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Is it safe to travel to Mexico right now?

Mexico has been one of the most popular countries in the world, for its spectacular beach destinations, vibrant cultural heritage, delicious and unique food, and many incredible natural and cultural attractions. But is it safe to travel to Mexico right now? You must wonder. From my perspective, as someone who has spent the past 11 years in Mexico (including the lockdown), 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. Like anywhere else in the world, following certain common-sense rules is always a good practice, regardless of any ongoing situation. In this post, I will go in detail on how to stay safe while traveling to Mexico and I will cover specific areas… Mexico is a huge country! 🙂


MEXICO ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

To enter Mexico, you don’t need any test nor any specific requirements are in place, nor health screening.

You are just requested to wear a face mask and respect the distance when needed. Other than that, usual immigration protocols apply according to country of origin.

Also, keep in mind that as mentioned in the US embassy in Mexico website “The United States will temporarily limit inbound land border crossings from Canada and Mexico to “essential travel”. What is considered non-essential travel, that’s to say, tourism is therefore banned, meaning you must take a flight to get to Mexico and you won’t have issues.

I am updating this post almost every month, to make sure you have real-time information. Lockdown has been loosening up for a while now in Mexico, hotels, and restaurants have been reopening, but you need to keep in mind that the situation is very different for each state even “with the same color“.

What do you mean by color?

You might already know that the Mexican authorities have classified the lockdown measures, based on the actual situation and amount of affected population into different groups and colors. It reads as follows:

🔴 – absolutely do not go out, unless for extreme necessity. Restaurants are closed and any social gatherings are prohibited.

🟠 – you might go out, but it’s better if you stay at home. Restaurants hotels and public spaces opened with reduced capacity.

🟡 – ALMOST business as usual, but pay attention.

🟢 – back to normal…but still…

Then regardless of the colors, it seems to me that each state makes its own rules. In any case, before traveling to one specific state I would suggest you should consult this website to read all the updated information and this one to consult the interactive map.

Now, having said that, you might want to check with the hotels and the operators with whom you were planning to do some activities for better and updated information.

As I am updating this post I have just returned from a trip in the north of Mexico. I was respectively in las Grutas de Tolantongo, in Hidalgo, Valle de Bravo, in the State of Mexico, Queretaro and Mexico City.

In Hidalgo, it was a “red zone” at the time and when I contacted the tourist institutions they told me absolutely not to go, except for Las Grutas de Tolantongo, always open, where I was among the few tourists visiting.

That’s what I called luck because I didn’t imagine that place when it was packed with tourists. By the time I reached Valle de Bravo and the other destinations, they have switched to “Orange“, so bars and restaurants, and museums were starting to reopen, but with much control and safety measures in place.

For example, in Queretaro, you would need to book your spot in the museum and you can’t carry your backpack with you. So, make sure you always do your search before getting to a destination. 🙂

I am not the one who has the right to give you a sermon on how to behave, but I believe some common sense is always the right choice.

For example, I decided to visit Las Grutas de Tolantongo, a very popular waterfall that has been forever on my bucket list, even if they are in a red zone. I went because they were open and were taking the necessary measures to keep the guests safe.

Also, I have been using all the cautions, such as distance, mask and wash my hands, and such!

Beautiful building beside a park with blooming jacaranda flowers

There are destinations where although in a red zone they are a bit more tolerant while others are stricter. For example, not to be judgmental, but I really don’t like what’s happening in Tulum.

They are in an orange zone, but nobody is respecting the safety measures at all, with so many parties and gatherings of all sorts, just like nothing is happening.

Although I hate masks and I am longing for a time when it will be business as usual (who knows when), it’s simply not possible for now. So go out, breathe some fresh air, but keep the distance and remember that there is an annoying serious disease circulating freely.

But that’s just how I do things. I don’t really want to be a preacher. Just sharing my thoughts here.

By all means, I hope you are traveling to Mexico, but with the utmost respect for the locals and the people around you.

Having said that, Continue to read to know about other important information on safety in Mexico because unfortunately, there are many other dangers, just like anywhere else.

Is Mexico a safe place to travel, right now?

Mexico is always one of the most visited destinations and one 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 about whether Mexico is a safe place to travel now or not. And even more, if you are a girl traveling alone, you would investigate further about Safety in Mexico 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 the government.

