Is Mexico City Safe? Advice for 2019

Are violence, rampant scamming, and toxic pollution good reasons to skip Mexico City? We show how Mexico City is safe for travelers who...

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Mexico City is an amazing assault on the senses. Bustling, beautiful and bold, the Mexican capital is well endowed with sights to see and things to do, boasting everything from Aztec ruins and opulent 19th-century 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. This city is well known for its violence – and its murder rate is pretty much through the roof. Combine that with rampant petty theft and natural disasters for a perfect storm of urban safety issues.

So there’s no reason we’d be surprised that you’re wondering, “Is Mexico City safe?” You, like a lot of other people, are asking that question pretty fairly. So to help you travel smart on your trip, we have created this guide to staying safe in Mexico City.

We deal with a whole load of different issues in our handy guide. We’ll be covering things like whether the food is safe to eat in Mexico City, if Mexico City is safe for solo female travelers – and just about everything in between.

Mexico Traditional Dress

CDMX has lots of vibrant traditions

 

How Safe is Mexico City? (Our take)

The city center of the Mexican capital is an amazing UNESCO World Heritage Site, complete with a cathedral, palace and the largest square in the Americas – the Zocalo.

But it’s not exactly safe. At least, we can’t send you there outright without mentioning some reasons for concern.

This big, bustling city may be the economic center of Mexico but… there are high levels of street crime.

And violent crime, too.

There are also numerous scams to be aware of.

And on top of that, there are natural elements to worry about: hurricanes and earthquakes affect most of the country – including the capital.

But a lot of the time Mexico city FEELS like a safe place when you’re there, so is it all that bad?

 

Is Mexico City Safe to Visit? (The facts.)

Mexican plazas are great. Not pictured: the usual insane traffic

It’s safe to visit Mexico City. Well, safe-ish…

In 2016, Mexico City played host to 16 million tourists; they’re hoping to increase this over the next decade.

But tourism HAS taken a hit recently because of high levels of crime scaring off travelers. We understand.

There are some pretty scary numbers to know about.

The average homicide rate in April 2018 was 3.1 per day. In 2018 the city broke its own records with murders RISING by 16%

Mexico City also has one of the highest police officer-per-resident ratios in the world.

And it’s important to remember: A LOT of the violence is between gangs.

Plus it happens in neighborhoods that you probably won’t be visiting. Iztapalapa sees EXTREME rates of violence against women, for example, but you’re not going to find your way there.

In general, as a tourist, as long as you travel smart you should be fine visiting Mexico city.

 

Is it Safe to Visit Mexico City Right Now?

So like we were saying, gang-related violence has been on the rise in Mexico City recently.

Mexico comes pretty low on the 2018 Global Peace Index140 out of 163. Not good.

The crime rate isn’t great and it’s not showing signs of lessening anytime soon. The only saving grace about this is that (for tourists) you should be all right. Tourist areas aren’t where you’re going to find violence.

But be aware that these are where petty theft will occur.

Places like the historic center are all crowded plazas and streets – and here you should be vigilant. But here’s also where you’ll find the most police dedicated to tourists. Tourism is important, right? So the government works HARD to make sure you’re safe in their city.

Protests can occur without warning. They can be violent. And as a foreigner, you’re not allowed to join in anyway. So keep away in the unlucky chance you happen on one.

Nature can be DANGEROUS in Mexico City. There was a devastating earthquake in 2017; many buildings collapsed and more than 200 people died. Unfortunately, these are completely unpredictable.

Then it’s a case of when to visit Mexico City. Hurricanes can come in from both coasts of Mexico from June to November. These are also pretty dangerous.

It’s safe to visit Mexico City, but show caution as you go.

 

Mexico City Travel Insurance

Get insurance! Even if you are only going on a short trip, you should always travel with insurance. Have fun while visiting Mexico, but take it from someone who has racked up thousands of bucks on an insurance claim before, you need it.
As a wise man once said, if you can’t afford travel insurance, you shouldn’t be traveling – so be sure to get your backpacker insurance sorted before you head off on an adventure! We highly recommend World Nomads.

 

To find out why we recommend World Nomads, check out our World Nomads Insurance review.

If you want to shop around a little, then read up on competing companies and what they can offer. There are lots of insurances out there, so don’t feel limited.

