Huatulco bays and hills with red-roofed houses

Is Huatulco Safe To Visit? The Ultimate Guide [2024]

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Are you planning a trip to Mexico and want to know: is Huatulco safe to visit?

It often seems like everyone has a terrible tale to tell about a trip to Mexico. But it’s sometimes difficult to work out what is true and what is just made up.

The last thing you want is to book a holiday to a place where you have your property stolen or worse.

In this guide, I explain to you why Huatulco is definitely safe enough for you to visit, provided that you exercise reasonable caution.

All you need is to do a few simple things, and you are going to have an amazing time. I travel quite a bit, and in almost all cases, keeping safe is just a matter of taking a few simple precautions.

Let’s dive into a little more detail.

Is Huatulco Safe?

Where Is Huatulco?

If you don’t know anything about Huatulco, it is a picturesque beach town in the state of Oaxaca in southern Mexico.

It is located comfortably between the Sierra Madre del Sur mountain range to the north and the vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean to the south.

Oaxaca City is the closest major metropolitan area and is about 160 miles to the north on the other side of the mountains.

Along the coastline, the beautiful beaches of Puerto Escondido are 70 miles away to the north-west. Another 250 miles along the coastline, you’ll reach the beautiful city of Acapulco.

Huatulco has become famous for its stunning bays and beaches and, like Oaxaca de Juárez, has seen a huge increase in tourists in recent years.

With its increase in popularity, you might wonder, is Huatulco safe for tourists despite this?

Is Huatulco Safe?

Is Huatulco Safe For Tourists?

The short answer is yes, generally Huatulco is safe for tourists.

The town benefits enormously from the large number of tourists visiting each year. According to the airport operator ASUR, 914,714 people arrived or departed from Huatulco Airport in 2023, down a little from the 971,035 figure for 2022, but still significantly up on the 2021 figure of 692,150.

Tourists will only visit Huatulco if they feel safe, so the town is committed to ensuring a safe environment for its guests.

Still, you should take basic safety precautions in any urban setting. That is especially the case where you are somewhere new.

As you’ll see below, Huatulco is by no means crime-free. But in almost all cases, you can keep yourself safe by avoiding risky activities, trusting your gut and keeping your head.

Simple things like taking a cab home at night rather than walking and not drinking too much alcohol will massively reduce your chances of having a problem.

You might wonder if this is also the case for women and girls visiting Huatulco. That’s an important question, so let’s look at that now.

Is Huatulco Safe?

Is Huatulco Safe For Female Travelers?

Huatulco is generally regarded as being safe for women, including women travelling solo. As a woman, you can generally expect to feel safe while enjoying Huatulco’s many attractions.

That said, I think as a woman you should maintain a heightened awareness of your surroundings, particularly if you’re travelling alone. The unfortunate reality of being a woman is that you will almost always be at a physical disadvantage against anyone who means you harm.

But that, of course, doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy Huatulco!

It just means that you should take a little extra care to stay situationally aware. If you do that, you’ll almost always see any trouble coming your way well in advance and you can deal with before it becomes a problem.

Huatulco is definitely a place where you can feel safe as a female traveler. Provided you practice the level of care you would in your home town, you’ll have no worries while exploring Huatulco.

You might now be thinking, what am I up against here? How bad is crime in Huatulco? Let’s turn to that key question now.

Is Huatulco Safe?

How Bad Is Crime In Huatulco?

It seems like everyone has a different view on how bad crime has become in Mexican cities, and Huatulco is no different.

Personally, I think the best and most reliable way to answer this question is to take a look at the crime statistics themselves.

Huatulco Crime Statistics

The best crime data for Huatulco is provided by the Attorney General’s Office of the State of Oaxaca (La Fiscalía General del Estado de Oaxaca).

This is publicly available data collected by the Oaxacan government. It’s updated each month and then they produce an annual report at the end of each year.

The latest annual numbers available are for 2022. The figures cover Huatulco and some surrounding areas.

According to those figures, in 2022 there were 15 homicides, 34 culpable homicides, 35 sexual assaults, 14 street robberies, and 11 cases of car theft.

