Cenote Ik'Kil - surrounded by a lush vegetation

(Updated November 2020) Is it safe to travel to Mexico?

In MEXICO, TRAVEL HACKS by Isabella9 Comments

If you want to travel to Mexico, Coronavirus may make you wonder if it’s not too dangerous to do it in this difficult time. From my perspective, I am going to say that it is relatively safe to travel to Mexico right now if you take your own precautions, even where they aren’t imposed.


Traveling in Mexico -Coronavirus Alert

As I am writing this in November 2020, COVID lockdown is loosening in Mexico, hotels, and restaurants are starting to reopen, but it’s different in each state. Also, it seems that the number of cases is increasing overall. I have been in Tulum for the entire months of September and October, and the mask use and other restrictions have been loosened up more and more. Only when you enter shops and restaurants (not all of them), you are required to wear them. Other than that, it is business as usual. Even Playa del Carmen and Cancun are going in the same direction. In San Cristobal de las Casas, where I have been for a week before crossing the Guatemala border, the situation is very relaxed. Wearing the mask is not reinforced, so it’s really up to you, but it’s advisable to always have it with you since to enter in some shops or resaurants you will need it on. In general, I would suggest you ask around through social media such as Facebook groups to know about a destination before traveling. A good way to know about country entry restriction is Flatten the curve site, very informative.

IS MEXICO A SAFE PLACE TO TRAVEL, CORONAVIRUS ASIDE?

Mexico has been on top of the must-visit places for many travelers, attracting thousands of visitors every year for its delicious food, its interesting history, fascinating Mayan sites, and their mystery, the kindness of the people, the natural beauties, breathtaking beaches, and much more… Oh and the food!!??!

However, we can’t deny that in the past few years, some areas in Mexico have been a hot spot for crime episodes, drug cartels, gang-related violence, and other similar facts that could put off even the most adventurous traveler from visiting.

And on top of that, and probably because of that, Mexico travel Advisory from the US and Canada Governments are not among the most flattering ones. That’s why it’s quite understandable that before booking any trip, you are concerned whether  Mexico is a safe place to travel now or not. And even more, if you are a girl traveling alone, you would ask yourself,Is Cancun safe for travel in 2020?” before jumping on that plane. 

Safety and health are always a major concern when we travel, especially if our target destination is a developing country with travel warning alerts from both US media and government.

And the answer is: Yes, it can be dangerous in specific area and random accident happens, like everywhere in the world.

It’s important to be cautious when you travel, especially if you are alone, and to know which areas are safe to travel and which are to avoid.

In this thorough guide, I will cover everything you need to know in order for you to buy your ticket and fly to this amazing country that is Mexico, well prepared.

Sit back, grab a coffee or a latte and relax: you will find all the answer in this post.

Read also Mexico travel tips



MEXICO MAP

MEXICO MAP (CLICK HERE TO OPEN IT)

SAFETY IN MEXICO RIGHT NOW

In the last couple of years, Mexico has appeared in the mainstream news for several violent episodes and cartel-related crimes. And it hurts to say it, but everything you have seen in the news is true.

In August 2018 the State Department issued a travel advisory warning American citizens headed to Mexico to use caution in several states.

The same week eight bodies were discovered in Cancun outside of the city’s beach hotel zone, though the warning did not refer to the Quintana Roo/Cancun area.

So is Mexico safe? Yes, it is, and if you keep reading, you will understand why.

However, for atrocious and real those facts were, I believe we need to put things in perspective and give it context.

  • Mexico is a huge country with about 1.5 million square miles of territory, which means that if something happens in Sinaloa, it’s not even heard of in Quintana Roo, separated by 2000 miles, to give you an example.
  • Drug-related issues happen among drug dealers and cartels, so if you are not one of them and have nothing to do with drugs, you are safe. Or, in any case, you are not a target.
  • Being a developing country with a high poverty rate makes it subject to a higher risk of petty theft and minor crimes, which can be avoided with some common sense and smart practices. We will talk about it in the next chapters.
  • Of course, I cannot promise that nothing will happen to you if you travel to Mexico as much as I cannot guarantee that you won’t get robbed in your own supposedly safe home.

Now, the US government has released a  Mexico travel advisory where you can see a Mexican destination classification according to the level of life danger concerning the latest registered crime issues here. Below is a summary:

Level 4  warning, means “Do not travel”, and it refers to the following cities.

