If you want to travel to Mexico, Coronavirus may make you wonder: “Is it safe to travel to Mexico in these difficult times?” 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 but also following certain common-sense rules is always a good practice, regardless of any ongoing pandemics. Read on to discover what I am talking about.
TRAVELING TO MEXICO – CORONAVIRUS ALERT
MEXICO ENTRY REQUIREMENTS – COVID
To enter Mexico, no COVID test is required nor any other specific requirements are in place. You are just requested to wear a mask and respect the distance when needed. Other than that, usual immigration protocols apply according to country of origin.
As I am writing this in April 2021, COVID lockdown is loosening up in Mexico, hotels, and restaurants are starting to reopen, 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 governament has classified the lockdown measures, related to the COVID situation and amount of affected population into different group 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…
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 writing this post I am planning my trip to the North of Mexico for mid-February and I have been in touch with Airbnb homeowners and property managers for better and more realistic information on the situation.
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 am going to visit a very popular waterfall that has been forever on my bucket list, even if they are within a red zone. I will go because they are open and are taking the necessary measures to keep the guests safe. Also I will be using all the cautions, such as distance, mask and wash my hands.
Well, I tell you a secret, I used to wash my hands all the time even before COVID, and always traveled with wet wipes in my bag. That’s the most normal thing to do for me.
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 my humble opinion.
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, and COVID updates aside, continue to read to know about other important information on safety in Mexico, because unfortunately, COVID is not the only enemy here.
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 answers in this post.
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 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 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 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.
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
- Jalisco (Puerto Vallarta, Guadalajara)
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:
- Mexico City
- Quintana Roo (that is Cancun Riviera Maya, for those who are not familiar with Mexican geography)
How to protect yourself when you travel (solo or not)
No matter how safe you feel, I always recommend purchasing Travel Insurance when you travel. There are many reasons why travel insurance is definitely a smart idea. Even if you are the healthiest and careful person in the world, you never know what can happen when you are on the road. Even more, being far from family and friends, you need to make sure you are well looked after and protected. I used World Nomads for long or short terms, but I also recently discovered SafetyWing health and travel insurance, which is cheaper although with fewer inclusions. You must read well all the details of both and what’s included and not. I know it can sometimes be tricky to know how to choose the best travel insurance, so the first thing you should do is to dedicate some time to read carefully and compare. As for COVID inclusions, they both cover it, but some conditions apply. Check World Nomads FAQ and SafetyWing’s page to know more.
Read also Mexico travel tips
IS THE RIVIERA MAYA SAFE TO TRAVEL? AND IS CANCUN SAFE?
If you are concerned about the Coronavirus, 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. However, if your concerns are others then Covid, as it might be, read on.
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 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.
Now, having clarified this part, let’s look at the most important things that you should know…
IS IT SAFE TO TRAVEL TO MEXICO IN 2021?
I have been traveling around Mexico in February 2021 as soon as the lock down 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 the others. These are the 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 covid. 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.
- About the use of the mask, to be completely honest, I hate it and I don’t think it’s healthy, so I take it off when I am walking on an empty road or in the countryside. However, I respect other people’s fear and concern and I am wearing it all the time it’s requested in shops and closed public spaces or when you are in a crowded place. That’s how I see it at least. Some common sense it’s the best way to go all the time.
So, to reply to the initial question, it is safe to travel to Mexico in 2021 but make sure first to use some precautions about the covid situation as although more and more people are getting vaccinated the virus won’t disappear before the next couple of year so we need to learn and deal with it. Also remember that the virus is not the only danger.
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 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.
KEEP YOUR MONEY SAFE FROM PICKPOCKETERS
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…
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.
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.
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.
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 TO VISIT 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.
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 TULUM MEXICO SAFE?
Tulum has recently been in the news quite too often and not for flattering reasons. However, regular 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 covid hasn’t landed, 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 in 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.
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.
- San Rafael
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 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 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 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 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.
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 crime and petty 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 answer that with 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.
For further reading
- The 14 most beautiful Airbnb in Puerto Vallarta
- The Top 8 Restaurants in Sayulita
- How to visit Yelapa from Puerto Vallarta
- The best area to stay in Puerto Vallarta
- Vegetarian and Vegan Restaurants in Puerto Vallarta
- How to visit the beach of Quimixto
- Is Puerto Vallarta Safe? Find the answer here