Mexico: Just Because the Hotel Is Pet-Friendly, Don’t Assume the Beach Is Too

Source: Linda Kurtzweil

The inspiration for today’s post came when I saw a government sign prohibiting pets near the entrance of one of my favorite beach clubs located in the Municipality of Solidaridad, Mexico. The municipality made it illegal to bring domestic animals to the beach.

Even if you’ve never heard of Solidaridad, I’ll bet that you’ve heard of at least one of the popular vacation destinations located inside Solidaridad: Playa del Carmen and Puerto Aventuras.

If you’re a bit puzzled how a city like Playa del Carmen could be located inside of a municipality with a completely different name — you’re not alone. This one confused us too when we first arrived.

The municipalities (municipios in Spanish) are jurisdictional divisions that are very similar to counties in the United States. They often contain several towns and communities.

Now that you understand how municipalities are structured, let’s take a look at Solidaridad:

Municipio de Solidaridad

As you can see, the municipality covers a lot of coastal area frequented by tourists.

Penalties for Violations

The law applies to all of the beach areas within the municipality, whether or not marked. The government created some bilingual signs advising the public of the law and the possible penalties:

Official government sign from Solidaridad (Playa del Carmen)

Fines in Mexico are often expressed by multiplying some number by the daily minimum wage. In this case, the fine can range from $800 – $4,002 pesos. They also have the option to detain you for a period of between 24-36 hours.

What About Other Municipalities?

We live in the Municipality of Tulum, directly south of Solidaridad. The municipality is much larger than just the town of Tulum:

The Municipality of Tulum does have a law prohibiting people from bringing animals to the beach; however, judging by the number of people I see walking their dogs on the beach, I don’t think it’s strictly enforced.

For those of you who want to practice your Spanish, here’s the law from Tulum:

Reglamento De Protección Y Bienestar Animal Artículo 18 Sección XVII: Queda estrictamente prohibido que los propietarios, poseedores o encargados de la custodia de algún animal, transitar en el área de playas y/o introducirlos al mar.

As far as other municipalities are concerned, you’ll just have to do a little investigation of your own in order to find out.

Let’s Wrap This Up

Depending where you choose to spend your Mexican vacation, you might have to forego taking your four-legged companion with you to the beach. This is something to consider when traveling to Mexico with your pets.

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About the Author

Qroo Paul
Paul Kurtzweil (Q-Roo Paul) was a deputy sheriff in Florida for 25 years before retiring at the rank of lieutenant in 2015. He and his wife moved to Mexico looking to maximize their retirement income. They later started a blog called Two Expats Mexico ( to share their experiences as well as information about the logistical and legal aspects of retiring south of the border.

15 Comments on "Mexico: Just Because the Hotel Is Pet-Friendly, Don’t Assume the Beach Is Too"

  1. Good information. Sadly it takes one bad apple to spoil the whole lot. People who let their dogs poop on the beach and not scoop – leave unsuspecting beach lounging lovers to have to deal with it and the nasty creature that can imbed in your skin when you get near them. Even other dogs can be infected with Cuterebus a nasty bug that plants itself in the dogs nasal passage and matures there until it falls out….this happened to my dog when he was wondering a friends back yard that was “definitely not clean of poop”. It disheartens me that we can’t enjoy the beach with our dogs but….there are other nice places to walk them 🙂 Here’s a good read on the dreaded bug

  2. Tracy and Glenn McDougall | January 27, 2017 at 11:57 am |

    Hola Paul,

    Great article ~ good to know. We have plans to bring the pooch to MX when spending more time down there down the road. See you soon at Lol Ha. Tracy and Glenn

  3. Great source of info Paul. I also live in Playa – for 16 years and happily counting. Something for travelers with pets to consider – it will be their responsibility to “manage” their pet traveler. A pet-friendly hospitality biz will not extend the courtesy of a stay in their building to an obnoxious pet. Sorry to bring up such a negative, but a pet that disturbs by barking, confronting (with unwelcome advances and poor manners), peeing, dropping brown gifts anywhere on the property may have their “permits revoked!” After all, majority rules in communal spaces; and the peace, tranquility and comfort of all the guests is paramount.

