Wondering about “is Punta Cana Safer than Cancun?” Both Punta Cana and Cancun are generally safe for tourists to visit. But with a safety index of 51.19, Punta Cana is safer than Cancun where you will need to be less cautious about safety.
Cancun is also a preferable option measuring from the safety scale (44.14%) where you’ll get relatively lower crime levels throughout the city.
But don’t make your decision final just by seeing the preview! There are a few more safety comparison factors that you should know. Also, taking proper precautions should be standard practice for travellers when travelling to any destination.
Continue reading below to check our listed top travel tips and all the needed safety concerns you should be aware of during your trip.
How Safe The Punta Cana Is?
Punta is one of the popular tourist destinations of the Dominican Republic full of stunning white sand beaches and luxurious all-inclusive resorts. Due to its endless beauty, statistics show that more than 5.32 million people visited Punta Cana in 202O just to experience fun adventures and explore Dominican nature and culture.
But along with enjoyment, certainly many tourists are worried about safety and the query may arise whether it’s safe to visit Punta Cana as a tourist.
Yes, it is quite safe! Nevertheless, there have been a few crime reports related to pickpockets, bag-snatching and pick-pocketing, and mugging. As of March 2023, the crime index of this city was recorded at about 48.81 which is enough moderate. A very little precaution will lower the risks of being victimized by these minimal crime acts.
How Safe The Cancun Is?
Cancun is one of the safest vacation cities in Mexico abundant with miles of beautiful white sand beaches, amazing tourism spots to explore, and many more adventurous things to do. It offers visitors a wide selection of all-inclusive accommodations to the tourists at affordable prices.
More to this the city is regarded as a low crime-rated city compared to other Mexican cities. Due to a great diversity of opportunities, million more visitors visit this city every year safely.
Yes! The city is quite safe to visit. The crime index comes in at a moderate of only 55.86 out of 100 which can easily be prevented by taking all the necessary safety precautions while on a trip.
Even tourists are not at risk in Cancun. But there are few neighborhoods of Cancun which are quite dangerous for tourists. Like, Miami and Los Angeles have crime rates of 58.56% and 59.32%, respectively whereas New Orleans is one the leading position with rates of more than 81.44%. Travellers should stay away from these dangerous neighborhoods.
Crime In Punta Cana
Punta Cana is certainly a safe destination in the Caribbean where you will find violent crimes are pretty much unheard of. Nevertheless, there are a few common crimes and scams in Punta Cana though the rates are very low.
All that you should know before planning to trip here.
1. Pickpoecting & Mugging
It’s an unfortunate fact that the risk of being mugged in Punta Cana is medium. There are a few reports from foreigners and locals in case of pickpocketing and mugging across the city. Especially the incidence of petty theft is common in the crowded tourist places of the city.
Also, pickpocketers and muggers target foreigners mainly at night when they are alone. But as long as you take precautions, there will be a lower chance of being mugged here.
2. Drug Use And Sale
According to the reports from Punta Cana, there have faced a few cases of drug use and sale in the city. Especially, while visiting the beach area where many people can be found selling drugs to tourists.
The local government has possessed strict low & rules for drug using and selling even the same to a person if he is a tourist. Thus you need to much aware of this fact and keep yourself far away from those people.
Here are the few scams that are very common in Punta Cana:
1. Excursion Scam
While booking excursions in Punta Cana, you may encounter scammers who will offer you an affordable deal for an excursion that will be fake or poorly organized. Thus, in such cases, you should always head to a reputable company or from your hotel representative.
2. Currency Exchange Scam
Some scammers may offer you a better exchange rate when you are exchanging currency for the trip. But it will be a great loss for you and may hand over to you less money than you expect.
For this instance, always try to use reputable exchange bureaus.
3. Taxi Scams
Taxi scam in Punta Cana is quite common as it is the most available transportation option in this city. The driver may ask for higher rates for your trip as there is no taxi meter featured in the vehicles. Thus it will be better to fix the rates for your destination before entering the taxi.
4. Monkey & Parrot Scam
In Punta Cana, especially in the beaches area, you may find a guy with cute little monkeys or colorful parrots on their shoulder. He will encourage you to take pictures with these lovely animals.
