Is it safe to travel to Mexico? This is the million-dollar question that thousands of travelers are asking as they prepare to descend upon Mexico for their spring and summer vacations.
For years I wouldn’t travel to Mexico because the U.S. media painted this horrific picture of Mexico and I was always wondering is it safe to travel to Mexico right now.
I believed Mexico was dangerous, I would be killed, Mexico wasn’t safe or I would be kidnapped and held for ransom by the cartel because of the Mexico travel warning issued by the U.S. Government.
Since Tulum is the new hot spot everyone is asking how safe is Tulum, Mexico because of the recent Mexico travel warnings.
While Mexico does suffer from high crime and homicide rates like many other countries — I personally believe Mexico is extremely safe, even for families and women traveling solo.
I am here to help you understand the dos and don’ts of staying safe in Mexico and hopefully after reading this article you will no longer be asking “Is it safe to travel to Mexico?”
When my readers ask me is Mexico safe, my response is a resounding yes!
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Mexico travel restrictions:
Effective January 26, the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will require all air passengers entering the United States (including U.S. citizens and Legal Permanent Residents) to present a negative COVID-19 test.
The test has to be taken within three calendar days of departure or proof of recovery from the virus within the last 90 days.
Airlines must confirm the negative test result or proof of recovery for all passengers two years of age and over prior to boarding. Airlines must deny boarding of passengers who do not provide documentation of a negative test or recovery
Please see CDC’s FAQ for answers to questions about the new requirement for proof of negative COVID-19 test or recovery from COVID-19 for all air passengers arriving in the United States.
Key Information for Travelers to Mexico
- Travel increases your chances of getting and spreading COVID-19. CDC recommends that you do not travel at this time.
- Travelers should avoid all travel to Mexico.
- If you must travel:
- Before you travel, get tested with a viral test 1–3 days before your trip.
- Do NOT travel if you were exposed to COVID-19, you are sick, or you test positive for COVID-19. Learn when it is safe for you to travel. Don’t travel with someone who is sick.
- Follow all entry requirements for your destination and provide any required or requested health information.
- If you do not follow your destination’s requirements, you may be denied entry and required to return to the United States.
- During travel, wear a mask, avoid crowds, stay at least 6 feet from people who are not traveling with you, wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer, and watch for symptoms.
- Before traveling back to the United States by air, get tested with a viral test no more than 3 days before your flight departs. The test result must be negative. Keep a copy of your test results with you during travel in case you are asked for them.
- Frequently Asked Questions for more information about this requirement. Follow all destination and airline recommendations or requirements.
- After you travel, get tested 3–5 days after travel AND stay home to self-quarantine for 7 days after travel. If you don’t get tested, it’s safest to stay home to self-quarantine for 10 days.
- Before you travel, get tested with a viral test 1–3 days before your trip.
Mexico Travel Warning
Safety is something you should be concerned about no matter the destination. Despite what the media is reporting, thousands of people travel to Mexico without anything bad happening to them annually.
This Mexico safety guide will answer all of the following questions so you will plan your vacation accordingly:
- Is it safe to travel to Mexico in 2021
- Is Mexico City safe
- Is Cancun safe
- Is Los Cabos safe
- How safe is Tulum, Mexico
- Scams in Mexico
- Nightlife safety
- Transportation safety
- Women’s safety & Solo Travel
- Safety at Mexico Beaches
Again, for the latest travel warnings and alerts make sure you are receiving accurate information by going directly to the U.S Department of State website to find the latest and up-to-date Information regarding Mexico Travel Warnings.
Is It Safe To Travel To Mexico In 2021
The current U.S. political climate toward Mexico has caused both warranted and unwarranted safety and security concerns from U.S. tourists after the dismantling of the National Mexican tourism board in May of 2019.
In 2020 Mexico had the highest number of homicides in the country’s history, there were 17,439 murders, a 1.7% increase but most of the deaths in Mexico are due to fighting between cartels and if you are not part of the cartel then you are probably safe.
While these are isolated incidents I believe for the most part Mexico is safe but you must also use common sense when traveling not only to Mexico but to any foreign country.
If you ask yourself these simple questions before you arrive at your destination chances are you will not have any issues no matter the destination:
- How are you going to get from the airport to your resort?
- When you check into your hotel, did you lock your door and use the top lock?
- Do you have the number of the embassy?
- Have you filled out a form for the Department of State so they know why you are traveling?