By comparison, in 2020 there were 12 homicides, 14 culpable homicides, 23 sexual assaults, 5 street robberies, and 33 cases of car theft.

This is shown visually in the infographic below:

On the basis of those figures, there appears to have been an uptrend in all crimes except for car thefts, which decreased as between the two periods.

Is Huatulco Safe?

What is the Murder Rate in Huatulco?

According to the Mexican government, Huatulco and its surrounding areas had a population of 50,862 in 2020. That means that there were 23.59 murders per 100,000 people in the Huatulco area in 2020.

If we include all homicides, there were 51.12 homicides per 100,000 people in the Huatulco area in 2020.

If we assume that the population of the Huatulco area increased by 1.19% from 2020 to 2022 (which is the cumulative growth rate for Mexico as a whole for 2021 and 2022 according to Statista), then there were 29.14 murders per 100,000 in the Huatulco area in 2022.

If we include all homicides, there were 95.20 homicides per 100,000 people in the Huatulco area in 2020.

How Does It Compare To Other Cities?

It’s only by comparison that you can really get an understanding of the meaning of these figures.

Let’s start by looking at the two other major tourist destinations in Oaxaca, Oaxaca de Juárez and Puerto Escondido. By comparison, Oaxaca de Juárez had a murder rate in 2020 of 14.76 per 100,000 and Puerto Escondido had a murder rate in 2020 of 32.14 per 100,000.

In Acapulco, though, the murder rate is 54.13 per 100,000 in 2023, so at least within Mexico, Huatulco is not at the highest end of the spectrum.

Looking at US cities, New York City had a 2022 murder rate of around 5.3 per 100,000 and Chicago had a 2021 murder rate of 29.66 per 100,000 residents.

In 2023, the two highest murder rates according to Statista were St Louis with 87.83 per 100,000 residents and Baltimore with 56.45 per 100,000. So, in US terms as well, Huatulco is also in the mid-range.

Is Huatulco Safe?

Tourist Experiences

After looking at the crime statistics, there’s no doubt that the murder-rate in Huatulco is higher than most people living outside of Mexico are used to seeing.

But does that mean it is truly unsafe? Personally, I think the answer is no. Let me explain why.

For me, the most compelling evidence is that so many people visit Huatulco each year. As mentioned above, 914,714 people arrived or departed from Huatulco Airport in 2023.

You wouldn’t see those kind of numbers if tourists think that Huatulco has a major crime problem. Clearly those visitors are having a great time and then returning home and spreading the word.

Murder also rarely affects tourists. I think this is because tourists don’t really do things that are likely to upset anyone enough for them to commit murder, which tends to be carried out for a specific reason.

Also, the most likely crimes to affect tourists are street robberies. In Huatulco, the number of street robberies is very low.

There were only 14 street robberies in Huatulco in 2022, but in Oaxaca de Juárez there were 1,167. Yes, Oaxaca de Juárez is a bigger city than Huatulco and has more tourists, but you’re still far less likely to be mugged in Huatulco.

Is Huatulco Safe?

My Conclusions On Crime And Safety In Huatulco

In my view, your safety depends on how you spend your time in Huatulco. If you’re just there to have good clean fun, you keep your wits about you, and don’t put yourself in risky situations, I think you’ll have a great time.

Many of the stories I have heard where people have had problems, they were out partying and drinking late at night or were on the beach after dark. It’s obviously fun to party, but it does open you up to greater risk if you don’t do it carefully.

I think that’s a good point to talk about safety precautions more generally.

Is Huatulco Safe?

What Safety Precautions Should I Take In Huatulco?

Even though Huatulco is generally considered to be among the safer regions in Mexico, you’ll lower the chances of having problems if you take a few basic safety precautions.

I’ve made a few simple suggestions below that will really move the needle.

Is Huatulco Safe?

Stay In a Reputable Hotel

Choosing a great hotel in Huatulco is one of the most important decisions you’ll make on your trip for lots of reasons, including security. There are lots of reasons for this.

Top hotels will have someone on the front desk 24/7. They basically form a checkpoint so that no one can come into the hotel who might cause you trouble or make your stay uncomfortable.