Then he will ask you for money for the pictures which will be surprisingly much higher. Thus, always try to avoid this type of guy or never let them take pictures until you know the price
Crime In Cancun
The most common crime incidents in Cancun City include:
Mugging is quite common in Cancun City with the rate being about 60.71%. Foreigners and tourists are the targets of muggers as they are far unknown to the city and bring much more valuables and belongings with them.
Even many locals reported being victims of physical violence if they are trying to resist the robberies. Places around the hotel zone are free of these muggers as there are stuck guards for ensuring the safety of the visitors.
Thus, you need to be careful when you are out of the hotel zone, especially at night times.
Though assaults related to physical, verbal, and sexual are not quite common in Cancun, there are a few past records of assault cases. Especially the last year, an American tourist named Dustan was the victim of a kidnapping and machete attack while he was on vacation in Cancun with his wife for Valentine’s Day.
He had suffered permanent nerve damage in his left arm and spent months in and out of the hospital. You can go through the detailed report relating to this incident from The famous New York Post.
3. Other Crimes
Along with the above violent crime, there are a few more crime reports in Cancun city like gang-related crossfire, pickpocketing, drug trafficking, terrorism and so on. Also, the city is not free of scams.
There are quite happening scams of Cancun here that should come to your knowledge. To get the details, go through this comprehensive guide and learn how to keep yourself safe from this violence in Cancun.
Crime Rate Comparison Between Punta Cana vs Cancun
Here is the head-to-head crime rate comparison between Punta Cana and Cancun to make it easier where you should go!
|Level of crime||52.18||61.05|
|Assault and armed robbery||49.27||58.15|
Safety Comparison Between Punta Cana & Cancun
Here is a short safety comparison of various aspects of both Punta Cana San Lucas and Cancun City:
1. Drinking Water/Food
Whenever we are in a new country, our first concern starts with the water & food, whether it is safe to drink & eat. If you travel to Punta Cana, you will find tap water everywhere.
It’s worth mentioning that travelers in DR are advised to avoid drinking tap water. That is because tap water does not undergo any filtration treatment and it would negatively affect human digestive systems.
Same, the tap water in Cancun is not safe to drink as it contains harmful bacteria, viruses, and parasites. Instead, you have to use clean and bottled water in both places that are exclusively available wherever you are going.
Even from the recommendation of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, you should avoid drinking in the Dominican Republic until it is purified or from a bottle. But make sure that the cap is sealed. Mix the powdered drinks or concentrated beverages in filtered water as well.
All the reputable hotels and resorts use filtered bottom water served to the visitors for drinking and cleaning their faces & mouth.
Now come to the food point. The food in Punta Cana is safe to eat until it is prepared with purified water. Thus if you are not staying in a reliable hotel, avoid eating fresh vegetables or raw food without asking whether it is cleaned with purified water. Ask for ice as well if they use tap water for it.
All the restaurants & well-reviewed hotels in Cancun use bottled water for everything & maintain the highest level of cleanliness throughout the entire food premises. Thus, there is nothing to worry about eating food here.
But wherever you are vising, always try to eat hot served food in restaurants, no matter if it is Sushi, cold shrimp salad, and other foods. This is essential because the heat is enough to kill any bacteria.
2. Beach Safety
Punta Cana is one of the wonderful Caribbean destinations full of paradisiacal beaches, surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean to the North and the Caribbean Sea to the South. All the beaches are truly remarkable and no doubt tourists fall in love while spending their vacation here.
But the question may arise whether swimming in the sea is safe here & how about the safety in the beaches area.
Yes! It’s completely safe and secure to swim in the crystal clear turquoise water of the sea at Punta Cana as long as you are cautious about the ocean currents for seaweed. But, consider sea conditions and warning systems from locals’ advice if you are travelling the beaches during the hurricane season (June-November).
Also, the beach area is safe to walk around and travel with family members. Nevertheless, it is highly recommended to avoid strolling on the beach alone or late at night.
Unlike Punta Cana, Cancun is abundant with lots of stunning beaches. All of the ones are enough well-maintained and have lifeguards to ensure your best safety. Also, there are no dangerous species in the sea at Cancun, thus you can swim there safely and peacefully.