- Have you notified family and friends of where you are going and what you will be doing?
Is Mexico Safe – Fact vs. Fiction
The American media wants you, and everyone else to believe that Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, and other countries where the majority of the population are black and brown people are the most dangerous places to visit and it’s simply not true.
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.
It is no different than you being in your own home town and crime is restricted to certain areas. If you don’t go looking for trouble you won’t find trouble.
Robberies and pickpocketing are pretty common in Mexico as it is in Rome and here in the U.S. but these random crimes can be avoided as long as you take common-sense precautions.
Do not keep your money in your pocket, backpack, or leaving your purse and camera equipment unattended making you easy prey for criminals.
I can’t guarantee that nothing will happen but I also can’t guarantee you won’t get robbed as you are leaving your home but it doesn’t stop you from running errands, going to work, shopping, or just hanging out.
My experience with Mexico has been nothing but pleasant. The people are friendly, family-oriented, very religious, and completely willing to help and answer questions therefore I believe Mexico is safe.
Is it Safe to Travel to Mexico City?
9.3 million visitors travel to Mexico annually bringing in approximately 5 Billion dollars in annual revenue therefore the Mexican government’s number one priority is keeping its visitors safe and happy.
Trust me they want to keep those tourism dollars rolling in and keep touristy areas free of crime.
The majority of visitors to Mexico City DO NOT experience any crime because the highly populated touristy areas are heavily guarded by local police to ensure those areas remain safe.
Even with increased police security, there has still been an uptake in criminal activity so you must remain aware of your surroundings at all times.
Keep reading as I dissect fact vs. fiction when it comes to criminal activity in Mexico.
Is it safe to travel to Cancun?
Are you wondering is Cancun safe because of the new Cancun travel warning and Cancun travel advisory that was issued by the United States in January 2021 regarding the travel of U.S. citizens to Mexico.
While the United States has issued a travel advisory for the entire country of Mexico I want you to rest easy in knowing that Cancun is safe and there are not any current travel restrictions placed on Cancun and the Riviera Maya.
While Cancun isn’t located on the U.S. State Department do not travel list I suggest travelers continue to be on high alert.
While in the area the State Department says it may be best to only use toll roads and avoid driving alone or at night.
It also warns people to “exercise increased caution when visiting local bars, nightclubs, and casinos.” Furthermore, tourists should steer clear of displaying signs of wealth, “such as wearing expensive watches or jewelry” and exercise extreme caution at banks and ATMs.
In addition, the State Department asks tourists to enroll in its Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
Is it safe to travel to Los Cabos?
Cabo San Lucas is a popular beach resort town located on the Baja peninsula of Mexico, filled with top-rated boutique hotels, trendy restaurants, and crystal-clear waters no matter where you look but as spring break approaches visitors are asking is Cabo safe.
While Cabo is relatively safe some areas of Mexico pose an increased risk to travelers, so before you start packing for Mexico keep reading to make sure Mexico is safe.
It’s important to check Mexico travel warnings before planning your next vacation to Mexico to make sure you really understand is it safe to travel to Mexico.
How Safe is Tulum, Mexico
While some parts of Mexico have experienced an uptick in violence, Tulum has remained a relatively safe travel destination.
Travelers should common sense when traveling to Tulum especially in the downtown area: Don’t walk alone at night, lock your doors, Don’t walk alone on the beach at night.
Be cautious if you are driving alone at night- while Tulum is extremely safe there has been the occasional robbery.
You should also not drink the tap water in Tulum. To avoid unnecessary illness, always make sure your bottled water is sealed.
Scams in Mexico
Be aware of your surroundings and be on the lookout for fake taxis, watered-down drinks, car rental scams, and foreign exchange scams which are just a few of the scams you should be on the lookout for while in Mexico.
Most locals aren’t out to rob you or get over on you but you should always be careful and aware of your surroundings so you can avoid falling prey and becoming a scammer’s next lucrative customer.
The main area tourist is worried about is Mexico’s Quintana Roo state, which includes Cancun, Cozumel, Playa del Carmen, Tulum, and Riviera Maya.
The State Department recognizes that most of the crime in this region seems to be tied to criminal organizations “turf battles” between criminal groups which have resulted in an uptake of violent crime in areas frequented by U.S. citizens.”
