Is Mexico City Safe? While Mexico City is slowly becoming a top destination amongst travelers if you tell your friends or family that you’re going to Mexico City, the first thing most people will ask “Is Mexico City Safe?.”
Contrary to popular belief, Mexico City is not a dangerous place to visit for your next vacation. As with any other major city there are spots you should probably avoid, especially as a tourist and if your Spanish is limited,
Touristy areas like Condesa, Roma, and the historic center are mostly except for the occasional petty theft.
There are spots in Mexico City you should probably stay away from especially as a tourist or first time viitor to Mexico.
The two main neighborhoods to avoid are Tepito and Iztapalapa but again the neigborhooods of Condesa, Roma, and the historic center are the safestest areas in Mexico City.
The U.S State Department has released a Level 4 “do not travel” warning on five Mexican states, and the entire country has a Level 2 Travel warning which means “exercise increased caution.”
Even so, the country still exerts a magnetic pull on travelers, particularly those from the United States.
While many head to Cabo San Lucas, Cancun, Riviera Maya and Tulum, the nation’s capital — Mexico City still has unwarranted fear from many U.S. travelers.
I receive many emails asking is Mexico safe and specifically is Mexico City safe and the answer is yes — for the most part.
Over the past few decades, Mexico City has made headlines for crime and violence, but you shouldn’t allow the media’s over exaggeration of crime in Mexico City to overshadow the cultural, historical experiences and the local cuisine that Mexico City has to offer travelers.
Safety is something you consider whether you are traveling Mexico City or the Amalfi Coast – despite what reported in the media, thousands of people travel there trouble-free.
Here’s what you need to know when planning a trip to Mexico City.
- Street safety
- Scams in Mexico
- Drug cartel
- Nightlife safety
- Transport crime
- Women’s safety
- Water safety
- Travel health
Which Mexico City neighborhoods are safe?
The neighborhoods of Roma, Juarez, Polanco, San Rafael, and Condesa are what I consider safe zones. These spots are well-traveled and safe day or night.
The safety of Mexico City’s Centro Historico (Historic Downtown) is widely debated. Most sources advise staying away from Centro after dark, especially alleyways and the neighborhoods of Merced and Tepito.
The neighborhoods of Centro and Bella Artes are welcoming of tourist and are considered safe, but I suggest if you are hanging out after dark to take precautions are be aware of your surroundings.
Tourist attractions like Plaza de Las Tres Culturas and the canals of Xochimilco are safe during the day but should not be explored at night.
- 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.
UPDATE.- August 15, 2019:
“There are no restrictions on U.S. government employees for travel in Quintana Roo state, which includes tourist areas such as: Cancun, Cozumel, Playa del Carmen, Tulum, and the Riviera Maya.”
This Mexico City travel guide is to help you navigate through Mexico City, advise you on what both the U.S. Government and Mexican Government is saying about whether Mexico is safe and how to stay safe in Mexico City in 2020.
Mexico City Travel Advisory Levels
Will you really be kidnapped in Mexico City?
In very rare occurances Mexico City sometimes experience kidnappings. While it is very rare you should arm yourself with the right information so you will stay safe in Mexico City.
- Kidnappings in Mexico City occur based on perceived vulnerability, but foreigners are rarely targeted.
- In a popular scam, some visitors receive calls or emails saying that their travel companion has been kidnapped. Just hang up, and report the call to local police.
- Do not provide personal information (i.e., phone number, hotel location, email address) to anyone outside of your party, even to shopkeepers or public surveys.
- Express kidnappings are a form of mugging when a taxi driver temporarily abducts their passenger and forces them to withdraw all their money from an ATM.
- These unfortunate incidents can easily be avoided by ordering an Uber, which are very affordable in Mexico City.
I know for a fact Mexico City takes safety seriously—the city has an incredibly high police-to-civilian ratio and over 11,000 security cameras around the city itself so yea, you are safe in Mexico City.
Safety on public transport in Mexico City
If you are worried about your safety on Mexico City’s myriad public transport rest assured the public transportation is relatively safe.
The bus routes which circulate through Mexico City’s most tourist-friendly zones are the safest so you don’t have anything to worry about on Mexico City’s public transportation.
In order to stay safe on public transport in Mexico City, the best thing to do is use the same common sense you’d use anywhere else.
Keep your jewelry to a minimum, don’t take out your valuables unless you really need to, and keep your backpack and purse zipped at all times.
Safety in taxis and private cars in Mexico City
If the idea of taking a taxi in Mexico City scares the hell out of you it’s probably because you watched to many movies about express kidnappings.
The likelihood that you will fall victim to an express kidnapping and you are whisked off and forced to withdraw all your money are slim to none.
To stay safe when using taxis and private cars in Mexico City you must follow a few rules. When looking for a taxi I suggest finding a taxi stand vs. flagging a taxi on the street.
