Is Isla Mujeres Safe

Is Isla Mujeres Safe? Top Isla Mujeres Safety Tips for 2023

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Are you planning a trip to Mexico and wondering if Isla Mujeres is safe to travel to? You’ve come to the right guide!

As a travel blogger that lives in nearby Playa del Carmen, I’m a local travel expert and have visited Isla Mujeres countless times–both on day trips and for overnight stays.

Isla Mujeres (“Island of Women”) is known for being a laid-back tropical island but if you’re not familiar with the area, it’s natural to have questions about safety concerns.

And it’s certainly no secret that safety in Mexico is often a hot topic on the primetime news!

In this article, I’ll use my personal experiences and local knowledge to share everything you need to know about the safety situation in Isla Mujeres, including general safety measures, safety tips, potential risks, and how to avoid them.

So, whether you’re a seasoned traveler or planning your first trip, this guide is here to put your worries at ease and help you make the most of your trip to Isla Mujeres.

Ready to find out all about safety in Isla Mujeres? Let’s dive in!

Is Isla Mujeres Safe for Tourists?

Yes, Isla Mujeres is considered a very safe destination. The small island is very quiet and laid back and has a very low crime rate.

Most tourists choose Isla Mujeres for its relaxed atmosphere and tropical beaches, so you won’t find a wild nightlife scene or the late night crime that comes with it.

Plus, there’s a large police presence on the island and plenty of local authorities patrolling during the day and at night.

Though it’s still important to remain aware of your surroundings and practice the same common-sense safety precautions as you would when traveling anywhere else.

Petty theft and shopping scams can be common in tourist-heavy areas, so it’s always a good idea to always be aware of your surroundings and keep a close eye on your personal belongings.

Most people come to Isla Mujeres to relax and soak up the sun, so you’re likely to have a very safe and enjoyable visit with few safety concerns.

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A person standing on the Isla Mujeres sign

Isla Mujeres Travel Advisory

Here’s a closer look at the official travel advisory for Isla Mujeres:

US Travel Advisory for Isla Mujeres

The official U.S. Department of State Travel Advisory for Isla Mujeres, Mexico is currently “Level 2 – Exercise Increased Caution” due to the high levels of crime and violence in the state of Quintana Roo (where Isla Mujeres is located).

The Mexico travel advisory mentions that criminal activity and violent crime may occur in popular tourist destinations such as Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and Tulum, but does not specifically list Isla Mujeres as an area of risk.

While the remote island of Isla Mujeres is generally considered safer than mainland Mexico, it is still recommended that travelers should maintain a high level of situational awareness at all times when visiting Isla Mujeres and avoid any areas where illicit activities are occurring.

An infographic of the 4 U.S. State Department Travel Advisory Levels

Smart Traveler Enrollment Program

If you are a United States citizen, I would also recommend registering for the U.S. State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), which allows you to submit your travel plans to the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate in Mexico.

You’ll then receive news and safety alerts by email for Isla Mujeres travel warnings and any other areas you’re traveling to in Mexico. I’m enrolled and have found it to be very helpful and informative.

Canada Travel Advisory for Isla Mujeres

The Canadian government’s Mexico travel advisory is currently listed as Level 2 – “Exercise a High Degree of Caution”.

Note the Canadian travel advisory is for the entire country of Mexico, and the state of Quintana Roo is not listed as one of the Mexican states to avoid non-essential travel.

It does mention that popular tourist destinations such as Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Puerto Morelos, and Tulum may have higher rates of violent crime but does not list Isla Mujeres as an area of risk.

However, the advisory does recommend remaining vigilant at all times, staying in tourist areas, being very cautious on major highways, avoiding traveling at night, and monitoring local media closely while traveling in Mexico.

A boat in the water at Isla Mujeres Playa Norte

How Safe is Isla Mujeres?

Now, let’s take a look at the crime and safety statistics in Isla Mujeres as compared to other areas in Mexico and around the world.

Isla Mujeres Crime Rate

Numbeo is an online global database of perceived crime and safety rates in major cities and countries throughout the world.

This is usually my go-to resource for checking crime and safety rates, however the number of contributions for Isla Mujeres is still very low.

I’m still going to share the current statistics but keep in mind that this data may not be 100% accurate due to the low number of contributions.