  • Colima
  • Guerrero
  • Michoacán
  • Sinaloa
  • Tamaulipas

I have to say I have traveled in Guerrero, precisely in Taxco, a beautiful pueblo Magico (magic town) at about 2 hours bus from Mexico City. I moved around by bus, alone, and felt extremely safe.

Other levels are:

Level 3: Reconsider travel 

Includes the following states, among others

Now, I need to add a personal note here. I have lived in Puerto Vallarta for three months and traveled through Nayarit and Guadalajara and Chihuahua, and I have never felt unsafe to the very least. According to my personal experience and judgment, I would put them in  Level 2 without a doubt. Many expatriates from all over the world, but mostly the US, live there, and although they use the needed precautions, they consider it quite a safe place to live and vacation.

Chihuahua is home to the famous Copper Canyon, about which I will talk soon in another post, and I had the time of my life there. Never, by all means, have I felt unsafe.

In any case, consider that this is just a warning /suggestion, and I would recommend checking out different blogs and forums to get a better idea. Tourism has not decreased in the past year, which means that there must be something good.

Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution

I interpret Level 2 as a green light but following some commonsense rules. Below in this post, you can check out all the necessary safety measures and common sense tips you need to use in order to prevent unpleasant situations, which I believe apply always even in the safest place if that exists on earth.

The countries that belong to this cluster are the following states:

ARE CANCUN AND THE RIVIERA MAYA SAFE TO TRAVEL?

I have lived in Cancun for seven years, and I have always considered it a relatively safe place if we are talking about criminality levels. It’s also true that more “accidents” had occurred in the past few months, and we can’t deny it. 

Okay, I got robbed in my home twice in 7 years but can happen everywhere in the world. But if I have to answer the question “Is Cancun safe to travel,” my answer would still be a YES! If you keep reading, I will explain why.

Here is what it’s mentioned in one of the recent articles on the New York Times.

“While most of these homicides appeared to be targeted, criminal organization assassinations, turf battles between criminal groups have resulted in violent crime in areas frequented by U.S. citizens. Shooting incidents injuring or killing bystanders have occurred,” the advisory stated.

Tourism authorities have responded by stepping up security. The Mexican navy patrols the beaches, federal police monitor the highways and the army is in charge of entry points into the region’s cities. Dario Flota Ocampo, the director of the Quintana Roo Tourism Board, said that 3,000 new surveillance cameras are being installed in the Cancún and Playa del Carmen areas.”

It’s still a very touristy place, meaning that tourism is their primary source of income and the authority want to make sure they keep coming. According to recent stats, about 9.3 million visitors travel to Mexico annually, bringing in approximately 5 Billion dollars in annual revenue, after all.  I bet the Mexican federal government is doing all its best to keep those numbers up, maintaining visitors happy and safe.

Then, “things” happen, as much as they happen in Milan, New York, or your hometown.

According to STR, a travel research company:

“In the first quarter of 2018, hotel occupancy in Cancún stayed level with 2017 figures at a healthy 77 percent, even though the room inventory grew by 3 percent this year” (Source NYT)

There are indeed less safe places in Mexico that I would rather avoid. I have been traveling around Mexico for one year alone, avoiding certain specific states such as Tamaulipas, Colima, Guerrero, and I have never felt unsafe at all. I visited  Taxco, a beautiful Magic Town in Guerrero, and I have felt safe as in any other touristic town. Of course, there is a certain level of common sense that you need to follow, which I will discuss in the following chapter. 

We need to consider that Cancun and the Riviera Maya are built around and for tourism. They are a money machine, and for as much as it is such an ugly image, that’s what it is.

Tourists are seen as walking dollars, and operators are always trying to make an advantage over them.  When you look for a trip to  Mexico, you will receive thousands of all-inclusive packages suggestions, offering you an en-suite vacation where you will stay eat and drink all day in your beautiful hotel (the golden cage, as I call it). You will be told that the only way to explore and travel safely is only with guided tours “because outside it is hazardous.”

Although I reckon that traveling on an organized tour is less tiring as you don’t even have to think, organize, stay alert, or worry in anyways because you will be picked up and carried around in safe hands and a protecting cage, I don’t believe it is necessary if you like adventure and prefer to go on your own. 