Official taxi and drivers should have white license plates and their laminated license card displayed on the window.
However, if you’re nervous about using a taxi after dark because you’re alone or you don’t speak Spanish, just stick to ride-share apps like Uber.
Safety on the Streets In Mexico City
When you’re exploring Mexico City and snapping Instagram worthy photos of the street murals it’s very easy to let your guard down so stay alert of your surroundings.
While you may be in awe of the architecture and fascinated by the popular tourist neighborhoods like Roma, Condesa, the historic center, and Coyoacán you must still be aware of those around you.
I suggest not wandering down sketchy looking alleyways, keep your bags zipped and locked, do not lay your electronics down.
Always look both ways when crossing the street to avoid being mown down by an errant pesero bus.
Is Mexico City safe for solo female travelers?
While most locals are friendly, there are some who still uphold the machismo attitude towards women.
Solo women travelers may experience harassment as a result. Dressing modestly and low key (especially in rural locations) which can help avoid unwanted attention.
Ask locals where are safe places to go when in town and if you’re unsure about exploring by yourself, take a tour. It’s a great way to meet other fellow travelers.
Food and water safety In Mexico City
Most definitions of safety omit food (and drink) safety. However, this isn’t something to be ignored in a city that’s renowned for its dining and street food scenes.
First and foremost, look for busy street food vendors. If it’s popular, there’s a reason and look for meats that are cooked fresh (rather than piled up waiting to be served) and watch to make sure vendors regularly wash their hands to prevent cross contamination of food.
When drinking, make sure beer bottles are opened in front of you and, I can’t stress this enough, DO NOT drink Mexico City’s tap water.
Tips for keeping yourself safe in Mexico City
As I stated above you must use common sense when traveling whether it’s to Mexico City, Italy, Costa Rica, or Belize.
My biggest piece of advice is to learn some Spanish so you will be able to communicate understand simple phrases.
Not only will this help you if you get pickpocketed but it will also help you move with a little more confidence throughout Mexico City.
What if you are robbed or mugged?
If you are mugged, pickpocketed, express kidnapped please do not panic. Keep calm which I know is easier said than done.
Whatever you do, do not fight back just give them your cash or phone then call the police. Once you have contacted the police then you can cancel your credit cards and call your insurance company.
If they took your passport, contact the embassy and they should be able to assist you with getting back home.
Is Mexico City safe?
I would like to tell you Mexico City is 100% safe but unfortunately there is crime no matter the destination.
Whenever I hear anyone say a particular destination is completely safe I’m little skeptical because anyone that gives a blanket statement like that is a complete lie because there is crime everywhere.
With that being said my answer is yes “Mexico City is safe” if you take reasonable precautions to keep yourself safe, like leaving expensive jewelry at home, not flashing money around and leaving those expensive electronics in your hotel room.
Safety tips for traveling to Mexico City
No matter the destination it is a good idea to always follow these basic travel safety tips. Follow these tips while traveling to Mexico City:
- Steer clear of spots with a bad reputation, known gang activity or place that give you bad vibes. Stick to well-traveled places.
- Check in with friends and family back home as often as you can. Make sure someone knows where you’re at and when you expect to check in next.
- Be aware of your surroundings. This is a good rule of thumb in general, but it’s especially important when traveling alone.
- Don’t drink too much. Make sure you know your limits. Don’t put yourself in a vulnerable position.
- Only use ATM machines that are found at reputable local banks or those at your resort.
- Do not wear expensive jewelry or watches that might attract unwanted attention.
- Avoid taking excessive amounts of cash out and about with you.
- Use the Orbitz Visa credit card because it does not charge international fees so you will not have to walk around with cash.
Stick together with your travel companions rather than splitting up, especially when out at late at night. If you plan to drive, make it a point to travel during daylight hours.
Choosing to take a taxi at night is always a great idea, just to be on the safe side and know which areas to avoid in Mexico City.
Safest Areas For Tourist In Mexico City
If you do not go to crime ridden areas in your own city do not go into crime ridden areas when you travel. While the crime rate is increasing in Mexico so is the crime rate in the United States and you haven’t stopped going to the grocery store have you?
The Mexican government wants to keep tourist safe by providing extra security in touristy areas to ensure travelers are safe so there is no need for you to ask if the Mexico City Travel Advisory really necessary.
Below are some of the safer areas in Mexico City:
- Roma: Young and hipster-fabulous – Hipsters rejoice—Roma is also home to a third-wave coffee scene so for some authentic Mexican coffee check out Buna for an *delicious* cup of coffee).
- Condesa: Chill and authentic – Roma and Condesa are sister neighborhoods with a shared history, and their proximity puts them high on the list of places to visit in Mexico City.
- Polanco: Sleek and fun . – Polanco is filled with high-end shopping, fancy cocktail bars, and some of the world’s best restaurants. If you’re wondering where to eat in Mexico City, you might want to start in Polanco.
