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Dangers and Safety in Playa Del Carmen

What to look out for

Is Playa Del Carmen Safe? Be careful crossing the street.

Is Playa Del Carmen Safe? What are the dangers and is there crime in Playa Del Carmen that you should be worried about for your vacation? What about as a resident? What is the low down on Playa Del Carmen crime? We tell you everything you need to know here so you can have a safe time living in or traveling to Playa Del Carmen.

Is Playa Del Carmen Safe to visit?

First off let us warn you, this is going to be a boring article. If you are expecting some juicy details of the underbelly of Playa Del Carmen and stories of crime and punishment, you will be disappointed. The truth is, Playa Del Carmen, Mexico is a very safe place especially compared to other tourist destinations or even where you might live.

But Playa Del Carmen is in Mexico?

Mexico in general gets a bad reputation for crime. The first thing to remember is, Mexico is a big country and what is actually the truth may be different from exaggerated or focused reporting.

For example, if something happens on the east coast of the United States do people cancel their trips to the west coast? Or if something happens in the north of Europe do people cancel their sunny vacations in Spain? No, not at all!  That is because in both examples these places are large and localized events do not effect most other places that are so far a way.

Most of the violence you may have read about or seen on TV is in isolated pockets of Mexico, far away from the Yucatan Peninsula and Playa Del Carmen.

Mexican News and News Papers

The second thing we have to consider are the facts. Here in Mexico the news loves to publish gory stories about car crashes complete with photos and other shocking stories. This is called “yellow news” here. It grabs your attention and has shock value. How many people would read about a family that goes to Mexico on vacation and they had nice sunny days, amazing food and a good time with nothing bad happening? No one really would read it because it is “not news“. Increasingly in other countries media outlets report shocking news to grab attention even if it is a minor thing and a majority of the facts are ignored. Reporters increasingly outsource writings or only jump on the band wagon to write about the current popular topic that sells just to make a profit.

Looking at statistics show that Mexico and even more so, the Yucatan Peninsula is extremely safe.

With this being said, there are always people that will take advantage of other people and crime can happen anywhere. But with a little caution and knowledge, you can eliminate the risk of something happening to you that will distract from your vacation.

So what are the Playa Del Carmen safety issues?

Here are seven things that can affect your safety in Playa Del Carmen.

The crime of paying too much

This is not a major issue since everywhere tourist go, they often pay more for things even without knowing it. Here are some tips on how not to overpay in Playa Del Carmen. There are three aspects we will look at:

  1. Shopping and not paying too much.
  2. Restaurants.
  3. Taxis

How to prevent the crime of paying too much shopping

While shopping, look around. A good rule to have when  traveling is, never buy anything the first day. It is good to see what is out there and what a good price is.

If you are shopping in Playa Del Carmen, bargaining is pretty much not done. But you will say “Hey Mr. Yucatan, I see it all the time”. Yes people pretend to give a discount but they are really just offering the real price. Prices are really fixed here, it is just a matter of knowing what the real price is. Most stores already offer the real price, you get into a little negotiation with smaller street sellers. If things are not marked with a price then often the seller will size up and come up with a price that they think they can ask. Then when you try to get a lower price they might come down. To avoid this just look for items to be priced.

Tip: Most things sold on the street are also found in large tourist shops and they have the prices marked. Actually it is the law in Mexico to have prices on all items. Profeco, the consumer protection in Mexico does visit stores on 5th Avenue and all of Playa Del Carmen to make sure consumers are getting a fair deal. When it comes to street sellers or things lining the sidewalk, it can be harder to inforce the laws. So it is best to goin a store with marked prices. You should never have to ask the price.

How to prevent the crime of getting ripped off at a restaurant

Restaurants especially along 5th Avenue can be tricky with the check (bill). It is not a major problem but just examine the bill to make sure an extra charge is not in there.
It is a law in Mexico that the advertised price is the price charged and no taxes, tip or fees should be added. This applies to restaurant menus.

5 things to do so you are not overcharged at a restaurant

  1. Some places will add in a tip and you might end up tipping twice which can add up if you have a large group or went out for a nice dinner. It is illegal to add a tip to the bill in Mexico. Even though it is, places sneak it on and can switch the printer to add it in at times.
  2. Add up the math, even if all the menu items looked to be charged correctly, the adding up can be more then it is supposed to be. Use your smart phone calculator to check the math. For example $120 peso plate of food plus a $40 peso drink should cost $160 peso. But an unscrupulous waiter might right it up and say $180 pesos.
  3. Check those two for one drink specials, did they charge you for two or one on the check?
  4. Always know the price of what you are getting before you order. There is a saying “if you have to ask the price you cannot afford it“, that certainly does not apply here. Those specials may sound good, but make sure it is not special just because they are charging you a special price for it when you get the bill.
  5. And last of all, if there is some question about the bill, ask. Even if your waiter does not speak English, someone should at a restaurant on 5th Avenue and it is probably an excuse not to correct it by playing dumb and not understanding what you are asking about. Of course there may be a rare instances where there is a communication problem and this does not excuse rude behavior or being belligerent. You may have to chalk it up to being in a foreign country and not knowing the language.

The Playa Del Carmen crime of charging too much in a taxi

The last aspect is taxis. Taxis in all countries get a reputation for their schemes and over charging people. Here in Playa there are no meters but a chart of rates based on the area you are going to and from. Check out our taxi information in the Tourist information here on our website for a chart. If you don’t know the price and ask, usually you will get 5 pesos added on or more if you sound like you don’t know but at least you can decide if you want to pay it before you get in.

