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Is Cozumel Safe to Visit in 2024? What Is the Cozumel Mexico Crime Rating?

The first thing that will come to your mind while planning a visit to Cozumel is, “Is Cozumel safe to travel in 2024?” A lot of people love to spend their vacation in this paradise place, as it is known for the best scuba diving hideouts in the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea.

But what about the crime rate? Keep reading and I’ll highlight the latest 2024 safety statistics, and uncover areas you should be careful of. Moreover, I shall also tell you if Cozumel is a cartel-free zone. Let’s dive into it!

Is it Safe to Travel to Cozumel Mexico in 2024 – Key Takeaways

  1. Cartel Violence RiskLOW
  2. Kidnappings RiskLOW
  3. Fraud RiskMEDIUM
  4. Petty Theft RiskLOW
  5. Level of Danger When DrivingLOW
  6. Level of Danger in TaxiLOW
  7. Level of Danger on the BeachLOW
  8. Areas Requiring Extra Caution – Remote island areas, Downtown Cozumel, Overcrowded areas like San Miguel de Cozumel, Beaches at night
  9. Safe Places – East side Cozumel, El Cedral Cozumel, Punta Sur Ecological Beach Park
  10. Crime in Cozumel compared to other cities in Mexico – Rating based on real reviews from travelers and locals according to Numbeo. Crime index meaning: 0-20 is very low, 20-40 is low, 40-60 is moderate, 60-80 is high, and 80-100 is very high.

CITY

STATE

CRIME INDEX

Guerrero

28.92

Cozumel

Quintana Roo

34.21

Jalisco

35.70

Quintana Roo

36.94

Queretaro

37.55

Sinaloa

39.43

Oaxaca

43.19

 Baja California Sur

43.24

Nogales

Sonora

45.39

Nuevo León

48.25

Veracruz

49.20

Guanajuato

50.54

San Miguel de Allende

Guanajuato

50.94

Сhihuahua

55.49

Quintana Roo

55.73

Morelia

Michoacan

56.90

Puebla

58.23

Chihuahua

68.71

Baja California

71.99

U.S. government employees may not travel between cities after dark, may not hail taxis on the street, and must rely on dispatched vehicles, including app-based services like Uber, and regulated taxi stands.US Department of State

Is Cozumel Mexico Safe: Crime Rate in Cozumel

Mexico has been characterized by several negative things, especially regarding safety. However, this is not entirely true. There are a lot of safe destinations and one of them is Cozumel. Petty crime and other violent crimes are low here. Thus, the U.S. State Department hasn’t imposed any restrictions on visitors to this island. However, it has issued a travel advisory to cruise passengers and other travelers to “Exercise Increased Caution.”

Is Cozumel Safe - The U.S. government Travel Advisory
Credit: www.travel.state.gov

The crime index in Cozumel according to Numbeo is 34.21, while the safety index is 65.79. Even though the crime rate here has increased by 67.19% in the last three years, Cozumel is still much safer than other cities in Mexico. So, the increased crime rate should not deter you from visiting this destination. Let’s dive deeper.

Mexico Travel Advisory from The U.S. government
Credit: www.travel.state.gov

1. Cartel Violence Risk – Low

Is Cozumel safe in terms of cartel violence? The short answer is yes. Mexico is known for its many drug cartels. However, the situation in Cozumel is entirely different. Even though the state of Quintana Roo is in a disputed area between the CDS vs CJNG cartels. Drug-related violence is not rampant on the island directly.

Cartel-related Violence Risk in Cozumel
Credit: www.globalguardian.com

There were a few cases, but they are not that common:

  1. In 2023, Cozumel officials confiscated private property linked to marketing illegal substances. Inside, officials found cocaine in powder and solid form.
  2. Another case with illegal substances occurred in 2022 when military police found 13 bricks of cocaine tangled in the sargassum on the east coast of Cozumel. Then, a few days later, they found nine more packages of narcotics.
Important! As a visitor of Cozumel, it’s paramount to exercise vigilance and avoid interacting with drug users and dealers. Saying no to drug offers is the most unassailable option. Also, be conscious of your surroundings and evade any sites with a history of drug-related activities.