The front desk of a great hotel is also your interface with locals in Huatulco. They can help you to book safe taxis, private transfers, and recommend reputable tour guides.

If you book a room in a top hotel, you’ll usually have access to your own private safe, where you set the combination yourself. You can use it to store your passport, credit cards and jewellery while you are out sightseeing.

Reputable hotels have a very strong incentive to make sure that you stay safe. If you have trouble because of a bad recommendation from them and then leave a bad review, that will hurt their business.

Is Huatulco Safe?

Use Reliable Transport

There’s no Uber or DiDi in Huatulco. If you don’t have a rental car or scooter, you’ll need to use taxis, the colectivo or book private drivers.

If you’re using a taxi, you can hail one during the day from the street. Use can also use the colectivo, which is perfectly safe, although you will need to speak a little Spanish.

At night, it will be a little harder to see if taxi drivers are licensed. Where possible, I recommend that you should ask the restaurant or the bar to call you a taxi before you leave.

If you decide to walk at night, stay in the well-lit parts of the street and avoid the back-streets. Make sure you know your route before you go. If you have been drinking or if you are a sole female traveler, you’re at higher risk and should book a taxi.

Is Huatulco Safe?

Stay Informed About Local Events

You should be aware of local events such as protests or demonstrations that might affect your safety or travel plans. You can do this by checking reliable news sources and following official social media accounts of local authorities.

Be careful if you are in an area where large gatherings are taking place, as they can sometimes escalate unexpectedly. If it looks like it is heading downhill, you should leave the area.

Is Huatulco Safe?

Take Care Of Your Valuables

If your hotel has a room safe, you should use it to store your passport, credit cards, extra cash and any jewellery you’re not wearing.

For the ID, cash or cards you take with you, use a money belt, hidden pouch, or secure pocket to store them.

You should obviously avoid showing your valuable items in public, as that will make you a target for pickpockets or other thieves.

Losing your ID or credit cards can be a major headache. Taking precautions to keep them safe will help you to have a worry-free travel experience.

Is Huatulco Safe?

Take Care When Using ATMs

Similarly, you should keep an eye out when using ATMs. You should only use machines located in well-lit, busy areas and avoid those in isolated spots.

Check that someone isn’t scoping out the ATM when you approach it. Shield your PIN while entering it and make sure no one is watching you while you’re doing so.

You should also check the machine for any unusual attachments that might indicate skimming devices before using it. If you’re in doubt, use a different one.

Is Huatulco Safe?

Is Huatulco Safe From Cartels?

Cartels operate throughout Mexico and Huatulco is no exception, although cartel activity is much more frequent toward the north of the country.

Unless you are looking to buy drugs, which I definitely don’t recommend, you are unlikely to have any interaction with the cartels.

At the end of the day, the cartels are businesses, even if their products are prohibited by law. If you don’t buy their products or have anything to do with their business, then they won’t have any reason to bother you.

The local government and law enforcement agencies in Huatulco are motivated to preserve the reputation that the town has for safety. They work to keep the area safe through vigilant law enforcement and community-driven initiatives.

So although the cartels do operate in Huatulco, unless you are doing risky things like buying drugs from them, you likely won’t even know that they are there.

In fact, you’re more likely to have a problem with common scams than with any of the cartels.

Is Huatulco Safe?

What are Some Common Scams In Huatulco?

You might be wondering: is Huatulco safe from tourist scams? As with any tourist hub, the answer is of course no.

The good news is that once you’re aware of the common scams, you can spot them and protect yourself during your stay.

I’ve set out a few of them below.

Is Huatulco Safe?

Overcharging in Markets

If you’re shopping in any of the markets in the city center, one common scam is where a vendor may try to overcharge you for goods. This unpleasant process is known as “gringo taxing”.

The best way to avoid this is to know the local price of whatever it is you’re buying, and to negotiate to ensure you’re paying a fair price.

If a vendor is trying to rip you off for being a tourist, just leave the stall and buy from someone else. Most vendors will treat you fairly, so just leave the cheats behind.

Is Huatulco Safe?

