cozumel as much as we did.