And the answer is: Yes, it can be dangerous in specific areas and random accidents happen, 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 answers in this post.


Mexico Map

MEXICO MAP (CLICK HERE TO OPEN IT)

Is it safe to travel to 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 u.s. State Department issued a travel advisory warning American citizens headed to Mexico to use caution in s some parts of Mexico, including several states because of the increased level of crime rates.

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 it safe to go to Mexico? 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 them 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:

Do Not Travel To:

  • Colima state due to crime.
  • Guerrero state due to crime.
  • Michoacán state due to crime.
  • Sinaloa state due to crime.
  • Tamaulipas state due to crime and kidnapping.

I have to say I have traveled in Guerrero, precisely in Taxco, one of the beautiful Mexican Pueblos Magicos (magic towns) at about 2-hour bus from Mexico City. I moved around by bus, alone, and felt extremely safe.

The second warning is “Reconsider Travel To the following states

  • Chihuahua state due to crime.
  • Coahuila state due to crime.
  • Durango state due to crime.
  • Jalisco state due to crime.
  • Mexico state due to crime.
  • Morelos state due to crime.
  • Nayarit state due to crime.
  • Nuevo Leon state due to crime.
  • San Luis Potosi state due to crime.
  • Sonora state due to crime.
  • Zacatecas state due to crime.

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, Durango San Luis Potosi, and Zacatecas, and I have never felt unsafe to the very least. Obviously, I take my own precautions, which I will talk more later on in this post.

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.

Exercise Increased Caution (according to the US Travel Advisory)

I interpret this statement as a green light but following some commonsense rules, which I believe should apply to any states and anywhere you travel in the world. I am scheduled to travel to NYC in a week and I am concerned about safety, more than when I go to Mexico. It’s all about being informed I guess.

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:

Read also Mexico travel tips

Is the Riviera Maya Safe to Travel? and is Cancun Safe?

If you are concerned, you must know that Cancun hotels have been the first to reopen after the lockdown and they are all using all the safety measures to keep you safe.

So is it safe to travel to Cancun right now? I consider traveling to Cancun right now quite safe.

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 a higher level of criminal activity had occurred in recent years and we can’t deny it. 

Okay, I got robbed in my home twice in 7 years but that 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 in 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.”

Cancun beach

Cancun is still a very touristy place, meaning that tourism is Cancun’s primary source of income and the Mexican authorities want to make sure that tourists 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 and I may be a little naive for saying this but sometimes bad things happen just because you are in the wrong place at the wrong time, but that’s really related to anywhere in the world. Think about that. I remember my aunty got robbed by a pick-pocketer in the heart of Milan, in plain light in a market full of people. Why her? because she was there at that moment when the robber decided to take action. Of course there are ways to reduce the risks and that’s what I am going to talk about in the next chapters of this post.

According to SEGOB and this site, in 2019, there has been a total of 15+M arrivals in Quintana Roo state only, 5,7% more than the previous year.

There are indeed less safe places in Mexico that I would rather avoid. I have been traveling around Mexico for one year alone, and I am continuing to do it avoiding certain specific states such as Tamaulipas, Colima, 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 with 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 when you have time. 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 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 necessarily 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.  

You may find my posts on how to stay safe while driving in Mexico and How not to get scammed when renting a car in Mexico very useful.

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. 

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Is it safe to travel to Mexico in 2021?

I have been traveling around Mexico in February 2021 as soon as the lockdown started to loosen up and museums and archeological sites have been slowly opening.

I have been to San Cristobal de las Casas, Queretaro, Valle de Bravo, and Mexico City and I realized it is possible to travel around Mexico in this time as long as you follow some rules and use your common sense.

Some people would argue it’s not ethical, but I believe there is a way to travel now, and yet you can protect yourself and others.

These are the safety tips and common sense rules I would follow:

  • use the mask when it’s required, for example when you are in a crowded place and inside shops
  • try to avoid crowded places
  • travel by car, when possible. You can get great deals with car rentals right now
  • avoid public transportation in cities, use uber or taxi.
  • avoid hostels, and rent a private hotel room or apartment where you can avoid contact with strangers as much as you can.
  • avoid partying (it seems obvious but it seems that in some places it is not, such as Tulum)
  • take good travel insurance that covers everything. Mexico’s medical assistance can be really expensive. I have Mexican insurance because I am a resident in Mexico so regular travel insurance wouldn’t cover me, but when I travel I use Safety Wings or World Nomads which I find the best ones with the widest coverage. You can also read my article on how it’s important to have travel insurance when you travel.

