Is Tulum Safe to Travel in 2024?

Is Tulum Safe To Travel?

In the last couple of years, Tulum has climbed its way to the top of most people’s travel wish lists, and it’s not hard to see why. It has got some of the most beautiful beaches, magical cenotes, tonnes of ancient Mayan culture and ruins and not to mention REALLY great food.

But it still has people asking themselves, is Tulum safe?

I can understand, because I asked myself the same thing before we visited. Having been to Tulum now I can say we felt safe the whole time. We had no issues and didn’t meet anyone else who did either. But of course, as with any heavily visited or overly touristy areas, this can lead to increases in safety issues.

Tulum is part of Mexico, which can be potentially troublesome, so it is always wise to be clued up before you travel.

This is why we have put together all the information on safety in Tulum for you so you can be fully prepared and ready to go!

Beautiful view of the beach and Tulum ruins
Tulum image from Canva

UPDATE on recent events – Is Tulum safe to Travel now**

2023 was a little bumpy for Tulum to say the least. News officials have reported on 2 separate incidents that have occurred in Tulum that have resulted in (Local) people tragically being killed.

I am not writing this to scare anyone but to share the facts. In both cases, these incidents happened in the very early hours of the morning, one in a bar and one at a party and these attacks were NOT aimed at Tourists.

These incidents are strongly believed to be related to Mexico’s ongoing problems with drug cartels. But you can see how easy it could potentially be to get accidentally caught up in the wrong place at the wrong time.

What we can take away from this information, is that if you are tucked up in bed during the early hours of the morning, then you are going to be just fine. The Majority of serious crimes and drug-related incidents happen at night.

What are the current travel advisories for visiting Tulum?

It is really important to always check your government’s website for travel advice before you leave.
If you live in the UK you can visit Direct.Gov for more information. They currently break Mexico down into areas of ‘avoid all travel’ and ‘see our travel advice’. Tulum Falls under the ‘see our travel advice’ advisory. So you are in the green! Quite literally.

If you live in the US you can visit where they too break down the advice according to states in Mexico. At the moment Quintana Roo state, which Tulum falls under, it is advised to ‘Exercise increased caution’ when visiting.

Both websites offer details advice and information on how to seek help, should you need it whilst in Tulum.

Planning a trip? These are our favourite Travel Resources:

Is Tulum Safe to Travel to?

In short, YES, Tulum is generally considered a pretty safe destination to Travel to. As long as you use common sense and take all the travel advice into consideration, you should have an awesome time there.

It is also reassuring to know that Tulum has a strong military police presence. You are very likely to see them patrolling the streets, either on foot on in the back of 4x4s. It can look a little daunting, but just know they are there to keep everyone safe.

Which areas of Tulum are the safest to stay in?

Tulum is effectively split into two main areas; Tulum Pueblo otherwise known as Downtown and Tulum Playa or the beach zone.

Staying on the beach road where all the resorts are is generally the safest area to be. In Downtown Tulum in the centre where all the shops and restaurants are, is also a great choice.

Which areas of Tulum should I avoid?

There aren’t any particular ‘dodgy’ neighbourhoods as such. However, it is best to avoid the local residential areas. Avoid straying too far from the beach or centre of downtown.

Avoid EVERYWHERE at night time.

We decided to walk to one of the Cenotes just outside of Downtown Tulum. While it is possible we ended up taking a shortcut and walking through a residential area outside of the main tourist areas.

Nothing happened but we felt uncomfortable and knew we shouldn’t have gone that way and can easily see how it wasn’t the smartest move to make. So don’t be like us and stick to the main streets!

Is Tulum safe to travel as a solo female traveller?

Tulum is just as safe for solo female travellers as most other touristy destinations. There have been some incidents of attacks against women in the past but again at night and drugs were usually involved.

The top advice for solo female travellers is to not go out at night, and try not to take taxis alone. Taxis are unfortunately somewhere that crimes can happen so sticking to groups is always safest if you need to take a Taxi. Alternatively, ask your accommodation to call someone they know and trust.

As a woman in Tulum, I didn’t feel there was any extra attention on me or feel unsafe at all, I would happily visit solo. I would make sure to arrive during the day, travel by bus and book to stay somewhere I could walk to from the bus station.

If you want to stay by the beach, it is too far to walk, so, in that case, I would ask my accommodation to arrange for someone they trust to pick me up.

If you want to visit Mexico and feel totally safe then i’d recommend visiting Cozumel too.

Is it safe to travel to Tulum with my family (including children)?

