Mexico is a big country made of a total of 31 states, all with their different level of criminality, and with travel advisories that vary from area to area. Because it’s so easily accessible to Americans, let’s see if it’s safe to travel to Mexico, what you should avoid, and pieces of advice from locals that you should follow.
The safest places for tourists
Misinformation is one of the worst problems the internet has had in the past decade, and unfortunately, it affects the online tourism sector as well. Mexico has sometimes been portrayed as an unsafe country, which seems to have stemmed from political issues. The truth is that some areas of Mexico are just as safe to travel to like any other country from Europe. Because of its proximity to the US, most of Mexico’s visitors are Americans. The US Department of State issued level two travel advisories for some of the most popular tourist attractions, which are:
- Ciudad de Mexico
- La Paz
- Riviera Maya
- Puerto Vallarta
- Playa del Carmen.
These areas have a crime level that mostly resumes to petty crimes, such as pick pocketing and scams, with a low rate of violent crimes.
Also Read: 3 Most Popular Festivals in Mexico
Areas to avoid
There are some states and areas you might not have heard of because tourists avoid them in general. Mexico is not a third world country and should not be treated like such. However, in some areas, people are struggling financially, which has a direct impact on the crime level. Here are the top 10 places to avoid when traveling to Mexico, according to the US Department of State:
- City of Obregon
- Ciudad Juárez
- Los Cabos
Many of these areas are subjected to violent crimes such as homicides, gang wars, tourist targeting, kidnapping, violence against women, and much more, so you shouldn’t travel there at all, but if you somehow find yourself in one of these listed areas, be extremely cautious and aware of your surroundings at all times.
Tips for general safety in Mexico
No matter if you’re in one of the safest areas in Mexico or in a dangerous one, you should always take certain precautions when it comes to travel. Based on advice from the local population, we’ve identified a few key points that you should follow.
When it comes to public and private transportation use the main roads. If you have to use a taxi, use only approved taxi companies or Uber, and beware of “sharks”, which are individuals practicing taxi driving illegally. You can make a difference between them by the fact they use a meter, they give receipts, and they have a license number on the car.
Use travel insurance for any unexpected losses of belongings, for medical service, or for any other problem you’re worried about. If you choose to be part of a tour, only book one from approved travel agencies, as some areas are well known for scams towards tourists. Take care of your possessions and don’t make them accessible to pickpockets, especially if you’re using public transportation or you find yourself in a crowd. Also, don’t leave your possessions unattended on the beach.
Overall, the popular tourist areas in Mexico are not more dangerous than others and require the same caution. Before traveling, make sure you look at the travel advisory for that specific area and if you encounter any issue contact the US Embassy as soon as possible.
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