Tulum is a pretty awesome destination. Set on the Maya Riviera, this coastal town is home to literal Mayan ruins and loads of nearby relics and jungles to explore. If that wasn’t enough, there’s a great party scene and beautiful beaches to laze around on all day.
This cool town may be in Mexico, but it doesn’t face loads of issues with gang violence. Still, as it’s a typical tourist hotspot, Tulum does have a few issues with petty crime. Getting things stolen on the beach isn’t unheard of and isolated incidents of robbery do occur.
Nature wise, there are hurricanes and poisonous creatures to watch out for. Drink spiking for female travellers is, unfortunately, more common than you might expect.
With all that in mind, you may be thinking, is Tulum safe? Our epic insider’s guide is packed with information to answer this question for you.
This guide contains everything from great places to go and where to avoid. And what to do, what not do do and how to do it. Don’t stress guys, for all things Tulum, I’ve got you covered.
Whether you’re a solo female traveller, thinking of a family trip, or a couple on honeymoon, our guide to staying safe in Tulum has everything you’ll need for an awesome stress-free time.
After reading this post, you will finally have the confidence to book that trip! So for your own sake, please, get reading!
Unlock Our GREATEST Travel Secrets!
Sign up for our newsletter and get the best travel tips delivered right to your inbox.
- How Safe is Tulum? (Our take)
- Is Tulum Safe to Visit Right Now?
- Safest Places in Tulum
- 20 Top Safety Tips for Travelling to Tulum
- Is Tulum Safe to Travel Alone?
- Is Tulum Safe for Solo Female Travellers?
- Is Tulum Safe for Families?
- Getting Around Tulum Safely
- FAQs about Staying Safe in Tulum
- So, is Tulum Safe?
How Safe is Tulum? (Our take)
Backpacking Tulum is a real treat for all kinds of travellers, mainly because there are so many things to do in Tulum. It’s on the Maya Riviera, which means there are plenty of ruins to explore. It also means there’s a bit of partying to be had – but not nearly as much as the Spring Break madness of Cancun.
It’s a quiet town, relatively, but there’s always a bit of a threat from nature. Hurricanes rip through this part of the Caribbean, making it a bit of a risk to be here sometimes. In recent months, there has been a problem with tons of seaweed banking up on the beach – not unsafe just gross.
There is also some crime against tourists in Tulum. Since initially publishing this Tulum Safety Guide, we have received an almost unprecedented number of comments and emails from readers telling us about their truly frightening experiences of violent crime in Tulum. Further, the story we keep hearing is that the police are not interested and the crime statistics are being deliberately suppressed by the authorities in order not to deter tourists.
There is also an increase in drug cartel-related activity in the area. In the last few months, a Senior Police Officer and a Taxi driver were both murdered by drug cartels. Some sources claim that the local government is suppressing the extent of the violence in an attempt to protect the tourist industry.
It seems that the once-safe Tulum is the latest victim in Mexico’s safety crisis.
There is no such thing as a perfect safety guide, and this article is no different. The question of “Is Tulum Safe?” will ALWAYS have a different answer depending on the parties involved. But this article is written for savvy travellers from the perspective of savvy travellers.
The information present in this safety guide was accurate at the time of writing, however, the world is a changeable place, now more than ever. Between the pandemic, ever-worsening cultural division, and a click-hungry media, it can be hard to maintain what is truth and what is sensationalism.
Here, you will find safety knowledge and advice for travelling Tulum. It won’t be down to the wire cutting edge info on the most current events, but it is layered in the expertise of veteran travellers. If you use our guide, do your own research, and practise common sense, you will have a safe trip to Tulum.
If you see any outdated information in this guide, we would really appreciate it if you could reach out in the comments below. We strive to provide the most relevant travel information on the web and always appreciate input from our readers (nicely, please!). Otherwise, thanks for your ear and stay safe!
It’s a wild world out there. But it’s pretty damn special too. 🙂
Is Tulum Safe to Visit Right Now?
Backpacking Mexico is one of the highlights of my life. And after 6 weeks of exploring the country (and a week in and around the Tulum area) with almost 0 safety issues, I feel somewhat qualified to say YES. Tulum was actually one of the most tourist-friendly locations in the entire country!
BUT, as I’m sure your family and friends have been warning you if you are planning a trip here (rather annoyingly), Tulum and Mexico, in general, do pose some travel safety risks.