 

19 Top Safety Tips for Traveling to Mexico City

Teotihuacan, safety in Mexico City

Teotihuacan is incredibly close to the City. photo: getyourguide

Mexico City is definitely an interesting place to visit. Yes, there may be a lot of violent crime (which may be on the rise), but that’s unlikely to affect you. What you will have to watch out for is petty theft. So staying vigilant is a MUST when you’re traveling to Mexico City. And to help you travel smart, we have lots of general safety notes, but we’re also sharing our top safety tips for traveling to Mexico City so you can make the most of this cool city.

  1. Don’t look like a gringo – blend in. Look at how other people are dressed and try to match it. Makes you a target if not.
  2. And don’t look rich – expensive jewelry, SLR dangling around your neck, smartphone in hand… all good indicators for thieves.
  3. Watch out on public transport – especially the B line of the subway as there are LOTS of pickpockets, especially in rush hour. You can use a money belt to keep your cash hidden and secure.
  4. Try to take money out of ATMs in the daytime – or inside shopping malls; you could be robbed quite easily otherwise.
  5. At night, don’t walk: take a cab – a no-brainer. Especially in parts of northern Centro.
  6. Know what to do in the event of an earthquake – the alerta sismica will sound only a few seconds before an earthquake hits.
  7. Get the official earthquake app, too – it’s called 911 CDMX. Not catchy, but that’s what it’s called.
  8. Steer clear of people trying to scam you – distraction techniques, luggage helpers, petitions – just ignore them.
  9. DON’T resist if someone tries to rob you – having no phone or watch is better than having no life.
  10. Careful when you cross the road – traffic can be MENTAL in the city. Follow the locals.
  11. Always take an OFFICIAL TAXI – taxi assaults and robberies have been a pretty big problem… (more on that later).
  12. Follow local news when a storm or hurricane hits – so you can prepare. Hunker down with supplies.
  13. Carry ID around with you – even if it’s a copy. The Mexican police CAN ask for this and if you don’t have it, you can be detained.
  14. DON’T DO DRUGS – it may be Narcos-land, but don’t even bother. And maybe don’t mention any drug-related shows you’ve seen either.
  15. Careful of same-sex public displays of affection – civil partnerships are legal, but you’ll quickly notice the undue attention you get outside of liberal zones.
  16. Know the signs of altitude sickness – especially when you first arrive. Mexico City is pretty high altitude.
  17. Brush up on your Spanish – this will help you A LOT. And you’ll be MUCH less of a gringo if you at least try.
  18. Get yourself a sim card – this helps with things like maps so you never get too lost.
  19. Avoid certain neighborhoods – Tepito and other areas of La Lagunia, Mercado Merced, and Doctores. Outlying areas of Iztapalapa and Ciudad Neza also have BAD reputations. Don’t wander here.

There you have our tips for safe travel in Mexico City. Since there are a few areas that you shouldn’t be walking around anyway, so you’re likely to avoid serious crime. When it comes to things like petty theft, however, it’s important to stay aware of your surroundings, don’t look like a target, and keep your belongings close to you. Just do the things a smart traveler like you does already!

 

Keeping your money safe in Mexico City

Of course, it’s not going to be a very fun trip if your money gets stolen. That’s a really good way to put a big dampener on your Mexico City travel plans. And here, where petty crime IS a thing, it’s not necessarily unlikely…

You might be able to avoid it as much as you can – firstly by not looking like a tourist – but sometimes, bad stuff just happens. That’s just how it is. But hands down THE best way to avoid having your money stolen… Is to wear a money belt!

The best way to keep your money safe is with an awesome security belt

And if you have a quick search online you’re going to find a TON of money belts. Most of them look… like money belts. They’re pretty weird contraptions sometimes. So that’s why we really recommend the Active Roots Security Belt.

It’s definitely NOT weird. It just looks like a normal belt. Big score for us. On top of that, it’s affordable and sturdy. 

This thing truly is is the money belt for people who don’t want to wear a money belt. Trust us. It’s not going to get in the way at all. You just take whatever money you need for the day and put it in the belt and you’re done. Walking around with what LOOKS like a normal belt. Even if you end up losing stuff, or things get robbed from your room, you’ve got this stash of cash to fall back on. Works every time.

If you need a little more room for your passport and other travel valuables, have a look at a full-size money belt that tucks under your clothes instead.

If neither of those options appeals to your refined fashion sense, don’t compromise! Opt for an infinity scarf with a hidden zipper pocket.