But always you need to be alert about the red flags in the Cancun public beaches. It is the pre-alert of the bad weather but still, you can play in the sand or relax in your beach chair.
If it is Blue Flag ganging, you can swim without any worrying. Blue Flag in the Cancun beaches is basically a certification granted by the Environmental Education Foundation, signing you that the beach meets absolute quality and certain sustainability standards for the users.
3. Transportation/Renting A Car
Along with other aspects, we must have to put enough consternation to the safety of the transportation system as well.
Yes! It is enough safe to use any transportation for getting around Punta Cana. But here you need to be aware of public transportation as it is characterized by irregular bus schedules, unsafe vehicles or crowded at times. Also, you can take a taxi but try to travel in licenced vehicles in this instance.
Ubers are the most popular in the Dominican Republic. Thus, you can order Uber in Punta Cana to pick you up outside of the airport which is safe, secure and works reliably.
To explore surrounding towns, it’ll be highly better to rent a car through your hotel. Still, you need to be pretty much aware of Taxis & cars with whom you are going as express kidnappings & pickpocketing are enough common in Punta Cana.
Generally, public transport in Cancun is relatively easy to use and safe despite a bit concerning facts that you need to know. Like, taking airport taxis is not enough safe in Cancun as they are not regulated, and may not have any record of your trip.
Instead, you can order Uber or airport shuttle service from Cancun Airport to the Hotel Zone. Also to get around the city, you can buses run 24 hours, 7 days a week and trips are very well-priced.
4. Hotels/Resorts Safety
Along with the transportation system, the second most crucial thought that comes to every traveler’s mind is about accommodation safety in a newer country. While selecting the hotels or resorts in Punta Cana or Cancun, certainly you will wonder whether it is safe and what kind of safety precautions shall you take.
Yes! Staying in hotels and resorts in Punta Cana is enough safe as long as you have considered all the safety measures while choosing the resort. Make sure, the resorts are very well-guarded and featured security cameras. Also, there should be all management regarding fire Safety like fire alarms, fire extinguishers and enough lifeguards in the swimming pools or beaches area.
Overall, no need to worry about the hotels in Punta Cana City and almost all of the ones have a good security system. Even there are quite stick in case of the entrance of strangers in the hotels aside from the staff members.
As one of the safest destinations in Mexico, the resorts and hotels in Cancun are also extremely secure. They have their own armed guards and take special concentration on accommodation and amenities for tourists who visit their hotels. You can even walk around at night in the hotel zones.
Typically travelers in Punta Cana are at very low risk in case of attaching any type of disease. Nevertheless, various health hazards like sunburns and mosquito-borne diseases are very common to locate at Punta Cana but have not huge threats. You should take all precautions to stay safe from these diseases.
Also, it will be to contact travel health professionals about whether you’ll need medications or vaccines based on your travelling time and destinations in Punta Cana.
Cancun is at very low risk for any type of health hazard disease. But there has been a recent surge in dengue fever and serious cases relating to the mosquito-borne illness to the locals.
Fortunately, the visitors are out of the risk zones. But it will be wise to be well-informed on how to reduce the risk of contraction and when to seek professional medical attention.
6. Covid-19 Risk
As of March 2023, the current risk of Covid-19 in Cancun is very low. Basically, the states use the traffic light four colors (green, yellow, orange, and red) to describe the current situation of Covide-19 based on infection and hospital occupancy rate.
From the status of Quintana Roo, it was “green” from October 2022, meaning you are “low risk.” Thus travelling to Cancun right now is safe and easy with lower requirements for entrance.
Unlike Cancun, Punta is also risk-free as the cases of affected by Covid-19 right now are quite low. But as per CDC recommendation, all eligible travelers may need to show their COVID-19 vaccination reports.,
All the excursions in Punta Cana are quite safe to explore for visitors. But it will be highly better if you are booking your excursions/tours with a reliable tour organization. They will better suggest to you what to do for that you will not feel threatened by anyone while on excursions. But while choosing the tour guide, make sure they have good reviews and have an excellent reputation in this field.