Since 2017 there’s been a general rise in crime, even in the main tourist destinations in the surrounding area of Tulum. Recently, things are a little different on the Mayan Peninsula and, as a result, in Tulum.
Whilst most incidents happen between different criminal gangs, as a tourist, it is still important to be aware of where you are and the issues that are facing people in the area. Going wandering, for example, could put you in a dangerous situation.
There are other things to think about in Tulum too. The hurricane season affects both the Pacific and Atlantic coasts of Mexico and runs from June to November.
Tropical storms can hit any time of year, on the other hand, and can have pretty devastating effects – even far from the centre of the storm itself. Heavy rains, flooding and landslides are par for the course when a big tropical storm makes landfall.
Most visits to Tulum end trouble free but there has been a massive increase in very scary attacks against tourists.
Safest Places in Tulum
When choosing where to stay in Tulum, a bit of research and caution is essential. You don’t want to end up in a sketchy area and ruin your trip. To help you out, we’ve listed the safest areas to visit in Tulum below.
The Playa area of Tulum is the perfect base for first-time visitors and anyone wanting to stay on the beach.
Spanning the coastline, this is where you’ll find white sandy beaches, rustic bungalows and huts, luxurious villas, and stunning views of the Caribbean Sea. It’s also home to a number of Tulum’s top eco-resorts.
A short drive from the town centre, this neighbourhood is home to a good selection of Tulum’s best hotels, bars and restaurants.
There are many travel and rental agencies located in Playa offering tours of the area as well as water sports equipment hires.
The Pueblo neighbourhood is located at the heart of Tulum. Sitting on both sides of Highway 307, this neighbourhood is ideally situated for exploring all that the region has to offer.
From the Ruins and beach to the Cenotes and beyond, all of Tulum’s top attractions are just a short drive away.
Tulum Pueblo is also where you’ll find the best value accommodations. Boasting a wide variety of styles and options, the Pueblo neighbourhood is the ideal destination for travellers on a budget. You’ll be within walking or biking distance from great restaurants, cafes and bars too.
Aldea Zama is a small neighbourhood located to the south of Tulum city centre. On the border of the national park, this neighbourhood is a short distance from the Mayan Ruins and a quick walk to the beach.
Close to shops, restaurants and supermarkets, Aldea Zama is conveniently located. Quiet and relaxed, Aldea Zama is one of the best neighbourhoods in Tulum for families on vacation. Here you’ll find a variety of family-friendly restaurants and accommodations as well as activities and rental agencies.
Places to Avoid in Tulum
Tulum isn’t known to be a very dangerous place to visit, but reports and statistics are slowly getting worse. It definitely pays-off off to know about the potential no-go areas.
Tulum might be a tourist hotspot, but a couple of areas should be avoided. The general rule is: as soon as it gets dark, you shouldn’t be walking around alone. Or walking around at all. While most neighbourhoods are pretty safe during the day, it can get REALLY sketchy at night.
Seriously, do yourself the favour and stay at your Airbnb or hotel as soon as the sun goes down. Sticking with the busy main streets on your way back home is also recommended.
Any area that looks like tourists shouldn’t be – get out! If no one else is around, you’ll be very likely to get robbed or threatened.
Keep your eyes open and stay aware of your surroundings if you do find yourself in these areas and you should be fine. Do make sure that you’ll leave them as fast as possible.
Whilst generally safer than other parts of Mexico, and far from the serious gang activity that plagues a lot of the country, Tulum still has a few issues: petty crime, sketchy areas (and people) and even hurricanes. Like anywhere in the world, there are always going to be ways to make yourself safer and more secure, which is why we have got together this list of our very best safety tips for travelling to Tulum…
- Don’t go wandering around in secluded places – these are best left secluded and without you there; risk of being a target
- Stay alert in crowded places and watch your belongings – pickpocketing can be a problem in busy areas
- If somebody does try to take your stuff, let them – it’s not worth you coming to harm for the sake of a phone or some money
- Don’t make yourself a victim by having your phone out all the time – it’s an easy way to avoid getting it stolen
- And don’t have all your cash in your wallet – carry small amounts at a time; if it goes missing it won’t be a lot. Or opt to get your hands on a money belt.
