Is Mexico City Safe to Travel?
“You’re going to Mexico City, but isn’t it dangerous there?” This was a question I heard one too many times when I told people that I’d be going to Mexico and in particular Mexico City. I’ve got to admit the majority of the time, my answer was “I don’t know”. I guess the sensible thing would have been to do a bit of research and ask the question ‘is Mexico City safe to travel?’
Mexico as a whole and in particular Mexico City seems to have a stigma of being dangerous in a lot of people’s minds. I have to admit, with so many people telling me it was dangerous, I did begin to question the safety of travelling in Mexico City. In the end, I ignored everyone’s prior warnings about how unsafe Mexico City is and decided I would check it out for myself.
The big question ‘is Mexico City safe to travel?’
I’m here to give you the answer if that gives you any clue…
Is Mexico City Safe to Travel?
In general, yes Mexico City is safe to travel. I can tell you I never felt in danger in the slightest during all my time in the Mexican Capital. Of course, like any other urban hub the size of Mexico City, there are areas where you should avoid and if you aren’t ‘street smart’ you may well run into trouble. When I say ‘street smart’, I mean how you go about your appearance and behaviour e.g. Not showing off your expensive items all the time (phone, jewellery etc.) and if you sense you are in any danger remove yourself from the situation.
Here’s a fact for you, Mexico City has lower murder rates than a lot of American cities, in fact, it doesn’t even make the top 50 in the world for murder rates. Take from that as you will. I felt pretty unsafe walking around Hollywood, LA at night, I felt in no danger at all while walking around Roma, Mexico City at night. Mexico has a bad reputation due to the cartel violence in the regional areas. Why should a whole nation and in particular a city as unique as Mexico City be written off because of this violence that very rarely effects tourists?
Where’s Safe to Stay in Mexico City?
Like I mentioned, as with all major cities, there are neighbourhoods you should avoid more than others. Where exactly is safe to stay in Mexico City then? During my time in the city, I stayed in Roma. Roma is generally a safe neighbourhood and definitely one of the more touristy parts of the city. The safest neighbourhoods to stay in Mexico City are; Roma, Condesa, Chapultepec Park, Polanco, Coyoacan, Zona Rosa and San Angel. Chances are you’re more likely to burn your tongue on a gourmet cheese quesadilla than become a victim of a robbery in Roma or Condesa.
Neighbourhoods which are commonly recommended for tourists to avoid include; Tepito, Lagunilla, Iztapalapa and Neahualcoyotl. Having said that, the majority of accommodation for backpackers and tourists you will find in the safe neighbourhoods listed above.
Listen, I’m not saying you will be the victim of a crime if you visit those neighbourhoods and you won’t if you visit the safer neighbourhoods. The safer neighbourhoods don’t give you a license you wave your valuables about, that’s for sure. If you are visiting a neighbourhood that you are unsure about, speak to a local about it or look for information online.
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What Transport is Safe in Mexico City?
The most widespread crimes against tourists in Mexico City is petty theft and robbery during taxi rides. To avoid any trouble with a dodgy taxi get your hotel or hostel to order you one or get one from a recognised taxi stand. Avoid hailing down taxis on the street. Other than that, use Uber. An Uber driver would have to be pretty stupid to rob you when his details are all over the app. Taxi based crimes towards tourists are not as prevalent as in the 90s, but it is still advisable to take precautions.
The metro system in Mexico City is a safe mode of transport. You are unlikely to experience any form of trouble while travelling on the metro. However, it is advisable to protect yourself from pickpocketing. Although pickpocketing is not a common occurrence, it can happen, especially during busier times. It’s better to be safe than sorry, isn’t it? Keep an eye on your bag and put your hand in your pockets when in crowds. Groping can sometimes be a problem for women. In busier times, separate carts for women have begun to operate to help solve the problem. In light of a not-so-funny situation, there is even a penis seat installed on a carriage to raise awareness of sexual harassment on subways.
Buses travelling around Mexico City are also considered to be safe. There have been reports of robberies on the buses which go between Teotihuacan and Mexico City. I travelled on this bus myself and I was a bit wary after reading up on past robberies. I ran into no trouble at all during my bus journey. I’m not sure how new this is, but there are police who come onto the bus near the start of the journey in Mexico City and Teotihuacan and video everyone’s face on the bus as a security measure.
I hope that answers the question, ‘is Mexico City safe to travel?’ Yes, it is. However, with any major city in the world, you have to have your wits about you. As some people would say, be street smart. Knowing where to go and where not to go, what to do and what not to do and most importantly, not having everything worth stealing on show!
Mexico City is an incredible and diverse city which is well worth visiting. The city surpassed all my expectations. It is not worth missing out on a special destination because of a fear of danger which people instil who probably haven’t stepped foot in Mexico. Trust me, Mexico City is as safe to travel as any other city in the US.
Basically, the bottom line is Mexico City isn’t immune from crime, as with any other city in the world. However, there is rarely any trouble with tourists in the city these days. As long as you don’t have your camera, watch, cash etc. On show, chances are you will be absolutely fine.
For more information and destinations in Mexico Click Here.
If you have any questions, feel free to ask me in the comments section.
Would you travel to Mexico City after reading this article? If you’ve been, did you feel safe or not?
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