Mexico City is an amazing assault on the senses. Bustling, beautiful, and bold, the Mexican capital has the most delightful experiences waiting for travellers. From Aztec ruins and opulent palaces to a whole galaxy of tasty street food to try out!
But let’s face it, the reputation of Mexico City as a ‘safe’ place isn’t a good one. The city is known for its over abundance of people. Additionally, like all major cities, it’s no stranger to crime.
Combine that with the occasional natural disaster, you’ve been lead to ask “Is Mexico City safe? or “How dangerous is Mexico City?” You may also be wondering, is it even worth visiting? Well, I hope you think it is at the end of this!
I want to assure you, staying safe in Mexico City is absolutely possible. Thousands of people are doing it as we speak. But some insider knowledge and street smarts will go a long way.
From solo women travellers to the up to date travel advisory, I’m going to give you all I’ve got in this guide to Mexico City safety. So you too can come and enjoy this unique wonderland, showered in love by visitors from all over the globe.
There is no such thing as a perfect safety guide, and this article is no different. The question of “Is Mexico City Safe?” will ALWAYS have a different answer depending on the parties involved. But this article is written for savvy travellers from the perspective of savvy travellers.
The information present in this safety guide was accurate at the time of writing. However, the world is a changeable place, now more than ever. Between the pandemic, cultural division, and a click-bait media, it can be hard to maintain what is truth and what is sensationalism.
Here, you will find safety knowledge and advice for travelling Mexico City. It won’t be down to the wire cutting edge info on the most current events, but it is layered in the expertise of veteran travellers. If you use this guide, do your own research, and practise common sense, you will have a safe trip to Mexico City.
If you see any outdated information in this guide, please reach out in the comments below to help out your fellow travellers. We strive to provide the most relevant travel information on the web and always appreciate input from our readers (nicely, please). Otherwise, thanks for your ear and stay safe!
It’s a wild world out there. But it’s pretty damn special too!
Updated June 2023
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- Is Mexico City Safe to Visit Right Now?
- 18 Top Safety Tips for Travelling to Mexico City
- Is Mexico City Safe to Travel Alone?
- Is Mexico Safe for Solo Female Travelers?
- Is Mexico City Safe for Families?
- Getting Around Mexico City Safely
- Scams in Mexico City
- Crime in Mexico City
- FAQs on Mexico City’s Safety
- So, How Safe is Mexico City?
Is Mexico City Safe to Visit Right Now?
The short answer is yes, it is safe to visit Mexico City. However, I must also make it clear that you MUST be careful at all times. There are certain things you need to be aware of while visiting Mexico City to ensure you have a safe trip.
The city’s historic center, or Centro Historico, is an amazing UNESCO World Heritage Site, complete with a cathedral, palace, and the largest square in the Americas – the Zocalo. But just like Mexico’s safety, the city isn’t considered super safe.
At least, I can’t send you there outright without mentioning some reasons for concern. The current Mexico travel advisory from the USA remains ‘exercise increased caution‘. This big, bustling city may be the economic center of Mexico but… there are higher levels of petty crime and violent crime in Mexico City compared to other major cities.
Natural disasters also affect the city’s safety. Earthquakes are common and unpredictable in Mexico City.
But I want to put your mind at ease: despite its bad reputation, Mexico City sees millions of tourists every year. The vast majority of these visiting Mexico City do so completely safely.
Gang-related violent crimes are rarely targeted at tourists and visitors. Plus, that happens in certain neighborhoods of Mexico City that you probably won’t be visiting.
Mexico City also has one of the highest police officer-per-resident ratios in the world. So security is taken very seriously in touristy areas where violent crime is extremely rare.
Though, like most major cities, these areas are where petty theft will occur. Thieves are usually active around busy touristic areas.
It’s safe to visit Mexico City, but show caution as you go. So how do you do that? Let me take you into a little more detail.
Safest Places in Mexico City
When traveling to a monster city like Mexico City, it is invaluable to know a little bit about the safe areas to stay in before you arrive. Beyond being much safer, certain areas are just much more fun and well-connected.