According to Numbeo, the overall Crime Index for Isla Mujeres is 14.71, which is considered a very low level of crime on a 100 point scale.

For comparison, Mexico City has a Crime Index of 68.08 and Chicago has a Crime Index of 65.94.

Compared to other large cities around the world, the Isla Mujeres Mexico crime rate is very low and is considered a very safe destination for travelers.

A catamaran boat at a dock in Isla Mujeres Mexico

Isla Mujeres Safety Index

Alternatively, another metric Numbeo uses is “Safety Index” which is basically the opposite of Crime Index. If a city has a high Safety Index, it is considered very safe.

Currently, Isla Mujeres is reported to have a Safety Index of 85.29, which is considered a very high level of safety.

For comparison, Mexico City has a Safety Index of 31.92 and Chicago has a Safety Index of 34.06.

Again, due to the low number of contributions, the current data may not be 100% accurate.

But based on my personal experience, I would agree that Isla Mujeres is a very safe destination and one of the safest places in Mexico.

A group of lounge beds at a beach club in Isla Mujeres Mexico

Is Isla Mujeres Safe at Night?

Yes, Isla Mujeres is safe at night. The island is very quiet and laid back and doesn’t have a wild nightlife scene.

The island does have a handful of restaurants and bars in the downtown area (along the main street known as Avenida Miguel Hidalgo) that are open late.

However, it’s more of a beach bar/day-drinking type of destination rather than a wild party atmosphere like you would find in the nightclubs in Playa del Carmen or Cancun.

That said, it’s still important to practice common-sense safety measures, like sticking to well-lit areas and avoiding secluded spots, especially late at night.

The last time I was in Isla Mujeres, my friend and I drove a golf cart to dinner in the downtown area and returned to Hotel Belo Isla Mujeres around 11PM.

At this time of night, the streets were mostly deserted and it was pretty dark and quiet. Nothing happened but I would recommend not driving around too late at night just to be safe. Or taxis are also available for a safer ride back to your hotel.

Avenida Miguel Hidalgo Street in Isla Mujeres at night with people sitting at tables

Is Isla Mujeres Mexico Safe for Solo Travelers?

Yes, Isla Mujeres is safe for solo travelers, including solo female travelers. In fact, it’s one of the best destinations in Mexico for solo travel because it’s safe and laid-back and has amazing beaches and numerous activities.

If you’re visiting Isla Mujeres as a solo traveler, I would highly recommend staying in the downtown area near Playa Norte.

This area is very walkable and is close to many restaurants, bars, and shops. And you’ll be within steps of the beautiful Playa Norte beach, which has been rated as one of the best beaches in the world.

And you can always take a quick taxi ride if you want to explore other parts of the island like Punta Sur, the southern tip of the island that’s home to incredible cliffside views and a one-of-a-kind sculpture park.

A statue of the goddess Ixchel sitting on a crescent moon at Punta Sur in Isla Mujeres

That said, it’s still important to take basic safety precautions while traveling solo like never leaving valuables unattended, avoiding staying out late alone, and being aware of your surroundings at all times.

Female travelers especially should also be mindful of their alcohol consumption and never accept drinks from strangers.

But overall, Isla Mujeres is a very safe destination for solo travelers and can make for an unforgettable solo adventure.

A person sitting on a rock ledge at Punta Sur in Isla Mujeres with water in the background

Top Safety Risks in Isla Mujeres

Here are some of the top safety risks and things to be careful of in Isla Mujeres:

Petty Crime

Like any popular tourist destination, pickpocketing and petty theft can occur in Isla Mujeres.

Most of this type of crime is more common during the day when tourists are out and about sightseeing or enjoying beaches.

So it’s important to be vigilant with your belongings at all times, especially while exploring more crowded areas like downtown or Playa Norte.

ATM Fraud

ATM fraud is another potential concern in Isla Mujeres. Always stick to official bank ATMs in public locations and avoid using random ATMs you may find on the street.

Nameless ATMs have less security and are more likely to have card skimmers installed. There are several large Mexican banks not far from the ferry terminal such as HSBC, Banamex, and CIBanco that offer secure ATMs.

In addition, avoid going to the ATM late at night and be aware of your surroundings while at the ATM.

