Is it Safe to Travel to Mexico? (Tips and Safe Destination Suggestions)

Colorful flags against a blue sky in Todos Santos, Mexico

You might be wondering, is it safe to travel to Mexico? With its stunning landscapes, rich culture, and vibrant cities, Mexico is a top destination for travelers from the USA. However, safety concerns often come up when planning a trip south of the border. In this blog post, we’ll address these concerns, highlight the safest places to visit in Mexico, discuss areas to avoid, and explore the safety of popular destinations like Cancun. By the end, you’ll have a clear understanding of how to enjoy your Mexican adventure safely.

Is it safe to travel to Mexico?

When considering a trip to Mexico, safety should be a top priority. While Mexico has faced issues with crime, many areas remain safe for tourists. According to the U.S. Department of State, it's essential to stay informed and be aware of your surroundings.

Many travelers have had safe, enjoyable trips to Mexico by taking simple precautions. Avoiding risky areas, staying in well-populated tourist zones, and following local advice can make a significant difference. Research is key—knowing what to expect and preparing accordingly ensures a safer experience.

Recent statistics show that millions of visitors travel to Mexico each year without incident. With common sense and some basic travel tips, you can be among those who enjoy a hassle-free vacation.

Sara and Kramer walking through San Miguel de Allende, Mexico early in the morning
Sara and Kramer walking through San Miguel de Allende, Mexico early in the morning

What are the safest places to travel to in Mexico?

While there are lots of safe places to travel to in Mexico, these are our top picks for first time visitors. Keep in mind that just like every country around the world, every city has its safe and unsafe areas, so be sure to talk to locals (hotel concierges are a great place to ask!) about what neighborhoods should be avoided.

Playa del Carmen

Playa del Carmen is a popular destination known for its beautiful beaches, lively atmosphere, and relative safety for tourists. Located in the Riviera Maya, this coastal town offers a mix of relaxation and adventure, with activities ranging from snorkeling and diving to exploring ancient Mayan ruins. The town's bustling Quinta Avenida (Fifth Avenue) is lined with shops, restaurants, and bars, providing a vibrant setting for both day and night-time activities. By sticking to well-traveled areas and following local advice, visitors can enjoy a safe and memorable experience in Playa del Carmen.

San Miguel de Allende

San Miguel de Allende, nestled in the central highlands, is celebrated for its well-preserved colonial architecture, charming cobblestone streets, and vibrant arts scene. This UNESCO World Heritage site offers a unique blend of history and modernity, making it a captivating destination for visitors. Known for its safety and tranquil atmosphere, San Miguel de Allende is a haven for those seeking a peaceful retreat. The city's iconic Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel, with its towering pink spires, provides a stunning backdrop for the daily rhythms of local life. Visitors can explore artisanal shops, dine at exquisite restaurants, and partake in various cultural events throughout the year. With its welcoming community and rich cultural tapestry, San Miguel de Allende promises an enchanting and safe experience for all.


Mérida, the vibrant capital of the Yucatan Peninsula, is renowned for its rich Mayan and colonial heritage. Visitors can immerse themselves in the city's deep history by exploring its well-preserved architecture, majestic cathedrals, and bustling plazas. Known for being one of the safest cities in Mexico, Mérida offers a welcoming environment for tourists. The city's lively markets, such as Mercado Lucas de Galvez, provide an authentic taste of local culture and cuisine. Additionally, Mérida's proximity to ancient ruins like Chichen Itza and natural wonders like Mexico's famous cenotes makes it an ideal base for excursions into the fascinating Yucatan landscape. With its blend of cultural attractions and friendly atmosphere, Mérida promises a memorable and secure travel experience.

Puerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta is another safe haven for tourists looking to enjoy Mexico's stunning Pacific Coast. Famous for its breathtaking beaches, vibrant nightlife, and rich cultural experiences, the city provides a perfect blend of relaxation and adventure. The Malecon boardwalk, with its public art, shops, and dining options, is a popular and secure area for visitors to explore. Enhanced security measures and friendly locals contribute to a welcoming environment, making Puerto Vallarta a favored destination for travelers seeking both safety and excitement.

La Paz

La Paz, located in Baja California Sur, is a coastal gem known for its tranquil ambiance and breathtaking natural beauty. As the capital city of the state, La Paz boasts a reputation for safety and hospitality that appeals to travelers. The city's Malecon, a waterfront promenade, is perfect for leisurely strolls with views of the stunning Sea of Cortez. Outdoor enthusiasts will find plenty to do, from snorkeling and diving in clear waters to exploring nearby islands with abundant marine life. A visit to La PAz isn't complete without a trip to the world famous Playa Balandra just a short drive from town. La Paz is not just about picturesque landscapes; it also offers cultural richness with its vibrant art scene, local festivals, and delicious regional cuisine. The blend of safety, serenity, and authentic Mexican culture makes La Paz a must-visit destination on your Baja itinerary.


