Cancún, Mexico – Things to Do and Safety for Solo Female Travelers
For Solo Female Travelers wanting to visit Mexico, there isn’t a better place than Cancún and the Mayan Riviera. Cancún is safe, beautiful, and fun. There are things to do for those of all interests, but there are a few things you should know before you plan your trip.
In this article, you’ll learn safety tips, steps for international travel, popular attractions and things to do, areas to avoid, and where to stay. We’ll also list some of the most popular beaches and ruins to consider visiting during your trip.
Things To Know About Cancún, Mexico
Cancún is in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo and receives about 2.4 million visitors every year. The busiest time for tourism in Cancún is December through April. Cancún is located on the Mayan Riviera which stretches along the northeast edge of the Yucatan peninsula. ‘
As a tourist hot-spot, Cancún is an oddity among Mexican cities. Nearly everyone there will speak English, and nearly everyone you’ll see will be European or American. Everything is also priced at European/American rates, which sometimes means that things cost more than they should.
Do you need to know Spanish in Cancún? In Cancún, knowing Spanish is nice, but unnecessary, nearly everyone speaks English. This means that you won’t be getting a true cultural experience, either, though things will be much more convenient and safer. Also, every hotel and major attraction will have armed guards. They blend in and you likely won’t notice them, but they are there, keeping you safe.
As a bit of trivia, the little line above the “u” in Cancún and “a” in Yucatán are called “tildes” and are used in Spanish to put an accent (emphasis) on the vowel.
Weather in Cancún
Cancún is semi-tropical which means humidity and sun. Summers are hot, rainy, and overcast, while winters clear-skyed and just muggy enough to make it great for comfort. The hottest month is July, with highs over 90°F, and the coolest is January with highs around 81°F. If you visit Cancún expect heat, which is why water parks and beaches are so popular.
One last bit about Cancún’s climate–if you go at the wrong time of year, you’ll get seaweed season. May through October, currents drive in seaweed, which washes onto the shore and molds. This brown seaweed makes the ocean non-swimmable, and the beaches are gross. Don’t visit this time of year.
Must See Attractions and Things to Do in Cancún
Cancún is a resort town with so much to do. While we’ve only listed the most popular attractions, there’s a lot of stuff to do that you can’t find online. This list can help you get started, but make sure to ask other travelers about stuff they liked while they were there.
Also, if you’re not sure how to get to a certain destination, ask someone in your hotel. They’ll recommend safe transportation as well as give you tips on getting where you need to go.
- La Isla Shopping Center
Located in the Hotel Zone, La Isla Shopping Center is an entire village of shops with waterways running between. Open 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. La Isla Shopping Center mall features a blend of local and international stores.
- Xoximilco Cancún by Xcaret
Xcaret is the Disney of Mexico. They’re known for stuff like water parks, amusement rides, and archaeological sites. They cost more but are safer for female travelers. Xoximilco is a theme park focused on Mexican culture, food, nightlife, and music.
- Mayan Museum of Cancún
The Mayan Museum of Cancún is a museum located in the Hotel Zone and is dedicated to Mayan culture. The museum has about 350 artifacts on display at a time. They show everything from sculpture to pottery. The museum is a great way to spend an hour or two without the rush of other travelers.
- Torre Escenica (Scenic Tower) by Xcaret
At 260 feet, the Cancún Scenic Tower looks out over the Mayan Riviera. The admission price is covered with a valid wristband from any other Xcaret park.
- Avenida Kukulkan
The Avenida Kukulkan is the main street of Cancún and features the best shops, ruins, beaches, hotels, food, and culture. It isn’t the prettiest, but it does offer the most Mexican culture without exposing you to too much danger.
- Dolphin Discovery
Dolphin Discovery, located in Isla Mujeres, Cancún, is a blend of ferry tour and dolphin swimming. They have pools and a buffet included.
- Xavage Park by Xcaret
Xavage Park is great for those wishing to experience a bit more outdoors. You can have fun kayaking, ziplining, rafting, going through ropes courses, jet boating, or even taking a ride on an all-terrain monster truck. There are a couple other Xcaret parks we won’t mention in this list, but Xcaret is also great for safe hotels right on the resort.
Cenotes are awesome. They’re giant underground rivers/lakes (with plenty of natural light) which are great for swimming, tubing, and diving. The water is clear and plenty clean. You can also dive and snorkel in them. The best way to see cenotes is with another travel group or on a tour.
Tulum is paradise within paradise. It has many ruins, theme parks, real 5-star hotels, and of course, Playa Paraiso Beach. It’s about 2 hours from Cancún and is best known for the stunning amounts of nature still untouched. Cancún is green, but Tulum is really green.
We’ve included the most popular beaches near Cancún and the Mayan Riviera, but make sure that you go with other tourists or scheduled tour groups. Safety precautions include beach time. Also, the sun along the equator is strong, so make sure to wear plenty of sunscreen.
- Playa Delfines “El Mirador”
The widest stretch of beach in Cancún, Playa Delfines is arguably the most beautiful stretch too. Its sparkling blue waters, stunning white sand, and warm temperatures make it a tropical paradise.
- Costa Mujeres
North of Cancún, Costa Mujeres is popular for its calmer, more relaxed environment compared to the big city.
- Playa Norte
Playa Norte is located on Isla Mujeres (a 40-minute ferry from Costa Mujeres). The beach is mostly clear of seaweed and gives visitors easy access to other popular attractions on Isla Mujeres.
- Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve
Boasted as one of the most natural ways to enjoy the beauty of Cancún, Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve is home to a variety of tropical creatures and beautiful landscapes. Even though it is two hours south of Cancún, it is well worth the adventure.
