safe traveling in mexico

Traveling to Mexico?

Mexican travel safety has been in the news, making some travelers wonder, “Is it safe to travel to Mexico?” safe traveling in mexico

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Regardless of what you may have read in the headlines, incidents in Mexico involving tourists are extremely few and far-between.

“There has been a little misinformation ,” said Ana Sofia Lanczyner, Midwest director of the Mexico Tourism Board.


The State Department has a long list of travel advisories and cautions for Mexico, and while most resort areas are explicitly noted as safe, Mexico is not a country made for carefree wandering. It’s best to stick to the safe areas for the time being.

SAFE PLACES TO TRAVEL IN MEXICO safe traveling in mexico

In the August 2018 update to travel advisories for Mexico, the State Department actually gave Mexico level-two (exercise increased caution) status – the same status as Italy, France, the United Kingdom, and Germany.

Specifically, most Mexican states and many of the most popular resort areas – like Mexico City, Cancun, Cozumel, Playa del Carmen, Tulum, Chichen Itza, and the Riviera Maya – are at level two.

In addition, the State Department does not limit travel for U.S. government employees to these Mexican vacation destinations with level-three (reconsider travel) status:

  • Guadalajara
  • Puerto Vallarta
  • Riviera Nayarit
  • Nuevo Vallarta
  • Bahia de Banderas
  • Santa Maria del Oro
  • Xalisco






Statistically speaking, Merida is the safest city in Mexico (safest in Latin America) and the state of Yucatan is also the overall safest state to live in Mexico. As far as the other cities highlighted on our list, we find they all are safe, especially when employing some basic common sense.


According to a U.S. State Department official speaking on background, the main reasons behind the travel advisories are:

  • An increase in homicides, mostly gang- and cartel-related killings
  • Limited police presence and poor emergency response outside of major cities
  • Drug and human trafficking activity in some level-three or level-four (do not travel) states
  • Roadblocks on highways in level-three or level-four states set up by criminal groups looking to kidnap bus passengers and hold them for ransom

Do Not Travel To, U.S. State Department recommend:

  • 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.

In addition, the State Department reminds travelers to:

  • Pack lightly and bring appropriate clothing.
  • Be aware of the effects of:

–  Different food
–  A new climate
–  More strenuous physical activity
–  Changes in routine and schedule  

None of these activities specifically target tourists, and as Lanczyner, director of Mexico Tourism Board, said, “I would cordially invite anyone to do the math. Almost 40 million international visitors come to Mexico each year, and we have only had a handful of incidents. That’s a pretty good ratio.”   

Still, Lanczyner said, “we take every single case very seriously.” You should too – and that means covering your trip with travel insurance.

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MEXICO SAFE TRAVEL TIPS safe traveling in mexico

Don’t walk alone at night

Don’t walk the streets alone late at night. “I live in Puerto Vallarta, and there are some neighborhoods that I wouldn’t visit at four in the morning,” Biswell, Journey Mexico director added. “But I wouldn’t go to most neighborhoods in major US cities at four in the morning, either.”

Leave the bling home

Flashy jewelry attracts the wrong kind of attention.

Trust your instincts

Never take your eyes off your personal belongings. If a situation or place makes you nervous, exit the stage right by the safest means possible. Use common sense.

Don’t be a hero

Don’t resist if somebody tries to rob you; hand over what they’re asking for. This is no time to play the hero.

Be on guard for pickpockets

Watch out for pickpockets if you’re taking public transport. Split up your money and valuables, minimize your cash on hand, and keep copies of important documents in a safe place at your hotel.

Use authorized taxis

Take only authorized taxis – “Taxis Autorisados.” They cost more, but their registered numbers can be traced. Don’t get antsy and opt for an unauthorized taxi. You may get taken for a ride – literally. 

Bring a map

When driving to a destination, Lenczyner recommends that you “make sure you have a map – and make sure you’ll have cell service throughout .”

Be beach- and water-smart too

Not all beaches have signs clearly stating the dangers of strong currents, riptides, and heavy waves. Get the scoop on water safety in Mexico from your travel professional or tour guide, the local tourism board, or online resources.

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