Is Mexico City Safe for Travel? - All you Need To Know
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Are you considering a trip to Mexico City,and wondering; is Mexico City safe? Although this city has a lot to offer in terms of culture, nightlife and attractions, it’s important to be aware of safety precautions before your trip. Having lived in Mexico City for five months, I have gained some useful travel tips that can help you navigate the city safely as a traveler.
Even when spending time in Mexico City’s safest neighborhoods, it’s important to remember that there is still a risk of encountering trouble. When traveling throughout the city, exercise caution and remain aware of potential dangers.
Let’s get started!
Is Mexico City Safe for Travel right now?
Mexico City is typically safe, it’s important for travelers to take safety precautions to minimize risks, including petty crime, scams, and COVID-19. It’s recommended that visitors familiarize themselves with both the safe and unsafe neighborhoods of Mexico City in order to make the most of their visit.
Mexico City has a reputation for being dangerous, it is actually a safe place to visit if you take precautions and do your research ahead of time. In fact, its crime rate is comparatively low when compared to other areas within Mexico and is even safer than some states in the United States.
The Index score
Global Health Security Index
25 out of 195 (very good)
Global Peace Index
137 out of 163 (bad)
Mexico City has certain neighborhoods with shady areas. As a tourist, it is safer to stick to the more secure zones. To ensure protection during your trip, you may consider purchasing travel insurance for Mexico. Continue reading for tips on how to stay safe while visiting Mexico City.
Safety in Mexico City – Things to Know About
Mexico City Travel Advisories
It is important to be aware that as of early 2022, the United States has issued a level 4 travel advisory for the entire country of Mexico due to COVID-19 concerns. To stay up-to-date with any changes, please check the latest US State Department travel advisory before your trip.
U.S. government has advised visitors to be extra vigilant when traveling to Mexico City due to occurrences of both serious and minor crimes, including kidnapping, although these types of incidents are infrequent. Therefore, travelers must remain alert while navigating the city.
Here’s a chart to put that ranking into perspective:
Exercise normal precautions
Exercise increased caution
Do not travel
The 5 Safest Neighborhoods and Areas in Mexico City and more
Mexico City is the largest city in North America by population, surpassing even New York, Los Angeles, and Toronto. many areas to explore, there are some neighborhoods that are safer than others. Recommended places to visit include Roma Norte/Sur, Condesa, Centro Historico, and Zona Rosa, as these are popular tourist spots where travelers tend to feel comfortable. However, tourists should still be cautious of scams even in these areas.
1 | Reforma
Reforma is a highly safe neighborhood that boasts numerous luxurious hotels in CDMX. It is characterized by popular tourist attractions such as the Paseo de la Reforma Avenue, cultural destinations, shopping centers, and dining establishments.
There are many museums to visit in this district, with two recommended ones being the National Museum of Anthropology and the Museum of Modern Art. For a more active experience, consider going on a bike of Reforma with a knowledgeable guide who will share interesting facts and legends with you.
If you’re looking for a LGBTQIA+ friendly place with a lively nightlife, head to the Zona Rosa neighborhood on the south side of the district. However, if you want to get some rest early, avoid staying in hotels in that area. And don’t forget to visit the Mexico City Historical Center, which is truly awe-inspiring.
2 | Roma
This neighborhood in Mexico City is statistically the safest and is known for its Art Deco architecture, trendy coffee shops, and hip cafes. Many hipsters and artists come to this area, which is unofficially called “Hipster Central.” One of the highlights of the neighborhood is the food hall called Mercado Roma, which sells a variety of food items ranging from churros to craft beer. However, it’s not your typical street food truck station. Instead, it’s a gourmet experience with vendors who are passionate about their products and served in a lavishly decorated space.
The historical center is a must-visit destination for tourists with over 1,550 significant buildings built between the 16th and 20th centuries. Popular attractions such as Zocalo and Palacio de Bellas Artes are located here, and the district is well-serviced by public transportation. Visitors often stick to this area and don’t venture outside, but a convenient option for seeing other Mexico City sights is the Hop-On Hop-Off Bus City Tour with stops on three different circuits. Get your Mexico City Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Ticket here.