I always promote car rental and do-it-yourself when the context allows it. And I consider the entire Yucatan Peninsula a safe place where to drive. I did it myself while I was living there for 7 years . Here is my on the road travel adventure.  

As you can see in the article, I drove around and visited places on my own, just like many other travelers and I felt totally safe. You don’t need to be a hardcore adventurer in order to do it.

For sure, there are precautions that you will want to take and things that you will need to know to have a smooth and enjoyable journey, but you can definitely build your own trip without having necessary to follow the ready-made packages. Drive around freely, check out places, and sometimes hire a local guide to show you around and explain its own place is the best way to discover this amazing country.  

All this to say that traveling safely is possible in the Riviera Maya and the entire Yucatan peninsula.

Now, having said that,  there are a few things that you do need to take into consideration. 

Now, having clarified this part, let’s look at the most important things that you should know… 

HOW TO STAY SAFE WHEN TRAVELING IN MEXICO: COMMON SENSE RULES

These are actually common-sense rules that are valid everywhere, not only in Mexico. Even in your home county.

DON’T SHOW OFF YOUR WEALTH

Although it might seem normal to own a laptop and a phone or whatever technological device you have, it might be considered a privileged commodity for some local population, especially if it is a bitten apple on it and a targeted item for criminals. So be careful when you use it.

This is also valid for jewelry and any costly items you might possess. Besides, do you really need jewelry when you live in flip flops a  bathing suit?

Also, avoid flashing wads of cash. This is never convenient.

Travel Security Money Belt with Hidden Money Pocket

KEEP YOUR MONEY SAFE FROM PICKPOCKETERS

Travel money belt with RIFD lock
Travel security belt with hidden money pocket
RIFD Money belt for TRAVEL with RIFD Blocking Sleeves

AVOID WALKING IN THE DARK

You want to have fun and enjoy the night, I get it, but seriously, do you need to walk in dark and isolated places, and by yourself? I don’t think so. Get a taxi to get back and if you need intimacy, get a room. For as romantic it can be, the beach at night is never safe unless you are in front of your hotel, and a security guard is watching over you. And that’s related to the following point.

TEQUILA MIGHT BE GOOD, BUT…IN MODERATION

It’s your vacation and the night is made to have fun, although I have other ways to have fun, I get it. You are in the land of the tequila and mezcal, you love it and you are enjoying your time with your friends drinking the night away. That’s fine but, make sure you are surrounded by people you know well and who love you enough to drag your drunk ass home instead of leaving you alone in the dark. Never, ever, walk alone, in the dark, let alone if you are insanely drunk.

BE CAREFUL AT THE CASH MACHINES

When you are withdrawing money, avoid doing it at night and always look around you before starting the operation.

USE THE SAFE BOX

Travel with little valuables and leave them in the safe of your hotel including your passport and other documents. Always carry a copy with you.

WALK WITH LITTLE CASH

For the same reason as stated in #1 it’s always safe to look low profile and avoid flaunting wealth. Also if something happens you have little to lose.

NEVER LEAVE YOUR BELONGING UNATTENDED

Not only to avoid getting stolen but also to avoid that somebody could hide an illicit substance in your belongings. It happened, not to me but I have read stories.

DON’T BE NAIVE

It’s good to socialize. This is one of the reasons we travel, right? To meet new people, make friends, and mingle with locals. However, although we want to think nicely of anyone and avoid prejudice we don’t live in a fairy tale and there are also people with sad stories and bad intentions. We need to learn to discern who we can trust from whom we should avoid. It’s part of the instinct we develop when we start to observe people. But in doubt, it’s better to play safe and be over considerate.

TRAVEL HEALTH TIPS FOR MEXICO

HEALTH CARE IN MEXICO

Healthcare in private hospitals is very expensive here in Mexico, especially for tourists.  The majority of the high-end hotels have their own nursery and or trusted doctors on call or you can get directly to the hospital in case of an emergency. In all cases be prepared to spend a fortune, or make sure you have a good insurance that covers even the most basic issue.

PHARMACIES IN MEXICO

Bear in mind that the pharmacists are not doctors here, they are just regular attendant so they won’t be able to suggest you the correct treatment ( I am saying this because in Italy, for example, they are professionals and for basic issues, they are able to suggest you what remedy to take). However, in some pharmacies, they also have a doctor office, where for 60 pesos (3 dollars) you can have a visit. Sometimes they are good and prepared. Some of them are work from 9 am to 6 pm some others are open 24hrs.