At night when you might have been out drinking, taxi drivers can ask or say an even higher price. Not all taxi drivers do this and in general, just knowing the price helps to avoid paying more for the cab. Just for reference only about 12% of drivers speak good English. So be prepared with some Spanish. At least know your destination in Spanish or Hotel name. Taxi drivers usually do know numbers in English if that is the only English they know.

Tip: Taxis hailed on the street are cheaper from taxi stands. They really are the same taxis, they are just more convienent at taxi stands.

The Playa Del Carmen dangers of crossing the street

Yes this can be a safety issue. We see tourist all the time jay walking and thinking they have the right away while crossing a busy street.

Not all intersections are four way stops and traffic flows at different speed and there are drivers with all levels of skills on the road. Taxi drivers are notorious for driving fast to get to the next fare and with an influx of people moving to Playa Del Carmen from other parts of Mexico, drivers here are sometimes just as unfamiliar with the local road rules as a tourist. Watch out and don’t count on cars to watch out for you.

There are raised crosswalks that can be found on 10th Avenue, Juarez, 30th Avenue and a few other streets. Technically if you are walking here, traffic has to stop for you, but again, there is a lot of distractions while driving and you need to look out for traffic to make sure they are stopping.

Safety in Playa Del Carmen concerning drinking

As mentioned above in the taxi section, being tipsy can make you a target of someone wanting to take advantage of you. Here are some of the Playa Del Carmen dangers that lurk at night. This is important to read if you are going out.

Playa Del Carmen safety issues with prostitutes

Late at night and around clubs, sometimes there are women or transsexuals that are very charming and compliment you (mainly doing this to male tourist). Some are very touchy feely and while touching you they snag your wallet. They are less interested in having sex and more interested in earning a quick dollar even quicker. Just be more alert at night and buddy up with someone because walking around late at night after drinking can make you a target.

The police are aware of this problem and do patrol at night but the prostitutes walk away when the police come around and blend in. So this problem is not going away anytime soon.  Don’t approach these “ladies” and don’t allow them to touch you. You can brush their  hands ways if they get close. Be firm and just say no.

Is Playa Del Carmen safe concerning drugs?

Drugs are not a problem in Playa Del Carmen, it is the tourist that take them! If you plan on coming to Playa Del Carmen to party with drugs you should know that this is going to put you are risk for problems, mainly you doing something to harm yourself.

What has happened to tourist in the past

There are several well known examples of tourist taking drugs and getting paranoid and running off into the woods. Only to be found days later practically dehydrated and thousands of dollars spent trying to find them. Some of the worst stories of tourist having problems is because drugs were involved. Club owners and authorities work hard to deal with partying people and are usually overly tolerant to make sure people have a good time but at the same time you will be removed from clubs if caught taking drugs or causing any problem. The moral of the story is have a good time but don’t take things you don’t know what it is or don’t do drugs.

Going clubbing? Take a friend

Also if you go out to party hard in one of the many clubs, it is good to be with friends. In very rare instances there have been allegations of being slipped some drugs. Usually this involves a single person and some romantic interest. This type of things can happen anywhere in the world where there are large clubs. It is not something to be paranoid about but just aware of.

You should note this article to know what happens in Mexico when you are arrested for drunken and disorderly behavior or worse, involved in drugs. This is an article about the U.S Consular Agency in Playa Del Carmen. this article talks about services for U.S. citizens but also talks about what happens when you get into trouble here.

Tip: It is good to go out with friends and take your cell phone with you so if you get separated you can contact each other. Have a plan to meet at a certain place and time if you get separated. Have at least enough cash to take a taxi home if you are alone. Or just plan on going to one club so even if you get separated you can find each other.

Playa Del Carmen Nightlife, Night time, clubs

Packed 12th Street full of people looking to dance the night away.

Is Playa Del Camren safe for theft in your hotel room?

As with most tourist destinations, theft from rooms happens and there is not much you can do about it AFTER it happens. So here is what you can do about it BEFORE so it may not happen. Theft is not a big issue in Playa Del Carmen but it does not hurt to adhere to these tips.

  • Keep organized, you may be missing things because you brought so much stuff and spread it all over the place that you cannot find anything.
  • You can request maid service only when you need it. Having people come into your room everyday increases your risk. Do you really need your bed made or towels changed everyday? Not only are you saving energy and the environment, you are also saving work from people that work hard each day serving the tourist trade. Perhaps just catch the maid service in the hall and ask for new towels if you need them rather then have them come in and replace them. Use the do not disturb sign when you don’t want maid service or tell the maids in the hall.
  • Use the safe. It is there for your valuables. If your room does not have one, lock your suitcases, this lowers your risk of having items taken.
  • Be courteous and polite to staff. We should all do this anyways, but having a good relationship with people even if only for a few days, it can go a long way and gain you more respect. People are less likely to steal from you when you are know from being nice, not always, but it helps.

Security at large hotels for theft prevention

It should be noted that if you stay at a large resort, they are looking out for you. Many people don’t realize just how much security is going on while you are lounging by the pool. This is an advantage of staying at a large resort as opposed to a smaller hotel.