Fake Tourist Services

Another common scam is the fake tourist guide scam. You should look out for this if you are approached by anyone offering services such as guided tours, transportation, or excursions.

Trust your gut, and look for red flags such as asking for money upfront, or trying to persuade you to leave your group or go to a remote place.

If you’re not sure if the person is legitimate, stick to reputable tour companies like Viator and services recommended by reliable sources. Your hotel can help to connect you with trustworthy local providers.

Is Huatulco Safe?

Distraction Thefts

Pickpocketing and bag-snatching are always a concern in crowded areas of Huatulco like Santa Cruz Huatulco or La Crucecita.

One common scam is for the thieves to work in pairs, with one creating a distraction while the other attempts to snatch belongings.

To protect yourself from this scam, leave valuables in your hotel safe where possible, and keep what you need close to your body.

Is Huatulco Safe?

ATM Skimming

Another scam involves ATM machines.

Scammers attach skimming devices on machines so that when you insert your card through the device and into the machine, it copies your card information.

You’ll only find out about it later when you realize that your accounts have been drained or your cards run up to their limits.

You can protect yourself form this scam by checking the ATM machine for strange looking attachments before you use it. If you’re not sure, use another one.

Is Huatulco Safe?

Fake Arts And Crafts

Art and handicrafts can be hard to value, especially when part of the value is in the identity of the artist.

If you’re buying “authentic” locally made arts and crafts, you should do your research to make sure you’re buying from legitimate artisans.

It doesn’t happen often, but some scammers try to pass off mass-produced items as authentic local crafts.

If you want to buy local arts and crafts, make sure you know what you’re buying before you hand over cash.

Is Huatulco Safe?

Are There Mosquitoes In Huatulco?

Yes, there are mosquitos in Huatulco, particularly once you leave the immediate beach areas where you get some protection from the salty breeze.

Are The Mosquitos Bad In Huatulco?

Unfortunately yes, although the level of mosquito activity varies a little depending on the time of year.

They’re worse during the rainy season from June to September because of the increased humidity. During the dry season you’ll still have to deal with them, but they won’t drive you quite as mad!

How Do You Deal With Mosquitoes?

There are a few tried and true methods used by locals in Huatulco to deal with mosquitoes.

If you follow their lead, you’ll hopefully be able to keep the little devils under control.

Use Insect Repellent And Anti-Itch Creams

You can use insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin, or other effective ingredients to drive off the mosquitoes. You’ll be able to find this Huatulco if you forget to pack it.

You can also use anti-itch creams like betadine to stop the mosquito bites from driving you crazy. Anti-itch cream might be a little harder to find, so it’s a good one to pack and bring with you.

Wear Protective Clothing

It’s easier said than done in Huatulco, but the more skin you cover up the harder it is for mosquitoes to bite you.

During the day it will be too warm to cover up. But if you’re visiting in the winter, you can wear longer-sleeved shirts or cardigans when you’re walking around in the evening to give the mosquitoes less places to bite you.

Use Window Screens

Most luxury hotel rooms will be air conditioned, but other older hotels or guesthouses might have screened windows and doors to shield you from the mosquitos. They’re great because they still let the fresh air in while keeping the pests out.

They’re particularly good at night. With window screens, you can leave the windows open and you don’t have to choose between staying cool or being eaten alive by mosquitoes.

Use Bed Nets

Your hotel may use bed nets in your room. If you’re not familiar with them, bed nets are made of very fine mesh and are often treated with natural insect repellents like camphor.

They hang from a hook in the ceiling above the bed and are tucked into each corner to seal the bed off from the mosquitoes.

Bed nets provide an additional layer of defense, ensuring a peaceful night’s sleep and minimizing the risk of mosquito bites and related health concerns.

If your room doesn’t include them as standard, ask your hotel if they can provide them, particularly if you are visiting during the rainy season.

Go Easy On Perfumes and Body Washes

Mosquitos are attracted by many perfumes, scented skin creams and body washes. Unfortunately, that means that you might be increasing your chances of being bitten if you use scented products.

It’s a bit boring, I know, but you should consider using some unscented products where possible to reduce your chances of being eaten by the mosquitos.

Is Huatulco Safe?