Yes, Tulum can be a great place to travel as a family and can be perfectly safe too. It will just require a little planning and a lot of common sense but Tulum can be a great place for a family vacation. In fact, many families love to spend their Christmas vacation in Tulum relaxing by the beach.

The safest way to experience Tulum with a family would be to stay by the beach in a hotel or resort in that area. There you will find everything you need in the way of restaurants and the beach is right on your doorstep.

When it comes to exploring the rest of what Tulum has to offer, you will have endless options to keep the whole family entertained. There are countless Cenotes in the area, most of which provide life jackets in all sizes.

The ancient ruins are safe as you pay to enter and they are usually guarded.

Safe transport options for families include Taxis and spacious coaches. Renting a car is also an option. Don’t worry I will explain more in detail about these later.

White sand beaches at Tulum Mexico

Safety issues to be aware of in Tulum

Despite being generally considered a safe tourist destination, it is good to be aware of some of the common safety issues and types of crimes that can occur. The more prepared you are the better you can avoid getting into any trouble in the first place.

The EMERGENCY services number for Tulum is 911. Just in case.

Cartels and Drugs in Tulum

The number one issue that affects Tulum and the whole of Mexico is Drug trafficking and cartel violence. These issues are practically never involving tourists but can occasionally occur in tourist areas and it could be the case that someone ends up in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Considering nearly all of the problems surrounding drug cartels happen at night, it is easy to avoid them by not going out after dark. And avoiding drugs altogether.

Petty Theft

Petty theft is one of the most common crimes or safety issues tourists encounter when in Tulum and the rest of Mexico. This type of crime is most likely to occur on public transport, at bus stations, and at the airport. Especially at night.

This can be easily avoided by keeping all valuables out of sight and never placing your bag under your seat on public transport, or in the overhead storage. Also, avoid travelling at night whenever possible.

Police Extortion

It is not uncommon for tourists to report that police stop them for seemingly very minor offences and will demand large sums of money as a penalty or fine.

The UK government website advises in these situations not to hand over any money or your passport but to request the police officer’s name, badge number and a written ticket which is payable at a later date.

Express Kidnappings

On VERY rare occasions tourists have been involved in ‘express kidnappings’ where the criminals will take you to an ATM and demand you withdraw money for them in order for them to let you go.

Again, the UK government website advises in any situation like this to always comply. Make sure your bank card has a daily limit, so it’s not possible to empty your account.

Safety on the Road

Major road-related crimes are not common in Tulum but the road conditions themselves are not always great. The many potholes and bumps can lead to accidents if you’re not careful whilst driving.

There is also the issue of other drivers. Most local drivers do not have any insurance. They can also be pretty unruly when it comes to driving style; running red lights, not indicating and speeding are not uncommon.

A man cycling on a road in Tulum

13 Travel Safety Tips for Tulum

Most of these tips are super easy and may seem just like common sense because they are. But stick to these and you should have no problems and be able to enjoy your awesome vacation in Tulum in peace.

1 – Avoid walking around Tulum at night (especially on your own) – As with most places in Central and South America, the majority of crimes happen after dark. So do yourself a favour and stay in your resort/hotel/Airbnb/hostel once it’s dark out. If you go out for Dinner then grab a taxi back, easy.

2 – Avoid drugs at all costs – Drugs seem to be the centre of most crime in Mexico so the easiest way to stay out of all of the drama is to just avoid them. You may get offered them a lot on the streets, just ignore them and keep going about your day.

3 – Don’t carry large sums of money on you – It is always best to only withdraw as much cash as you will need for the coming few days. Have on you only what you need for the day and the rest safely locked away in your room.

4 – Keep your passport and valuables safely locked away in your room or hostel locker – As with any spare money, keep anything of value locked away. It is a good idea to take photos of your passport on your phone in case you need to show it for any reason but you don’t need to carry it on you.

5 – Save the expensive jewellery for home – Flashing the diamonds might attract the wrong kind of attention, so best to keep it at home and remove the temptation altogether.

6 – Stick to the main streets and hotels/resorts – Avoid wandering into the local residential areas with no other tourists.

7 – Don’t get in any unmarked cars or ‘Taxis’ – Taxis in Tulum are all white and very clearly marked. They tend to collect on the main street, outside the bus station downtown. Or ask your Hotel or Restaurant to call one for you.

8 – Only use Banks to withdraw money – Tulum has A LOT of ATMs but we found the only one that worked for us was the ones at HSBC Bank. By Going inside a Bank you have the added security that the machine hasn’t been tampered with.