Cancun is also quite popular for offering all amazing tour activities & excursions throughout the cities. All are safe to explore as serious crimes rarely happen in these tourist areas. But it’d be better if you reserve the excursion advance online. Also, you may enlist local resources to make sure the area and activity are safe.
Here are some more additional tips recommend for staying safe on excursions in Cancun & Punta Cana:
- Carefully go through the instructions provided by tour guides about what times of day it is good to visit. Ask locals enough to get aware of any high crime rates in that specific place.
- Always try to stay within popular tourist zones. Also, visit such a time when places are busy and have plenty of people there.
- Avoid consuming drugs or alcohol in greater amounts especially when you are in newer areas,
- Try to stay away from strangers offering any deals related to the excursions. They may try to scam you in the name of help.
- At times, scammers target tourists and start explaining a terrible story regarding the place in order to fall them into the trap. Don’t believe instantly unless you are ensured by local authorities.
Along with the excursion, it is completely safe to go for night clubbing in both Punta Cana and C. Violent crime is relatively rare in these places. Still, if you have any safety concerns, you can visit the clubs and bars in the hotel zones as they have excellent security guards and police around always.
What Are The Safest Areas To Stay In Punta Cana?
Here is the comprehensive list of the safest area in Punta Cana:
1. Bavaro Area
Bavaro is one of the safest tourist destinations in the Dominican Republic, located 15 minutes away from the Punta Cana International Airport. It is likely home to world-class different hotels, villas and resorts.
You will find famous restaurants, fitness centres, bars, and nightclubs in the resorts. All of that is quite well protected by safety guards & security. The place is mostly known for the lowest crime indexes in Punta Cana.
2. Cap Cana
Cap Cana is a top-quality neighborhood and the safest destination in Punta Cana located just 10 kilometres away from the Airport. The area is highly known for its world-class golf courses and the most exclusive tourist resorts.
Crime incidents are almost not here, making it an ideal place for tourists who are concerned about safety.
3. Uvero Alto
Uvero Alto is one of the top-rated safest places in Punta Cana, highly recommend for staying or travelling without any worrying. It is a secluded village that is located north of the famed Coconut Coast.
The place is quite incredible for a tourist visit, full of picturesque beaches and adventurous things. Most amazingly beach lovers and adventure seekers can ensure the best and safest holidays here as there are relatively the lowest crime incidents.
Macao is considered to be the best place with the lower crime in Punta Cana. The beach is highly known for going surfing in the calmest turquoise water.
Just move about 40 minutes from the Punta Cana International Airport and explore this stunning beach without any safety concerns.
5. Cabeza De Toro
If you desire to have the best fresh fish cravings in Punta Cana, then Cabeza de Toro would be the go-on destination for you. Cabeza de Toro is listed as one of the safest cities in Punta Cana, highly known for their great service.
It is like a haven of peace and serenity, ensuring the next level of relaxation, and calmness with safety. Especially, you will get amazed to find the best restaurants serving mouthwatering fish dishes from fresh catch.
What Are The Safest Areas To Stay In Cancun?
Here is the list of the safest areas in Cancun with lower violence and crime incidents:
1. Zona Hotelera
Zona Hotelera is considered to be the best place for staying and travelling in Cancun Mexico. The area is abundant with the city’s best hotels, restaurants, shops, nightclubs, and many more amazing things to do for visitors.
You can find a lot of luxurious residential homes as well. Authorities make security very tight here. Thousands of family travellers come here and reported safe visiting without any violent complaints.
2. Isla/Playa Mujeres
Playa Mujeres is one of the most beautiful beaches, located just off the coast of Cancun. Those who come to visit Cancun, never miss at least a day on this heavenly beach.
The whole area is just well decorated for tourism, surrounded by plenty of security and guard. There will be no safety concerns while you are exploring this beach area.
3. El Centro (Downtown)
El Centro is basically the centre of Cancun city full of the commercial sector, cafes, markets, local restaurants and local businesses. It is considered one of the safe and secure places for tourism as locals are friendly and crime rates are very low here compared to the other parts.
There are a great diversity of activities and entertainment options for the visitors which they can explore without any safety issues.
Where To Avoid In Punta Cana? [Top-rated Warning Destination To Know!]