Generally (and this rule applies to many areas of Mexico as a country), more tourists mean it’s safer. Well-lit tourist areas, with lots of police officers, mean lower crime rates.
The following areas are also pretty safe to walk around at night too. Though if you are moving between areas, please don’t walk.
- Centro Historico – the city’s historic center is home to several historic buildings and a veritable shit ton of museums, this is where the city was first founded. While wandering the pedestrian-only streets, violent crime is extremely rare – though pickpockets and petty crime are still rife.
- Coyoacán – the more chill and open barrio of Mexico City and once home to Frida Kahlo, this neighborhood is very visitor-friendly.
- Roma Norte – the center of art and quirky culture in Mexico City, Roma Norte has a unique feel. There are a plethora of bars, restaurants, and cafes to wander between but it is full of bloody hipsters because it’s the coolest place to stay in Mexico City.
- La Condensa – with wide avenues and well-maintained European-style buildings, this neighborhood attracts many young professionals and travelers. It also has a thriving nightlife scene.
Dangerous Places in Mexico City
Now to the “not-so-nice” areas that you should avoid while in Mexico City. Some people may refer to them as the “dangerous areas of Mexico City” and they wouldn’t necessarily be wrong. There’s very little reason for you to go to these non-tourist areas anyway, but it’s always good to have a rough idea.
I recommend the following as places to avoid in Mexico City:
- ANYWHERE at night: I can’t stress this enough. As mentioned above, there are some select places that are okay to be in at night. But if you’re moving between places, absolutely exercise increased caution with public transportation. Or, just get an Uber. Ask your accommodation about the local area, like if it’s okay to walk back from the closest Metro station for example.
- Iztapalapa: Especially if you’re a female traveler (but I’m absolutely discouraging any other sexes too), avoid this area completely. Most rapes and assaults have been recorded in this neighborhood.
- Tepito: This area is right outside the historical center and is famous for petty theft and pickpocketing. Known to be the black market of Mexico City, you can do some budget shopping in Tepito, but leave all your valuables at home.
- Others: Tlalpan, La Lagunilla, Mercado Merced, Doctores, Ciudad Neza, Xochimilco, and Tlatelolco – do not visit these areas alone or without a local guide!
Like many places, traveling safely requires more than pure luck. It’s important to clue yourself up with travel safety tips for Mexico City.
This is not an extensive list: you should remain vigilant and have your wits about you at all times. But here are some pointers that will help you out.
- Blend in – try and look like someone who knows what they’re doing, even if you don’t.
- Get an eSIM card for Mexico – this helps with lots of things.
- Don’t look rich – expensive jewelry, iPhone 14 Plus in hand, nice camera… all things that thieves want.
- Watch out on public transport – Pickpocketing is the most common crime in Mexico City. Use a money belt to keep some cash hidden.
- Ask about areas to avoid – there are dangerous areas in Mexico City.
- At night, DON’T walk – especially when intoxicated and/or alone.
- Further to that, ONLY take official taxis – Ubers are the safest in Mexico City.
- Remember the emergency number – 911.
- Be careful near roads – Look both ways, twice. Drivers can be reckless.
- Learn Spanish – you don’t have to be fluent but even a bit will go a long way.
- Only use ATMs in the daytime – inside shops or banks.
- Steer clear of people trying to scam you – distraction techniques, luggage helpers, petitions etc. (More info coming on scams in Mexico City.)
- Don’t resist if someone tries to rob you – having no phone or watch is better than no life.
- Get an Earthquake App – this will alert you.
- Carry ID – even a copy. Police can ask for this and if you don’t have it, you can be detained.
- Stay away from drugs – the source of many problems in Mexico. It’s better for everyone to save it for another time.
- Get good travel insurance!
- Don’t be consumed by dangers – but be aware.
Yes, you can travel to Mexico City solo. Though, Mexico City is not exactly the safest place in the world.
And by yourself, you’re going be a bit more of a target. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t go alone. Follow these tips and you’re setting yourself up for a great time.
- Make friends. There’s safety in numbers.
- Stay in busy, well-lit areas. When there are people around, a mix of locals and tourists, it’s always a good sign.
