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Is Cozumel Safe to Visit in 2024? (Expert Opinion)

Is Cozumel Safe to Visit in 2024? (Expert Opinion)

Is Cozumel safe to visit in 2024?

Cozumel is safe to visit, with a lower crime rate compared to many other regions in Mexico. While the primary concern is petty theft, visitors should also be aware of the hurricane season, although Cozumel is less prone to severe hurricanes than other Caribbean locations.

Cozumel is a popular port for cruise ships, but also has plenty to offer visitors that choose to stay overnight or longer. Its pristine turquoise waters hide some of the best scuba diving spots in the Caribbean Sea, from natural wonders such as the Mesoamerican Reef to the Museo Subacuatico del Arte.

It’s also perfect for a more leisurely vacation, with sandy beaches, golf courses, and more to keep you busy, but not too busy. A glance at the pictures of this storied city’s gorgeous beaches is usually enough to convince people to visit the island. But is Cozumel safe to visit? Here’s our take.

Is Cozumel Safe to Visit in 2024?

Gorgeous sunset from behind the trees at Chankanaab Park in Cozumel for a guide to whether or not Cozumel is safe to visit

Nenad Basic/Shutterstock

Yes. Cozumel is one of the safer destinations in Mexico right now, as it is located in an area that has a lower crime rate than the rest of the country.

You should still take some precautions against minor problems such as petty theft, but you should be safe in Cozumel. As with any other Caribbean destination, be mindful of the threat of hurricanes.

It helps to look at travel advice for Mexico first before learning more about Cozumel specifically. Most countries, such as Canada, advise their citizens to exercise increased caution in the country due to the high crime rate. Certain regions of the country should be avoided altogether.

The United States breaks down its advisory for Mexico according to the state. The island is located in the state of Quintana Roo, which is under a Level Two travel advisory due to crime.

This is one of the lowest travel advisories the United States government issues for a state in Mexico — U.S. citizens are advised to avoid many other states completely. The state of Quintana Roo has some problems with crime.

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Common criminal incidents include:

  • Petty theft
  • Mugging
  • Robbery
  • Assault
  • Drug-related crimes

However, the vast majority of these crimes occur in bigger destinations such as Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and Tulum, whose size attracts criminals as well as tourists. Sleepy Cozumel is far away from these problems.

While the United States government mentions that tourists should be careful in parts of the towns mentioned above in its travel advisory, it doesn’t mention Cozumel at all. Like any Caribbean destination, it’s at risk of hurricanes.

Hurricane season in the Caribbean formally lasts from June to November, peaking around late August and September. Cozumel, like the rest of Mexico’s Riviera Maya, is to the south of the Caribbean Sea, out of the major hurricane zones.

Cozumel has been affected by hurricanes in the past, but it usually isn’t as devastated as other Caribbean destinations. You should still be careful if you choose to travel during hurricane season, as storms can bring heavy rain and flooding.

Always monitor the weather and follow any government advisories for sheltering in place or evacuating. Some people choose to travel during hurricane season intentionally because there are fewer crowds and prices tend to be lower but be mindful that this comes with some sort of risk.

Crime in Cozumel

Photo of a lighthouse with a blue stripe towering over a road with cars and trucks going by for a guide titled Is Cozumel Safe to Visit

COZUMEL, MEXICO – APRIL 4, 2008: Beautiful quay with white lighthouse attracting thousands of tourists to visit famous shops and restaurants/Yevgen Belich/Shutterstock

Crime is one of the biggest problems people worry about when visiting Cozumel. Mexico in general has a reputation for having a high crime rate, so crime is a reasonable thing to worry about when visiting any part of the country.

The good news is that Cozumel is located in Quintana Roo, which is a state that has one of the lowest crime rates in the country. The homicide rate in 2023 in the state is 32.6 incidents per 100,000 people, which by Mexican standards is a low to moderate value.

The rate of other violent crimes is similarly low by Mexican standards. The state of Quintana Roo has struggled with growing violence in the past few years, mostly motivated by growing cartel violence and clashes between rival cartels for control over the drug trade in the popular tourist destinations.

However, this violence has primarily affected bigger destinations along Quintana Roo, such as Tulum, not Cozumel. According to a municipal breakdown of violent crime in Mexico, Cozumel is one of the safer destinations along the Riviera Maya.

In 2023, there were only 21 homicides in the municipality, most of which were targeted acts of violence far away from popular tourist destinations on the island. The rate of other violent crimes is similarly low.

Overall, the crime rate in Cozumel is fairly low. According to Numbeo’s crime index, which collects data from survey respondents on the safety of a given destination, the island’s crime index score is 33.33 out of 100, which is a low value.

Respondents are mostly worried about petty property crimes, such as vandalism, theft, and break-ins. People also worry about corruption and bribery, which is less likely to affect a tourist.

Cozumel is not just a picture-perfect tropical paradise, but also a place where people live, which means that it will have similar problems to anywhere else. However, it is a safe destination not just by Mexican standards, but also by the standards of many international visitors.