Not only are some areas of Mexico indeed seeing the worst homicide figures in decades, but the country recorded its most violent year on record last year, ultimately pointing to an alarming rise in cartel activity.
This prompted the U.S. State Department to up the ante on its travel advisories to the country late last year, placing five Mexican states on its highest Level 4 “Do Not Travel” advisory under its newly revamped system which is another reason why many are wondering is Mexico safe.
Beach Safety in Mexico
Avoid swimming at the beach when a black warning flag is posted. Cover your child with sunscreen or protective clothing before heading to the beach.
Mexican rays are intense and can lead to a severe burn or sun poisoning, especially during the warmer spring and summer months.
Is it Safe to Rent a Car in Mexico?
For the most part, bus travel is the best way to get around in Mexico, but if you are anything like me I prefer to be on my own time and not have to wait on other people.
I like to explore and make up my itinerary as you go and those tour buses do not give me the freedom and they may not cover every place I want to see.
The Yucatan, for example, is especially suited to driving: Many beaches, barely developed ruins, and intriguing villages lie a good distance from the main road.
Highways are well-maintained, constantly being improved, and so straight that the slightest curve bristles with warning signs and reflectors.
It’s generally safe to drive in Mexico, but I suggest parking your car at night and don’t stay out too late.
Kidnappings in Mexico
If you watch the American news you will believe kidnappings happen every 5 minutes in Mexico.
Express kidnappings are used to obtain money by forcing their victims to empty their bank account. While this may happen occasionally this is not the Denzel Washington movie “Man on Fire”.
Taking precautions when withdrawing money at ATMs and using licensed taxis can help reduce the risk of being kidnapped.
Women & Solo travel in Mexico
I solo traveled to Cancun earlier this year for 7 days. Solo travel can be extremely liberating but you must do your research and make sure you understand the laws of the destination you are traveling because your safety is your number one concern.
Does Mexico have a bad reputation? yes, but so does Memphis and it doesn’t stop me from going home and it shouldn’t stop you from traveling solo to Mexico.
Here are a few tips to help you stay safe in Mexico as a solo traveler and take the Mexico Travel Warning seriously:
- Assaults do happen. Remember DO NOT accept drinks from strangers because that is the main reason why assaults happen.
- Know your surroundings. Don’t get lost and end up traveling down a back road own any sketchy roads.
- Be Nice. Mexican people are extremely friendly and there is no need to be nasty or rude.
Be aware of the travel warnings but don’t let the media scare you into thinking Mexico is this scary place and you will be killed if you travel alone.
Mexico has a wealth of culture, food, and adventure so do not miss out on traveling to this beautiful country because you are worried if is Mexico safe.
Would I Travel to Mexico?
While Mexico is an easily accessible vacation destination for many Americans I can understand why tourists are asking is it safe to travel to Mexico.
Unless you are traveling to Mexico looking for trouble you probably will not encounter any violence.
I can’t say this enough unless you’re looking for trouble in Mexico, you shouldn’t have any issues.
Mexico’s most popular tourist destinations like Cancun, Riviera Maya, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico City, and Cabo San Lucas all remain safe so do not allow the current Mexico travel warning to scare you into not visiting Mexico.
If you use common sense and take reasonable safety precautions, you should have no hesitancy in visiting Mexico because Mexico is safe.
Yes, Mexico Is Safe
Aside from dangerous areas along the U.S. border and other regions where cartels operate, Mexico is mostly a safe country and in my opinion, it is safe.
I travel solo to Mexico a couple of times a year and I am still here alive and well.
To put things in perspective, Level 2 is the same tier given to many other tourist hotspots that have an uptake in criminal activity including the following countries:
I have been to Belize, and Italy and I have never wondered is it safe to travel to those countries. Are you concerned about traveling to Italy? If the answer is no then you should not be concerned if is safe to travel to Mexico.
Italy has the same level 2 warning so why is Mexico considered more violent?
Mexico Cities With Level 4 Travel Warnings
Traveling to Mexico in 2021
Remember, these warnings go into effect because of a spike in criminal activity but these warnings are not for the entire country.
I visited Cabo San Lucas in late September and I felt completely safe not only at the resort but also as I ventured out into town.
I took a tour of the Arch, went sightseeing, Camel and Safari excursion and I felt completely safe exploring Mexico solo.
Do your research before traveling to Mexico
If you’re worried about visiting a specific location, it pays to research that area before you book your travel.