4 | Polanco
Polanco is a neighborhood in Mexico City that boasts of high-end boutique stores and luxurious living. Because of its opulence, it is one of the top three safest neighborhoods in the city. Moreover, it is the closest neighborhood to Chapultepec Park, which is twice the size of Central Park in New York. The park is a popular attraction in its own right and houses several museums. Visitors can enter the park for free. If you prefer exploring public spaces with a local guide and want to meet new people, check out the Guided Bike Tour of Chapultepec Park.
5 | Condesa
This neighborhood located next to Roma is popular for its extraordinary dining options, tasty food, and retro stores. The area has a relaxed ambiance and quiet, tree-covered roads. Some people even liken it to the West Village in New York City. It’s a lovely spot to take a leisurely walk, enjoy a scrumptious meal, and feel secure.
If you want to find safe neighborhoods in Mexico City with fewer tourists, check out Juarez, Escandón, San Rafael, Coyoacan, and Polanco. There are many other great areas to explore too! To learn more, take a look at my guide on the best places to stay in Mexico City. However, it’s best to avoid areas like Tepito, Ciudad Neza, Iztapalapa, and Doctores.
Neighborhoods you Should Avoid in Mexico City
Let’s talk about the areas of Mexico City that are not recommended for tourists. Some people call them “dangerous areas” and there is truth to that. Even though there’s not much reason for you to visit these areas, it’s important to be aware of them for safety reasons.
I recommend the following as places to avoid in Mexico City:
ANYWHERE at night: We cant stress this enough! It is important to emphasize that while there may be some safe areas to be in at night, it is crucial to exercise caution when using public transportation to move between places. It may be safer to opt for an Uber instead. Consulting with your accommodation about the local area, such as whether it is safe to walk back from the nearest Metro station, can also be helpful.
Iztapalapa: Female traveler should absolutely avoid this area completely, as most rapes and physical assaults in Mexico City have been recorded in this neighborhood.
Tepito: The street market in Tepito is very busy and sketchy, which makes it a hotspot for getting ripped off or robbed.
Others: Ciudad Neza used to be a very poor area with high crime rates that tourists are advised to avoid, but it is now changing. Doctores is generally safe to visit during the day and has famous Lucha libre wrestling. However, it becomes a much more dangerous area at night.
🛏️ Looking for a hotel? The guide to the best hotels in Mexico City provides more information about top local accommodations, many of which are located in tourist-friendly zones.
Covid-19 in Mexico City
Relative to its large size and population, the effects of COVID-19 have been more severe in Mexico City. The city continues to enforce strict mask and social distancing policies, particularly during outbreaks. Therefore, even though restrictions may have eased, it is important to be prepared to wear a mask indoors. Additionally, it is common for locals to keep wearing masks outdoors.
While you usually won’t be asked for your vaccination card at a restaurant or bar, I did need it when I attended a large music festival.
Entering or exiting Mexico City does not require a COVID-19 test unless the destination country demands it. However, you can easily get inexpensive rapid tests in various locations across Mexico City.
Crime and crime rates in Mexico City
Mexico City experiences a significant amount of crime, including vehicle theft, robbery, and homicide. However, the city has a large police force to counter this. The crime rates are typically concentrated in specific areas, so it is possible to avoid these places and safely enjoy the rest of the city. Don’t let this discourage you from visiting Mexico City.
CDMX’s crime rate is relatively low compared to other parts of the country and even some states in the U.S. However, it’s important to be cautious and use common sense while exploring the city. By avoiding dangerous areas, you can have a safe and enjoyable trip without being affected by crimes.
Common Scams in Mexico City
To avoid falling victim to scams, it’s helpful to learn about common scams before visiting a major city such as Mexico City. Along with pickpocketing, it’s important to be mindful of these prevalent scams.
