Is Yucatan safe for travel in 2023?
If you’ve been wondering how safe is it to travel to Yucatan, you’ve come to the right place! In this post, you’ll learn important facts about crime rates, taxi safety, and solo female traveler safety in the state of Yucatan.
We’ll also share the best Mexico safety tips to keep you secure and having a blast during your trip. And the best part? This post comes from a local’s perspective – from our friend Isabella from Let’s Travel to Cancun and Let’s Travel to Mexico.
One note before we begin: This post is about safety in Yucatan state, not in the entire Yucatan Peninsula.
What’s the difference, you ask? Well, the Yucatan Peninsula is a large landmass that separates the Caribbean Sea from the Gulf of Mexico.
You can find three different Mexican states within the peninsula (Yucatan, Quintana Roo, and Campeche states) as well as most of Belize, and parts of Guatemala.
The Yucatan state, on the other hand, occupies just one part of the peninsula. It is a roughly triangular territory at the top of the Yucatán Peninsula that boasts many fabulous destinations.
Here you’ll find amazing Mayan ruins (including Chichén Itza and Ek Balam), colonial cities, fabulous cenotes, and much more.
But is the Yucatan safe? Let’s find out!
Is Yucatan Safe?
Yes! The state of the Yucatan is one of the safest in all of Mexico. According to the Yucatan Times, this federal district was ranked among the four states with the lowest crime rates in Mexico.
In fact, the capital, Mérida, is the second safest city in all of the Americas. You can’t get much better than that!
At the time of writing, the State Department has no travel advisories or restrictions on Yucatan state. It advises to “exercise normal precautions.”
Of course, you should always use common sense and safety precautions no matter where you travel. You are still in a foreign country, so there are things you should keep in mind before and during your trip. I’ll talk in more detail about that later.
For now, let’s drill down deeper on the question, “Is it safe to travel to Yucatan?”
Is Yucatan Safe For Solo Female Travelers?
Yes, Yucatan is reasonably safe for solo female travelers. According to a December 2022 article, the state has the second lowest incidence of femicides in Mexico.
However, in a 2016 National Survey on the Dynamics of Household Relationships, Yucatán ranked sixth highest of the 32 states for women reporting violence. This included physical, sexual, and emotional violence.
As with all of life, there are no 100% guarantees. Use your intuition, avoid less-safe parts of the state, and avoid being out alone at night.
If you go out on the town, take an Uber or registered taxi back to your hotel. Stay aware of your surroundings, and follow the safety precautions listed in a later section of this post.
Personally, I lived in Merida for a few months and drove around the state many times in search of hidden cenotes, caves, ancient ruins, and local villages, and I have never felt so safe.
I also invite you to learn some Spanish and practice it with the locals. They will love to help you out and share their best-kept secrets in Yucatan.
Are Taxis Safe In Yucatan?
In general, yes! However, avoid just catching a cab on the street. Instead, ask your hotel for the number of a trusted taxi driver or taxi company (or have them call for you).
Some taxi drivers try to price-gouge tourists, including by rigging their meters. That’s why using a trusted company is best.
Uber is also a good option in Mérida, Yucatán, and may be more convenient than a taxi.
Some travelers prefer to travel by bus. ADO is a reliable long-distance bus company that can easily get you between major points of interest. Solo female travelers may feel more comfortable on the bus due to the presence of other passengers.
Safest Way To Get To Cancun From Yucatan
Getting to Cancun from Yucatan is very safe no matter which means of transportation you use. If you prefer private transportation, you may want to go for a private shuttle rather than a taxi.
Remember that Uber is available from Merida to Cancun but there is no Uber in Cancun to get you to Merida.
The cheapest and yet most convenient way is by using the ADO bus. It’s very comfortable and safe. Just keep your documents handy because sometimes the immigration officers stop the buses to do random checks.
Tip: Although there is an international airport in Merida, there are more international flights to Cancun. You may prefer to fly to Cancun, and then travel by land to Merida. If you want to learn more in detail how to get from Cancun to Mérida, I’ve got you covered as well.
Where Is Yucatan, Mexico?
Yucatan state is located in southeastern Mexico, in the northern part of the Yucatan Peninsula. It borders the state of Campeche in the southwest, Quintana Roo in the southeast, and the Gulf of Mexico to the north and west.
The Yucatan Peninsula itself is a large peninsula that separates the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico. It contains the three Mexican states mentioned above, as well as a large section of Belize and part of Guatemala.
What’s The Crime Rate In Yucatan, Mexico?
