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Is Mexico Safe? All About Safety in Mexico for Tourists

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Safety in Mexico for tourists is something a lot of people talk about, and sometimes that can be a deal breaker when it comes to choosing a destination. We're here to clarify this.

Is Mexico Safe? Let's be honest, the media slams Mexico all the time for its safety. But we travelled for two months ALL over the country, and we can tell you that what you see on tv isn't always the best indication of the real situation. Safety in Mexico for tourists is an important topic, and we're here to clarify some things.

Myth VS. Truth

By no means is Mexico the safest country in the world, but it also by no means is the most dangerous. Here is everything you need to know about safety in Mexico- the myths and the truths.

Myth #1: People Seek to Kill Tourists in Cancun

The media tends to paint a picture of tons of tourists landing in Cancún and getting stabbed and kidnapped. Tourists are targeted, and in high danger when visiting this area of Mexico.

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There definitely have been some unfortunate incidents in Cancún. Yes, there have been people killed, but no more than in any other touristic city through the world. Tourists are only sought after when they are belligerent, and looking for trouble.

Most people tend to stay on the hotel strip in Cancún. This is actually much safer than you think. The resorts have VERY high security, and the chances of anyone getting inside these gated properties are slim to none.

We personally prefer staying in downtown Cancún, which is much less popular, and full of locals. We walked the streets at night, used public transportation, and went to local markets, bars, and restaurants. At no point did we ever feel like we were in any kind of danger, and we love the real Cancún much more than the touristic area.

What are the best things to do in Cancun? Look this up and chances are you'll find the same info. Many times you will find pictures of people chilling at a huge pool in a resort, or young adults partying in the famous clubs. But we're here to tell you

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Myth #2: Mexico is Full of Drug Lords

Mexico has a bad reputation for drugs, and the media portrays all Mexicans as dangerous drug traffickers.


There are groups of drug lords, but unless you are participating in illegal activities, you won't find yourself in trouble. Most areas in Mexico don't have these groups at all. Guadalajara is known for having some, but it is still nothing you should have to worry about.

The North of Mexico tends to have more kinds of this activity, but these are areas that people are most likely not going to even come close to visiting.

Moral of the story? Unless you plan on going really off the beaten path and seeking out drug dealers, you won't find yourself in dangerous encounters with drug lords.

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Myth#3:  You Shouldn't be Out When it's Dark

Bad things happen when the sun sets, and crime spikes. Going out at night in Mexico means you will probably get mugged, stabbed, or kidnapped.


We have gone out in so many different places at night in Mexico! There is a lot of fun to be had in the bars, restaurants, and clubs in Mexico, so don't let this myth let you believe otherwise!

That being said, like in any city, make sure that you aren't too flashy, belligerently drunk, or carrying lots of valuables. Don't make yourself a target, and the chances of anything happening will be much less.

Crime can happen anywhere, and unfortunately you can't be 100% safe walking down the street in any place, so it is always good to make sure that you are walking in well lit areas, or using public transportation to get from one place to another.

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Safety in Mexico: What to Look out For

While we've uncovered some myths and told you about safety in Mexico for tourists, now we have some things to cover that you should be filled in on.

Police Corruption

Did you know that Mexican police are the second most corrupt in the world?! This is definitely not the end of the world, and can even work in your favor sometimes! But it is indeed important to know about how to handle sticky siutations you may find yourself in.

Cops will stop tourists for a number of things (mostly for actually disobeying the law, whether you know it or not). We are not here to tell you how to break the law and get out of it. But we all make mistakes, especially while traveling because we simply don't know what is right and wrong.

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Hide Your Cash

This may sound sketchy, but the main motive of a police officer in Mexico is to get paid off. They don't make any money off of writing you a ticket, so they will actually try to shake you down for cash. This way they'll make money by not writing the ticket, and "let you go". The more money you have, the more they will try to get!

Hide all cash, or just save a tiny bit. You will need to show them that you are short on cash. Without fail, they will continue to insist that you need to have more money. They will say that if you don't, they will need to either take your license, or take you to the station.

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Stay Strong!

No matter how much the officer scares you, just be confident and stay strong. Make sure you are apologetic and let them know that what you did was wrong. Explain that you didn't know, and that it won't happen again. At this point, you will probably have to go back and forth about 10 times, until they will eventually give up.

Chances are that the police will realize that it was an honest mistake, and they won't take you to the station. If you want to just get rid of them, try to give them 100 pesos, and you will get rid of them quicker.

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Driving Safety in Mexico

Driving in Mexico is something that we generally felt pretty safe doing! We had some hiccups, like toll booths being taken over, getting pulled over, and having locals put rope in front of the car to stop us (this was harmless- just a sales tactic).

However, we did have a pretty significant incident that is worth mentioning. We had our car broken into, and this was due to carelessness on our part, and also due to the area that we were in.

Valuables in your Vehicle

Anywhere in Mexico it is very important to not allow any valuables to be left in open sight. We left a piece of luggage in the car and in the middle of the night the window was smashed and the luggage was stolen.

This happened to us, as well as other things. If you want to see our whole adventure with a rental car in Mexico, you can simply click here.

When it comes to visiting somewhere, there are many ways to get around. Traveling through a country takes a lot of research, and has plenty of uncertainties, but that's why we're here to help! In our opinion, the best way to get around Mexico is by car, Here is everything

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Particular Areas to Pay Attention

When we got the car broken into, it was in an area that we were actually warned about prior. You may be thinking "well they set themselves up for this". Actually it was a late night and we were exhausted, so got a little lazy.

Michoacan is infamous for being one of the more dangerous areas when it comes to safety in Mexico for tourists and locals alike. It is important to stay off the streets and off the roads at night here (as mentioned by several locals), and to make sure that you park in an area where there are people to watch your car.

We also know that certain areas on Mexico City are ones to watch out for, so keeping your car in a garage or parking lot is very advisable. Other than that, we felt throughout the country, the safety in Mexico for tourists was not an issue.

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We have plenty more to say when it comes to driving and safety in Mexico for tourists, especially during COVID! Here is some more info about traveling in Mexico during Covid:

Is Mexico Safe For Tourists? : Conclusion

Mexico is overall a safe country! Like anywhere, make sure that you watch your belongings, do research about the best areas to stay, and take precautions when driving.

Follow the rules and you will most likely not have any kind of problem with the safety in Mexico, and will have an amazing time! Don't let the media dissuade you from exploring the gorgeous country and meeting some awesome new Mexican friends!

Planning your next trip and need help? Let us do the work! With our expertise we strive to make you explore more, spend less, and stay safe. With Scratch Your Mapa Travel Planning you can travel stress free to enjoy to the max. Want to know more? Just click here for the details.

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