Mexico City

Is Mexico City safe?

Mexico City is a huge, chaotic place and at the same time one of the best cities in Latin America. According to 2018 UN estimates, Mexico City is the fifth largest city in the world, with a population of over 20 million.

Mexico City is generally a safe destination for tourists, but like any large city, it’s important to use common sense and critical thinking and take basic precautions to ensure a safe experience while visiting Mexico City.

Is Mexico City safe?

Is Mexico City safe? Watching the news or Googling whether Mexico City is safe might leave you doubting whether you should even plan a trip there. News articles can focus on the negatives and be downright scary!

Crime is always a risk wherever you live or travel, especially in major cities.

While violent crime does occur in Mexico City, it’s important to remember that you run the risk of encountering violent crime in any major city. Mexico City has a lower crime rate than some states in the United States.

Most visitors who travel to Mexico City don’t have any issues with safety during their stay. The important things to remember are to use caution, avoid high-crime areas, and not involve yourself in illegal activities.

Safety tips for visiting Mexico City

Consider this list of tips to help you feel safe while exploring Mexico City!

  • Don’t travel alone at night and stick to larger groups
  • Learn a little basic Spanish
  • Book accommodation in safe neighborhoods
  • Don’t wear bright clothes or jewelry
  • Don’t flash around your fancy phone or camera
  • Avoid carrying lots of cash
  • Avoid buying drugs or any other illegal activity
  • Keep wallets on a chain and purses zipped
  • Keep your mobile phone on you
  • Know the emergency numbers – dial 911
  • Avoid drinking tap water
  • Buy travel insurance in advance
  • Leave your passport in the hotel safe
  • Use a legitimate taxi or Uber service
  • Avoid areas with high crime rates

Safe neighborhoods and areas in Mexico City

Dangerous and illegal activity in Mexico City is mostly isolated to specific neighborhoods. If you stay away from shady areas, it’s unlikely that you’ll have any issues at all during your trip to Mexico City.

Even in the safest neighborhoods, there is always a small risk of petty crime like theft, especially for tourists. Travelers to Mexico City are advised to use caution due to threats that include violent and petty crime.

Mexico City is the largest city in North America and is made up of many unique neighborhoods and regions. Some of these are worth exploring and others should be avoided.

The safest and most tourist-friendly regions in Mexico City include Roma Norte/Sur, Centro Historico, Zona Rosa, and Condesa.

These areas include historic landmarks, incredible architecture, and many of those must-do activities that will be on your Mexico City itinerary. These areas tend to be busier and have a police presence for increased safety.

They are also the most popular areas to stay in Mexico City.

If you’re looking to adventure outside of the tourist hotspots and experience a bit more of Mexico City as locals do, there are plenty of other neighborhoods that are considered safe without being quite as touristy.

San Rafael, Polanco, Juarez, Escandon, and Coyoacan are all wonderful areas to explore and are considered safe by visitors and locals alike.

With so many incredible neighborhoods to explore, you shouldn’t feel worried about running out of things to do.

Still, it’s important to keep in mind that some areas of Mexico City have higher rates of crime, and it’s a good idea to avoid those areas. Tepito, Ciudad Neza, and Iztapalapa are best avoided altogether.

Steer clear of Iztapalapa as it has a high rate of violent crime, especially against women. Tepito has an extremely busy and relatively shady street market where crime and robbery are common.

Tourists are also warned against visiting Ciudad Neza – it’s an extremely poor neighborhood and crime is common, even though the area has changed significantly in recent years.

Doctores is a region where many tourists venture to visit the famous Lucha Libre wrestling matches in Mexico City, and it’s generally pretty safe to explore during daylight hours.

At night the area becomes more dangerous and is a common place where tourists run into trouble. If you are planning to be in Doctores, consider hiring a trusted local guide, go during the day, and be cautious.

Is public transport safe in Mexico City?

Public transportation in Mexico City is safe, just make sure to keep your bags with you, and don’t fall asleep on the bus. Use caution at night as you get on and off public transportation and opt for taking Uber at night as it can get seedy at night.

There are female-only carriages and platforms for solo female travelers for extra safety.

Food and drink safety in Mexico City

The most important thing to remember when considering food and beverage safety in Mexico City is that you should never drink tap water. Even some Mexico City locals who have lived there for their entire lives advise against drinking tap water.

The water is technically safe to drink but visitors on a short holiday should avoid it to be safe. The bottom line is, you’re not used to it!

Even brushing your teeth with tap water in Mexico can be problematic for visitors, although I always do. Residents of Mexico City might brush their teeth, but tourists are better off just using bottled water to brush their teeth and avoid opening their mouths in the shower.

Filtered water is okay in most areas, and most ice is made with filtered water but if you want to be extra careful – stick to bottled water.

