Mexico : Safety by City
- Cabo San Lucas
- Chichen Itza
- Isla Holbox
- Isla Mujeres
- Los Cabos
- Mexico City
- Nuevo Laredo
- Piedras Negras
- Playa del Carmen
- Puerto Morelos
- Puerto Vallarta
- Queretaro City
- San Luis Potosi
- San Miguel de Allende
Mexico has a lot to offer, from beautiful beaches, mountains, canyons, and rich cultural life from a diverse group of influences.
There is something intriguing for everyone.
Ancient Mayan and Aztec ruins, as well as some amazing colonial architecture, is itself a major reason to visit Mexico.
In the south especially, there are gorgeous beaches with clear blue water complete with a thriving nightlife.
While Cancun is the major tourist attraction, there are beaches just as nice that are not as developed or crowded.
In some cases, you can find more than one attraction in the same area, such as beaches, ruins, and lots of variety in Mexican culture.
From major cities to out-of-the-way hamlets, Mexico is the neighbor you should want to get to know.
Warnings & Dangers in Mexico
OVERALL RISK : MEDIUM
The U.S. Government advises people to "reconsider travel" to Mexico, which is the third-highest of four levels of danger.Covid-19, as well as a rise in crime and kidnappings, are the major reasons.Like many countries, some areas are safer than others.Major tourist areas are generally safe.The overall crime rate per thousand people is actually higher in the United States than in Mexico.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW
You need to use some common sense.Don't accept rides from independent drivers.Ride only in approved or licensed taxis, which are labeled.Get your hotel to call a taxi for you, instead of hailing one on the street.Public transportation is safe but can be crowded and uncomfortable.Generally, it is much safer than renting a car and driving yourself.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : HIGH
This is especially true in tourist areas, where people look for easy targets.Try not to look like a tourist.Don't flash your money or expensive electronics around in public. Keep your valuables locked up and carry as little cash as possible.Keep your papers and wallet safe.Tourist areas and large cities are the worst.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : LOW
There have been earthquakes in mountainous areas, as well as hurricanes along the coast, but it is rare to have a major disaster in Mexico.Keep an eye on weather forecasts as you would at home.The infrastructure in Mexico is not that great, so if there is one, it may be worse than if you were at home. Even so, they are rare here.
MUGGING RISK : MEDIUM
Robberies and muggings are on the rise in certain areas.Even so, tourist areas are generally safe during the daytime, as is most of the country.If you stay at a resort in a tourist area, your risk is very low.If you are out at night by yourself in a city, your risk increases dramatically, just as it would in the United States.
TERRORISM RISK : LOW
According to U.S. Govt reports, there is no evidence of foreign terror groups having a base in Mexico or working with drug cartels.There have been very few incidents of terrorism in recent years and those were isolated cases.While terrorism could happen anywhere, there seems to be little risk of it happening in Mexico.
SCAMS RISK : HIGH
Especially in tourist areas, scammers are on the prowl looking for a victim.Fake taxis, fake tour operators, souvenirs, and timeshares seem to be the most common scams.One very common scam is for restaurants to have a different menu and prices for tourists than what locals get.You won't get much help from the police if you are scammed, so you need to be careful.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW
We say low because it really is not any different than in the United States.If you stay in tourist areas, use some common sense - don't go out at night alone - there is little danger.There have been some kidnappings, so that could be a danger.It is not good for a woman to be away from tourist areas alone for that reason.
TAP WATER RISK : HIGH
"Montezuma's Revenge," causes most tourists who drink water to get sick for a day or two.Some are just different minerals that you could get used to. Water is contaminated in many areas, however. Ice at a restaurant may come from tap water.You will get sick from tap water, but it is not fatal or serious in most cases.
Safest Places to Visit in Mexico
The safest place to visit in Mexico is Cancun, or anywhere along what is called the Mexican Riviera.
The area of Yucatan is built for tourists and it is safe for that reason.
You can also take guided day trips from there to see the Mayan Ruins of Chichen Itza or Tulum, which are also safe.
Cozumel is a tiny island near Cancun that is also a tourist haven, as well as a snorkeling paradise.
The historic center of Mexico City is also a fabulous place to visit and is safe as long as you don’t wander about at night alone.
Merida is a large Yucatan city that is often overlooked by American tourists.