🚕 Taxi Scams – Inside the city, there are different types of taxi scams, ranging from minor ones like a driver charging higher fares to tourists to major ones like express kidnapping. Express kidnapping is a serious crime where a driver abducts a passenger and compels them to withdraw money from ATMs. Though it is uncommon today, it’s important to have awareness of such incidents.
🏧 Fake ATM Scam – When you come across an ATM on the street when you need to withdraw cash, you might see it as a convenient option. However, be cautious as some of these machines are counterfeit and may steal or clone your card. It is recommended that you use ATMs located inside banks for your safety.
🌭 Mustard Scam – This scam involves a stranger squirting a disgusting liquid, like mustard, on you. Then, while offering help to clean it up, the spiller or an accomplice will steal your wallet, phone, or any other belongings they can quickly grab.
Mexico City is prone to natural disasters like hurricanes, earthquakes, and volcano eruptions. Even though Popocatepetl, an active volcano, is just two hours away from the city and hurricanes have hit the area before, earthquakes should be your main concern. This is because Mexico City is in a subduction zone, which makes earthquakes quite common. While there have been three small earthquakes near the city in the past year, the last major earthquake occurred in 2017.
Earthquakes can occur at any time, even during seasons with mild weather, which is unsettling and makes them scary.
Is the Nightlife in Mexico City Safe?
The city of Mexico has plenty of bars to enjoy during the night, ranging from quirky to upscale, the nightlife is generally safe. However, it’s still recommended to take precautions.
Here are some of tips and advice when partying in CDMX:
🍸 Bad Alcohol – Makesure that the tequila you purchase is 100% agave to avoid the risk of consuming unsafe, strong, fake tequila.
🚖 Order an Uber – To ensure your safety while traveling in Mexico City at night, I recommend using Uber. You can download the Uber app to your phone. It’s best to avoid public transportation or hailing a taxi on your own when going to local bars in CDMX. Instead, stick with Uber or ask the restaurant/bar to help you call a reliable taxi service.
Tourists are most vulnerable to being taken advantage of when they’re intoxicated and having fun.
Drinking Water Safety
Most of Mexico City’s water supply is treated, it’s still not recommendable for tourists to consume tap water. To prevent stomach problems, it’s generally wise to avoid drinking tap water in Mexico altogether.
Traveling Around Mexico? Read all the safety guides:
Mexico City’s Zona Rosa and Centro Historico neighborhoods are usually busy throughout the day, and the city center can be overly crowded during weekends when street markets take place. It’s crucial to be alert when strolling around these bustling streets since pickpockets and other scammers may take advantage of distracted tourists.
It is recommended to avoid using the metro or other public transportation between 6 AM to 9 AM and 6 PM to 9 PM due to the large crowds. It is important to be cautious of pickpockets who may be present in the corners of the metro stations during these times.
Tip 2 – Leave your Valuables at Home
To lower the risk of being targeted by criminals while visiting Mexico City, avoid looking like a tourist and don’t wear expensive jewelry or carry valuable items with you. While it’s okay to have a phone or camera, be aware of your surroundings and hold onto them tightly when using them. Keep them stored in your bag when not in use.
👉 Expert Tip: Take a look at our detailed packing list for Mexico which includes everything you need to bring for your trip to Mexico City.
Tip 3 – Use Uber to Get Around
Uber is available in Mexico City, and it is also a very easy, safe, and dependable way to navigate the city. With just a few taps on the app, you can quickly request a ride to your desired location. You can also use Uber to explore popular attractions that are farther away, such as Xochimilco and Teotihuacan.
Tip 4 – Make sure you Count Your Change
When you visit CDMX, it’s important to take some time to get familiar with the local currency, the pesos. It’s common to be unfamiliar with foreign currency, so be patient and give yourself a little time to adjust. When you’re in a new country, it’s important to pay extra attention to the change you receive. Some tourists have reported receiving less change than they were owed. While I haven’t experienced this myself, it’s always wise to stay alert.
I’ve had experiences where cashiers returned the money I overpaid or owed me change, I still recommend being cautious and double-checking your money after making a purchase. Once, I even had someone chase me after dropping a 100 peso bill (USD 5) on the street.