 

Is Mexico City Safe to Travel Alone?

Solo Traveler in Mexico City

This metropolis has loads worth exploring.

Mexico City IS safe to travel alone. But like we’ve already discussed it’s 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 by yourself.

So to help you do just this in Mexico City, here are a few words of wisdom for all you solo travelers out there.

  • Stay in a busy area. When there are people around, a mix of locals and tourists, it feels a lot safer. Plus there will be less chance of actual sketchy stuff happening around you. Do your research on the right districts to stay in.
  • And speaking of which, stay at a top rated hostelThere are LOADS of great hostels. The best ones will be in safe areas anyway. Plus you’ll be bound to meet other travelers who you can chat to and get to know. You might even make a drinking buddy or a new friend. Helps to keep away the solo travel blues.
  • Always let people know your travel plans. People back home, we mean. It’s super important that at least somebody knows where you are and what you’re doing. So if it’s your friends, family, or even a Facebook status with your latest awesome photos from Mexico City, having people know where you are is crucial if something bad happens.
  • You should keep your money in different places or have an emergency credit card. If something does go wrong and you lose your wallet… You won’t have anything. So don’t keep ALL your cash together. That Active Roots Security Belt would be a good shout.
  •  Stay vigilant of your surroundings. This basically goes double for a solo traveler. Petty crime is pretty common in Mexico City, so being aware of who’s around you – and what they’re doing – is also pretty important.
  • Getting TOO drunk is not a good idea. If you’re out by yourself, chances are you’ll have no one to look out for you. Plus it’s pretty easy to have bad stuff happen when you’ve got no senses. Losing your way home is also VERY unsafe, too – and easily done whilst wasted.
  • Plan where you’re going beforehand. Wandering around looking lost is bound to make you a target. So keep your routes memorized. And if you REALLY need to take a look at Google Maps, duck into a shop and refresh your memory – don’t wander around with your phone out.
  • Keep emergency numbers at the top of your contacts list on your phone. Scrolling through everything during an actual emergency might not work out.
  • Local knowledge is always best. So get chatting with the staff at your hostel or guesthouse and ask them for their tips and recommendations on things to see, what to do, where you should eat. Most likely they’ll know some cool places!

This city can definitely be overwhelming especially if you’re by yourself. But solo travel is AWESOME. It’s all about challenging yourself and reaping the rewards.

So despite all the violence, Mexico City is safe for solo travelers. Tourists might have concerns because of the scary crime stats, not backpackers, so you’ll meet some likeminded travelers, too. And if you’ve been to other Latin American countriesmost likely you know the drill anyway. It’s all about traveling smart. Keep your wits about you and have an awesome time.

 

Is Mexico safe for solo female travelers?

Mexico Female Traveler

Learn about traveling ALL of Mexico in our Mexico Safety Guide!

Female travelers in Mexico City will come up against some issues. It’s not super safe at the best of times and for women, it’s even LESS so. There are a lot of dangers for female travelers in Mexico City, most of which have to do with being out at night and public transport.

Reuters in 2018 reported that 3/4 felt unsafe when using public transport in Mexico City. That said, female travelers do make their way to Mexico City. We’ve got some tips to help you stay as safe as possible if you’re planning to visit.

  • Sexual attacks happen early in the morning or late at night. Routes on urban buses – or micros – in the south of the city are notorious for this. It’s REALLY best to avoid using ANY public transport after dark.
  • However, there are female-only taxis, buses, and train carriages in Mexico City. It’s a campaign called Atena launched to try to make it safer for women in Mexico City. The buses are pink (go figure). It’s a good idea to use these.
  • Sexual assaults do happen in tourist areas, too. Take care wherever you’re walking, basically. ESPECIALLY early in the morning or late at night.
  • You probably do this anyway, but don’t leave your drink unattended. Whether you’re at a bar or a restaurant, you’re at risk of having your drink spiked.
  • Wearing revealing clothing is definitely going to get you more attention. A good rule of thumb is just to look around and see what the women are wearing. It will give you a good idea of what to wear in Mexico City.
  • Mexico as a whole is in the grip of macho culture. That means the capital, too. Men will catcall, wolf whistle, whatever. Just try your best to ignore and move on. Calling them out can put you at risk, so please show caution in those situations.
  • Lone women are seen as easier targets for pickpocketing or theft. So make sure your backpack, purse or bag is kept safe and secure.
  • As a woman, you probably do this one anyway, but be AWARE of your surroundings. If things don’t feel right, remove yourself and head to a safe area.
  • We recommend staying in a friendly hostel with female-only dorms. This is an AWESOME way to meet other cool travelers doing what you’re doing. You can chat, share tips, and make friends to explore Mexico City with.
  • Don’t open your hotel door to anybody you don’t know. This can be a really dangerous thing to do. And make sure your door is locked when you’re inside AND when you’re out.
  • You don’t always have to polite to people! If someone’s getting too close, don’t feel like you have to hang around. At the same time, if someone’s asking you questions – you don’t have to answer. Or you don’t have to tell the truth. Judge the situation.
  • Basically, try to avoid being alone with male strangers. Especially people you don’t trust, don’t know very well, or just don’t get a good vibe from.
  • Do some research and get yourself a guide to go around the city. This is a MUCH safer way to explore Mexico City and get to grips with what the Mexican capital is all about. But definitely make sure you read reviews for guides; especially reviews from other female travelers.
  • Get a taxi at night. Always. Better yet: get an Uber.