If it is bad neighbourhoods in Punta Cana, the city does not have its own. But most of the tourists like to visit nearer Santo Domingo, which is just two hours’ distance from Punta Cana. Well! Though the Punta has not any top-rated warning destination, Santo Domingo has!
There are a few areas in this city that are highly recommended to avoid for visiting with families or even as a solo traveller.
Go through the below list, highlighting the warning places of Santo Domingo most violent crimes occur:
- La Cienaga
- The Zurza
- Christ the King
- Los Guandules
Where To Avoid In Cancun? [Top-rated Warning Destination To Know!]
There are certain areas in Cancun, listed as the top-rated warning destination in the city. Generally, tourists need to avoid these places due to having a few past crime incidents.
The neighbourhoods located north of Lopez Portillo, around Bonfil generally considered unsafe for foreigners.
Basically, everything that’s on the outskirts of the city comes in the red zones. These places are not under special security & guards thus, crime incidents are higher here. Travellers are recommended not to get in these neighbourhoods.
Tips To Stay Safe In Punta Cana & Cancun
Here are a few useful safety- tips that may apply while on a vacation in Punta Cana Or Cancun:
#- Avoid Tourist Traps
Try to avoid tourist traps as many of agency offer glossy brochures and you may encounter a big scam. Instead, you can go through authentic reviews only and plan your trip. Also, don’t forget to purchase reliable travel insurance to protect yourself against any unforeseen events.
#- Be Alert Of Your Surrounding
Always be alert and aware of your surroundings. Avoid wearing expensive & flashy jewellery. Never leave your bags with anyone.
By chance, if you encounter any robber, don’t try to resist. Just hand over yoye belongings and ask for help from the police.
#- Stay Away From Strangers
Never be friendly and smile at a stranger and stay from the place if you see any suspect there. Also, it’s wise to stay away from secluded areas at night.
#- Ask Local For Guidance
Always head to a local to ask anything or if you are unsure about any of the city activities. They will better guide you and you have to lower chance of facing any scam risk.
#- Wonder Around But let Know Others About Your Whereabouts
It’s quite worth it to get around every place wherever you are visiting. But you can let your tour friends or family other know where you are and where you’re going. Also, try to avoid going out at night if you are a solo traveller in a new country.
#- Be Careful While Using An ATM
Be alert while withdrawing cash at ATMs. Avoid using roadside ATMs and most importantly at night. Also, never take too much cash without yourself at one time.
#- Be Moderate While Taking Alchocle
Keep yourself far away from drinking too much alcohol especially if you are alone. Drink in moderation or it’s better to avoid at all.
#- Don’t Drink Tap Water
No matter whether you are in Punta Cana or Cancun, always avoid drinking tap water as it is contaminated with germs and drink it in moderation. Instead, use bottled water with you while on the outing.
# Consider Choosing Secure Lodging
It’s always a good idea to find good-rated villas, hotels & resorts. Investigate whether the hotels have 24/7 security service and video surveillance. Also, try to avoid strolling alone out of the hotel zone.
#- Buy Excursions From A Licenced Tourist Operator
While buying excursions, always consider buying from a trustable provider who will able to you a license number or RNC number. That’s because Operators without licenses generally offer lower prices and this may lead to you higher risk. Thus paying a bit more to the licensed operator will definitely be a worthwhile deal.
Which Is Safer To Visit For Solo Travelers? – Punta Cana Or Cancun?
Yes! It is safe to visit Punta Cana and Cancun for solo travelers. But you need to have common sense and always make sensible judgments to prevent any crime in these cities. Like avoiding walking alone at night, considering traveling with a group, being aware of your surroundings, staying away from unusual conversations with strangers, and so on.
Punta Cana is like one full pack of stunning beaches, natural scenery, endless activity and diverse culture. Also, Cancun is mostly like a Caribbean Sea paradise and one of the finest destinations for vacation. It is abundant with lots of options to have fun and relax.
Due to having adventurous activities and excursions, Millions of visitors enjoy both of these tropical paradises every year without incidents. Thus you can also go there without any major safety concerns.
Which Is Safer To Visit For Female Travelers? – Punta Cana Or Cancun?
