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Cancun aerial photo

Cancun Safety Tips: The Real Dangers (the stuff nobody thinks of)


Cancun CVB

Cancun CVB

You’ve heard it before… Mexico is SO dangerous.

Do you ever wonder what Mexicans think about mass shootings in the U.S.?

Anyway, there’s no denying there is crime in Cancun, just like there is in any midsize to large city in the U.S. Of course, it’s always important to be pay attention to your surroundings and be careful (Would you walk home alone drunk at night in your city?) but for the most part, vacationers don’t have to worry about being kidnapped, raped, murdered or robbed.

However there are some other real dangers that you should be aware of.

  1. Drowning

A couple of weeks ago three tourists drowned in Cancun in one weekend. The turquoise Caribbean is so inviting, but it can be extremely dangerous.

Cancun is shaped like a 7. The beaches at the top of the 7 face Isla Mujeres (Island of Women) so they are protected from the open ocean and are generally calm and shallow. The beaches on the side of the 7 face the open Caribbean. They are the most beautiful beaches in Cancun, but they also can be the most dangerous.

There is a flag system to advise swimmers of current water conditions. Please pay attention to the flags. Last week a honeymooner ignored the black flag (which means no swimming) and drown. Tragic.

And never go swimming after dark or when you are intoxicated. #verybadidea

beach flags Cancun

dronepicr Flickr

Black Flag:          Do not swim.

Red Flag:             Dangerous conditions.

Yellow Flag:       Use caution.

Green Flag:        Safe.

  1. Getting hit by a bus (or a car)

You’re on vacation, but a lot of other people are trying to get to work, the bank, the grocery store or at 4am, home from the club. Buses and cars travel very fast on the main drag in Cancun’s Hotel Zone, Boulevard Kukulcan. Running red lights, especially just as they turn red, is very common here, so please us extreme caution when you are crossing the street. Don’t just blindly trust traffic signals or some guy across the street telling you to cross now to make the bus. Pay attention and hold your kids’ hands. Just think of it this way… pedestrians do not have the right away in Cancun.


Cancun aerial photo

trent roche Flickr

  1. ATM skimmers

An ATM skimmer network was recently detected in Cancun. Your best bet is to only use ATMs that are in bank. Don’t use no-name ATMs in your resort or in malls, shopping centers, etc.

  1. Getting seriously injured and not having a credit card

If you’re smart you have insurance that will cover you while you are out of the country on vacation. However, the best hospitals in Cancun are the private ones (Galenia, Hospiten) and if you don’t have money, they won’t treat you. It is important to have a credit card with a high limit available in case of an emergency. Ask for all receipts and sort it out with the insurance company later.

Cancun sign

Additional tips:

*Whenever they are available, wear a seatbelt. Just because you’re in a tropical paradise doesn’t mean there aren’t fatal bus and car accidents. This includes ADO buses, passenger vans, taxis and rental cars.

*A sunburn can ruin your vacation. Sit in the shade and reapply sunblock often. You’ll still get a tan!

*Stay hydrated by drinking a lot of water. The combo of sweating and drinking alcohol can be really dehydrating.

*Don’t sit on balcony railings, they may not be secure. Quite a few vacationers have died this way!

*Watch where you are walking, especially in downtown Cancun. Sidewalks are broken and uneven and there are many open drains and manholes. (Yes sad but true.)

*For non-serious medical issues you can go to a pharmacy that offers free medical consultations. Ask about this in your resort.

*Driving in Cancun can also be dangerous: Living in Mexico Part 5

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