 

Don’t lose your money to a pickpocket! There are tons of ways to store valuables and goods while traveling but a travel scarf has to be the least obtrusive and the most classy.

The Active Roots Zipper Scarf is your run-of-the-mill infinity scarf but with a hidden pocket that’s big and sturdy enough for a night’s cash, your phone, a passport and (hell with it) some snacks too!

We know… It might not exactly SEEM safe to visit Mexico City as a solo female traveler, but actually, it’s a SUPER cool place to explore. The people are friendly, there’s a ton of amazing sights to see, and don’t forget all that Mexican food. But also remember the dangers.

Sexual assaults DO happen, pickpocketing happens a lot, and bag snatching is common. Knowing all of this shouldn’t just scare you off going to Mexico City. It just means you have to be smart when you visit. Most importantly: being aware of your surroundings.

And yep, men in Mexico can be a pain, but this isn’t about them – this is about you having an AWESOME time. So ignore them. You’re not here for dodgy encounters, right? Keep yourself secure, stay alert, keep off the streets at night, meet cool people, and have fun!

 

Is Mexico City safe to travel for families?

Family Vacation

“No, we don’t need that stupid selfie stick you bought, Marge. Squeeze in!”

Though Mexico City isn’t famed for its safety, it’s actually quite safe to travel to with your family.

And it’s relatively kid-friendly, too.

There are loads of museums – like the Museo de la Secretaria de Hacienda y Credito Publico (complete with puppet shows) – as well as loads of parks often filled with families. You can join them and rent bikes!

Basically, there’s a TON of stuff to get involved with – starting with street vendors selling tasty churros, of course.

Public transport is well developed in Mexico City and though it can be BUSY at times… There are women-only carriages where you can travel with your children (sorry dad). Or you could just get an Uber…

The hop-on, hop-off buses can save tired legs and mean you still get to see all the sights of the city, too.

But, walking around with strollers isn’t going to be very easy at all. The city is often crowded.

And don’t expect to find baby-changing facilities – except in chain restaurants and museums.

The crowds in the Centro Historico can be pretty overwhelming, so base yourself in Condesa, Roma, or Coyoacan – cool areas with nice spaces to run around in! These areas also have GOOD FACILITIES; e.g. Condesa boasts a children’s hospital. Plus they’re good for food.

Speaking of which, no one’s going to get hungry and agitated on your family trip to Mexico City; there are snacks everywhere!

So, yes. Mexico City is safe to travel for families.

Pace yourself, protect yourself from the sun, and you should have an amazing time.

 

Is it safe to drive in Mexico City?

Mexico Traffic

Planning to drive? ¡Vaya con Dios!

Wow. No point driving in Mexico City. At all.

This place will cause you so much stress and confusion when it comes to driving… You just won’t enjoy it.

By all means, if you want to travel OUTSIDE the city, it might be a good idea. But we just don’t think it’s worth it.

There’s a lot of pollution and there’s a lot of traffic. That’s why there’s a Hoy No Circula (“don’t drive today”) rule, meaning LOTS of vehicles can’t drive between 5am and 10pm for one day each week.

Even though rental cars are exempt from that rule, it just shows you how much of a problem traffic really is. 

If you DO hire a car, don’t leave valuables on display. It’s a good way to get stuff stolen.