Often at employees entrances, everyone has to show ID, and when leaving go through metal detectors, open purses and no outside guest are allowed. Security cameras are all around even if you do not see them and resorts are very strict on outside guest or even staff in guest rooms or near them if there job does not entail it. All of this helps reduce issues, but still being alert helps go even further.

It is good to know that large resorts have this security in place and if something goes missing, you should report it as soon as you can, because security can see what they do. With decent security in place at resorts, larger items are very hard to steal. It is smaller things that you should keep on you or locked up in a safety box.

Is Playa Del Carmen Safe

Safety in Playa Del Carmen while driving

 Driving within Playa Del Carmen is safe but there are a few cautionary things to watch for. It can be hard to drive in a foreign country and have a lot of different distractions. Driving in the city of Playa Del Carmen can be more distracting then when you get on the highway and are in other locations. Here are some things to watch for to keep you more safe.

  • Not all intersections are the same, some are two way stops and other are four way stops. Sometimes it is hard to see a stop sign. You have to make sure you know the traffic flow for you and watch out for other people coming from the other streets as well. Sometimes people run through intersections even though they have a stop sign.
  • Watch for mopeds and motorcycles. A lot of accidents involve them. Usually they are not at fault. Because they are smaller and less visible, people often pull out or cross an intersection and an accident occurs. It is also the case that moped and motorcycles are less respected on the road and people in vehicles can be more aggressive.
  • Watch for pedestrians and other tourist because people cross the street often not at designated crosswalks.

Usually most tourist do not need to drive much in town except when leaving for a day trip. Just be cautious and take your time so you can safely enjoy your drive.

We hope we answered the question of safety in Playa Del Carmen

So there you have it, the 5 common dangers in Playa Del Carmen that tourist encounter. With a little savvy you can avoid over paying, know with confidence how much to pay in the taxi, keep your belongings a little safer in your hotel, be cautious at night if you so choose to go out and be careful while driving on the streets.

We hope this article gives you piece of mind about Playa Del Carmen safety. Just to note, in all our time here in Playa Del Carmen, we have only had minor issues at restaurants and we have had it corrected, one taxi driver tried to charge double, which he did not get away with, and nothing else bad happen. So now, go enjoy your vacation!

If you are going to be staying in Playa Del Carmen for an extended period of time or as a resident, you will want to read our article on crime and issues that affect residents here.

Make sure you see all our other Great Guides to Playa Del Carmen!!! We have over 30 different guides to help you find the best of Playa Del Carmen and have a great vacation!!!

65 Comments on Dangers and Safety in Playa Del Carmen

  1. truth is golden // April 1, 2016 at 7:21 PM // Reply

    Here is the truth…this article is 90% false. The taxis in Playa are the biggest rip off. The locals pay one price you pay another. The quote the tourists in dollars not peso. All the taxis that are hanging off of Quinta Avenida are going to rip you off. The merchants on Quinta Avenida especially the gift shops beware you will pay double or triple for something you can find in Walmart. The problem is that the people enjoy getting ripped of since only 2% might understand the exchange and and to be honest do not care. They are on vacation and act like stupid fools. So let them all get ripped off the deserve to be. If you live in Playa the way I do it upsets you to see how stupid tourists really are.

    • Mr.Yucatan // April 1, 2016 at 8:06 PM // Reply

      Thank you for your comments. It is always good to hear many angles and opinions. We are however confused with how you arrived at 90% incorrect in the article since we do warn people about scams and try to inform an educate tourist about the correct prices to pay so they can avoid being scammed by taxi drivers that want to overcharge. Also if you read our other articles about scams and safety we talk about the issue with taxis and in other articles we steer people to some of the better gift stores that sell authentic gifts with reasonable prices. We are always trying to promote the better things of Playa and educate visitors about Playa so they can make the best decisions on what they want to do and where they want to go.

  2. Tell the true please! Your article is not the reallity and a lot of peoples know that now. Its verry dangerous. A lot of drugs, cartel, crime and violence.

    They hate white peoples. They think that we are a cash machine. Its totaly crazy. I know that you gonna not publish my comment, cause it gonna be verry bad for the turista! 😉

    Peoples know. Just saying.

    • Mr.Yucatan // June 8, 2016 at 5:53 AM // Reply

      We like hear from people and their opinion. We here at are not here to promote tourism, but to tell people about life here and what it is like. We think that most people reading your comments can take away what they need from it. We do say that we have to disagree with you on most of what you have said. Most people do know there are drugs and that goes hand in hand with tourist. Most of the issue is due to the simple fact that some tourist like to go on vacation and take drugs. We would venture and say that 90% of the drugs taken are by tourist. Most people would also agree that almost anywhere in the world there are drug cartels, so this is nothing our of the ordinary here. Is there a lot of crime and violence? We have to disagree with you there because we live her and know thousands of people here that would agree.
      Your second point of Mexican hating white people, we have to say this is a blanket statement and generalization that simply is not true. Your statement that some Mexicans look at tourist as cash machines, well this is true to some degree. In some of the touristy areas like 5th Avenue, some will try to get money our of tourist, but, it is by lying about a product or price and just trying to make a quick peso. Yes, there are some slimy people, but the majority are not. At least some not so desirable people try to scam money out of people rather then use violence. We have never heard of pickpocketing or muggings on 5th Avenue, they most symbolic place for tourist coming to Playa Del Carmen. We are not here to promote tourism, we are here to write about what life is like here and what vacationing offers to people coming here. We do mention things that people should be mindful of, like the article above, and we also have articles about scams people should avoid. But over all we feel the above article states the true conditions of dangers and safety in Playa Del Camren. We update this also if there are any trends emerging.

