According to the Global Peace Index, Mexico is the 24th least peaceful country in the world. Mexico deals with mainly internal conflict, including battling drug cartels, organized crime, corruption, violence against journalists and women, and more.
The U.S. Department of States released a travel advisory in December 2019, setting a Level 2 advisory to exercise increased caution. Visitors to Mexico may face several problems related to criminal activity such as kidnappings, taxi and armed robbery, purse-snatching and pick-pocketing, and extortion by law enforcement, particularly in certain areas of the country.
Despite this, Mexico continues to be one of the most popular vacationing destinations, especially for U.S. tourists. Mexico is a large country with miles of coastline and beautiful beaches, cultural sites, and more. Luckily, there are many places in Mexico perfect for expats, tourists, retirees, and more.
Tulum is a well-known beach city in Mexico. Although Tulum is one of the more expensive cities in Mexico, it has one of the lowest crime rates. Worry of being attacked, robbed or mugged, or having a car stolen is very low.
Some common practices to remain safe in Tulum include not walking around alone at night; locking your door if you’re staying in a beachside cabana, driving during the daytime instead of at night, and avoiding tap water to opt for bottled water instead.
Despite having a reputation of a dangerous city, Mexico City is quite safe, especially in its downtown core. Between 2009 and 2011, Mexico City underwent a security upgrade that drastically reduced its violent and petty crime rates. Mexico City also has one of the highest police officer-to-resident ratios in the world of one uniformed police officer per 100 citizens. In 2009, the murder rate was 8.4 per 100,000 residents – lower than in Atlanta.
The city is also full of cultural attractions for visitors such as colorful markets, over 150 museums, and street art.
Cancun is undoubtedly one of the most popular tourist destinations in Mexico. With the increasing crime rates all across Mexico, many people began to question if Cancun is still safe, and the answer is yes. Cancun is safer than four of America’s largest and most popular cities: Detroit, St. Louis, New Orleans, and Baltimore. The violence seen in Cancun takes place on the periphery of the city, not inside the resorts where tourists are.
Cancun does, however, have a travel advisory to exercise increased caution when visiting. It is safest to stay within the resorts and to not venture outside the resorts at night time especially. Guided tours are also recommended if you plan on venturing to other locations such as going to see the ruins.
Located about 30 miles northwest of Puerto Vallarta, Sayulita is the perfect destination for nature lovers and surfers. Sayulita is both safe and friendly, as tourism drives the local economy. Locals are very welcoming and understand English well.
One should be aware of stray dogs that wander the streets in Sayulita. The dogs may bite when approached.
San Miguel de Allende is a popular destination for expats and is one of the safest places in Mexico. Over 8,000 Canadian, British, and American expats live in San Miguel de Allende, which is a great distance away from the crime that concerns many people such as cartel wars and robberies. The city is safer than vacationing in some parts of the United States.
San Miguel de Allende offers Spanish colonial churches, great restaurants, and heritage sites.
Huatulco is a beach town located in Oaxaca with plenty of water activities and surf spots. Huatulco is considered to be safer than many U.S. cities. Despite a police presence, Huatulco is considered to be very family-friendly and safe without all the craziness that Cancun has.
While these Mexican cities are among the safest, visitors, expats, and retirees should exercise caution by following common-sense rules. It’s recommended to get a cab at night instead of walking around, locking up your valuables in your hotel room or home, drinking in moderation, and sticking to resort and tourist areas in some cities.