Oaxaca, a city revered for its rich cultural heritage and culinary excellence, stands as one of Mexico's safest and most captivating destinations. Nestled in the mountains of southwestern Mexico, Oaxaca is home to an array of historical sites, vibrant markets, and festivals that celebrate its indigenous traditions. Visitors can explore the ancient Zapotec ruins of Monte Albán, stroll through the bustling Mercado Benito Juárez, and savour the region's famous mole sauces and mezcal. The city's charming colonial architecture, colorful streets, and welcoming locals add to its allure. Oaxaca's combination of safety, culture, and gastronomy provides travelers with an enchanting and secure experience.

Mexico City

Mexico City, the capital of Mexico, offers a dynamic blend of history, culture, delicious food, and modernity. While the city is vast and diverse, certain neighborhoods are renowned for their safety and vibrant atmosphere. Areas such as Condesa and Roma Norte are particularly popular among tourists due to their tree-lined streets, trendy cafes, and boutique shops. These neighborhoods boast a strong sense of community and are well-patrolled, making them some of the safest places for visitors to explore. Staying in well-traveled and reputable districts can greatly enhance a tourist's experience, ensuring both comfort and security while enjoying the myriad attractions Mexico City has to offer.

What parts of Mexico Should I Avoid?

Like any country, Mexico has certain areas tourists should avoid. Here are a few tips for where not to visit when traveling to Mexico.

Border areas

While some border cities are safe, others have higher crime rates. For instance, cities like Tijuana and Ciudad Juarez are known for drug-related violence. It’s best to avoid these areas, especially at night. If you must cross the border, choose a well-traveled port of entry and stick to popular tourist areas.

Certain neighborhoods in large cities

In major cities like Mexico City and Guadalajara, specific neighborhoods can be more dangerous. Researching and avoiding these areas is crucial. Stick to well-known tourist zones, where security measures are generally better.

Rural areas

Remote rural areas can be risky due to limited police presence and potential for crime. That being said, we've traveled extensively through rural Mexico while driving the Pan American Highway and we've never had any sketchy experiences. However, if you are not familiar with traveling in Mexico and you would like to visit rural regions, go with a reputable tour company and stay in group settings. Always inform someone of your travel plans.

La Paz, Mexico
La Paz, Mexico

Is it safe to travel to Cancun?

Cancun is one of Mexico’s most famous tourist destinations, renowned for its stunning beaches and all-inclusive resorts. Generally, Cancun is considered safe for tourists, but there are a few things to keep in mind.

Tourist areas

The hotel zone in Cancun is heavily policed and designed for safety. Resorts have security measures in place, ensuring that guests can relax and enjoy their stay. Tourist areas are well-lit, and police patrols are common.

Avoiding risks

While in Cancun, avoid venturing into non-tourist areas, especially at night. Stick to the beach, resort, and main tourist attractions. Using hotel transportation rather than hailing taxis on the street adds an extra layer of security.

Local advice

Listening to local advice is invaluable. Hotel staff and tour guides can provide up-to-date information on safe areas and any potential risks. Engaging with the local community respectfully also contributes to a safer experience.

Guanajuato, Mexico in the evening

Practical tips for safe travel in Mexico

Don't travel at night

Traveling at night in Mexico is generally not recommended due to safety concerns. By avoiding nighttime travel, you can significantly decrease your chances of encountering unsafe situations. The lack of daylight can make it easier for illicit activities to go unnoticed, and the limited visibility may impair your ability to navigate unfamiliar areas safely. If you must go out at night, it's crucial to use reputable transportation options such as Ubers or official taxis. These services offer more reliable and secure means of getting from place to place compared to hailing a random taxi on the street. By planning your outings during the day and utilizing secure transportation methods when necessary, you can ensure a safer and more enjoyable travel experience in Mexico.

Stay informed

Before traveling, check travel advisories and local news. Staying updated on current events helps you make informed decisions. The U.S. Department of State website is a reliable source for travel warnings and safety tips.

Use reputable services

Choose reputable hotels, tour operators, and transportation services. Well-reviewed businesses are more likely to adhere to safety standards. Reading reviews and getting recommendations can guide you to trustworthy options.

Keep valuables secure

Keeping your valuables secure reduces the risk of theft. Use hotel safes for passports, money, and important documents. Avoid displaying expensive items and keep your belongings close, especially in crowded places. For us this looks like being discreet with our camera gear and not wearing expensive jewelry.

Final thoughts

In conclusion, Mexico offers incredible travel experiences, and with the right precautions, you can enjoy a safe and memorable trip. By choosing safe destinations, avoiding high-risk areas, and staying informed, you enhance your travel safety. Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Merida, and Puerto Vallarta are excellent choices for worry-free vacations.

Ready to explore Mexico safely? Start planning your trip with these tips in mind, and consider booking a consultation with a travel expert to tailor your itinerary. Safe travels!

Like this post? Checkout some of our other Mexico travel guides.

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Hi! We're Chris and Sara a husband and wife video making, storytelling, travel loving duo with a passion for sharing travel tips, tricks, and inspiration with others.
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