And when it comes to actually driving, expect the WORST kind of drivers out there. People changing lanes without signaling, running red lights, and generally being erratic. 

Keep your DOORS LOCKED and windows closed, especially when you stop at traffic lights. This helps prevent getting robbed.

Basically, we don’t think it’s very safe to drive in Mexico City.

Why bother when the public transport (and Uber) is actually pretty good?

 

Is Uber safe in Mexico City?

Uber is safe in Mexico City. Absolutely.

It’s cheap to use and there are LOADS available.

You can pay with cash, but of course you can also pay in the app with your card. All the other bonus points for Uber apply (checking drivers’ reviews, knowing the type of car you’re getting in, tracking your journey, no language barrier).

It’s actually one of the safer ways to get around the city.

And the drivers can be SUPER friendly and helpful, too!

Uber successfully takes the stress off navigating public transport.

 

Are taxis safe in Mexico City?

Taxis in Mexico City

Is this your favorite taxi color scheme ever? photo: codigoespagueti

It may come as no surprise that taxis in Mexico City don’t have a reputation for safety.

There’s a history of robbery and sexual assault by drivers of unlicensed taxis. 

It’s not much of a problem nowadays but it’s still an issue worth mentioning.

So in Mexico City, you should most definitely NOT hail a cab off the street. This is a good way to get yourself into a BAD TAXI.

Instead, get your hotel or hostel to call a radio taxi for you – or head to the Citio taxi ranks outside transport hubs, hotels, malls, etc.

When you arrive at the airport, ONLY get pre-paid taxis. Bus stations have the same. Everything else is going to be sketchy.

The cheapest type of taxi is Libre cabs.  They are either pink and white newer cars or green and white old VW Beetles (which do actually look pretty cool).

These drive around waiting to be hailed and run by the meter. And they’re the ones you should AVOIDBut you can check to see if its a regulated taxi by checking the number plate starts with an or – and then by matching the number plate with the number on the side of the car, too.

Radio taxis are more expensive but they’re safer. These are available pretty much all the time. You can call them, or your hostel can call them. Either way, they will give you the license number and the description of the car.

Alternatively, you can order a radio taxi through EasyTaxi. This works like Uber. Either of these is a MUCH safer option than the Libre cabs.

Take care when you’re on a night out; don’t just get into the taxis that are waiting outside bars. These are often sketchy.

Instead, get yourself to a taxi rank…

… Or just grab an Uber.

 

Is public transportation in Mexico City safe?

Bus Mexico

The bright red means “Get out of the way ’cause I’m not stopping!”

Generally, public transport in Mexico City is safe.

But it gets SUPER BUSY.

For example, 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 the quickest and easiest way to get around, but you’re going to have to watch out for pickpockets, who love crowds. In rush hour (or when it’s raining) we’d recommend NOT using it since it will be packed.

Another plus is that it’s the cheapest metro system in the world. Budget travelers will love this part.

Then there’s the metro bus, which follows 6 lines trundling around the city from 5am till midnight.

Again these get very busy and pickpockets DO linger. In fact, they are NOTORIOUS for pickpockets. So maybe this isn’t the safest public transport in Mexico City.

There are also 8 whole lines of trolley buses. Like trams, basically. It’s one base fare: 2M$ for any distance. They run till 11:30pm. Obviously, watch your belongings but it’s not as bad as the metro bus.

Then there are peseros. These are privately run microbuses that stop at metro stations and pretty much stop everywhere. They run ALL the time. Day or night.

Just be careful getting on one of these when no one else is on it. Never know what the situation could end up like.

There’s also a Suburbano, a suburban railway network, a cable car, and the good old colectivos

All of the public transport in Mexico city is safe – to varying degrees.

The main point, whichever you choose to travel on, is to keep your belongings close. A money belt would be a smart move.

Keep everything on you in transit. When moving from place to place, you shouldn’t store travel documents in a bag, even if it’s under your seat or overhead.

A full-sized money belt that stays tucked under your clothes keeps your documents and cash organized during your travels and assures nothing critical gets left behind or stolen.

 

Is the food in Mexico City safe? 

Mexican Food

Unless you’re a cilantro hater (like me), you’ll have little to worry about here!

Everyone knows Mexican food. This rich culture has an AMAZING reputation for food, and the capital is no different. You’re going to be able to tuck into rice, refried beans, tortillas, and tacos at any time of day pretty much. You could just spend your time eating here and nothing else!