Are There Crocodiles in Huatulco?

Yes! It might surprise you to know that there is a large population of native crocodiles that live in a sanctuary in a small town called La Ventanilla, about 30 miles from Huatulco.

They don’t tend to stray from their habitats, and they only live in the mangroves that grow in the sanctuary.

But if you happen to be visiting close to where they live, make sure that you pay attention to the various warning signs and don’t enter any area indicated on the sign under any circumstances.

You can do a tour from Huatulco to see the crocodiles. You’ll be picked up, and it takes 1 hour 20 minutes to reach the Ventanilla ecotourism center, where the crocodiles live. The tour costs US$10 per person.

Provided you use a reputable tour guide, you’ll be perfectly safe. The ecotourism center is relatively small and the tour guides will always maintain a safe distance from the crocodiles.

Is Huatulco Safe?

Do Hurricanes Hit Huatulco?

Yes, Huatulco does get hit by hurricanes from time to time.

The most recent hurricane to make landfall was Hurricane Agatha in 2022, which was the strongest hurricane to make landfall since records began in 1949.

The Mexican hurricane season typically occurs from May to November. When hurricanes make landfall, they bring strong winds, heavy rainfall, and potential flooding, which can disrupt daily life and cause damage to infrastructure and property.

Hurricane Agatha was no exception. According to the National Hurricane Center, 9 people were killed and 6 people went missing.

It made landfall near Puerto Ángel as a category 2 storm with winds of 105 mph. It caused extensive flooding, created landslides that buried people, and there were power outages affecting nearly 50,000 people in Oaxaca.

Local authorities will be all over the media in the run up to the hurricane’s arrival. The most important thing is for you to be aware of when and where it is predicted to make landfall, and to make sure that you’re safe in your hotel when it hits.

If you’re planning a visit to Huatulco, especially during the hurricane season, make sure that you keep an eye on weather forecasts and stay informed about any potential storms.

Is Huatulco Safe?

Is Huatulco Safe: FAQs

If you’ve made it this far, then hopefully you have an answer to the question: is Huatulco safe?

But if you still have questions, check out the list of FAQs below to see if I have an answer for you!

Is Huatulco Safe To Travel With Kids?

Yes, Huatulco is safe for family travel with kids.

There are lots of great family-friendly attractions like visiting the beautiful beaches, releasing turtles, or going dolphin watching.

For family travel, if you’re looking for the best beach, I recommend Playa La Entrega (pictured above). It’s a small sheltered beach that is safe to swim where you won’t need to worry about strong currents or huge waves.

It has also has coral reefs that are great for snorkelling and for amusing the kids!

Is Huatulco Safe?

Is It Safe To Walk At Night In Huatulco?

In public well-lit areas, you’ll be safe walking around of an evening. Obviously once it gets quite late, the risk of trouble increases.

I would recommend that you take a taxi if you are travelling alone, if you are female or if you need to walk through poorly-lit areas to get where you’re going.

Is Huatulco Safe?

Is It Safe To Eat Street Food In Huatulco?

Yes, you can definitely by food from street vendors in Huatulco. It’s some of the best food that you’ll find!

Most street vendors have good hygiene standards, and if you’re buying from a popular stall, buying street food will be low risk.

Is Huatulco Safe?

Can I Drink The Tap Water In Huatulco?

No, drinking the tap water in Huatulco isn’t safe.

You’ll need to drink bottled or boiled water, and you should use bottled water for brushing your teeth.

All good hotels and other accommodations will provide bottled water for you during your stay.

Is Huatulco Safe?

How Do I Avoid Getting Sick In Huatulco?

You can make sure that you don’t get sick by only drinking bottled water, avoiding raw or undercooked food, and washing your hands frequently.

You can protect yourself from mosquitoes and other biting insects by using insect repellent.

Huatulco gets very hot in the middle of the day, particularly during summer. Make sure you stay hydrated and take it easy when tanning.

You should also buy travel insurance before your trip to cover any unexpected medical expenses.

Is Huatulco Safe?

Does Huatulco Have Earthquakes?

Yes, Huatulco is located in a seismically active region and is prone to earthquakes.