      • What a ridiculous post by someone I can only presume is trying to cause panic. Having lived in playa for 8 years and as white as a milk bottle I can tell you that this comment is so far off the mark it’s cringing. The people are lovely in general and the only thing they are doing is selling goods for a bit more than that are worth like any tourist attraction in the world. Are you telling me that the stalls in Disneyland are not rippin people off, come on.
        Taxis do charge more yes, but these are only the ones on fifth avenue and this is only because they have to pay more for a license to work in that area, but they are set prices. You will pay less if you walk up a few blocks but there is no scam
        The further we get into your post the more I’m not sure you actually live here, ive never seen guys even fighting (although it must happen) outside a bar nevermind anything worse. Yes you will get asked if you want to buy drugs at some point, but it’s never forced upon you, and they are on fifth avenue only because guess what it’s only the tourists that want them. Don’t know a Mexican that takes any class A drugs.
        I wish your childish comment had been deleted so I didn’t have to waste my time writing this.

    • If you want to be safe and not get sick on any food I highly recommend the only place on this planet ITALY. Best food and wonderful people. Stay away from Mexico unless you are a glutton for punishment.

    • Hello I am coming to Playa in March with my husband and 3 children,,, we have been so excite and now after the recent shooting we are so are things right now.

      • Hello Cora

        If you have seen our article about the recent club shooting you might notice that this was not a random act of violence and not targeted at tourist. In our article on safety you will also notice that most of the issues with crime nd safety are related to going out, getting drunk, or clubbing. We doubt you will be doing that with your three kids. Most everyone is back to their daily life or vacations now. Most everyone realizes that this type of event happens in correlation with nightclubs anywhere in the world. This is the first such event to happen here in Playa Del Carmen in as many years as we remember. So overall Playa Del Carmen and the Riviera Maya remain much safer than many US or Canadian cities. We hope you feel comforted by what we have said. Yes there was initial shock over the violent crime, but as things are unfolding, we can see this was an isolated incident.

  3. Nicolas Milford // June 21, 2016 at 5:25 PM // Reply

    Playa del Carmen seems pretty safe. I guess the real dangers are at night then and the tourist that get drunk and use drugs. I tend to avoid that and stay safe when traveling. It eliminates a lot of problems.

  4. vickie bibb // June 22, 2016 at 10:40 AM // Reply

    I am going to be in playa del Carmen July 28th I am excited and as with any where you go you got to be vigilant. even here at home if you get drunk in public there will probably be some one there to take advantage. we enjoy the amenities at the hotel and really enjoy learning about the other cultures and are looking forward to a relaxing vacation that I am sure we will enjoy!!!

    • Mr.Yucatan // June 23, 2016 at 1:58 AM // Reply

      Yes Vickie you comments are very true about safety anywhere you go. About 80% of the dangers can be eliminated if you are not getting drunk or doing drugs. Unfortunately it is popular to do these on vacation for some and then people are surprised when they get out of control or in trouble. We just did an interview with the U.S. Consular Agency here in Playa Del Camren and they mentioned what happens when you get arrested for drunken public behavior. We feel sorry for he police that have to deal with drunk tourist often. We hope you have a great vacation coming down and are glad to report you should have a nice safe time here in Playa Del Carmen and you don’t have to worry any more then where you live.

  5. Carmen Rodriguez // July 4, 2016 at 11:11 AM // Reply

    interesting how one person sees things one way and another sees it totally different ….
    Mr.Yucatan sees playa de carmen as a non violent place where as Alison sees it as a very dangerous place .
    and even more interesting is you both live there …..I wonder who is correct?

    • Mr.Yucatan // July 4, 2016 at 3:26 PM // Reply

      You must be referring to the commenter below names Alison. We welcome people to express their views. If it was how Alison described then there would be a mass exodus from the city. The plain truth is that is not happening. If someone feel the way she does, they are welcome to move away or leave and search for where they feel it is safer or better. We are not the tourism board and would have not point to lie about the situation. We want people to enjoy visiting or living in Playa Del Carmen. It would be highly unethical if it really was a dangerous place to promote people to come on vacation or to live. The truth is there are thousands of foreigners living in Playa Del Carmen that enjoy it and deem it safe. Most of the foreigners have the means to live most places in the world and certainly can afford to leave it is bad. Hundreds of thousands of tourist come every year and many are return visitors and feel no need to avoid it. So the evidence speaks for itself.

  6. I am commenting to say I was just in Playa Del Carmen and felt very safe. I was wondering what it would be like since it was my first time there. I felt better after reading your article and feel it gives an accurate description of how safe things are. I never want to let down my guard and things happen anywhere but I really enjoyed Playa del Carmen.

  7. I like your review here. I have been to Playa Del Carmen and don’t find it to be dangerous at all. I guess when it is 5am and the clubs let our there are drunks around and sometimes people looking to take advantage of drunk people like pickpocketing. Most things can be avoided. Usually the ones that get in trouble were part of the party.

