Playa Del Carmen Safety
…better safe than sorry…
As soon as I moved to Mexico half my family were convinced I was a gangster drug dealer.
They thought living in Mexico meant your neighbors were part of a local cartel and your basement was stuffed with weapons.
People would ask me, “Hey Rufus, is Playa Del Carmen safe?”
I would reply as unequivocally as possible.
“Yes, it’s definitely safe.”
They didn’t get it.
They were always like, “No, but, seriously dude, is Playa Del Carmen actually safe? You know, like safe safe?”
What’s wrong with people?
Playa Del Carmen is a very safe destination. Believe me, I live here. I know this city.
Playa Del Carmen Isn’t Like The Rest of Mexico
The main problem I have convincing people of Playa Del Carmen safety is that everyone assumes that all of Mexico is the same.
When the LA riots were happening in LA, were you safe in Minnesota?
When the 9/11 attacks occurred, was it unsafe for you to be in New Orleans?
Mexico is going through a drug war – and it does have a major problem with trafficking and gang violence. There are some places that you absolutely don’t want to go to.
However, these places are as far away from Playa Del Carmen as LA is from Minnesota.
Playa Del Carmen Isn’t Like The Rest of Mexico – DON’T FORGET IT THIS TIME!
When you hear about drugs and wars in Mexico, then the reporter probably hasn’t gotten around to showing you a map.
There are a few major hotspots where the war against drugs is taking a number of innocent lives.
But these aren’t the places you’ll be visiting – and they sure aren’t anywhere near Playa Del Carmen.
The dangerous Mexican states are in the north and northwest of the country.
Guess where Playa Del Carmen is?
If you look at the stats, there are far more murders per capita in LA or New York then there are in Playa Del Carmen (or in almost all of Mexico, for that matter).
In fact, Quintana Roo, the state that Playa Del Carmen is in, would be classified as very safe when you compare it to most of the US states.
Judging by recent events, then you’re probably more dangerous going to school in America than going to Playa Del Carmen.
If you’re still unsure, read the latest advice on Mexico travel restrictions.
Playa Del Carmen Safety And Drugs
Don’t be coming to Playa Del Carmen thinking the town is completely awash with white powder.
Don’t think you’ll walk into a bar, meet the Don, and start doing Scarface impressions.
The Playa Del Carmen authorities are more serious than most about the drug war.
They haven’t even let it start in Playa Del Carmen.
Of course you’ll get some street kids and scamsters offering you powder.
But it comes with eye watering prices and you’ll be snorting flour. Just don’t go there.
If you really want to find narcotics in Playa Del Carmen, then absolutely don’t go looking for them on the street.
That’s probably the single most unsafe thing you can do.
If you have to (but I wouldn’t recommend it), meet some locals and win their trust before asking any questions.
Basic Travel Safety In Playa Del Carmen
As much as I’m saying it’s very safe, you have to remember that you’re in a foreign country, and you can’t always act like you do at home.
There are a few basics to get right, like not buying drugs off the dodgy kids on the streets.
It’s good to have a quick check of general travel safety in Mexico.
It should give you a good idea of the “no-go” areas in Mexico and prove how far away Playa Del Carmen is from the drug wars.
I hope by now you’ve got over your fear of traveling to Playa Del Carmen.
Don’t keep nagging on like my grandmother, asking stupid questions like, “Rufus, are you 100% sure that it’s definitely safe and you’re not a drug lord?”
Still not sure? For some more detailed Mexico travel advice you can follow this link.
Mexican Etiquette That Doesn’t Help Playa Del Carmen Safety
Some of my buddies have some strange ideas about Mexican etiquette.
They would arrive in Playa Del Carmen and think it was normal to wear a poncho, down a bottle of tequila, and then speak in a daft accent.
Then they would start knocking on my neighbors’ doors, convinced that it was normal to ask random people where they could buy cocaine.
My buddies have this glorified image of Mexico, one that is far from reality.
They’re an embarrassment.
They would even grow mustaches as they thought it would help them blend in.
Annoying the hell out of the locals isn’t going to help your Playa Del Carmen safety.
Let’s be serious about Mexican culture.
The Real Mexican Etiquette
If you want to make your trip as smooth as possible, then it’s good to at least try some of the basic Mexican etiquette.
It’s not really that different to home.
Respect the local cultures and traditions.
Mexico is a fairly conservative country, so flashing your boobs in public is generally unacceptable.
However, if you want a perv or you want an all over tan there are some beaches where going topless in Playa Del Carmen is all but acceptable (in other words, it’s normal).
Take my advice about topless Playa Del Carmen because you don’t want to untie the bikini and have thousands of Mexican men taking photos of your jubblies and posting them on Facebook.
Most people working in Playa Del Carmen have to live on their tips.
Like a lot of service positions in the US, they might not get a wage.