  4. Oh no! My husband and I are having a home built 10 mins north of Playa del Carmen, in El Cielo. We just made the decision to sell everything we own and move to Mexico. We have been so excited about the move, but especially looking forward to my husband retiring at 68 and looking so forward to rescuing a couple of dogs. We were aware that downtown you couldn’t take dogs on the beach, but not that dogs are not allowed on any beaches, period. This will break my husband’s heart. He has long dreamed of walking the beaches of Mexico with his new best buddy with him. We lost our dog 2 years ago and we have been waiting until we move to Mexico to rescue another dog’s life. Wow! guess we may be selling the new house before we even move in, this really could be a deal breaker for us. If all dog owners were responsible then maybe the rest of us wouldn’t have to suffer. We currently live in California and one of the things we hate most, is how they have so many restrictions on the beach. I guess we didn’t do enough home work before actually handing over the cash for the new house in Playa. Thanks for the great information on your site. I have learned so much, most of it great! Your information has made me so excited to get to Mexico and start a new life in our old age. This information though is heartbreaking to this old couple. We only have each other, no family and one day we will be just one. A furry family member would make old age so much more pleasurable. I understand that not everyone is a dog lover, but to us they are family. I am so sad today. Where on earth can one walk dogs in Playa now that the beach is off limits?

    • Carol, please contact Judi Shaw
      She lives in el cielo and has 3 rescue dogs (from SOS el Arca shelter)
      She has been living in Playa for a long time and will be able to tell you if and where she takes her dogs to the beach.
      Good luck!
      We are planning to buy a place in Playa soon and spend more time with our two dogs. It’s my husbands dream as well to walk them on the beach
      Kash Rudner

      • Thanks for responding Kasha,
        Thank you for your suggestion, I will do that, we will be in town mid February to check on the house build. I am sure we will find lots of people that have dogs in El Cielo. I just can’t imagine not being able to take the dog to the beach, as we will spend most of our time there. Leaving a dog home alone most of the day is pretty cruel. Here in California we did take our fur-baby everywhere we went. Even to the beach, she was a tiny Chihuahua and she mostly just stayed on my lap. She wasn’t a pest and didn’t bark or run wild on the beach. As I said, that dream of walking the beach with the dog, really now is just that, a dream. Maybe we should have checked out the Pacific side of Mexico. We just fell in love with Playa and just went for it. Decided to buy when we were there on vacation. Now questioning myself for doing it. I should have listened to all the posters who say rent first! I thought is we waited the prices would just keep souring and we would end up not being able to afford to buy. The prices have gone up just since we made the purchase a few months ago. So anyone thinking of buying in Mexico, I seriously would suggest listen to those that went before you. Rent first and make sure the place suits your needs. Playa now doesn’t meet our needs and dreams.

    • Oh no , so sorry you didn’t hear about this before building. .I’m so sad about this. it was also on the top of our list of retirement communities.
      We also envision living out our years on the beach with our fur babies!
      I would love more info on where in Mexico we can and can’t have dogs on the beach! I have not read this information on any other sites…

  5. Hi Paul, we really appreciate all you information, infact we are at Tao right now for our discovery weekend. It is a beautiful place but so overwhelming with all the different places here. I know you started out renting and then purchased, may I ask how you found a long term rental? Thank you.

    • We found a long term rental by going on and contacting owners directly to negotiate a long term price. We had to contact several before we found one who was willing to give us a price we could afford.

  6. It was probably created as a tool in order to remove dogs that are causing problems. I can’t imagine that the Policia have time to monitor all the beaches for dogs. It will deter law abiding people but there still will be some dogs on the beach.

  7. We have a small dog and we were told not to take her to the beach, because it is very danger for their eyes with the sand.

  8. Kasha Rudner | January 27, 2017 at 5:14 pm |

    Hi Paul
    Thank you so much for a very informative post about dogs- beach laws and municipalities.
    I was wondering what Solidaritad is as I hear and read about it all the time.
    Great that you did the maps too!
    Would you compare it to US version of counties?
    Thank you again, love reading your blog, saving all the posts
    Kind regards

  9. Susan Allard Snider McKee | January 27, 2017 at 5:21 pm |

    This is unfortunate but understandable. I too had hoped to come to Mexico with my fur baby. But it seems unsafe for him as well as the issue of humans not picking up after their pets. There would be so gross being bare footed and stepping dog poop.

  10. What is the rule for therapy dogs? In PV dogs on the beach and everyone cleans up after their pets. Think this side of Mexico is better.

  11. San Felipe beaches allow dogs, but use a leash for sure in town because the local homeless dogs are also on the beach and may or may not be friendly to your dog. Most places are also dog friendly, but only if your pooch is well behaved.

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