Akumal, Cancun, Cozumel, Playa del Carmen and Tulum are popular travel destinations in the Riviera Maya, Yucatan Peninsula, and are very safe to visit. Here are some tips to guide you towards a wonderful holiday experience in the Riviera Maya.
Do some research on your destination
Be informed and prepared on what to expect when you arrive at your destination. Mexico is a huge country and the areas that see drug-related violence and crime are in border regions with the USA in the north of Mexico or in areas along drug trafficking routes. The Riviera Maya is a safe region to travel in. The biggest risks you will face are days of being spoilt with the beauty of the turquoise blue Caribbean Sea and over-indulging in delicious alcoholic beverages!
Pre-arrange your transfer from the airport to your hotel
This requires advance planning and may cost a little more but it helps to bypass the throng of drivers at the taxi stand trying to get you to go into their taxi as you leave the airport. Instead you can confidently walk to a chauffeur holding your name up on a sign and ensure yourself a relaxed start to your holiday.
Speak to the Locals
When you check into a hotel, be sure to ask the staff the best places to go but also what tourist scams to be wary of.
Blend in as much as you can
Bear in mind the local customs and the climate you are in when you arrive and do your best to blend in. Try to dress like a long-time expat if dressing as a local would be too hard to pull off. It helps to avoid looking like an obvious tourist. Being discreet with expensive items, jewelry, or gadgets also prevents drawing the attention of con artists and pickpockets. If you do get lost while out exploring, maintain an appearance of confidence even if you’re not and walk with a purpose to the nearest shop or café to check your map before heading on.
Learn a Few Local Phrases
A lot of people in the Riviera Maya speak some English but it is useful to know a few phrases in the local language in case you’re in a situation where you can’t find someone who speaks your language.
This is a small gesture with a lot of power. Appearing friendly makes it more likely that other people will stop to help you. Rest assured that if you approach a local with a greeting and a smile, you’ll almost certainly have your question answered and you’ll receive a smile in return.
Have the address of your hotel or hostel written down to hand to taxi drivers if you decide to have a night out. The colectivo service stops before midnight and you will more than likely need to take a taxi. Take a picture of your taxi’s license plate before you get in it. For safety reasons and also if case you leave something in it, this makes it easier to track down later on.
Trust your instincts
If you feel uncomfortable at any time, be assertive and refuse advice, help with your bags or an invitation to drinks or dinner. It is important to be alert but not afraid. Your gut instinct and intuition is almost always right and even if it turns out that you had no reason to be worried, you have lost nothing.
Check in Regularly
Having someone who is aware of your whereabouts is a good idea. It could be a friend or family member back home who is aware of your daily schedule and has copies of your important documents (itinerary, passport, travel insurance, bank account details) in case something goes wrong and they need to get in touch with you. Also leaving a message with the management at your hotel for when they should expect you back can cause them to take action should you not return as scheduled.
Consider getting Travel Insurance
It doesn’t mean nothing bad will happen but it does mean that if you end up needing some medical attention during your holiday you don’t end up broke. Health care services abound in the Riviera Maya and if you end up needing medical help, you have many options and any most have English speaking staff.
And just in case something bad does happen…
Know the local emergency numbers
The staff at the front desk of your hotel will know the local emergency numbers or you can look it up online before you depart. Hopefully, you never have to use it but if you do, you’ll be prepared.
In Riviera Maya the emergency numbers are 611, 060 & 066
Red Cross (984) 873 1233, emergencies 065
Police (984) 873 0291, emergencies 060
Fire Station (984) 8793669 & 70
It’s important to apply the common sense you use at home while abroad. Being smart and following these tips will go a long way to making sure you have an amazing holiday in the Riviera Maya!