- Playa Chac Mool
This beach is well loved by tourists for its strong but manageable waves, closeness to the city, and manicured beach. Family friendly during the day and party strong at night, this beach is perfect for any type of traveler.
- Playa Maroma
Considered one of the best beaches for swimming, Playa Maroma features beautiful waters and scenic rainforest surroundings.
- Playa Paraiso
Playa Paraiso, is in Tulum (Like the Sian Ka’an Biosphere) and has some of the most pristine white beaches on earth. Tulum hasn’t been on the tourist map if Cancún, which makes it calmer.
- Playa Akumal
Playa Akumal is popular for those wishing to snorkel or dive with sea turtles. The calm waters make this beach the best of the list for swimming and has a quaint town for shopping and eating.
Mexican ruins are quite the sight to see, especially when you learn about the unique cultures that built them. The ruins we’ve listed below are near Cancún but may take a little bit of driving to get to. We recommend going with a tour group as this is far safer for solo travelers and means that you’ll get so much more out of the trip, despite the extra cost.
- Chichen Itza
Chichen Itza has massive Mayan pyramids and tons of Mayan tradition. The spot sees about 3,500 tourists a day, making it one of the more crowded areas. The pyramids were restored, due to preservation concerns, you can no longer climb the temples.
Coba has the largest network of Mayan roads ever discovered, with 16 of the found 50 open to the public. The temples are set deeper into the jungle, any you can still climb many of the temples.
- El Rey Ruins
Like Chichen Itza, El Rey has guides to show you around the temples and explain the history, traditions, and culture of the site. It’s located in the Hotel Zone which makes it great for a day trip.
- El Meco Archaeological Site
El Emeco is a smaller ruins site than the others, but it has the tallest archaeological structure in the area. It is currently closed due to Covid.
Where To Stay in Cancún
The Hotel Zone “Zona Hotelera” has affordable hotels with breathtaking views, making it the best place to stay. It’s got things to do all day and night which makes it popular for soloists looking to take attractions at their own pace.
If you decide not to stay in this area, make sure you’re looking for safety rather than just price. The wrong parts of Cancún are risky and dangerous.
Areas of Caution
Avoid regions 200 through 300. Crime is present in these neighborhoods, and they are not somewhere you want to go, stay, or see, particularly traveling solo. Mexican addresses and city layouts are a bit different than in the United States, so you’ll want to check up on the maps before your trip.
Safety Tips for Visiting Cancún, Mexico
Before visiting any foreign country, you’ll want to check the Global Peace Index. This index gives you a breakdown of every country in the world and ranks them from safest to most dangerous. This list gives you a national average, but it’s useful in showing you which countries might be risky to visit, especially traveling solo. The index also breaks down and ranks several states of individual countries, including Mexico.
In the 2021 Global Peace Index report, Mexico ranked 140 of 163 (The United States Ranks 122). This is because Mexico has some of the highest kidnapping, drug trafficking, and violent crime rates in the world. Quintana Roo (the state where Cancún is located) has a high crime rate, ranking 26 of 32 states.
Don’t let those statistics steer you away from your trip though, the city of Cancún is kept safe. Visitors report feeling at ease in Cancún even while traveling alone. With those statistics in mind, it’s best to plan your trip carefully. As with any trip, stick to tourist attractions as they have the highest security and safety precautions for visitors. Don’t leave these areas. Pay the extra price for your hotel. As well, stick to attractions with plenty of other vacationers.
Things You Need for International Travel to Mexico
Mexico officially uses the Mexican Peso as currency, however, because Cancún has so many tourists, most businesses and attractions will accept the American dollar. Small businesses might still require the peso. You can exchange currency at most banks and some ATMs.
Cancún has its own international airport which is reportedly the busiest airport in the Caribbean. Watch your stuff closely. For safety, we recommend flying directly into Cancún.
International Travel has a few more steps than state-side trips, but with planning and caution, it isn’t too much of a hassle. We’ll lay down the requirements here, but you can also visit Mexico’s Official Travel Page for further details.
- To visit Cancún you will need a valid passport that has at least six months of validity left.
- You will need to fill out the Multiple Migrator Form (most airlines will give you this form in the air, but you can fill it out in advance).
- If you are a citizen in the UK, USA, Canada, Japan, or Schengen Area, you do not need a visa if:
- Your trip is for tourism, study or business.
- You don’t stay longer than 180 days.
- You aren’t receiving pay from Mexico.
- Immigration authorities may require proof of intent for your vacation to Mexico. Have a record of your hotel reservation, itinerary, and return tickets.
- Be sure not to take anything illegal into Mexico. Comprehensive lists can be found through the Mexican Embassy’s Official Site. We recommend you check it out, common items like inhalers and some allergy medications are prohibited. If you are caught with any of these items, you can get tickets or jail time.
Important: Keep your passport, Multiple Migratory Form, and Visa safe!! If you lose any of those, you’ll be stuck in Mexico until the embassy’s get through the proper verifications. Always keep them in a safe place. Keep them in the hotel safe when you arrive.
Covid Restrictions and Guidelines
As of March 16, 2022– the United States Travel Agency issued a Level 3 (of 4) Health Notice for Mexico. This means the risk is “high” for covid infection. The CDC recommends full vaccination and wearing a mask if you wish to travel to Mexico despite the precaution.
- S. Citizens are not required to quarantine, but the Mexican government continues to encourage social distancing. Masks are required inside U.S public transportation including airlines and airports.
Individual establishments will have different requirements for attractions