- When swimming at the beach, don’t leave your things unattended – these can go missing very quickly
- Leave important documents and valuables at your accommodation – in lockers or safes. Do not take them out with you
- Try not to look super-wealthy – wearing flashy clothes and jewellery just advertises the fact that you’ve got stuff to steal
- When you pay for something keep larger bills out of eyesight – if people know you’ve got loads of cash, they might want it
- Be vigilant at ATMs – be aware of your surroundings and who’s watching you. Avoid using them at night
- Stay clear of illegal drugs – it’s illegal and a good way to get involved with exactly the wrong sort of people; don’t feed this huge issue
- Keep your eyes peeled for dangerous nature – when walking or swimming watch out for spiders, snakes, scorpions and nasty sea critters
- With that in mind be careful around lagoons – crocodiles have been sighted in the area. These are a serious threat.
- Don’t go swimming under the influence – it may seem like a good idea, but drunk swimming can be ultra dangerous
- Cover up against mosquitoes – spray DEET, use mosquito coils and cover up your arms and legs, especially at dusk
- Protect yourself from the sun – it can be super hot here, avoid lying or walking around in the sun all day. Seek shade around midday and always wear sunscreen
- Research adventure sports companies – from paragliding to snorkelling, use reputable companies and check safety standards and equipment, which may not be up to scratch (you also may not be covered by your insurance)
- Careful of your luggage – in a hotel lobby or even at arrivals; this is when it can quite easily get stolen
- Stay aware of the weather situation – especially during the hurricane season
- Get yourself an eSIM card for Mexico – you can find your way around, keep in touch with people back home and use it in an emergency
Seeing all these do’s and don’t’s written down might seem like a lot, but it’s the best way to equip yourself when it comes to staying safe in Tulum. Knowing what the annoyances and potential dangers are in the first place is the best way to prevent yourself from getting into trouble; keep our safety tips in mind, be aware of situations and your surroundings and you should have an amazing, trouble-free time!
Solo travel is something we can definitely get behind. Not only do you get to see the world on your own time without having to bend to anyone else’s schedule (or hunger pangs), but you also get to challenge yourself and grow as an actual person – and that’s pretty amazing.
To keep you sane and safe, we’ve got a few solo travel tips for Tulum – just a few pointers to help your trip go super smoothly.
- Hotels can be a bit expensive for a solo traveller, plus they’re not the best places to meet other people. To be in with more of a chance of meeting some like-minded travellers, do some research on a social hostel in Tulum. There are some pretty cool hostels on offer here, so read reviews, see what other solo travellers had to say about it, and pick the one that works for you.
- If you want to go for a Tulum Airbnb make sure you don’t stay in an isolated area for the sake of your budget. Go for something with a lot of good reviews run by a helpful owner in nice areas. Honestly saving a few dollars per night isn’t worth a lack of security.
- Check what your accommodation offers. Many accommodations offer things like yoga classes and beach body boot camps, which are also a nice way to get to know people through a shared hobby. Not every social encounter in Tulum has to be about getting drunk!
- If you need to get home after a night out we would strongly suggest that you take a taxi. Walking by yourself at night isn’t a smart idea at all.
- Try not to drink too much. Since you’re by yourself, you’re the only one who’ll be able to watch out for your safety; doing that when you’re completely wasted is pretty difficult, we can tell you that. When you’re very drunk making bad judgement calls, getting into stupid situations and potential danger is much more easily done, so go easy on the alcohol.
- Don’t be afraid to go out and eat by yourself. Whether it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner, just head out and see what deliciousness you can discover for yourself. Who knows, you may even end up getting chatting with some call people, too.
- Go on a tour! There’s a lot on offer in Tulum, from boat tours to snorkelling trips. These are a great chance to get to know other people, not have to worry about planning too much, and actually getting to see probably a lot more than if you tried to do all this by yourself.
- Get yourself a handy dry bag. Have a look online at something that’s got some ace reviews, purchase and pack. Having one of these means you can pack it with stuff you might have otherwise left on the beach; instead, now you can take it swimming with you. Go for a decent-quality one though, as you don’t want your phone, sunglasses and clothes to get waterlogged with seawater.
- Really take care in the heat. When there’s no one there to remind you to put on sunscreen, drink water, wear a hat, or get out of the sun for an hour or two, you could quite easily forget and end up getting heatstroke. This is honestly horrible and will have you laid up for at least a day, but probably more. Respect the sun!
- Don’t forget to text, call, Whatsapp or message your family. It’s important to keep people in the loop, but more than that: it can get lonely by yourself sometimes, too. So calling your friends back home up for a chat is a good way to cure your blues.
