Hi there, Spring Breakers!
So, you’re coming to spend a few days of fun and party in Cancun but some people are telling you that it may be dangerous? This post might be useful to prove them they’re wrong about Spring Break in Cancun 2012.
First things first. You have to consider that any place can be dangerous if you don’t take care of yourself. In Cancun, as you would do in any other destination, keep your eyes open and your mind focused on being sure about how are you going to return safe to your hotel when you decide the party is over.
Keep reading and consider the following practical tips you can use during your stay in Cancun Spring Break.
Cancun is Safe Spring Break Cancun Tips – May your stay be a fun and safe one!
All beaches in Cancun have lifeguards on duty daily from 9am to 6pm. You can easily spot them by their red trunks and/or tshirts with the red cross logo.
Cancun’s ocean looks beautiful and calm but don’t let it fool you. The Caribbean Sea does have undertow currents that can get strong and sweep you into the ocean if you don’t pay attention. It’s OK if you let yourself go and relax while you’re in the ocean but always (and I mean, always) look around to see how far the shore is or where are your friends. Don’t relax too much. Consider that there are no lifeguards at night, so be extremely careful if you decide to swim at those hours. I wouldn’t recommend it but if you must, please do it very carefully for your own safety.
If you’re drunk or under the influence of controlled substances, avoid the ocean. The sea is not your friend when your head feels dizzy and your body doesn’t respond well . You have a very high risk of drowning if you decide to swim when drunk or high. Don’t make this spring break something to forget.
The beaches in Cancun are federal property and that means that nobody (not even people working at hotels) can tell you that you can’t “use” the beach. Remember that the beach is not a hotel facility; it is property of the country. Don’t be tricked by this. You don’t have to buy drinks or something else to “use” the beach or beach strip of Cancun. If this happens, report the person to the police. As simple as that.
While at the beach, you’ll see many street vendors trying to sell you handcrafts. I would reccomend you not to buy anything from them. Sometimes their prices are elevated or they can trick you into buying something that is not what it seems (alpaca instead of real silver or fake gold, for example).
One of the street vendors at the beach will be a guy trying to make you do parasailing. He will tell you that this activity is safe but truth is that it is not if the equipment looks old. This is an activity you shouldn’t do if you’re trying to be extra safe and cautious but if you feel like the adrenaline is forcing you to do it, check the equipment to avoid accidents.
Getting a little tanned is expected but ending up with major burns is not. If you want to look tanned always wear sunscreen in your face and body. Don’t ever, ever fall asleep while getting tanned! Some people wake up after many hours in the sun just to discover that their bodies are almost burnt. You don’t want that to happen. You can buy tanning lotions at any convenience store, super market, etc. Please buy biodegradable, eco-friendly products.
If you end up with pain or burns because of the sun, apply some aloe lotion and/or special sunburn gels (available at most drugstores) and ask for the doctor at your hotel. They’ll know what to do. Just don’t ignore the sunburns, that would be worse.
The Nichupté Lagoon is very pretty and it’s full of activities you shouldn’t miss but while you’re near it, remember to be always accompanied by someone who knows the lagoon. The reason is: Alligators. Try not to walk by the lagoon at night especially if you’re drunk or not very conscious. You might try to reach the water, but guess who is sleeping in there? That’s correct, alligators.
Clubs, bars & discos
Stick to your drink and never leave it unattended. Always be present when your drink is prepared and, of course, try not to order anything you haven’t had before if you’re in a club. This may seem exaggerated but the reality is that is extremely easy to slip drugs into drinks. My advice is to order bottled drinks and have them opened in front of you.
If you have watched the news lately, you know that the Mexican government is on an ongoing battle against drug cartels. That’s why now (more than ever) it would be very silly to use illegal drugs in clubs, bars & discotheques because if you get caught doing it you will be not only expelled from the club immediately, but you’ll also be sent to the authorities and end up spending the night in a Mexican jail. This is a very serious topic. I know you came to Cancun for the party, but please remember that your safety always comes first.
Almost any hotel has free WiFi for its guests. Some have it in every room and some have it in public areas, you’ll need to check with your concierge which is the case in your accommodation. So, bring your laptop or smartphone and it will be fine. If you decide to leave your gadgets at home but still want to get in touch, use the hotel’s business center or go to a Cyber Cafe. There are plenty in the Hotel Zone, just ask which one is near you.
The Hotel Zone is easy to get around in but very long, that’s why your best choice to go from one place to another would be ground transportation. I recommend taking a bus because its price it’s fixed (8.50 MXN Pesos or around 0.70 USD) and it can take you anywhere you want, even downtown. You won’t miss the bus stops; they’re signaled all over the Hotel Zone.
Taxis are also available and they’re faster and more private than a bus. They’re also more expensive. You usually have two options: You either board a taxi at your hotel’s lobby or request it from a near taxi site, or you flag it down right on the street. The difference is price and security. Hotel / site taxis are normally safest, since they keep a log of their activities and theres always someone supervising them. However, they are more expensive too. Taking a taxi from your hotel or from a site can easily cost twice or even more, than taking one from the streets. In any case, always make sure to arrange a price with the driver before taking the taxi.