So it’s good to have an idea about what’s acceptable for tipping in Mexico.
Do You Need To Speak Spanish In Playa Del Carmen?
Playa Del Carmen is a beach resort town, so if you don’t know a single word of Spanish don’t worry.
You’re still going to get by.
However, if you want to endear yourself to the locals, the first thing to do is learn a few important travel phrases.
It doesn’t matter if you’re not that good at saying them, or you stutter your way through the words each time.
It’s the effort that counts.
If you try and speak Spanish you’re going to get a much warmer reaction from the locals.
Honestly, sitting in a little bar and trying to have a conversation with a random Mexican dude could be the highlight of your vacation.
Hey, you can even come and stay at a Playa Del Carmen language school and become fluent in Spanish.
Now that’s going to get you some real Mexican buddies.
Understanding The Lifestyle In Playa Del Carmen
Okay, we’ve established that Playa Del Carmen isn’t like the rest of Mexico.
Well, I hope we have.
But if you turn up and start thinking you’re Pablo Escobar, than that is your problem.
Playa Del Carmen is very different from most places in the world.
It’s got this funky bohemian blend of people from around the world.
Just check out my neighbors; Brazilian archeologist, Swedish ex-world rally car driver, drunk American (wait that’s me), Spanish kitesurf instructors, failed UK model (backside is too big), retired couple from Canada, and then a few Mexican Mamas who keep us all sane.
Even the tourists come from all over the world.
If you’re into collecting flags and sleeping with girls / guys from as many countries as possible, then Playa Del Carmen is one of the best destinations in the world.
This diverse cast of residents and visitors is great for two reasons:
Firstly, you’re certain to find people who are on your wavelength.
Secondly, you’ll never get bored as you’re meeting people from all walks of life.
Hopefully you’ll also see me, probably slumped in a corner after an eight hour tequila session.
Some Facts About Playa Del Carmen
Playa Del Carmen is located on the Caribbean coast of Mexico, right in the far southeast of the country.
It’s in a state called Quintana Roo.
The government has been investing loads of money into the area as it tries to develop tourism and infrastructure.
So it’s essentially a quiet Mexican backwater, but with awesome travel connections and facilities.
Playa Del Carmen can be visited all year round.
Seriously, don’t listen to people telling you there’s going to be a hurricane.
You would have to be very unlucky to see one.
But check out the different Playa Del Carmen seasons to find the best time for your visit.
The Playa Del Carmen weather is hot and awesome most of the year.
Although judging by the sunburn on the beach it might be too hot for some.
The Playa Del Carmen airport code is PCM.
It’s not PDC!!!
That’s been designated to Mueo, in New Caledonia, a place that doesn’t have P, D, or C, in its name.
You’ll probably be landing at Cancun International Airpot (CUN) because it is the closest airport to Playa Del Carmen.
There are loads of different Playa Del Carmen holidays you can go on.
Just avoid the drug smuggling option that’s been offered by the cartels.
Playa Del Carmen Travel Tips
To get the most from your Playa Del Carmen vacation, or Playa Del Carmen holiday as you Brits call it, there are a few things you should know.
When you return from Playa Del Carmen and you’re raving about your vacation, don’t tell your jealous buddies, help everyone else by posting some photos of your escapades.
If you’re on the prowl and hoping to get lucky, then you might find the local ladies a little different to the chicks at home.
You’ll also find that Playa Del Carmen women come from all nationalities, and some of them are seriously smoking hot.
Students can get some discounts in Mexico, or at least find out how to do things mega cheap by checking out the student travel Mexico advice.
It’s also useful to understand something about the Mexico travel bureau.
Travel Requirements To Mexico
It wasn’t that many years ago that Americans could cross the Mexican border without even needing a passport.
Things have changed.
While the US is making it harder for Mexicans to jump the border in one direction, the Mexicans are clamping down on US visitors.
So check out the US travel to Mexico advice.
Whatever country you are from, it’s good to have an up to date understanding of the requirements to travel to Mexico.
If you’re flying into Playa Del Carmen and Cancun, then you will definitely need a passport for travel to Mexico.
You’re also going to need a visa.
You get it at the border and it looks cool in your passport.
But skip the lines at immigration and learn about travel to Mexico from US.
By law you have to carry your Mexico travel documents, but it’s rare you’ll get asked for them in Playa Del Carmen.
It’s safer carrying a copy.
Playa Del Carmen Is Safe – So Come and Enjoy
Let’s go back to the start.
Playa Del Carmen is a very safe place.
So no putting off your visit! You won’t get caught up in gangland crossfire.
Seriously, the most unsafe part of Playa Del Carmen is falling off the bar stool after too many cocktails.
I’m sure I will see some of you here soon!
Lots of love,
It’s your turn. Do you have some tips, suggestions, or advice about safety here? Please leave them in the comments section below!