There you have it. Being a solo traveller in Tulum isn’t bad at all and pretty safe; in fact, you’re going to be able to meet a lot of like-minded people from all over the world in this fun, historic town.
The key, as with any solo travel trip, is to ensure that you make good judgement calls. Get chatting with other travellers, have fun, be smart, don’t overdo it and make sure you plan a few “admin days” for chilling the heck out.
Is Tulum Safe for Solo Female Travellers?
With a whole load of cool places to stay, cool things to see and cool things to do, Tulum is definitely up there as a great destination for a solo female traveller. There will be plenty of opportunities to meet other people.
Being a solo female traveller though you’ll have to take more care and precautions than your male counterparts. Whilst you probably already have your safety routine down to a T, we’ve got some tips for any solo female travellers heading to Tulum, check ’em out…
- You don’t need to worry too much about being a solo female traveller here. Although Tulum is a popular spot for honeymooners, there’s still a load of backpackers and other independent travellers who make their way to Tulum, male and female, and often solo. These are great people to hang out with.
- Have a look for the best hostels for solo female travellers in Tulum. Find one that has been well-reviewed by fellow female travellers and choose the one that’s going to suit you best; some will even give you a choice between private rooms and dorms.
- Don’t stay anywhere too far from the centre of Tulum. Honestly, being near the town centre is the most fun and safest location in town. Having to get back by yourself at night to some out-of-town accommodation is one thing, but then turning up at your hostel when it’s dark can make you feel pretty unsafe.
- Tulum is a beach destination so you won’t have to worry too much about what you’re wearing. It’s a pretty casual place and, to be honest, you’ll probably want to cover up more from the heat and sun than anything else. However, we would recommend covering up if you’re walking around town; throw on a light dress or sarong if you’ve been at the beach or just a baggy T-shirt and shorts with sandals is fine.
- When it comes to drinking, you should definitely keep an eye on your drink. Drink spiking is actually a problem in Tulum, especially for females, so it’s important to be aware and keep hold of your drink at all times.
- Stay aware of your fellow backpackers and independent travellers. Not everyone is as well-intentioned as they make out and sometimes it may be the case that the guys visiting Tulum may be more of a worry to your personal security than the local guys. Be aware of people’s falseness.
- If you want to go out and eat, but you’re afraid, get yourself on a Mexican cooking class. You’ll probably get chatting to some like-minded people, who also love food and who may want to grab a bite with you after the class.
- With that in mind, if it all seems too much for you, there’s nothing wrong with joining a tour. Even an organised tour that takes care of everything from flights to accommodation and activities can really take the edge off travelling by yourself and will most likely make it a much safer time – and it’ll be fun, too!
- Keep in touch with people back home. Let them know your itinerary before you go and tell them if your plans are changing. It’s never safe to go completely off-grid, so keep in touch and keep everyone in the loop.
- If you want more tips about the local area of Tulum, have a look at groups online like Girls Love Travel; this Facebook group has a lot of solo female travellers who find their way to Tulum. If you want to meet up with a fellow female or just ask advice from those who’ve done it before, you can do it here.
Is Tulum Safe for Families?
Tulum isn’t just a great place for backpackers, independent travellers and couples on honeymoon. It’s easy to travel here with family – it’s even worth staying a while so you and the kids can take full advantage of the beach and the nearby swimming holes.
The downside to staying in Tulum is the heat and the fact it’s very touristy. However, unlike other resort towns on the Maya Riviera, Tulum actually has a pretty laid-back vibe and boasts a much more boho atmosphere than the party central of Cancun.
When it comes to keeping your little ones entertained, don’t worry: there’s plenty to do. As well as all the Mayan ruins, you can take your kids to nearby theme parks, go ziplining or simply just go snorkelling.
Also, mosquitoes are a pest, especially around cenotes and other freshwaters in the evening. Repellent, covering up and staying away from water sources at dusk is a good way to prevent any mozzie bites.
When it comes to the heat, children are much more susceptible to getting heatstroke and sunburn, so seriously make sure they’re covered up when they need to be, slathered in sunscreen, in the shade when the sun’s at its hottest and hydrated.
Other than that, you and your family should be totally fine in Tulum – it’s a fantastic place to go.
Getting Around Tulum Safely
So, is it safe to drive in Tulum? Well, yes. Would I recommend it? Hmm nah.