It has a great colonial heritage, beautiful streets, and squares.
It is close to the ocean, with some beautiful underdeveloped beaches.
Places to Avoid in Mexico
Cities that border the United States are considered unsafe because of drug cartels.
Ciudad Juarez, across from El Paso; Tijuana, south of California; Reynosa, which borders Texas, and Ciudad Obregon near Arizona, are all considered unsafe.
Do not travel there alone and exercise extreme caution.
The U.S. Government has issued a “do not travel” designation for Mazatlán, Acapulco, Matamoros, and Nuevo Laredo.
The “do not travel” designation is because of increased violence, drug cartel activity, and Covid-19.
Generally, the southern part of Mexico is much safer than the northern states.
The states of Sinaloa, Nuevo Leon, Guerrero, and Michoacan all have “do not travel” advisories from the state department.
Some resort cities on this list are unsafe outside the resort, but nearly all resorts themselves are safe for travelers.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Mexico
1. Avoid looking like a tourist.
Try to blend in as far as clothing, wherever you are.
Don’t flash expensive electronics, jewelry, or cash around where a pickpocket might see it.
Criminals look for easy opportunities.
Don’t be an easy mark.
2. Obey your intuition.
If something feels off or scary, don’t hesitate to run away.
Your intuition is probably right, and even if not, better safe than sorry.
While most areas are safe, there are bad people everywhere, so if your radar is going off, it is doing so for a reason.
3. Safe mentality.
Stay alert and aware of your surroundings.
Make safety your top priority, no matter what else you are doing.
4. Take the Uber.
Public transportation and taxis are safe, but nothing beats Uber as far as safety goes.
When it is available, it’s safer than public transportation.
5. Take group tours.
These are operated by well-trained guides and drivers, and they have a lot of tours to choose from.
Don’t take a tour with some guy on the street making an offer.
It might be great, or you might get killed.
6. Don’t drink the water.
It won’t kill you, but it will make you very sick for a day or two.
Some of it is just the minerals in the water that we are not used to, but there are also contaminated systems in Mexico.
7. Don’t go out at night alone.
Criminals wander around at night looking for an easy target, and a tourist alone is an easy target.
This is especially true for women, but it’s dangerous for men too.
8. Stay downtown.
Unlike the United States, the culture and tourist areas are downtown in Mexico.
Look for the “Centro Historico,” which is the major tourist area in town.
These areas cater to tourists and the government helps keep them safe.
9. Learn a little Spanish.
You don’t need to be fluent, but knowing some words will help.
If people see you are trying to speak their language, they are more likely to offer to help you.
10. Climate awareness.
Be aware of where you are.
Mexico City, for instance, is at a high elevation and that can give you altitude sickness.
The southern areas are hot, so drink plenty of water.
So... How Safe Is Mexico Really?
There is no place on Earth that is safe all the time.
Bad things can happen, and that is what makes the news.
In reality, Mexico is as safe as the United States.
Forbes Magazine interviewed an FBI agent who worked in Mexico, and he said the country is safe if you use common sense.
A website compared crime statistics between Mexico and the United States and found Mexico to be less dangerous in many statistical categories.
- Crime in general per thousand people is three times higher in the United States.
- Rapes per thousand people are higher in the United States.
- Murders per thousand are higher in Mexico, but gun violence is less prevalent in Mexico.
- Assaults are four times as likely to happen per thousand people in the United States than in Mexico.
- Robberies, or muggings, are more prevalent in Mexico and this happens when people are caught out alone in most cases.
- Some areas are unsafe, and it is not safe to be out at night alone.
Driving a car in rural areas alone is also unsafe.
Tourist areas are safe.
The Mexican government makes a lot of effort to keep it that way.
Even in dangerous areas, you should be fine at a resort as long as you stay at the resort.
How Does Mexico Compare?
- Visas - You do not need a visa to travel to Mexico.A regular passport is all you need.If you are on a cruise ship that leaves and returns to the USA, you won't even need a passport. It takes 8-10 weeks to get a passport once you have applied.The passport costs $110, but you can get a passport card for a short-term visit for $30.
- Currency - The Peso is used in Mexico, and the exchange rate can change daily.The best place to make the exchange is at a bank, or at an ATM.You may also make the exchange at airports.Mexicans love to have U.S. Dollars, so take some and use them judiciously.Avoid changing money on the street as that can be a scam.