If there are any issues the staff can assist you and they always have cameras. Another plus is they are inside, so no one can be looking over your shoulder.

9 – Only book tours or excursions with companies that have good reviews – It is always a good idea to put your trust in companies that are reliable. To avoid losing money or having a bad experience always make sure to do a quick Google search and read the reviews first.

A girl swinging inside a cenote in Tulum

10 – Don’t leave your belongings unattended on the beach – As tempting as it might be, it is not worth it. Either have someone watch your things as you go for a swim, or grab yourself one of the small dry bags and take your valuables with you. It is not uncommon for opportunists to grab and run with things left on the beaches.

11 – Wear a helmet if you hire a scooter – Scooters are a common mode of transport for tourists in Tulum so this one is a strong must. Not only can they potentially save lives but they are also a legal requirement. The last thing you want to ruin your Vacation is a bump on the head or a hefty police fine.

12 – Be a responsible partygoer – This one is pretty simple, as fun as it might be it is best not to drink too much. Drunk tourists are often targets of petty crime, theft and sometimes worse. Not to mention the majority of partying occurs at night which is when crimes are most likely to happen.

Also, don’t leave any drinks unattended that could possibly be tampered with.

Check out these good-to-know drinking laws for Mexico before you go.

13 – Choose Accommodation with extra security – When choosing accommodation make sure they have lockers or a safe to keep your valuables in. Even better if they have security guarding them 24/7, which is not uncommon.

Best ways to get to Tulum

Now you know that it is safe to visit Tulum, let’s talk about how to get there. It is most likely that you will be flying to Mexico for your trip, in that case, the best airport to fly to, to get to Tulum, is Cancun Airport. From Cancun Airport you can take a bus directly to Tulum.

If you want to take a look at flights, I would recommend using SkyScanner to get the best flight prices. We always use them to book our flights.

When you’ve landed, the bus company ADO runs buses all over Mexico and is arguably the best way to get around the country. There is an ADO bus stand outside the Airport and they have buses throughout the day going directly to Tulum.

Check out the ADO website for times and prices. You generally don’t need to book tickets in advance for ADO buses.

If you are heading to Tulum from Cancun, Cozumel, Valladolid or Bacalar then you can also get ADO buses from any of these destinations.

is tulum safe to get to by bus, the ADO red coaches in tulum are perfectly safe to use

Another much more expensive option is to take Taxis. This might be a good idea if your flight arrives really late and you miss the last bus. There will be Taxis at the airport but make sure to book with a Taxi stand inside rather than just going out into the chaos. That way you can make sure the one you get into is legit.

Things to do before you travel to Tulum

Before you travel to Tulum or in fact any destination, it is always a good idea to do a few basic prechecks. You can use the following list as a guide on what to check before you travel.

Check your government travel advice for updates

As I discussed earlier, checking your government’s travel advice is a must. They are the most up-to-date sources of information on your destination and how safe it is to travel there. They consider things like war, political unrest, natural disasters and many more.

If they advise against Travel it is good to note that most travel insurance companies will no longer cover you if you do decide to still travel against the advice.

Check the weather forecast

This might sound silly but many destinations, including Tulum, can experience some pretty extreme weather conditions.

Tulum actually has a Hurricane season from June to November. You can either check for weather seasons in advance and book your trip around them or if you know you will be travelling during hurricane season or monsoon season etc, check in the run-up to your departure to make sure everything is still good to go.

Get travel insurance

Having travel insurance is so important because you quite literally never know what might happen. Having insurance just gives you that peace of mind that if a flight is cancelled or a bag is lost then you are covered. SafetyWing is one of the BEST insurance providers available.

Check if there will be any public holidays or celebrations

In many parts of the world Public holidays means much bigger crowds of people. Both locals and tourists travel specifically to celebrate and this can often lead to increases in petty crime such as pickpocketing.

There may also be more drinking involved around public holidays, which often leads to trouble. So it is always good to check your travel dates in advance and either avoid the busy periods if that isn’t the reason for your visit. Or just be aware to be extra vigilant when you get there.

Some public holidays to note in Tulum are;

  • 7th April – Good Friday
  • 1st May – Labour Day
  • 16th September – Mexico’s Independence Day
  • 20th November – Revolution Day
  • 25th December – Christmas Day

Speak to your doctor about travel vaccines

This is generally good advice whenever you plan to travel abroad. Seek some advice from your doctor on which, if any, vaccines you may need to get before you go.

