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Safe travel in Merida and Yucatan

In cooperation with: Visit Mexico
Bend, Oregon
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131 posts
14 reviews
2 helpful votes
Safe travel in Merida and Yucatan
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How safe is travel in Merida and the Yucatan generally? (I have read that all big cities in Mexico have problems and even tourist areas are becoming sketchy.) We are flying into Cancun and thinking of spending a few days in Merida and then going to Progresso or one of the other fishing villages, as well as visiting some of the ruins. Is it advisable to rent a car or is public transportation fine? If renting a car, is it ok to take small back roads as opposed to toll roads? Thanks for your help.

Edmonton, Canada
Level Contributor
8,137 posts
78 reviews
68 helpful votes
1. Re: Safe travel in Merida and Yucatan
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Safe.

Public transport in Mexico rocks; I found a car to be completely unnecessary.

Merida also rocks.

Vancouver, Canada
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46 posts
2 reviews
14 helpful votes
2. Re: Safe travel in Merida and Yucatan
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We just spent the month of Feb in Chelem, which is just outside of Progreso, and we felt very safe. We rented a car, but when we wanted to go to Merida Centro we just drove to the Liverpool mall parked then grabbed the local bus. We felt safer in that whole area compared to Cancun and Playa.

Traverse City...
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3,981 posts
85 reviews
108 helpful votes
3. Re: Safe travel in Merida and Yucatan
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>How safe is travel in Merida and the Yucatan generally? (I have read that all big cities in Mexico have problems and even tourist areas are becoming sketchy.) >

I'm very curious as to where you are reading this, particularly about the tourist areas. Such a sweeping statement, esp for a country the size of Mexico, is quite astounding. Maybe you could supply some specifics for us...

Merida, Yucatan
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1,794 posts
142 reviews
238 helpful votes
4. Re: Safe travel in Merida and Yucatan
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Travelling in the Peninsula is very safe (well, you need to watch out for erratic driving, but I think you get my drift). Crime levels are very low and people are very kind. You'll have a wow of a time.

Cancun has had more drug-related violence, but nothing that has impinged on the tourist areas.

Regarding car rental vs bus, that depends on your exact itinerary.

Etzatlan, Mexico
Destination Expert
for Rincon de Guayabitos
Level Contributor
5,789 posts
20 reviews
24 helpful votes
5. Re: Safe travel in Merida and Yucatan
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Merida and the state of Yucatan are probably the safest large city and state in the Republic of Mexico...Most of the street parties and dances do not even start until 9PM, and go on for hours...I just spent a month driving around the peninsula visiting out of the way ruins and less traveled tourist sites only on the back roads without any problems at all...enjoy

Queretaro City...
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14,511 posts
10 reviews
16 helpful votes
6. Re: Safe travel in Merida and Yucatan
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Most big cities in Mexico are very safe - even Mexico City has only a third of the homicide rate as Washington. All tourist resorts are relatively safe apart from the occasional robbery. So I don't know what you're reading either!

Kelowna, Canada
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93 posts
1 review
2 helpful votes
7. Re: Safe travel in Merida and Yucatan
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We spent a month in Chixalub, with a rented car, travelling all around the general area. No problems whatsoever, however, there are different driving customs in Mexico, and care is required. In Progreso, most drivers approach stop signs with more speed than you would think necessary, and appear as if they are going to drive through the stop sign. They are only trying to see down the narrow streets, that have buildings very close to the roadway.

They also pull over to the side of the road to let you pass, sometimes without you even having to cross the center line.

There are many topes (speed bumps) and pedestrian crossing, that require slowing down

The Police, put up roadblocks at strange locations and need to be looked for.

Get a good map and plan your routes, and you will have no trouble travelling anywhere.

Cozumel, Mexico
Destination Expert
for Cozumel, Merida
Level Contributor
56,678 posts
167 reviews
136 helpful votes
8. Re: Safe travel in Merida and Yucatan
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I agree, Merida and Yucatan are among the safest places you can travel . I feel much safer there than the Cancun area.

Merida, Mexico
Level Contributor
3,111 posts
150 reviews
125 helpful votes
9. Re: Safe travel in Merida and Yucatan
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Not that you need it, but let me add my confirmation that it is very safe in Merida, Progreso and the Yucatan. None of that sketchiness you mention.

Driving too is safe, highways are well-marked and most back roads now feature asphalt and an occasional wide shoulder to let oncoming traffic pass.

Enjoy!

Paso Robles Wine...
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1,402 posts
110 reviews
59 helpful votes
10. Re: Safe travel in Merida and Yucatan
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In case you wanted a woman's opinion, yes, Merida and the Progreso area is incredibly safe... safer than most modern cities in the world, let alone the United States. You don't have to worry.

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