According to a Mexico Government report from November 2022, Yucatan experiences the lowest kidnapping, extortion, vehicle theft, and intentional homicide rates in the country, the third lowest rate for transportation robbery, and the sixth lowest for home robbery.
Yucatan has had consistently low crime rates across Mexico. For example, it ranked among the four states with the lowest crime rates in 2021.
Safest Places To Visit In Yucatan
Mérida is one of the top safest places to visit in Yucatan state. In fact, it was ranked the second safest city in ALL of the Americas, including Canada, USA, Central America, and South America.
But Mérida is more than safe; it’s interesting too.
The city has plenty to offer, including walking tours, museums, art galleries, shops, and restaurants. The architecture is old colonial, with many beautiful mansions lining the streets. Most have now been converted into gorgeous restaurants, galleries, and museums.
Enjoy nightlife in the old city, eat lots of delicious street food, or take Spanish classes at one of the many language schools.
There are many cute hotels in Merida, situated in old mansions that have been refurbished and turned into beautiful lodgings that blend the old colonial feel with modern amenities.
Another must-see and safe stop in Yucatan is the ruins of Chichen Itza. This famous Mayan site receives thousands of visitors every day. Aside from the masses of aggressive vendors hawking their wares, Chichen Itza is safe to visit.
🌴Haciendas of Yucatan
If you’re looking for an incredible experience, consider visiting one of the state’s many “haciendas.” The fabulous mansions were constructed during the green-gold era of colonial times. Many were built by famed Spanish architects, but using rare white stones from ancient Mayan cities.
What Places Should You Avoid?
There are a few places in Yucatan that aren’t as safe as others. You can always ask a local for advice about where to go and where to avoid it.
However, as a rule of thumb, avoid going to South Merida (the area south of the Merida International Airport). It is considered the least safe section of the city.
Also, when you visit the Mercado Lucas de Galvez in downtown Mérida, watch out for pickpockets.
If you’re out at night, it is best to take an Uber home rather than walk.
Best Mexico Safety Tips From A Local
In addition to the above-mentioned tips for driving, follow these tips and recommendations in order to keep yourself and your belongings as safe as possible while you are traveling in Mexico and the Yucatan.
✅ Bring a copy of your passport and credit cards
If your passport or credit cards were to get lost or stolen, having a copy on hand (and/or pictures on your cell phone) would be very handy.
Tip: Also keep an eye on your credit card transactions so you can catch any questionable activity and take quick action.
✅ Bring cash for emergencies
It’s a good idea to have an emergency fund in cash. If something unexpected happens, especially a medical emergency, you may need cash in order to get medical attention.
✅ Leave your “bling” at home
Since there is a large dichotomy between how wealthy tourists are compared to locals, pickpockets and petty theft can be a problem.
Avoid tempting fate by leaving expensive jewelry, watches, and unnecessary electronics at home.
✅ Make use of the hotel safe & a money belt
Taking some valuables on your vacation is unavoidable, but there is no reason to carry all of that with you when you are out and about. Instead, leave your valuables in a safe in your hotel room. This can include your passport, extra cash, and expensive electronics.
✅ Use trusted taxis only
I recommend only using trusted taxi drivers or taxi companies. If possible, ask for a recommendation from your hotel. Alternatively, use Uber or, even cheaper, DIDI. Both are available in Merida only, though.
Taxi drivers don’t have meters but they are supposed to show you a sort of official pricing list.
It’s important that you establish the rate before using the taxi, in order to avoid misunderstandings.
✅ Drink responsibly & zero drugs
Getting drunk in Mexico is bad because it will make you more of a target. It will also make you less aware and less capable of keeping yourself safe.
If you plan to drink heavily, do so in a trusted location (such as your hotel room), or arrange for a close friend to stay with you and watch out for you.
✅ Never leave food & drinks unattended
Drink spiking is unfortunately common in Mexico, so it is best to never leave your drinks unattended. If you need to, take it into the bathroom with you.
Don’t accept drinks from anyone you don’t know or trust very well, no matter how attractive or friendly they may seem.
Conclusion: Safety In Yucatan, Mexico
As you can see, Yucatan is overall a very safe state to visit in Mexico. It has low crime rates and many wonderful tourist destinations to enjoy. Explore Mayan ruins, swim in mystical cenotes, explore the yellow city of Izamal, or the colonial streets of Valladolid.
Now that you’re equipped with important information and safety tips, I hope you will feel safe traveling around Yucatan and enjoying all that this beautiful Mexican state has to offer!