An HSBC ATM machine in Mexico

Drug Crime

Drug crime does exist in Isla Mujeres, as it does in most popular tourist destinations in Mexico. However, since the small island doesn’t have a wild nightlife scene, it’s not really as prevalent.

As long as you avoid the drug scene, don’t buy any drugs, or engage with any suspicious characters, you more than likely won’t have any interaction with drug cartels during your stay.

Shopping Scams

When souvenir shopping in Isla Mujeres, it’s important to be aware of potential scams.

This could be jewelers that are selling overpriced or counterfeit items or street vendors who are looking to take advantage of tourists.

It’s important to be aware of current prices for popular souvenirs and haggle if necessary. You can also ask your hotel Front Desk or Concierge for recommendations for reputable stores.

I would also recommend paying for souvenirs with cash when possible, as credit card information can be stolen if shopping at a shady store.

A girl walking on a sidewalk past souvenir shops in Isla Mujeres Mexico

Airport Transportation Scams

Another thing to be cautious of when getting to Isla Mujeres is potential airport transportation scams.

Since Isla Mujeres is located just off the coast of Cancun, the nearest international airport to Isla Mujeres is Cancun International Airport (CUN).

From there, you’ll need to take ground transportation to the Isla Mujeres ferry terminal in Cancun (you can either take Ultramar at Puerto Juarez or Xcaret Xailing).

A group of people disembarking from the Ultramar ferry dock in Isla Mujeres

However, Cancun Airport is a very hectic place known for having transportation scams at the arrivals area.

Do not accept offers from anyone inside of Cancun Airport as they may be trying to scam you with inflated prices or unsafe transportation services.

That’s why it’s important to pre-book a reliable airport transfer service for the safest and most reliable ride.

For Cancun airport transfers, I recommend a company called Cancun Airport Transportation, which will safely transport you to the ferry terminal in Cancun in a comfortable, private vehicle.

A Cancun Airport Transportation van parked in a parking lot

Drinking the Tap Water

The tap water in Isla Mujeres (and all of Mexico) is not safe to drink so it’s best to stick to bottled water when visiting.

Drinking the tap water can cause stomach-related illnesses so it’s important to only drink filtered water during your stay.

You’ll want to remember to use filtered water when making coffee and washing any fruits or vegetables as well.

Purified drinking water is typically provided at most Isla Mujeres hotels, or it can easily be purchased at convenience stores.

I would also recommend bringing along a collapsible water bottle that you can fill up with filtered water to stay hydrated throughout the day.

A shelf of bottled waters in Mexico

Sunburns and Dehydration

With warm temperatures all year round, sunburns and dehydration are common risks when visiting Isla Mujeres.

Bring plenty of sunscreen to protect your skin from a sunburn – the rays in Mexico are ultra strong!

However, it’s important to only wear biodegradable sunscreen in Isla Mujeres as regular sunscreen is often prohibited as it can be harmful to coral reefs.

You should also drink plenty of water throughout the day and stay in the shade if you tend to overheat.

A group of beds and umbrellas on Playa Norte Beach in Isla Mujeres

Transportation Safety in Isla Mujeres

Here are few important things to know when it comes to transportation safety in Isla Mujeres:

Are golf carts safe in Isla Mujeres?

Yes, golf carts are safe and the preferred way to get around Isla Mujeres.

You can rent a golf cart at the ferry terminal, from most hotels, or at any of the rental shops on the island. It’s really fun and the best way to explore the tiny island at your own pace.

Even at full speed, the golf carts are slow enough to avoid serious accidents. But it’s important to park and lock your golf cart carefully when leaving it unattended.

A woman driving a golf cart in Isla Mujeres Mexico

Are taxis safe in Isla Mujeres?

Yes, taxis are safe and reliable in Isla Mujeres. In fact, I always feel much safer taking taxis in Isla Mujeres than in Playa del Carmen or Cancun.

Isla Mujeres taxis are red in color and there are several official taxi stands around the entire island. You’ll most likely have one right outside of your hotel.

And most of the routes have set rates (usually less than $10 USD each) so it’s easy to know if you’re getting a fair rate. Plus, you can always double check with the Front Desk at your hotel if you’re unsure.

A red Isla Mujeres taxi parked in a taxi stand

Is there Uber in Isla Mujeres?

