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As Tulum Crime Rates Rise, Here Is How Tourists Can Ensure A Safe Trip

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The crime rates for Tulum have become a big concern for travelers, and it’s not a huge surprise considering the change in this destination over the past 15 years.

Once a sleepy little fishing village that attracted small numbers of hippie travelers, Tulum has grown into a fully-fledged municipality and a world-known tourism destination.

Like every destination with a party scene, the money that comes with tourism, unfortunately, also draws in crime. While the majority of crimes committed in Tulum don’t directly target tourists, the worsening situation has understandably spooked plenty of travelers.

These are some of the most important steps tourists should take to ensure a safe trip to Tulum.

As Tulum Crime Rates Rise, Here Is How Tourists Can Ensure A Safe Trip

Don’t Skimp On Transport

Tulum is a relatively small destination, and during daylight, it’s a safe and walkable destination.

Unfortunately, like many destinations, when the sun goes down, the short journeys around the town become much more suspect.

Walking at night isn’t guaranteed to bring trouble, but it does tip the scales in favor of bad things happening, like petty theft of a phone or cash.

A taxi downtown Tulum

Transport around Tulum is notoriously expensive compared to other tourist spots in Mexico; prices here all feel like they have the famous gringo tax applied.

But even with the extra cost, always factor in the cost of a taxi to and from anywhere after dark.

Also, don’t be tempted to drive a rental car or scooter/motorcycle after dark. The police in Tulum have a reputation for doing roadside DUI tests by simply sniffing a traveler’s breath and declaring them intoxicated.

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A Tulum taxi

Be Compliant

A big mistake some travelers make while in Mexico is thinking they can talk/argue their way out of interactions with law enforcement/security services.

Travelers would be amazed at how much grace they can receive from officers here by being polite, recognizing their authority, and being cooperative and friendly.

Police interactions are almost never violent between travelers and law enforcement in Tulum, but they can take a turn if travelers act up.

Also, never forget to use señor/señora when speaking with people here, and not just the police. Showing a little respect and cultural awareness is an easy step in the right direction for any interaction.

Police and Narcotics Dog Patrolling Playa del Carmen

ATMs Are A Lottery

A good rule to live by when traveling anywhere in Mexico, not just Tulum, is never to use on-street ATMs.

In less secure areas, they are often watched by petty criminals who wait for people to take cash out and then rob them, an unfortunately common situation.

But even in well-lit and safe areas, these ATMs are still not safe to use; card skimmers/readers are like a plague in the country, affecting locals just as much as travelers.

ATM sign Mexico

It’s difficult to spot these small machines that get attached to ATMs, and some are so well disguised that authorities can’t even spot them.

If travelers need cash, ALWAYS use an in-bank ATM.

These ATMs have the protection of 24/7 security cameras and are regularly checked by bank staff for any tampering.

Their position inside banks with security cameras also acts as a deterrent for petty criminals hoping to relieve travelers of a little cash.

An in bank ATM area Mexico

Don’t Let Your Guard Down

It’s a sad reality that the majority of issues travelers can face when partying in places like Tulum come from other travelers.

The organized crime present in Tulum needs tourism to keep thriving, so for the most part, it leaves travelers alone.

When partying, always purchase your own drink directly from the bar – don’t accept drinks from strangers – and never leave a drink unattended.

These are good rules for any bar around the world, but especially important in tourist destinations where the temporary nature of people’s residence in the area can make unsavory characters even bolder.

A cocktail on a bar

Don’t Take The Chance

Narcotics have become a fact of life in party scenes around the world. Whether a person engages in them or not, they are always around.

But the dynamic in Tulum, and Mexico as a whole, is not the same as in other nations.

The history and situation in Mexico concerning narcotics is no secret, and travelers who take the chance and engage in their recreational use here put themselves in a serious level of danger.

This isn’t the place to experiment. Stay away from narcotics and stay safe.

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Lorenzo Gibson

Friday 16th of June 2023

Articles like this, although useful, need to explain the difference between criminal activity in the Tulum beach hotel zone and that in the Tulum Puebla. These are two distinctly different and separate areas that should not be lumped together. It is misleading and inaccurate.