  8. Patty Menard // July 16, 2016 at 12:01 AM // Reply

    I definitely wanted to write down a simple note to be able to appreciate you for all the amazing guidelines you are posting at this website.
    My daughter is going to Playa del Carmen this week by herself and I was worried about what dangers might be there. It is always hard for moms to let their children go to foreign counties by themselves. I reviewed your article with her and we talked about what to avoid.
    Thanks again for all the details.

  9. I really appreciate your honestly about safety in Playa Del Carmen. I did not know about the prostitutes at night. We have only stayed at al inclusive but realize it is just like anywhere in the world when you have bars and clubs.

  10. For all of you who really wants to know whats going on in Playa, learn some spanish and check the truth on this page. In spite of that, you shuld mostly be safe if you stay in the centre. But be aware that things also happen in safe places like hotel resorts involving employes and even so called securitys.

    • Mr.Yucatan // July 21, 2016 at 1:53 AM // Reply

      Thanks for your post. If you read our Residents Guide to Crime here: We do talk about home break ins. This is one of the more common things that residents need to be aware of. We did not include it in the tourist Dangers and Safety article because this does not really affect tourist. The area mentioned in the article from the paper, Villas del Sol is a large mostly local area on the edge of Playa Del Carmen. It does highlight the feeling that locals have toward theft, and the dislike of it. That is a good thing and a few people that do not have morals cause for concern to people living in Playa Del Carmen.

  11. Thanks for your comments. I know villas del sol its far behind the federal and not the area where expats are gonna live unless they have just 150000 Pesos left for a shoebox house. This is just one article you read. Just check out what only happend in two months! So this is not the only case of muder or torture which tend to happen more and more trough all playa like in the colossio area, in the plaza las americas area, in the ejido or even luxury hotels in the center. Its shocking for me to see this beautiful place getting infiltrated next to common crimes by organized crime more and more every year. Not for no reason Quintana Roo is now on the top of the list in mexicos states ranking for the state with the most increase of crimes. Dont get me wrong i still like playa and i also go there every year to visit friends in many different areas of playa, tulum and cancun but im a person who likes to be aware whats going on around me to take precaution. So my saying is enjoy the paradise and stay safe!

    • Mr.Yucatan // July 22, 2016 at 7:55 AM // Reply

      We agree with you Peter that we do not want to see crime rise here. Thankfully some larger companies that profit greatly from the area are meeting with politicians to make sure that things will be looked after. Thankfully the economy is growing and this keeps most people happy and satisfied without turning to other means of trying get money or make money. We will update both of our articles on safety for both tourist and residents so people are aware of what the current situations are.

  12. Adel Olsen // July 24, 2016 at 1:37 AM // Reply

    I have read so many articles concerning the safety of Playa Del Carmen I just want to say that I live here and have no issues. It is much safer then most places in the world and tourist really have nothing to worry about. Just be aware of your surroundings at night. Your assessment of dangers in Playa Del Carmen is about right and I encourage people to not worry about their vacations here. I don’t work in tourism or anything but like people to make good decisions.

  13. We just wanted to say to other readers that we just got back from Playa Del Carmen and we felt totally safe and really like how helpful people are in the restaurants and hotels. I imagine it is safer then where we live.

  14. Hello. I know it will vary from different peoples perspectives but we love the all inclusive hotels and have never had any problems in our hotel room with anything being taken. I feel the people in Mexico are very nice and that is why we come each year to the Rivera Maya. We always feel safe and I know there are issues anywhere but this part of the world sems to excape some of the more dangerous stuff.

  15. I would like to thank for the efforts you’ve
    put in writing this website. It is informative about what Playa Del Carmen is really like and I think people will really get a honest feel for the safety of the area.

  16. Thank you for a great article and much thanks to others advice. I had a question about bringing cash to 5th avenue and if there is guidance on extortion/bribery? A friend said he was sitting at a restaurant and police officers accused him of something false. They wanted to know how much was in wallet and took all his money and left him alone after they took his cash.

    • We have to say we have never heard of this happening. It could be two options: a bad policeman or someone who was dressed as a cop that tried to scam tourist. Tourist should never give bribes and if there is ever an issue ask to talk to the tourist police. They will most likely speak English and are located in several places along 5th Avenue in Playa Del Carmen.
      Since we have never heard of this happening this hopefully was an isolated incident. Thank you for commenting about it.

  17. I just left the area in Cancun twice and that southern parts of Mexico are very safe.

  18. I always wondered why in Mexico are all the houses with bars on the windows if it is so safe in Playa del Carmen? Is this a cultural thing? Can you tell me why?

    • Hello Jeanett

      It is actually a cultural thing more then a high crime issue. It has to do with the climate and culture of the Spanish colonial architectural style. For one, it is warm year round and people like to leave the windows open. Before there were screens on windows people had bars. This way you could leave your windows open and walk away without having to think about a person or large animal getting in. Many Caribbean cultures to this day use bars over windows and doors to this day. It does add to the feeling of being secure in your home as well. It might seem unsightly at first but many that move to the area get used to it.

  19. Not true about drugs. Everytime I visit Playa I go to Mandala and La Santanera. Every single time there is someone, in the bathrooms, hanging out for ours, offering cocaine.

    • What is not true about what we said? We mentioned drugs are here. It is the tourist that want them and buy them. We even mentioned what has happened to some tourist that have taken drugs in Playa Del Carmen. Almost anywhere in the world you can buy drugs. The part that is not as bad as some cities, is the fact that if you outside of the club area, drugs are not really seen, talked about or effect your vacation or living in Playa Del Carmen. Safety comes into play when your take drugs or do something while on drugs.