At the same time, Mexico as a whole also has a bit of a reputation when it comes to hygiene. After all, this is the country that inspired the traveler lingo Montezuma’s Revenge. And a lack of it in terms of food preparation. So to help you get the best possible deliciousness out of your trip, we’ve got some food safety tips for Mexico City for you…

  • Don’t be put off by the color of the quesadilla or gordita stands. They might look moldy, but actually in Mexico City blue corn is popular and it’s just as tasty. So tuck in.
  • Head to stands with a high turnover of locals. This means they’re TRUSTED – plus you’ll be getting fresh food since the person cooking up a storm will be busy making stuff the whole time. Nothing sitting around in the sun at these places!
  • At street food stands, be wary if you see the person taking money and handing over food with the same hand. If you see this sort of practice, maybe just find a different place where they’ve got gloves – or better yet, where someone else is taking the money.
  • Be careful with salsa. It can be ULTRA SPICY. Don’t overspice yourself basically. You can always put more on if you want to.
  • It’s a pretty basic one but stick to fresh fruit and vegetables you can peel yourself. This is because they could have been washed in dirty water and peeled with dirty hands. You can ensure your own food safety by doing this yourself.
  • Avoid ice cubes. USUALLY, these would have come from a bag in Mexico City, but there’s no point putting yourself at risk of a bad tummy.
  • Make sure that the meat you get served up has been cooked through properly. There have been reports of nasty things like roundworm (which comes from germ-y meat not being cooked enough) infecting people who’ve been to Mexico City.
  • Don’t go around trying like five, or ten, different street food stalls on your first day. You won’t be used to the natural bacteria that are here. You won’t be used to the type of food. And you probably won’t be used to the spice levels either. So do yourself – and your stomach – a favor by easing yourself in slowly. One bite at a time, we say.
  • That said, DO try different dishes. It’s not all deep fried and melted cheese. Do some research and seek out some interesting things you’ve never heard of. Yes, you can get tacos here, but there’s a whole lot more.
  • And last but definitely not least… WASH YOUR HANDS. The simplest thing ever could save you a whole world of (stomach) pain. So make sure you wash your grubby mitts. You can bring hand sanitizer to be extra careful.
  • Traveling with an allergy? Research ahead of time how to explain your allergy. Keep in mind that store owners and restaurant staff might not know all the foods that contain allergens, so it’s helpful to know the names of some of these too. If you’re gluten-free, pick up a handy Gluten-Free Translation Card with descriptions of Celiac disease, cross-contamination risk, and local Mexican ingredients in Spanish.

Mexican food has actually been designated by UNESCO as Intangible Cultural Heritage. So it’s safe to say there’s A LOT going on in the food world of Mexico City. If you love your food, you’re really going to love eating your way around the capital!

But at the end of the day, it’s not always clean. The food IS safe in Mexico City – generally speaking – but you’ve got to be smart about where you eat. Watch what local people do, research good places and different dishes to try out, and you should have an amazing time.

 

Can you drink the water in Mexico City?

Some places might claim their water is safe to drink… But we’re not so sure.

We wouldn’t drink the water out of the tap without boiling it for three minutes or filtering it first.

Yes, you can buy disposable water bottles, but please don’t! Bring along your own water bottle and prepare your own water.

Want to save the world and stay hydrated? Single-use plastic bottles are a huge threat to the oceans and planet – Be a part of the solution and invest in a filter water bottle.

The GRAYL GEOPRESS water bottle is the ONLY all-in-one filter water bottle setup you’ll need. We use it on our own adventures to purify often nasty looking water and it does a beautiful job – we have yet to get sick! This is what the whole Broke Backpacker team uses- in mountains, cities, jungles – we love it – it’s a total game changer

 

Is Mexico City safe to live?

Mexico City Street

Colorful biking tunnel for sober operators only.

Some people might think Mexico City ISN’T safe to live.

But really it’s like any other big capital city. Like NYC or Paris – as long as you don’t put yourself at risk, you should steer clear of dangerous situations.

There are things that aren’t amazing about living in Mexico City. For one, traffic can be awful. The government is trying to help it, but we wonder how much since it doesn’t seem to be working.

Violence in the city is usually drug-related, inter-gang, and pretty much won’t affect you. Gringos of all sorts, tourists and residents included, won’t be targeted for this sort of thing.