No, Uber is currently not available to use in Isla Mujeres. While legislation was recently passed in January 2023 allowing Uber to operate in the state of Quintana Roo, strong opposition from taxi drivers has made it unsafe to use the ride-sharing service anywhere in the region.

Instead, you’ll need to stick to golf carts or taxis to get around.

A road in Isla Mujeres with taxis, golf carts, and palm trees

Beach Safety in Isla Mujeres

Isla Mujeres has some of the best beaches in Mexico, so it’s important to know how to stay safe while visiting them.

Is it safe to swim in Isla Mujeres?

Yes, it is safe to swim in Isla Mujeres on the beaches on the western side of the island. Playa Norte is the island’s most popular beach, which has clear shallow waters and calm waves.

This is a great place for both kids and adults as it’s very easy to swim or just hang out in the shallow water. You can try snorkeling here too but you might not see much with all the crowds.

However, it’s important to know that the island’s eastern side has a rocky coastline and strong waves, so it is not suitable for swimming.

Playa Norte Beach on Isla Mujeres with clear turquoise water and a boat in the distance

Which side of Isla Mujeres has the best beach?

The western side of Isla Mujeres has the best beaches. Playa Norte on the northwestern part of the island is the best beach in Isla Mujeres, and the most popular spot for swimming and lounging.

For more secluded beaches, there are also hotels on the southwestern side of the island (like Hotel Belo) that have beaches that are more calm but not as picturesque as Playa Norte.

As mentioned, the eastern coast of Isla Mujeres is incredibly picturesque but its strong waves and rocky coastline make it dangerous for swimming.

A decorative boat on rocks on the east side of Isla Mujeres with the beach and ocean in the background

Are beach clubs safe in Isla Mujeres?

Yes, beach clubs in Isla Mujeres are generally safe. They are typically more guarded and provide a more secure place to leave your personal items when you’re in the water.

But you’ll still want to keep an eye on your things as Playa Norte is a public beach with a lot of people coming and going.

A group of people on orange lounge beds at Green Demon Beach Club in Isla Mujeres

Is Playa Norte safe?

Yes, Playa Norte is generally safe as it’s a very busy beach with a lot of people out and about.

However, as with any busy beach, I would recommend keeping an eye on your belongings when you’re in the water.

Petty theft can happen so it’s important to not bring any valuables to the beach and always be aware of your surroundings.

A catamaran anchored at Isla Mujeres Playa Norte

Isla Mujeres Safety Tips

Follow these Isla Mujeres Mexico safety tips to to minimize your risk and make the most of your experience in Isla Mujeres:

  • Always be aware of your surroundings: As always, use common sense, be aware of your surroundings, and keep an eye on your belongings at all times. Wear a crossbody purse or belt bag, especially in busy areas like near the ferry terminal or in downtown Isla Mujeres.

  • Don’t be a target: Avoid wearing expensive clothing, flashy jewelry, and accessories which can make you stand out as a target for theft, exploitation, and getting overcharged.

  • Always confirm the price of a taxi before getting in: Taxi drivers have been known to overcharge tourists so it’s always best to confirm the price upfront. Most destinations in Isla Mujeres have set rates but you’ll want to confirm before getting in.

  • Bring cash: Isla Mujeres is one destination in Mexico where credit cards aren’t widely accepted. Don’t bring a crazy amount of cash but make sure you have enough to cover taxis, restaurants, and beach club expenses. Some places will accept credit cards with an added surcharge.

  • Utilize the hotel safe for valuables: Always keep your passport, valuables, money, and at least one credit card locked in the hotel safe. That way if you were to lose your wallet, you’ll still have access to funds for the remainder of your trip.

  • Don’t forget to securely lock your golf cart: If you choose to rent a golf cart in Isla Mujeres, be sure to always lock the golf cart securely after you park it. Golf cart rentals typically include a bike lock that you’ll strap around the steering wheel when you’re not using it.

  • Pack biodegradable sunscreen and a water bottle: It’s absolutely essential to wear biodegradable, reef-safe sunscreen when swimming in the ocean to protect the coral reefs. You’ll also want to bring your own water bottle to fill up with purified water and stay hydrated throughout your trip.