  20. Patricia Jenkins // October 4, 2016 at 5:13 PM // Reply

    Thank you for your honest evaluation of the safety issues in Playa Del Carmen. I come every year and never have had any problems. It is nice to know you are keeping eye on things and alert people to things to look out for. I know many young people come to party at the clubs in Playa and then have trouble because of the parting atmosphere. I hope they read this and at safe as it is like many places in the world that have clubs and bars. Playa is a beautiful place and I hope it can grow but still remain a small town feeling and feel safe.

  21. Loren Capasso // October 21, 2016 at 12:37 AM // Reply

    Reading your site, it gave me a lot of good details as to what Playa Del Carmen is like and how safe it is to visit. I like your honest approach to things.

  22. Hi, what an insightful and wonderful article. I like your direct approach to telling it how it is on crime and safety in Playa Del Carmen. It makes me feel better about visiting and sounds like a lot of beach towns with tourist.

  23. and watch your change at OXXO’S and everywhere, i am here since 10 days and three times i had to ask for a correction. The taxis have and i saw it two list of prices, one for the tourists and for the locals, none have the same price for the same place none.

    • Thank you for your comments Carol. Getting change is an issue here in Mexico. Part is petty crime and part is bad skills. We have found it to be about 65/35. There is the habit in Mexico to round up from the 50 cent mark. Many stores will ask if you want to round it off and the 50 cents goes to charity. With a tourist they often will not ask because many people do not speak enough Spanish to understand what is going on. Also many cash registers do not have space for all the change or businesses do not have enough change, so if people do not ask for the 50 cents they will just not give it to you or give you one peso back.

      Of course you are probably talking about more then 50 cents. This is more common in the tourist areas. The new money can be hard to count quick and they often think they can short change you and pocket a few pesos. We tell people to calculate how much change you will be getting and then count it out when they hand it to you. Of course small change is often too slow to count and the two peso and one peso coins are very similar in size.

      We are glad you caught this and asked for correct change. One time there was an Oxxo that we often visited and often had an issue with the change. After getting attitude and poor service we called the headquarters. Needless to say the cashier was removed. We did not feel bad because this person was a habitual thief. We work hard to keep people honest here and call out businesses with bad records. Thanks again for your comments.

  24. My wife and I were at 5th Ave last week and were offered drugs (nose candy or weed) more than 10 times over a two hour period… My wife was uncomfortable and we left earlier than we had planned after eating at a terrible restaurant. Everything for sale is fake… silver, gold, cuban cigars and the vendors trying to sell the fake goods are very aggressive.

    Locals told us that the cartels run 5th Ave now and that is the reason for the increase in drug pushers.

    We were so disappointed.

    • Hello John

      We are sorry to hear you had a bad experience in Playa Del Carmen. What restaurant did you eat at?

      Because so many tourist come to take drugs here, they are offered to people that look like they even might remotely take them. Yes we get offered them as well. We work hard here at the website to push back with articles like the best places to shop just off 5th Avenue, best restaurants, and how to avoid scams on 5th Avenue. We try to highlight the good stuff. Unfortunately many tours buy the crap souvenirs, cigars and drugs. We will continue to work hard to promote the best things in Playa and hop that we can have some effect for the better.

  25. Matthew Leafloor // November 30, 2016 at 6:42 PM // Reply

    My wife and I have been going to Playa for 12 years now and have never had anyone say a bad thing to us or about us. The town is wonderful, pleasant, safe, and the people are generous and hard working. You can meet scammers and idiots in any town or country, people who would take advantage of everyone and anyone. For the people who are saying Playa is full of drugs and crimes and violence, just look outside your own backyards and neighbourhoods and I bet the crime rate is double. Smarten up!!!!!!!!

  26. When I first got here, as I walked up 5th checking it out for the first time I was harassed a lot by vendors & later at night offered drugs many many times even though I am fairly conservative looking. I just ignored them or shook my head no.
    The next day to do my shopping, looking for the stores I wanted to see after reading about them here, especially the Talavera ceramics at Siete Detalles where I got some beautiful items. I also went to Rosalie. I am just staying off 5th on 2nd and I found it interesting that as I walked to Rosalie I was hassled, but when they saw me walking back to my hotel with big Rosalie bags stuffed with obviously a couple $100 worth of goods (which back home would cost me much much more) vendors realized that I was someone only looking for quality goods and didn’t catcall me as before.
    If more tourists were willing to spend only on quality goods, the annoying people selling garbage would disappear.

    • We agree with you very much. If there is a market for cheap souvenirs or even drugs, there will be people selling them. in fact about 95% of drugs are all bought by tourist. We all have an impact on places we go and leave a footprint either for the better or worse. We try to steer people to good shopping options and even good tour options. We hope in some ways we are warming people like you about the scams some sellers and street hasslers say so that people can focus on their vacations and enjoy the best Playa has to offer.

  27. My wife and I are fairly recent Playa residents – 5 months now. This is short enough that we are certainly not fully immersed in the local culture, but also long enough that we’re getting a pretty good idea of what’s real here.

