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Yucatán Peninsula

Health & safety

Dangers & annoyances

Dangers are few. Violent crime in the Yucatán Peninsula is extremely rare; in fact residents pride themselves on the safety record of their neighborhoods and streets. Theft in big cities like Cancún, Playa del Carmen and Mérida does occasionally occur, usually in very crowded areas, such as busy markets.

Unattended bags and belongings – even that ratty old pair of flip-flops – may be stolen from the beach, and there have been reports of bus travelers having their bags stolen, especially on second-class night buses. One ­common scheme is to short-change drivers at gas stations: count your pesos carefully.

While these tranquil waters are generally safe for swimming, occasional strong currents, especially during the norte (north wind) season from November to March, can wreck diving and snorkeling plans. And then there are the street hustlers who will try to arrange your sleeps, eats, drugs and dates. It’s easiest just to not give these folks the time of day, though a simple, ‘no, gracias’ normally suffices.