👉 Expert Tip: Mexican Pesos have different colors to indicate their value, unlike U.S. Dollars. However, certain bills may have a similar appearance based on the year of production, which could confuse some tourists. For instance, a 20 Peso bill and a 500 Peso bill could appear to look alike being both blue, but the former is worth USD 1 while the latter is worth USD 25.
Tip 5 – Consider Getting aTravel Insurance for Mexico
To ensure a safe trip, it is important to have reliable insurance when traveling internationally, including to Mexico City. A comprehensive plan can provide coverage in case of emergencies, lost belongings, or natural disasters. A person I met shared an experience of needing travel insurance when their appendix burst during a remote hiking trip in Spain, preventing them from owing millions in debt. While it is unlikely to happen, unforeseen circumstances can occur during your travels.
To stay safe in Mexico City, it’s important to be aware that popular tourist attractions and areas are often targeted by scammers looking to take advantage of visitors. Although these spots may offer trendy establishments and a desirable atmosphere, they also present higher risks of scams. Contrary to popular belief, these pretty areas may not always be the safest places for travelers.
Tip 7 – Research CDMX’s Neighborhoods
This article will help you answer the question, “Is Mexico City Safe?” However, it is important to continue researching and educating yourself about the different neighborhoods in Mexico City. This will not only keep you safe, but also help you discover the most exciting places to visit in the city.
Tip 8 – Be Extra Careful and Aware at Night
It’s important to be vigilant when exploring Mexico City at night as the city can look vastly different after dark. Getting lost in the maze of streets is a concern and trying to navigate using Google Maps can make you even more vulnerable. Additionally, safety risks are heightened at night due to limited visibility, making it important to remain cautious.
With that being said, CDMX comes alive at night, and it would be a shame to miss out on all the festivities around town. So get out there and experience it, but be careful and try not to get overly drunk or wander around aimlessly once the night falls.
When traveling in Mexico, it’s recommended to drink bottled water instead of tap water to prevent any digestive problems that could ruin your trip. We bring along a portable filtered bottle from Britta that works wonders and has been a lifesaver.
Tip 10 – Solo Female Travelers Should Avoid Iztapalapa
Mexico City, unfortunately, requires extra precautions for women travelers, such as avoiding high-risk areas. Iztapalapa, specifically, has a higher rate of attacks on women compared to other areas in the city. Solo female travelers should exercise caution in this area.
The rates of violent crime against women in Iztapalapa have improved since 2020, it is still considered unsafe for single women to wander around in that neighborhood.
Tip 11 – Be Careful in and around Centro Historico
Centro Historico is a bustling area with street vendors, local people, and tourists. This lively atmosphere can make it a target for pickpockets and other petty crimes. Additionally, you may unintentionally end up in a dangerous neighborhood if you take a wrong turn. Although it’s worth exploring the famous landmarks and charming cobbled streets, it’s important to be vigilant. Keep an eye on your surroundings and don’t leave your valuables out in the open.
👉 Expert Tip: Avoid getting pickpocketed in a crowded place, I recommend using an anti-theft bag like the Ambor Travel Backpack. It comes with a combination lock and tear-resistant fabric that provides ample protection against theft while you go sightseeing. The bag is designed in a way that any attempt to put your hand in it will be thwarted.
Tip #12 – Know the Local Emergency Numbers
When traveling to Mexico City, make sure to write down the local emergency numbers. This may seem unnecessary, but it will be beneficial in case of an emergency situation or high-stress moment.
Here are the emergency numbers you should have on hand in CDMX:
👮 Police:911 is the national emergency number
🚑 Ambulance: 066
ℹ️ Tourist Assistance Hotline: 800 008 9090
Tip #13 – Learn a Few Key Phrases in Spanish
CDMX, it’s not very common to find people who speak English unlike some other places in the country. Although there are some who are fluent or have basic knowledge, they are not abundant unless you’re only exploring the highly touristy areas. To navigate around and communicate with locals better, it’s recommended to learn some essential Spanish phrases especially if you plan on going beyond these areas.