You should still take basic precautions, such as not leaving your valuables unattended, but you are not likely to encounter much danger in this pristine paradise.


The most common crime in Cozumel is petty theft, including pickpocketing. This type of crime is common in tourist destinations throughout Mexico (and the world).

Pickpocketing is mostly a crime of opportunity, especially common in Mexico’s tourist destinations due to the large income gap between tourists and locals, and the growing economic desperation in Mexico after the past few years decimated tourism.

Although pickpocketing happens, pickpocketing rates here are much lower than in many other Mexican destinations. The island is quieter and has a lower crime rate overall.

Plus, its popularity as a cruise ship destination means that the Mexican and local governments have invested considerable resources into keeping people safe. Although the cruise ships are responsible for the resources invested in Cozumel’s safety, they are also a tempting prize for pickpockets.

The most common location where people are pickpocketed is the ferry terminal. The massive crowds, many of them still getting their bearings, provide excellent cover for pickpockets.

Cozumel’s main town, San Miguel de Cozumel, and other crowded areas are also common pickpocketing destinations. People have been stolen from before while enjoying the island’s nightlife in the Centro district.

The good news is that Cozumel’s pickpockets are usually easy enough to deter. As long as you put your valuables in a location where they are difficult to slip out without notice, such as a zipped cross-body bag or front pocket, you are unlikely to be the victim of a theft.

Make sure that your wallet, phone, and ID are safe whenever you are in a crowded place on the island. Another precaution you should take to prevent theft is to avoid leaving your valuables unattended.

Thieves will rifle through people’s bags while they are swimming or scuba diving, so don’t bring expensive, irreplaceable items to the beach.

Avoid putting your bag down, even on a café terrace or restaurant, somewhere where it can be taken. Basic precautions are enough to ensure you leave Cozumel with everything you came with.

Vehicle Break-Ins

Another common form of petty theft in Cozumel is the vehicle break-in. Thieves enter people’s cars and buses to take items that they leave behind.

Some visitors rent a car to get around or visit the island via cargo ferry from Cancun on a Quintana Roo road trip. Be mindful that thieves sometimes target rental cars for theft, since they know tourists are more likely to have their possessions with them.

Basic precautions can deter someone from breaking into your rental vehicle. Make sure that you never, ever leave valuables in your car unattended. If you have to leave a suitcase or bag in the car for a short while, put it somewhere it is impossible to see from outside, such as the trunk.

When parking overnight, make sure that you park in a secure place. Cars are not the only vehicles targeted for break-ins in Cozumel.

There have been incidents of thefts from tour buses. Cruise ships or tour companies sometimes organize buses to take tourists around Cozumel, and thieves break into the buses when people stop for an excursion.

Preventing theft from your tour bus is fairly easy — just never, ever leave your valuables on the bus.

Always take purses, wallets, and IDs with you when you leave the bus, even if you’re just stopping for a bathroom break. Anything that you don’t need for the day should stay in your hotel or cruise ship safe.

Avoiding Bad Areas

Photo of the downtown area by the ferry terminal pictured for a guide titled Is Cozumel Safe to Travel To

San Miguel de Cozumel, Cozumel, Mexico, 12 October, 2021: San Miguel de Cozumel, Mexico, Central Plaza and colorful colonial city downtown streets during peak months of high tourist season/eskystudio/Shutterstock

Cozumel is so safe that there are no places that are so dangerous, you need to avoid them completely. The northern part of the island is more remote, which can seem scary, but the crime rate here is fairly low.

Still, you should avoid wandering around alone at night as there are few people around that can jump in to help in case something happens.

The most crime in Cozumel occurs around the ferry terminal due to the crowds. If you’re not a cruise ship passenger, avoid this area as there isn’t much to see anyway. If you’re coming off of a cruise ship, just be mindful of your valuables.

Frequently Asked Questions

To illustrate that Cozumel is safe to visit, a clocktower towering over small shops in Cozumel

Sven Hansche/Shutterstock

Here are a few commonly asked questions about visiting Cozumel:

Is travel to Cozumel safe right now?

Cozumel is a safe travel destination right now. Its crime rate is still very low and there are few other threats to tourists.

Is Cozumel safe for tourists in 2023?

Yes, Cozumel is safe for tourists in 2023. The island has been mostly spared the increased crime rates that are affecting other destinations in Quintana Roo.

What should I avoid in Cozumel?

In Cozumel, avoid the tap water as it is not safe to drink. You should also avoid reckless behavior with your valuables, such as flaunting wads of cash, as there are pickpockets on the island.

Which is safer: Cancun or Cozumel?

Cozumel is much safer than Cancun. It has a lower crime rate, and it is smaller, meaning that there are fewer major criminal incidents.

Is it safe to take a taxi in Cozumel?

Cozumel’s taxis are some of the safest in the Mayan Riviera. However, you should still take basic safety precautions such as agreeing on a price ahead of time.

Should You Take a Trip to Cozumel?

Cozumel is a very safe place to visit in Mexico. Although there are some incidents of petty theft, you can deter most crime with basic precautions. So, what are you waiting for — book your trip to this storied island today!