Skip to Content

U.S. Issues New Travel Alert For Cancun, Playa Del Carmen, And Tulum Ahead Of Spring Break

Share The Article

Last Updated

The United States has just issued a new travel warning for three Mexican Caribbean tourist hotspots, highlighting growing concern over visitors’ safety.

The travel warning comes as Cancun and other resort destinations get ready to welcome thousands of travelers during the busy Spring travel period. 

Panoramic view of Cancun's hotel zone with blue water

With millions of travelers flocking to Cancun and the Mexican Caribbean this year, several countries have told their citizens to exercise increased caution while vacationing in the region.

The United States is the latest country to warn its citizens over increasing crime rates in Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and Tulum.

The warning follows several violent incidents affecting U.S. travelers in Mexico and is especially aimed at visitors headed to Cancun over Spring Break.

police quad quadbike beach

This is the first time the United States has issued a travel alert singling out the Mexican Caribbean state of Quintana Roo.

In past instances, travel alerts issued by U.S. authorities dealt with states like Tamaulipas, where crime against tourists has made the headlines recently

Even though violent crime remains possible in the Mexican Caribbean, travelers are much more likely to encounter petty crime, such as the unrestricted sale of alcohol or theft. That being said, travelers are urged to maintain situational awareness at all times, especially at night. 

Top 5 Travel Insurance Plans For 2023 Starting At $10 Per Week

Easily Earn Points For Free Travel

National Guard troops patrolling a beach in Tulum

Travelers are being warned to exercise more precaution when visiting Mexican Caribbean resort destinations, an unprecedented move considering that they have traditionally been perceived as some of the safest areas in the country.

The travel warning specifically urges visitors to pay close attention to their surroundings in downtown areas in Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and Tulum, some of the most popular destinations for visitors. 

Colorful drinks in a Cancun bar

Although the Mexican Caribbean is overall one of the safest regions in Mexico for visitors – if not the safest – there is no denying that organized crime remains a serious issue.

Fortunately, crime affecting tourists is extremely rare, but recent cases have stirred debate on traveler safety.

The recent U.S. travel alert also takes note of cases in which inebriated American travelers have been taken advantage of by criminals. It also points to a growing number of alcohol spikings, which luckily remains a rare phenomenon overall. 

Despite Texas' Mexico Travel Warning, Cancun Is A Safe Destination For Americans

Travelers headed to Cancun and the Mexican Caribbean are urged to purchase travel and health insurance due to extortionate emergency healthcare costs, which can even exceed those in the U.S.

In its detailed travel advisory, the U.S. Embassy goes over a range of travel and safety tips that visitors should carefully read through for their next Mexican Caribbean getaway.

Specific warnings that the Embassy laid out were regarding:

  • Drugs: Drugs are not tolerated in Mexico, and Americans have become ill or died from synthetic or contaminated drugs.
  • Crime: Crime can occur in any destination, but travelers are urged to maintain situational awareness and avoid non-touristy areas.
  • Contaminated Alcohol: Be careful what you drink, as past travelers have reported getting ill after drinking unregulated alcohol.
  • Pharmaceuticals: Travelers are warned to be careful purchasing from pharmacies, as counterfeit medication is common and could potentially be dangerous.
  • Assault: While rare, assault is a crime that does not discriminate due to location. Travelers in Mexico should remain situationally aware and always keep track of their drinks.
  • Drowning: Rip tides are not uncommon in Mexico. If the flags are warning you not to enter the water, don’t risk your life by entering the ocean.
  • Medical Emergencies: Travelers have been taken to private hospitals that can be even more expensive than the U.S. in some cases. Always purchase travel insurance and be prepared.
  • Weapons: Travelers cannot bring weapons into Mexico and can receive lengthy jail sentences if they do so.
  • Arrests: While Mexico may be a place to let loose, public intoxication and disorderly conduct can result in arrest.
  • Immigration: Overstaying your visa can result in fines and arrest in Mexico.
Blue water in a Cancun beach with travelers

Follow These Safety Tips On Your Next Cancun Trip

Millions of travelers are expected to visit Cancun this year, and the overwhelming majority of visitors can look forward to a hassle-free and safe trip. That being said, it’s always a good idea to follow basic safety precautions, especially following reports of rising crime rates.

Fortunately, most common forms of petty crime are easily preventable.

One of the most important things tourists can do prior to their arrival in Cancun is to book a private transfer to their resort. That way, visitors can avoid waiting for a taxi and potentially being overcharged. 

Travelers are recommended to stick to well-known touristy areas during their stay, including Cancun’s hotel zone, where police and law enforcement are likely to be present. Leave valuables in your resort safe, and carry small amounts of cash to cover daily spending.

Panoramic view of Cancun hotel zone's main area

The upcoming Spring Break is expected to be among the busiest ones on record. To enjoy Cancun’s bustling nightlife in a safe way, drink responsibly and stick to popular bars and nightclubs.

Travelers are urged to maintain high situation awareness, especially during late hours when petty crime is likeliest to occur. 

Plan Your Next Cancun Vacation:

Traveler Alert: Don’t Forget Travel Insurance For Your Next Trip!

Choose From Thousands of Cancun and Riviera Maya Hotels, Resorts and Hostels with Free Cancellation On Most Properties

↓ Join the community ↓

The Cancun Sun Community FB group has all the latest travel news, conversations and tourism Q&A’s for the Mexican Caribbean


Subscribe to our Latest Posts

Enter your email address to subscribe to The Cancun Sun’s latest breaking news affecting travelers, straight to your inbox.


Tuesday 21st of March 2023

Living in playa del carmen here and yes you have to be careful …LIKE in every big city or tourist area in the world !!!!!

To put a travel alert out for that is a bit much. Maybe we should send an alert out here …. be carefull and aware for drunk springbreakers!

I think its safer here then on an american highschool !

So people just come but like everywere just be smart and aware! Specially when you are drunk

Ck9 mum

Thursday 23rd of March 2023

@Jeroen, agreed! The warning is hyperbole. Americans are safer in Mexico than in their own school system.

Celine Michael

Friday 17th of March 2023

I'd been in Mexico many times, the hospitality, service weather are unbeatable Your warnings are exaggerated


Thursday 16th of March 2023

It's true, I have visited Mexcico for the last 20 years and last year I was drugged/ruffied by a local girl in Playa, she then used my thumb print to access all my bank accounts on my phone and robbed me of over $30,000. There were no police to help, the military personnel with the assault rifles don't care. The American Consulate would not return my calls. I'm lucky she did not kill me by overdosing me. I'm in Thailand now and will never go back to Mexico.... it's not safe and nobody will help you.


Monday 20th of March 2023

@Dave, Rank stupidity y lechery on your part.


Saturday 18th of March 2023

@Dave, I'm sorry you went through that. It is possibly the same woman who scammed some young Puerto Ricans saying that she was attacked by them to receive money. In Mexico there is great corruption to defraud and they hire women to deceive men. The Puerto Ricans were imprisoned and the lawyers assigned to them were corrupt, the police, and even the judge. They all asked for money to be able to release them.


Saturday 18th of March 2023

@Dave, You crying like a girl, if you look for drugs in Mexico you gonna find em, don't blame any body of your lifestyle


Friday 17th of March 2023

@Dave, Woe, I'm so sorry that happened to you, man! I just came back from Tulum it was nice but didn't do the nightlife. I went on a cruise--that may be the safest bet!


Friday 17th of March 2023

@Dave, It's all BS and You know It