When Visiting Mexico City, it is helpful to memorize some common phrases in Spanish:
Hello, Good Morning/Afternoon/Evening (Hola, Buenos Dias/Tardes/Noches)
I need help (Necesito ayuda)
Where is the bathroom? (Dónde esta el baño?)
How do I get to ___? (Cómo llego a ___?)
The check, Please (La cuenta, por favor)
I am lost (Estoy perdido/a)
Some basic Spanish can be helpful for your safety in addition to being useful for navigating around the city. It is important to know the vocabulary to get help during an emergency situation in case there are no English speakers nearby.
FAQs About Safety in Mexico City
Where should you avoid in Mexico City?
We recommended to steer clear of certain neighborhoods in Mexico City, including Iztapalapa, Tepito, Ciudad Neza, and Doctores, due to higher crime rates, particularly after dark.
Is it safe to walk in Mexico City at night?
Certain areas of Mexico City such as Roma and Condesa are safe to walk around at night, but it’s recommended to use a taxi or Uber after dark. If you need to walk around at night, it’s best to do so in a group.
Are cabs safe in Mexico City?
Stay safe when taking a taxi in Mexico City, ensure that you check for the driver’s official ID in the window and keep an eye on the meter. Consider using Uber instead whenever it’s possible since you can sign up easily and know the cost of the ride beforehand. Uber also provides digital travel records.
Enjoying all that Mexico City has to offer in safety is possible for most travelers by using common sense. If you have made it this far in your preparations, you are on the right track. To get more inspiration for your trip to CDMX, check out our list of fun things to do in Mexico City. With some planning and research, you can have an amazing trip to Mexico’s capital.
Is Mexico City Safe for Families?
Yes, Mexico City is a safe destination for families and offers many activities for kids. There are numerous museums and parks where families can be seen enjoying themselves. However, navigating the city with a stroller may be challenging due to crowds and uneven surfaces. Additionally, it’s important to note that baby-changing facilities are not widely available, except for in chain restaurants and museums. Don’t forget to try some delicious churros from street vendors while exploring the city!
I recommend these travel resources for Mexico that I personally use:
🏨 Hotels: I have found that Expedia and Booking.com consistently have the best deals on hotels and resorts in Mexico. If you prefer to stay at a vacation rental, check VRBO that is usually cheaper than AirBnB’s added fees!
✈️ Flights: To find the best flight deals to Mexico, I always use Kayak. Remember to subscribe to their price alerts for the travel dates you want. Another great alternative for flight deals is Expedia.
🚗 Rental Cars: I always use and highly recommend Discover Cars because it allows me to compare several car rental companies and view ratings on various factors such as overall value, pick-up procedure, agent efficiency, car condition, and total time taken.
🚙 CancunAirport Transportation: For the fastest and easiest way to travel, I suggest arranging a private transfer with Cancun Airport Transportation. Honestly, no better way to travel from the airport to your hotel or resort.
🤿 Tours & Activities: For tours and activities in Mexico, I highly recommend using either Viator or GetYourGuide. These websites offer a full refund if you cancel your booking 24 hours before the start of the tour, and they also provide excellent customer service in case of any issues.
🚨 Travel Insurance: I always suggest purchasing travel insurance as a precaution before traveling, especially after a recent accident in a taxi in Mexico. For short trips, I recommend Travel Insurance Master, whereas for digital nomads, Safety Wing is a better option.
📷 Best Camera for your trip: I always carry with me a GoPro, It’s light, compact, takes great video and pictures, and most importantly, it’s waterproof! You just can’t go wrong with one. If you are interested in higher quality video and photography, I always carry with me on my trips and highly recommend the Sony A7IV which I think is the best travel DSLR Camera out there.
☀️ Biodegradable Sunscreen: Remember to include a good sunscreen to protect yourself from the summer sun. I always use and suggest Sun Bum Sunscreen, which is vegan, reef-friendly, and cruelty-free.
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