Both Punta Cana & Cancun are enough safe and secure for female travelers as long as they are on an all-inclusive vacation. But as solo travelers in a newer country, they must need to be especially vigilant about their surroundings.
First of let’s highlight Punta Cana, one of the safest destinations in the Dominican Republic. The locals in DR are enough friendly, fun-loving, and most importantly quite helpful to the people who are visiting their country. Thus from this side, it is an amazing place for bachelorette parties and girls’ getaways.
Unlike Punta Cana, Cancun is one of the safest places for female travellers. The country is enough known for its friendly locals and almost all the solo female visitors report feeling safe while travelling in this city.
However, as with any destination, safety precautions should always be their first concern. For this instance, go through the following:
- As a solo female traveler, you need to be sure of the area you are visiting. It is important to stay in a safe area. Consider staying in the hotel zone.
- Get enough knowledge about the culture, customs, and potential safety risks of that specific country.
- Avoid walking alone on the streets. It will be better to stroll in a group at night.
- Be aware of talking to a stranger and any of type suspicious activity from them.
- Keep your valuables and belongings secure. Avoid carrying large amounts of cash and flashy jewelers with you. This may lead you a target for theft.
- Avoid huge levels of alcohol consumption. Also, it is important to avoid accepting drinks from strangers or leaving your drink unattended with one
- Always try to stay connected with your friends and family and let them know where you are going.
Which Is Safer To Visit With Families? – Punta Cana Or Cancun?
Yes! Both Punta Cana and Cancun are safe for visiting with families and most tourists visit without any incidents. Though it has some minor crime rates, it can easily be prevented by maintaining some essential precautions. You need to be aware when you are travelling with toddlers, especially in beach resort areas of the cities. Also, keep them away from the roads when walking on public streets.
Along with this, here are a few useful tips when you are outing in Punta Cana or Cancun with your family members:
- Without a doubt, Punta Cana and Cancun both are amazing places for family holidays. Lots of educational activities and exciting experiences are waiting for all, especially for the kids.
But always try to keep them in sight at all times while exploring the city as a few visitors reported kidnapping cases though it is too low. Also, it is easy for them to get lost in a crowded place.
- When you’ve arrived in your new country, it is wise to keep connected with other locals and ex-pats so that you can get advice and support.
- While visiting a new country, climate change can negatively affect the kids and make them sick. Thus make sure you have packed all the essentials, according to the weather
- Also, it is better to take a medical kit always with you. There will be all essentials like bandages, sunscreen, tubes of aloe vera, diarrhoea relief medication, and motion-sickness remedies.
- Don’t forget to take travel insurance wherever you are going. It will protect you against losses like baggage, passport or any of your valuables during travel.
Do I Need Malaria Tablets For Cancun?
There is very low to no risk of being attacked by malaria, thus there is no essentiality to take malaria tablets in Cancun. But as a safety precaution, you can keep it with yourself while travelling.
What Currency Is best In Cancun?
Mexican pesos are quite needed almost in all cases in Cancun, especially while you are on public transportation. But, you can use U.S. dollars while shopping and even restaurants, hotels, and stores also accept credit cards.
Is Punta Cana Cheaper Than Cancun?
Yes! In the case of restaurants, food, excursions and entertainment, the average cost in Punta Cana will seem much more affordable to you compared to Cancun city. Even all-inclusive resorts and hotels in Punta Cana are slightly cheaper than in Cancun.
Are There Terrorist Attacks Risks in Punta Cana?
Now! There are almost low to no terrorist risks in Punta Cana. There is no past record of terrorist attacks in recent years. Thus, you can ensure your safest travel here as long as you are vigilant in all cases.
Still, being confused is Punta Cana safer than Cancun? Hopefully not! Our comprehensive discussion is enough to rectify all of your queries and help you to understand which will be the safest place for your next vacation.
So, without any more delay, plan your trip and get packed up for the ultimate amusement. No matter what destination you are choosing between Punta Cana and Cancun as both will ensure the far safest travel experience.
Well, that’s all from us here now! Let’s know if you have any leftover query in any fact. Our travel expert will come up with the best answer!
I am a frequent traveler who likes to explore the beauty of the earth and live an independent lifestyle. Also, I am working as a freelance writer to support my independent lifestyle. Learn more about us .