2. Kidnappings Risk – Low

Is Cozumel safe, or will you be kidnapped during your trip? Despite Cozumel being the largest island in the Caribbean, you do not have to worry about being kidnapped. Walking alone during the day and at night is safe. According to Numbeo data:

  1. Walking alone during daylight is “very high” in Cozumel, with a safety level of 89.06.
  2. While walking alone during the night is ranked as “high” with a safety of 67.74.

There are harsh penalties when one is found guilty of kidnapping; thus, it deters others from committing such crimes. A good example is a man who was convicted of aggravated kidnapping and sentenced to 50 years.

Note: However, remember to exercise the safety precautions when you visit Cozumel alone. Residents here observe their local culture.

3. Fraud Risk – Moderate

Unfortunately scamming is falls among the most common crimes in Cozumel. Because of this, the US State Department has issued travel advice and encourages tourists to be extra cautious while visiting. The Carnival cruise line chief has warned customers of scams at popular Mexico destinations.

Fraud Risk in Cozumel

There is also a history of locals targeting innocent tourists. To avoid scammers and falling into their trap, you should:

  1. Confirm fare before boarding taxis and public vehicles;
  2. Be careful when dealing with street vendors;
  3. Ensure you have your credit card at all times.

4. Petty Theft Risk – Low

Petty thefts are common in most tourist destinations, and Cozumel is no exception. This mainly includes pickpocketing. Though the mugging crime rate is 32.81, travelers to this tropical paradise are urged to play their part.

Though security cameras are being installed to monitor petty thefts be extra vigilant while boarding cruise ships. Pickpocketing is prevalent in the cruise port due to overcrowding. San Miguel de Cozumel is also crowded, so watch out.

Areas to Be Vigilant of and Exercise Increased Caution While Visiting

Cozumel is a safe destination with no risky destinations on this island. However, you must be cautious in the following areas:

Areas in Cozumel Requiring Caution
  1. Remote island areas: Due to their remoteness, if someone were to attack you, you wouldn’t get immediate help. Ensure you contact someone and tell them your location. Also, carry essentials such as a map, snacks, water, and GPS. Your phone should be fully charged.
  2. Downtown Cozumel: It is famous as most tourists prefer visiting this place; thus, pickpocketing and other petty crimes are prominent.
  3. Overcrowded areas like San Miguel de Cozumel: Petty thefts and pickpocketing are more frequent in crowded areas.
  4. Beaches at night: Unless the beach is well populated, avoid going to the beach. Secluded beaches can be more vulnerable to illegal activities due to their private nature.

Let’s now look at the three common natural disasters in Cozumel.

3 Natural Disasters in Cozumel to Be Prepared For: Cozumel Safety Warning

Before traveling abroad to Cozumel, you must be familiar with the natural disasters you should expect. This way, you can know the steps to take if you encounter one. Here is what you should look out for:

1. Hurricane Season

Hurricanes are common here due to Cozumel’s location: the western Caribbean Sea, within the Atlantic storm belt. Hurricane season is usually between June 1st and November 30th. Be extra careful during August and October as they are the most hectic months.

Cozumel's hurricane season

The 2005 hurricane caused substantial harm to the coral reefs, rainforests, sewage systems, and buildings. The damaging hurricane happened twice.

What normal precautions should you take in case of a hurricane?

  1. Stay in the prescribed shelters and tourist areas set aside by the local authorities until the hurricane ends.
  2. If you plan to visit this beautiful cruise ship destination, consider rescheduling your vacation until the season ends. You can track the hurricane storm at the National Hurricane Service.
  3. Ensure you prepare thoroughly and have food, water, flashlights, and clothing throughout the hurricane season.

2. Earthquakes

Due to its location on North America’s tectonic plate, Cozumel experiences relatively small earthquakes. Large earthquakes rarely occur. Mexico experiences around about 30,000 earthquakes per year.

The last earthquake in Cozumel was on 12 June 2023, with a light magnitude of 2.8. with a magnitude of 2.5 to 5.4, they are often felt but only cause minor damage. A magnitude of 2.5 or less is usually not felt but can be recorded by seismograph.

Earthquakes in Cozumel

In case of this natural disaster, you should:

  1. Keep track of the earthquake activity. You can use an online tracker just to be safe.
  2. Stay safe and always be alert. To be on the safe side, download the 911 CDMX app. This gives you a 60-second warning before an earthquake strikes.