They can also discuss with you things like malaria medications and other precautions that might be relevant to your trip.

Is Tulum safe to visit FAQs

Is it safe to walk around Tulum at night?

Tulum, like many tourist areas, is considered NOT safe to walk around at night. Regardless of if you are alone or in a group, you should always try to avoid walking outside at night in Tulum.

Nighttime is when the most crime occurs so it is best to stay inside and not take any chances.

Is it safe to Take Taxis in Tulum?

Taxis are generally considered safe to use in Tulum, as long as you take one of the marked, official Taxis.

Are there Hurricanes in Tulum?

It is fairly uncommon for Tulum to be hit by Hurricanes, but Tulum does indeed have a Hurricane season from June – November. The last one to hit the coastal town was in August 2021; Hurricane Grace.

Hurricanes are historically most likely to occur in September and October, so these could potentially be months to avoid visiting. On the other hand, they will also be the best months to get great deals on flights and hotels, if you feel like taking a risk.

Is it safe to drink tap water in Tulum?

Unfortunately, the tap water in Tulum is not safe to drink. Doing so can lead to an upset stomach, diarrhoea and even parasites. And that would not be a fun way to spend your vacation.

If you are going to cook with tap water, then make sure to boil it thoroughly beforehand.

We are travelling with Water-to-Go filter bottles which safely filter the tap water and allow us to drink it. We save SO MUCH money by not buying bottled water. Not to mention massively reducing the amount of plastic we use. These bottles are amazing and we highly recommend adding them to your travel packing essentials.

Is Tulum or Cancun safer?

Both Tulum and Cancun are pretty safe for tourists and neither one can really be said to be safer than the other. The UK Government website has the same travel advice for both towns and both have similar police efforts to keep them safe.

They are both subject to the same issues regarding drug cartels and petty crime or increased crime at night time. So regardless of which Town you visit, it would be wise to follow the same advice in this blog to be on the safe side.

Is it safe to rent a car in Tulum?

It is indeed relatively safe and easy to rent a car in Tulum. The roads can be a bit bumpy in places and other drivers aren’t always on their best behaviour so make sure when you do rent a car that you have insurance, just in case.

It is pretty common for tourists to rent cars and drive themselves around Tulum and the surrounding Quintanaroo and Yucatan regions of the country.

Always check with your accommodation if they have secure parking and never leave any valuables in the car, unattended.

We like to use Discover Cars when searching for rental car deals as they have so many choices and great prices, you can take a look for yourself here;

To be on the safe side when driving, always keep the doors locked and windows closed, especially at traffic lights. It is best not to give a passing opportunist the chance to grab your purse and run.

Is Tulum Safe to Live?

Tulum is where many ex-pats from all over the world already call home. It is easy to get to, well connected and close to Cancun airport, high police security presence and has an all-around incredible way of life.

Tulum is just as safe to live in as it is to visit on a 2-week vacation, but all of the same safety advice should still be followed.

Extra Safety Travel Tips

On our travels, we have developed some extra habits that give us and our families some extra peace of mind. These things are simple yet very effective at making us feel safer and more in control whilst travelling;

  • Always give a family member or friend details of where you are staying.
  • Use Apple air tags (or something similar) to keep tabs on your luggage – This one is new for us on this trip and so reassuring when you get on a plane or a bus and can see that your bag is also safely on board with you.
  • Message someone regularly just to check in so that if they do not hear from you they know to check that you’re ok.
  • Take a combination padlock with you for lockers.
  • Download Google Maps offline, so you don’t get lost and stray into unfriendly neighbourhoods if you do not have WIFI.
on a bicycle in front of the follow that dream sign in Tulum

Is Tulum worth visiting?

We would say yes, Tulum is definitely worth visiting. We did prefer some other areas such as Cozumel and Valladolid to Tulum, but everyone’s personal preference is different.

Nonetheless, we still had a great time in Tulum and there is so much to see and do that it would be a shame to miss out.

Is Tulum Safe – Our final thoughts

So by now, you should be fully prepared to visit Tulum with absolutely no troubles in the world. Is Tulum safe? Yes, as long as you are sensible. We know you will have a great time, there is so much to do in Tulum, it’s hard not to have fun.

Our biggest and final piece of advice that will make all the difference, would be to learn a little Spanish. Many locals don’t speak any English. You would be surprised how a little bit of knowledge of the Spanish language, can go a long way to helping you avoid potentially stressful or unsafe situations.

That’s all there is to it, we hope you love Tulum and Mexico as much as we did!