Is Tulum Mexico Safe to Travel in 2020? (Top Safety Tips)

tulum beaches
Photo by twenty20photos
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The Southeast coast of Mexico has become synonymous with holidays in Cancun. But there is so much more on offer if you delve deeper! One place that we cannot recommend enough is Tulum. But is it safe to travel to Tulum in Mexico in 2020?

Located within the Riviera Maya, Tulum has a mystical energy twinned with sun, fun and amazing culture! Perfect for families, couples and backpackers alike—once you taste the unspoilt scenery, wonderful local bars, cafes, taquerias, and calm beaches with white powdery sand, you will never want to leave. Its location is also a great jumping off point for exploring! Rent a bike and hit the Cenotes and ancient Mayan ruins. Explore the coastline and stop at a roadside bar for a cool beer.

More recently, Tulum has also become a bit of a haven for vegans and Yoga fans. Perfect for travellers looking for sun, sea and asana! Sample the yoga classes or retreats, or take a walk along the backstreets and try the healthy vegan options on offer at local cafés. There is even a vegan taco bar!

With so much to explore, you will want to jump in right away. But is it a safe place to travel right now? And how will solo-travellers fare?

We’ve toured Tulum’s streets for answers to bring you the answers to the burning questions, and some top tips! So put your feet up and scroll on… 

beach in tulum
Photo by Max Harris Brassil on Unsplash

Is Tulum safe right now?

Whilst the world is slowly opening back up (albeit in a kind of ‘one step forwards, two steps back’ fashion), the Mexican State of Quintanaroo has been exercising caution. This is the state where big players in tourism Tulum and Cancun are nestled. The Riviera Maya is a huge draw for holidaymakers wanting some sun and sea, adventure. And this happens to be where Tulum is located.

Elected Mayor of Tulum, Victor Mas Tah, was candid in his approach in July as he restricted the movement of Mexican nationals. This came after an increase in Covid-19 infection rates, which was said to be due to nationals’ disregard for guidelines, according to the Riviera Maya News. It looks as though cases are starting to drop, however, as locals comply with safety measures.

With the reliance on international tourism, the state and Tulum in turn are accepting travellers with no quarantine time upon arrival. However, there is currently a 14-day quarantine period to observe when returning to the UK.

Many travellers are still flocking to the region, but with others putting travel plans on hold, crowds are sure to be significantly reduced. So, if you are willing to brave the airports with your trusty face-mask, now could be the perfect time to go!

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solo backpacker
Group of backpackers and young people travelling and exploring city

Is Tulum safe for solo female travellers? 

Many people will regale you with horror stories of solo trips to Mexico. But the truth is that Tulum can be very safe for solo female travellers. Its super easy to get around, very friendly in general, and the sheer amount of tourists will put you at easy instantly.

Its reputation as a Yoga haven, with plenty of vegan cafes and options in restaurants, means there are no shortage of women wondering around. Often sin compañia (without company).

The amazing local taco restaurants (known as taquerias) serve mouth-watering options, and the best options are apt to be those scary-looking holes in the wall. The ones with no menus and plastic tables and chairs arranged on the street. But, you can always tell it’s good if teaming with locals! It might look unnerving, but once you sit down and order your first taco and local cerveza (beer), you will be in heaven! 

taqueria
Photo by twenty20photos

Tourists who choose to stay within the beach resorts often don’t explore Tulum’s centre. Some might find downtown Tulum a little daunting. In truth, it is a lovely place! Lots to see, lovely shops selling handicrafts and friendly tour operators lining the streets offering excursions to the nearby eco-parks and ancient ruins. Bikes are easy to hire and head to the beach. And once you get down there it is super picturesque.

Whilst downtown is great to stay, there are still plenty of reasons to book into a resort in Tulum. One look at these resorts and you’ll think Cancun looks like Blackpool!

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Rules for Solo travellers 

Yes, Tulum is great for solo travellers. You can feel safe here both day and night. As long as you stick to rules you would follow in any town or city. Don’t walk down dark alleys; familiarise yourself with routes you take ahead of time; be wary of strangers; if you feel uncomfortable talking to someone, be polite but firm and walk away.

One huge take-away that everyone can benefit from—be careful of drink spiking! It is sadly more common than you would like to think. But there are ways to be vigilant. Don’t accept drinks from people you don’t know, and never leave your drink unattended.

If in doubt, it’s great to make friends with other tourists, and go out with them. There is safety in numbers! There are many hostels within Tulum, which are great for meeting fellow solo travellers. Also day excursions from Tulum are a great way to meet people. 

tulum hotel
Photo by Douglas Sanchez on Unsplash

Is Tulum safe at night?