It always depends on the person, just like anywhere else. I am not suggesting here what you should do in case of need, just giving you information on all the options you have.

VACCINES: ARE THEY NECESSARY IN MEXICO?

There is no compulsory vaccine requirement here in Mexico, wherever you go. Here is an interesting site where you can check for any country where it is necessary to have a vaccine otherwise they won’t let you in. In general, I never take any vaccine for personal reasons as I think they do more harm than good, but it is just my very personal opinion and I believe you should do what makes you feel more comfortable for yourself and consult your local doctor or health institution for suggestions, in case you are concerned.

HOW TO AVOID GETTING SICK IN MEXICO

To travel to Mexico, you are not required to do any vaccines. However, there are a few things that you need to stay aware of. Here I am telling you…

SUN/HEAT

Especially in the summer season, from June through October but also all year round temperatures can go up to 95 F  and humidity is up to the stars. You need to make sure you stay hydrated (with water) and protected from the sun with a hat and sunscreen. By not observing these basic rules you can end up drained and dehydrated. Especially if you explore remote archaeological sites, they might not have water to sell, so make sure you go prepared and you always walk with your bottle of water. It doesn’t matter if the water gets hot, it will keep you hydrated.

MOSQUITO RELATED DISEASES

Zika, Chikungunya, and Dengue fever are a fact in Mexico, which are provoked by mosquito bites (Zika is also sexually transmitted). So the most important thing to do is prevent, use mosquito spray, although there are considerable awareness and prevention policies among hotels and local communities. Zika, in particular, is not harmful unless you are pregnant (or planning to be soon, or you are the male partner and are infected), in which case it can put your baby’s health in danger. So it is imperative to keep in mind when you are choosing where to travel.  Especially in the wet season from May through October approximately, those are the months with more mosquitos due to the high humidity levels. So please make sure you take your precautions.

STREET FOOD

It’s very common to find vendors on the beach or on the street selling already chopped fruits or very inviting and naturally flavored popsicles, especially under the hot sun.  However, I’d suggest you be very careful with that as they have been prepared in private homes and you don’t know under what kind of hygienic conditions. It is very easy to contract salmonella or other similar bacterial diseases in this kind of climate.

WATER

Tap water is not drinkable, so make sure you always have a bottle of purified water or natural spring water (agua de manantial) with you. In theory, you can use tap water for brushing teeth, as I do, but it is advisable to still use the bottled water as well…just in case.

SEA DANGERS

No worries, swim, and dive in all tranquillity as there is no danger in the water. The only thing in Cancun, the majority of the cost presents strong currents. This is why you will see many lifeguards. When there is a red flag on the beach, NO SWIM, please! The yellow one warns you to be careful, the green to go ahead. Always be careful, and when you see that you are not coming back to shore, start swimming sidewise, and the current will take you to the beach. I have learned the lesson on my skin! Also, don’t get in the water if you have drunk. 

IS MEXICO SAFE FOR SOLO FEMALE TRAVELERS?

As a solo female traveler who lived 7 years in Cancun and 1 year around the country, I can honestly say it is safe for the solo female traveler without sounding too naive.

However, there is a BUT.

I realized that I feel totally safe everywhere because I don’t go to places that are not safe, and I naturally follow some rules that I consider common sense, but I realize that they are not so common.

Here I am listing a few golden rules on how to stay safe as a solo female traveler in Mexico, but basically everywhere in Latin America.

SPEAK THE LANGUAGE

The number one reason I felt safe everywhere in Mexico is that my Spanish is quite fluent, allowing me to start a conversation, engage with people and understand when somebody might look trustworthy, but he’s actually not.

Or in many situations, you can understand when they are trying to rip you off. Sometimes they do it anyway, but that’s another story;)

So my best advice is to learn a few Spanish words and phrases at least to have a basic conversation.

That will also allow us to talk with the locals and practice your skill. You will be a pro at the end of your trip.

MEXICAN-SPANISH VOCABULARY 

As I was mentioning before knowing some Mexican-Spanish vocabulary will certainly help to move around in Mexico.