If you really want to I don’t see an issue, but there are a few things to note.
1. Make sure you hire a vehicle that is in good condition and not too big as the roads can actually be pretty narrow.
2. Arm yourself with solid rental insurance – you’ll be happy to have it if something goes wrong.
3. Driving in the rain, especially in the rainy season (May to October) can be dangerous, mostly in rural or coastal areas where the roads are little more than bumpy dirt tracks.
4. I would advise against driving at night. The roads aren’t well-lit (if at all), so you won’t be able to see pedestrians or other hazards.
Basically, driving in Tulum isn’t recommended; it can be complicated, quite expensive, and pretty dangerous. It’s probably easier to just get a taxi to drive you places.
Taxis in Tulum are absolutely everywhere and are the main method for getting around. They’re actually pretty easy to use and will give you a high level of freedom.
Spotting a taxi is easy: the licensed taxis are white hatchbacks with a 4-digit ID number on a yellow or orange stripe around the car.
Not a lot of people speak great English and most speak Spanish, but you should be able to communicate enough that you can get to the places you need to go. Alternatively, you could take a business card from your hotel or write down where you’re going or learn a bit of Spanish!
Oh, and by the way, Uber isn’t active in Tulum, neither is Lyft.
To be honest, there’s not that much to shout about in terms of the public transport in Tulum; don’t go expecting anything close to a metro system or trams or anything like that.
First of all, there’s the ADO Bus. These things are AMAZING, trust me.
This is a bus company that has routes between various towns, cities and attractions on the Yucatan Peninsula; you can get the bus to Playa Del Carmen or Cancun if you felt like it – there are around 30 a day between there and Tulum! I would recommend getting the ADO bus from Cancun International Airport to Tulum when you arrive in Mexico.
Otherwise, there’s the good old collectivo. This is a much more local experience. These are minivans that trundle up and down highways and along shorter routes, picking people up and dropping them off in a seemingly unscheduled manner.
Collectivos are definitely not a first-class, VIP bus, and a lot of tourists to Tulum probably won’t want to take them. However, they’re an easygoing, local way of getting around; some even have aircon.
Travel Insurance in Mexico is different to most of the world. MAKE SURE your travel insurance plan includes Mexico BEFORE entering the country.
ALWAYS sort out your backpacker insurance before your trip. There’s plenty to choose from in that department, but a good place to start is Safety Wing.
They offer month-to-month payments, no lock-in contracts, and require absolutely no itineraries: that’s the exact kind of insurance long-term travellers and digital nomads need.
SafetyWing is cheap, easy, and admin-free: just sign up lickety-split so you can get back to it!
Click the button below to learn more about SafetyWing’s setup or read our insider review for the full tasty scoop.
FAQs about Staying Safe in Tulum
Here are some quick answers to common questions about safety in Tulum.
A new country, a new contract, a new piece of plastic – booooring. Instead, buy an eSIM!
An eSIM works just like an app: you buy it, you download it, and BOOM! You’re connected. It’s just that easy.
Is your phone eSIM ready? Read about how e-Sims work or click below to see one of the top eSIM providers on the market and ditch the plastic.Grab an eSIM!
So, is Tulum Safe?
The quick answer: Yes, Tulum is safe! For now. We did receive some disturbing comments about violence against tourists in Tulum but after some research, we’ve decided that it can still be safe. As long as you follow our safety tips and stay inside after dark.
This issue of letting your guard down too much and too often is something that happens in Tulum quite a bit. This doesn’t make Tulum unsafe, of course, but it provides the perfect environment for you to forget that you’re in a country where its people can be pretty poor or mixed up with the wrong crowd – and where other visitors can cause trouble, as well.
That may sound scary, but really it’s a good thing to remember – bad things can happen anywhere. Even if you are aware of your surroundings, make sure you don’t get completely drunk, keep an eye on your drink, use a money belt, don’t walk around at night – and all the other stuff mentioned in this epic guide. You’ll have a fun, totally chill and safe time in Tulum.
Disclaimer: Safety conditions change all over the world on a daily basis. We do our best to advise but this info may already be out of date. Do your own research. Enjoy your travels!
And for transparency’s sake, please know that some of the links in our content are affiliate links. That means that if you book your accommodation, buy your gear, or sort your insurance through our link, we earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you). That said, we only link to the gear we trust and never recommend services we don’t believe are up to scratch. Again, thank you!