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Is Cozumel Safe? | Travel Tips & Safety Concerns

Is Cozumel Safe? | Travel Tips & Safety Concerns

Cozumel, Mexico, is one of North America’s most popular tourist destinations. Cozumel is an island located off the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico. It’s less than an hour away from the famous tourist city of Cancun.

Cozumel is known for its beautiful beaches, the biodiversity above and below the ocean’s surface, and incredible scuba diving and snorkeling. Cozumel is a popular destination for travelers who want to visit the Caribbean but want to avoid the party scene of places like Cancun.

It’s a much slower-paced and relaxed area. Despite being a relatively small island, Cozumel has something for everyone.

Many activities keep tourists busy, such as swimming with dolphins, exploring ancient ruins, and shopping in duty-free stores. With so much to offer, it’s no wonder Cozumel is such a popular destination. But is Cozumel safe?

The answer to that question is yes and no. Cozumel is generally a safe place to visit, but there are some safety concerns that visitors should be aware of. 

This article will cover the various safety considerations tourists should have while visiting Cozumel. It will also provide tips and tricks to make the most of your vacation to Cozumel.

Read Next: The Safest Islands in the Caribbean in 2022

Is Cozumel Safe to Visit in 2022?

Woman in a shop in Cozumel to show that it's a safe place to visit

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Unfortunately, Mexico has a reputation as being a dangerous place to visit. The media portrays Mexico as a country overrun by gun violence and gangs.

But this perspective isn’t accurate. Many parts of Mexico are incredibly safe, including Cozumel.

Cozumel is a safe place to visit, but there are some safety concerns that visitors should be aware of. The most common safety issues facing travelers in Cozumel are petty crime, disease/illness, and natural hazards.

Cozumel is a safe tourist haven, and even the concerns listed above are relatively minor. Crime does not happen often, and the island has no problems with drugs or gang violence. Overall it’s a very safe place to visit.

Crime in Cozumel

As previously mentioned, crime isn’t a big problem in Cozumel. However, there are still some things visitors need to be aware of.

Petty crime, such as pickpocketing and purse-snatching, is the most common crime on the island. It typically happens in crowded areas, such as the ferry terminal, markets, and beaches.

To avoid becoming a victim of petty crime, you should take some basic precautions. First, don’t carry all your valuables in one place. Spread them out on your body so you won’t lose everything if you’re pickpocketed. Second, be aware of your surroundings. 

If you’re carrying a purse, keep it close to your body. If you’re taking a backpack, wear it in front of you. Wearing your chest will make it more difficult for someone to steal from you.

If you become the victim of a crime while in Cozumel, the best thing to do is report it to the authorities. The Cozumel police are very efficient and will help you resolve the situation. Crime isn’t a big problem in Cozumel, and you should not be concerned about getting robbed.

Bad Neighborhoods

Dimly lit neighborhood on a street with little shops for a piece on Is Cozumel Safe to Visit

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There are no bad neighborhoods in Cozumel. The island is small, and there’s a heavy police presence. You can feel safe walking around at night, even in the less developed areas.

It’s always a good idea to use common sense when traveling. Don’t walk down dark alleyways or deserted streets. Stick to well-lit areas, and you’ll be fine.

If you’re out late at night, the safest thing to do is to take a Taxi or rideshare home. It may be tempting to walk, but walking home at night can be dangerous, even in the relatively safe neighborhoods of Cozumel.

Scams in Cozumel

In addition to petty crime, there are scams in Cozumel that you should keep an eye out for. The most common scam is called timeshare.

In this scam, someone will approach you on the street and offer to take you to a timeshare presentation. The presenters will promise that you’ll get gifts if you go. 

However, they will pressure you into buying a timeshare once you get to the presentation. These timeshares are almost always a bad investment, and you’ll lose money if you buy one.

If someone approaches you and offers to take you to a timeshare presentation, say no. You can also report the presenters to the police.

In addition to timeshare scams, some other common scams are picture scams, taxi overcharging, ATM helpers, bird poop scams, and fake friends. These schemes are one of the biggest concerns for people visiting Cozumel.

A picture scam is when someone approaches you and asks you to take your picture. The scam artist will then demand money for taking the picture. Alternatively, they may also give you a camera and then intentionally drop the camera when you give it back to them. 

The scam artist will ask you for money to fix the camera. The best way to avoid this scam is not to take pictures when someone asks you.

The overcharging taxi scheme is when a taxi driver overcharges you for your ride. Overcharging taxis is a common scam in Cozumel. As soon as you get in the cab, ensure the driver turns on the meter. You can also use Google maps to ensure the taxi driver didn’t take an internationally long route.

The ATM helper scam is when someone offers to help you avoid ATM withdrawal fees. Their true objective is to scan your debit or credit card to get the number and figure out your PIN. To avoid this scam, cover your hand while entering your PIN, and don’t accept help from people when using the ATM.

The bird poop scheme is when someone dumps bird poop on you and demands money to clean it up. The con artist may also try and pickpocket you while they’re helping clean your clothes. 

This scam is less common, but it does happen. The best way to avoid this scam is to be aware of your surroundings and keep an eye out for people who may be trying to dump bird poop on you.

The fake friends scam is when someone pretends to be your friend at a bar. The scammer is usually a member of the opposite sex. The phony friend chats you up and then encourages you to go to another bar. The new bar overcharges you, forcing you to pay for the drinks. Be careful when you go out for drinks in Cozumel.

These cons aren’t that common, but they do happen. If you’re aware of them, you can avoid them. Scams are perhaps the most significant danger you face when traveling to Cozumel.

Disease and Illness in Cozumel

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A visitor will most likely encounter a safety hazard like disease or illness. There are some diseases and conditions that visitors to Cozumel need to be aware of. 