Here some useful words and Mexican phrases (even some a little rude expression, but commonly used):

LET’S COVER THE BASICS FIRST:

Hola = Hello
Como estàs = How are you?
Por Favor = Please
Gracias = Thank you
Disculpa = I am sorry
Perdon? = Excuse me?
Donde està la parada del bus? = Where is the bust stop?
Una chela por favor = A beer, please
Un jugo, por favor = A juice, please
Cuanto cuesta? = How much is it?
Me puede ayudar? = Can you help me?
Donde està…? = Where is…?

MEXICAN COMMON IDIOMS AND WORDS ( A LITTLE GROSS)

Mande? = Excuse me? That’s used when somebody didn’t understand what you have said and ask you to repeat or when you call somebody’s attention and they reply (Yes?)

No manches! or No Mames! = Are you kidding me? Typical from Mexico city but commonly used everywhere. In Mexico city they generally say also No manches (or no mames), guey! Guey! is like “dude!”

Que mamada! = related to something stupid.

Cruda = hangover

Me hice bolas = I got confused

Vete al Carajo! = Go F*** yourself!

Me cae bien! =I like him/her when you think somebody is a good person.

Me da hueva! ( Que hueva! ) = I don’t feel like doing it. It’s used when you are lazy about doing something.

Me vale madre = I don’t care

No hay pedo (pedo=fart) = No problem

Chilangos = people from Mexico city

Esta’ Cañon! = It’s referred to a very difficult situation

Chin!!! = It’s like an exclamation like Oh! used when for example you forgot something or you did something wrong.

Me cayo’ el veinte (20) = I realized something or I had an epiphany.

Me chupa un huevo = I don’t care (very gross way of saying it!)

DON’T WALK AT NIGHT ALONE

This is a wise idea either if you are a man or a woman, walking around alone, especially if you are crossing deserted areas, is not wise.

TRUST YOUR GUT FEELING

If you don’t feel comfortable in a place, even if it’s the hotel where you have just checked in, change. Safety comes first.

GET A GUIDE OR JOIN A TOUR IF YOU WANT TO GO TO REMOTE PLACES

Some remote areas are worth visiting but make sure you are not alone when you are doing so. Ask your reception or locals that you meet if it’s safe to go there alone and decide accordingly. One time I was in Zacatecas, a beautiful town that I recommend you should visit. I always love to walk around, and I was finding my way to a viewpoint. While asking for an indication of how to get there, a couple of ladies suggest that I take a taxi because the road was isolated and assaults.

Local people are very friendly and concerned about people’s safety, even more, if they see a girl alone. And this is one reason I was suggesting to have at least a basic knowledge of the language.

Needless to say, I follow her suggestion and I took a taxi.

AVOID GETTING DRUNK

I feel I shouldn’t even mention it because I don’t drink, and it wouldn’t even occur to me to go to a bar at night by myself, let alone drinking. However, I should mention it for the sake of information. Sometimes even the obvious is worth a reminder.

SMILE AND BE FRIENDLY

I feel like I am always attracting nice people who are willing to help with a genuine heart, and I believe it’s because I smile all the time, and I always make time for a little conversation. People love it. Also, I realized they are honored that you are visiting their country and even more their city to feel so proud. Although it comes from my heart, it has also helped me find help in any situation not necessarily of danger, but locals often go the extra mile to make a tourist feel at home if they empathize. Just don’t be naive, though.

SMILE BUT DON’T BE TOO NAIVE

As I mentioned before, it’s good to socialize with locals, but there is a limit that cannot be surpassed. They tend to ask you where you are staying, where you are going, how long you will be staying, and many personal questions. Don’t be too specific and always avoid saying either where you are staying or giving out your number. Especially for the long-time travelers, avoid saying that you are on a long trip to strangers because they already believe that all “gringos” have plenty of money growing on trees. If we tell them we are on a lifetime journey, it might create even a more distorted image, and you never know their intention. So the bottom line is to be cautious about revealing too much information about yourself. To wrap this up, yes, it’s safe to travel as a solo female. Just follow those rules.

FOR LONG TERM TRAVELERS: never say you are traveling for six months or an undetermined time because you never know. People might misinterpret it as a sign of wealth and take advantage of you.

IS IT SAFE TO TRAVEL TO MEXICO FOR FAMILIES?

I do believe that if you are traveling with kids, you are safer than anybody else. Mexico has a family-oriented society, and traveling with children will certainly get you closer to the locals who will be keener to start a conversation or look after you. There are many all-inclusive resorts that cater specifically to kids, equipped with the most efficient kids club and amenities. However, you don’t need to shut yourself in an all-inclusive in order to be safe in Mexico. Get out, explore, and take your kids to discover this extraordinary culture, enjoy the local food, and mingle with the locals. Remember, though, to use sunscreen and drink a lot of water. And this is not only a recommendation for your kids also for you. Do not let your kids out of site though.