Its position along the Pacific Ring of Fire makes it susceptible to tectonic activity.

Staying informed about local safety procedures and being prepared can help ensure your safety while visiting Huatulco.

Is Huatulco Safe?

Is Huatulco Safe: Dos and Don’ts

Provided you engaging in risky behaviour, staying safe in Huatulco is really not difficult. You just need to take a few common-sense precautions.

I’ve set out a list of suggested Dos and Don’ts below.

Is Huatulco Safe?


Be Situationally Aware

The number one thing that you should do wherever you travel is ensure that you are always situationally aware.

That just means always knowing what is going on around you. Observe the place, the people, the atmosphere, and let your gut tell you if there is a problem.

This might seem counterintuitive, because we go on holiday to switch off. But if you make a habit of being situationally aware, you won’t even need to think about doing it, and by doing it you will keep yourself safe.

Is Huatulco Safe?

Use Highly-Rated Secure Accommodation

Make sure that the hotel, AirBnB or hostel that you choose is reputable and secure. You can do this by reading the reviews of the accommodation on the website before you book it.

Steer clear of anything with awful reviews unless there is a very good explanation or steps have been taken to fix the issue.

Is Huatulco Safe?

Keep Your ID And Valuables Safe

If possible, you should secure your ID, jewellery, cash and credit cards in the hotel safe. You can take a copy of your ID with you when you’re out seeing the sights.

If that isn’t possible, then you should carry your ID with you in a secure pouch and only take it out when you really need to.

Is Huatulco Safe?

Only Use Reputable Transportation

Be sure to use only licensed taxis or trusted tour operators for safe travel.

During the day, you can also use the colectivo or the public bus, but be aware that the chances of encountering a pick-pocket are higher.

Don’t accept rides with people you don’t know or don’t trust.

Is Huatulco Safe?

Keep Valuables Out of Sight

This one probably goes without saying, but don’t flash your valuables around.

Crime usually arises as a result of relative poverty. That means that if you appear to be more wealthy, you make yourself a target for pickpockets and thieves.

So keep your cash secured and leave your valuables either at home or in the hotel safe.

Is Huatulco Safe?


Drink The Tap Water

Don’t drink the tap water in Huatulco. It isn’t treated in the same way as it would be in the US.

Your hotel will keep you supplied with bottled water, so use that instead.

Is Huatulco Safe?

Walk Alone at Night

Even though Huatulco is safe enough to walk at night, I recommend that you don’t press your luck if you don’t need to.

If you do decide to walk home, avoid walking alone in poorly lit or deserted areas at night.

If you’ve been drinking heavily, I recommend taking a cab, and in any event, don’t walk home alone.

Is Huatulco Safe?

Leave Your things Unattended

This one should hopefully be obvious as well, but if you’re out in public, you should always keep an eye on your property.

That includes drinks that you order at the bar, particularly if you’re female. If you leave it unattended, it could be spiked. It’s unlikely, but best not to take the chance.

Is Huatulco Safe?

Ignore Local Advice

You should make sure that you listen to local advice. That might come from other tourists who have been there before, from your hotel concierge, or from local residents.

They are a great source of often very reliable information about unsafe places or practices, so pay attention if they tell you something.

You should also keep an eye on local news and local government websites to hear if anything major is going on while you’re travelling.

Is Huatulco Safe?

Participate in Protests or Demonstrations

Think carefully before participating in protests or demonstrations. Those kind of events can escalate quickly, and are sometimes dispersed by authorities.

If that happens, you could find yourself being arrested or worse.

Remember that you are a guest and your right to remain in Mexico can be revoked at any time.

Is Huatulco Safe?

Final Thoughts

So, is Huatulco safe? Although it isn’t immune to a higher level of crime that is common in Mexico, Huatulco is absolutely safe enough for you to visit.

As with any place, you need to behave sensibly and exercise reasonable caution. Obey the law, treat people respectfully, always be situationally aware, and don’t put yourself in dangerous situations.

If you do all of those things, you will significantly reduce the chances of anything untoward happening to you or your family whilst you are in Huatulco.

Buen Viaje!

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