Travel Log

Cozumel is Generally a Safe Travel Destination

Cozumel is a popular spot for tourists.

Cozumel isn’t just one of the safest travel destinations in Mexico. Death rates show that Cozumel is actually one of the safest travel destinations in the world.

Note that for years I traveled to Mexico on business, sometimes, weekly, and it became a habit to check safety advisories. U.S. Mexico travel advisories are primarily concerned with border towns and urban regions.

I pay attention to what U.S. government employee restrictions are. Although I can’t say this about most of Mexico, currently there are no restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees in Quintana Roo state, which include tourist areas in: Cancun, Cozumel, Isla Mujeres, Playa del Carmen, Tulum, and the Riviera Maya.

When it comes to safety, geography plays to Cozumel’s advantage. The only two ways on or off the island are by taking a ferry from or to Playa del Carmen, and  the high security of the Cozumel International Airport where everything is screened at the origin, sniff dogs and x-rays at the airport.

News about rising crime in Cancun and the Yucatan coast don’t impact much in Cozumel. Knowing that it costs more than a typical day’s wages to take the ferry over here and another day’s work to get back keeps the riff-raff down.

Cozumel is a small island off the coast of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. Popular with divers, day-trippers from the mainland and cruise ship passengers, Cozumel is teeming with tourist attractions and services.

Visitors flock there to swim with dolphins, shop for souvenirs and sunbathe on the island’s many beaches. By following a few common-sense strategies for safety, travelers can enjoy a pleasant, worry-free visit to the island.

Relax

When traveling in Cozumel, don’t spend all of your time worrying about safety. Keep in mind that the crime rate here is lower than in most large cities around the world, and the likelihood of violent crime is low.

A tourist police force patrols the island, and its priority is to maintain safe streets to attract visitors.  Don’t try to buy pot in Cozumel unless you are prepared to go directly to Jail.  Possession of any contraband is not tolerated.

Be Careful in Crowds

As with any popular tourist destination, Cozumel has its share of pickpockets and petty thieves. They tend to work in crowds, where there are many distractions and the likelihood of detection is low.

“You will feel safe walking along the waterfront on the main street,” a travel advisor told me. “This is not to say the island is crime free. House robberies are a fact of life for those that don’t spend some time paying attention to home security. And there have been some purse snatching of late — a small gang of youths on moped. But incidents like this are still big news in the local newspapers which shows you how infrequently they happen in the large scheme of things.”

When traveling on Cozumel, be alert when moving among crowds of tourists, particularly groups from cruise ships that dock at the island.

In a crowd, keep your wallet and phone in a front pocket, preferably one with a button or zipper. Women should keep a tight hold on their purses or wear messenger-style bags across the body with the bag in front.

Watch Alcohol Consumption

Cozumel’s many bars are a popular attraction for visitors. Avoid over-indulging to ensure that you have your wits about you when it comes time to return to your hotel, cruise ship or the mainland. This is particularly true for travelers who have rented vehicles or scooters to get around the island; never attempt to drive after you have been drinking.

Understand Water Conditions

Swimming and diving are big draws for visitors to Cozumel. Before you head for the sea, ask your hotel clerk about safe spots.

Storms can come up suddenly on the island, forming dangerous riptides; head back to the beach if waves get higher or the wind picks up while you’re on or in the water.

Female Travelers

Women, particularly those traveling alone, are advised to be extra cautious when visiting Cozumel.

While the local people are generally friendly and non-threatening, there have been several instances of men preying on female tourists.

Be cautious when drinking, try not to walk alone at night in deserted back streets and never go places alone with someone you don’t know.

Don’t Drink Tap Water

Check to make sure, but most vacation rentals provide bottled water in 5 gallon water cooler jugs and some hotels provide small bottles daily. You should drink that.

This water is made via osmosis and tastes good. It isn’t salty and hard like the tap water.

Before I traveled routinely to Mexico, I heard locals were ‘immune’ to tap water. That’s not true. Most residents and locals I met also drink bottled water. Usually this is what’s served in restaurants and it’s what they use to make ice.

This is why you won’t automatically be given a big glass of water when you sit down at most restaurants there. It costs them a little money for that water–it doesn’t come from the tap.

I never brush my teeth with the tap water. Good advice includes not running shower water over your face and into your mouth.

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