You can read more about it in the following chapter about health in Mexico

IS PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION SAFE IN MEXICO?

Mexico has a great net of busses operating throughout the country by different companies. Every company covers specific regions but many overlaps creating healthy competition and keeping the service level decent to high. Bus companies are divided into three classes, from the low key to the medium and luxury, with little price difference. Therefore it is always more convenient to choose the most luxurious company to guarantee more comfort, especially on long trips. I felt safe all the time, but it’s still advisable to keep all your items close to you and avoid leaving money or precious stuff, like your camera or laptop, on the overhead compartment. This is always a NO-NO. Other than that, I have always found professional drivers even in the cheap busses.

Public transportation in cities

Even the local transportation is quite safe although you might find pickpocketers anywhere in the world, like Milan, for example, where I come from. Be careful when they are crowded, especially and maybe avoid taking busses and metro in Mexico city at night.

IS IT SAFER TO USE UBER OR TAXI IN MEXICO

I always use Uber when available, and I prefer it much better than Taxis. Although it’s not available everywhere, in which case I chose a taxi either from an app or at an official taxi stand to make sure they are regular. But there have been cases like in Queretaro, where I just waved them from the road, seeing that the taxi had a number and looked reliable.

IS MEXICO CITY SAFE?

MEXICO CITY FACTS

  • ELEVATION AVERAGE 2.250 m (7381 ft)
  • POPULATION: 8,855 million (2015) According to ONU – The metropolitan area is much larger with 21.2 million people, making Mexico City the most populous metro area in the Western Hemisphere.
  • HIGHEST POINT: 3,930 m (12.890 ft)
  • SIZE: 1.485 km² (922 sqm)
  • Mexico City is built on a lake called Texcoco.
  • The city is continuously sinking and has sunk more than nine meters in some areas over the last 100 years.
  • Over 600,000 U.S. Americans live in Mexico City, and it’s probably the largest concentration of Americans living outside of the USA, considering an estimated 1.5 million Americans living in the country, according to the US State Department.

Mexico City is probably still the fourth biggest city globally, and like many big cities, there are some areas where you wouldn’t want to go. However, funny enough, the State Department’s travel warning for Mexico doesn’t include Mexico city in the list of places to avoid. Mexico City is organized into 350 “Colonias,” not all of them are interesting to see nor safe to walk around. I will briefly tell you here where you can walk around without any problem, maintaining a certain level of alert and common sense, as usual.

  • Roma
  • Condesa
  • San Rafael
  • Juarez
  • Polanco

HOW TO STAY SAFE IN MEXICO CITY

Like in every big city, even in Mexico City, you need to be aware of a few things, even in the safest areas. Here below a few common-sense rule and safety tips:

BE CONCERNED ABOUT PETTY THEFT AND SCAMS

  •  Pickpocketers are quite common, so pay more attention in crowded areas such as metro or markets.
  • Ignore strangers asking for money or phone or documents. Even if you feel bad and want to help, don’t do it. It’s not your business now to save the world. Just stay safe yourself. 
  • If you need to withdraw money, try to do it in safe areas such as an ATM located at the airport or in your hotel, or within a bank. Stay away from random ATM or those located on isolated roads. 
  • Avoid wearing shining items, precious jewelry, or showing off expensive accessories, such as watches, iPhones, MacBooks, Ipads.

IS KIDNAPPING AND MUGGING IN MEXICO CITY A THREAT?

Well, Kidnappings in Mexico City happened, and although it rarely involves tourists and foreigners, it’s still always better to prevent any risk and use all the necessary precautions.

  • Normally, the most popular scam consists of receiving calls or emails saying that some friends or family members have been kidnapped. If it happens to you, hang up and call the local police.
  • Never release any personal information such as your location, phone number, or address even if you have the feeling it’s an innocent question from shoppers or local surveys.
  • Avoid taxis where fake taxi drivers can hide and force you to withdraw money from an ATM. It doesn’t happen often, but it does. I always recommend using  Uber, which is very affordable in Mexico City and much safer. 