    Crime: Yeah, it happens here like anywhere else. Mostly, but not absolutely, it happens to those not using their heads. Just a few days ago I was sitting next to a turista on 5th who was saying he got mugged a few days before right there on 5th. Of course it was the wee hours of the morning when both the marks and perps have been partying when he got it. During the day something like that is really unlikely imo.

    Just know the streets where you get in and where you get out. Every taxi is required by law to carry a chart of approved fares. The chart is broken into numbered zones which are shown in a map format above with a cross reference from Zone X to Zone Y in pesos below. If you are picked up in a place where taxis queue up they are allowed to add an additional 5 peso. It is against the law for them to charge anything more than the amount on the chart (plus 5p possibly.) There is a massive fine against the driver if they are reported and investigated for demanding too much. Most turista interests in Playa proper will be (currently) between 25 – 35 peso unless you are going into or out of the Playacar zone which will be 50 – 100 peso. Note Sam’s Club IS in the Playacar zone, but not in Playacar proper. Tip: DO NOT ask the fare before you arrive. If you are quoted anything more than what’s noted above ask to see the chart (remember +5p if you loaded from a queue spot though – look online for Playa del Carmen taxi fare chart). Anymore I don’t ever ask the fare nor do they tell me, I just hand the driver the right fare before exiting. Also, make an effort to be friendly with your driver. Ask their name, about kids, etc. Most speak a little English and it makes for a friendly exchange, it’s fun, and I’ve found they almost never question the amount I just hand them.

    On 5th:
    A common hook is something like “Hey you remember me from the hotel?” All they want is for you to stop and engage. At first this really bothered me as deceptive, but living just a stone’s throw from 5th it is an area I frequent. Over time I came to see this (and other pitches) as just the efforts of some folks with a lot less resources than me trying to make a living. This helped me relax and come to enjoy the area much more. One funny thing I found though was that the vendors pretty much assume white skin means American or Canadian gringos. If you are multi-lingual and know German (or whatever), you can play dumb that you don’t know English and watch the vendor fumble around for awhile before giving up. 😈

    I hope some find this helpful.

    Regards, and enjoy the town!

  28. My husband and I have been to Playa del Carmen approximately 8-9 times. Several times at all-inclusive and most recently in a condo just off of 5th Ave. I have never met more friendly, hard working people in any of my travels. Playa del Carmen is very safe. We walk around town in the evenings with no concerns at all. Of course, you have to mindful of your surroundings and use common sense. Only an idiot is going to walk alone at night. Bad things happen anywhere. With all of that being said, Playa del Carmen is a tourist town. Everyone is working hard and trying to make a living. I would like to remind any tourist to check your attitude! A smile and “por favor” goes a long way. You are in a foreign country. Be respectful of the Mexican culture and people. The only people I have seen get into trouble are the (usually drunk) loud mouthed people who treat the staff poorly. Have a good time! But use any common sense that you have. I can’t wait to get back to Playa in 32 days!!

  29. Me and my wife have been going to playa del carmen for many years.
    We just got back a few days ago.
    We have never stay at any all inclusive hotels
    Always rented a house or condo.
    Always feel safe even when outside
    The tourist area
    We love it so much that we are
    In the process of buying a house in playa

    • Miguel

      Thanks for your comments and welcome to Playa Del Carmen. We hope you find a great home and enjoy your time here. We are sure you also saw our article on dangers and safety for residents. That article highlights the other aspects of living here and what to look out for.

  30. We rented a condo in Playa last year (2016) for the month of March. We were at the north end of 5th avenue. Much quieter than the south end. I have to say that we have never felt threatened in any way. It is true that if you want to take a taxi, simply walk to 10th or 15th and hail a taxi. It will be much cheaper than getting a taxi at the stands on 5th avenue.
    The restaurants on 5th can be expensive, a 5 minute walk off of 5th and you can get a great meal for half the price.
    For those of you who want to go to Tulum or Akumal, you can take the Collectivo. It is the local bus transportation. It costs around 30 pesos, one way. Again, I never felt that we were in danger.
    That being said, you should always be aware of your surroundings. Don’t do anything you wouldn’t do back home.
    We’re back in PDC for 2 months (FEB & MAR). We’re so looking forward to our trip!!

    • Amy Sunstrum // January 16, 2017 at 7:29 PM // Reply

      This article was NOT 90% false as I am trying to make PLC my home so I stay there by myself( little blonde gringa) I walk everywhere and I can not begin to tell you how much I use the collectivo. NO DRIVING. Your in Mexico and the freeway is not safe in my opinion. I have been staying at a hostel since I have had two cars hit me in Texas. MY physical therapist is a miracle worker. I have gone down the last two times just so he could fix me! No one believes me but he fixed a torn ACL. And my dentist! I LOVE LOVE them! People dont get the facts. They think they can buy any narcotic.Nope, weed is everywhere but I dont smoke its no bother to me. dont go thinking you are going to get Vicodin or Ambien because legitimately the dr. has to do the form in triplicate. The government, the patient, and one for them to keep. Black market is the same as the states. But I have no experience in that area and I have been at the Blue Parrot until near sun-up and I am 50 and not high!! So, my hostel needs a buyer and I love it there so much-I would love to go in and buy the place. It’s beautiful and the manager there doesn’t care. Came home with extra friends-bed bugs!