There are still other factors that need to be considered if you want to travel safely in Mexico and that’s why I recommend continuing to read this post.

sunset on rooftops

How to stay safe when traveling to 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.

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Avoid walking in the dark in isolated roads and on the beach

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 tequila and mezcal, you love it and you are enjoying your time with your friends drinking the night away. That’s ok 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 in your hotel or home

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

Walk with little cash

For the same reason as stated above it’s always safe to look low profile and avoid flaunting wealth. Also if something happens you have little to lose. But you will need to have some cash with you, so better be in pesos and not too much.

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 to provide basic medical care 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 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’s office, where for 60 pesos (3 dollars) you can have a visit. Sometimes they are good and prepared. Some of them 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.

Are vaccines necessary in Mexico?

There is no mandatory vaccine requirement here in Mexico, anywhere you go. Here is an interesting site where you can check for any country where a vaccine is required to enter. But if this is a concern for you, I suggest you should consult your doctor and decide accordingly. I believe you should do what makes you feel more comfortable for yourself.

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. Read more

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 deseases

Although I haven’t known anyone who got it in my 10 years of living here, 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 prevention. 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, refreshing and tempting 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, almost ever! 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 coast 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.  Read my guide on the Cancun Beaches to know more.

Is Mexico safe to visit for solo female travelers?

As a solo female traveler who lived 7 years in Cancun and 3 years on and off 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 maybe 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.

Read also: Afraid of traveling alone? You should be, and yet, you should travel regardless

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.

mexico city aerial view

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.

(VERY GROSS) 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.

grutas de tolantongo la gloria waterfall

Get a guide or join a tour if you want to go 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 city in the north of Mexico 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 were common and so I did.

Local people are very friendly and concerned about tourists’ 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 followed her suggestion and I took a taxi.

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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 am just saying it for the sake of information. Sometimes even the obvious is worth a reminder. If you decide to get drunk make sure you are with trustworthy friends, or avoid doing it at all.

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.

road to miguel colorado - driving in Mexico

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 in every big city 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.

I always prefer to get a UBER when available and when not, a taxi, to avoid being in close contact with people.

Is it safer to use Uber or a Taxi in Mexico

I always use Uber when available, and I prefer it and I find UBER drivers much nicer and more professional than taxi drivers, for some reasons. Also, in Uber, there are fixed rates that the app calculates so it’s impossible to get scammed while it happened that taxi drivers charge you more than they should, especially in touristy areas such as Cancun and Tulum. Not all of them of course.

Although UBER is 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, where I just waved them from the road, seeing that the taxi had a number and looked reliable.

In Quintana Roo State Uber is not available.

Is Tulum Mexico safe?

tulum beach on a sunny day and blue sky
Tulum beach

Tulum has recently been in the news quite too often and not for flattering reasons. However, expatriates returning tourists and digital nomads seem to have chosen this destination as their official cool place to be, regardless.

It’s one of the Mexican destinations where you see the highest number of maskless people, parties, and all sorts of gathering. You would think that’s a corner of paradise where everybody is safe, but nothing is further from the truth. Hospitals are crowded and people get sick. They just have a different way of dealing with it.

Crime-wise, I believe nowadays you should just be extra careful, following the tips I am sharing in this post, such as don’t walk alone on dark roads, watch your drink, don’t get drunk, and don’t flaunt your wealth, among others.

Although keep in mind that just because you are a foreigner vacationing in Tulum you are considered wealthy and therefore a target.

I wrote a lot about Tulum as it’s indeed a pretty Pueblo Magico, with a stunning beach and so much to see including Tulum Cenotes and archeological sites, great restaurants, and an interesting healthy-conscious community.

However, I reckon the energy has changed over the years and I am more drawn towards other kinds of places, such as El Cuyo in Yucatan or Todos Santos and La Paz in Baja California Sur, or Los Cabos.

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 United States, 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

Read more about safety in Mexico City

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 thefts 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 alone in phase 3 of Chapultepec park, and I was about to get attacked by a group of street 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 love to join organized tours when the guide explains about historical and cultural facts in a city and can give you insider tips on the culture and the best places to visit. It’s a way to support local businesses and, at the same time, get some information from an insider perspective.

