Is Cozumel Safe? (2023 Safety Guide)

Is Cozumel safe? Learn more about how you can avoid scams and petty crime in Cozumel and have the safest, most memorable trip ever.

The biodiversity and stunning beaches of Cozumel attract millions of tourists and cruise passengers to this island each year. It is located just an hour away from Cancun, one of the most iconic destinations in all of México.

If you are not a big fan of the crowds in Cancun but you still want to explore the beauty of the Caribbean and the Riviera Maya, Cozumel is always a great option.

Cozumel offers a wide variety of fun activities and tours including scuba diving, snorkeling, swimming with dolphins and exploration of ancient ruins.

This Cozumel safety guide is designed to help you better understand the current situation in Cozumel and how you can make your trip fun, safe and one that you’ll never forget.

Table of Contents

Is it safe to go to Cozumel in 2023?

Yes, Cozumel is very safe and happens to be one of the safer destinations in all of Mexico despite the not so great reputation that its neighbor Cancun has garnered over the course of the last few years due to narco related crime and violence.

While there is a reasonable police presence on the island, Navy soldiers and the Marine Corps have been sent to the area in order to calm the nerves of visitors who were a little skeptical on traveling to Cozumel.

There have been no major crime or gang-related incidents in Cozumel, and the crime rate in general is very low. Cozumel is safe to travel during all hours of the day, and is even considered to be very safe for females traveling alone. 

There are a few places tourists need to stay away from, but the neighborhoods and people are friendly and will guide you towards safety in case a problematic situation arises.

Is Cancun safer than Cozumel?

Both Cancun and Cozumel are relatively safe tourist destinations but Cozumel is the safer option. With the crime rate in Cozumel being in the low 30s, and that of Cancun being in the 60s, Cozumel is much safer statistically speaking.

There are no major criminal activities as there are no drug-cartel or gang-related issues on this island. Tourists love the area, so the locals are very welcoming.

At the end of the day when it comes to deciding on Cancun vs Cozumel, Cozumel is a safer, quieter and more laid back destination as a whole.

Is it safe to travel from Cancun to Cozumel?

Yes, it is absolutely safe to travel from Cancun to Cozumel. The Cozumel Airport is located approximately 86 km from the Cancun Airport and offers safe, reliable and professional transportation from the Cozumel International Airport to all destinations on the island.

Most visitors planning to visit Cozumel end up booking transportation from Cancun to Cozumel which involves a transfer from Cancun Airport to Playa del Carmen and then a ferry from Playa del Carmen to Cozumel. The whole process takes approximately 2 hours or so.

Are taxis safe in Cozumel?

All taxis in Cozumel are registered, and completely safe. For the most part, the taxistas are friendly and bilingual, although you must exercise caution as there are always bad apples that can ruin your vacation if you’re not careful.

The only scam you may face from taxi drivers is that they overcharge you for rides. This can be avoided if you ask or request a specific price before hopping in the taxi.

Safety tips for Cozumel

  1. Stay away from contaminated water such as the sources of dirty water, to avoid any illnesses. Use mosquito repellents, drink bottled water and eat properly cooked food to avoid food illnesses. 
  1. Avoid touching wild animals in Cozumel as they can be carriers of diseases. You may also find dangerous sea animals while swimming or snorkeling, so try to stay in groups if you’re planning on spending time in the sea.
  1. Find a partner for snorkeling or scuba diving, as it is very easy to get lost underwater, if you’re not entirely familiar with the area.
  1. You need to be aware of pickpockets and purse-snatchers, especially in crowded areas such as beaches. If you do become a victim of such petty crimes, it’s recommended to report the crime to the tourist police in Cozumel by calling the following number: +52 987 872 0092

Common Scams and Crimes to Avoid in Cozumel?

  1. Avoid dark streets or secluded alleyways. Stay in the well-lit, and vibrant areas of the Island to stay safe from any theft or robbery. Also, try not to walk alone during the night, get a taxi instead.
  1. The most common scam is when the timeshare presenters try to force you into investing in property at major resorts on the island. This is very rarely a good investment and almost always a scam. People have been burned on timeshares for more than 30+ years. Avoid timeshares at all costs and spend your time enjoying everything that Cozumel has to offer. If you are considering an investment into a timeshare in Cozumel, we recommend reading this first.
  1. A picture scam is also common in Cozumel. Random photographers are roaming around and they approach all the tourists and offer to take their pictures. They charge an insanely high price for these pictures, so just say no whenever someone offers to take your picture.
  1. The overcharging taxi fraud is another common scam in Cozumel. The best way to avoid this is to visit the TripAdvisor forums or Cozumel Facebook Groups and ask for taxi recommendations. Usually there will be educated expats who have great taxi recommendations in just about any destination.
  1. Due to a shortage of legitimate bank ATMs, some tourists also fall prey to ATM helper scam. These scammers offer to help you withdraw money from their ATM machine without having to pay any fees. Say no to these people to avoid any banking related scams.

If you keep your wits about you, you’ll have a fun and safe trip in Cozumel. With possibly the lowest crime rates in Mexico, this picturesque region will help you form memories of a lifetime.

Spiritual seekers and adventurous travelers might also enjoy: San Jose del Pacifico: The Most Magical Pueblito in Oaxaca.

Cozumel Travel Video

You might also enjoy: Tulum vs Chichen Itza: Things You Need to Know Before You Visit

ILR Author Bio
About the author

Jay Patton is a serial traveler and adventure seeker, based in Portland, Oregon. He enjoys hiking, running, and traveling the world, and is always on the lookout for the next big adventure.