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Cancun, Cabo, Cozumel or Playa del Carmen? Safety?

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Wichita, Kansas
Level Contributor
5 posts
3 reviews
Cancun, Cabo, Cozumel or Playa del Carmen? Safety?

My fiance and I are planning to travel the second week of August. We cannot decide between Cancun, Cabo, Cozumel or Playa Del Carmen. We were also trying to decide between Mexico or Puerto Rico (if you have any suggestions). We want to stay in a resort on the beach (swimmable, clean beach). It has to be all-inclusive. I would prefer a newer property or modern hotel, but i would just like it to be nice (If the hotel or resort is not great then it ruins my trip). I was very excited to go to Mexico until I spoke to a few family members who were telling me about the safety issues (but I heard of a kidnapping in Puerto Rico from a coworker's parents). I would prefer a resort that is closer to a city (for shopping, restaurants, attractions). We are also working with about $2000 and can leave from Dallas or Wichita, KS. I would greatly appreciate any suggestions.

San Jose
Destination Expert
for California
Level Contributor
11,155 posts
82 reviews
1. Re: Cancun, Cabo, Cozumel or Playa del Carmen? Safety?

I can't help you with resort choices, but keep in mind that Mexico is a big country, so the crime rate in one area can have little to no effect on crime in another area. Just like last year the murder rate in Chicago was unreal, but that doesn't mean Wichita is unsafe or that San Francisco is dangerous. The major crime issues in Mexico are related to the drug trade, so you have issues up through the center of Mexico and along the border, but places like the Yucatan are virtually unaffected. There is crime there, of course, not the major cartel-related crime that everybody is talking about. I wouldn't hesitate to go to the Yucatan peninsula.

Wichita, Kansas
Level Contributor
5 posts
3 reviews
2. Re: Cancun, Cabo, Cozumel or Playa del Carmen? Safety?

Thank you! I have read that but I was more concerned with theft within the resorts. Most of the resorts that I looked at had some bad reviews related to theft.

Healy, Alaska
Destination Expert
for Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska
Level Contributor
30,199 posts
35 reviews
3. Re: Cancun, Cabo, Cozumel or Playa del Carmen? Safety?

I would choose the eastern side of Mexico - either Cancun, Coz or PdC. The Yucatan is a very safe region - other than petty theft, which you can prevent by leaving valuables at home or in room safe.

To help narrow down the areas, I would highly recommend checking out this website and getting their maps - more like guidebooks, and can be a great help to your planning. :)


Colo Spgs
Destination Expert
for Cozumel
Level Contributor
25,752 posts
2 reviews
4. Re: Cancun, Cabo, Cozumel or Playa del Carmen? Safety?

My limited time in Cabo suggests that the water is cooler than Cancun/PDC/Cozumel.

The Cozumel hotel zone is protected from the prevailing winds so swimming would be easier but I am not sure that your other needs are best met there.

The PDC/playacar area may work well for you. Beaucoup attractions from Mayan ruins, ziplines, cenotes, whale sharks, etc will keep you busy if you want that.

Cozumel, Mexico
Destination Expert
for Cozumel, Merida
Level Contributor
36,804 posts
75 reviews
5. Re: Cancun, Cabo, Cozumel or Playa del Carmen? Safety?

Agree with coalminer. While the drug cartels are very active in Cancun and Playa del Carmen , it has little or no impact on the tourist. The state of Quintana Roo is safe for tourists and the adjoining Yucatan State is one of Mexico´s safest.

Playa del Carmen...
3 posts
6. Re: Cancun, Cabo, Cozumel or Playa del Carmen? Safety?

Everyone's previous responses regarding safety are dead on, so it's just which beautiful place to pick! It really depends on what kind of a vacation you are looking for and what your personality is/what you like to do.

Out of your Caribbean choices (where the water will be turquoise, warm, crystal clear and calm vs. Cabo which will not be clear but great for surfing), Cancun is the most touristy. You will be in the hotel zone (the all inclusives are pretty much only there), so the city of Cancun is a bit farther away. There are bigger type restaurants that flank the opposite side of the street that the hotels are on. It's really a long skinny strip of land with maybe 1/2 areas that have more things bunched together (nightclubs etc) and there is a nice mall or 2 there. In the hotel zone it's more touristy character than anything else. But if you want to go to HUGE nightclubs, it might be the choice for you. If you do go there, definitely take a trip to Isla Mujeres one day. It's a quick 15 minute ferry ride away and it's such a cute little island, all golf carts and scooters, a mini pedestrian street.

Playa is the most "cool" of the 3 choices. It's a smaller town but filled with restaurants, bars and shops. There is a very long pedestrian street (5th or Quinta as it's called) that is fantastic to shop along, and go out at night. There are lots of fantastic restaurants, smaller bars, big bars and nightclubs there too (just not as massive as Cancun). It definitely has a lot of character and lots of ex-pats (from all over the world). The american tourists tend to go out earlier, but Playa is definitely still pretty "Euro" so many don't go out until late and stay out until the sun comes up.

Cozumel is a cruise ship port and touristy by nature because of it. Much smaller than Cancun though and if you are really into scuba diving, it's definitely the choice for you (although you can go diving from anywhere in the area, but the water and sea life there is spectacular). The town is more setup for the cruise ship tourists, but there are a couple good restaurants, most notably Guido's.

The all inclusives are mostly outside of the towns and sometimes WAY out of the towns so if you want to get out of the resort more than once I would pay attention to how many miles they are from whichever town you are looking to see.

Hope that helps. Have a great trip!!!!

Wichita, Kansas
Level Contributor
5 posts
3 reviews
7. Re: Cancun, Cabo, Cozumel or Playa del Carmen? Safety?

Thank you for all the responses. We decided on EPM based on the ratings and our budget!

8. Re: Cancun, Cabo, Cozumel or Playa del Carmen? Safety?

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