IS MEXICO CITY SAFE FOR A FEMALE SOLO TRAVELER?

As a female solo traveler myself, I traveled a few times in Mexico City and never felt threatened, except when I was along in phase 3 of Chapultepec park, and I was about to get attacked by a group of strained dogs. I was terrified. I managed to escape, but that’s something you want to avoid, being in isolated areas. So mind that.

I love to travel by myself, but I am good at daily organized tours, especially where you have a guide who explains what you see, history, and local culture. It’s a way to support local businesses and, at the same time, get some information from an insider perspective.

IS COZUMEL SAFE?

According to the US travel advisory, there are no restrictions to travel to Quintana Roo, Cancun, Cozumel, Playa del Carmen, Tulum, and the Riviera Maya.

The truth is that Cozumel is indeed a paradise to discover, and not only for divers, who find there their heaven on earth, but every nature lover will fall in love with this tiny island.

Common-sense rules need to be observed, but my best advice here is to go and enjoy the many things to do in Cozumel, the food, the beaches, and even if you don’t dive, you will certainly find other amazing activities to do. Even if you want to sit on a beach chair and relax, you will also find a spectacular hotel that will pamper you all day and night. But do yourself a favor, take some tours, or rent a bike or a scooter and go out explore because it’s a spectacular destination with lots to offer.

Cenote Suytun
Cenote Suytun

NOW THAT YOU KNOW THAT IT’S SAFE TO TRAVEL TO MEXICO …

Check out my dedicated Mexican page where you will find free guides on the most interesting places to visit in Mexico.


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Comments

  1. Pingback: Trip to Mexico City & Bacalar: the Brutal, Raw, Perfect and Beautiful Story

  2. I like how you mentioned staying away from street food since you don’t know how clean the process was. My brother wants to go to Mexico for spring break this year and I want to make sure it’s safe. Thanks for the tips and I’ll remember these as we prepare for the trip.

    1. Author

      Hello Taylor, thanks for your comment. I don’t mean all the street food. Some of it is delicious. I just say to be mindful when choosing. Enjoy Mexico 🙂

  3. Hi, I enjoyed your article. I am a solo female (widowed, retired) living in Cancun for 5+ years. If you could please explain how you were robbed in your own home, I would appreciate knowing so I can do everything to avoid it.

    1. Author

      Hello Maria,
      thanks for writing. I am glad you have enjoyed the article. I was robbed twice and in both cases, I had left the windows open. Silly me. I hope it helps 🙂 Stay safe and let me know if you have any more questions. Happy to help.