Is Cozumel in Mexico 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.

caves with emerald green lake - stalactites and stalagmites
Cenote Suytun

Is Merida Mexico safe?

As I mentioned above, Yucatan is one of the safest places to travel in Mexico, and Merida, being its capital city is also a safe place to vacation and live. Keep in mind that summers are really hot though.

Also, you must know that Yucatan has been one of the Mexican States with the strictest and longest lockdown with strict police reinforcing it.

However, keep in mind that it’s still a big city and, as such, petty crime and thefts are more likely to happen there than in small Yucatan towns.

In any case, for as safe as a place can be, always always be sensitive and use the common sense rules I am writing about in this post. I will never get tired to stress that.

What are the safest places to visit in Mexico?

I wish I could give you a precise and definite answer, but as you may agree with me, it’s a difficult question, mainly because bad things can happen everywhere. However, there are regions that are considered safer than others, which doesn’t mean that’s absolutely sure that nothing bad happens.

Yucatan, is considered one of the safest places to visit in Mexico and I completely agree with that. I find the people in this state are the most genuine and kindest of all of Mexico. Despite being close to the greedy Cancun and the touristy Riviera Maya, Yucatan seems to have preserved the authentic Mexican spirit, kindness, and warm heart.

Having said that, if you follow the commonfis tul sense tips that I have just explained above in this post, there is a high chance you’ll be fine in the majority of the Mexican territory.

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.


sunset in Mexico City

Brad Schaaf

Sunday 22nd of August 2021

I'am planning to cross the border from El Paso into Juarez, overnight in Chihuahua then overnight in Durango towards my final destination of Guanajuato. Is this highway route safe right now?

Isabella

Monday 23rd of August 2021

Hello Brad, I am so sorry I cannot answer your question as I don't have any experience of crossing the northern border. However, I suggest you should check out the FB group Mexico on the road. You will get tons of up-to-date tips. Happy travels!:)

liz

Wednesday 14th of July 2021

Hi we always drive to San Luis potosi but we always cross through the state of Zacatecas. my concern is..... is it safe to travel by car right now? im just worried since we drive and take our children with us. we cross through piedras negras coahuila.

Isabella

Wednesday 14th of July 2021

Hello Liz, unfortunately, in that area I've only traveled by bus. I am not sure about the road safety over there. But if you look on Fb for Mexico on the Road group, and ask the question, they are very helpful. I hope it helps! Happy travels!

Haridas

Friday 2nd of July 2021

Can I walk across the border from Brownsville Texas into Matamoris? Are they issuing tourists cards at crossing in Matamoris?

Isabella

Friday 2nd of July 2021

Hello Haridas, I am sorry but I don't have this information. I am not familiar with the northern border. I am sure if you Google it you will find the information you are looking for. Best of luck!

Ray J

Wednesday 2nd of June 2021

One commenter said crimes happen in America but the difference is even though we are going through turbulent times right now pertaining to law enforcement, there is still some trust and less anxiety if u a victim of crime American or not, and. police here are different than in Mexico I think that's the difference. Trust in the police. And I'm sure it helps if u can speak and read Spanish fluently when visiting Mexico.

Isabella

Wednesday 2nd of June 2021

Hello Ray, thanks a lot for your comment. Safe travels!

Gabriel G

Monday 24th of May 2021

Hi Isabella. This was really interesting to me, the way you wrote is great and you have provided precised details to safely travel to Mexico. I enjoyed reading this and it was really good to see opinions and experiences from a foreigner here. I'm Mexican and I live in Mexico City, I haven't traveled around since pandemic began, however I do have friends who have gone to Los Cabos, Cancun and some other touristic places and they say almost the same as you did, taking the obvious cautions like face mask, social distancing and washing hands. I have friends also who work in the medical centers, they say the cases are effectively decreasing. Even when the vaccination is not fast as we would like to be, the vast majority of the people and touristic places are taking good methods to fully reopen to tourism. In terms of criminality, your advices are pretty good and match with the ones we, as Mexicans, are told. It is really a good advice to speak Spanish a bit =)

Isabella

Tuesday 25th of May 2021

Hello Gabriel, thank you so much for your nice comment. I really appreciate it.:)

Comments are closed.