- Choose a top-rated hostel. Stay in popular tourist neighborhoods. You won’t be short of choice in Mexico City.
- Let people know your travel plans. Ideally, friends and family back home. At the very least, someone you can trust nearby.
- Stay vigilant of your surroundings. This basically goes double for a solo traveler in Mexico. Petty crime is common in the tourist areas and metro of Mexico City.
- Don’t get too drunk. Don’t lose yourself.
- Plan your way home before you leave. Especially if you’re coming back after nightfall.
- Plan where you’re going beforehand. Don’t go walking into neighborhoods you know nothing about. Plan an itinerary and stick to it.
- Keep money in different places and have an emergency credit card. Always have a backup.
- Chat with the staff at your hostel or guesthouse. Ask them for their tips and recommendations (and practice your Spanish).
- Know your limits. Rest as you need to, sleep well, and know when to call it a day.
Generally, just be sensible. Exploring Mexico City is a great way to push yourself out of your comfort zone, but at the end of the day, your safety is always paramount. So don’t push yourself too much!
Is Mexico Safe for Solo Female Travelers?
Yes, Mexico City is safe for solo female travelers. I don’t want to scare you, because you are a strong, independent woman. Many solo female travelers go to Mexico City all the time, and have a great experience!
But it’s my duty to make you *aware* of some safety concerns that solo women face in this enormous powerhouse of a city. I have debated this situation long and hard and – depending on who you ask – you will have a completely different answer.
Unfortunately, not all solo female travelers in Mexico City are or feel safe at all times. But there are many things you can do to maximize your safety!
- Trust your spidey senses! – if your gut says something is wrong then it probably is.
- Check out good hostels for women – read reviews, make friends, and share experiences and tips. Use female-only dorms if you prefer.
- Make use of female-only transport – not essential but it may make you feel safer. Taxis, buses, trains, and metros all have female-only areas.
- Dress accordingly – Mexico is still a relatively conservative country. I love breaking boundaries but this is not the time or place. Observe what other women are wearing and follow suit.
- Again, DO NOT WALK HOME ALONE AT NIGHT – there’s way more to do in daylight hours anyway.
- Don’t leave your food or drink unattended – spiking occurs.
- Don’t open the door for anyone – the hotel or hostel will let in other guests. It’s not your job.
- Be aware of dangers, but don’t get consumed by them. Try to stay rational.
- If someone bothers you, LET EVERYONE KNOW! Should it loud and make a fuss.
- You don’t have to be polite – or answer questions, or tell the truth. Saying “no” is always okay too!
Is Mexico City Safe for Families?
Yes! Mexico City is safe to travel for families. It’s actually pretty kid-friendly too, considering it’s one of the world’s major cities.
There are loads of museums and parks, filled with families. Basically, there’s a ton of stuff to get involved with – starting with street vendors selling tasty churros, of course.
Though, walking around with strollers isn’t very easy at all. The city is often crowded and surfaces are uneven. And don’t expect to find many baby-changing facilities – except in chain restaurants and museums.
The sun is very strong here though too. Being at a high altitude, even when it doesn’t feel too hot, the UVs are still beating down hard.
Following the other safety tips above, Mexico City is a safe place for families to visit.
Getting Around Mexico City Safely
So first, no standard driver in Mexico City has done any kind of formal driving instructions or test. So now imagine the chaos and danger that can cause. Always exercise increased caution around the roads – because they really aren’t paying attention to red lights, one-way streets, pedestrians… you get the picture.
For that reason, I absolutely DO NOT recommend driving in Mexico City. That’s the end of that.
Okay, so how do you get around Mexico City safely?
Well, your best option is the Mexico City Metro. The metro carries 5 million passengers a day with 12 lines and 195 stations.
It’s the second biggest in North America, after NYC. It’s cheap, it works well enough, and it’s (usually) the fastest way to get about. You get a Metro card from any station for 15 pesos (about $0.80 USD) and each ride costs 5 pesos (about $0.30 USD).
Though be aware: pickpockets are VERY active. Harassment also occurs, ranging from people just asking for money to more serious offenses (which are more uncommon).