- Weather - Mexico is a big country, so the weather is as diverse as it is in the United States.In the south, it is hot all the time in a Caribbean-type ecosystem.It can get cold at night in the high mountains around Mexico City any time of year. Light, loose-fitting clothing is best in summer, but bring some warm clothes if you head to the mountains.
- Airports - Major cities have big airports, and some relatively small cities have them.If you are not on a cruise ship, flying is the best way to get to Mexico.The airport has taxis that will take you to town or where you need to go.Use official taxis, as there are fake ones at times.
- Travel Insurance - Part of the fun of traveling is not knowing what will happen.Bad things do happen at times though, so it is a good idea to get some travel insurance.This can help you if you have a sudden change of plans, or if you get injured while in Mexico.It will give you some peace of mind as you explore and find new adventures.
Mexico Weather Averages (Temperatures)
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16 Reviews on Mexico
Give Mexico a chance
Mexico and it’s people are beautiful, personally have never had any problems, but Mexico has lost it’s way over the years (Very Sad). Just use caution, and you should be ok
I HAVE TRAVELLED TO SEVERAL MEXICAN CITIES AND HAVE YET TO EXPERIENCE ANY PROBLEMS ALWAYS BEING CAREFUL ABOUT OUR SURROUNDINGS AND ALWAYS USING A CAB RECOMMENDED BY OUR HOTEL FOR ALL OUR LOCAL EXCURSIONS, ALWAYS TIPPING THEM FAIRLY AND ESTABLISHING A TRUSTING RELATIONSHIP WITH OUR DRIVERS AND REUSING THEM. WE AVOID LATE EXCURSIONS, NO JEWELRY, AND FEW CREDIT CARDS, ALONG WITH A SMALL CAMERA TO AVOID ATTRACTION. WE WILL EVEN HAVE LUNCH WITH OUR DRIVER TO MAKE US AND HIM FEEL AT EASE. I HAVE NOTICED THAT WHEN WE FLAG A CAB DOWN THE PRICE FOR THE TRIP IS EXCEGERRATED SIGNIFICANTLY USALLY TWO OR THREE TIMES WHAT IT SHOULD BE.
I have been to Mexico and I had no problem at all.People were friendly,food was great.There is no crime. Go to Mexico! It’s safe!
Truth is bitter
The only thing that’s missing from half of the country is effective government control. The drug cartels field military-grade weapons, and the government needs to respond with their own military helicopters and army formations e.g. to arrest some major druglords.
Brazil might be the only country besides Mexico that’s officially at peace, and yet has to regularly deploy the army to fight against organized crime (though there might be a few other countries as well in Latin America). The cartels will set roadblocks on major highways to enforce the borders of their extensive domains and will commit atrocities to make everyone remember who’s actually in control.
Only the Yucatan peninsula should be relatively safe for travel.
PICKPOCKETS? SCAMS? No way. I have been to Mexico and I have experienced NONE of that. There may be some in the northern part, but NOT in Mexico City! People are VERY friendly. Please go!
The fact that you dont experience a crime, doesnt mean crime doesnt exist. Dont be silly, mexico is alright, but as any latin american country, you cannot do things you can do in Europe like going out by night.
And im a mexican btw, i know my country way better than you
Need more information
Thank you for your reviews and information. I have noticed that Mazatlan is not covered within your list, is there a reason this city has been overlooked.
Mexico is not safe. Cartels target tourists you need to be careful. Police are corrupt and do not care.
Mexico is actually not what you think.
If you stick to the right areas in Mexico you will be completely safe. This whole Narco stuff is a problem but where I’ve been that being a small town in Jalisco called San Juan De Los Lagos, Its pretty safe, people in Mexico are nice too and will help you if needed. The media is just making Mexico look like a bad place, (which it is on some parts) but for the most part its a safe country if you stick to the good parts.
If you go to Mexico, you might get your head cut off
Mexico is my second home
In my opinion, Mexico is one of the most beautiful countries in the entire world. As a side note, for those that are gamers, you probably know that Forza Horizon 5 is based in Mexico and that game is so beautiful just as Mexico is. This place never fails to amaze me every time I get a chance to visit. I only had time for visiting a few of the many beauties it offers.