Join Facebook groups such as Cancun Mexico Travel, Tours, Tips, and Ideas that are dedicated to traveling to Mexico and will help you and your family stay safe.
20 Tips To Keep Yourself Safe in Mexico
Although a travel advisory is in effect, it’s important to remember that tourists flock to Mexico every year without incident.
The Mexican government is highly motivated to keep tourists safe in order to preserve the tourist trade but you must also do your part when traveling to Mexico.
Traveling anywhere requires a little bit of a safety precaution. So, remember to enlist these general rules during your vacation and you will not have to ask is it safe to travel to Mexico?
Here are some precautions that you can take in order to make sure your trip goes as planned:
- Keep Your Nose Clean: As mentioned above, much of the criminal activity in Mexico revolves around the drug trade and sex trade. Although many Americans go south of the border to have a little fun remember the last thing you want is to end up in a Mexican Jail.
- When Driving, Stick to Main Roads, and Daytime Travel: One of the most popular methods to extort money and protect cartel turf is through carjacks or roadblock ambushes. Avoid back roads and nighttime driving and hire taxis and driving services through the hotel where you’re staying.
- Stay Informed: Keep up-to-date about safety news through a few methods. First of all, talk with your travel agent and/or hotel concierge about safety updates, and where to go. They’ll have the most current read on the situation. As an American Citizen, you should also consider signing up for STEP, the Department of State’s Safe Traveler Enrollment Program. This will sign you up for travel alerts, put you on the consulate and Embassy radar, and make it easier to work things out if there’s an incident.
- Leave a copy of your passport and itinerary with someone at home.
- Keep your valuables locked up when you leave the hotel.
- Learn the language as much as possible (This is not just for safety, but also for courtesy, which can actually keep you safer too!) Remember the old saying you can catch more flies with honey than vinegar.
- Trust people who are invested long-term in making your stay a good one, like booking agents and hotel staff, and be on your guard with one-off opportunities.
- Research your destination: Make sure you are up to date on the current travel warnings.
- Keep windows shut and doors locked in a car: especially at traffic lights
- Use first-class bus companies– these bus companies take toll roads that have security checks on passengers as they board.
- Don’t walk around by yourself late at night: You are asking for trouble.
- Be careful taking money out of the ATM: these are good spots to rob people.
- Use a money belt: Keep the thieves at bay.
- Don’t get scammed: If someone is asking you for your personal information will are likely scamming.
- Don’t wear flashy jewelry – looking like you are balling out of control will get you robbed. Leave your LV and Gucci in the states.
- Ask for hotel concierge: The hotel staff will be able to provide full tips about where to eat and what attractions you must see.
- Avoid getting DRUNK: you need to know where you are at all times.
- Don’t try to buy drugs: Don’t ask about buying drugs and don’t even think about buying drugs.
- DON’T travel at night: Most crime occurs at night.
- Only use well-known tour operators: Most of the cheaper tour operators will not have up-to-date equipment and experienced guides.
How To Keep Your Valuables Safe
Millions of people visit Mexico each year and 99% of travelers do not run into any trouble but the 1% that makes the news is all that you hear about.
Mexico is safe to visit so long as you stay out of trouble, take precautions, don’t buy drugs, and ladies do not allow men to buy you a cocktail and I don’t care how cute he is. BUY YOUR OWN COCKTAILS!
Do You Need Travel Insurance When Traveling To Mexico?
Mexico Travel Insurance
YES! Travel Insurance is important no matter where you are traveling to because accidents happen and you should always travel with insurance.
I got extremely sick in the Czech Republic last year and that was the one time I decided to forego travel insurance and I racked up thousands of dollars in medical bills and they wanted their money before I would even be seen by the ER Doctors.
PLEASE GET TRAVEL INSURANCE!
Mexico Travel Advisory Levels
Assistance for U.S. Citizens
Mexico, D.F., Mexico C.P.
Conclusion of is it safe to travel to Mexico
After reading my article, you should no longer be asking is Mexico safe.
Keep in mind that bad things can anywhere not just in Mexico but I am sure there are crimes taking place right in your very own neighborhood.
No matter where you go in Mexico, follow the common-sense rules that are listed above like drinking only in moderation, getting a cab instead of wandering around after dark, and leaving your expensive watches and rings at home.
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Have you allowed the Mexico travel warning to affect your travel decisions and are you still wondering is Mexico safe for American tourists this summer?
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