Food, on the other hand, is much safer. Food standards in Mexico City tend to be very high and even most of the street food vendors uphold healthy practices.

When choosing street food in Mexico City, look for places with long lines as they are generally safe and tasty. You can also find awesome places with the help of a local guide if you join a taco tour in Mexico City!

Look for hand sanitizer at the vendors to ensure the people preparing the food are keeping their hands clean, and make sure to wash your own hands before you eat. I eat street food all over Mexico City and to date, I have never had an issue.

Is solo travel in Mexico City safe?

Plenty of people travel solo to Mexico City each year. It’s a popular destination and offers lively nightlife and plenty of activities to keep solo travelers busy. It’s a great destination for a solo trip, just make sure to avoid more dangerous neighborhoods and travel in groups at night.

If you stay at hostels in Mexico City, you should have no trouble meeting other solo travelers to explore the city.

There is safety in numbers! If you’re having trouble meeting people to travel with, consider booking guided group tours in Mexico City which are usually pretty affordable.

Otherwise, follow the basic Mexico safety guidelines for any solo travel trip. Watch your belongings closely and don’t carry too much cash. Don’t wear flashy clothes or expensive jewelry so that you avoid making yourself a target for theft.

Keep in touch with someone at home and have regular check-ins with family and friends. If you’re going out at night, let someone know where you are going and when they can expect you back.

What about solo female travel?

Most solo female travelers in Mexico City won’t have any safety issues, but it is still important if you’re traveling alone to use extra caution. Don’t go out at night by yourself, and you might want to stick with a group even during the daylight hours in some areas.

Female travelers should also be careful of leaving their drinks unattended. While drugging drinks isn’t a huge problem in Mexico City, it isn’t unheard of. Keep your beverages with you as a solo female traveler, even if you’re around other travelers.

Keep in mind that other tourists are just as likely to use drink-spiking drugs as locals are.

Use your best judgment and stay alert and you should be just fine!

Is the nightlife in Mexico City safe?

Mexico City’s vibrant and lively nightlife scene is one of the things that keeps tourists coming back to visit again and again.

The city comes alive when the sun sets and you can experience everything from fancy cocktail bars to salsa dancing, to the wild Lucha Libre wrestling matches every night of the week.

Visiting Mexico City and avoiding the nightlife is almost impossible. It’s one of the greatest things about a trip to Mexico City! Still, it’s important to use caution as you would in any other major city to stay safe. Travel in groups when walking around at night and bar hopping.

Enjoy some delicious drinks without getting out of control. It’s fine to party, but getting black-out wasted in a way that is obvious to those around you makes you an easy target for robberies and other crimes.

Walk back to your hotel, Airbnb, or hostel with a group, and make sure that no one is following you. Take an Uber home instead of a taxi or public transportation at night.

There are also touristy places such as Garibaldi Square (pictured above) where you’ll find live Mariachi bands. The neighborhood that borders this square is dangerous for tourists so you should take an Uber to and from the square.

There is almost always a police presence at this square.

Natural disasters in Mexico City

Mexico City has been known to have some pretty major earthquakes. The area surrounding Mexico City is a hotspot for volcanic activity and tectonic stress which has historically led to some violent earthquakes.

Two volcanoes and the Sierra Madre volcanic mountain range surround the city, so earthquakes can strike at any time. Mexico City is considered one of the most disaster-prone places in the world due to its natural hazards and infrastructure.

On September 22, 2022, a powerful 6.8 magnitude earthquake struck the city and killed one person. However, the worst in recent times was in 2017, and much of the city was affected.

If you find yourself outside during an earthquake, head to an open area away from electric lines, trees, or balconies. If you’re indoors, head to a safe place away from windows.

In addition to earthquakes, Mexico City can be prone to flooding during heavy rains which also leads to landslides. Keeping an eye on the weather can help ensure that you don’t get stuck in a dangerous situation involving flooding or landslides.

Getting help in Mexico City

If you find yourself in need of emergency assistance during your trip to Mexico City, dial 911. If you’re from Canada or the United States, this is the same number you’d call at home, so it’s easy to remember!

No one wants to get sick while traveling, but if you find yourself in need of medical attention due to illness or injury, you’ll be happy to know that Mexico City has amazing hospitals that will be able to give you all the care you need during your stay.

Two Mexican City hospitals have made the list of the top hospitals in the world – these include Medica Sur and ABC Medical Center in Santa Fe.

Siglo XXI National Medical Center, Observatorio ABC Medical Center, and IMSS La Raza National Medical Center are other great hospitals if you’re seeking medical attention in Mexico City.

For most common ailments you can head to any of the clinics (often located in pharmacies) for treatment of minor illnesses and injuries.

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