What can seem daunting at night can seem fairly friendly in the day. Which is one reason to arrive within daylight hours: to get your bearings before night sets in.

Whilst Tulum’s main streets are pretty well cared for, step one street back and often you will find piles of rubble between houses and streets that flood after too much rain. This derelict air is apt to give many a traveller a little thrill of fear.

Having said that, there are many cafes and boutique stores on these back streets. And they are generally pretty safe. If veering from main streets, a good rule of thumb is to stick to those with lively bars and cafes open at night. Avoid residential areas that have fewer streetlights.

Whilst Tulum, like any other place, has its spats of petty crime, it is actually pretty safe. Travellers can get on very well if observing the standard rules of living safely. Get to know the area in the daytime; know the safest route to and from your accommodation; be mindful of your possessions, taking inexpensive items with you; and try to ensure you have a mobile with you in case you get into trouble! Either to call someone, find maps, use as a torch, or pull up a translator app.

Is the water in Tulum safe to drink?

Not unless you want dysentery. Not even the locals drink the water! If you want to maintain your health, avoid tap water and drink only from sealed bottles. When buying a new bottle of water check to see if the seal is in tact.

It pays to be cautious, and this also applies to the ice-cubes in your drink, and the water that is used to wash and prepare uncooked fruits and vegetables. If you learn no other Spanish, find out the phrase for “have you used bottled water to wash this?”

Bathroom, however, are usually safe. Most people use tap water to wash hands and brush teeth. This is fine, so long as you don’t swallow too much of the water. The same goes in the shower.

Protect your money from pickpockets!

Keeping your money safe from theft and pickpockets is essential when traveling on the road.

A Travel Safety Belt is an effective and affordable way of protecting your notes, cards, and cash.

Is Tulum safe to live?

With all the benefits of this tropical paradise, its gorgeous food and fresh title as the yoga capital of Mexico, it is not surprising that many foreigners want to move here. It has also become popular with digital nomads who have made the world their office. Incredibly, the area has become so popular that the government of Tulum has made Internet access a top priority! There are many broadband providers operating in the area, including beach locations on the coast.

So if you can find a place to call home in Tulum, why not?

Whilst the area has its incidents of crime, both towards tourists and locals, it is an amazingly safe place to live. Expats and locals alike go about their business with little to no issues. Additionally, whilst there has been some cartel related violence in recent years, this is so minor as to be insignificant. It has not affected locals or tourists at all.

taxi in tulum

Are taxis in Tulum safe?

Licensed taxis are everywhere in Tulum. A one-way trip costs from 100-150 pesos (between £3.50 and £5.00), but be sure to negotiate the price before you get in. These are generally safe, but are often very old vehicles so don’t expect luxury!

Whilst licensed taxis are safe and the drivers generally pleasant (especially if you try to speak some Mexican Spanish) there are some things to note. Always ensure you know where you are going—the address of the hostel or hotel, and the route to get there. Taxi drivers often don’t use maps or apps on phones so if they take a wrong turn you can redirect them and save yourself some time. And forgo the anxiety, for that matter.

If you have route maps already loaded on your phone, so much the better!

Drivers can are also very lackadaisical about traveler’s safety. Once they have dropped you off, they want to get back out there and grab more fares. Even if it’s late and you can’t get into your hotel, they wont stick around.

When arriving in Tulum, make sure to arrive between 7am and 10pm. Your new accommodation might say check in is 24hr, but this isn’t always the case.

Arriving in Tulum in daylight hours will make your life far easier. Trust us!

When departing your hostel or hotel, you can always ask the front desk to call a taxi for you and confirm the price. Which can make life a lot easier.

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ruins in tulum
Photo by Etienne Delorieux on Unsplash

Is Tulum, Mexico safe to travel in 2020?

The results are in, and yes! Tulum is a safe place to travel. With the Corona Virus still very much at the forefront of our collective minds, it is worth being careful. But within the generally safe and beautiful area of Tulum, travellers are sure to get the very best of this gorgeous coast right now!

Gorgeous beaches; amazing ancient ruins such as Chichen Itza close by; friendly locals and delicious tacos and ceviche—what is not to love?!

Solo travellers, especially women, can feel at ease here, providing you follow the rules of the road and are vigilant.

  • Arrive in daylight hours
  • Make sure to memorise the address of your accommodation
  • Only take licensed taxis
  • Watch your drink! And don’t accept a drink from people you don’t know
  • Get to know your surroundings, walking only busy and well-lit streets at night

So if you want to experience the untouched, rural charm of this region without vast swathes of tourists getting in your way, now is the time! Not only is Mayor Mas Tah seemingly dedicated to keeping its people safe, the low crime rates and overall friendly atmosphere of the place will help you feel at home right away.

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