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Is It Safe to Travel to Mexico Right Now?

ViaHero
Updated September 21, 2020

Generally, Mexico is a safe place to travel. The country is artsy, colorful, and full of incredible eats. With some local help, we put together this guide to safety in Mexico. 

When will Mexico be safe for travel?

When will Mexico be safe for travel? Here's the latest: 

September 21st: The border between Mexico and the United States is closed to nonessential travel. This border closure has recently been extended until October 21st. However, this directive does not apply to air travel

Some areas of Mexico—like Cancun—have opened to tourists.

Coronavirus cases in Mexico remain high. The U.S. State Department has assigned Mexico a Level 3 Travel Advisory, which advises Americans to reconsider travel to Mexico. 

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Read our full update about travel and coronavirus HERE. Or, send a message to a Mexican local

The US State Department discourages travel to Mexico 

Beach Is Mexico Safe for Travel Right Now
Cancun | edtribo/Pixabay

Because of the coronavirus, the U.S. State Department has assigned Mexico a Level 3 Travel Advisory rating. Coronavirus cases in Mexico remain high—this travel advisory recommends that Americans reconsider travel to Mexico.

Below, read about safety considerations from before the pandemic. Although many still apply, traveling to Mexico today does come with enhanced risks. 

So where in Mexico do you need to avoid?

Specifically, there are 5 Mexican states that you really need to avoid, and which are listed by the US State Department as a Level 4 risk. They are:

  • Sinaloa
  • Colima
  • Guerrero
  • Michoacan
  • Tamaulipas

Additionally, there are several Mexican states that are listed as a Level 3 risk (the same risk level given to Istanbul, for reference). These states are:

  • Chihuahua
  • Coahuila
  • Durango
  • Estado de Mexico
  • Jalisco
  • Morelos
  • Nayarit
  • Nuevo Leon
  • San Luis Potosi
  • Sonora
  • Zacatecas

That may seem like a lot, but remember three things:

  1. Mexico is composed of 31 states—and only 5 of them have a “do not travel” advisory.
  2. Mexico is huge, and these areas are, geographically, very far away from each other.
  3. If almost none of these states sound familiar, it’s for a reason: travelers would almost never go to any of these places anyway!

These areas are all far away from where most travelers visit. Essentially any part of Mexico that isn’t listed above hasn’t seen anywhere near the same level of crime. In fact, the State Department’s Mexico City travel advisory remarks that the area is even safer than the country as a whole.

Like any large country, there’s going to be trouble areas and areas you want to avoid, just like the United States. In 2017, Mexico was the sixth most visited country in the world and had the fifteenth highest income earned from tourism in the world. In simpler terms: Mexico is poppin’.

The places you’re probably traveling to are super safe.

Sunset Is Mexico Safe for Travel Right Now
La Paz | YoTut/Flickr

The odds of you traveling to a dangerous area are slim to none—to prove it, here’s the safety 411 on some of Mexico City’s popular travel areas.

  • Mexico City: It’s kind of a weird fact, but Mexico City has a lower homicide rate than Washington DC (sorry to you DC readers). Basically, Mexico City is packed with awesome places to visit, and you’d be missing out if you didn’t see them. From its awesome nightlife to its popular attractions, you’re as safe traveling to Mexico City as you would be traveling anywhere else.
  • La Paz: La Paz has become a favorite due to its incredible beaches and active marine wildlife. Given how safe it is (it’s located in Baja California) and how advantageous Mexico's prices are for travelers, it’s not hard to understand why.
  • Puerto Vallarta: We can almost guarantee you’ve scrolled past a picture of someone you know visiting Puerto Vallarta on Instagram. Located on the west coast of Mexico, Puerto Vallarta’s quaint beachside villages and top-notch beaches make it a popular Mexico's most popular places to visit.  
  • Riveria Maya: Generally, anywhere on the Yucatan Peninsula is great for traveling. The Yucatan as a whole actually has a lower homicide rate than New York.

Solo travel in Mexico is completely possible.

If you’re you’re alert and use common sense, solo travel in places like Mexico City can be super safe and super rewarding. With that said, here are a few Mexico travel tips you should follow (the article is written for Mexico City specifically, but the ideas apply to the country as a whole).

  • Make friends and avoid being a target. Wherever you’re traveling, it’s best to not look like a lone traveler.
  • Learn some Spanish. Although about 93% of the Mexican population speaks English, it doesn’t hurt to learn a few essential words like “bathroom,” “please,” and “thank you.”
  • Don’t walk alone at night. If you’re going to go out, use Uber when you’re ready to go home!

It’s easy to get around Mexico safely.

For the most part, car services like Uber or Lyft are available in most of Mexico’s must-see spots. If Uber or Lyft isn’t available, find a number for a car service.

It’s better to call for a cab instead of hailing one because, again, everyone will know you’re traveling which makes you vulnerable. This goes for any city. Additionally, you should keep your doors and windows closed/locked to avoid problems at stoplights.

Don’t drink the water.

Although the water is purified at the source, Mexico’s distribution isn’t the best and may allow water contamination. We can almost guarantee, though, that whatever place you’re staying in Mexico has clean or bottled water available for you. It’s not really that much of a big deal since there are so many other options for water.

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For more on travel to Mexico:

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