What I’ve managed to see so far:
1. Mexico’s Grand Canyon or Copper Canyon or Barranca del Cobre is a spectacular group of deep canyons. There are many ways to explore this place which believe it or not, is larger than the Grand Canyon.
2. Guanajuato is one of those places that needs to be explored by walking. It has many beautiful plazas, many, many splendid buildings architecturally wise. The San Diego Church or the Juarez Theater are just two of them. Another place to visit here is the Museum of Quixote. Don’t miss it.
3. Guadalajara is the second city in size after Mexico City and has a magnificent mix of colonial and Tapatios influences. Here you can truly experience Mexican culture with mariachi being present everywhere, dancing, singing and many, many amazing Mexican dishes that leave my mouth watering just thinking about them.
4. Cancun is a place where you go to relax on the beach and admire the smooth, clear sea. Snorkeling is awesome here as is scuba diving. Plenty of tropical fish to see and places to explore underwater if that’s your cup of tea.
All these places are generally safe during the day, less during the night. Pickpockets are present especially in the larger cities or where there are a lot of crowds so be careful in those instances. It’s generally safe to travel alone, as a man or woman, but traveling during night time is not ok I think. I wouldn’t do it.
Multiple listing "Los Cabos" is the capes, which is CSL and SJD.
Los Cabos consists of Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo (which you suggest people avoid.)
I am confused why both are listed, and why Cabo San Lucas gets a score of 68, but when you combine the two (to Los Cabos) it gets a score of 80. Since you’re warning people away from San Jose del Cabo, the score should logically be lower, not higher. I guess San Jose del Cabo is MUCH safer than Cabo San Lucas as it would need a score of 92 to average the two into the 80 score of the two cities, assuming equal weighting on each city – 200k vs 150k people. Please sort this out, it’s confusing, from what you’re posting most of the dangers of swimming, riptides, sharks etc are in CSL.
Mérida is the best of Mexico
I crossed the Mexican border for the very first time in 1977.
I spent the day in Juárez which, at that time, was perfectly safe.
Three years later, I crossed the border at Laredo/Nuevo Laredo, launching a three-month-long journey across all of eastern Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica. At no point did I feel in danger.
I had fallen in love with Mexico, and returned soon afterward (1981). Eventually, I made my way to Mérida, and really fell in love with that city. I have had a connection with Yucatán since that day. Yes, many parts of Mexico are dangerous today, especially for foreigners. So, rule #1 is to NOT stick out as a tourist. Blend in. It truly breaks my heart to see what has happened over the past 42 years.
I do not personally recommend Quintana Roo, except for the islands of Isla Mujeres and Cozumel.
Cancún and even Tulum have become dangerous. Anyway, I never did like Cancún. Too touristy for my taste. Mérida has always had a reputation for being a very safe city and, while not as safe as it was when I arrived 40 years ago, what city IS? It is a beautiful city with a rich history and culture, and it is very walkable. Winter is the best time to visit, since it is the dry season.
Winter nights are cool, but the days are warm to hot. Public transportation is excellent. Nearby places of interest include Progreso, Dzibilchaltún, Uxmal (and the Ruta Puuc), the Grutas de Loltún, Chichén Itzá (2½ hrs by bus), and various beautiful cenotes. Merida’s central mercado spreads over several city blocks. The “plaza grande” (central square) is historic and beautiful. The cathedral was completed in 1598.
Yucatán has a culture all its own, including dishes that you will find nowhere else (Poc Chuc, Relleno Negro, Cochinita Pibil, Papadzules, Huevos Motuleños, etcetera). I highly recommend Mérida.
Ok but could be better
It’s not that bad last time i went was when i was real little. If you feel lucky maybe you can buy some things there. You should never let your guard down when traveling to such places. I know there are worse places to visit in the world but this gets 4 stars because it is not that interesting. I’m not recommending you go there but if you want to no one is stopping you.
I spent three months in Mexico in 1982 and was married on Isla Mujeres. I have been back many times, sometimes alone, with my young children and with friends. I have never had any problems anywhere I have gone. I have rented cars, had accidents, used public transportation and have travelled by air. When I travel alone I don’t go out at night and I don’t drive at night on the highways but have no trouble driving in the cities or towns. I speak Spanish well enough and this helps so much. I love the geography, people, and culture. As long as you stay away from heavy boozing and drugs you’ll be fine. So much to explore.