Like most places in the world, taxi drivers are a bit shit. Be aware of taxi scams (more info coming up) which again range in the seriousness of offenses. They generally just love to hike up the prices.
ONLY use official taxis. Ask at your accommodation where your nearest Sitio is.
DON’T hail taxis on the streets. Better yet, opt for Uber or Didi.
Uber is safe in Mexico City and actually a much better option. It’s cheaper, you have all the details of the driver recorded, and you can track your journey.
The buses work well if you have some patience. All kinds of buses run across the city.
Generally, public transport in Mexico City is safe but very busy.
Scams in Mexico City
In the big city, you should be prepared for scams. Knowing about these really changes your experience of safety in Mexico City. The scale varies from common scams that will just be a minor inconvenience to larger-scale scams.
Here are some things to look out for:
- Taxi scams – ranging from overcharging tourists to express kidnapping. Taxis have also been known to take people hostage and force them to take money from ATMs. This is why I stress: only use official taxis or a trusty taxi app like Uber.
- Fake ATMs – if you want to avoid having your card and/or pin number stolen, only use official banks.
- Sauce scam – a mysterious liquid lands on you and a *friendly* stranger comes over to assist… and take your phone and wallet.
If anyone seems overly friendly or asks too many personal questions, I would regard this as suspicious. Remember, you owe people nothing.
How safe Mexico City is sometimes just comes down to luck. Always prioritize your safety and don’t feel bad to dismiss people at any time.
Crime in Mexico City
Like almost all major cities, unfortunately, crime happens in Mexico City. It varies a lot, but tourists are absolutely susceptible to (uncommon) violent and non-violent crimes.
By following usual safety protocols, and exercising increased caution – as I recommend for anyone traveling anywhere – it’s very unlikely these crimes will affect you. This is only to make you aware of what could happen.
The most common crime in Mexico occurs in the form of petty crime, such as pickpocketing – which happens mostly on public transportation and the Mexico City Metro. This is easily avoided with basic safety precautions and common sense.
Violent crimes do happen but they aren’t common. Kidnapping is rare, but not impossible.
This is more avoidable by not looking rich. The richer you look, the higher someone would expect a ransom. Men are not exempt from this – so don’t think that this comes down to gender either.
Getting Insured BEFORE Visiting Mexico City
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FAQs on Mexico City’s Safety
For a travel destination like Mexico City, there are lots of different things you have to consider when it comes to safety. We’ve listed the most common question, answers, and facts to make your trip as easy as possible.
So, How Safe is Mexico City?
This article is not designed to scare you away from this wonderful city. With the correct precautions and attitude, Mexico City is safe for foreigners, American tourists, solo women, families, and anyone else who wants to visit!
Despite all of these crazy things to think about, I would absolutely encourage you to go. Because that’s the point of Mexico City. It’s chaotic. It’s noisy and boisterous and loud and one of the most exciting cities on the planet.
When you’re using your common sense and travel smarts, going to Mexico City is just as safe as anywhere else. If you’re backpacking Mexico already, don’t skip over this magical city. You’ll find I would recommend these safety tips for almost anywhere on the planet: exercise increased caution, stay in your lane, trust your gut, and prioritize your safety at all times. Besides that, you’re in for one hell of an experience.
Once you’ve stepped foot across the threshold, you understand why people are attracted to visit Mexico City. You’re dropped into the middle of a mighty city with ancient history, deep culture, and insane food.
Don’t forget your 911 emergency number. Oh, and get that travel insurance before you go. Then, of course, keep an extra eye on your stuff on the metro.
But once you’ve mastered the Mexico City Metro, you can pretty much call yourself an experienced traveler. Plus, if you can take on Mexico City, you can take on anywhere. The world is your oyster!
Disclaimer: Safety conditions change all over the world on a daily basis. We do our best to advise but this info may already be out of date. Do your own research. Enjoy your travels!
And for transparency’s sake, please know that some of the links in our content are affiliate links. That means that if you book your accommodation, buy your gear, or sort your insurance through our link, we earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you). That said, we only link to the gear we trust and never recommend services we don’t believe are up to scratch. Again, thank you!
Updated June 2023