  • Learn some basic Spanish: The primary language spoken on Isla Mujeres is Spanish. While most tourist-facing locals will speak English, it’s always best to learn some basic Spanish phrases when traveling to Mexico to better connect with locals, request assistance from non-English speakers, and avoid getting ripped off.

  • Download the Guest Assist App: The Guest Assist App for Quintana Roo is a new app created exclusively for tourists to provide emergency and tourist assistance. The app can be downloaded to your phone or you can visit the Guest Assist website, which also provides helpful resources like contact information for embassies and consulates. Download the Guest Assist app here: Apple | Android
A woman standing on a cliff at Isla Mujeres Punta Sur with her arms up and Caribbean Sea in the background
A woman standing at Isla Mujeres Punta Sur with a rope fence in front of the ocean

Safety in Isla Mujeres: FAQs

Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about safety in Isla Mujeres:

Is Isla Mujeres safer than Cancun?

Yes, when comparing Isla Mujeres vs Cancun, Isla Mujeres has a much lower crime rate. It’s still important to take the necessary safety precautions but overall, Isla Mujeres is a very quiet and laid-back island and considered much safer than Cancun.

What is the crime rate in Isla Mujeres?

According to Numbeo, Isla Mujeres has a very low crime rate of 14.71 on a 100 point scale. However, the site has a low number of contributions so the data may not be 100% accurate.

Is Isla Mujeres safe for a day trip?

Yes, Isla Mujeres is a very safe place for a day trip. With its stunning Playa Norte beach, taking a day trip to Isla Mujeres from Playa del Carmen, Cancun, or the Riviera Maya is definitely worth it as the beaches are almost always seaweed-free.

You’ll just want to practice basic safety precautions while on the ferry ride and exploring the island.

Is it safe to walk around Isla Mujeres at night?

Yes, it is generally safe to walk around Isla Mujeres at night but you should always stay in well-lit and populated areas like the downtown area around Avenida Miguel Hidalgo. Avoid walking alone late at night and always be aware of your surroundings.

Is it safe to go to Isla Mujeres right now?

Yes, Isla Mujeres is a very safe, quiet, and laid back beach destination and travelers can feel safe visiting Isla Mujeres right now.

As in any vacation destination, you should always take basic safety precautions when visiting.

Is Isla Mujeres safe for families?

Yes, Isla Mujeres is a very safe destination for families. It’s a very laid back and quiet island and there are tons of fun Isla Mujeres activities suitable for both children and adults.

Plus, the beaches on the western side of the island have calm waves and shallow waters, which makes them perfect for kids.

When is hurricane season in Isla Mujeres?

Hurricane season in Isla Mujeres typically runs from June to November with the peak months being September and October.

However, hurricanes on this side of Mexico are less common, so it’s usually still safe to visit Isla Mujeres during hurricane season as long as you stay informed on the weather conditions.

Why is Isla Mujeres so popular?

Isla Mujeres is one of the most popular beach destinations in Mexico thanks to its stunning Playa Norte (North Beach), which has been voted as one of the best beaches in the world.

The beautiful island is a quiet paradise that offers palm trees, white sand beaches with incredibly turquoise water, snorkeling excursions to nearby coral reefs, and a laid back atmosphere with golf cart transportation.

When is the best time to go to Isla Mujeres?

The best time to go to Isla Mujeres is typically from December-February when the temperatures on the island are warm and dry.

However, this is typically high season so if you want to avoid the crowds, consider visiting on the shoulder months of peak season (October/November or March/April).

A wooden dock over a beach in Isla Mujeres Mexico

Final Thoughts: Is Isla Mujeres Safe Right Now?

So, is Isla Mujeres dangerous? Hopefully by now you can see that Isla Mujeres is a very safe place and laid-back beach destination with beautiful beaches and very low crime rates.

Of all of the destinations I’ve visited in the Riviera Maya region and the Yucatan peninsula, Isla Mujeres has felt the most safe and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it for families, solo travelers, or anyone just looking for a quiet beach getaway.

That being said, petty theft and shopping scams can still happen so you should always take basic safety precautions.

Make sure to be always be aware of your surroundings, never leave valuables unattended, and avoid the drug scene and any illegal activity.

With these simple safety tips, you should have no problem enjoying Isla Mujeres safely!