Is it safe to travel to Mexico in 2023? If that question is on your mind, you’re not alone. The answer is yes, and in this post, I will explain how safe is Mexico and most of all where it is safer.
From my perspective, as someone who has spent the past 13 years in Mexico, I am going to say that it is relatively safe to travel to Mexico right now if you take your own precautions.
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 into detail on how to stay safe while traveling to Mexico and I will cover specific areas… Mexico is a huge country! 🙂
Mexico is one of the most popular and visited countries in the world, for its spectacular beach destinations, vibrant cultural heritage, delicious and unique food, and many incredible natural and cultural attractions.
Is It Safe To Travel To Mexico?: My Personal Experience
I have lived in Mexico for the past 12 years now and I confess I just can’t leave. I am under a sort of spell for this beautiful country.
I have lived in Cancun for 7 years and traveled all over Mexico for more than two years while for the remaining time I was traveling on and off Mexico and no matter how much I loved the places I was traveling to, I would always go back to my Mexico.
I have lived for a few months each, in Puerto Vallarta, Playa del Carmen, Tulum, and Baja California Sur, and visited all the Mexican major cities, including the vibrant capital Mexico City, and lesser-known and yet fascinating places off the beaten path.
From the majestic Copper Canyon to the most isolated Pueblos Magicos of Veracruz, even to places that according to the U.S. government are supposed to be extremely dangerous where you MUST “exercise extreme caution”, or so they say, I found myself very comfortable and absolutely safe to travel around as a female solo traveler.
And even if I have been almost everywhere in Mexico I still have a lot to discover and can’t wait to continue my exploration of this beautiful land with a profound cultural heritage and unimaginable natural wonders.
Unfortunately, too many times Mexico has been on the mainstream media only for violent crime episodes committed by drug cartels and various criminal organizations and those are for real. I can’t deny it.
However in Mexico’s defense, most of the time it’s drug-related violence, and if you stay away from that “drug trade” environment you, as a tourist in Mexico should not get affected.
Exercise caution, everywhere you go and follow the below recommendation, don’t be naive and get your
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, 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.
On top of that, and probably because of that, the Mexico travel advisories from the US and Canadian 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 to 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.
Are Resorts in Mexico Safe?
If we are talking about the resorts in the tourist area, they are completely safe both in terms of security and hygiene. They need to comply with the strict sanitization policies and they do.
So yes, you can rest assured that resorts in Mexico are safe. But please do not limit yourself to the walls of your beautiful hotel. Make sure you go out and explore this amazing country.
And if you don’t feel confident enough to explore on your own, just join one of the amazing tours available, either the ones suggested by me in my articles or by your hotel concierge. 🙂
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 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 how atrocious and real those facts are, 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. This 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 sections.
- 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, Guadalajara, 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 about 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 common sense rules, which I believe should apply to any state 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 areas that belong to this cluster are the following states:
- Mexico City
- Quintana Roo (that is Cancun and the Riviera Maya, for those who are not familiar with Mexican geography)
Read also Mexico travel tips
Is the Riviera Maya Safe to Travel to? Is Cancun 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 to?,” my answer would still be a YES! If you keep reading, I will explain why. Just make sure you don’t drink tap water in Cancun as much as anywhere else in Mexico.
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 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.
I bet the Mexican federal government is doing 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 naïve for saying this but sometimes bad things happen just because you are in the wrong place at the wrong time, but that’s really true anywhere in the world.
Think about that. I remember my aunty got robbed by a pick-pocket 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 sections 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 a few 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, and Colima, and I have never felt unsafe at all.
I visited Taxco, a beautiful Magic Town in Guerrero, and I felt as safe as in any other tourist 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 take advantage of them.
When you look for a trip to Mexico, you will receive thousands of all-inclusive package 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 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 any way because you will be picked up and carried around in safe hands and a protective cage, I don’t believe it is necessary if you like adventure and prefer to go on your own.
I always promote car rentals 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.
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 2023?
I have been back on the road and traveling around Mexico since February 2021, as soon as the lockdown started to loosen up and museums and archeological sites were 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 during this time as long as you follow some rules and use your common sense.
Since then, things have more or less returned to normal in Mexico, as they have in other parts of the world. You may still find some mask restrictions but otherwise, travel is open and ready to go as normal.
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
- and travel by car, when possible. You can get great deals with car rentals right now
- avoid public transportation in cities, and use uber (when available) or taxis.
- 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 insurancethat covers everything. Mexico’s medical assistance can be really expensive. I have Mexican insurance because I am a resident in Mexico so regular travel insurancewouldn’t cover me, but when I travel I use Safety Wings which I find the best one with the widest coverage. You can also read my article on how it’s important to have travel insurancewhen 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.