  4. I disagree that it is safe to visit Quintana Roo and Yucatan at this time (July – August 2020). Both states are in CODE RED which means the policia are acting like NAZIS with their control-freak shouting and arm waving. I was traveling with Mexican citizens (a nurse and a school administrator/teacher who is my niece). We had spent 5 nice days in Puerto Morelos and Bacalar when CODE RED became active. We couldn’t get any food, couldn’t leave our hotel, couldn’t do anything except LEAVE. We had to drive from Bacalar to Merida and it was like a horror movie. Policia everywhere, checking if people INSIDE the car are wearing their masks. My fellow travelers were terrified that I kept removing mine even when we were out in the middle of nowhere. When we approached a town, we were pulled over, checked for masks, then the angry policia started sealing us inside the car with duct tape on the doors and windows so that they could see if we rolled down a window or tried to get out of the car! I couldn’t believe that we were trapped inside the car with duct tape closures and then another self-important man came out and sprayed our car with some kind of substance without asking or explaining! The man used a device like pest control sprayers and saturated my niece’s car with it! Then we were yelled at again to drive, don’t stop, don’t try to get out or you’ll be arrested, keep masks on in the car (the most insipid thing I’ve ever heard). NOW, does anyone think that seems SAFE? I was terrified! In MX you are guilty until proven innocent and to get help in that remote area was unthinkable. So on we drove and the poor people in the town were all sitting on the sidewalks with their arts/crafts, pineapples and snacks to sell and no one could stop. There were policia waving drivers to MOVE so we drove straight thru fearful of what would happen if we had to use the restroom or get something to drink or eat. About 10 miles down the road we were pulled over again and the tape was ripped off the car. My niece asked the ripper where we could go to the restroom and find food and drinks. He motioned to the Pemex ahead. We pulled in to the restroom area and we were surrounded by attendents. My niece asked if we could use the restroom there and one guy said I will ask. Then he waited and stood there so my niece gave him 100 pesos. He walked to the back of the car, then turned back and yelled at my niece, ” NO! Ballanse (get out!) and we had to leave. When we finally got out of any sign of civilization, we found a small farm road and took a nature break hidden from the highway. Once we got to Merida I learned what CODE RED means: CURFEW FOR EVERYONE NO EXCEPTIONS AT 10 PM; no one can be outside their homes period. ONLY TWO PERSONS PER VEHICLE: the driver and one passenger who must sit in the backseat! Masks on at all times in or out of the car! ONLY ONE PERSON CAN GO IN A STORE- no, the baby can’t go with you. Grandma will have to fend for herself. NO ALCOHOL SALES PERIOD! None-Nada. POLICIA ARE LINED ALONG THE MAIN ROADS LOOKING FOR MASKS AND MORE THAN TWO PERSONS IN A VEHICLE. They cruise thru the parking lots and look in the cars. If two people are in the car, they are told to leave. So if you were sneaking another person who might be in Walmart buying food, they will come out and have no ride home unless the extra person gets dumped somewhere. All of the beautiful churches, plazas, art galleries, nature areas, cenotes, pyramids, etc…are CLOSED. We were lucky in Bacalar that the captain of our cruise had 24 hours to cancel all his tours or we would not have been able to see the amazing lake with its living stones and cenotes. The captain took us up into a mangrove so we could get out and swim in a remote area without being seen. Thank God that he took us out–just us three ladies–because it was my birthday! His name is Amir and he is a wonderful person to help us out.That day was the last day of freedom in Mexico. I stayed 3 more days just to play and visit with my nephews who have been at home for 4 months! They cannot go out except into the walled in back patio where they have fish, a small pool, and their pets. The older nephew is still doing school work online. I decided to come home to the USA 5 days earlier than planned. It was so sad how the people of Mexico are oppressed and disrespected. I made the most of my 3 days with my nephews, cooking them chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes, and gravy. They are so precious and my older nephew asked me about moving back to the US to go to college. He was born in TX and visits every two years. He loves it. It will tear his family apart if he decides to move there but I will not blame him a bit. I will return to Merida when all this SCAMDEMIC is over. It’s all political. It’s all about control. It is NOT SAFE TO TRAVEL IN MEXICO. IT IS CONTROLLED BY GOVT. NAZIS!

    1. Author

      Dear Margie, thank you so much for taking the time to write in so much detail about your experience. It is certainly useful for our readers. I am presently in the Merida area and I know very well about the red code and I can confirm what you are saying.

      But please note that my post is not related to COVID, it’s about Safety in general.

      I am not in the position to give out any advice on COVID in Mexico because I am not traveling at the moment and I cannot have accurate real-time information on every state of Mexico. This is why I have written a note on top of the post advising to refer to local sources about the COVID situation.

      And this is why I appreciate your input as it’s definitely very important to know what are the government instruction before starting a trip like yours. We can or cannot agree with the government’s decisions but we must oblige to the rules regardless, especially in a country where we are “guests” and not citizens. I hope you are well and safe now. Take care

  5. Thank you Isabella~I am safe in TX and well. I receive a notice daily on Facebook “My Story” about Yucatan’s deaths from Covid, new cases, and how many recoveries. I doubt its accuracy just as I doubt some of the numbers reported in Texas. Folks who sign up for testing but get tired of waitng and leave, still receive a notice that they tested positive for Covid! This has happened to 4 of my friends. My relatives in Merida are communicating that CODE RED is still in force as of August 8, 2020, so I hope that you can leave and return to safety soon. One detail I failed to mention is that buses running to Cancun Airport do not go directly to the airport. Instead buses go to the downtown bus station where you are screened again and have to wait for another bus to take you to the airport. If anyone has a departing flight at a certain time and you’re using the ADO buses for transporting, make sure you plan way ahead to get to your flight on time. I’d advise to stay away from all areas in MX until Covid is gone. The government is taking advantage of the MX citizens they are supposed to protect and just as it is here in the US, my niece says it’s political between the two parties in MX. God help us all!

    1. Author

      Hello Margie, thanks again for the further update. Let’s hope this nightmare will finish soon. I will take a bus from Merida to Cancun in a few weeks so I will experience it myself. So finger crossed 🙂 Take good care!

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