The most common is diarrhea, which is caused by contaminated food or water. To avoid diarrhea, only eat food that has been cooked and is still hot. Also, make sure to drink only bottled water.

There are also some more serious diseases and illnesses that visitors to Cozumel must be aware of. These include the Zika virusdengue fever, and chikungunya. These diseases are all spread by mosquitoes.

Malaria is another mosquito-borne disease that is a problem in Cozumel. There’s no vaccine for malaria, so the best way to protect yourself is to avoid mosquito bites. Use mosquito repellent and wear long sleeves and pants to protect yourself.

There’s a history of Legionnaires’ disease in Cozumel. Legionnaires’ disease is a severe type of pneumonia that has infected people in some resorts. 

The best way to protect yourself is to avoid contact with contaminated water. Sources of dirty water include avoiding swimming pools and hot tubs that aren’t well-maintained.

Animals spread some diseases in Cozumel, like rabies and leptospirosis. Don’t touch or pet any animals in Cozumel to avoid these diseases. If you’re bit by an animal, seek medical attention immediately.

There have been cases of visitors to Cozumel becoming ill with these diseases. The best way to avoid getting sick in Cozumel is to take some basic precautions. Only eat food that is cooked and still hot. Drink only bottled water. 

Use mosquito repellent and wear long sleeves and pants to protect yourself from mosquito bites. However, most visitors don’t become ill. If you’re careful, you’ill likely be fine.

Dangerous Animals in Cozumel

Visitors need to be aware of some dangerous animals in Cozumel. These include sharks, jellyfish, and stingrays.

Sharks are found in the waters around Cozumel. They’re most common near reefs. Swimmers and snorkelers need to be aware of them. The best way to avoid being attacked by sharks is to stay in groups. Sharks are more likely to attack lone individuals.

Jellyfish are also found in the waters around Cozumel. They can sting swimmers and snorkelers. The best way to avoid being stung by a jellyfish is to wear a wet suit.

Stingrays are common in the waters around Cozumel. They can sting swimmers and snorkelers. The best way to avoid being stung by a stingray is to wear water shoes.

These animals aren’t common, but they can be dangerous. If you’re aware of them, you can avoid them.

Safety While Snorkeling and Scuba Diving

Guy scuba diving with a turtle in Cozumel

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Cozumel is known for its natural beauty and biodiversity underwater. Two of the most popular activities in Cozumel are snorkeling and scuba diving. Unfortunately, many travelers don’t know the potential risks involved in these two exciting adventure sports.

Snorkeling and scuba diving can be dangerous if you aren’t cautious. The most common danger is getting lost. It’s easy to get lost underwater, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the area. Always snorkel or dive with a partner and stay close to them.

Another danger of snorkeling and scuba diving is getting hurt. The coral reefs around Cozumel are beautiful, but they can be sharp. It’s easy to cut yourself on the coral. Be careful when snorkeling or diving, and avoid touching the coral.

The last danger of snorkeling and scuba diving is getting sick. The water around Cozumel isn’t always clean. There’s a risk of getting sick if you swim in contaminated water. The best way to avoid getting sick is to swim in well– maintained areas with lifeguards.

Snorkeling and scuba diving can be safe if you take the proper precautions. Otherwise, they can be dangerous.

Natural Disasters in Cozumel

Cozumel is in an area that is susceptible to hurricanes. Hurricane season runs from June to November. Stay up-to-date on the weather forecast if you visit Cozumel during hurricane season.

If a hurricane is headed for Cozumel, the best thing to do is to leave the island. The sooner you go, the better. Hurricane damage can be severe, and it’s best to avoid it if possible.

There have been hurricanes that have hit Cozumel in recent years. Hurricane Wilma hit Cozumel in 2005, and Hurricane Earl hit Cozumel in 2010. If you’re visiting Cozumel, make sure to check the hurricane history of the island.

Things to Consider

These are some essential things to consider when visiting Cozumel:

  • There are many ways to get to Cozumel. The island has an international airport, and you can also catch a ferry from Playa del Carmen.
  • Many restaurants/shops charge a service fee for using cards. Paying in pesos is a great way to save money.
  • You can’t drink the tap water in Cozumel. Only drink bottled or purified water.
  • Renting a car is one of the best ways to explore the island. If you rent a car, you can see the whole island in a day.

Frequently Asked Questions

For a piece titled Is Cozumel Safe to Visit, the Chen Rio beach pictured with two blue painted boats on the sand

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These are some commonly asked questions about visiting Cozumel.

Is Cozumel worth visiting?

Yes, Cozumel is worth visiting. It’s a beautiful island with plenty of things to do.

Is Cozumel safer than Cancun?

There’s no definitive answer to this question. Both Cozumel and Cancun are safe places to visit.

Is it safe to travel to Cozumel in 2022?

Yes, it’s safe to travel to Cozumel in 2022.

Is Cozumel expensive?

No, Cozumel isn’t an expensive place to visit. Many tourist locations in Mexico are pretty affordable.

What is the Cozumel crime rate?

The crime rate in Cozumel is relatively low. However, like in any place, there’s always a chance of becoming a victim of crime.

Do I need a visa to visit Cozumel?

If you’re a US citizen, you don’t need a visa to visit Cozumel. You can contact your embassy for more information about visa requirements for visiting Cozumel.

So, Is Cozumel Safe to Visit?

Cozumel is a beautiful island with plenty of things to do. There are some potential dangers that travelers need to be aware of, but overall, Cozumel is a safe place to visit. If you take the proper precautions, you can have a fantastic time in Cozumel.

If you follow the guidelines from this article, you can minimize the risks you face when traveling to Cozumel. The tips and tricks in this article will help you make the most of your vacation to this beautiful island. Happy travels!