With a stunning beaches, ancient ruins and charming towns, Mexico is a very popular destination for travellers. Saying that, many potential visitors can have some concerns about the safety of the country - mostly due to stories of violent crime, often the result of organised crime and drug cartels.
Despite this, there are many parts of Mexico which are not only safe to visit, but are friendly places with beautiful surroundings. Just keep in mind that there are some precautions you should take while travelling to Mexico - stick to well-lit areas at night, leave your passport in your room, and don’t carry excess cash on you. When out at night, keep an eye on your drinks, don't walk home alone at night, and stay away from drugs (they are readily available on the streets).
If you take these basic precautions and choose your destinations well, you should have a fun and safe trip to Mexico. Here are just a few of the safer cities in Mexico which are well worth visiting.
Widely acknowledged as the safest city in Mexico (and even Latin America), your biggest safety concern in Mérida will probably be the busy traffic. The Yucatan capital is known for its colonial architecture, incredible food and close proximity to remarkable archaeological sites, including the famous Chichen Itza. Mérida does have the occasional pickpocket, so take all normal precautions, just in case.
Planning your trip to Mérida
Stay at Hotel Marionetas, a traditionally-decorated bed and breakfast in the centre of town
Playa del Carmen is a well-known coastal city in Mexico, with close proximity to Mayan ruins and beautiful cenotes. Its long white beaches and blue waters make it a popular tourist destination, and Playa del Carmen is a relatively safe place to visit in Mexico, suitable for solo travellers and families.
Despite some recent incidences of drug-related violence in nearby Tulum, the state of Quintana Roo (which Playa del Carmen is in) has minimal violent crime directed at tourists. Saying that, it's worth taking some safety precautions in Playa del Carmen, including not walking around alone at night and staying away from recreational drugs while you're in town.
Planning your trip to Playa del Carmen
Stay at Suites Corazon, an easy walk to the beach and the main street of town
Book a tour to discover Tulum's ruins, snorkelling and caves
Mexico City is the most-visited destination in the country and, despite its reputation, it's relatively safe for tourists, especially in the city centre. Between 2009 and 2011, Mexico City's crime rates drastically reduced and the number of police in the city increased, particularly in tourist areas. Visitors also report feeling safe in Mexico City, although taking the usual safety precautions is still advised.
Like many big cities, some neighbourhoods in Mexico City are much safer than others. As a general rule, stay away from any very northern or very southern neighborhoods in Mexico City after dark. Pick a hotel in the Centro, Roma or Condesa districts, and avoid Tepito and Merced, especially at night. If you want to visit the popular La Merced Market, go during the day and leave valuable items behind.
Planning your trip to Mexico City
Book a full-day guided tour of Tlatelolco, the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and Teotihuacan
Read our three-day itinerary for Mexico City
Known for its beaches, bustling nightlife and beautiful marine life, Puerto Vallarta is one of the safest places in the country to visit. As well as being family-friendly, it's also a good destination for same-sex couples.
Puerto Vallarta has largely remained uninvolved in cartel conflicts and crime rates are very low - significantly lower than the crime rates of major cities in the United States. There is a small amount of petty crime such as bag snatching, pickpocketing or theft, so use all normal precautions.
Planning your trip to Puerto Vallarta
Stay at Vallarta Shores Beach Hotel, a beachfront hotel near the old town
Book a day trip to the Hidden Beach in the Marietas Islands
San Miguel de Allende is a popular destination for expats and is one of the safest places in Mexico. Over 8,000 Canadian, British, and American expats live in San Miguel de Allende, which has beautiful Spanish colonial churches, great restaurants, and heritage sites.
While crime rates in San Miguel de Allende are relatively low, be cautious when out at night and keep an eye on your belongings on public transport.
Planning your trip to San Miguel Allende
Stay at Hotel Casa Blanca 7, a beautiful hotel in the historic part of town
Book a guided tour to the Cañada de la Virgen pyramid and discover one of Mexico's fascinating but less-visited archaeological sites.
Located about 30 miles northwest of Puerto Vallarta, Sayulita is the perfect destination for nature lovers and surfers. Sayulita is both safe and friendly, as tourism drives the local economy. Locals are very welcoming and understand English well.
Just be aware of stray dogs wandering the streets in Sayulita, as some dogs may bite if you approach them.
Planning your trip to Sayulita
Stay at Hotel Ysuri Sayulita overlooking the beach and a short walk to the centre
Book a whale watching and snorkelling tour in the Marietas Islands National Park
Huatulco is a beach town located in Oaxaca with plenty of water activities and surf spots, and makes a very family-friendly beach destination. Huatulco is considered safer than many U.S. cities, however visitors should be aware that some organised crime is present in the area between Oaxaca City and Huatulco.
The Huatulco area gives a beautiful glimpse into the rich heritage of Oaxaca - around half the population of the region still speaks indigenous languages. The area is not as popular as other beach regions in México such as Cancún, the Riviera Maya, Puerto Vallarta and Cabo, but this adds to its appeal.
Planning your trip to Huatulco
Stay at Xquenda Huatulco Spa near the beach
Book your visit to the Copalitilla Magic Waterfalls
Last Updated 15 September 2022