If you take one at downtown, it will charge you between 23 to 25 MXN Pesos to take you anywhere. If you want to go from downtown to the Hotel Zone in a taxi, the price will be much higher. Same thing happens if you take it in the Hotel Zone and want it to take you to any other spot in the same area. So, what you’ll do to avoid being charged a lot of money will be asking the driver how much the ride is going to cost you BEFORE you get into the car. This is expected; don’t feel rude because you asked.
Using your iPhone / Android / Blackberry in Cancun
Are you an app freak? Cancun is slowly but steadily catching on with location based services such as Foursquare or Gowalla. Try signing in to your service and check for nearby specials and promotions. More and more venues are joining in the mobile promotions, you never know if you can get a nice freebie by checking in somewhere.
Help Cancun and begin tagging or checking in the places you visit. You’ll contribute to the city’s development. Thank you!
Money / Money Exchange
It’s true that in Cancun you can pay everything in dollars but that’s a big no-no if you come with a limited budget. Why? Because vendors try to earn a few more pesos by charging their products in dollars. What I recommend doing is exchanging your currency for pesos at the Exchange Houses (there’s one near you, I’m sure). And if a vendor tells you “This costs $20 dollars” you say “And how much is it in pesos?”.
Another good advice is to leave your money at the hotel’s safety box and take with you only the amount you plan to spend that day. It’s not likely that you would get robbed or anything but you could lose your wallet and that way the rest of your money will be safe. Use this advice in any city you visit, not just in Cancun!
Same thing applies for your travel documents (passport and visa). If you don’t need to be carrying them around, leave them at the safety box of your hotel.
Behind Cancun’s paradise lies a city. If you want to know the real Cancun, go visit downtown Cancun. It’s also practical to know that there you’ll find banks, hospitals, supermarkets, ATM’s, malls and the restaurants and bars where the locals go. To get downtown take any bus that says “Centro” (means “downtown” in Spanish) and hop off at Avenida Tulum (Tulum Avenue). From there you could walk to any interesting spot in the city.
Cancun’s Downtown is also good to buy souvenirs or to do a less expensive shopping. You won’t find any luxury boutique like you’ll do in the Hotel Zone but there are others that represent the city’s heritage. Also consider that some people go to the supermarkets in Downtown Cancun to stock on supplies and then go back to their hotels.
Have a fun & safe Spring Break Cancun 2012!
More useful links and info:
8 tips for women traveling to Cancun for Spring Break – Alana Rivero, a young Mexican woman living and working in Cancun as a travel copywriter shared with us these special tips for the safety of women coming to enjoy Spring Break 2012 in Cancun. Don’t miss them!
Is Cancun safe for Spring Break? Top 10 tips for your safety Coming to Cancun to enjoy your Spring Break 2012? We talked to a local doctor and came up with this list of Top 10 tips to ensure a safe & fun Spring Break Cancun 2012. Check it out!
How safe is travel in Mexico? Our most popular post! With a lot of useful information.
Is Cancun Safe? You bet! – A post with testimonials about the safety of Cancun and Riviera Maya, from “ex-pats” living and working in the area.
Is it safe to travel to Mexico? The answer is yes. Good post with lots of recent facts & figures, including a map showing the conflict areas in Mexico.
Is it safe to travel to Cancun? Cancun tops ABC News “7 safe places to visit in Mexico” list
External links and information
What are other travelers from different parts of the world saying about the safety of Cancun and Mexico? Check out the following links.
Mexico Tourism: Is Cancun Safe for Visitors? USA Today says so. – Kitty Bean Yancey from USA Today wrote yet another article covering the topic on safety in Cancun and Mexico. Including testimonials from US citizens currently enjoying this beautiful destination as well as American and Canadian citizens living and working in Cancun. Come read all about it.
“Replete with resorts, Cancun is one of the safest cities in Mexico. Drug cartel violence generally takes place 1,300 miles from Cancun on the northern border of Mexico (the same distance from New York to Texas). In fact, Cancun’s crime rate is much lower than that of most U.S. cities. Mexico is a very large country and the resort city of Cancun continues to be a safe destination for visitors. Here are answers to four of today’s most common questions about safety in the area.”
Is It Safe To Visit Mexico? – A very complete post by Aysha Griffin, an American travel writer.
“Is it safe to visit the resorts and popular tourists destinations, like Cancun, Puerto Vallarta, Ixtapa, Playa del Carmen, etc? Probably as safe as it has ever been. The decent, kind-hearted Mexicans, who know the value of tourism, welcome you. … be aware of your surroundings, as you should no matter where; and continue to visit and enjoy the diverse scenery, culture, food, climate and genuine hospitality of Mexico.”
Why I’m Not Afraid of Mexico – An excellent post by Candice, a Canadian 20-something traveler.
“… danger is real, but it’s real anywhere. Get schooled about the places to go and the places to avoid, don’t go venturing down any shady alleyways, mind your own business and be polite. Do your research. Being smart will get you a lot further than being afraid.“
All photos courtesy ofSweet Caribbean Foto – Need a photographer during your stay in Cancun? Although Sweet Caribbean Foto specializes in wedding photography in Cancun and Riviera Maya, they are a young couple and can adjust to any idea you might have. How about a memory of the great times you had during Springbreak Cancun 2012? Contact Sweet Caribbean Foto to arrange a photo session.
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