3. Volcanoes

Volcanic eruptions can only occur in the Pacific Ring of Fire, far from the island. The Ring of Fire last erupted in 1988 and ended in 1990. Cozumel is considered relatively safe as the area is volcanically inactive.

However, Millions in Mexico have been cautioned to prepare for evacuation as Popocatépetl volcano spews ash. As you enjoy basking in the sandy beaches, ensure you monitor the Pacific’s Ring of Fire volcanic activity on this website.

How Safe Is the Transport System in Cozumel?

Is Cozumel safe when it comes to the transport system? I shall highlight two options below, and then you can decide which is better.

Is Driving in Cozumel Safe? – Low Risk

The safety level of driving in Cozumel is high. This means you can rent a car if you plan to stay longer, exploring the island and the central tourist areas.

Driving in Cozumel

However, take standard caution such as:

  1. Ensure you have a valid U.S. driving license.
  2. International visitors should purchase incident coverage if they intend to use rental cars.
  3. Leave your luggage or valuables well hidden in the rental car if you plan on exiting the car for a while.

So, is Cozumel safe to drive? The answer is yes. There was, however, a report of a deadly crash. To stay safe, you must obey the local authorities and laws and constantly monitor your belongings.

How Safe are the Taxis? – Low Risk

If you plan to stay downtown, the only concern you should have is getting to your accommodation when you land at the Cozumel International Airport (CZM). The government regulates taxis, and you will only pay as low as around $7 to get from the airport to your accommodation.

Taxi in Cozumel

The safety of taxis in Cozumel is exemplary, with a low risk of violent crime. Also, the fact that they are government-regulated minimizes the chance of taxi scams. Please practice the basic precautions while in taxis (ensure you take good care of your belongings and do not let them out of your sight).

Safe Havens to Consider While Visiting Cozumel

Cozumel is a safe destination. Most parts of Cozumel have a low crime rate. There are many locations you can visit and not have to worry about being mugged or robbed. According to Numbeo, the chance of such a crime happening is 32.81%.

Here are some of the safe places you should visit:

The Safest Places in Cozumel Mexico
  1. East side Cozumel: Enjoy the sea life, rock formations, hidden water caves, snorkeling, hatching baby sea turtles, and beach bars/restaurants.
  2. El Cedral Cozumel: It was built around 800 AD, thus making it the oldest Mayan ruin in Cozumel. Visit this place and experience its historic culture.
  3. Punta Sur Ecological Beach Park: There is a famous lighthouse called “Celarain Lighthouse” where you can glimpse the island’s beautiful sites.

Are Cozumel Beaches Safe for Scuba Diving? – Low Risk

The beaches in Cozumel have a high safety rating, meaning you can enjoy the beautiful beaches without worrying. However, you cannot leave your belongings carelessly on the beach and expect they won’t get stolen.

Cozumel's beaches Safety

As the US Department states, most common crimes are preventable. Thus, you should practice increased caution as you visit the beaches, which include:

  1. Playa Mia Grand Beach Resort
  2. Chankanaab Beach Adventure Park
  3. El Cielo
  4. Playa de San Martin
  5. Punta Sur Eco Beach Park

Increased caution means not going too far from the shore while scuba diving. Several incidences have been reported:

  1. One is that of Cameron Donaldson, who was scuba-diving off the coast of Cozumel, Mexico, with his mother and never surfaced.
  2. Also, on January 20, 2023, one scuba diver went for a dive, never to be seen again.
  3. Another accident is that of an American man who died during an ATV accident on the island of Cozumel Tuesday after overturning.