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. Unfortunately, sometimes when people travel, they tend to forget about them.
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 is 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 and a bathing suit?
Also, avoid flashing wads of cash. This is never convenient.
Avoid walking in the dark on 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 belongings unattended
Not only to avoid getting stolen but also to avoid somebody hiding 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
Sometimes when people wonder, “Is it safe to travel to Mexico?”, they’re not just talking about things like robberies but rather thinking of their health while traveling. Here are a few tips to keep in mind regarding health safety in 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 attendants so they won’t be able to suggest 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.
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
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
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.
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.
Tap water is not drinkable in Mexico, 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 your teeth, as I do, but it is advisable to still use bottled water as well…just in case.
Always be aware and considerate of the ocean when you think about taking a swim. Some beaches appear super calm and are, while others may have hidden rip tides.
In Cancun, for example, 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, DO NOT SWIM, please!
The yellow one warns you to be careful, and the green to go ahead. Always be careful, and when you see that you are not coming back to shore, start swimming sideways, and the current will take you to the beach. I have learned the lesson the hard way!
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?
“Is Mexico safe for travel?” tends to take on a new meaning when you’re a solo traveler (but the answer is still yes).
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 naïve.
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.
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 skills. You will be a pro at the end of your trip.
As I mentioned before, knowing some Mexican-Spanish vocabulary will certainly help to move around in Mexico.
Here are some useful words and Mexican phrases (even some a little rude expressions, 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.
FOR FURTHER READING
Don’t walk at night alone
This is a wise idea whether 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 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 suggested 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 having at least a basic knowledge of the language.
Needless to say, I followed 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 drink.
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.
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 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 an even 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, and are 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 but 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 buses 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, in the overhead compartment. This is always a NO-NO. Other than that, I have always found professional drivers even on cheap buses.
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 and maybe avoid taking busses and the 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. I prefer it and I find Uber drivers much nicer and more professional than taxi drivers, for some reason.
Also, in Uber, there are fixed rates that the app calculates so it’s impossible to get scammed while it happens 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 Cancun Uber is not available, just like in every city in Quintana Roo State.
Common Scams in Mexico
Part of staying safe in Mexico is being aware of common scams. Here are a few to be aware of.
As a general rule of thumb, only use ATMs inside official banks – and even then, be aware of your surroundings as you do so.
Avoid the ATMs randomly found on the street if at all possible. They not only make you an easy target for pick-pocketing but occasionally they are “fake” or have been updated to pull your card info for someone to steal.
When dining at a restaurant, especially in tourist cities, always take a minute to ensure that you receive the correct change back – and that the bill itself is correct.
It’s not unheard of for restaurants to add extra charges or hand back the wrong change. Sometimes it’s a simple error of adding an extra beer and sometimes it can double the bill.
Always, always, always confirm the price of a taxi before you get in. And be sure to only use the official marked taxis, unless you’re using Uber.
It’s very common for airport taxis, especially in Mexico City, to try to charge a higher rate than you should be paying. So just be aware of what the rate should be and confirm before getting in.
Bird poop scam
This one is a bit strange and luckily, has never happened to me but…
A common way for thieves to distract you is to hit you with bird poop or a similar substance (that you think is something gross like bird poop) and then offer to help you clean it off.
Of course, what they actually do is snatch whatever they can from your pockets and purses in the process.
One way to help mitigate any risk when traveling to Mexico is to purchase
Travel insurance is essential for any trip, especially Mexico. Make sure to get one that covers both incidentals like losing your luggage AND medical coverage.
If something does go wrong on your trip, knowing that you have
Is Tulum Mexico Safe?
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 parties and all sorts of gatherings. You would think that’s a corner of paradise where everybody is safe, but nothing is further from the truth.
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.
However, keep in mind that just because you are a foreigner vacationing in Tulum you are considered wealthy and 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.
Is Mexico City Safe?
With 8.855 million inhabitants, 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.
- San Rafael
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 rules and safety tips:
Be concerned about petty thefts and scams
- Pickpocketers are quite common, so pay more attention in crowded areas such as the 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 in your hotel, or within a bank. Stay away from random ATM or those located on isolated roads.
- Avoid wearing shining items, or precious jewelry, or showing off expensive accessories, such as watches, iPhones, MacBooks, Ipads.
Is kidnapping and mugging in Mexico City a threat?
Well, kidnapping in Mexico City happens, 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 in Mexico City, 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 keep that in mind.
I love to travel by myself, but I love to join organized tours where the guide explains 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?
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 to explore because it’s a spectacular destination with lots to offer.
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.
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 of stressing that.
What are the safest places to visit in Mexico?
I wish I could give you a precise and definite answer, but 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 common 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.