It’s a big, crowded city and there are a lot of social problems, but there’s A LOT of fun to be had too. We mentioned the food, right? The weather’s good too, and the whole area is rich with history.

There ARE safe neighbourhoods – or colonia – to live in. Condesa is in the south of the city and is a little self-contained town with lots of bars, cafes, clubs, restaurants. Parties go on late into the night (good news if you like to party). It’s pretty international too; you hear a lot of languages being spoken.

During the day there are bike lanes and yoga classes galore in Condesa.

Coyoacan is cheaper and also safe. It’s a pretty place where Frida Kahlo used to live. It feels very historic and artistic and the rent is pretty low. It’s not that well connected by public transport though.

Basically, it’s pretty safe to live in Mexico City.

You’ve just got to choose where you live carefully. Make sure you do your research. Join Facebook groups, go on expat forums, see what life is like and if it will suit you. 

If it all looks good, we say go for it!

 

How is healthcare in Mexico City?

Surprisingly the healthcare in Mexico City is GREAT.

There’s a lot of choice… We’re talking 80 hospitals. AND there are loads of bi-lingual doctors, too.

The public hospitals aren’t as good as private hospitals, but you should be fine going public. The doctors will be well trained, of course.

If you have a minor worry or problem, head to a pharmacy. They’re open 24 hours and you can get a TON of different medicines that don’t require a prescription, and even some that do. Some pharmacies MAY even have a doctor on site who you can get a consultation from inexpensively.

Clinics are a good option, too. Show up during the day and no need to make an appointment. You may need some Spanish at clinics, however.

The Centro Medico ABC (private hospital) provides world-class healthcare and has been up and running for a whopping 128 years! Amazing.

Important: Not all hospitals will want to contact your medical insurance company. So make sure you have enough money for treatment up front. Get a refund later.

But in general? Healthcare in Mexico City is really good. You’ll be fine.

 

Helpful Mexico Travel Phrases

Mexico is the largest Spanish-speaking country in the world, but it’s also home to nearly 70 native languages. While all 123 million of its inhabitants are considered Mexican, this is an incredibly diverse country. The culture and customs of Mexico change as you move across the country, ensuring there’s something new to discover everywhere you go.

Below are some useful Spanish phrases for backpacking Mexico. While many people speak English in the touristic areas and cities, once you get outside these areas, Spanish will carry you a long way!

Hola = Hello

¿Cómo está(s)? = How are you?

Mucho gusto = Nice to meet you

Estoy bien = I’m fine

Por favor = Please

Gracias = Thank you

De nada/Con gusto = You’re welcome

¿Cuánto? = How much?

Adiós = Goodbye 

Sin bolsita de plástico – No plastic bag

No paja por favor – No straw please

Sin cubiertos de plástico por favor – No plastic cutlery please

Lo siento = I’m sorry

¿Dónde está el baño? = Where is the bathroom?

¿Qué es esto? = What’s this?

Quiero un taco/una cerveza. = I want a taco/a beer.

¡Salud! = Cheers! 

 

Final thoughts on the safety of Mexico City

Mexico City Travel Guide: Angel of Independence Statue

So, do you think Mexico City is worth trying out?

Mexico City is seen as a super unsafe place. Even the stats say so. We mean, who in their right mind would want to travel to a city where there’s a load of pickpockets making their rounds on the public transport, where the murder rate is one of the WORST in the world, and where an earthquake (or hurricane) could hit at any moment, devastate the city, and leave you stranded, injured or worse?

It makes sense, right? But actually, look a bit closer and you’ll see that it’s not all bad. The murder rate IS high – but the victims are almost ALL the time somehow related to the narcos – the drug trafficking gangs who run the show here. Unless you’re somehow getting involved in this nasty world, you won’t be targeted. You’re a visitor and tourism is important for Mexico as a whole. Don’t sweat it.

And pickpockets? Petty theft? A money belt is pretty much a no-brainer – we recommended the Active Roots Security Belt and you MAY want to think about that. But it doesn’t make you invincible. You should still use your common sense. Don’t look rich. Don’t walk around dodgy areas. Keep your bags close to you. Watch your surroundings. Make being vigilant and being smart the norm. And – obviously – you should get travel insurance, too.

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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! Some of the links in this post are affiliate links which means we earn a small commission if you purchase your insurance through this page. This costs you nothing extra and helps us keep the site going.


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