  31. I spent a lovely week in Playa del Carmen about four years ago. We were 8 adults and rented 2 condos. Went out for dinner every night and truly loved the town. However, we did rent a van to go to exploring one day and were pulled over by the police. We had to pay them $100.00 before they would agree to give us back our papers. It was a shakedown and a little frightening. But even though that happened, I am planning to go back however I will not rent a vehicle again.

    • This does happen in Mexico and we do tell people in our article about driving around the area to not give money to the police. Fortunately this does not happen as much in this part of Mexico. Almost 95% of the time when pulled over, the police will not give you a ticket and only a warning. We advise never to give money to the police. If you ask for a ticket they will either have to provide one but when you go to pay it you can report the situation and the police can be investigated. Unless of course if you actually did something wrong, you should get a ticket and pay at the police station. If the police hold your id until you pay, which is rare, you should report it to your consulate. If everyone does this, it will help reduce corruption. There is no legal way police can accept cash payment on the spot.

  32. My wife and I love Playa del Carmen, and have visited dozens of times, with little or no problems so far. Here are some things we do that help:
    1) Always pay your restaurant bill in pesos with a credit card if possible. You will receive the best exchange rate that way. Just make sure it’s added up properly.
    2) Take 10th ave instead of 5th to avoid constantly being stopped. Although this may be part of the fun for you.
    3) Don’t be afraid to venture off 5th avenue, there are some great places and better prices out there.

  33. How much should we expect to pay for a taxi from the bus station on 5th ave to the Meridian on Calle 40

  34. harold smith // January 27, 2017 at 9:03 AM // Reply

    Please note – right after the first of this month Jan 2017 a relative of mine and her family were in this city at a very high end All Inclusive Resort – her life ended tragically after visiting the hotel bar – an investigation is going on but her young life ended mysteriously at the resort. This happened within days of the shooting at the night club in Playa del Carma. You decide is this town safe????

    • Hello Harold

      We are sorry to hear that someone you know died here while on vacation. Any tragedy here is not good news to hear. We are not sure what country you are from or the people you know involved in this incident, but we are sure the consulate or consul of their country is involved in the investigation. This is something that is very good here about the hard working people that look out for the interest of traveling countrymen.

      While it is not known at this time what happened in this case, we will say that in a recent interview we did with the US Consular Agency here in Playa Del Carmen, we did learn that more people then one might think die on vacation. Not due to malice but due to health reasons, or accidents like slip and falls. With millions of people coming to the Riviera Maya Yearly, the overwhelming majority have not issues.
      We do take safety seriously. We have no vested interest in not being upfront to the public. We provide information to people because we like to do this. If we did not assist with one sale of a tour or hotel, we would still be writing about the area. We are not a front for a real estate company or other company for that matter.

      Again we are sorry to hear your bad news. If you would like to keep us informed, please do so. Thank you for your comments.

  35. Yes we saw this bar today. We noticed a policeman outside and a window broken. We imagine no one that lives here really heard anything about it. We had not. Which in truth, this did not really effect the day to day life of things here. That bar has been a problem for years and it is no surprise there were issues there.

  36. Kennith Tovell // February 19, 2017 at 11:15 PM // Reply

    This website really has all of the information and facts I wanted concerning this safety and didn’t know who to ask. Thanks for keeping us updated on things there.

  37. My Family and I love the Riviera Maya and are planning our fifth trip to the area. We are Americans who have always felt safe vactioning here. However, due to recent political controversy we are somewhat apprehensive about coming back this summer. Do you feel this will affect American Tourists? Am I overreacting?. Thanks

    • We feel there is a distinction between the governments and the people. The policies and rhetoric are different then the actual people. Most every Mexican is very accepting of Americans and know that the government is not really the thoughts of the people coming. It really is a great time to visit Mexico with the exchange rate and value for what you get. Don’t let politicians ruin a good thing. Enjoy your time here in the Riviera Maya and explore more places. It gets better and better.

  38. Everything is very open and very clear explanation of issues of safety. Your website is very useful. Thanks for sharing.

  39. Pat Nugent // April 3, 2017 at 5:00 PM // Reply

    Yes there are two prices in mexico. One for those who can show Mexico ID and one for the rest. We travel with a ,exchange friend aND she always pays less for ferries busses park entrances etc. Otherwise mexicans could not go to these places on Mexican wages

    Also in Playa del carmen things get progressively cheaper the farther you get off 5th Ave. They go in 5s and if you head to 30th Ave or further you will find the big depth stores that are cheaper. You will also find better products food service etc. Go further and you will find where most of the crap sold on 5th is bought by the shop owners. Usually at a significant discount 50% or more. Restaurant service workers don’t expect tips in usd service is better as is the food. Taxis will overcharge particularly if hailed on 5th or if they see you carrying large load. Don’t leave cash in your room. It could go missing. I have only had it happen one time in 12 trips but one was enough.
    Tourist areas are overpriced poor service and can grindo you for tips. If you speak English they assume you are American which is unfortunate so be sure they know you are not! Unless of course you are lol. Then don’t tell them you are.
    Most tourist areas particularly Yosemite that cater to cruise ships have prices in usd. Be sure you know exchangel rate if you pay in pesos or other currency.
    I believe playa del carmen and most Mexican tourist destinations to be safer than most American cities. At least the locals don’t carry handguns usually only police.

  40. I always feel safe in Playa del Carmen. I don’t take taxis alone a night nor go out drinking and walk home late but that is the only things I avoid. I think it is more comfortable and safe than Toronto where I live.

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