Always pay attention to the flag’s colors as they all have their meanings:

Flag’s colors meanings
  1. Blue — The beach is bacteria-free
  2. Green — Safe to swim
  3. Black — There are deadly conditions thus, you should not swim
  4. Yellow — Swim with utmost caution as the waters are semi-safe
  5. Red — Avoid swimming; dangerous conditions prevail
  6. White — Presence of dangerous animals; swim with caution

It is also worth noting that you should stay away from polluted sandy beaches such as Paradise Beach and Caletita Beach and water unless you want to spend your vacation in a hospital/bed. Common diseases include:

  1. Diarrhea and stomachache
  2. Fever or headache
  3. Vomiting
  4. Nausea
  5. Eye, ear, throat, and nose infections.

Cozumel Basic Safety Precautions to Keep In Mind

In as much as it is safe in Cozumel, there are a few precautions to adhere to if you want your stay to be smooth and memorable. Here is what you should do:

1. Consider investing in travel insurance

You must invest in travel insurance, especially if you plan on renting a car. Accidents can happen at any time; thus, it is vital to be prepared. A report by the statistics office (INEGI) showed that 5.4% of road crashes were a result of drunk driving.

2. Don’t get entangled with the drug business and illegal substances

You can spend as long as 25 years in prison if found guilty of any drug offenses in Mexico. You, as a tourist, should avoid using drugs and other drug-related activities. The rate of people using or dealing drugs is 38.33%.

3. Ask the police to identify themselves and the reason for stopping you

People can pretend to be a police officer only to rob you. You should politely ask the police to identify themselves and why they pulled you over. The rate of people being mugged or robbed, according to Numbeo in Cozumel, is 32.81%. Thus, be extra vigilant not to fall into any trap.

4. Watch local news

You must watch the local news while staying in Cozumel. This way, you will be able to know more about the local surroundings and the weather conditions. Be familiar with the level of crime in the region (currently, it is at 33.06%).

5. Stay away from unsafe locations

Unsafe locations include dimly lit streets, secluded places, and overcrowded locations. The worry of people being attacked is 25.78 %, While the risk of violent crimes such as assault and armed robbery is at.25%.

6. Have an emergency contact on standby

Accidents can happen anytime. Having someone to contact when you need emergency services is crucial. Chances of being subject to a physical attack because of your skin color, ethnic origin, gender, or religion, according to Numbeo, is 12.50%, so it is safe to have someone who can be contacted in such an event. You should have the following numbers on the speed dial:

  • Ambulance – 872-0639
  • Firemen – 987-872-0800
  • Red Cross – 987-872-1058
  • Police – 872-0092
  • Port Office – 987-872-2409, 987-872-0169
  • Emergency – 066
  • State Hospital – 987-872-0611
  • Human Rights – 987-872-4152

7. Be extra careful while on the beach

Cozumel is famous for its beautiful beaches. However, you must be extra careful with your belongings, especially when scuba diving. Avoid sites with black or red flags on the beach, indicating dangerous seas. Wear shoes on the beachfront to minimize injuries from sharp objects.

8. Please do your homework on local laws, and do not break them

Local laws vary in different jurisdictions; thus, it is critical to familiarize yourself with the laws of Cozumel. Some activities are illegal for foreigners in Mexico. These include political activity, driving without insurance, and failing to report a road accident.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is It Safe to Go to Cozumel Mexico Right Now?

Yes, it is safe to go to Cozumel, Mexico, right now. It is among the safest Mexican islands, with a low crime index of 34.57%.

Is Cozumel Safer Than Cancun?

Yes, Cozumel is safer than Cancun. According to Numbeo, the crime Index of Cancun is 55.73%, while that of Cozumel is 34.21%. The safety index, on the other hand, is 44.27% in Cancun and 65.79% in Cozumel.

Is It Safe to Go off Resort in Cozumel?

Yes, it is safe to go off the resort in Cozumel. The safety situation is nothing you should be worried about because Cozumel is considered among the safest tourist destinations on the Mexican island.

Can You Drink Water in Cozumel?

​Do not drink tap water in Cozumel; it is unsafe for human consumption because it contains harmful bacteria and other contaminants. Instead of tap water, drink purified water, which most restaurants and hotels provide.

Conclusion

To sum things up and answer the question, is it safe to travel to Cozumel, Mexico? The answer is Yes, it is safe to visit Cozumel. The safety index, according to Numbeo, is 65.79. You can take advantage of it and visit safe havens like East Side Cozumel, El Cedral Cozumel, and Punta Sur Ecological Beach Park.

The crime index, on the other hand, is pretty low, at 34.57%. I cannot say some locations are unsafe, but you should be vigilant on remote islands, secluded beaches, cruise ports, and overcrowded places like San Miguel de Cozumel.