- Coyoacan: Artsy yet traditional – It has a lot of the same attributes that make Roma and Condesa sparkle, but since it’s a bit further away it has a quieter, chiller vibe.
- Centro Historico: Glamorous and historical –Among the best things to see in this neighborhood are Palacio Nacional, where the president works, Zocalo Square, where all big national events or holidays are celebrated, Catedral Metropolitana, the city’s enormous historic cathedral, and the ruins of the ancient Aztec city of Tenochtitlan.
Areas to avoid in Mexico City
Now that we have discussed the safest areas in Mexico City for tourist here are a list of areas you should avoid when traveling to Mexico City or at a minimum be mindful of your surroundings:
- Tepito – Tepito, essentially the black market of Mexico City, is one of those places that has a dicey reputation for a reason. Situated just off the Centro Histórico, it’s most well-known for its vast tianguis (street markets). But if you’re looking for a bargain, go somewhere else – most goods in Tepito are low quality Chinese products or stolen.
- Ciudad Neza – Ciudad Nezahualcóyotl (more commonly referred to as Ciudad Neza), a vast urban sprawl that’s technically within the Mexico City metropolitan zone, is another area that isn’t worth visiting if you value your safety.
- Tlalpan, Xochimilco and Tlatelolco – I’ve included these three under one entry as after dark they all become pretty dangerous and should be avoided.
Colonia Del Valle – Colonia del Valle is the zone has the highest rate of kidnappings in Mexico City but the kidnappings are more of a danger for locals than tourist.
U.S Embassy Contact Information
ASSISTANCE FOR U.S. CITIZENS
Mexico, D.F., Mexico C.P.
IF YOU DECIDE TO TRAVEL TO ANY PART OF MEXICO PLEASE FOLLOW THE RULES BELOW:
- Use toll roads when possible and avoid driving alone or at night. In many states, police presence and emergency services are extremely limited outside the state capital or major cities.
- Exercise increased caution when visiting local bars, nightclubs, and casinos.
- Do not display signs of wealth, such as wearing expensive watches or jewelry.
- Be extra vigilant when visiting banks or ATMs.
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
- Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter.
- Review the Crime and Safety Reports for Mexico.
U.S. citizens who travel abroad should always have a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist.
Safest Hotels In Mexico City
TOP THINGS TO DO IN MEXICO CITY
- – Museo Nacional de Antropología
- – Basílica de Santa María de Guadalupe
- – Palacio de Bellas Artes
- – Templo Mayor
- – Teotihuacán
- – Zócalo (Plaza de la Constitucion)
- – Bosque de Chapultepec
- – Catedral Metropolitana
Best Time To Travel to Mexico City
Because Mexico is a big country deciding when and where to travel totally depends on the weather and which area you are visiting.
Southern part Mexico has a rainy season which generally starts in May until October. Not to worry it only rains for a short period of time and sun will come right back out.
If you want to travel in the cooler season book your trip from December to February when it is cooler.
I suggest traveling to Mexico is between December and April when the temperatures are more comfortable and the humidity is not at all an all-time high.
Mexico City Travel Insurance
I can’t say this enough but please get insurance when traveling to Mexico! Even if you are only going on a short trip, you should always travel with insurance.
Have fun while visiting Mexico, but take it from someone who has racked up thousands of bucks on an insurance claim before, you need it.
Make sure to get your insurance before you head off on an adventure! I highly recommend Travelex Insurance.
The Conclusion – Is Mexico City Safe
Yes, Mexico City is safe!
There is no doubt that there has been horrible violence in Mexico due to drug wars between warring factions but that violence has, for the most part, are in isolated areas.
Of course there are certain areas to avoid in Mexico City but it is no different than you being in your own home town where crime is restricted to certain areas.
At the end of the day, Mexico City — particularly the parts of town where tourists go — simply doesn’t merit the fear that many travelers have. In fact, the data show that Mexico City is safer than many major tourist destinations in the U.S.
When you add an exchange rate that’s friendly to foreign visitors, cheap flights from most major U.S. cities, cultural destinations and the yummy street food that rivals some of the best cuisines of the world, you’d be missing out big time if you passed over a visit to Mexico City.
If you don’t go looking for trouble you won’t find trouble. I will say it again that many popular European destinations fall under the same travel warning but they do not have the same stigma that Mexico has when it comes to crime.
DO NOT allow the U.S. media to shape your thoughts and views of Mexico City because they are not only misleading but wrong!
If you are not asking is Rome safe you should not in my opinion be asking is Mexico City safe.
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ADDITIONAL ARTICLES FOR EXPLORING MEXICO
Have you allowed the Mexico City travel advisory to affect your travel decisions and are you still wondering about the Mexico City Travel Warning and is Mexico City safe? Are you traveling to Mexico City this Summer?
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